Saturday, July 19, 2014

I'm Back!


Yay!:dummy:I'm finally back home from our trip to Scottsdale, Arizona. We were gone from the 6th until really early in the morning on the 17th. It was so Dad could have surgery during her summer break.:iconhappychinaplz:Kind of not the best time weather-wise to be there, though.:iconwtfukplz:The whole trip tired me out.:faint:

The main thing that got me was the weather. The high temps ranged from 100 to around 110 degrees.:iconitshotplz:The lows only made it to the low 90s, and rarely made it to the high 80s. So, it felt like there wasn't really a break. It was just constant. Now, I was told many times that it was ok because it was a 'dry' heat, before we left.:iconinsultedplz:Well, it was during their 'monsoon' season, so it was pretty humid. So, that in itself felt suffocating and oppressing every time I walked outside.:iconhanatamagoplz:Very interesting storms, though. Many of them happened at night while I was inside the hotel room. It really down poured, had lots of lightning, really windy, and thunder that all lasted, at most, for 10 minutes. Then, it was like nothing happened.:iconseychelles-plz:I think the rain evaporated really quickly because of the heat, too. It really felt like another planet.:iconwtfromanoplz:

Our hotel room was really nice. (I spent the most time there. Dad only stayed there for 1 or 2 nights, the rest at the hospital.) It had 2 beds, 2 TVs, a 'theater' room (that was separated by doors that led to the bedroom), a mini refrigerator, a microwave, 2 closets, lots of other storage space in things like dressers, a nice desk, a couch in the theater room, that area also had mini tables that pulled out so you could eat on the couch while watching TV, hair dryer, an air conditioner, coffee maker, complimentary tea and coffee, etc. The ac was a lifesaver.:iconsleepygreeceplz:One morning it stopped working, though.:iconawkwardplz:It was hellish in there until I asked for someone to repair it. They treat it like it's a life or death situation, and I can understand why in a place like that during the summer. They say a lot of the time the ac freezes over, and the repair guy just chips it away. It's a common problem for people. Especially if you're running it all the time, like most people do this time of year. The bathroom didn't have ac, though. So, that got to be a bit stuffy. The shower head was a little low, but not bad. 

There was a pool outside, but I didn't find a swimsuit before we left. Although, I'm not sure if I would have gone in.:iconswissplz:It probably was heated up a lot by the surrounding temp. They also had an outdoor hot tub. Why would you use a hot tub in that weather?:iconlietplz:They had a fitness center that looked great, but I just didn't feel like using it...

The complimentary breakfast was really good. They actually had turkey sausage!:iconyayhanatamagoplz:Actually had that part labeled! Like they knew there were people who didn't eat pork. Nice. They had a make your own pancakes section. You press a button, and within a minute it spits out 2 pancakes one at a time onto your plate. And, those were good, too.:iconitalyplz:They had sugar free syrup options, as well. (Which luckily didn't have aspartame! I try to stay away from that stuff.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:) They had hard boiled and scrambled eggs. Occasionally there was this weird omelet option with fake cheese stuffed into it. That wasn't so great. The biscuits, blueberry muffins, bagels, and cinnamon buns were good.:iconfrancisplz:There were several different cereal and oatmeal options. A variety of juices, teas, milk, water, coffee, etc. The only fruit options were bananas, apples, and oranges. They weren't bad, though. Lots of different condiments to choose from too. 

I took advantage of their complimentary shuttle service. They drove us from the airport to the hotel. And, they took me to and from the hospital. I mostly walked to restaurants. I tried walking a couple of times from the hospital back to the hotel, and vice versa. Ended up melting the soles of my shoes.:iconusaplz:Smart. They told me it was pretty silly to walk around like that this time of year. I'm very grateful for the shuttle.:iconchibinitalyplz:Met some interesting people at the front desk and the ones driving the shuttle. 

I went to a few restaurants, and the only pics I took were of the food.:icontinoplz:It felt too hot for me to focus enough outside. I'll post the pics soon on fb and dA. Went to a place called US Egg. Odd name, but the food was great. I got their egg salad sandwich. I decided to get it with fries, and it came with an orange and grapefruit slice. (I can't eat grapefruit, and the slice was touching the orange one. So, to be safe I couldn't eat that either. It's because of my meds.) It's a breakfast/lunch/brunch sort of place. They're only open until about 2pm. It was huge! They add mustard to their egg salad, which is a Southern way of doing it. And, I love it that way!:iconinloveplz: 

Also, went to Rehab Burger because everyone was raving about it. The first time I ate there it didn't live up to the hype.:iconohboyamericaplz:I got a tuna salad sandwich. I know it's a burger place, but their other food should be just as good. I thought you couldn't screw up tuna salad too much, and wanted something light and cool. It was way too peppery, had a huge thing of alfalfa sprouts (when they just listed sprouts, I was thinking bean sprouts which I'm fine with. This was like grass:iconamericadisapproveplz:), and the bread was very tough. It was huge and very hard to cut with a fork and knife. There was a pickle on the side (that I almost didn't see), and a huge thing of fries which weren't that great. The 2nd time I went, I was with Dad and it was for an early 'dessert'. I got their 'pot brownie'. It was a huge hot brownie with marshmallow fluff around it, chocolate syrup on top, a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of that, and some more chocolate syrup on top of that all in a very hot cast-iron pan or 'pot'. It was so good!:iconchibispainplz:The marshmallow was lightly toasted on the sides. I couldn't eat it all. So, maybe the dessert redeemed them in my eyes. I'm not sure.

Went to Ra Sushi. It was really good!:iconfinallyplz:Better than I expected. I got their chicken teriyaki rice bowl. And, like usual got iced tea. Found out later that the flavor of the tea was strawberry and mango. (There may have been orange in there as well, I can't remember.) That was very good. The rice bowl had a layer of rice, a layer of shredded carrots, a layer of sugar snaps and broccoli, a layer of the chicken with the sauce, and a lot of sesame seeds on top of that. I really liked that there were some vegetables in it.:iconeestiplz:With so many places when I get teriyaki chicken there's either no vegetables, or very little like it was an afterthought.:iconkikuplz:Seemed more like a real 'meal' this way. The nurses at the hospital wrinkled their noses up at me when I told them about Ra Sushi. Saying things like: "Uhhh...Sushi?" I guess they think sushi or Asian cuisine in general is strange, high end, or something.:icongermanyplz:They were the ones that could only come up with burger places when I asked if they could recommend a restaurant...:iconromanoplz:

Went to RnR with Dad and one of my cousins' friends. It was pretty good. I got their grilled chicken sandwich. It had cheese, pesto, sun dried tomatoes, a garlic aioli, and maybe one other sauce. It was pretty saucy, but tasty. There are options for what type of fries you want, so I got the parmesan one. So, it wasn't the best, but close.

Went to their Red Lobster with Dad as one of the last restaurants I went to. Ordered from the 4-meal deal again. I got mashed potatoes to replace the soup option (I can't have any of the soups, now that they've taken off the spicy chicken tortilla one:iconnataliaplz:), a Caesar salad, Cajun chicken linguine, and replaced the dessert options with strawberry shortcake in a jar. It was all very good. And, it made some more meals for me to put in the fridge. I also had some of the food they had at the gift shop at the hotel. A lot of it was really good. They had one of the things I love at home, so it was a piece of home there, too.

The surgery went well.:iconranranruuplz:They told me that there was minimal bloodless. It was about 4 and a half hours long. Halfway through they called me and said everything was going smoothly. When they were done, the surgeon told me how it went and not to see her for another hour. They told me this beforehand, but it felt longer than it was.:iconsighingplz:When I first saw her she was kind of out of it. Totally understandable, though. The nurses were telling her a bunch of things, even though one of them told me they knew she wouldn't remember and they'd have to relay everything again to her later. Why tell her at that time then?:iconchibiswedenplz:For the rest of the time, I'd visit her for a while each day. 

Met one other patient going through the same thing, only she had surgery 2 days later. So, she was 2 days behind compared to Dad. She was very nice, and it was nice to hear her story. Good to have Dad able to tell her what to expect, too. As well as just to see someone going through the same thing.

Dad got 2 bouquets of flowers. One from a coworker, and another from a family she's worked with. Very nice. She had 2 visitors, that I know of anyway. One came by to be with us during Shabbat, and the other used to live somewhat near us and is now a big advocate in Arizona. 

The first one claims to be my 2nd cousin once removed. I'm not entirely sure if she's really related to me.:iconbraginskiplz:We found out about her when both my parents were into genealogy. I first met her a long time ago while we were visiting family. (Much more closely related family, the ones we know about...) Although, I remembered that she looked a lot different back then. I'm almost wondering if it's someone claiming to be her, but isn't.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:Anyways, she's a rabbi and wanted to help with Shabbat. She's ok to be around for a couple of hours, but then she gets weird. And not weird in the good sense.:iconhongkongplz:I like some 'weird' or unconventional people in general. She decided to stay overnight at the hotel. Which made me grow an even bigger headache.:iconchibienglandplz:Then, she stayed for a good chunk of the next day. 

She said things like anthropology isn't a hard science.:iconlovinoplz:She argued about forensics being an anthro focus. She complimented Dad for me being 'sharp in Torah'. She had nothing to do with that, really. Maybe encouraged me, but that's beside the point. I'm the one who knew apparently more about the Torah than she realized I would, not Dad.:icondisgusted-hongkong:She did some weird things with her Shabbat service that I didn't really feel right about, but bit my tongue.:iconannoyedgin-plz:She said that there was no way for us to understand the surgery. Ummmm...could it be that you can just look up the info?! Familiarize yourself with it? She argued about my medical conditions. She thought things like trans stuff were beyond her, but she supported their rights and such. She just seemed very ignorant about everything.:iconnorgeplz: 

The second person was incredibly nice. Dad knew her a lot more, too. That 2nd person is trans herself, so that was cool. She has 3 daughters, and suggested that I contact them. To get in touch with other 'unicorns'. That'd be awesome!:iconus-xdplz:I don't know too many of them. In fact, I don't think I've personally met another one besides myself.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:

There was another person who works with the surgeon that came in periodically. She was super nice and cool. She apparently was shot in face and lost a finger a while back. Her face was repaired, and she looked amazing. Dressed really well, too. She's from the South, so she had a bit of Southern charm. She helped Dad with what to expect and coaching her on things. We both had some 'girl talk' every so often with her as well.:iconchibihungaryplz: 

All the nurses were great. There was only one that seemed a bit forgetful and flaky, but she seemed cool the rest of the time. The food apparently was good. Dad said the grilled cod was especially good, as well as the apple pie. 

I had a weird thing happen at both security check points at the airports. Dad only had a hard time on the way back. At the first one for our flight going to Arizona, Dad had a fast pass for it. She had it down for me, as well. As we were about to go down that line, the security person there said only Dad could go through that way and I had to go through the regular line. She said unless I was 12 and under I couldn't go down that line. Bizarre.:iconwtfamericaplz:So, we were separated, and it took me a while longer than her. At the one for our flight back, I first was told to go through the full body scanner because the regular scanner wasn't working. And, just as I was about to, another person said that it was being recalibrated and I needed to go through the regular one. The other guy quickly stepped aside so I could go through the regular one.:iconprussiaplz:It was odd. Dad was asked a couple of weird questions. She had a hard time with the person who was scanning her carry-on stuff. He wasn't sure about something that she has to use after surgery. Dad even had a letter for it. The supervisor came in calmly, and said it wasn't a big deal and it was ok. She went through after that. 

We were very early for our flight back. So, we had some time to look around and just relax a bit. We grabbed a couple of shakes from a burger place at the airport. Mine was their shake of the month: Snicker's. It was so good!:iconbunnyprussiaplz:The chunks at the bottom were so big, the only way to have them was with a spoon. I felt like an entire candy bar was left at the bottom. We had dinner at an Asian restaurant there called Pei Wei. We both got their honey chicken combo. It was pretty good. We got some cactus candy before we left at the airport. It was 'different' let's just say.:iconhongkong-eating:Not sure if I liked it or not...We have more of it to try later, at least.

Dad had let me use her school's laptop. (They give them out to employees every few years, apparently it's time for a new one soon. It's pretty old.) It was a little iffy booting up, but it was pretty smooth with internet stuff. Most places that we were at had a great connection, too. It was pretty handy with keeping people up to date. I don't have a smart phone. At the airport for our last flight, none of the outlets worked and the internet was down. So, it was hard to do much of anything except sit around, read, talk, etc. Our flight back to SeaTac started at 10:40pm and landed at around 2am. Really late, or early however you look at it. 

We might be going back during the wintertime for her 2nd and final stage. Should be a much nicer time weather-wise too.:iconchibiaustriaplz:Right now she just has to heal.:iconchibiamericaplz:

We boarded up the cats at a local kennel. We used to take Buster, our beagle, there all the time. (He sadly passed away a while ago, but loved it there.:iconamericasadchibiplz:) When we went to pick up the cats, both of them were really happy to see us. Although, they seemed to have just woken up from a nap, so they were drowsy looking. Their 'rooms' had 2 'floors' to them. One higher shelf, and the lower one had their litter box, food, and water. Tasha's was the 'standard' one with a hole on the top shelf that led directly over her litter box. Rosie's didn't have that, and I think her top shelf was slightly shorter. We got Tasha first, and she immediately looked happy when she got home and out of the carrier. Rosie was weary at first, but I think she was unaware of her surroundings. Eventually, she looked really happy too. They seem to be back to normal now.:iconchibicanadaplz:Although, maybe slightly more clingy. On the way home, I think Rosie was really scared and a bit traumatized by the way they shoved her into the carrier. She peed quite a bit in it, and I started to notice it halfway home. It's not her fault, I can see why it'd be scary.:iconraivisplz:I just feel sorry that she felt that way. I want her to feel safe and happy. 

It feels so good to be home now! The weather feels pleasant, especially compared to where we were. It's going to be in the lower to mid 70s this week. Perfect temps to me.:iconthailandplz:The first shower back was great! Got to do all my laundry, as well. I wore a couple of shirts twice, because I didn't have enough to last the entire length of the trip. My jeans were looking pretty messy, too. Clean clothes are always good! I hope to get back to my normal stuff tomorrow. We'll see. The trip really tired me out, mainly because of the weather and the stress. Oh, also made a few more fb friends through all this! Pretty cool. 

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