Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ace Denver

One of J's biggest clients is Ace Hardware.  You know, the place with the "helpful hardware man".  The great irony of Ace is that even though they have established themselves as the cute little neighborhood hardware store, they are indeed a leviathan in the hammer arena.  Twice a year they hold trade shows for all of their cute little stores to attend and see all the lines which sell to Ace.  Thousands upon thousands of people attend these shows and the trade floor is MASSIVE.  Usually these shows are held in interesting spots that I've never been to and I beg to tag along.  I ain't too proud to beg, especially when a trip is on the line.

Ace is the place with the helpful hardware frog.

J still owed me big time from missing our anniversary while he was on a business trip to China, plus he amassed a truckload of frequent flier miles on that trip.  I did what every good wife would do--I whined and begged and pleaded my case until he finally caved and traded in some of those frequent fliers.  I got my mom & grandma on board to come keep the Sound & the Fury for the extended weekend.  I left a long and detailed list as to which girl was supposed to be delivered where and when, threw my toothbrush in a bag, filled my Kindle and took off with J to the Mile High City.

The first day J had to set up the booth, so Spotty & I went to help him (what--who's Spotty?  Only the Godwin family froggy mascot and world traveler extraordinare).  I snuck in on a badge that said "Wes" and although I'm pretty sure I don't look like a "Wesley", nobody paid me any attention. I'm not sure how much help I was, but I at least wore my glasses and tried to look busy.  The plan-o-gram schematic that shows product placement was way too small to read so I just color coordinated the toilet chemicals.  We got it knocked out in about an hour and decided to go tour the city.

His webbed feet were a hindrance when it came to putting the pegs in the peg board.
We decided on a Grayline tour of Denver.  It sounded great--3 hours of a guided tour and they came to pick you up from your hotel.  Sadly, the hotel pickup was the highlight of the tour.  Our tourguide turned out to be a pompous blowhard, who instead of merely informing us about the history, he smugly asked a question and then when we wouldn't answer would reply in the same condescending tone usually reserved for kindergarten playgrounds and accompanied by "neener, neener, neener".  I was surprised he didn't stick his tongue out for emphasis.  Of course we didn't know the answers--we were paying him $35 a pop to enlighten us! Come to NC, buddy--I'll show you who knows history!  It wouldn't have been so bad if he had actually been correct in his browbeating us.  I'm pretty sure that when he said Pope Paul, he actually meant Pope John Paul II, when referring to the pope who visited Denver in the 90's.  I highly doubt Denver was even on the map back when Pope Paul reigned in the 700's.  Be the tour bleak as it was, at least Spotty got some good shots.

On the bus, ready to roll.

The sundial at Cranmer Park.
Denver skyline in the background.
Denver Natural History Museum
State Capitol

We happened to arrive in Denver at the same time the Occupy Denver movement was going strong.  The first two days they were relegated to the area in front of the capital.  Once the police started to disband the movement, the movement moved down to march on 16th and 17th street.  J worked Saturday and I was out and about on my own (shipping car wax back home via UPS--hey, it was free and who can't use some wax?; deciding where to spend J's money and thinking of where I was going to eat lunch).  I ducked into a cute Italian place and had perhaps the best bolognese I've ever had here in the US.  When the cappucino came, so did the crowd of protesters.  I'm from small town NC & have never seen the likes of such.  To be honest, I have never seen police in full riot gear and it was very unsettling.  Not scary, just unsettling.  I was about the only customer in the place at that time, so I took my coffee up front and watched alongside the waitstaff.    

Courtesy of

Perhaps had the protest not been going on or perhaps had the tour left us with a feel for the place, I would have been sorrier to go back home.  I found that I missed the Sound & the Fury.  I was glad to get away, but I was even happier to return.  I'm not saying that I wouldn't try a Mulligan trip--a literal do over.  I just have to beg J for more frequent fliers and like I said, I ain't above doing that!

Some good points--wonderful Italian food at Panzano and really cute earrings!

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