Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I went to Arizona and all I got was this stupid blog…

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

But you’ll have to cut me some slack. Vicky and I were gone for three days, with lots to recall, and I’m feeling kind of sick… but we’ll leave that part alone.

The point of the trip was to visit my ailing father – not that it turned out that way… I’m just saying…

Vicky and I left in my little Honda early on Saturday, hoping to beat all of the massive, holiday traffic. Vicky gets nervous when I drive, not that I’m a bad driver. I just think she freaks out at the idea of my little Honda being surrounded by hungry-looking SUVs. They towered over us almost the entire way, as we drove from one desert to another to another to another… not a lot of scenery out on I-10…

I hadn’t slept much the night before. It was one of those nights filled with bad dreams, sleepwalking, and insomnia… you know, the usual stuff… So, driving wasn’t much of a pleasure and I didn’t dare tell Vicky about how desperately I wanted to sleep… you know, as I drove! Thankfully, Vicky wanted to stop a couple of times, giving me an opportunity to stretch my legs. We stopped by this little, Mexican restaurant (somewhere off Jackson Street and Indio Boulevard) that had once been something else, the kind of place that could be very dicey, certainly uncertain, not where smart people go. And so, we went. And we were so happy we did! With a name like Taco Jalisco, you don’t expect much but the service was good and the people were nice and the food – oh my god! It became a “Mexican food weekend” and this was my favorite place, by far. The chili verde I ordered with very fresh and tasty and Vicky’s fish taco’s were perfect and authentic. Yeah, we loved that place.

But we had to get back on the road. By the time we hit Arizona, we stopped for gas and Vicky picked up a Monster energy drink, which gave us a different kind of gas, one we weren’t hoping for… basically, I burped the rest of the way to Phoenix, these toxic, paint-peeling kind of burps that threatened to put me in jail for the most unique homicide in history.

Ah, but then, we were there! We pulled up in front of our hotel, checked in, got to our room – and I just crashed!

… but I couldn’t sleep. Dammit.

So, we went to dinner. Dwight and Blanche met us at the hotel, so we didn’t have to do any more driving. This also meant we got to drink! Dwight had picked out a nice place for us in Scottsdale. While he drove, he had to show us his Tom Tom… over and over… and over…

As we drove, we passed AssMann Electronics. We got out of his car to see the Valley Ho. (There was a lot of laugher.)

He took us to the Old Town Tortilla Factory, not a bad place, especially when someone else is paying. Vicky and I took advantage by drinking a couple margaritas and tequila shots. My urge to drink probably started when Dwight sat down at the table and said, “So, Ken, guess what. I’ve been published.”… and I had to reply, “That’s great, Dwight.” Now, Dwight’s not a writer, in case you’re wondering. In fact, he wasn’t published – he was sourced. Someone had interviewed him and included part of it in a trade article. So, it only seemed fair for me to drink at his expense.

Thankfully, the word (when we got around to it) was that my dad was doing better. It was good to see Blanche back to her old self, knowing that her husband (and my dad) wouldn’t be dying this week, at least. So, we all kidded around and ate and then I launched into a typical tirade about all the research I’ve been doing (birds and bees and other dying things) and, soon, dinner was over.

Vicky, Dwight and I hit a little casino where Vicky enjoyed some LET IT RIDE and I enjoyed some beer and cigarettes. But I didn’t enjoy it enough because the casino was so small, they didn’t really have any place to sit down. Oh well. And Vicky lost. Oh well.

We got back to the hotel and trudged up to bed.

This bed… it wasn’t great. See, our new bed at home is great. This thing was like the LUMPMASTER SUPREME… ick. And, of course, I couldn’t sleep.

So, I let Vicky sleep and I went downstairs. I sat out by the pool and had a few smokes and did what I normally do when I’m insomniatic, smoking, alone, and bored, I tried to turn my brain off. Sometimes, this leads me to all kinds of fun hallucinations. This time, surprisingly, I began to grow tired. I decided to return to the room and try to sleep, which I did, and I actually fell asleep by about 2am… waking up at 4am… and 6am… and 8am… But, hey, sleep is sleep!

We hit the Cracker Barrel for breakfast with Dwight but I can’t say anything good about the breakfast. It turned out that the biscuits and gravy were the way to go and we all went the wrong way… dammit. But Vicky and I found a cast iron skillet we’ve been looking for and paid only $40. (The pan was $20… the lid was another $20. Can you say “highway robbery”? Oh well…)

Vicky and were going to head on over to see the folks in the afternoon but decided to drive over to the mall first.

This is the part where you’ll probably start to laugh… you’ve been waiting a long time, I know. Vicky and I started our trip at the mall by getting pedicures… both of us… together…

I’d never had a pedicure before but Vicky had been insisting for several month that I try one. For some reason, that day and in that place, I broke down… but I really shouldn’t have.

We went to this day-spa kind of place and were sent into the back room where they do the various “cures” and things. (I’m a guy. What do I know?) Shortly, two girls walked out to greet us. Now, here’s the thing. I was there with my wife… you know? So, I was glad neither of the girls were the kind I usually find attractive. I could sit next to my wife – MY WIFE – and just get through this.

The girl who was… um… servicing me was this petite, blonde named Darcy. I don’t go for blondes… normally.

See, this gets into some very strange territory. My wife is sitting right next to me while this blonde is rubbing my feet, scrubbing, massaging… after a while, I pretty much just wanted to toss Darcy on the floor and roll on top of her like the large walrus that I am. Actually, that’s not it. I wanted to fuck her! You know, as I sat beside MY WIFE!

Conflicted? You bet!

And, on top of that, my feet are VERY ticklish.

All told: My wife beside me + wanting to bone the chick massaging my feet + having my whole body spasm as a result of being tickled by this little hottie massaging my feet while MY WIFE is sitting right beside me = NO MORE FOR ME, THANK YOU! I’ve had my fill with possible infidelities, even the thought of another is too much for me. Granted, I think about other women… lots of them… all the time… hey, I’m a guy, you know?!... but this never, EVER happens while my wife is sitting right beside me!!!

And that's the last you'll ever hear about that...

Anyway, after that, we actually had a great time, walking the mall, enjoying the atmosphere. We stopped by Williams Sonoma to find out that a cast iron skillet there would have cost us a cool $100! We had a coffee and bought some books and… what? Was there something else we were supposed to do?

… OH right! Visit my dad!

So, we got back on the road, headed out… and the road circled around and brought us back to the mall…

Okay, so I had Vicky call my dad but I should inform you that directions just weren’t going to help. Nope. We were intent on getting lost. And we did – and we had a great time doing it! See, we knew where my Dad and Blanche were in relation to where we were, so we knew we couldn’t get really lost, just a little lost, and that was fun.

But when we got to the house, my Dad and my brother were arguing about directions. Dad thinks he knows all the shortcuts and Dwight thinks his Tom Tom is God’s cure for maps. Meanwhile, Vicky and I just like getting lost.

And if that wasn’t bad enough… So, I brought Dad’s birthday present to him early this year. (Heck, we were out there anyway, right?) Dad hadn’t given Dwight the kind of approval Dwight had wanted with regards to the article that had sourced him. Guess what happens when you put those together… Dad loved his gift, Dwight felt scorned, so Dwight pulled out his Tom Tom and… I was just glad when we left.

After spending the last few months being a model son and brother, I’ve decided to put a moratorium on any more activities with my family for one month!

But I had to get through this visit, first. We all got in our cars and drove down the street to La Casa Blanca, The White House. Dad and Dwight were making comments about this White House as opposed to the one in Washington. Vicky shut them up by telling them how any comparison ends because, “I don’t think they want Mexicans in that White House.” I may be misquoting her but she got them good and I laughed quite a bit. (Later, she added, “Unless their name is Gonzales.” But, then, I can’t imagine any Mexican would want to be near him.)

More wonderful Mexican food and a couple of huge margaritas later, with Vicky and I picking up the tab this time, and the visit was over – all too early. I had dreaded seeing my dad, afraid of how poorly he might be doing. Then, when I saw him, I wished I had spent more time with him. But that’s the way I goes, I guess.

That night, Vicky and I hit one more casino, Casino Arizona. Vicky hit the LET IT RIDE table, which ended up hitting her, and I discovered Malibu and Coke… yum! I drank about five of those and a couple of beers and was feeling good. Wait, scratch that. Dwight came by and we got into it over his views on homosexuals, which are archaic at best, downright hateful the rest of the time. So, I was forced to get in his face and try to set him straight. But, unsurprisingly, nothing changed his views. He’s too old and stubborn to learn anything new but I’ll keep trying to turn him away from a life of hatred and intolerance because I love him.

Okay, and I might have started chain smoking and blowing it all in his face in an effort to get him to leave…. maybe

On Monday, our drive home took around eight hours. So, I don’t think I’ll be driving out there any time soon. I hope I don’t have to, at least.

We stopped at a roadside place for lunch. The breakfast buffet was just wrapping up. “What’s on the lunch buffet,” I asked because, hey, a buffet is a buffet!

“I dunno,” the waitress said and walked away.

And… we waited. We waited for an awfully long time. As we waited, I commented on the Steak Buffet that was advertised for dinner. When we finally felt we could wait no longer, that we really had to get back on the road, fed or not, as we were getting up, the waitress returned.

“Did you see what was in the buffet?” Vicky asked. After all, the lunch buffet was already almost a quarter of an hour late.

“Chicken,” the waitress replied. “That’s all I saw.”

“Well, tell you what,” I said, “we’ll get something else.” We opened the page to order burgers because Vicky had a hankering for a good hamburger.

“If you’re gonna order a burger,” the waitress warned us, “I should tell you that we’re all our of burger meat.”

Of course. And on a holiday weekend, too.

As we walked out, still hungry, Vicky commented, “You think they could just grind up some steak, perhaps???”

I have to say that the best part of the weekend was hanging out with Vicky for a couple of days. Our normal lives have us moving to fast to spend more than a few hours at a time together. I really enjoyed us hanging around. We felt more like a couple than we have in some time.

Now, we just have to recuperate…

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