the same clients of the hub's who took us to hawaii back when the bean was merely weeks old invited us to come out to arizona last weekend and join them at their corporate skybox at the phoenix open. now, i'm no golf fan, but i was excited for the quickie getaway with the hub, and these clients are awesome people.
and so it was the night before our flight. the girls were tucked in and snoozing happily for the night, and i said to the hub "dude, we've gotta pack." he side-eyed me and said "let's just buy clothes when we get there."
well hell, you don't have to ask me twice. he'd just closed a deal he'd been slaving away at for the last three years and was feeling celebratorily lazy. and having visited these clients once before, i knew very well that there was some fantastic shopping to be done in scottsdale.
but our practical side (and the not-so-distant memory of operation downsize still very fresh in our minds) kicked in and he eventually dragged himself down to the garage to pull out a suitcase for us to share. since it was just for one night, it was easy to get packed, and we were done quickly.
the next morning, the ILs arrived right at 7, i snuck into the teen's room to give her a hug and kiss goodbye, showered the early-rising bean with even more hugs and kisses, and we were off to ONT in the pouring rain. it was an easy drive, and we breezed right through security with our boarding passes, printed at home, already in hand. we had just enough time to pick up a magazine and a drink before it was time to board.
the flight was only half-full. yay for leg room!
not being in the mood for a greasy fast-food meal that early in the morning, this was my breakfast.
the traditional stupid-face self portrait.
as i flipped through the skymall magazine, i cracked up at this ad for the slanket and thought of my friend insomniac. she should totally be the model for their ads.
less than an hour later, we were descending into phoenix.
since our luggage was all carry-on, we made our way down to the shuttle that would take us to pick up our rental car. i was amused at the signage in the bus - their parking lots are named "gecko," "jackrabbit," and "roadrunner."
the hub had scored a super cheap deal on a car online, and when we got to the window realized that we'd actually gotten in the wrong line. the dude behind the counter said out of the side of his mouth "i can probably get you a better deal, so if they don't take care of you over there [gesturing to the other side of the desk], come back and i'll give you a great price. we have lots of cars available." shaaaaaaady.
we got our paperwork and headed down the super steep escalator to the parking garage, where our car was waiting.
while it would've been fun to cruise around in a cool camaro:
we instead settled for this cheapy, ugly malibu.
as i got in, i immediately checked out the interior, turned on the radio, opened all of the little compartments. i found a surprise inside the one on the dash:
"oh, i'll take that," the rental car dude said. easy come, easy go.
as we headed down the freeway towards our hosts' home, we passed ASU.
i was slightly giddy and silly when i saw our exit. appropriate, yes?
we entered the code that let us into the gated community, found the house, parked the car, and then used another code to get in through the garage. inside, we found packets of tickets for the golf tournament, along with super thoughtful touches like umbrellas, bottled water in our room, and toiletries in the guest bathroom.
as we toured the house, this picture caught my eye - a signed sketch by red skelton. of course, this brought zero reaction from the hub, but i expected as much. heh.
we decided to go off and do some exploring before heading over to the open - after all, the tickets for that day were general admission and we weren't going to see our hosts until later in the evening, for dinner. we did a little shopping at a nordstrom rack we came across, and then made our way over to kierland commons for some lunch, more shopping, and a cigar shop for the hub.
sushi sounded good. and yes, we went to a chain, but it sounded good. and it was.
philly roll, california roll, and a couple of specialty rolls: the viva las vegas and "ultimate shrimp tempura." all were yummy and hit the spot.
after lunch, we parted ways for a while - the hub to the cigar shop, me to explore the shops freely (with a wad o'cash in hand and the hub's blessing to spend it). but that old wan's law kicked in: when you're dead ass broke, the stores are full of irresistibly cute stuff. and when you actually have money to spend, there ain't shit that catches your eye.
well, okay - i take that back. of course there was lots of stuff that i would've loved to scoop up. but i find that when i'm shopping for others, like the girls or the hub, i have no issues with spending the cash. and then when it comes to buying for myself, i'll pick up stuff, walk around with it and debate in my head for hours, and eventually put it back. i'm also kind of a cheap ass while shopping for myself. gah! and then, with my newest obsession, i found myself picking up lots of cute garments, inspecting it for stitching and counting how many pieces of fabric it was made of, and coming to the conclusion that i could make it for much cheaper. oy vey.
the hub was shocked to find me bag-less, despite my moans and groans over the lame outfit i'd packed. he marched me into j. crew, where i'd spent a considerable amount of time admiring the ensembles on the mannequins, and picked one out that i tried on (and loved). a few minutes later, we got in the car with me happily toting a bag containing a whole new ensemble to wear the next day.
we finally made our way over to the TPC scottsdale golf course, where we parked out in BFE and then took a bus to the entrance.
i'd been warned that no phones or cameras were allowed in, but i snuck 'em in anyway. duh. but no sooner than i snapped these:
i was approached by a police officer, who said "do you have a camera?" well, duh. you obviously just watched me take a couple of shots and stick it back in my bag. but i smiled politely and said "yes, it's in my purse." she glared at me and barked "cameras aren't allowed in here. don't use it again." okay, fine.
so the phoenix open - it's not like any other PGA golf tournament. oh, no. it's known as party central, largely due to its proximity to ASU, which contributes hordes and hordes of chicks in super inappropriate hoochietastic outfits and even more dudes, drooling after said hoochified heffas. not to mention, there are large areas sponsored by all of the major beer companies. you pay $25 for a wristband and all-you-can-drink beer. and by the time we got there, the party was beyond full swing and there were slovenly drunkards stumbling around the joint left and right. it's such a party atmosphere that most of the well-known golfers don't even bother and just skip the whole damn tournament. geez.
as we made our way outta there, having had our fill of the insane peoplewatching and thoroughly amused by the conversations yelled out back and forth between the partygoers, we noted the presence of tons and tons of scottsdale's finest.
having worn my awesome-but-not-made-for-walking cowboy boots, my feet were sore as all hell. and with a long ass walk back to the car (we skipped the bus because the line to get on was worse than waiting for space mountain at disneyland), i was relieved when the hub steered me towards this dude and his pedicab for hire. yay!
when we got back to the house, we were greeted with big smiles and hugs - by now, these clients are much more than just business acquaintances. we just love them, and they're such fantastic people. we made our way to their beautifully landscaped back yard and sat in front of the outdoor fireplace to chat and relax before heading out to dinner. and we totally cracked up when mr. client showed off his fun pool toy - the three bowls that were perched on the end weren't just for display. he flipped a switch and they filled with water that poured off into the pool, and then he struck a match and lit the water on fire. it was super cool, and we all gazed in awe while mrs. client sighed in exasperation, shook her head, and went in the house. hilarious.
we were joined by three more business associates, all very fun and friendly, and then we piled in the car and went to mr. & mrs. client's country club. it's gorgeous - we attended their daughter's wedding here a couple of years ago. it was a boisterous group, loud and very merry, and i quickly snapped off shots of my meal, mostly unnoticed by the rest.
roasted beet salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts, braised short ribs with potato-parsley puree, and a chocolate mousse with a smear of vanilla rice pudding and homemade banana ice cream. beyond fantastic.
the next morning, we headed to the herb box for breakfast. it was super cute inside, with lots of freshly baked goods and a scrumptious-looking brunch menu.
after i'd expressed my torment in deciding between a couple of things, mrs. client took matters into her own hands and ordered one of them as an appetizer for the table to share - homemade old-fashioned donuts filled with custard, served with a cup of hot cocoa. since everyone else was having coffee, guess who lucked out and snagged the cocoa?
this left me free to order the cinnamon buckwheat pancakes, served with maple bacon.
i was itching to take pictures of everything when we got to the course, but the hub just gave me that look and the camera stayed in my pocket. but when he took off to grab a drink, mrs. client sidled up and told me that security was much more lenient in the corporate skyboxes when it came to cameras and phones. whee!
it was really funny - folks were betting on everything. they placed bets on who would get the ball closest to the hole. or whose caddy would get to the green first (the guys were fully aware of this practice, and would tease the crowd by sprinting, stopping, sprinting, stopping. comical). and even on which caddy would put their bag down first. every action was met with loud cheers (and sometimes boos), and it truly was far from the quiet, dignified golfing i've glanced at on tv now and then.
i was also pretty entertained by the "quiet" sign holder dudes. as we walked the course towards the box, we'd periodically have to stop behind the ropes to allow the golfers to get from one hole to the next. and as they teed off and putted and whatever else golf people do, event staff would throw up their hands, give stern glances to the crowd, and hold up signs telling people to shut their pieholes and let the golfers do their thang. i told the hub "i want to be a quiet sign holder!" and he said "you wouldn't be serious enough about it." haha!
everything to eat and drink was comped for skybox ticketholders. i sucked down a few cups of hot chocolate (it was chilly and drizzly for quite a while), and then i grabbed some lunch: mushroom meatloaf, chicken and sun-dried tomato pasta, and a turkey sandwich.
there were lots and lots of port-o-lets, plastered with waste management signage - the main sponsor of the tourney. i'd wanted to pick up tees for the girls, but the hub wasn't so much all about them because they said "waste management" all across the chest. not so pretty.
i smirked at the skimpily-clad rockstar energy drink chicks, flagging down every dude in sight and fluttering eyelashes as they handed out free beverages.
after topping off the gas tank in the malibu, we found our way back to the rental car depot, ascended that steep ass escalator again, and hopped on the airport shuttle.
it was pretty busy, with a gaggle of giggling dance troupe girls in front of us and lots of weary-looking travelers making their way to points unknown.
another uneventful flight and quick drive later, we were home. the bean flew into my arms, the teen gave me a smile, a nod, and a wave, and while i'd had a great time away with the hub, i was so happy to be home with my girls. home is where the heart is, and all that.
jeebus, i'm such a sap.