In case you haven't been following with bated breath, this is the week-long travelogue of our trip to Phoenix. Today brings us to Thursday of last week. Just one more day to go. And then it's back to snow and bone-chilling winds and chili in the crockpot (oh fancy carrot-topped beef brisket, I miss you already!) Also? This daily blogging thing is hard. HOW do y'all do it? I mean, I barely have time to cook dinner and watch the 7 episodes of American Experience clogging up my DVR. Oh right, I've pretty much blown right though my 500-word limit with every post.
Neal graciously agreed to follow me to Budget Rent-a-Car on Thursday morning so I didn't have to hitch my way back to base camp. We left the hotel around 6 AM which is well before sunrise and, as it turns out, the middle of rush-hour traffic in Phoenix. Who knew?? So, Catalina and I took off down 51 North, with Neal driving Henry the brigade Hyundai behind me. Props to him for keeping up with me because, as we eventually learned, I was driving without any headlights on. All the way down 51 North. In rush-hour traffic. In the dark. That would explain all of the honking. We missed the exit, took the next one and stopped at a gas station to get turned around. And that's when I discovered the headlight situation. It hadn't been an issue up to this point for me because I had only driven during the day. But remember that dinner excursion out to Chez $250 last night? Yep. Completely without headlights. Awesomesauce. Neal's motto is "I'd rather be lucky than smart." I think I'm going to stitch it on a pillow.
We returned Catalina without issue (except for my tear tracks down her driver side window) and put-putted back to the hotel. It was about 10 minutes later that I realized I had left something in the car. And not just something but a package. A custom order that should have gone out at the beginning of the week, but I was distracted by all of the cacti and free wine. My only thought was (cover your child's eyes) OH shitcrackers! I called the rental agency, spoke to a very nice gentleman who was not nearly as panicked as I and tried to convey to him the urgency of the situation. He promised to call back within 10 minutes. After 12 minutes I called him back. He had it and I was on my way back down 51 North before he could say "you're welcome." So, yeah Foxy...when I say I was having a day...that's how it was all going down.
By 0900 I was out of the shower and getting ready to hit the Phoenix Art Museum, which got rave reviews from no one I had ever heard of. The phone rang. It was Neal standing outside the door. The double-bolted door. Colonel Somebody had released them with a "thank you for your service. Enjoy your day," before they could even sit down. Sweetness. We were off to the Phoenix Zoo, instead. AND we were just in time for the giraffe-feeding (which I was more than a little pouty about missing when we originally planned to hit it after Neal's conference at 2 that afternoon).
The Phoenix Zoo apparently has Mommy Group Day. Also known as A Day That Would Make Even the Most Maternally Instinctive Woman Want to Jump Into the Lion's Den Just to Avoid Getting Knicked in the Ankles By a Stroller. Again. Seriously? I drank a very large beer with lunch. I'm not lying. Neal had one, too. So, we paid our money and made our way to the giraffe feeding area where a very nice man who has mad skillz with a Canon Rebel shot a few snaps of us feeding a lovely female giraffe. Her name was something African that means something exquisite in English. But it all escapes me right now. But she was happy to lick us.
Check out the tongue!! And when it comes out, it's all slow and reptilian-like. But she was very sweet and had the most beautiful eyelashes.
And on our way back down the hill, toward the flamingos, we saw this phenomenon. It was the first time we had seen a barrel cactus propped up by 2 x 4's...but not the last, actually.
Apparently, they can store 6 tons of water. I happen to know what 1 gallon of water falling on me feels like. So, yes Phoenix Zoo, please know there's no judgment here.
Salt? This one is TOTALLY for you. Also, I looked at your wedding pictures on Facebook and if that's the rockin body that Yoga gives you, I am canceling my gym membership and buying blocks and straps today.
This is how I feel about Mommy Group Day:
There are literally about 100 more and if you're that interested, come find me on Facebook and you can relive our zoo experience, frame-by-frame. I didn't really see anything there that I haven't seen at the Louisville Zoo or the Cincinnati Zoo or the Jacksonville Zoo...
As mentioned earlier, we left the zoo and headed for a British pub with about 754 different beers on tap. Then headed for Camelback Mountain, to hike the summit in non-flip-flop footwear. Except that it was the first truly gorgeous day in the valley and people were waiting in their car for hikers to descend the mountain and relinquish their parking space. Not interested. I found a park on the GPS and we put-putted over to Chaparral Park in Scottsdale. It was not a 1.2 mile vertical hike to a summit, but it would do in a pinch. 75 degrees and sunny did not require much more than a roofless space and a picnic blanket. There was a paved walk/run/bike trail around the pond and tennis courts that lead to a water conservation exhibit...the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden. I'm certain that we had no idea what we were looking at, but the sound of water was peaceful...and a welcome change from screaming children chasing down pooping pigeons.
You can probably expect this idea to materialize into jewelry someday:
After all of that brisk walking on flat land, it was time to replenish with 3999 more calories than we originally burned. Thus? Gelato.
We stumbled across The Gelato Spot while looking for a coffee shop that has unfortunately morphed into a Starbucks, which is, granted, still a coffee shop but can also be found 2 miles from our house in either direction. I now wonder how many times this sweet shop gets shortened to The G Spot? Because that's what it did for me....
After gelato, I decided that we must have at least one (and preferably 6) bottles of Kokopelli Vineyard wine...which I have ONLY found in Arizona. And trust me I've looked all up and down the eastern seaboard. And once in Chicago. We GPS'd it. The first place to pop up under "liquor stores" was Kevin's Quality Liquor. Neal's theory was that because "quality" was in the name, then it must have the. best. quality. liquor. It did not have the. best. quality. liquor. It had 2 aisles of bottom-shelf horse piss and 2 full aisles of kids' cereal. The door had barely shut behind us before we booked it back out. Then we hit 2 more places before the manager of CVS told me about Total Wines, which I guess is like our Liquor Barn. We found our bottles of Kokopelli Vineyard wine in Total Wines and had driven approximately 20 miles within 5 square miles trying to find it. Neal needed a drink.
Thursday night was UK game night. So, we grabbed a pizza from the hotel restaurant (which was during the manager's reception. The bartender kept trying to pour me Chardonnay. I don't know what part of "8-hour flight home tomorrow" he didn't understand. But I'm sure my >$4<$250 tip helped him remember my wine preference). And Kallay, I really hope you appreciate that I just worked greater than/less than into a post.
So we ate our pizza, drank a bottle of Kokopelli and watched UK put the thump down. C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats!! And then B-E-D, Bed, Bed, Bed!! Home, sweet home, tomorrow!
But first, a summit cuz ain't no mountain high enough...