It has been an incredibly long week!
Today Oz turned 12. They’re growing up so fast. It’s hard to keep watching these kids grow up year after year. Tris was able to come across to visit, reminding me that they’re turning 23 on their birthday is next week, which will finally mark the end of birthmasmageddon, the hardest 2.5 months we have to trudge through as a family.
Oz and I had an outing this afternoon to visit some stores they like, we grabbed some lunch from a local sandwich shop and watched someone play chess with their kids on an oversized chess board. They’d wanted McDonalds for their birthday breakfast, a sausage burrito. For dinner they requested Buffalo Wild Wings.
Meanwhile, Lou has been working with the puppy all day. As a matter of fact, until this evening when Ollie fell asleep on Momo, they’ve been practically inseparable since Monday night, when we picked him up.
Yeah, I suppose from the perspective of this blog, that’s actually new information: we got a puppy! His name is Ollie, and he is wonderful!
On Sunday we flew to PHX, which was a reasonably painless experience all things considered, but further reminded me of my distaste for air travel. I’m not faulting Alaska Airlines, they and and American Airlines are generally responsible for my best travel experiences. It’s the overall process that I would prefer to avoid: the loud hustle and bustle of travelers most so deeply focused on their own experiences as to seem unaware of anyone around them. It’s the security theater of the TSA (who missed a prohibited item in my carry-on of forgotten to transfer to our checked bag). It’s the packed-like-cattle discomfort of hurting through the sky in a metal tube sitting shoulder-to-shoulder all the time. It’s certainly the rampant consumerism driving high captive-consumer prices as airports continue to more-and-more resemble malls all operated by a few corporate entities.
We arrived in PHX, which was a fine enough experience overall. I’d not been but once on a layover, as I recall. The tram ride to the rental car center was easy enough. We dealt with Hertz, which was as easy as I’ve ever found the occasional car rental experience: not at all. Despite the minor frustrations around completing our reservation, though, we soon found ourselves crossing easily down the freeway toward Tempe and our AirBnB in the warm Arizona sunshine with panoramic moonroof on our intermediate sedan that had been upgraded to a Ford Edge Titanium. It felt a fair bit like a wider version our previous white Ford SUVs with a fair number of touches reminding me of our 🪦 Bronco Sport 🪦 and the feel and sound of the engine more like our Escape.
Our AirBnB turned out to be amazing: a lovely little 3-bedroom ranch house that had clearly been picked up cheap with its staged furniture as an “add-to-cart” style acquisition in a growing vacation rental portfolio. Lou found us a great place to stay and we all low-key kind of want this exact house. It was super comfortable for the most part despite a binder filled with a lot of absurd demands upon a renter paying such a premium for their stay: taking the recycling to the curb and starting a load of towels upon departure. There was also a long list of infractions that, if violated, would easily result in the forfeiture of our security deposit.
It’s a dry heat
My knuckles are cracked and bleeding because AZ was hot dry while everyone in Arizona dressed for PNW winter while they deal with temps in the upper 60s and low 70s
We took the opportunity to turn a “simple” puppy pickup trip into a more traditional vacation. Who doesn’t love Arizona in the winter?
Our AirBnB had a pool (like every other house in the Phoenix area, because of course they do in a desert region that cannot naturally support its population with water) with afforded us an excellent opportunity to spend some time poolside soaking up the Arizona sun. Oz was insistent on swimming despite warnings of the cold water of the lows had been pretty darn low but we didn’t want to pay the $80/day to use the pool heater (!?!) requested by the AirBnb proprietor.
While the majority of our trip was focused on our new puppy, but we were able to enjoy a few non-puppy experiences such as hiking at Pima Canyon at South Mountain Park and Preserve- entering the trailhead through the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa was a little bit surreal, as were seeing the gold course butt up against the trail. we only put a couple miles in before the sun seemed to get to Oz but the experience was very cool, it was a lot of fun to hike in the desert given its stark contrast with hikes in the PNW.
We also spent some time at the Arizona Mills Mall. It’s a pretty great mall, but I was shocked by the number stores whose primary product seemed to be Funko Pops! figures.
Oz “took me” to watch Antman & The Wasp: Quantumania in IMAX 3D on my birthday.
We took our puppy down to Papago Park in Tempe for a little adventure and took him on his first hike as well!
We enjoyed plenty of tasty food options though the standout winner for me was El Jefe’s street tacos. 🧑🍳💋
Long Way Back
First time for us all 5 modes of transportation in one day: car, monorail tram x2, air plane, light rail, fast ferry- but this was a long day
Meanwhile, Ozzie’s luggage was sent to Fairbanks, AK by Alaska Airlines by mistake when we gate checked their carry-on at PHX.
Our new puppy a travel champ!
Again, I’m posting but this remains in progress. I still did it Saturday- it was a busy week, please forgive me