For thanksgiving this year we headed down to Joshua’s Parents home in Phoenix Arizona for a grand gathering of the Sorensen relatives. We left Portland Wednesday afternoon. Joshua had the whole week off, but Anthony had to work a half day. So we met up at the airport.
Our flight was on US Airways… not our favorite air carrier. US Airways was the airline that left us overnight in MCO back in 2007. Airport security was quick and painless. After all the news about nude scanners and groping TSA workers.. No body scan, no pat down. Even the lines were quick. So much for the busiest travel day of the year!
The flight down was quick but cramped. Anthony got stuck with the center seat next to young woman of size. Causing him to sit for 2 hours with his arms crossed on the seat crack between his and Joshua’s seat. But Joshua had ripped all of I, Claudiusto Anthony’s iPad, so he was happy.
Even though it was a short 5 day trip we took two checked bags down. Joshua packed 5 bottles of wine to take down to his parents for thanksgiving and their anniversary party. It ending up costing us $40 bucks to check both bags. This felt totally silly as it seems none of the other passengers checked any luggage. It was shocking to see how many people tried to board with HUGE overstuffed suitcases. All of this hassle to escape having to pay the dumb bag fee.
US Airways should take note and kill the bag fees. A huge amount of time was spent by the flight crew trying to find room for all the unpaid bags. It made us feel like we had been taken in some sort of bag scam, since we were dumb enough to pay the fee.
We rented a car from Thrifty and had signed up for the free blue chip program online, which meant that we got to skip the line and just walk right down to the car. They had our paperwork all printed out and picked the car we wanted and drove off. It was a nice treat as we were both a bit tired.
Now for a word on the Phoenix drivers… There seems to be three types: Fast 50mph-65mph, Faster 65mph-90mph and “That guy is going to get people killed!”. All the main roads seem to be 6 lane highways, no really, they have 6 lanes. Our guess why is to accommodate all three types of drivers in both directions.
We got to our hotel, Hyatt Place. The time change had kind of messed up our internal clocks and at 8:30pm we realized we needed to eat. We drove over to the mall area and while looking for food found a Disney discount store! Of course we had to stop and buy some pins. They were mostly picked clean but still had one Stitch pin and 4 O-pin house key pins. We of course grabbed them right up.
After an ok dinner at Chevy’s we headed back to Hyatt Place. Our room was nice, the bed a bit hard. The only real issue we had with the hotel came at 3:30 in the morning when we were woken by the hotel’s fire alarm blasting. We of course did exactly what you should never do; we got dressed, grabbed personal items (our iPads, wallets & keys) and exited our room. We did check the door for heat before opening it, so I guess we get some safely points back.
The hallway smelled of smoke, and several other hotel guests had their doors open and seemed to be looking to see what to do. From this point forward we were a bit smarter then the pack and ignored the elevators and headed for the stairs. Fourth floor to the ground floor to 20 secs and 10 secs more we had exited the hotel to the assigned evacuation point. We looked around and we were all alone. Not a single other hotel guest was in sight. Stranger still, no fire trucks, no response trucks, no ambulances. Not even an overweight rent-a-cop security officer to help control the nonexistence crowds.
So we sat on a bench outside for a few minutes, jet-lagged and still half asleep. We didn’t know if we should drive away, stay put or go back in and go to sleep. So we headed back in and over heard the front desk person on the phone yelling at someone it was just a burned out light fixture and everything was ok. So we took the elevator back to our floor and sure enough a few doors down from our room a gentleman was cleaning a burned wall sconce. We returned to bed only to wake a few hours later, exhausted. We headed down stairs for the free toast breakfast then headed right back upstairs and when back to bed. But by 11am we were dressed and headed out to Starbucks.
One of the best people watching events of the trip was watching the Phoenix natives “pretend” it’s cold. It was 63 degrees and sunny, everyone was walking around in heavy sweaters and snow jackets. One lady even did the “shiver body” cold dance, hugging herself for warmth as she came into the Starbucks in a fur hooded ski jacket, long pants and fur trimmed boots. The irony of it all to us was we were a little mad for not packing shorts to wear! It didn’t even dawn on us to pack then as it was 17 degrees in Portland the night before we had left. Seems in Phoenix they pretend it cold wet and Portland we pretend it’s warm and dry.
We spent the Turkey day visiting with the extended family. There were 15 for dinner. Joshua’s father cooked Turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, broccoli with cheese, mash potatoes & stuffing. Which is funny as Joshua’s father doesn’t really like to eat turkey…
The next day, Friday, we had breakfast at Millie’s. We picked it because it was close and that there is a Millie’s in Anaheim right next to Disneyland, we thought it would be cute to eat their since we are two weeks out from our Disney World trip. It turned out to be a mistake. The food was kind of gross. We also got sat next to the espresso machine and for some reason Arizonians must love burnt milk. We got to hear cup after cup of milk being destroyed via the espresso steamer. It was like nails on a chalkboard for both of us as former baristas. They did have nice warm muffins and it was pretty cheap. But we will be skipping this place in the future.
After breakfast and another run to Starbucks to cancel out breakfast, we headed back to Joshua’s parents house. Today was their 30th anniversary party. We got over to the house early before the other guests arrived and dug out a huge box of Legos. The Legos are the combined remains of all 4 of the Sorensen boys’ childhood Legos. We claimed them for our future kiddo and shipped them home. The anniversary party was nice and very laid back. Paul, Joshua’s dad served a Mexican food buffet. We started up a Texas hold-em game with Joshua’s Grandmother, Sam & Kelly and 2 Sorensen cousins.
The next day we slept in and were nice and lazy. We did brunch/lunch with Joshua’s mother at Macaroni grill. (Yes, the hated Italian butter place.) When we walked in and the smell of melted plastic wafted in from the kitchen. So our hopes of an edible meal died pretty fast. But, it turned out to be an ok meal, the company was much better. After lunch we headed over the meet up with Sam and Kelly for a movie and saw the latest Harry Potter,it was good. What was better was how cheap it all was. Kelly had the inside scoop on getting discounts. But even before the discount we were shocked at how cheap the drinks and snacks were and this was not a discount theater. Seems Portland just costs more…
After the movie we headed to a private dinner with Joshua’s Grandparents and Parents. Somehow our private dinner turned into another family gathering. We ended up eating leftovers.
The next day we flew out on US Airways again. Short flight again and Anthony got a window seat!
We both were a little worried that Thanksgiving would be hard on us emotionally because of the adoption and our recent experiences. And it was a bit tough at times. We only really got hit with the”How’s the adoption going?” question twice. Both times we quickly rattled off some facts and justifications and quickly changed the topic. Turns out the hardest thing was watching 3 year old cousin Grace run around being all cute, adorable and not ours.