December 31, 2010

Weather and Memories

Here is an Arizona weather update that will not bring envy to our Midwest friends: There was a freeze advisory last night which will continue tonight. The high today was in the low 50s and there was a wind chill factor last night. A neighbor claimed to have seen snow flurries yesterday, though we were out and about shopping and missed it. Right now, our downstairs furnace is not working, though the new one we installed last spring, that keeps the upstairs warm, works fine. Here it is a minor inconvenience. In Chicago, this would be a more serious problem. We will get it fixed by Monday.

Our family Christmas present to ourselves was a trip to Flagstaff/Williams for two days. The original plan was to ride on The Polar Express Monday night and go skiing the next day. However, I didn't have my act together enough to get ski clothes for everyone in time. Plus the snow was very icy and hard--not good conditions for first time skiers. The Polar Express was really fun. We took the 6:30 p.m. train out of Williams. We drank hot (okay, warm) chocolate, ate cookies, heard an audiobook of _The Polar Express_, sang Christmas carols, saw Santa Claus, who gave them bells. As we returned to Flagstaff, Eric and I discussed options for the next day. We decided upon a tour of Lowell Observatory, home of Pluto, which is another way to say that Pluto was discovered there. It was a great tour. The tour guide involved the kids in many ways. They got to operate the dome, and move the original refracting telescope around with her supervision and help. We picked up some souvenirs, like a book called _Can You Count to a Googol?_, and a really beautiful cobalt blue ornament for the Christmas tree named "Night Skies." We ate at Olive Garden and returned home.

The only "problem" we had involved our hotel accommodations. We had a great view of the snow-capped peak of Humphrey's Peak. The room was swanky, like we just stepped into an IKEA catalog showroom. Everything about the room and hotel was stylistically focused on giving a feeling of snow, including the frosted glass on the door and surrounding the desk. However, a frosted glass door to the bathroom is not very practical when six people are staying in a room. Every time someone went to the bathroom, the light glared through the door, waking Eric and I up. I believe there were at least six trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, including one that I made.

The frosted glass door ended up being the least of our problems, however. Sometime around 12:50, a person near our room decided to take a bath. Or try and create rhythm by turning bathwater on and off. After fifteen minutes, I guess they got bored because they decided to keep it on, creating a roar in the wall that went on for what seemed like forever and probably lasted at least 20 minutes. Eric finally call the front desk to complain. At 1:40, the water turned off and stayed off. Or so we thought....The Bath Person ran their water rhythm at 2:30 for another 30 minutes and repeated the efforts at 3:30 for yet another 30 minutes. In the past, when we had babies and were disturbed by inconsiderate hotel guests, I would think "At 5:30 a.m., when our kids are up and crying to have their diaper change and be fed, we will have our revenge on you, Mr. Late-Night-Carouser!" This is not as sure a thing with older kids, though my kids are plenty loud when they do wake up. For fun, I tried to think of what would cause a person to run a bath in the middle of the night: a harried mother so desperate to have an uninterrupted bubble bath that she gets up in the middle of the night for Calgon to take her away; someone who didn't get to the laundromat in time and was washing a few loads in the bathtub before a day of skiing; maybe even a terrorist building a bomb and washing equipment before, during and after his manufacture of evil (this thought came during the last session). John, of course, slept through it all. And, now I have a funny story to tell about our first trip to Flagstaff, which means, of course, that it was a great time of making memories.

Wherever you are, I hope you are staying warm and have a Happy New Year!

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