Thursday, August 27, 2015

Snow Bowl

A couple weeks ago I decided it was getting too hot so we are taking off to snow bowl. Unfortunately it ended up being a waste of a day. The day before our trip the neurologist gave me some migraine and seizure medicine for the vertigo and it made it worse. So we had a late start to the morning because I wasn't feeling good. Eventually I decided we needed to just get out and go. There was a 30% chance of rain in Flagstaff and five minutes into our drive I could see storm clouds building north of Anthem. By the time we got up to Flagstaff we could see that Mt. Humphrey was covered in clouds. When I got out of the car I was shaking, kidneys hurts, felt light headed, it just wasn't a good day. The first time I took that medicine was the last. 

It was over 115 in the valley that day but at the chairlifts it was just 61 degrees and 10 or more degrees colder at the top with high winds. We had to wait over an hour because tickets were on weather hold After an hour we thought it wouldn't clear up so we started down the mountain. But at a pullout it looked like the weather was getting better so we turned back, got tickets, and waited 45+ minutes in line before they shut it down again. When they shut it down they said that the tickets are good until October so we just went home without getting a refund. 

So all last week I was watching the weather and every day the chance of rain was changing for Flagstaff. Finally on Friday they decided it wouldn't rain on Saturday so we made another attempt. This time it wasn't as hot in the valley, under 110, but it was a lot warmer and sunnier at Mt. Humphrey. The week before we probably would have froze at the top, this time we had more than enough clothes. 

It's about a half hour ride up to the top. It's a 2,000 foot vertical, 6,000+ foot long lift. A little over half way up, almost at tower 14, Zach took off his shoe that he had worn for the first time that day and threw it on the ground. Right after that Natalie's sweater took a fall. Adri saw it fall and said something but we didn't believe her. At the top Natalie noticed her sweater was missing and I got to hear about it all day since it was next to me when it fell. 

We stayed at the top a little more than an hour. Mt. Humphrey is 12,633 feet above sea level. The chairlift goes to 11,510 and we hiked up to about 11,600+. Hiking at that elevation is a bit harder with the kids so that is why we only made it about an hour. On the way down we found Zach's shoe and Natalie's sweater but of course we were 50 feet above it in the chairlift. So when we got to the bottom I decided I'm going back for it. Natalie kept insisting I don't and that it's not worth it but I didn't want to hear about how I lost her sweater until I die. 

The guy at the bottom told me to tell him when I get back and warned me that tower 14 is a long way up. I didn't care. My only regret is that I was wearing my Sketchers and not my hiking boots so I had several slip and slides and banged up the sides of my feet on rocks. It was a very steep and slippery hike but I managed to get up in about 35 minutes. The whole way up people are questioning me. Once I got past tower 8 everyone was asking if I'm heading up to the blue sweater. People were yelling it's not worth it. I'd yell back I don't want to hear about it for the next 60 years. Well I managed to get both the shoe and the sweater. I was pretty sore after all my hiking but I got a killer cardio workout out of it. 

Overall it was a pretty fun trip. When the kids get bigger I'd like to make a whole day of it or go without them and hike Humphrey with Natalie. Allegedly you can see Sedona, Grand Canyon, and Meteor Crater from up there but I couldn't see any of them. I was able to see downtown and several of the other volcanoes. There are over 600 volcanoes in the Flagstaff area. 



There are no size/age restrictions for the chairlift so we strapped Zach onto Natalie. I was a little nervous about it because of his epic tantrums but he did pretty good. He was a little scared going up but he was fine going down.



Zach's shoe and Natalie's sweater were more than halfway between these two towers. 1,000 plus feet above the bottom and about 1,400 yards up. I'm estimating all the towers are 100 yards apart. This was the hardest part of the hike.



Epic photobomb of my picture of the highest "official toilet in the state". I say official because one day I will use the toilet at 12,633.


Mt. Humphrey.


Looking towards the west side of Flagstaff.




Going down it got cloudy and we were going to put on sweaters. However I figured it wasn't worth the effort and sure enough five minutes later it was warm.

This is where I found the sweater. 
Heading back down.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hell 2015

Summer is almost over and I have almost recovered from my vacation. After vacation we got two weeks to try to get back to normal life before we had to go to California for my niece's wedding. A couple days before we left for California I got vertigo and it started my never ending visit with doctors. I first saw my ENT (who is getting fired because he should have retired 20 years ago and is clueless), orthopedic for my neck, ER a couple hours after arriving in CA, then onto a new primary when we got back, then a cardiologist (everything looks good there) and a neurologist (verdict isn't in on that one yet). So needless to say it hasn't been the best month. I've been tired, it's been hard to work, hard to sleep, it just hasn't been a fun time. The vertigo is finally gone though but it left me with migraines. I took meds from the neurologist once before chucking them because they made the headaches go from mild and slightly annoying but bearable to feeling like my head was in a vice.. Now I just follow up with a kidney doctor and get an MRI on my head and then I'm clear. Maybe they'll find out what set all this off, maybe they won't. 

So for since getting back we have mostly stayed indoors. The vertigo started after going to the waterpark so I wanted nothing to do with the heat after that. Staying inside probably made things worse but now we are starting to get back out. 

Adri started Kindergarten a couple weeks ago and so far she loves it. She is always good at making friends on the playground but now she gets to see the same friends everyday so I think it's probably the first time she has made real friends besides family or our friend's kids out of state. 

Zach has been terrorizing us. It's funny that when Adri was 3 I said people are crazy saying terrible twos because she was such an easy kid until 3 and a half or so. But Zach is a little terror. He climbs up on the table, up on the couch, he screams when he wants stuff, he's just a little terror. He is a cute little terror though. He's finally at the chatty stage although we can't understand most of what he is saying. He sounds like a little shouting German, only I can understand German better than Zach. About a week or so ago he started running up to me giving hugs and he yells when I leave the house. He likes to watch That 70's Show, Scrubs, and all the other shows that shouldn't be interesting to kids. If he's laying down he'll jump right on when the show's theme songs start up. He loves music and dancing and yes, he makes me proud, he loves heavy metal. Our go to show right now to shut him up and get some time to sit down is The Gruffalo. Zach, unlike his sister, is all business when it comes to eating. He gets it from me. When food is in front of him he goes to town and inhales it. 

Oh so if you're wondering why this post is titled "Hell 2015", it was 117 degrees last week. Well 117 in the valley where I work, about 113 here. So we went up to Flagstaff for the day with me sick off my butt and tried to take the chairlift but got rained out. Ended up going back yesterday. That will be my next post.

This was in July. Adri said she is a bug.

Tried to teach Adri how to play Pacific Rift. Didn't go so well. She gets frustrated and gives up too easily.
I can't even count how many times this has happened.
This was pretty funny. I put up a pen in the living room because I was dizzy and just couldn't take any more of chasing this kid around. So I took a picture and Google Goggles popped up with a hit. This rarely happens; usually only on landmarks and stuff. Well I know my kid is half Dominican and all but Google Goggles suggested that this is picture of the Rafael Trujillo landmark in Santo Domingo. 

Zach's new thing is to pull down his pants and when he can pull off his diaper completely and let it all hang out.

Adri's first day of school.





About a week ago a cricket kept me up all night. I got pissed off and pulled a Harry Truman. I filled up my sprayer with Bifen and attacked my yard. The next morning I had thousands of dead crickets in the yard. No joke. Hundreds just on the patio. I have no idea where they all came from but walking through the neighborhood at night you hear crickets everywhere and then dead silence in front of my house. So I had to take a leaf blower and clean up all the crickets. I decided i might as well do the whole yard and when I got to the corner of the yard and blew up all the debris I found this little guy. I think I scared him pretty good but he kept watching me until I was done. Either momma rabbit or a predator came by because an hour after I went inside he was gone.
I finally got out and did a hike a couple mornings ago. This is the hill behind my house. After three weeks of sitting on my butt it was a little challenging getting back into hiking. I felt a lot better afterwards though.
Daisy Mountain
Looking towards Phoenix.

The night before my hike Natalie's cousin was over and I was showing him some scorpions in the front yard. A neighbor started talking to us and was describing what you see below. He didn't know what it was but he told me he found something that is brown and looks like a scorpion but without a tail. Well after my hike the next day this Tailless Whip Scorpion was above my front door dying from all the Bifen I sprayed two days prior. They look scary, their legs are 4-6 inches long, but they are harmless to humans and are not real scorpions. 
Keitt mangos are finally in season and as big as Adri's head.
I brought a couple old HP servers home a couple weeks ago and haven't found a home for them yet so they are still by the front door. Like I said, I've been lazy lately. Well Zach has decided they are his new favorite place to sit. I don't know why but for some reason he likes to sit on them and play. And when I go over to him he pushes me away.
Took Zach to Frys and he got a free hat. All the ladies were checking him out.
Zach yelling at me at my Dad's house a couple weeks ago.


Zach sitting in his new favorite place.