Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Scottsdale, AZ to Las Vegas, NV

Can I survive the flight home? I’m not going to risk it. Instead of flying back, we opt to extend the rental and drive back to Las Vegas . Not ideal in this heat – but I can’t see them suffer on the plane again.

We take off mid afternoon, as the boys are ready for a nap, and they are asleep as we hit the freeway. Before we get out of Phoenix we stop for our highlight of the 3 days – Amy’s beloved Chick Fil-A. We drive through and power on, trying to get as far as we can while the boys are asleep. We stop on the side of the road about 3 hours into the trip for a feed, and have to refuel in Kingman. It was from here home, that the boys were restless and made the trip a little more difficult.

After picking up my car from the airport and dropping off the rental we were finally home just after 6pm. Everyone’s happy that this trip is over and we all sleep like the dead.

What this trip has taught us is that we will wait until the boys have a better understanding of their surroundings before we get on a plane again, and who knows when it will be before we get them back to see my family in Australia?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Scottsdale, AZ

With the nightmare hopefully behind us, the boys and I are set for a day in Phoenix .

I wanted to go to the Phoenix Art Museum , as they have a Gordon Parks exhibit and an exhibit about the new bridge over the Hoover Dam. The concierge is excited that someone is asking about the museum, as she is a docent there – unfortunately it is closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Plan denied.

It is so hot outside, so we head to the Fashion Mall in Scottsdale , just so we have a place to wander around in the air conditioning. We spent just a little time there before heading back to the hotel. We could walk around the grounds a bit, but the boys needed sleep.

After Amy finished with work I had an early dinner at the hotels Ocean Trail restaurant. Some great oysters and clams.

I am on babysitting duty again tonight as Amy heads out for a work dinner. Should be easy, I’ve done this enough times before – oh wait, not on this trip. Come bedtime, I had the boys wrapped, read them their story and they were drifting off to sleep. Maybe they were having flashbacks to the plane ride yesterday, but something set them off, and the screaming began again. I tried – I did – I promise, but nothing I did would calm them down. I could pick up one to comfort them and the other would ramp it up, and vice versa. I held on as long as I could, but eventually I had to call up to the restaurant to have Amy come and help me. As it turns out – mom was all they needed. With their mother’s touch and a quick bath, they were calmed and ready for bed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Las Vegas, NV to Scottsdale, AZ

The big test! How will the boys go flying in an airplane? The answer is in the nightmare that follows.
Las Vegas to Phoenix – a 45 minute flight. A good little first timer for the boys. We are prepared – bottles at the ready, boys to be fed as we are taking off. Here in lies the first problem. A delay in the flight meant we had to get feeding started well before takeoff. When we do get on the completely full plane, Amy and I can’t sit together as there would be 5 people in the row, and only 4 oxygen masks. So after getting settled in, I have to move Leland and my shit. (Problem number 2). So let’s hope their ears are OK for the ascent.

Guess what? They are not. Both Barrett & Leland do not take well to the flight and scream, not cry, but scream like I have never heard them before. I felt awful. There was nothing I could do comfort my guys, and the poor people around us – but what could I do? I could hope that they could calm down, but as per everything else that has happened so far the screaming continued until we stepped off the plane (but it stopped as soon as we were in baggage claim).

The crying started again as soon as we got in the rental car and continued until we got to Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale .

Amy & I were exhausted and settled for room service for dinner as we tried to get the boys to sleep. Of course during the course of the night I kicked the baseboard of the bed, because when you’re on a roll right?

We finally got them settled down we were in bed and out like a light. But to continue the horror of the day, the alarm clock in the room went off at around midnight….and would not turn off. Not because we are incompetent – it took engineering to come in and cut the wiring for the clock before the noise stopped. Goodnight!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Garth Brooks @ Encore

Never in a million years would I imagine going to a Garth Brooks concert – but tickets were free and people ask me about it all the time at work – so I’ll try anything once. I sat in the last row of the balcony (as far away as you can get) but still wasn’t too disappointed with the view, though I may have been if I’d paid for the ticket.

I will preface the story saying I know not a Garth Brooks song (or so I thought). I had to ask colleagues about him and was told his big hit was “I Got Friends In Low Places”. That tells me nothing! He came out on stage dressed like he had just finished fixing his car, not the big cowboy hat and nice outfit that you see in all the pictures of him, but jeans and a baseball cap – and he had a story to tell. The show started with a song I actually did know (not because of him, but because a Me First & The Gimme Gimmes cover) “Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old”. From there he told the story of his career, life and family and played songs that influenced his life. Whether it was George Jones, Elton John, Billy Joel, Cat Stevens, James Taylor or whoever, each song was well appreciated by me and the audience. Each cover was a revelation as to how playing in bars, honkytonks, clubs lead him to the success he enjoys today. Songs were scattered between great tales of growing up in Oklahoma , playing shows and meeting his idols (amongst other things).

It was over an hour before he played one of his own songs again – and that is when the crowd went really wild. My interest then changed to his stories and watching the audience have a blast. It was great fun! After nearly 2 hours, he then stopped and asked the audience to share experiences and make requests – and he knew every show they talked about and graciously played anything they asked for.

To finish the night he told about how he always wanted to write and anthem – like Piano Man or Wonderwall – and trust me he has. He didn’t need to sing as the audience got up on their feet and belted out “I Got Friends In Low Places”. It was a magic way to end a fun night.

Afterwards I read a lot of reviews from his fans that were disappointed that it wasn’t his regular big production (with a band and all the trimmings). Maybe it was good that I didn’t know of him, as I am now a fan.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 320th concert.
This is my 1st concert at Encore.
Encore is the 87th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 115th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 115th concert in Nevada.
This is my 127th concert in the USA.
Garth Brooks is the 385th band I've seen.