Monday was my favorite day.
Once again we took our time waking up that morning, and then when we finally decided to get up and get going, I had what was perhaps the best shower of my entire life. Man, Kirk can kiss like none other!! ‘Nuff said. Other than I am one verrrrry lucky girl. :)
Anyway, he was giving me a hard time about taking so long to get ready, and the more he teased me, the more time I took. I’m contrary like that, sometimes (!). Besides, girls always take longer. If my hair was a fraction of an inch long and I didn’t have to put make-up or anything on, it wouldn’t take me so long to get ready, either!
We couldn't decide if we wanted to go for a late breakfast or an early lunch. Kirk kept saying I had to decide, and I kept saying it was his town and he should choose, and I would choose when something was really important to me one way or another. He eventually settled it by writing a “B” (for breakfast) on one hand, and “L” (for lunch) on the other, and telling me to choose right or left. I chose left, which ended up being breakfast.
We left the house and started out for the breakfast place. I couldn’t tell where we were going – in Utah, you always have the mountains to kind of orient yourself with, but in Phoenix, it all seems very flat and relatively the same, no matter which direction you look. Long story short, it ended up not mattering because we couldn't find the breakfast place and when Kirk finally broke down and called first his brother, then his sister, and finally his mom for directions (apparently this happens a lot, which I think is hilarious – I couldn’t help but giggle, and his mom thought it was pretty amusing, too! Good thing Kirk is a good sport about it...), it ended up being closed that day, anyway. So we went for the early lunch, instead. It was this really cool salad place where you get to watch them make it pretty much to your specifications. Kirk had the standard Caesar and I had a Cobb with some yummy pork tenderloin. They were both huge, and absolutely dee-lish!
Then we went to a really upscale mall, which was really interesting to see and experience but was almost overwhelming for what I am used to. I definitely felt like the proverbial country mouse. It was about four times the size of the Layton Hills Mall, easy, and had Nieman Marcus, and Nordstrom, and Dillard’s, and Macy's in it, plus a Barney’s “coming soon,” a Cartier's, and a Tiffany's and maybe even another jewelry store where entry is by invitation only (i.e., you have to buzz to be let in - you can't just wander in and out at will....). And that doesn't even begin to cover all the little boutique shops and your mall standards like Aeropostale and Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria's Secret, Sephora, etc. We window-shopped and played with the puppies in the pet store and sampled hand lotions and basically acted pretty much the way my younger brother has repeatedly accused me of: like a 40-year-old going on 16. Sigh….
After that, we went to Old Town Scottsdale, which was a lot of fun, as well. We went to this ice cream parlor called "The Sugar Bowl" (here’s a link: http://sugarbowlscottsdale.com/). It has been there since 1958, and is still owned and operated by the same people who opened it up way back then. And, it looks like it hasn't changed a bit in the 51 years since. It looks like a 50’s poodle skirt - all pink and white. Pink vinyl upholstery on the booths, pink Formica with gold flecks in it on all the table tops, black and white checkered floor, pink and white stained glass light fixtures, etc. Bil Keane, the guy who draws The Family Circus comic, apparently lives near the area and is a frequent patron. His comic panels are featured decor, and are included as part of the menu, etc.
The menu itself is kind of hard to figure out, like what columns are flavors of sauces, and which ones are ice creams, and how many of these make one of those and what of this goes with that, and so on. And some of their standard menu items are weird...like, there would be vanilla and orange ice creams with strawberry sauce and you'd think, "Oh, that sounds good..." and then you'd read, "...with Turkish coffee sauce," so you'd be going, "Oh, wait...no, not the Turkish coffee...." So we had a really hard time deciding what we wanted. The waitress must have come by to take our order four or five times.
Finally, we decided to get the Spectacular Banana Bowl, which is basically an "everything on it” banana split, and a small caramel sundae, because that was the one thing the banana split thing was missing, and we'd just share 'em both. So when the waitress finally came back, and took our order, she says, "It took you all that time, just to decide on that?" Then, as she was walking off, Kirk goes under his breath, "Well, there goes your 15%!!!" That made me laugh!
We sat across the aisle from this old couple who were probably in their 80's. The old guy was just bitchin' up a storm. I couldn't understand a word he was saying because it seemed like his dentures were loose or maybe he had hearing loss or some other speech impediment or something, but I could tell he was just bitch, bitch, bitch. The little old lady sitting across from him didn't even bat an eye or even, from what I could tell, acknowledge or respond. Kirk commented a couple of times that he loved people watching, and that old people were great - he could watch/listen to them all day, and he wondered what Grandpa was bitching about, etc. When the waitress finally brought the old guy his sundae, he just tucked into it and didn't even make a peep after that. It was funny! Kirk was all, "Well, there's the secret to keeping him quiet, right there! Bring the man his ice cream!!" I can relate. Ice cream keeps me quiet, too.
Some other couples came in after that and sat near us, and had difficulty ordering, too, so it wasn't just us. We talked about redesigning The Sugar Bowl’s menu for them, and we watched the same waitress - whose nametag said she had worked there since 1964 or something like that - be bitchy to them, too. So Kirk says to me, "I want to order something that's not on the menu and totally mess her up - just blow her out of the water. I'll say, ‘Yeah, I'd like a mayonnaise malt, please!’" And I just lost it - totally got the giggles!!
So then both he and I were just laughing to the point where all we had to do was look at each other and we’d start laughing again!! These two teenage skater chicks had been seated in the booth directly across from ours – and who you'd think we, being the adults, would normally be looking down upon - instead looked down upon us and said, "Hmph!! Apparently, something over there is *awfully* funny!!" And that, of course, made us laugh even harder!
Afterwards, I made Kirk go into a Christmas ornament shop with me, and he said, "See? This is how you know its true love, right here: I am voluntarily going into this store with you!" When we went in, there was some awful glockenspiel muzak playing, and there were these two little old ladies in there with more money than sense. Everywhere you look, there are signs that say, "Please do not touch," and "Please ask for assistance," and these two women (they had a slight accent - I couldn't tell if it was slightly German or what....) were running the sole salesclerk ragged. One would lean over and grab something and the clerk would run over and try to help her, and the other one would start talking from the other side of the store about something else, so the clerk would leave the first one and run over that way. Then the first one would start messing with something, and knock something over...more than once, we'd hear a “crash!” or “thud!” and then one of the old lady's voices would say something like, "Sweet Jesus!!" Then we'd see the sales clerk roll her eyes....and Kirk and I would giggle over that, too!
We went and did a little more souvenir hunting in Old Town, and then we went and met his family (mom, brother and sister-in-law and kids and sister and kids) for pizza. It was some of the best pizza I've ever had. We had wings and some chips and salsa for appetizers - the salsa had shrimp in it, and I know it has a special name, but I can't think of it - and it was scrumptious, too. The pizzas are small - maybe 13"-14" is all, about enough for two people to share, so his sister-in-law and I shared one that had sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh sweet corn, and goat cheese on it. OMG, it was good!!!
And Kirk’s family – I know I already said this, but they really are, to a person, the most down-to-earth, sincere, warm, genuine, and gracious people I have ever met. I didn’t once feel awkward or out of place or uncomfortable, one bit. From my perspective, at least, it felt totally effortless to be around them. And there aren't very many people I can say that about - hell, some of my friends take effort, y'know?
His brother is as funny as he is, his sister-in-law is pretty and warm and friendly and out-going, and their kids are cute and well-mannered and charming. His sister is attractive and polished and generous, and her kids are well-behaved, precious and affectionate and cute as can be, too. I was especially struck by how well-mannered and yet, out-going, *all* of the kids were – the oldest nephew is only 8 or 9, I think, and then there is another nephew who is around 5 or so, and two little nieces who will be turning 4 in a couple of months, a boy and a girl each for his sister and his brother. Compared to all the little monkeys I am accustomed to associating with, no one was swinging from the chandeliers, no one flung themselves on the floor to bawl, no one attempted to run away, there were no fights….it was actually really nice.
And his sister’s little girl was just precious. She must have asked her mom a dozen times through the course of the evening, what my name was. When it was finally time to go, she whispered to her mom that she wanted to give me both a goodbye hug AND a kiss, but she was too embarrassed! So I leaned down and gave her a hug, and told her that that was very nice and I would be happy to give her a hug anytime. So stinkin’ cute!!
After that, we went to see his sister's house. Her hubby is Phil Mickelsen's caddy, so they are comfortably well-off, and live in a gated community where all visitors have to sign in, etc. Their home has a pool and a hot tub and a guest house, etc., and everything in their home is, of course, very nice, with the 15' ceilings and 10' doors, the Viking refrigerator and range and the granite-topped island in the kitchen, and the hand-scraped hardwood plank floors, etc. Absolutely gorgeous! And oddly enough, decorated very much the way I might do it, if I lived there....
She very graciously invited us to stay in the guest house that night. I was a little torn – part of me wanted to go back to Kirk’s and just hang out in his space for some purely emotional need, but the desire for creature comforts ultimately prevailed and we decided to take her up on her offer. We had to run back to Kirk’s, anyway, to get his stuff for work the next day, and while we were there, he opened the birthday present I brought him. It was just a picture of us together, taken the night we met at the barbecue, but I think he liked it OK. I have one just like it. Once my kids actually get to meet him (which I hope will be soon), I will put mine up in my room, too....
Anyway, long story short, I did not sleep in the same bed twice the entire time I was in Phoenix.
Tales of my last day in Phoenix, coming soon.... I promise – you will laugh and cry. But maybe not in that order.
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