I'm definitely having computer issues. So not amused.
Friday, I spent my last day poolside before packing and getting ready to go to our friends, the Burbanks. Liza and I were both thrilled to be able to spend some time with them because it's been years! We became friends with them when Liza was about six years old. We'd not seen Kenny and Dorothy since Carol's husband, Jon's funeral, eight years ago. (We met Burbanks through Jon and Carol, as Kenny was Jon's childhood best friend and neighbor.) Kenny is the most funny man I've ever known, so we knew that we would be in for some good laughs! This was a perfect way to end the time with Liza because I knew that my tears would be short-lived around Kenny and Dorothy.
Once Liza was home from work, we loaded my luggage and headed to Burbanks for dinner. Carol and Taylor were there already and the party had begun! One of the biggest excitements of this trip for Taylor was seeing Paul, Kenny and Dorothy's 18 year old son, for the first time in years. Taylor and Paul had played together as babes but as teens, they've been texting regularly for a while. It was so sweet to watch things developing between the two of them. Paul is absolutely 100% his dad made over, so between Paul and Kenny, my jaws were aching from laughter. And he's just adorable! Taylor is such a sweetheart! Aaahh, to be sixteen again!
I was thrilled for Liza to be able to reconnect with the Burbanks because they are only 29 miles away from her in Tempe, so I felt like she has a family there. Dorothy insisted that she and Buddy will be welcome for every Sunday dinner for eternity and that they stay in touch, which was comforting to me. Liza hadn't had any time with Carol either, so she was loving the time together. I love that Liza still says, "Aunt Carol" because she truly is part of our family!
Saying goodbye to Liza was so dang hard. Why does it always have to be that way!? I love that girl so dang much, it hurts! We'd laughed and laughed with our friends, and then it was time for her to go. She stayed until after midnight and then I was stressed over her driving so late alone, but she texted as soon as she got home, a very sweet text thanking me for all of our fun. I'd expected to be teased for my tears, but Kenny was super-sweet and sensitive about that and then moments later, we were back to laughing and fun. I appreciated that! I love this girl!
Insane as it was, knowing that we had a six hour drive ahead of us and Phantom to see, we stayed up, laughing until we ached until 4:30 in the morning! Kenny and Dorothy made us a tasty feast of a waffle breakfast and we were on the road to Vegas by 10:30ish.
Penelope, our lovely British GPS drove us around the backroads for 40 minutes until we were out of Pheonix, so we felt behind before we left! I am going to research GPS because, on top of telling us to turn sharp right into the Grand Canyon several times, she led us on a full loop around the north end of Las Vegas from the south east side when all we had to do was go straight to Aunt Molly's on the south end? We were not amused after our Hoover Dam delays!
On our very lonnnnnng drive across Arizona to Vegas, we decided to stop and take a few pix at Hoover Dam. As we were approaching the dam, we were held at a dead standstill that lasted almost an hour because someone looking at the dam and not the road, ran his car into the side of the mountain. It took that long to get a towtruck to pull him out of the little water ditch that's been cut out of the mountain. We took advantage of the time, enjoyed the dam and called Aunt Molly to let her know that we were running behind because there was no way out!
PS. Carol is not wearing my shirt. We bought the same one!
Aunt Molly greeted us with a tasty dinner that she'd brought in from Mimi's Cafe, to save us time before hurrying off to Phantom. We were racing the clock! No time for showers or anything. I attended Phantom with flat hair. (And I'm still alive.) We made it to the Phantom Theater in time to take some photos and take in the breathtaking sights for a few minutes before it began. There was a "jello sherriff" who told us no photos inside the theater. Oops. I managed to get a few before the chastisment. Okay, and a few after. ;)
Phantom. There is no other word for this show than "BREATHTAKING!" Literally. During the entire performance, from the first sound of the auctioneer's gavel until that last note of the organ, violins and flutes, we were either holding our breath, gasping or sighing from having not taken a breath. It is A.MAZ.ING!!! From the moment it began, just the opening, 3 minute and 5 second overture was so incredible that Carol leaned over and said, "We could go home now. We've gotten our money's worth!" This was my third time seeing Phantom. I have listened to it almost daily for twenty years and seriously, it was like the first time. I realize that I am Phantom obsessed, but really! There were fireworks and magic and acrobatics and stunts and the orchestra, you could feel the music! Taylor sat in the middle. Her first time. She held my hand and her mom's hand and squeezed and trembled and gasped. It was as much fun watching Taylor watch it as it was seeing the actual performance! And it was over toooooooo soon. We cried, we laughed, we hugged, we were so thrilled! And I could not stop thinking of my girls during the entire show, they have GOT to see this!
As the performance ended, we waited and then were, literally, the last ones out of this breathtaking theater, which has been built specifically for this performance. An usher asked us if we needed something, as were were still slowly exiting. I said, "No, we're just trying to absorb every second of it that we can." He explained that they had to set up for the next performance that began at 10. "NEXT Performance?! TONIGHT!?!? REALLY!?!?" My only regret ever about seeing Phantom Live is not seeing it twice in a row. The first time, you are so taken in by the performance and the effects that when you leave, you come out wondering, "How did they do that?" I've always said that I'd love to see it immediately following, so that I could watch for the "Hows". We all got this look and went straight outside to find the ticket booth!
We were greeted at the ticket booth by a young man who I asked about ticket prices. There were $244 tickets and there were $148 tickets available. I asked him, "But, tell me your best price for your favorite guests of the entire day?" He started looking and calculating on his computer and offered us pretty good seats for $108 each. We stepped aside and debated the pros and cons and reached the conclusion that we could either see it again right then or we could come back to see it again before the show ends (in early September) and if we came back to see it, we could bring the girls!!! Madi hasn't seen it and Grace and ZJ are as much Phantom obsessed as I am. And that was what we decided to do. We are now planning our summer girls getaway to see Phantom again in either June or August. We've already begun working out the details!
After the show, the minute we were in the car, Carol was calling Madi and I was calling Doug. Remember that this was our anniversary. Doug and I had seen Phantom twenty years ago, to the day! When I told him, "Happy Anniversary! We're coming back!", he laughed. He put the girls on the phone so that I could tell them and they were so excited! ZJ said, "I wanted to scream but Quayd was already sleeping!"Doug and the kids were all at the ranch for a few days. (What a way to celebrate our 35th anniversary... Doug at his favorite place in the world and me at my favorite performance in the world. We did talk several times during the day, but we are working on a real anniversary plan now that we are home.) Have I mentioned that I'm slightly excited to see Phantom with my girls!!!!
After the show, we decided to take a drive down the Vegas Strip and go to the Bellagio to watch the fountains but it took us an hour to drive the strip. By the time we got to Bellagio, after the Saturday night bazillion people crowds, we were right in front of the hotel when Elton John's "Daniel" began. It took us the entire two and a half minutes to drive that block, past the Bellagio to their parking, so, we saw the entire fountain show from curbside. So, we opted to forget parking just tot see it again since we were getting up at 5:30 to head home.
Our drive back to Aunt Molly's proved to be entertaining. We were not pleased with Penelope's performance, so we'd put her in her case and were depending on Mapquest on my phone, which told us to turn left and go 3 miles to get to Aunt Molly's. I've been to Aunt Molly's many times over the years and I knew that we are supposed to turn right. I told Carol this but it was written in plain english. So, we turned left. And then after four miles, at midnight, with us all exhausted, we turned around and went back to that intersection and turned right like I'd known we should have in the first place. We pulled into the gate at Aunt Molly's, only to discover that it was locked after 10PM. This left us with only the option of going back to another entry into her development, which I had noooooooooo clue was so huge until we drove around it twice trying to find our way to her home. By then, our Phantom enthusiasm was dwindling and all we wanted was sleep! We were all asleep within ten minutes of arriving safely!
Bless Aunt Molly's heart because even though we'd insisted that she not worry about us since we were leaving so early, she was up and made us a wonderful eggs and bacon and hashbrowns and toast breakfast at 5:40! And, she sent us off with muffins from Mimi's Cafe! Carol must have said a dozen times, "Aunt Molly is a delight." She really is. Seeing Aunt Molly was a huge highlight to end my trip on! I adore her!!
Our trip home, the dreaded trip home... dreaded because we didn't want to drive all day long, dreaded because we hated to see it all come to an end, dreaded because life gets real so quickly, and yet.... I was counting the miles and minutes to see Doug and the babes!
We stopped at Carol's sister's in Provo for a quick break to return Penelope to her rightful owners and then were on the way again. As we were leaving, I got a call from Doug, expecting him to be at home wondering where we were. Instead it was from the ranch saying that Mr. Nobody had left the dome light on in the Expedition for three days and his battery was dead. There had been two cars pass the cabin all day long and, it being Easter Sunday, he wasn't expecting a lot more. I called a towtruck in Soda Springs, Idaho and sent it out to him, but before the tow driver was 1/4 of the way out to the ranch, some woodchuck hunters came by and jumped the truck. When I called to catch the towtruck driver, he said he'd send me a bill for $30 and I could mail him a check. Lovely.But, we'd have had to pay him anyway, and we were all almost home and together! That's all that mattered!
Our drive home was hysterical. We laughed and revisited the highlights of the trip, made a few more and the time flew by! We stopped at Madi's new apartment on our way through Brigham City and then she followed us home to Carol's with the Easter dinner that she'd prepared for us! Doug and the babes pulled in about 30 minutes behind us, just in time for dinner! HAPPINESS!!!! After an hour or two of visiting and reliving the moments with Doug, we said our goodbyes and headed home to find a very clean house waiting for this mama.
I can honestly say that everything looked great! They'd unloaded their ranch stuff in the dining room before coming to pick me up, so everyone got busy putting their stuff away. Other than a few dishes in the sink, some dusting,very needy toilets and seven loads of laundry, there was not much left for me to do! Happiness! We all shared our stories and the girls kept asking, "Are we really going to see Phantom!?!?" until bedtime!
Truth be told, however, as friend, Natalie, who'd just returned from a week in Santa Cruz, put it this morning, "Re-entry is hard!" Coming home after a week of being responsible for no one else's needs other than my own was a fast reality check! "What's for dinner? Where's my green shirt? Will you make cookies today? Did you remember to pay this bill? Mom, my contact broke. I need my new ones today. I lost my glasses. Go-Go ate part of the bedspread, that's what that fuzzy stuff was. Mom, I think I'm going to throw up. I can't go to school today." Yep. Real. Real and fast. And it's all good. Vacations are fun, but life is real fun! I'm glad to be home.
Yesterday, I did laundry, had a fun lunch with Denise, visited my mother for a bit, took down the Easter decor, started a new April tablescape, grocery shopped, paid bills, made dinner and watched Dancing with the Stars. Doug told me at 4:30 AM, that Mr. Nobody had left the dome light on his van before they'd left for the ranch, so his battery was dead too! He took my truck for the day. That's re-entry, right? Other than the fact that my heart hurts when I think of how much I'm missing Liza (okay, and the pool)... life is good! I'm not even spellchecking. No quote today! This is a long post and Natalie and I are off to lunch! Life is so dang good!