Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Christmas Break

We survived another Christmas. Rant warning. I write this not because I'm a crazy person, but because it will be funny to look back in 20 years, see how things are, and see if my opinion has changed. 

Christmas used to be my favorite holiday when I was a kid. But then I grew up and got sick of dealing with crowds, then I had to work through holidays and deal with crappy people, and then society just got dumb. Corporations have hijacked this country. Now starting in September when it's still 110 friggin degrees outside they start putting Christmas stuff up in Home Depot and Walmart. Then starting November 1st everyone who's been whining all year about how crappy their life is goes on Facebook to tell everyone how thankful they are for the next couple weeks. Now corporate America has nearly decapitated my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday since at least my college days because it has nothing to do with fictional events, fairy tale characters, or buying people stuff. It's all about family time and eating until you pass out. But now corporate America has become so greedy they can't even wait until the day after Thanksgiving to turn all these super thankful people into the biggest douche canoes on the planet who are willing to sell their first born for a deal on some garbage made in China. Now people who don't have time to get an education and get a job can find time to camp out in front of Walmart for a week. I've had friends defend these people saying well if they can't afford a big screen tv and this is the only shot they have at getting it what's wrong with it. Well first off if you can't afford a big screen tv maybe you should put that money into education instead of the tv. Maybe you shouldn't get a tv anyways because it's not gonna make you any smarter. And then like I already said, all the wasted time for a piece of garbage made in China when they could be working on bettering themselves. 

Moving on. After Thanksgiving it's no longer just decorating your house with Christmas lights. Now its about who can get the biggest blowup doll from isle 5 at Walmart and place it on their lawn. The same people crying about the red Starbucks cups no longer having Christmas symbols (made up characters and pagan symbols hijacked by Christians) think its OK to put whatever character is popular that year on their front lawn and as long as it has a Santa hat on it it's somehow honoring Jesus' birthday. We went with my sister's family to see the lights this year in Corona. Some were cool but then we came upon the house in the picture below which perfectly illustrates my point. Starbucks is evil for removing a snowflake or pagan tree from their cup but Yoda, Mickey, Minion, M&M, Spider Man, Eyor, Batman, or anything else that can fit in a Santa hat is honoring Jesus. I just find it hilarious. Like I said, lights are OK but this crap just makes a house look like a carnival.

That's the end of my complaining. There's still a lot of good that goes on during the holidays. Sometimes it really does bring out the best in people but the other crap just seems to ruin it all. So regardless of all the crap that annoys me I still enjoyed my holiday. As mentioned in my last post we went out to SoCal a week before Christmas this year. A couple days before Christmas I ended up in urgent care dizzy again and found out I had vertigo, again, this time from an ear infection. Not saying this to be drama but because due to the use of Antibiotics and other crap the doctor gave me Christmas morning was a blur this year. I woke up tired and it's a really good thing I got pictures and videos of the kids because I really don't remember a whole lot. After presents I took a three hour nap and then I was feeling good when the rest of the family came over. Natalie and I got matching fitbits this year so now we are on a mission to get in shape. I know the fitbit doesn't make you healthy magically by putting it on but it does make me get up and move to try to keep myself off the bottom of the list of all my friends. The day after Christmas I went back to Arizona and Natalie stayed in SoCal another two days. Continued below the pics.

I don't remember if this was before or after Christmas but I took my nephews hiking and we found a stash of beer bottles. Zach was enjoying watch the kids break the bottles and he decided he wanted in on the action too. 

So after Christmas my sister's family came out to Arizona for the week. Since summer Natalie and I have been trying to decide if we are going to stay in Arizona or move to Colorado. There was some possibility I was going to get to go to Colorado with my job and that week I finally talked to my boss about if it's going to happen or not. Well it's not. I was kind of on the fence about what I want to do but this just made everything easier. I mean I loathe the summer after a couple months here but I don't know if I can stand being around all those hippies in Colorado so I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Winter here is nice. It's mostly sunny and cool and good weather for hunting. Well now I don't have to make the decision. It has been made for me.  So this year we'll be selling our Florida home and buying in Anthem, or maybe New River. 

On New Year's Eve we went up to Payson to play in the snow. It was funny because we left for Payson and we weren't even out of Scottsdale yet and my sister is asking where the snow is (Today you can actually see snow all over the mountains east of Scottsdale. First time I've seen that). Then we stop at the KFC in Payson and everyone gets out of the car and starts doubting me. Even my wife was skeptical we would find snow. Well halfway around the Mogollon Rim the snow started. By the time we got to our destination we were in almost a good foot of snow. The kids got to play while I mostly was the safety engineer, trying to fix the ramp so everyone went straight down instead of into a tree. After a few modifications the causality count went down but Adri and Ryder still managed to crash into a stump, break the sled, and Adri let out all the tears of a true drama queen.

I kept telling her to stop eating the snow. It wasn't fresh powder. Finally I showed her the yellow snow and she stopped eating it.

Zachy was not a happy guy. He was getting whatever the rest of us had and wasn't happy at all that day. Two days later he went to urgent care and had a double ear infection.
Right before breaking the sled.

I had a shovel, a hill, and a lot of snow. What better way for a redneck to get down a hill? I'd like to point out my attire for the day. The high was 37 and I didn't even have to put a sweater on. Everyone knows I used to love the heat and people still seem to think I'm a lizard and couldn't handle the cold if I was to move to Colorado. Well things have changed, like for instance I'm fat now. And 37 degrees on a sunny day at high altitude is not even close to as bad as 55 on windy day near sea level. I almost put on a sweater when I got out of the car but a couple minutes in the sun in just thermals and a t-shirt and I was roasting.

After family pictures we crossed back over the stream which I thought was nothing but a dry creek bed with snow. Well my obeseness broke the ice and I found out there was indeed a couple inches of water underneath.

After playing in the snow we went to my secret geode spot and dug up some geodes for a while. The kids found a couple pretty cool ones.

The rest of the holiday was spent watching movies. I was on call New Years Day, worked the next two days after my sister left, then took an extra two days off giving myself a five day weekend. I tried to catch up on sleep, do a little coyote hunting, hike in the rain, sleep, exercise, eat, sleep, etc. The plan was to go to Bisbee that week but we actually had a whole week of rain so those plans got cancelled. 

Here's a couple pics of the rain hike I took up Daisy Mountain. I always enjoy a nice rain hike despite being wet and cold. On the way down the mountain I came around a turn and there were two guys in camo with bows. I don't know who was more startled when we saw each other. I talked to them for a while about hunting in that area. They have been bagging javalinas but are having the same struggles I am bagging a coyote there. I think it's time to move onto a new area. I've been on a lot of forums talking to people about my struggles and the struggle is real. It's not an easy area to hunt. I suspect anywhere with snow and food shortages is a whole lot easier.
Normally you can see for miles over this hill but this day all I could see were the clouds rushing over the summit like a river.

Gavilan Peak. The peak I had to retreat from a couple weeks ago.
The last day before returning to work we took a family day and went up to Sedona. I wanted to see Sedona with snow. Downtown Sedona was about how I expected it to be but when we got to Slide Rock I had no idea the snow would be that deep. I know a couple days before they had closed I-89 due to a rock slide and I read that Flagstaff has a 6 foot snow pack but I wasn't expecting this much in Sedona. When we left our house that morning we could see snow from our neighborhood just 10 miles away in the hills. When we got to one of the passes about 20 miles before the exit for Sedona the fog rolled in, was thick, with snow and ice on the side of the road. For a few minutes the drive sucked but once we lost some elevation it all cleared up.

Driving down I-89
From airport road

Walking around the buttes at the base of airport road.

I decided to take Zach to the top of the buttes. Natalie thought it was too dangerous and decided to take a trail that she thought would be easier (not the first time we had been here and hiked that trail and I was avoiding the shade). A minute later I heard Adri screaming because she was sliding on the icy trail. Haha. They had to turn around and join me in rock climbing to the top. No injuries in our rock climbing adventure. I'm not an amateur here. I am a seasoned hiker.

After the buttes we went for lunch downtown then took a stop at the fudge shop for some artery cloggers.

Back on I-89 headed to Slide Rock.
When we got to Slide Rock Zach was sleeping. So I first took Adri on a hike to the creek then Natalie took her. Zach finally woke up 20 minutes before we left and we all played in the snow. Zach is not a fan of cold or snow even while not sick. He loves to throw things so you would think a snowball would be of interest to him but he just pushed it out of his face.

Snowy cactus.

I told her to wait until before we leave but she didn't listen. Needless to say she got in the car with bright pink feet and was screaming that they hurt.

The creek where everyone slides on the rocks.

Cabins that were built in 1933.
The grumpiest lil man in the world.

After a day in Sedona I still didn't have my 10,000 steps, according to fitbit so I took a hike behind my house where I found a big hole of some sorts. I'm going to put a wildlife camera in there this week to see if it's coyote. 

Last night I was hiking and found this cactus doing the twist. About half an hour later I came up on a big javalina den. It went pretty deep in but I couldn't take a good look because I was afraid of charging piggies coming out at me. I'm going to go back armed and we are going to have a years supply of sausage when I am done.

And now Christmas break is over. But I'm already 3/4 through my 4 day work week and I have family coming into town in a couple days from Colorado. I am really excited that my redneck cousin and I get to do some coyote hunting this week. I might even try some cottontail stew.