Monday, June 8, 2009


Yesterday afternoon while Torsten and I were in the car about 10 minutes away from home, it started pouring and hailing. At first we weren't concerned, even though we could hear a tornado siren going off nearby (which is a very scary thing to hear), but then the hailstones started getting bigger and louder, so we pulled into a nearby parking garage and waited it out with about 15 other cars. It didn't last long and when we drove home, the roads near our house were dry. So, we thought the house had missed the storm entirely. Until we saw the giant hailstones in the backyard:

But really, we were lucky, because the siren was for real: there were tornadoes in the area yesterday. Hopefully nobody was hurt.

Also this weekend, on Saturday, we went to the People's Fair in downtown Denver. We took the lightrail to get there, having heard about street closings. We live very near a lightrail station but had never actually taken it before. And can I just say... we weren't very impressed. We were hoping to be, especially since they are expanding the system, but our minds were blown by the sheer ticket prices. The trip from our house to the fair, which would have been about a 15-minute drive, cost $3.50 each one-way. As in, $14 altogether. That's a LOT--that's how much you pay to go from the outskirts of the Virginia/DC suburbs to the outskirts of the Maryland/DC suburbs. And I thought THAT was a lot. If we'd had two kids above the age of five with us, the whole thing would have cost $28.

This infuriates me. Public transportation is supposed to encourage people to leave their cars at home, but when you can park downtown for no more than $5, and often for free, why in the hell would a family drop thirty bucks to take the light rail instead, especially when it takes twice as long? AND, despite the small fortune that you have to pay to ride, they don't take credit cards. So if you want to take the light rail and you're not the type to carry cash with you, you have to plan in advance and hit the ATM ahead of time.

Plus, the trains are tiny, and if you don't live in the transit district, you have to pay for parking at the station. Guess how you do that? Meters? Pre-paid tickets? No no, you PUT YOUR CASH OR CHECK IN AN ENVELOPE, label it with your license plate number, and leave it in a slot for someone to come by and pick up later. What is this, 1930?

OK. Vent over. All I'm saying is, the only time we'll be taking the lightrail in the future is if we're going somewhere with no available parking, or somewhere where both of us would like to drink. Which is really too bad, because with just a few small tweaks, the system would be a lot more palatable and user-friendly.

The other thing we did this weekend was to FINALLY (seven months later) pick out the photos we want in our wedding album and give the info to our photographer. The album was included in the package so we don't have to pay anything for it, so it was just sheer laziness that prevented us from ordering it earlier. We picked all the photos ourselves but we left it up to our photographer's discretion to decide which ones will be in black and white, so that will be a nice little element of surprise when we get the final product. I can't wait to see it.

Lastly, I leave you with a gratuitous (and tragically slightly blurry) dog photo. She loves the car because she associates it with the dog park, so as soon as we go into the garage she follows us. This time I went to put something in the trunk before I let her into the backseat, but she didn't let that stop her:


  1. She is the cutest puppy (next to mine, of course :))

  2. Your puppy is adorable.

    I'm jealous that you even have lightrail. We still have only city busses in Duluth, and they stop running at about 10pm, so then your only choice if you don't want to or can't drive is to take a cab. And I've heard those can take quite a while to come pick you up.

    You should see if there's a board or something that works on public transportation issues in might be a good way to get involved and help out the city (since you came from a city with one of the best public transportation systems in the nation).

  3. You have every right to be infuriated. States spend millions of dollars and go through a lot of heartache to install, maintain and expand public transportation options. But, as you said, if it's not truly accessible to the general public, then it's a complete waste of money, time and effort. What a shame. And here I thought Denver was perfect. Whoops.

    Montana and SoMi definitely must meet. SoMi behaves the exact same way around the car. For her, she doesn't care where she's going, so long as she isn't left behind!

  4. I didn't even know that Colorado had tornadoes!

  5. How is it possible that Montana continues to get so much more adorable all the time?!

    Also, I really hate that envelope in the slot parking payment system. That is how I had to pay for parking in college like 10 years ago (in the lots I was totally cheating and not supposed to be parking in). After the second ticket I got after having paid for parking I gave up and got better about leaving early enough to park in the official student parking lot...which you could only pay for with coins at that time, which was even worse!

  6. I have the same frustration with public transportation in SF. The West hasn't figured these things out yet.

  7. We were in Fort Collins fishing and just barely escaped the hail. Gah. So glad the tornados weren't near you.

    Ha ha ha ha! Montana!! She looks like Buster and Belle when they jumped in the truck...oh, my. I am crying over here from laughing so hard!

  8. i saw the news about the tornado and hail in denver this morning on the weather channel and thought of you guys! i'm glad you waited it out under some cover... those hailstones are nothing to scoff at, goodness.

  9. That is a lot for light rail. Ridiculous! The one in Minneapolis is really affordable. I think it's 50 cents for a downtown zone (one-way), so when we go to a Twins game, it costs us $2 total. (We could park for free in my old Workplace lot.)

    Now we just suck it up and pay $10 for parking right by the Metrodome.

    I think paying for parking stinks. There should be more free parking!

  10. Alas, c'est crai about the light rail...and yet I love it anyway. This is mostly because I hate with the deepest hate driving on I-25; also because usually I go into the city alone, and it gives me 40 minutes twice a day (on the days I use it, which is rare due to the cost) to read.

  11. OK, I was just going to say that the Minneapolis light rail is equally ridiculous, but I see Pickles & Dimes thinks otherwise. I've taken it only a few times, since we have only one line and it doesn't go anywhere near my house, and it's been either $1.50 or $3.00 each way. (I can't remember if I've paid $3 total or $3 each way.) I'm wondering where you have to get on to get the 50 cent deal! Regardless, the main problem is it having only one line. Such a shame, too. Coming from DC, you must be particularly annoyed by lack of decent public transportation!

  12. That is pretty pricey but remember that getting there by car costs a lot more than just the parking. There's the fuel, the running costs of the car like tax, insurance, servicing, not to mention replacing parts every couple of years and, you know, buying a car in the first place.

    I haven't owned a car for a few years now and every time I balk at paying £50 for a train ticket to London I have to remind myself how much more I would be spending on a car. I'd still prefer to pay less for the train though!

  13. Yeah, unfortunately they need to work on public transportation in Denver.

    Montana is adorable! Our dog does the same thing because she loves the car.

  14. That is SO FRUSTRATING. And meanwhile, you're still paying things like insurance and registration on your car, even if the public transportation WAS good.