Monday, July 15, 2013

Vegas Mini-Vacation

Last week we went to Vegas for a mini vacation. We left early Thursday morning and went to the Hoover Dam where we met up with my twin sister’s family. I haven’t been to the dam since before the bridge was built, back in 2005. When we got there around 12:30 it was already 106 outside. By the end of the tour it was pushing 112. Needless to say we didn’t get to take the extended tour. We went into the power station, walked from the Nevada side to the Arizona side, then left and drove over to the bridge. The water is extremely low right now.

Last time I went it was low but now it’s even lower. I think they said it’s now 68 feet below average and you can see the white line across the lake. A couple years ago there was an article posted about how the water was dropping so fast that they would stop producing electricity there by 2015 and then they got 30 feet of water in the winter of 2011. I read an article criticizing this article and pointing out the fact that they have had worse droughts, longer droughts in the past, and then after these droughts the spillways overflowed in 1983. Just goes to show, global warming isn’t a lie, weather isn’t consistent, scientists don’t know the future. Anyways, enough of the political rant.
After the dam we went over to Jeff’s cousin’s house and then we stayed with my sister in law just South East of Vegas. The next day we had a really late start to our day and we went to a really expensive buffet at the M Casino. It sucked. I could have gone to Texas Brazil for what I spent at this place and I wouldn’t have had to wait nearly two hours to get in.
After spending two hours at the buffet trying to get our money’s worth we finally hit the strip. We parked at the Venetian and started to walk. The temperature peaked around 115 this day but the sun was going down so it wasn’t so bad. We decided we would tackle everything north of the Venetian and head to the Stratosphere. I had never been there before. This is when we learned that my sister in law is really bad at gauging time. A 20 minute walk turned into nearly 2 hours, with stops of course. After a two hour walk we got to the Stratosphere and got to experience the frustration of trying to follow poorly marked signs to get to the top. I think it took 6 different elevators to get there because we kept being told to get on the wrong one.
At the top we took a couple pictures and then went to the rides. Natalie and Jasmine went on their own while I rode on the “Big Shot”, the tower that shoots you up at the top. I was expecting it to be a lot scarier. I really wasn’t that impressed, especially for the price. Supreme Scream at Knott’s Berry Farm is a lot faster and scarier.
By the time we were done and got back out of the Stratosphere it was late. Probably pushing 10:30, so we decided to take a bus back. Right next to the bus stop there was a guy begging for money. When people gave him money instead of saying thank you he would reply “You got a 20?” I started laughing and said out loud, “This guy has some balls”. Guess who ended up next to us on the bus?
The next day we went to Lake Mead. This was supposed to be a record breaking day for heat. Forecast for Willow Beach, 121 degrees. I don’t know what the max was where we were at but it did break 120 that afternoon on the lake. Vegas was supposed to tie their all time high of 117, which they did. Needless to say it was hell getting all our stuff to the boat. The water wasn’t cold but it defiantly provided relief. We spent a couple hours tubing and then I decided to water ski. Keep in mind it’s been close to 15 years since I last water skied. I remember when I was a teenager I got up and water skied Lake Perris for close to an hour straight. I was expecting the same thing today. Haha. It took a couple tries to get up. At first Jeff wasn’t giving the boat enough gas. It took 4-5 tries until he finally just hit it as hard as he could and I got up and by that time I was already getting tired. I had a little fun trying to make rooster tails and after probably only 5-10 minutes I learned that I’m not 16 anymore. I go to the gym, I do my cardio, I’m in pretty decent shape but after maybe 30 minutes, including all the tiring failed attempts, wipe outs, and getting back up, I was pretty tired and had to let go of the rope. I came to the conclusion that when I was 16 I was super human.
We parked the boat on the beach for a while and everyone had lunch. I don’t like to eat in the heat though(heat is an appetite suppressant for me)  so I took a up the dunes to where the shoreline used to be. I found an old boat that was full of rocks. Looks like someone tried to sink it but I couldn’t find a body in it. After 15 minutes of walking in sandals with burning sand hitting the tops of my feet I headed back to the beach. I took one more attempt at water skiing before we heading back to the docks.
I would regret the water skiing the next week. I should have picked the knee board. Monday-Wednesday I could hardly walk my legs were so sore. The good news is that my back survived though, something that I often worry about since I’m changing careers and going to have to go to a pretty intense 4 month training soon and if I don’t survive I’m out of a job. This gives me hope.
After leaving the lake we had dinner at my twin’s timeshare and then hit the strip again. We took the kids to see the water show at the Belagio and then to the Mirage to see the volcano. The walk down the strip wasn’t fun. It wasn’t the 111 degrees at 9PM that was annoying, it was all the porn on the sidewalks and trying to keep the kids from looking at it. By the time we got to the Mirage Adri was pretty tired, sitting on  my shoulders, and putting her head on mine. Twice she jumped up scared during the volcano show but I think she really liked the show.
The next day would be our last day in Vegas. We met up in the early afternoon, parked at the Excaliber, and walked to the M&M store. It was 117, a tie record for hottest day in Vegas, and it felt like it. We spent an hour or so in the M&M store and the souvenir shop next to it and then headed back around 5. By then the heat didn’t seem as bad, probably the same temperature but lower sun.
I took two of my nieces back with me to Arizona. About 30 minutes south of the dam I had to hit the brakes because everyone in front of me stopped. I looked over and there was a flipped car and it looked like someone got ejected. There was about a dozen cars already pulled over, people looking in the car, and others running away from it. I decided that since so many people already stopped there was no need for me to. Plus the people running away from the car made me think maybe it was going to explode. Twenty minutes later I looked in my rear view mirror and saw smoke. I don’t know if it was from that car but it’s a possibility.
The drive back sucks. Slow, dark, winding roads for five hours. We passed two fires on the way back. Both were big but not anything that seemed overly impressive to me being how I grew up in SoCal and the fires in 2003 were massive. The next morning I heard that 19 firefighters died that night fighting the second one we passed, the Yarnell fire, which was the most firefighters lost in an incident since 9-11 and the most lost from a fire in over 80 years. We got back late, around 11, and I went to bed at 12. I had to be up at 3 the next morning for work. Work hard, play harder. That has been my life since moving to Arizona. Working 50 hour weeks, leaving the state for long weekends, and getting home three hours before work. 
About 20 minutes before we got to the Hoover Dam.

 
 








The water is really low.
That's the Nevada spillway behind Natalie.


Adriana stretching out over two states.
Taken from the bridge crossing the Colorado River.


 
This girl was drunk off her butt walking down the strip. My brother in law got her to take a picture with him, with her knee up to his chest.  
 At the top of the Stratosphere.

 

Wipeout



The hike I took up to where the water used to be. It's dropped a long ways.
 
This was at the Mirage. Being that tired it's no surprised the volcano explosions scared her twice. 

My Lil Girl



Lately I've been bad at keeping track of all the crazy funny things that Adri says. I need to get better and writing these things down before I forget. Here are a couple of things she has come up with lately.

“Daddy, it’s a lot of degrees outside today”

After she gets out of the shower Adri likes to have Natalie wrap her in a towel and then she says “Let’s show Daddy my burrito”. She remembers when I used to wrap her up like a burrito.

"Daddy when you get smaller I’m going to carry you”.

Adri got in her car seat last week and said "Daddy when you get smaller you can sit in a big white car seat. I'll drive you around like this, zoom zoom."

When we walked into Lee Lee (our favorite international market) she said "What's that smell? It smells like scorpions in here." The scorpion smell is actually the seafood department.

When going to Lee Lee with Natalie she tells Natalie "Mama, this is Papa's store. Put me in cart like Papa, he does it better." When I got home I didn't have to ask where the mangoes where. Adri gave me a full report that there were no mangoes at Lee Lee and they will have more on Saturday.

When we took her to Arriba's she wanted her food. She meant to say hurry up with the Mexican food but ended up yelling out really loud "Hurry up Mexican!"

A few months ago after going to the bathroom Adri said "My vagina is happy now." I think the stage of talking about her private parts everyday is finally over now.



 Some videos from the last few months











Sunday, July 14, 2013

Adri's Birthday & Earrings


About a month ago we celebrated Adri's third birthday party. Since my family has never got to celebrate with her we decided to take her to California for her party. Natalie spent most of the month making the decorations, something any straight male finds crazy. When Adri woke up on her birthday she walked out in the living room to streamers and balloons everywhere. When I got home from work we made the drive to California. Natalie continued the crazy and stayed up with my sister until 2 in the morning decorating when I just went over to my parents house and crashed out (I just had a 10 hour work day and 6 hour drive).

The next day we had all the cousins and a couple friends over for her big day. Tangled is one of Adri's favorite movies right now so Natalie went with a tangled theme, complete with fake mustaches, swords, and eye patches.

This was the first birthday where Adri knew what was going on. For a week before her birthday she kept talking about it and all the decorations. She actually stayed awake during her party for the first time.

The weekend after Adri's birthday party I decided we needed to get her ears pierced. We had been putting it off too long. The doctor wanted way too much money to do it when she was an infant and after that I think we were afraid to take her to get it done anywhere else. So we finally decided it was time and took her to Claire's. I had an experience being stalked by the police there, see my blog about CCW In Arizona to read about that.

When we first got there Adri was sitting patiently in the chair waiting for her earrings sucking on the lollipop I told her she could have to distract her. Then out of nowhere she asked me if it was going to hurt. I don't know where she came up with that but I lied to her and told her no. Natalie decided we can't lie and told Adri it's going to hurt "just a little". Adri didn't like that and started crying like crazy. After getting her first ear pierced it got worse and the girl assigned to her left ear froze up. The girl that did her right ear grabbed the piercing gun from her, told her to get out the way, and said she's gonna get it done with. After it was all done I picked her up and walked her around the store until she stopped crying. I gave her another lollipop and showed her the earrings which put a big smile on her face. After that Adri was proudly showing off her earrings every time we asked. And now she keeps telling me "Papa, I think I need a lollipop to distract me". She obviously didn't know what it means but she keeps trying to get her way with it.

I've been bad on keeping up on the crazy things Adri has been saying lately so I'll put them in my next post.















Why are we beating up Rapunzel and not Mother Gothel?






 Before getting her earrings done.
And after.