Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts Photo Gallery Transition

The Trip to Scottsdale 1 (The Flight Down)

Today will be the first of probably several posts about my trip for FFS down to Scottsdale. This post will be a general wrap up of flight down. Other posts will be about specific events, dates or things but will not include the surgery related aspects. The surgery will be handled separately so people can avoid the details if they want.

The morning of 4/24 started out pretty good. We were both wide awake and head out of the apartment, driven by our good friend Torie (thank you!). The trip to the airport was pretty quiet, I was nervous (and I assume the hubby was as well), and Torie was exhausted from coming to get us.

Once at the airport though I got the have my first experience of the week that would turn out to be frustrating, and honestly not that surprising. We were waiting at the gate for Delta when I had to run to the restroom. I am dressing femininely now but I still didn’t feel without the surgery that I wanted to cross the bathroom border yet.

Not my best look landing in Phoenix, it was a rough morning, also yes I actually do need a bra

I got into the bathroom and did my business. As I am trying to clean up, make sure my mascara is on right (eyeliner issues) and I saw in the mirror a shorter guy, muscled and glaring at me. He stepped right up behind me, maybe three feet between us and watched. I finished looking at myself, turned to him at my entire 6’2″ and asked, “Do we have a problem?”.

First, I know I don’t pass, so at no point did he think I was a girl. However, he did seem to assume I am fairly meek, and to be honest I am a lot more meek now and risk averse then ever. The hormone issues later this trip kind of show why.

He stepped back from for a second and took me in. My only advantage is height, but also probably the lack of caffeine… I hadn’t had any at that point and some of my friends can vouch that it doesn’t go well without it. I can be aggressive and they tell me a little crazy looking. He raised his hands, “no man, no problem” and continued back into the toilet area.

Unfortunately that put me in a more self-conscious mood and less angry mood. I spent the time in the airport feeling uncomfortable with myself, looking in my phone constantly at my image (using the camera). The hubby was great though, he made sure to double check how I looked for the twenty thousand times I asked, he reassured me, told me he loved me, and was pissed at the guy in the bathroom for me (by this time I was more embarrassed and less pissed).

We got on our plane and was met by the best possible incident I would have this trip and a nice thing in general.

Hubby and I

The hubby insisted we fly first class for the surgery. He would rather pay the money for me not to be squished in coach on my return trip with head surgery. It would turn out to be an excellent choice and worth the little extra debt it cost.

We got on the flight and things were smooth, the stewardess was fantastic and during the coarse of the flight. She brought us some sort of biscuit sandwich breakfast with yogurt and fruit. I found I liked the fruit a lot better than everything else (my cravings and tastes have changed so much in the last year).

Somehow during the flight the stewardess and I talked and she asked about our trip to Phoenix/Scottsdale and we told her about my surgery. She was incredibly sweet before, but she was even more kind. Right before we landed she had put together a little care package out of first class foodstuffs for my recovery. While I couldn’t eat it, it was something the hubby could and her concern was outstanding. It totally made up for any issues that day.

Once we got to the Alamo Car Rental agency and picked up our car we were trying to decide what to do. Originally we were going to go to the Odysea Aquarium then check in, but we were already tired from the flight and had to go shopping for food for the week so instead we opted out.

We went to the hotel room and checked in, we then went to the Frye’s Signature grocery store and picked up the food we would eat for a week (we don’t like to eat out multiple times a day, and I wouldn’t be able to with the diet I had to go on with clear liquids and soft foods).

We got back to the hotel and pulled out our Apple TV. I had decided I was tired of being stuck on whatever crappy channels the hotel had and we brought it down thinking to just login to the network and plug it in. It turns out it is a little harder to do that, we had to deal with an idiot as we called the hotel’s internet people and asked them to add our Apple TV’s mac address to their network, which they did and it was 9 days of watching our own shows, only a super tiny tv screen sadly.

Ta-Da!

We then decided to eat some Mexican food from an area that should know how to make it and we were not disappointed. I knew that I only had 24 hours of eating normal before restrictions so I enjoyed some nice enchiladas and a quiet moment with my hubby. We ended up going to Habanero’s Mexican Grill and it was fantastic!

We then went back to the hotel and decided to call it a day and start watching Marvel movies. The hope was to finish them all and go see Endgame before we left.

That was it, our first day of travel down for the trip, not even any surgical info in there. Below is a general set of pictures

 

 

Posted in General Update Internal Thoughts

Travel

A lot of people don’t understand why I am not satisfied with my current employment. I get paid more than I probably ever will again, for a job that is much easier than any job I will have in the future. I have many reasons I am not satisfied, one of the reasons for my dislike is the travel.

I realize it is normal for a lot of couples to spend time away from each other. I hear from some people “that’s healthy”, but not for me. Before this job, over 22 years of marriage I had only been away from my husband for maybe three days at most. Since I started my job in 2014 however I have spent 4+ weeks a year away from him, the pay, the ease of job isn’t worth it to me.

It is probably partially because my parents didn’t spend time away from each other. The only time they did was when it was forced by outside forces (primarily if my dad had to do any time in jail). Other than that, in their entire 46-year marriage they never spent a day away from each other.

I hate being away from him, I would rather work in fast food, living paycheck to paycheck then to spend a night from him. Eventually I will be in a position to change this situation. I won’t wait for some “future date” when all my student loans will be paid off, it will be sooner than later, much sooner.

However, for now at least I have to take a flight this morning to Atlanta where I will stay for five days (one weekend day and four weekdays). I will just be counting down the hours until I can come home to him.

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts Purely Photos

Winter 2017 PHX Surgery Trip Day 2-4

The last three days were a little stressful, but mostly unassuming. First let’s cover our Ghost cat status. Torie was kind enough to feed him.

The hubby and I went to his final pre-op appointment on Tuesday, where we waited for the doc to get caught up. Finally we met, talked and things looked good for the surgery.

We then went to the surgical center, where he would stay a day before being released. Once again we waited, and about an hour after surgery was supposed to start our doc arrived for that (are you seeing a pattern yet). Hubby was incredibly happy to get it started.

His usually happiness symbol.

The day ended with the hubby getting out of surgery, being rolled back to his room and resulted in me visiting with him for a few hours before going back to the hotel room.

I arrived early (after having a great waffle breakfast at my La Quinta hotel) and prepared for the hubby to be released. His initial schedule was somewhere between 10-11am. We eventually checked him out at 5:30pm (see that pattern) and this was without even seeing the doc. We were told to check with the office on Friday for when they will want to see hubby to pull his drain out.

He waited so long to be discharged

We went to bed and finally woke up today (Friday). We went and had a great waffle breakfast which made him very happy. We then moved on to more laying in bed while he heals. We tried getting a hold of the office but found not only were they closed, but their phones were disconnected…

We left a message on the nurse’s separate line and she called back eventually, arranging us an 8:30 am appt on Monday that is right before our flight. Unsatisifying to me, but I will take what we can get.

Just so happy to have the surgery over with, now time for healing.

Finally I had realized I had forgotten my battery I use to charge my iPad/iPhone at the hospital so I picked it up, picked up some Red Robin burgers for the hubby and now here I am sitting in the room letting him heal. So that is it for this report. Stay tuned there will be more updates and I will eventually write a full review of this experience 🙂

 

Posted in Events Health Transition

Surgery Trip: Day 3

Today is S-Day, Surgery Day. Wolsey and I didn’t sleep much at all overnight, between his surgery prep and general anxiety we both were a bit on edge. Oh, did I forget to mention that at 1am our fire alarm began beeping, signaling it was out of battery. Fortunately Wolsey took the lead and fixed it by taking the alarm down (after contacting the desk).

We were up at 0415 and nope, we weren’t feeling any better than 1am. We gathered our clothes together, got dressed and headed out to Greenbaum Surgery Center at 0500. It was completely empty outside. If this was Seattle the roads would already be busy, but everything was empty.

On the way to surgery
85 degrees at 4:30am WTF

We arrived to the dark surgery center and sat there watching conservative local news for about 20 minutes. It was then that Wolsey checked in, signed off the paperwork and got ready for surgery. I have to say the receptionist was absolutely the most supportive receptionist I have seen. It was very reassuring.

Only ones here
Checking in to surgery

We sat for awhile, watching horrible news, surfing the net, until they came out and asked Wolsey back. He disappeared for about 30 minutes when they came out and got me to come back. I sat with him for awhile, got to see Dr. Webb, and Wolsey’s anesthesiologist (sorry I don’t remember his name). Finally I got to meet Wolsey’s nurse, a great older man who was joking about his husband (I believe his name was Jeff).

Going into surgery

I left, went home and ate breakfast. Eventually I was heading out to go see a movie at 10am when I got a call from Jeff saying Wolsey had successfully made it through the hysterectomy, oophorectomy, and vaginectomy with no problems at all. All that was left was medioplasty. This meant he might be out before the movie was over, so instead I swung by Arizona Territory, a souvenir store and picked him up an Arizona souvenir spoon and an Arizona Ranger badge.

It was hours of waiting for him to get out of surgery. Eventually I got a call that he was out and in recovery. Instead of going directly there (well I went there and found he couldn’t have visitors) I went and had a nice lunch at the local Denny’s. I haven’t been in a Denny’s in years, and the last two times sucked, but this was like the Denny’s from my teen years and was worth it.

I finally got back to the hospital and he was in his room. He was incredibly smiley, still drugged but happy to see me. He was in great shape and between falling asleep he would chat with me. After about an hour and a half I left him so he could fully sleep. I went back to the hotel and laid in bed waiting to fall asleep, I would go into see him as soon as I was up and moving. Damn even one night away from him is hard, tomorrow night will be twice as hard.

Post surgery is rough

Oh, and Ghost had eaten his food yesterday so when our friend came over she found him again not too keen on her being there. I feel bad for him.

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Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts

Second day in L.A.

The second day was a bit unremarkable. It started with going down to the “breakfast nook” of the hotel. There they had a waffle maker and a breakfast bar. I grabbed a waffle and a yogurt and eat quickly.

 

Then I went back up to the room and worked a bit on one of my audits and it wasn’t pretty. Also my hair wouldn’t spike up…

Tired… so tired…

The first two/thirds of the day was spent in class learning how to use SAS. It is a pretty cool thing to do, I am really hoping we actually use it at work. I think it can be a pretty good tool. Also both of our presenters/teachers were easy to listen and it was a fairly relaxed environment. If only my work computer would quit blue screening on me.

Originally we were going to go to the Disney store since we were next to Disneyland, but I needed a bit of space to myself so I begged off. I went to my room, sat around for a few minutes and decided I needed to get some exercise. With no workout gear I decided a walk would work just as well as anything else. I haven’t really walked around here and wasn’t sure where to go. I have been to Jack in the Box for lunch, but this time I decided to turn right and take a walk down that direction.

Lots of creepy underpasses around here.

I did find something awesome on my walk. I had gotten about a mile down and was getting ready to turn around when I came across Yum Yum Donuts. Evidently it is a chain of donut shops down here in California. I hadn’t heard it before, but the place looked inviting.

Yum Yum Donuts!

I walked in and was overwhelmed with a most beautiful sight. A whole display case full of wonderful smelling fresh donuts.

I would have to take three pictures to catch the whole row of donuts.

I went in and bought a couple of donuts. I have been fairly good so far, and honestly I do eat my emotions (well my stress is probably a closer approximation) so I had to have some. They were better than they smelled. I haven’t had donuts this good since Lafeen’s back up in Bellingham in the late 1980s. They are better than Voodoo donuts, and I think I have had Rocket Donuts and they are better than that as well.

While I was sitting there, I decided I needed to bring some milk back to my hotel room for my cereal I had bought the night before. So I traveled just a short distance further. There I was confronted by a sign you would never see here in the Pacific NW.

It is always interesting to see how even though we live on the same coast, both Washington and California are very progressive/liberal, but there are just small things that do show the minor differences. I then went into the 7-11 and got some milk. The store had more food in it then I am used to seeing in a 7-11. Not quite as good as larger bodegas, but obviously at least this location sold some food, and I assume that is because there are not any grocery stores within walking distance of the hotel.

I didn’t want to freak the lady out and take a picture inside.

Finally I went back to the hotel room. There I was inundated with Shark Tank on the TV. I don’t think I have mentioned this before about L.A. but I am always surprised at how TV is slightly different in each town. However, evidently California is pretty similar overall to Seattle on that part. The stations are pretty similar and there is a wonderful lack of 4 different FOX stations I got stuck watching in Atlanta. Also the ads aren’t objectionably conservative like they were in Georgia.

Then my little brother called and after he was done talking to me I got to do the only thing I wanted to do today… talk to my husband.

img_3807
Talking to hubby, and watching Shark Tank.
Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts

First day in L.A.

I flew down to Los Angeles yesterday for the first time. Work decided I needed training and I needed it “NOW”. The flight down was definitely a delta flight that had a bit of anxiety inducing mechanical sounds grinding. It reminded me of the first time I flew to Atlanta a couple years ago on my first flight ever.

The first thing I noticed upon landing is that it was low 60s. Obviously people here consider that a cool temperature as the guy at Thrifty Cars was wearing a sweater/hoodie under his yellow safety vest. My two coworkers and I both from Seattle were already warm, so the difference was interesting. The one thing I have noticed is I don’t mind the weather down here in January. This would be a good time to go to Disneyland.

The next thing I noticed are palm trees. I have never been to a place that has palm trees that grow naturally. I mean I grew up on 80s tv that showed California and Florida palm trees but I had never seen one in real life that wasn’t in Seattle, freezing and on life support because it couldn’t survive. I am not sure why that caught my attention specifically, but it was interesting.

Palm trees everywhere.

We then drove down from LAX to La Palma where my office is. Its about 26 miles so we drove the freeways and it took 40 minutes. I was surprised, I have heard how bad traffic is here in LA, but I-405 in Seattle is WAY WAY worse at the same time of day. It would have took me half again as long to get that far on I-405 in the Renton Curves. Funny enough one of the highways we took down here was also I-405.

I got to the La Quinta. A bunch of my coworkers were freaking out we had to use them. I found it a little worn around the edges. It obviously had a heyday sometime in the 90s or earlier, but honestly its fine. The bathroom was the tiniest bathroom I have seen in a hotel, but still not bad. The people who work here are nice. The biggest advantage is lots of cheap restaurants/fast food within walking distance. I appreciated that.

Really not that bad overall

Then later in the evening we went to get food at a store and dinner. We decided to stop at In-N-Out. I have heard nothing but people extolling the virtues of the restaurant. I mean that is all I hear “you have to go to In-N-Out and get a double double”.

meh… that ball of lettuce didn’t help any.

I ate it, and found it wasn’t bad, but nothing special to write home about. In fact I still much prefer Dick’s at home. I also noticed that “the greatest sauce ever” as it was called by others, was actually only Thousand Island Dressing. Seriously, I like Thousand Island, but its Thousand Island… not really a secret recipe. Maybe next time (if there is one) I will try just a cheeseburger, something that is more equal against a Dick’s cheeseburger.

Finally we went to the grocery/warehouse store next to the In-N-Nout named Smart and Final Extra. It seems close to the Cash and Carry’s that are near where we live, except there are more single serve items as well. It was funny, when I originally asked the hotel staff if there was a grocery store nearby they said the name and I asked if it was a bodega, for some reason the name just didn’t fit with a preconceived notion of what a grocery store was.

Finally I got home, worked on a couple of credit hours for work, and went to bed.

 

Posted in Events General Update Internal Thoughts Photo Gallery Purely Photos

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad

DATE NIGHT:
Where: Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Hobo Inn
Links: MRSR (http://www.mrsr.com/) Hobo Inn (http://rrdiner.com/)
Date: July 31 – August 1st, 2015.

See the gallery and short video (all the short video clips I took) under the post below.

I have been really bad about posting our date nights (Jello and I). Well in this case it was a date overnight at the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad in Elbe Washington. This would be the first time we have ever spent the night with just us, and not with a bunch of our friends at a hotel. Originally we were going to ride one of their steam trains, but sadly the week before the train broke down and we were riding a Northern Pacific train that starred in the movie Runaway with Jon Voight in 1985.

Northern Pacific #7012A, the train from “Runaway Train” starring Jon Voight.

I wasn’t sure at first, it was a small disappointment. However, that all changed when we we got off work that Friday night. We had decided to stay in the Hobo Inn which was a motel that used train cars as rooms. The disadvantage of the train car was the small bed. It was double in size, but shorter, so my legs hung off. We didn’t stay in the room long because we were both hungry.

This is the room we rented at the hotel that rents out cabooses next door to the train.

There is also a restaurant that is attached as several train cars. We sat and ate buffalo burger and an elk burger. They were fairly tasty, the lady was nice who served us and the sunset lighting was pretty cool. She explained that the drought was killing them, the lake that is right off the site was empty of water. Huge tree trunks stuck straight out of the ground, and the waitress was in awe of how dry everything was.

Dining Car

What we didn’t expect during our trip was no cell service, therefore no internet service. That made our night a little surreal and a throwback to the 90s. What took us back even further was the small 13 inch tv with a built in VHS player and a bunch of old videos. We ended up watching Fright Night… on VHS… Honestly it was a lot of fun.

Yes, this is the Fright Night VHS tape.

We woke up the next morning, walked across the main road that goes up to the pass and got coffee and the small store, along with some snacks. We wandered back to our room and watched Scream on VHS while waiting for the train time (the Hobo Inn is literally across the street from the train station and sits on the rail line the train uses).

Early morning outside the caboose.

We picked up tickets later that morning, and found that they were out of collector spoons (which made Jello and I both sad). We hopped on the train car and prepared for the ride.

Tickets!

The ride was fun. I have never been on a train and it was definitely fun. The train takes a person up about 8 miles (45 minutes to an hour) and stops at a mining area and train depot. There they have a museum with a bunch of trains that we wandered around for an hour. Even with all the children around it was fun.

Oldschool train

We then road back to the main station. The whole time we enjoyed the rocking of the train, the forests around us and the cool breeze in the hot summer. When we got back we climbed in the car and on our way home we noted the huge tree trunks in the water. We decided to stop and take a picture. If you look closely in some of these pictures you can see people standing behind them.

Evidently it hasn’t been this dry in living memory. Look closely in the middle of the picture and yes those are humans standing by the trees.

 

Short Video:

DATE NIGHT GALLERY!!!

Posted in Video Blog

Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta Georgia

As part of my work, I travel for training. For two weeks in October 2014 I was in Atlanta Georgia. I missed my husband, but I was able to visit Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA. The largest cemetery in Atlanta with Confederate graves.

Date: October 2014

Posted in Internal Thoughts

Morning of Day 2 in Atlanta

Here I am trying to wake up to go to my first day of schooling (for two weeks of training for my new job). I am back in Atlanta, and as a side note for people who don’t know, I live in the Pacific NW, I got in Sunday evening and was way too tired to post then. My goal though is to post constantly while I am here, I slacked last time.

First, I have to say everyone in the airport and at the hotel have been incredibly nice. I realize they are service workers and that is what they get paid for, but the whole Southern Hospitality schtick seems to hold up so far.

The hotel room itself is actually really nice. I have a couch, coffee table, a nice bed, tv and a small moveable desk if I need. It is excellent for a two week stay. The only disappointment is the hotel doesn’t have microwaves in the rooms (wtf is up with that? Every motel 6 I have stayed at in the past had one, this is a higher grade hotel). So this is another pro compared to last time, this hotel is definitely a better grade.

Walmart was once again a nightmare though. I thought maybe last time I was here the Walmart food area was just overwhelmed but it seems to be a derelict of empty shelves at all times. The customers though are nicer here then in the Pacific NW. They smile more and say hi when they pass by.

The shuttle driver and service is also already a lot better then last time as well. He shows up when he says he will and doesn’t act like its the end of the world. So far so good.

There has only been two cons so far!

The first is our internet SUCKS!!! We get this 128k type internet (I am sure it is faster but doesn’t feel like it) and you have to pay an additional $6 a day if you want full speed. I am sure our agency paid for full internet so I will have to look into that.

The media… what was I thinking when I turned on the tv and they had a commercial that Georgia has a million new jobs! Yet ALL of those million new jobs went to THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, and that WE MUST TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY.

Ahh conservatives in the South are “still keeping it real”, it is nice you are so reliable in your outlook. I am a little more aware of things this time, so I can watch a bit closer on how different from where I am from, maybe I can be a little more discerning, but as a person in a same-sex marriage with alternate (read liberal) ideas I definitely feel out of my realm.

It doesn’t help I work a white collar job with the vast majority of people who have middle class or higher privilege and are straight/conservative. This just magnifies things. Also I do realize I have my own biases, and I suspect I will never move those biases as well (pro-working class and lower economic levels, pro alternate lifestyles, anti “traditional” outlooks).

Don’t worry, I am already seeing more stuff to write up, you will get a lot of stuff in the  next two weeks.

Posted in General Update Internal Thoughts

Atlanta Summer 2014 Disclaimer

dodI just got back Friday night from my first training with my new job. This was a series of new things that I haven’t done before and I am sure many of these incidents colored my view of the Atlanta Georgia, and by default the south in general.

The training was my “onboarding” for my new audit job. It was basically a week long introduction to the agency, some general overview of what and how we audit, and also sort of a networking opportunity with all the other new hires. I have never worked for the feds before, and honestly this week alone I got more training then any other job gave me over the entire span of my career. The State Auditor’s Office didn’t even come close.

So this trip had a lot of firsts for me. It was my first airplane ride (except evidently I was on a plane when I was 2). It was the longest I have been gone from Jello in our 22+ year marriage (5 nights, 6 days, when the total time before this for all days combined was maybe 5 nights separate). It was my first time to the south so that was a cultural, and physical difference. I want to also note that I have never lived alone for that long. I lived with my family, then moved in with roommates then with Jello. I have never lived by myself except for the days that I was away from Jello, which combined were the same or less total days then I was at this training. Although by the end of the trip, I think I was acclimating.

In addition lately I am super stressed because I am at a new job, a new probationary period, we are moving in three weeks several towns over. I am commuting about 90 miles a day (further then I was to my previous job in Bellevue) and my work day right now is 11-12 hours a day with the commute.

With all these stresses, I must be very honest that I probably wasn’t the most unbiased observer (combined with my super progressive/liberal/lgbt friendly outlook). So this post is partially a disclaimer for my future observation posts about Atlanta Summer 2014 (and I have a lot of them coming I think). I am fortunate, I am going to get to go back to Atlanta in October (not in the horrific summer weather) for two weeks for more training. When I give updated posts then I am sure the bias won’t be so bad.

Overall though the trip was good. This is a good sign that the agency I work for takes me serious. I would talk about my initial week but honestly it was mostly a blur. The airplane trip went really well. The landing in Atlanta was evidently way worse then others had ever experienced (and it was a bit scary, but post about that later) but the return trip was fine. The stay at the hotel did suck, but that was a hotel issue, not a “south” or Atlanta problem.

I met a lot of nice people, had several interesting interactions, and even with my hatred of being gone from my hubbie it was a good experience. I think it will be even better in October (omg people talked about the humidity in the south, but I had NO IDEA).

I think the job is a good thing, I still have some anxiety and uncomfortableness but I suspect some of that is the fact I like to shoot myself in the foot. I will post a lot more about the trip in several future posts. There was quite a bit of culture shock for me, but like I said I had a lot of stresses going in. I am hoping writing about it might let me separate what was actual experience versus the gerbils in my head.