No, not in Phoenix.
We decided – and when I say, “we”, I mean the collective Glover family unit as a democratic whole, not necessarily as a unanimously united gestalt – to go to Flagstaff so that the kids could experience a natural and wholly unpleasant phenomena known as “snow.”
I can tell you that, growing up in Tucson, it snowed twice, both times perhaps only an inch or so and, I can recall being excited before going out into it. In Oracle, where I lived for a brief three-year period, it snowed with monotonous regularity – once a year. Since I’ve lived in Phoenix, it’s a joke to say that it “snowed” twice here. At best, it could be called a light dusting. Insufficient to stick or last even more than an hour or so, and not at all since the kids have been born.
Because of the outrageous number of times I’ve been subjected to snow, I can safely say that it is nature’s blanket of misery upon the world. I’ve had enough.
Nonetheless, Saturday, I found myself, along with Irene and the kids, plus another couple and their child, bound for Flagstaff for the weekend.
Temperatures in the proceeding week had been around a low of 0ºF to a high in the upper 20s, but conditions were clear. Although there was a warming trend forecast for the weekend (a balmy 40º) I hoped it would be cold enough that the kids would learn to want to avoid snow like the plague.
We arrived in Flagstaff at about 10:30AM and the temperature was already 51º. Traffic through Flagstaff was horrific and we had to abandon the idea of going to the designated snow play area north of town, instead we found a place on the NAU campus where others were sledding and making snowmen and we decided to join them.
I should digress for a moment and comment on how rubbish Google Maps were on this trip. I was mostly navigating on the drive up and, although I had the GPS in the car aimed at the hotel, I also had my iPhone and Google Maps doing the same. Although they both navigated us easily to Flagstaff, (Big deal! Get on I-17, head north), Google Maps turned us completely the wrong way once we got off the freeway and left us on a dead end road and an empty field.
Later, when we were trying to get of the log jam that was main street Flagstaff, Google Maps again led us on a goose chase through NAU. Often taken us to unmarked (in Google) one-way streets and even to places where Google clearly showed a road, but reality clearly showed a sidewalk or a building. I was not impressed with Google Maps on this trip.
The kids had a lot of fun playing in the snow, but it was enormously tiring and rather hot underneath all the cold weather gear.
We had purchased two, two-person sleds, expecting the kids to need help, but once Michelle got a taste of sledding, we could barely get a sled away from her.
That night (after a nap), we went to Black Bart’s Steakhouse (and Musical Revue), a place which, as best I can tell, employees the entire student body of the NAU theatrical department.
I had the Buffalo New York Strip Steak and brain fart. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why Buffalo, New York had their own cut of steak. How was it different from just ordinary New York Strip? Oops, make that “A New York Strip made from a dead Buffalo” – much clearer.
It was actually pretty good, although, even though I had it cooked medium rare, it tasted rather more like medium well beef. It was absolutely the leanest cut of meat I’ve ever eaten.
During the night it got down to 2º, and it was only 12º when we headed out for breakfast and to play in the snow before returning to Phoenix.
Funny thing about snow, when it reaches 55º the day before and then freezes again during the night, the snow turns into something a lot more reminiscent of ice than snow.
While the kids had just as much fun on the harder surface, I took a couple knocks – first one to my tailbone which is still giving me grief and another instance where I slipped sideways and cracked my hip, shoulder and head against packed ice. Not fun.
Back in Phoenix for dinner and a nice soaking bath….
Pity, though, the kids enjoyed it so much, they’re going to want to do it again.