Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rest Stops Across America

You know, there was a part two to the last blog post but I’ve lost interest in it now.

I’ll recap the highlights just so you know.

I left AZ the end of March and the next day flew to Washington because Grampa was in the hospital and delirious. It was a great adventure. We had to do a lot of complaining and watching and keeping on the staff to finally get him out of there. After 21 days of inpatient, most of that in a severe delerium, he went to the rehab facility. He didn’t like that at all but still stayed about 10 days. He’s home now, who knows if that’s the best decision but he’s there and happier. I think. It’s hard to tell when you are still a little confused. Between him and his wife, well, wow is all I can say.

Lucky for me I can work while I am out there and didn’t have to use all my vacay time. I still got to use some for the hours I had to go over to the hospital to meet with the doctors every single day. I don’t know what happens if you don’t have someone watching all the time. I guess they just kill you and are done with it.  At least at the hospital grampa was at.

I stayed out a week and then came home. Home for  three weeks. Cause April was a busy month AND sort of a wash as far as keeping up with anything at all. I am way behind on my Paradise in Blooms and am working feverishly to catch up. In May I work 3 out of 4 Saturdays and the 4th is my Paradise in Blooms class. I will be over at Pine Needles a LOT this month. But thinking that’s probably not a bad thing….Although I may get a little behind on my sewing and knitting. Dang it.

In keeping with the last blog and my travel woes, I would like to add one picture from my return trip. Seems like my plans I had made to stay up at my sister’s house and catch a ride over to the airport at around 8ish changed mid week. I ended up catching a ride with Nina over to the airport at 4 AM for my 10 AM flight. I did a lot of texting. And kind of a lot of judging. Hey-don’t say if you had six hours of time to spare you wouldn’t maybe do a little people judging watching too. Yeah. It was a long, long day.

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Home away from home. I forgot to say I was too early to even check in for like, two hours, so I got to sit and keep control of my bag until I could finally get through the gate. This is me waiting. I’m not even close yet.

Martha came out at the end of April for Yarnover. The travel Karma held on, but not quite yet.

I picked her up at the airport and we came down to Rochester. She finished this HUGE project that she started last year.

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That is a lot of knitting. But it’s beautiful.

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Close up of the fabric. Wow. Definition of mindless knitting.

We left the next day to go to Yarnover in Minneapolis. We signed up for the dinner and the talk by Amy Herzog who does the Custom Fit web site. She was an excellent speaker. And I am signing up for the website too. Maybe I can finally knit a sweater that fits. Finally…..

We ate with my friend Lorri who is also an organizer of the event. She is so much fun!

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DSC01017 Check out the knitwear around me!

Terrible pictures. Ugh, but that’s us. And may I say dinner and wine was delish??!! Cause it was.

(This was the beginning of “Diet? What Diet?” week)

Our travel Karma followed us and was potentiated by the two of us. I had called about getting a room with two beds and was told I would get that when I arrived. Wrong. We had one king. They did give us our choice of floors so we chose high, but they put us next to the elevator and ice machine. Gawd.

View from room-Nice but---

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--this was in our bathroom-

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Oh hell no. I asked my friend Ashley who the hell would sit on this comfortably. She called it with Spongebob-who probably would find comfort in this. I did not. Not that I spend a lot of time here but still. And forget it if you have a child—that kid is taking a dip for sure.

AND-the next morning when we were eating breakfast a huge leak sprung up in the restaurant. Not where we were sitting (we were out in the bar seating area) but it did manage to drench a few diners and their table, then moved up towards the reservation and seating desk. I was like-wow. That’s crazy but what was even crazier was that when we got to our room on floor 16 (that’s a lotta steps) Martha discovered we had no water. Now, we weren’t too impacted (I obviously didn’t shower) but I can’t imagine what those in the shower did when the water just suddenly went off mid shampoo. I would have been so very unhappy. We did get some free bottled waters out of it though-we weren’t paying the three bucks drink water when we had no water-jeesh.

When we went to check out we wanted to split the bill which any other hotel does with no problem but apparently the Marriott can’t handle. We had a Marriott number (thanks to my brother in law Tom) which we applied (it didn’t work for the free wifi though). After struggling with trying to get it straight, and my comment about not being able to take a shower, they just comped us the room. Comped. It. Like, a free night. My distain of the Marriott was suddenly lessened by a great deal. Win. Win.

We went by the Yarnover market and Martha got some yarn but I held back. I just can’t add to the stash right now. Right. I’m just a little broke from the unexpected trips I have been taking.

We wound back down to Rochester where I packed up to return to Tacoma—this trip was the planned trip. Really. However, because I had a one way ticket I lost my sweet pre check status and had to go through the TSA line with the masses. Ugh.

I spent the week in Tacoma working, having more than my share of wine (Wine Down Wednesday didn’t help—but I did try Port for the first time and I deem it delicious).

I finally ended up at my sister Debbie’s house Thursday night to have an early celebration of Martha’s birthday (it’s a big one!).

 IMG_3112 Yum, Ice Cream and Cake

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We are sort of tired, btw, having dealt with Grampa all week long. Well, not me but Martha and Debbie. I had to fun of taking him to the doctor on Monday, visiting, his care conference, and then his discharge, which was the next day after this. Good times.

Anyway, the cake was sooo good—really, it was beyond heavenly. And the bottle of wine was a plus too. I think this was about pound 7 in my week of eating and drinking with no limits.

Debbie’s massive pillow collection in the guest room--

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IMG_3113 Sunrise on the island at Debbie’s

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Martha and I took off from there and stopped at Fancy Image where my yarn diet was also busted. Yep, I had to buy the Yarn Crawl Special.

Sadly, we weren’t able to meet up with our friend Julie. We had to change our plans about a hundred times and ended up just staying in Tacoma because Grampa was discharging that day. We did, however, make it to Nordstrom and I blew the rest of my budget. Damn that place. Seriously. I did get some new work pants that I needed though. Just saying. The other stuff, maybe not so much but so cute. Time for a closet purging…again.

Oh, and while I was at Debbie’s I packed up a couple of boxes of books and antique silverware and some teacups to bring home. Not sure why but I did. There is just so much stuff……so I guess it’s time for a house purge too. When I add things that tips the “stuff the house can hold” balance I must purge. (I have an idea that I can send some stuff with Blane and Melanie when they get here for a visit in a couple of weeks-but that’s another blog post. And I think Melanie might read this sometimes so I don’t want her to start thinking of excuses to not take some stuff. Seriously-you have to strike when they are weak and unaware..I’ll post some pictures of the weird stuff next time)

Friday, after all that with Nordstrom and Gpa and all, I picked up Dave at the airport for our drive home. Yes—our drive home. I have come into possession of Gpa’s Beemer and we are now bringing it back to MN. Where it will be parked in the garage for most of the time. Except for when we need a sweet ride to the cities or something. Cause it is a sweet ride.

The open road--

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Oh, and do you notice that spot on the picture—That one right in the middle? Yep. That would be dirt in the lens that we didn’t clean out until we were well into day three. Because that is just how we roll. Gawd. I couldn’t believe it when we looked at the pictures after we got home.

Then again, I should believe it.

So you can tell which pics came from the big camera and which ones I took with my phone or little camera….

Selfie at the gorge-

IMG_1223 There’s the bridge! No spot-phone camera

First of what seemed like hundreds of rest stops-I was at this one with Laura too! (this was before the gorge-out of order sorry)

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Horses at the Gorge-

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No spot-different lens

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The Gorge with spot—jeesh.

Cour D’Alene

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Skipping over Idaho!

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And that’s where this happened--

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See that orange light??

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That would say Service Engine Soon. It’s not supposed to be on. At the beginning of the drive.

We kept going and discussed mortgaging the house to pay the dealer in Rochester for the repairs.

This light kept us from deviating too much from our route as we didn’t want to have to call the tow truck from some remote outpost viewpoint. Which was a little disappointing. Thanks car and travel Karma.

I don’t even want to travel with me anymore.

Montana in the morning.

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With spot

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Me driving but not looking….

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Dave sleeping….

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Hahaha. I was trying to get the open mouth shot but he kept waking up and then saying—don’t post that. Like he ever reads my blog anyway.

Open road in Montana

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Beemer takes a rest in S Dakota…

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..at the scary as hell rest stop.

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We stopped to get coffee in Mitchell and were going to go to the Corn Palace to get a corn hat for Laura who took care of the cats and bird in our absence. However, we were about 45 minutes early so we didn’t go there. We did stop for coffee and the girl who waited on us was the person who did my hair in Winona back in the day. She actually did my hair when Dave and I were married.

That was a bit of a small world moment.

Haha-In MN but how can you tell because the spot is covering the sign. Perfect placement.

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And it was about 2 hours after this that the Service Engine Soon light went out. An hour from home. Because the car was just messing with us a little. Just a little.

Dusty roads and almost home-

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We arrived around noonish, unpacked, had a snack and then got into the other car that also has a “Maintanance Required” light on (needs an oil change—no biggie but we are used to warning lights now and don’t really want to live without them) and went and picked up the dogs.

We are back home now for May. Dogs have peed profusely on the carpet and pooped on the kitchen floor as a welcome home. Yay for us.

Maybe we need another vacation. Very soon.

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Dreaming dreams of indoor bathrooms…….

Friday, April 10, 2015

Least.Restful.Vacation.Ever.

I was thinking of an alternate title—No Change Fee For You (a la Soup Nazi)—which was equally hilarious when it all went down.  But this title was the final text of a vacation that went awry in more ways than one. And will live for many years in infamy.

So I think it’s a very appropriate title.

And I’m not sure I can blog the whole story due to the convolutions and complications--

but I’ll try.

It all started the last week of March. We all had plans to get to AZ for my nephew’s wedding.

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This is the best pic I got of him and have no straight up bride pictures. By that time the free booze was too distracting….But let me begin from the beginning.

Cody started the fun by attempting to fly from VA to San Diego on the Monday before (Wedding Saturday, March 28th). Yay for him for running into a mechanical or scheduling or crew didn’t feel like showing up delay (I once had a delay because they couldn’t find a pilot-another fun story for another time). He was going to San D. to look at housing and was then scheduled to take a later flight that day to Las Vegas to spend some time with Marel. Hahahaha. That’s funny.

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Funny because in no way was that plan ever going to come to fruition. Because of the delay he totally missed the trip to San Diego and just ended up in Vegas, changing the whole purpose of travelling that day.

But he made it. To Vegas. And ultimately to AZ. Where I took that picture of them.

Then it was Blane’s turn. Blane and Melanie were travelling from Fargo to Phoenix, planning to get to Phoenix around noonish so they could have a nice little vacay to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Again, hahahaha.

Their mechanical (which really? Cause they were leaving super early-like first plane out) effectively caused them to miss their connection in Denver by 15 minutes (the bastards) giving them 7 wonderful hours at DIA. They tried to escape for a while but that failed miserably. (I never got a casual pic of them—but I did get some nice wedding pics—that later). They finally made it to Phoenix around 10ish which effectively pushed their vacay back a day.

But not all is lost.

Oh, and did I mention that my dad went to the hospital the Sunday before the wedding? Effectively cancelling his travel plans. At least he didn’t have to worry about it. Since he lost his mind temporarily anyway. But again, for another day.

Because of grampa’s little hospital detour, the Friday before I left I made a plane reservation on Monday from Minneapolis to Seattle to supervise his stay (little did I know it was only the first week of a now three week soiree) using my last pennies and miles. I tried to get from Phoenix to Seattle every which way but it was even MORE expensive. I could always cancel if things got better. Which they didn’t.

I did get to Phoenix after a shuttle ride and all the hassle of travel. I met up with Alex at the airport and we went to rent a car and wait for Cody and Marel coming in from Vegas. I rented an economy car, thinking it would be like my Toyota. No, economy is a two door beetle.  Of course it is. Even though the pictures on the website do NOT reflect that as the economy size. Good to know.  So I upgraded.  It’s how they get you.

We found Cody and Marel and made our way to Tucson. Blane and Melanie called and said they weren’t coming until Saturday because they lost a day. What ever. Katie, my niece, was already there. She was in Phoenix when Alex was in Phoenix but she flew on to Tucson and then had to take an hour shuttle to the hotel. So we were sort of wondering why she didn’t just come with us as the arrival time wasn’t all that different. But oh well.

We were able to meet up when we got there but we didn’t have a room and then when we did get a room we thought it was paid for but it wasn’t but we didn’t care by then. We.Did.Not. Dinner was delish and off to our rooms which we had to get more keys for because the Hilton (which stands for ‘we couldn’t care less you peons’) couldn’t figure out our reservations. We got that straightened out too. Because by now we were getting pretty danged good at battling the travel karma that seemed to envelop us.

Right before bed I heard all sorts of sounds outside my door. Holy Mother of God. I looked out the peephole and I swear I saw an ROUS—I wanted to open the door and take a picture but was a little concerned about the wisdom of that move. Cause, well, ROUS dudes.

I was told it was probably this-

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A javalina….but what I think is that it was this--

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A capybara-even though they don’t live in AZ and usually like to be around water. Yikes. That’s pretty close-rodent, unusual size. Yep.

Either way Hilton, you have some disturbing things going down within your hotel boundaries when the lights are dim. Just saying.

Saturday was a beautiful day.

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Oro Valley. Warm, no clouds, sunny desert.

My little spot-

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I got up early I took a walk with Martha and Tom. We discussed my impending trip to Seattle and should I or shouldn’t I because I had to make a decision in only an hour or so to be able to change without penalty.

I sort of got the bad advice (which actually turned out ok in the end) that the 24 hours ended at midnight, not in an hour so we could wait to make that decision to see how things shook out.

In the mean time we walked-

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And you can’t pass by the giant big horned sheep, dappled with sunlight,  without a pic

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He (or she) looks happy.

Beyond that, things didn’t shake very well. We tried all day to get grampa transferred to another hospital and I want to tell you that once in, you never get out unless you can get out on your own steam. Three words----Know your hospital. I don’t worry as I am close to Mayo and know lotsa nurses. And my whole family is sworn to transport me in any way possible to this hospital no matter where I may be. (Does Mayo One fly out of state—like to Washington?)

The thing about it was that Debbie was hours away from her son getting married and was calling hospitals like no one’s biz. I’m not sure that’s wedding day protocol, but in our family there’s rarely a family event that doesn’t revolve around someone in a hospital. Jeesh.

We were able to go to Debbie’s house because she happens to live next door to Sir Paul McCartney and it has been my goal to get a picture of me on his homestead. That, my friends, is blogworthy.

Katie was official photographer and I made her take all sorts of pictures of us.

IMG_3036 Martha and me

IMG_3037 All of us in order of age (and height)

IMG_3050 Katie having a think

IMG_3054 Frog

 IMG_3048 Pool

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Requisite selfie

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What can I say? But, the best was this-the picture you’ve been waiting for--

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I’m IN!!

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Me and Katie technically physically on Sir Paul’s land. Bam---just like that.

Hey-how many of you can say you’ve done it?? Don’t judge. What did you expect? Debbie feared arrest and detainment if we placed the majority of our bodies on said land. She had a wedding to attend, pictures to pose for, grampa to move. I let it go. This time.

We got back to the hotel and then decided, after a delicious glass of red chez Martha’s casita, that I would wait to fly out. I toddled off to cancel my flight only to be told 24 hours is really 24 hours. Not within the day of 24 hours. Twenty. Four. Hours. Dang me. I knew that. But I think that it was travel karma saying hahahaha but you really need to go. And karma didn’t want to single me out as the only person to remain unscathed by the travel gods.

Blane and Melanie had arrived and found the pool and were relaxing. They had some hotel trouble and Blane lost and then found his camera. He left it at the hotel they only stayed at for two hours because it was sort of sketchy. Hotel management found the camera in the bed when the sheets were changed the next AM. Apparently after they left the staff just remade the bed and left the camera in it.

Lord have mercy. Send a SASE and they’ll return it ASAP.  Um, ewww. Hopefully fully disinfected. 

So--after all that, there was nothing else to do but this-

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Times two.

Oh, but we had to get back, get ready for the wedding, and across the hotel property by 6.

Showered, dressed up, and ready to go. Maral, bless her heart, called for a cart for 5:45. By 5:52 we realized that again we’d been had. We are so travel impaired we can’t even get a cart. We ran up to the lobby (and I mean, this is not down the hall and to the elevator—this is like three blocks in heels)

As per how our weekend had been going, we were basically the last to arrive. I think I texted during the wedding because I didn’t have enough time to settle in. I’m sorry. So rude. I won’t do it ever again. It’s been a rough weekend. Don’t judge.

The wedding was fun and unique, fitting of the bride and groom. And like I say, I would have taken more pictures of them but got distracted by this-

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I made sure we had lots of pictures of our little family-

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Look at us!!!

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Martha and fam….

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the view from the ceremony-no-I took this afterwards. I didn’t take scenery pics during the wedding-gawd. Texting yes, photog no. I have my standards.

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And by the end of the evening-me and my cousin Jane Ann--

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Still drinking…

Blane and Melanie were supposed to leave at around 3 AM for their 7 AM flight. But after seeing how fun the party could be Blane found a great deal for tickets for the both of them—400 bones. Half the price of the usual tickets. Yay. He’s on it.

So, after drinking all the free bar drinks at the wedding facility,  we moved to and closed the hotel bar and toddled off to bed.

Jeepers but 7 AM comes early after being in the bar till one-ish.

I actually woke up before the alarm, which I actually set. Ha. That must have been a challenge considering my door was sort of open because I apparently couldn’t figure out the lock….. 

I got dressed and prepared for the trip back to Phoenix. My flight was leaving at 12:10 so if we left by 8:30 no problem right? Hour and a half—sure.

I ran into Blane getting up and he said-

Blane--Huh. You know those plane tickets where me and Melanie were going to fly for 400 dollars?                                                                      Well, I didn’t realize they were 400 per PERSON. Shoot.

Seems we weren’t quite done yet……

Cody came out of his room a little glazed with the comment

Cody--Well, that was a boneheaded move.

Me-Oh, do I want to know?

Cody-Well, it seems I booked my return flight on the wrong day.

Me-OMG—call them right now and change it and get the change fee.

Cody—You don’t understand. It was for the wrong day. It was for FRIDAY-today is SUNDAY. I was a no show for the flight.                          There is no change fee for me.

I had no words for that one. No. Words. Although I have always wondered who those people were that didn’t show up for the flight. Well, now I know. I learned a LOT this trip.

We were hopeless travelers.

IMG_1175My new sock of choice when travelling……

We had a nice little breakfast at my sister’s hotel room. Both my cousin and my cousin in law (Jane Ann’s husband) were a little salty with me for breaking Jane Ann the night before as she wasn’t stirring quite yet and they had plans. What can I say-we survived. Well, I can’t answer for Melanie because I didn’t see her before we left.

And leave we did. But we were a little late-didn’t leave until 9 and I sorely underestimated the time of the trip-more like a little over 2 hours what with returning the car and all. I made it with about an hour to spare. The airport was packed so note to self-don’t travel during spring break.

When I got to US Airways I couldn’t get my boarding pass at the kiosk and when I had to go in the special line they said I was too late to check my bag that I had paid 25 bones to check. Yeah. That happened. She said you’ll have to do the complimentary gate check. Something about paying 25 dollars to check a bag only to take it to complimentary gate check doesn’t seem right to me…..

So, I told Alex, who was with me, to tell Cody and Maral, who were swallowed up by the SouthWest line, good bye and made a dash for it. The only good thing to happen was that the TSA ignored the fact I had bottles of liquids in my bag, not the 3 ounce size but full sized shampoo and conditioner and lotion and power…..I don’t travel lightly. But I made it, and they even ignored the little bottle of water in my purse. I was precheck though and maybe I had that look about me that said—Just try it. Just throw one more thing at me. I dare ya. Are ya feelin’ lucky????

Gate checked bag and flew back to MN. Yay. For. Me.

Cody got home late, but got home in one day. Blane got home the next day, called me and said

Blane—I think I’ve had about enough of Arizona

Cody texted me later and his parting shot was

Cody—least restful vacation ever.

 

The Outtakes

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There is actually  part two to this story-but that’s for another day.