I got a couple errands done in the morning, and we got on the road about 11, but about halfway to the state line, the little battery light came on indicating that the car's battery was no longer charging. So... that's bad! We called my parents to let them know (luckily we were near a cell tower), and then we turned back.
We got home, unloaded our stuff, then Jerry followed me in the van and I drove the Jetta up to the VW dealer in Boulder. We almost got there; the battery ran all the way down and we had to get it towed for the last mile and a half. It's only 15 miles from home to Boulder, so that means that if the alternator had held out for only another 20 miles before it died, we wouldn't even have made it home! And there are a lot of long stretches of nothing, some with no cell coverage, between us and my parents', so although I'm not enthused about the repair bill, it could definitely have been a lot worse.
And hey, since we weren't out of town, we were able to go to Jason H's birthday party Saturday night. So that was fun. (I dyed my beard purple to match my shirt. Also, we have a meeting with our new coworkers this week, and I figure I should display some warning coloration for weirdness.)