Notes from a Jersey Girl

by Lisa G Westheimer


Colorado/New Mexico Trip, May 2015

Chapter 2

The Ambush

So like I said, built into every trip planned by my dear husband Bill lurks some element of life threatening danger, mainly to me.  I figured with this trip I got off easy because the bridal shower exempted me from the bike trip.  WRONG!  I was told at dinner the evening we arrived that the next day would be spent by me and Bill LOOKING AT REAL ESTATE FOR POSSIBLE RELOCATION.  Hello!  Down periscope, prepare to dive, WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP!  Thus far in our 25 years of marriage I have survived roller blading down a steep, lonely pitted road along a cliff drop off in Moab Utah, outrun lightening storms on bike, horse and in a boat, contact with trees numerous times while mountain biking, and having the jib twist around the roller furling gizmo, sheets flailing loose, on a sailboat in a storm while gybing.  Put all those in a blender and you have me moving out of New Jersey and into the Rocky Mountains.  Heck, put them together and you have me leaving my driveway.

I had known by peeking at some of Bill’s e mails that flash when received on my tablet (BY ACCIDENT, OK?!) that he was looking at property.  He also tells me about a million times a day how tired he is of living in New Jersey, especially the air plane noise and traffic that goes on overhead on a daily basis (we live near Newark and Teterboro airports as well as several small private air strips.)  And like Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law, my equal and opposite reaction to his musings is to throw a huge fit.  We’ve both gotten used to this dialog.  Little did I know that my calm Ohioan husband and his Colorado pal Larry the real estate agent were busy hatching plans.

So the following day Bill dragged me into Larry’s car to go check out a town he thought would cover both our bases, that is, for a town not in New Jersey:  zoned for horses, lively ceramics community, walkable downtown, healthy local economy.  I sat in the crash position, arms crossed tightly over my chest, staring straight ahead into my doom.

“Feel free to look out the window” Bill said with a sigh.

We went to Old Littleton.  It was cute, a nice enough town.  We drove around til we found the property he was looking for:  a house with a barn and paddocks on a few acres next to a pond.  We went to lunch on the commercial strip where I had my little cry in the bathroom, imploring dead relatives to intervene.  It was a nice enough place and a nice enough day, but everyone was young white and happy, which I tend to find very annoying.  We did come upon a nice ceramics collective and store but the woman at the desk said that there are tons of restrictions on firing ceramics, especially the type I do.  I left town feeling like I dodged a bullet.

The next day Bill tried a different tack.  “We’re going to look at vacation cabins.  I’m going to buy one and you can come visit me if you like.”  Ok.  Off we went to Conifer.  We drove a long way along flat land then made a left and went uphill for a good long time.  It was pretty and there were lots and lots of horses and people on bicycles.  Something for both of us.  After what seemed like an eternity we pulled into a driveway just off the main road to a cute 2 bedroom cabin type dwelling that had a 2 car garage near the street, 2 acres of pine trees and no grass to mow in back with an enclosed dog run and a property line that was bounded by a house on either side to ensure someone would hear a Jersey girl scream and come running if she were attacked by a bear or someone with an ax, and the rear lot line bounding a state park.  The property was zoned for horses and had a gas and electric line running through it (think kilns.)  Even with the bear claw gouges in the trees next to the house, I kind of liked it, but not wanting to give any glimmers of hope kept my mouth shut.  We looked through it and walked the property then we got in the car and Bill said, “I don’t like it, I think I need a view, let’s go have lunch.”  Bullet number 2 dodged nicely.  We drove to the town of Evergreen and had lunch along the roiling brook, got back in the car and went back to Castle Rock.  The next day the boys left for Santa Fe and Angie and I prepared for the shower.

For full disclosure on both sides of the coin I saved this as a draft the day I wrote it and let Bill read it before posting to sign off on it.  I don’t want to hurt his feelings (anymore than I usually do on a daily basis) or seem unsupportive as a wife but sometimes it’s hard for a girl to think straight when alarm bells are ringing in her head, you know?  Take me out of New Jersey and all sorts of things can happen.  Like I’d get some sort of disease from being deprived of bagels made with NYC water or go stir crazy from explaining what a “mutz” is over and over again.  And what about lack of humidity?  I thrive on it!  And altitude?  What is this all about?  “Oh you get used to it” is the normal reaction.  I DON’T WANT TO GET USED TO IT, OK?!  Can anyone get used to a racing heart and stepping on your lungs that fall out your nose every time you move?!  Huh?

The trouble lies on several layers:

1)  I have the best husband in the world.  He can’t help it if he’s from Ohio.

2)  I want my husband to be happy but this bar may be too high to jump for this old lame mare.

3)  I was raised “traditional” in that my husband is the boss (sometimes) but I’m also a brassy 1970’s feminist Jersey Girl and we can be dangerous when threatened, sort of like a cobra when poked with a stick.

4)  There’s nothing like a Jersey tomato sliced on a plate with a little salt and a couple leaves of basilico and you can bet they don’t got that in Colorado.

5)  Colorado is not on the Atlantic Ocean and doesn’t offer fluking on the party boats in the Atlantic Highlands, although the fish, I must confess, isn’t bad there.

Ok all you Jersey Girls out there reading this, it’s time to chime in!!!