the bean's last-ever cheer competition fell on the hub's birthday...and it was in phoenix. his friends had already planned to take him out to celebrate, and instead of having us go out by ourselves again we invited the old lady and the old man to join us for a weekend away.
when we got to the airport, we found that our friends were on the very same flight.
because they got to board the plane early they were able to save a seat for the bean right in the first row, so the rest of us found seats a little further back. okay - a LOT further. heh.
we were on a late afternoon flight, so even though it was a short one by the time we landed it was almost dark outside.
the doubletree phoenix-mesa was the preferred hotel for this competition, which was fine since those are always clean and comfortable. plus...cookies.
we grabbed a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant, and then we went back upstairs so that we could do the blow-dry/straighten routine with the bean's hair before collapsing into bed and passing out.
the sports center that the competition was being held turned out to be further from the hotel than we'd hoped, and instead of taking separate uber rides the old lady and the old man sucked it up and got up with us and we all rode over together. while they headed off in search of coffee and/or breakfast, the bean and i met up with the team to have her braids done and get ready for competition.
my lucky charms (and sparkly shoes) were on for the last time.
when the team headed backstage for warmups, i went back out and met back up with the happy couple.
it was a little bittersweet for me, watching the bean perform for the very last time. after all, we'd been doing this for five years and while i knew she was pretty much over it and happy to close this chapter i was really going to miss screaming my head off and beaming with pride as she gave it her all on that mat.
and then it was all over. she collected her participation medal and picked up one last button to commemorate that they hit zero deductions with their routine, and then we headed outside to find something to eat and wait for the awards ceremony.
it was warm, so she grabbed a cup of shaved ice from the kona ice truck:
there was a mini food court outside, along with a full arcade and some ping-pong tables. after having some sandwiches and slices of pizza, we went inside to play.
is it bad that i don't even remember what they placed? i just know that they didn't take first this time, which was okay since she had the championship jacket from last year. it didn't seem to bother her in the least, and i think she was more focused on the fact that she was finally done. no more makeup, no more high ponytails, no more giant bows, no more uniforms. it was all over.
back at the hotel, we relaxed for a little while before heading back out to have a little fun in the city.
we had reservations for dinner at culinary dropout
, a restaurant we'd found via yelp. it was located in the scottsdale quarter, a nice open-air shopping center not too far away from the hotel. we browsed through the shops while waiting for our table to be ready.
culinary dropout turned out to be a really popular spot, and we ended up having to wait even beyond our reservation time to be seated.
a salesgirl in one of the shops we'd browsed through had recommended the "room service" cocktail, so that's what i ordered. and it was perfect for me - gin, lemon, strawberry and sparkling wine. yum.
we shared some appetizers - the soft pretzel bites with provolone fondue and prosciutto-topped deviled eggs.
the bean ordered the fried chicken, served with smashed potatoes & gravy and a housemade buttermilk biscuit.
the old lady and the old man shared two entrees: 36-hour ribs, served with spicy sauce and fries and the meatloaf, which came with green beans and smashed potatoes & gravy.
and this was my steak frites, served with black truffle butter.
we were all so full that we actually skipped dessert. unheard of.
we'd booked the insanely early 7am flight home the next morning, only because all of the others aside from one late afternoon flight had layovers. it was definitely a little rough getting up and out, but we knew it would be good to get home early and still have the whole day to unpack and get ready for the coming week.
back in ontario, we stopped at the ramen vending machine that the bean had been eyeing every other time we were there. we'd seen someone restocking it on our way out to phoenix a couple of days ago, and since this was likely our last flight anywhere for while, we told her to go ahead and pick something up. she didn't have to be told twice.
and on our way home, we made a couple of stops to pick up some coffee and bagels before going home to see the dogs.
it'd been a fun, busy weekend - but it's always good to come home.
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