BJ and I boarded a plane at 3:40 to fly down to Albuquerque, NM. BJ has some cousins down there that he lived with when he did his internship at Honeywell a few years ago. They've been bugging him to come down again for quite some time now, and he'd never been to the International Balloon Fiesta. So this year, we decided to go.
We flew with Southwest. They were the only one that we could find a direct flight both ways at the times we wanted with a decent price. (Well, as decent as you can get with the stock market dropping like a two-ton ball from a rooftop, anyway.) The thing with Southwest, however, is that they have open seating. As there was exactly one person that boarded the plane after us, we didn't get what you would call ideal seating. We didn't get to sit together, although, we did get somewhat close. We were both on the aisle, on opposite sides of the aisle, about 2 rows apart. Whenever I wanted his attention, I would just lean forward and say, "BJ!" and he'd turn and talk to me. Not exactly my ideal flight. But whatever. It was only an hour and a half. Also, turbulence was... very much present. BJ said it didn't last very long, but to the girl who gets motion sick easily, it lasted for ages.
We finally made it safe and sound to Albuquerque where BJ's cousin, Brian picked us up in his Jeep and took us to our weekend home. Meet Brian, in his hippie, Roman toga. We're thinking the pillow is his very weak sword.
Brian entertained us for a few hours while we waited for his other friends, Jillanne (which sounds remarkably like Jalin and confused the heck out of me several times this weekend.) and her husband, Jan (pronounced John. He's Asian. I'm not sure if that's the reasoning behind his unique spelling, but it sounds good. Also known as Jan-down-the-hall, because Brian knew several Johns during his college days.)
Finally, it was time to blow up the air mattress for BJ and I and go to bed. (If anyone is feeling generous, BJ and I would accept a queen sized air mattress that blows up by pulling out a box that is actually a motor. It's quite awesome.)
By 6:15 we were up and out of the house. We headed down to Honeywell (where BJ worked for his internship a few summers ago, and where Brian works now.) where their ward was having a ward party. (See, Kessa, ward parties could be worse. Your ward has never had one at 6:15 am.) A guy in their ward owns a restaurant called Blake's Lottaburger that serves breakfast burritos. So we all gathered in the parking lot and they brought out the burritos, donuts, and hot chocolate. They were actually really quite good.
Then we waited for the balloons to rise up into the air.
But the wind was too high, and the balloons got canceled. This is the sky where there should have been balloons (at least the sky was really pretty!):
We returned to the house where Jillanne took a nap and the rest of us watched Numb3rs. Then Brian took Jillanne and Jan out for a ride in his truck (this thing is a monster, trust me.) while BJ did homework and I took a nap. (I was exhausted and didn't trust my ability to not get carsick this trip. This proved a damper to many plans.)
Later Brian took us out to show off his true love, Eleanor. This is no typically girl. Oh no. This is a robot that Brian has built over the years.
Lest you think that Eleanor is some remote control car, let's continue with the pictures. This first one is Brian sitting on her and driving her around the driveway. (He kind of looks like a midget, huh? :D) And yes, that is a Playstation controller that he's driving with. Nerds... the lot of them. ;)
And here is BJ running after Eleanor. I think he may be practicing for walking a dog someday. (We must have a cat first. These are my conditions.)
Later we taught Jillanne and Jan how to play Ticket to Ride while Brian went down and programmed. (He's not much of a gamer, which I find quite tragic.)
I'm starting to find the rest of this day and Sunday blending together in my head...
Day 2 or 3
There was a game of Clue. (Mitch won. Though for some reason, I thought he was Eric for the entire game. No idea why.) There was some downloading of games on BJ's iPod touch. (I maybe had too much fun popping bubble wrap.) There was building of Legos.
Hoping to see balloons, BJ and I got up at 7. I was wide awake and was quite bouncy. BJ has never seen me like this in the morning (I'm not what you would call a morning person) and was quite shocked at me. Alas, canceled again. Jillanne and Jan went to Brian's singles ward because Brian was teaching EQ. BJ and I went to the family ward, because BJ was hoping to see people he knew when he lived down there. Church was fantastic. We had an awesome object lesson about judging ourselves and others based on some pictures of apple trees. I really, really liked it, but shan't get into details here.
After church we made Cafe Rio salads for lunch. BJ was in heaven. (Aunt Barbara, if you read this, he says he's quite happy for having it for cousin's dinner again. There will be no complaints from him.) Then Jillanne and Jan took off for home.
There was visiting and relaxing and some nerd talk between Brian and BJ until Brian's friend, Sarah came over. She wanted to meet BJ, we wanted to meet her, so it all worked out well. Turns out we could have been great friends (She likes to ask questions; I like to talk) but she could only stay for an hour... just long enough to spill all of her secrets for Mitch (much to Brian's dismay). I liked her, though. She definitely gets my nod of approval. (For what? I have no idea. But she's definitely approved.)
After she left we ate a bit of dinner, then settled down to watch The Spiderwick Chronicles. I loved it. It was intense enough that I kept clinging to BJ and jumping at all of the right moments, but light-hearted enough that it was definitely a kid's movie. Let's say it's a kid's movie that adults can enjoy. (But don't expect it to be super-intense.) But, I'm quite sure that people such as Ryan and Will wouldn't enjoy it. Now I definitely want to read the books, though.
Another early-rising day. Aunt Elizabeth took us to the airport where we got all checked in and everything without incident. However, we were also way early, so we sat around in the airport for awhile. I fell asleep. At some point in the airport, I got really sick. I was super nauseous and light-headed. This was not good. I clearly remembered the turbulance from the trip in. That's probably why I slept.
We checked in too late and still didn't get a seat together. Enter Emotional Tianna that was so upset by this, and because I was sick, that I cried for probably the first 5 minutes of sitting in the plane. But don't worry, folks. I bucked up, and didn't even get sick on the flight. Mostly I just tried to sleep. Then I dropped BJ off on campus and came home and slept for about 2 or 3 hours. Beautiful nap.
Overall, it was a great trip. Sure, we missed the balloons, which was sad, but we really enjoyed the company. I felt really at home there. Like, really. I felt totally comfortable just sitting down to their computer and using it, or taking Aunt Elizabeth's pen during Sunday School to write. Now, for those of you who remember me having to work up the guts to ask Grandma for a piece of cheese or Aunt Grace if I could play her Nintendo, this is a huge step up for me. BJ really enjoyed his time with Brian and Mitch. I think he misses being nerdy with Brian and teasing Mitch. Albuquerque was a second home to him while he lived there. It was good for him to get to go back.
Thanks everyone down there for hosting us and putting up with us all weekend. We loved it and will have to come back again to actually see balloons!