Friday, April 10, 2015


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.


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.


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-

Image result for javelina

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

Image result for capybara

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.



Oro Valley. Warm, no clouds, sunny desert.

My little spot-


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-


 IMG_3021 IMG_3023


IMG_3027 (2)

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


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


Requisite selfie


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

IMG_3042 IMG_3044

I’m IN!!


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-


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-


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



Look at us!!!



Martha and fam….


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.


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


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






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