Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hob-nobbing with Bill Gates

After a 6-hour car ride, we pulled up to the front of the hotel, ready for the staff to open our doors and show us to our rooms. But instead the place was swarming with secret service agents. Literally swarming. There were probably 13 cars behind us along the curb, and then two-by-two all these FBI-looking people wearing ID badges made their way to the entrance, some from cars, and others looking like they just popped out of the bushes.

You'll be shocked to know that all that security wasn't there for us. It turns out that the president of Colombia was scheduled to arrive there right when we pulled up. My brother-in-law went inside to check us in and he bumped into Bill Gates. Yikes! This place is even swankier than I thought. Side note: We're not big fans of Bill Gates. In fact, for years my husband wouldn't even allow any microsoft products into our house. But the fact that he was there at all says something about the accommodations. Location, location, location.

The weather was a perfect 72 degrees (roughly) every day, complete with a gentle breeze. The sky was a deep blue with perfectly fluffy white clouds. The mountains were beautiful, the wildflowers were glorious. If it weren't for the simple fact that Bill Gates was there, I might have thought we'd all died and gone to heaven. Instead we just went to Sun Valley, Idaho.

None of us were actually interested in spending any time with Bill Gates or the president of Colombia. Because there was someone way more important we were there to see:

Cousins! (And can you imagine more adorable ones?) And of course they come with a complete set of aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

My amazing sister-in-law pre-cooked and brought along dinners for every single night, so all we had to do was pop it in the oven and make a salad. It was delicious. She is brilliant. So organized. So generous. All we had to do was tag along and enjoy.

We rode bikes (I nearly died), played tennis (I nearly died), and went for long walks through the wildflowers (I nearly died). So THIS is how they burn off all that delicious food, huh? The kids also went fishing and shooting (cringe), rode paddle boats, swam in the pool, and went diving for golfballs in a small-but-very-cold pond (brrr!). We saw an amazing ice show featuring Brian Boitano, complete with fireworks at the end. But the best part of all was just being together. Conversations that went on long past dinner was over, dice games that everyone of every age could play together, enormous feelings of love and support.

My sister-in-law summed it up so perfectly: What greater joy could there be for a set of grandparents than to spend time with sons (and daughters-in-law) who love each other, and watch all those cousins adore being together? It was, in a word, fabulous.

I wouldn't trade places (or hotel rooms) with Bill Gates for anything in the whole wide world.


Sandy M. said...

Hi Charrette, it's nice to hear from you again :)

Why don't you like Bill Gates? :)

Those wildflowers are just gorgeous! - as well as the adorable cousins. But I confess to a giggle when I saw that there seemed to be a leaning-to-the-right sort of thing going on.. with the wildflowers, the trees and the cousins! :) It was a similar sensation to the one I get when I go to walk past our ancestor-photo wall and notice that one of the (teenage, 17 year old twin boy) funny bunnies has put all the frames on a slant!

It sounds like you had a wonderful family time. Is there anything better? :)

(Wouldn't that field make a beautiful water colour?)


Luisa Perkins said...

That field is straight out of Monet.

I'm so glad you had a lovely time! A functional extended family--what a miracle.

Kazzy said...

Sounds so terrific! Just changing the scenery for a long weekend can change your outlook. At least that works for me.

Glad you are home safe.

LisAway said...

To me that sounds like a perfect vacation. I just got to spend lots of time with nieces and nephews and I LOVED IT but while watching them all having a ball (cousins from across the country) I was having recurring pains that my kids weren't there.

I love the shot. They are lovely people. And the wildflowers? Oh man. (I'm a little crazy about wildflowers, which is why my kids regularly bring my a little bouquet from their excursions with Greg to the forest. Or maybe I got that cause and effect backwards?)

Melanie J said...

That sounds like a perfect summer vacation. Did you kick Bill Gates in the shins? Because then you'd be MY hero.

Kristina P. said...

I love this! Your family IS better than Bill Gates! Did you get his autograph for me?

DeNae said...

I can't think of a better combination that Bill Gates and the president of Colombia. They both rule over vast empires of highly addictive substances.

The pictures are lovely, and if you had to miss our blog dinner (too, too sad!!) at least you were having a wonderful time with your beautiful family.

I didn't catch where you were heading. If I get a chance I'll flip through some old posts to find out!

Brillig said...

Okay. Number one. I must know Jeff's beef with Bill.

Number two. That must have been swank-a-licious, if both Bill and El Pte. chose it.

Number three. I see two children who are above and beyond the normal gorgeousness of children. The girl in the back, and the boy and the far left in front. TO DIE FOR.

Number four. Glad you had a great time. I missed you like crazy.

Number five. That is all.

L.T. Elliot said...

Conversations that went on long past dinner was over, dice games that everyone of every age could play together, enormous feelings of love and support.

You're speaking the language of my dream. That's what my evenings are like with my little sister and her husband. Every day with them is like a little vacation. =]

Kimberly said...

I feel the exact same way at family events. A bit cringy and on the verge of dying over some of the active bits, but just glowingly happy over the time spent with loved ones. Happy sigh time.

Barbaloot said...

This post makes me so excited for my family reunion coming up in a few weeks!

Who knew Idaho was so gorgeous?!

Heidi Ashworth said...

Heaven-Bill Gates--Not--too funny! Those wildflowers are to die for! And cooking dinners ahead of time . .. hmm, I really ought to try that.

Debbie said...

Do you guess Bill is a big tipper? I would have followed him around like a puppy.
Glad you all had such a good time.

Jessica said...

Aw, this sounds magical! One of those simply perfect summer moments . . . so glad you got to get away to a lovely place and be with family!

Eowyn said...

Perfect vacations are worth anything and everything.

I agree with every one else as well. That field was phenomenal.

I want to go hiking now. . .

Heather of the EO said...

HOW did I miss this post? Ugh, I've been so far behind.

What an amazing time, lady!

And yes, I'd much rather live your life (if I would get to be YOU) than the life of Bill. :)