Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015- I want a Do Over

I snuck away for the  week after Christmas . I headed to sunny  (or what I anticipated to be sunny) Arizona to get out of the cold and visit my sister.  Originally, the plan was to meet my parents down there so we could all get into some warm weather but that isn't quite how it all worked out. My mom's long awaited surgery  ended up being schedule just before Christmas so she would not be able to travel. By the time we figured all that out, it was too late to change my flight because I was dumb and booked through priceline.

*************Apparently you have to go through alot of hoops to postpone or change your flight ( even if you do buy the travel protection plan) when you book through a booking agent like Priceline, Orbitz ,etc.

Lesson learned..

Nonetheless, I went , sans family, hubby, dogs and horses.. just me, and the wide open desert.

I wouldn't really be in wide open desert or what I would refer to as  the "country" ( do they even call it that in the desert?)  I would be staying in a house in North Scottsdale housing development. I had a rental car so I could have some freedom since my sister had to work three of the 5 days that I was there .  Yep, I was on a solo vacation.. mostly...Who goes on vacation to spend time alone? Apparently me. Nonetheless, that is how things shaked out and I was determined to make the best of it.

Luckily, my sister got me a guest pass for her fitness club so I spent most mornings there working out and enjoying the hot tub and sauna. My sister has 4 Corgi's that require a whole routine of attention, so that alone kept me hopping in between. I spent time hiking, walking in nearby parks (mostly looking for an opportunity to lay eyes on the Havalena's that frequent the suburbs) shopping, etc.

When I didn't feel like going and seeing anything,  I spent time watching TV shows that I don't have at home since we don't have dish or cable, like Naked and Afraid.

I couldn't believe people volunteer to put themselves through this!!. I was thinking the whole time  "why am I watching this?"  It was like watching a train wreck. I just couldn't look away. Thank goodness I don't get alot of TV shows at home! What a colossal time void!

 I did make it up to Cave Creek a couple of times and loved that little town.  On one of the days, I took a guided hike into the Sonoran desert. The only wildlife we saw was a Cardinal.. of all things.. My guide was entertaining and relatively knowledgable enough about things to keep the conversation interesting .  I was in a small group with two other people, a married older couple. We planned to take a four hour hike to Elephant Mountain. We stopped alot to talk about Cacti and in spite of being interested in learning all I could about Cacti,  I really wanted to make it to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately our pace was too slow because the guide took too many stops to look at the various types of Cacti (I was less than intrigued about an hour into the hike) We had to turn around, about 1 mile short of the top. I was slightly dissappointed( ok alot dissappointed)  at this but I suppose the top of that mountain probably would have just given me a view of  more Cactus. I quickly let the  goal driven side of me go and just went with it.

In the broader scheme of things, it didn't matter . I wasn't in negative 15 degree weather like they were having at home in Montana. It was about 50 degrees out. While native Arizonians were running around in boots and winter parka's, it was pure bliss to me!

 I did  learn some interesting things that seem to be unique about Arizona...

A street name such as N 67th street is a right hand turn onto a narrow, rutted sandy dirt road. How can that be classified as a street?????
Cactus are very protected
Rain is a serious event, and flooding is an issue. Roads frequently are flooded when they get a heavy rain and underpasses literally fill with sand.
No one seems to own anything but a fancy gooseneck trailer
The city backs up to horse farms. There are little ranchettes right in the middle of what seems to be upper end neighborhoods.
If your a landmark navigator type, meaning, when you are  in a car trying to find roads, or follow directions, you look for certain landmarks, like a certain store or building. (atleast I tend to be this way).

Well in Arizona,  don't plan on relying on this sort of tactic  because everything looks the same. The buildings are the same height , the landscape is the same (cactus follow by more cactus) and oddly enough, most buildings or shopping centers are hidden well behind cactus, trees, etc. They don't build tall buildings outside of the main cities. You could take a right turn and BAM, your in the middle of a large shopping center that you didn't even know existed from the road!

All I can say is Thank god for GPS. Me and Garmin got to be very good friends but I still carried a map because I had to get a visual of the area to get my bearings.

Did I mention I saw alot of Cacti and learned alot about them? Here's some Cactus Trivia for you!

  •  The common Barrel cactus is often referred to as the Suicide cactus because it grows towards the rising sun in the East. Eventually it starts leaning so badly, it falls over. Bad design. Lot of tipped over dead barrel cactus out there.

  • The giant Saguero only grows in one place, the Sonoran desert in AZ. So all those western movies with Saguero's that were supposed to take place in Texas were actually filmed in AZ.. go figure.
  • I always wondered how the Saguaro supported what appeared to be a tremendous weight , with it's arms extending way out in a variety of directions and  impressive height. Inside the Saguaro  there is in fact a support system. Saguaro have ribs ,  that run vertical. The ribs are woody poles that run from the bottom to the top of  the main trunk of the cactus. It's pretty cool.
  • If your stuck in the desert and try to drink the fluid in a Saguaro, you will still die of dehydration. The fluid inside the cactus has a high saline level, meaning it's salty. 
  • The Cholla cactus also has a lot of names. It's commonly known as the Teddy Bear cactus or the jumping Cholla. The jumping part is because while it doesn't actually jump, if you brush it ever so lightly, the segments can break off easily and stick to you, ie jumping. Our guide did a nice demo of this with a stick. The Teddy bear name is because it kind of looks fuzzy , like a Teddy bear but definitely not one to cuddle with.

It was nice to get away but as usual I missed my dogs, my horses, my husband, and my routine . I got home on January 2nd.

And SINCE my return to Home??

Well I never quite made it home.. not really anyways
Unfortunately, I no sooner got home and found myself later that night boarding a medflight because my mom had to be flown back to the hospital in Seattle for  an emergency post surgical complication. Given the nature of the surgery, it was beyond the local hospital's comfort level so they made arrangements to fly her back. There was no way my mom was going to manage being alone, even if there were flight medics aboard. It made the most sense for me to go along.  It was all such a whirlwind.

I think I was home for an hour to see my dogs, see my husband , grab a bite to eat and then I was back in the clouds once again. I could not believe this was happening. The plane was also no commercial jet . It was a small prop engine and to make matters , we were getting a terrible snow storm. The ride there was less than comfortable. It felt like we were a ping pong ball being tossed around. They had my mom strapped onto a gurney and she was facing me. I was trying like hell not to seem worried , so as to minimize any additional anxiety for her, which was already through the roof. Inside, I was terrified myself.. and since I had been up since 3:30 that morning to catch my flight from Phoenix, I was exhausted.

We made it to Seattle in 2 hours, landed safely and were swept off the ER. I have been in Seattle ever since, mom has had yet another surgery and possibly needing another one yet. We aren't sure.. I do get to go home today and other family members are arriving today.

We are all on pins and needles right now and praying for a positive outcome.

At home, the hubby has been dealing with his share of issues. We had several days of sub zero weather , followed by over 30 inches of snow in a 12 hour period.  It took him a full day to shovel and snowblow his way out to the road.

So if you have been wondering , I have been a bit preoccupied. When things settle down a bit, I am thinking maybe I will make Feb 1st my new New Year's because January 1st and the days following were not something worth celebrating..

** I did get a few good photos of the the Arizona trip, I will be sure to post a few on here when I get home and get settled back into a routine.

Thanks for reading!


irish horse said...

Oh wow, that all sounds crummy! Best wishes on your mother's improvement. I think starting the new year in Spring is a better idea anyway. If you need a real vacation, come out to California for Tevis!

Jonna said...

Thank you..crummy is a good word...
I am looking forward to spring but i suspect we have a looonnnnggg wait..!
I would sooo love to come experience Tevis..just to watch or volunteer! I might have to take that into consideration!