My schedule with my internship works like this: We work 9 hours days Monday-Thursday every week, an 8 hour day every other Friday, and then we get the alternating Fridays off. So basically, I get a 3 day weekend every other week. Awesome, right? :) So I picked a weekend that I had a 3rd day, and went to visit Gentry.
So Thursday evening after work, I rushed home, packed the rest of my things, loaded my things and my dogs in the car, dropped the dogs off at puppy jail, and made my 2 hour trek to the Ontario airport to catch my 9:00pm flight. Ontario is not a huge airport, but it is certainly not small. And compared to my little XNA airport in Arkansas, it took some adjusting. I've discovered I am completely spoiled by the $5/day economy parking lot at XNA, that only requires a walking distance equivalent to you getting a bad parking spot at Wal-Mart...They had two parking lots at Ontario: one was $18/day, one was $9 day. Right...like I'm going to pay twice as much for parking. So of course, I head to the $9 lot, which it even hurt a little to pay that much. What can I say? I'm cheap.
Me and the Silver Bullet get parked around 7:40pm, I unload my small rollie suitcase and make my short hike across the parking lot to the shuttle. Yep, that's right. I had to take a shuttle from the $9 "economy" lot to the airport. After waiting almost 15 minutes for a shuttle to arrive, I was beginning to think there were not shuttles. So I start walking in the direction that I think the terminal is (to be quite honest, I'm not entirely sure where that is...it's too far away for me to know with complete certainty...but I tried :) ...Finally as I get to the edge of the giant economy lot, I see the shuttle! Woo hoo! So I get on the shuttle, and it takes about 5-10 minutes to get to the terminal. Not too bad, but still...so different from what I'm used to. It is just after 8pm at this point, so I'm starting to get a little nervous when I walk in and see the GINORMOUS line at the ticket counter to print off my boarding pass. Another thing I'm not used to...XNA is so small that I can usually just walk right up and print it off at one of the little electronic kiosk things. Fortunately, I realize there is another check-in point outside, with a slightly shorter line, so I hop in that one. That one seemed to be going much quicker...maybe because most of the people in front of me didn't seem to be checking any baggage. So cool. I now have my boarding pass. Now onto security. Another long line. I'm starting to worry at this point because I think perhaps I am cutting it too close. In Arkansas, I never have to worry. I can literally show up 35 minutes before my flight, get checked in and through security before they even start boarding...which usually takes place 25-30 minutes before departure. Yet another reason why I love God's Country. So I get through security (where they make me go stand in one of those body scan things...which to be honest, kinda creep me out), rush to get my shoes back on and my laptop back in my bag...get out and see the screen...flight is delayed 15 minutes. Awesome. In reality, the plane (and all of it's 30 passengers - apparently 9pm is the time to fly!) left right on time, but it made me feel better than I wasn't running as late as I thought :)
So I have my short 45 minute flight to Phoenix and it takes roughly 30 minutes for Gentry to find me when she gets to the airport. Phoenix is an odd airport. There are actually two exits from the baggage claim area...a north side and a south side. I was on the south side, Gentry was on the north. I finally figured out where she was and walked back across the baggage claim. We still never figured out how cars actually got to the south side...but oh well. Now I know to exit stage right at the Phoenix airport in order for Gentry to find me :)
We head back to her apartment, visit a little, and then I promise to go to bed and leave her alone so she can study for her dental school exam that takes place the next morning. She made me watch an episode of Jersey Shore. I must confess, I think I am dumber now...
I wake up around 8:15 Friday morning and Gentry is already at her test, so I just lounge around the house, balance my checkbook, eat a little snack, turn on the TV for some mindless entertainment (NOT Jersey Shore)...things like that. She gets back around 9:45 and picks me up to go have brunch with some of her dental school friends. We went to a place called The Good Egg. It was delicious. And she has a pretty fun group of friends :) After brunch I had to take her back to her school because she had to go back to class.
I decided to take a little mid-day trip to Glendale to go assess the damage at my sister's rental property they still own there. The renter just moved out, so I offered to go check it out and see how bad she left it. It wasn't completely horrible, but I do feel sorry for my sister and brother-in-law. Renters can be so crappy. I try really hard to be a good renter. But basically it's nothing that some new carpet, paint, a new piece of trim here and there, and a good cleaning won't fix. A friend of my sister's is actually moving into it once it is habitable again...so I'm sure she will take much better care of it :)
I drove back to Mesa just in time for Gentry to get back from her class. We lounged around the house for a couple hours, then we decided to go have some sushi :) It was only 4:30, but we had breakfast around 10am and never ate lunch, so we thought it was appropriate :) Plus, the place we went to had sushi Happy Hour, where some of the rolls were half price before 6pm. You know me and how I love discounts and good deals...so I ordered a $14 roll for only $7 :) I also had my first ever Mango Margarita for $5...I can't remember what it was originally, but it was on the happy hour menu for 5 bucks. haha. After our sushi date, we went on a little adventure at Hobby Lobby. I didn't buy anything, but I don't have a Hobby Lobby or Michael's or anything of that nature within an hour and a half driving distance, so I was happy to get the opportunity to go look around a bit. I just wanted to try to get some DIY ideas for my wedding, and Gentry is always a good person to have with you to just browse :)
Next stop was a place called Relax Station in the mall. I typically don't do malls, but for this I could make an exception. Gentry and I decided to have an hour long session of acupressure and foot reflexology. I didn't know what either of those were exactly, but basically we had a killer body massage. I liked the acupressure because they didn't hurt me, but they also didn't just pet me...it was just the right amount of roughness you hope for in a massage. When I walked out of that room, based on the look on Gentry's face when she saw me, I can only assume I looked like a zombie. It felt delightful.
|I got to sit in one of these really awkward chairs for part of the acupressure portion. Then I got moved to a long padded table with a hole in it for my face.|
Woke up the next morning and Gentry was nice enough to make us breakfast...scambled eggs, pillsbury cinnamon rolls, and crispy bacon. Yum :) We ate breakfast and lounged around the house the rest of the morning and early afternoon waiting on her friends to wake up from their mid-day naps or get back from their shopping trips so we could go float the river.
Spending 3 years in Tahlequah, OK for college, I'd like to think of myself as a seasoned veteran when it comes to floating the river. But not this time. It was a whole new experience for me. We went to this place called Salt River Tubing. On this river, you do not use rafts or kayaks...you float down the river in your very own tube.
|Well, sort of your own. You rent them.|
|Or if you're a local, you can bring your own.|
From what I'm told, apparently this river only has water in it for part of the year (during the summer) when they open up the dam. The rest of the year, it is completely dry. The fact that the water was from a dam makes sense, because the water was painfully cold. 115 degrees outside, but the water was dang near freezing.
|I must say it was a very pretty trip, in one of those "desert pretty" kind of ways. The river was basically in the canyon, so the scenery was fun :)|
|Occasionally the water got a little rough and we actually had some rapids! Warning: Be sure to lift your butt up out of your raft hole. Rapids typically = giant rocks!|
We went home and crashed shortly after dinner, then woke up the next day and had some leftover cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We lounged a bit, then finally got up and around and went and browsed around Ross for a bit. I really like that store...if only I had a way of getting it home from Mesa back to Arkansas in just 5.5 more weeks, I would've bought some really cute things for our house back home. Which is even more disappointing, because we don't have a Ross in Fayetteville. But I guess I'm just going to have to try to find one nearby...I know there is one in Tulsa. Hopefully they have as cute of stuff!
After our Ross trip, we made a quick stop at Taco Bell and got me some lunch before she took me to back to the airport. So there you have it...that is all for my weekend adventures in Phoenix/Mesa! :)