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An Arizona Christmas

December 29, 2005

So the wife and I headed to Phoenix to spend Christmas with my parents this year.  I won’t bore you with the blow-by-blow details of the trip, but thought I would share some highlights.

  • Defying all expectations, Austin Bergstrom International Airport was all but empty when we arrived for our flight on Friday.  We got to park in the "A" lot and only had to wait about thirty seconds to check our bags, despite the fact that we were flying Southwest.
  • Meeting all expectations, Sky Harbor (Phoenix’s airport) was crowded, unpleasant, and difficult to navigate.
  • Upon reaching my parents’ house and saying hello to them and their dogs, Georgia and Luna, I was pretty much immediately swept away to drive my dad’s new Aston Martin DB9.  From my brief time behind the wheel, I can say the thing is stupid fast.  It should be, with a 450 horsepower V12 under the hood.  It also has a level of luxury that makes your typical Mercedes look like your typical Kia.  Exotic wood trim?  Check.  Glass crystal push-start button?  Yep.  Suede-upholstered A-pillars?  You betcha.  Perhaps the car’s biggest weakness is that it is so expensive that one is afraid to drive it the way it was built to be driven.
  • Shortly after my stint in the DB9, I was taken to drive my mom’s Mini Cooper S Convertible.  A completely opposite experience from the Aston-Martin, but every bit as fun.  Where the DB9 is fast, the Mini is nimble.  Ridiculously agile.  A later drive down the Bartlett Dam Road – which is littered with warning signs proclaiming "dips and tight curves ahead" – highlighted just how good a Mini is at tackling the twisties. 
  • My dad braved the crowds and came out shopping with us on both Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas.  I think we did pretty well, considering that my dad and I are probably two of the most crowd-averse people on the planet.  The only place that really got to us was Nordstrom, where the men’s department was packed with bodies and looked vaguely like one of the battle scenes in Braveheart, only that instead of kilts and chain mail the combatants were wearing Polo and Tommy Bahama.
  • My brother J.B. and his family came over on Christmas Day.  Austin and Shelby have gotten a lot bigger…which kids tend to do when you go a few years without seeing them.  And Austin definitely has that creepy McDougall trait of knowing far, far too much about a particular subject – in his case baseball.
  • Part of Christmas afternoon was passed playing video games.  Star Wars: Battlefront got prime billing, until we put in Gran Turismo 4.  This was my first taste of GT4, and it was delicious enough that it has me contemplating how to talk to the wife into letting me get a Playstation 2.  J.B. and I had what became something of a turtle-and-hare race between a Mini Cooper S and an Aston Martin DB9…with the Mini barely winning, and probably thanks to the finish line coming soon after a turn.
  • The gifts all around were great, but I’m sort of wishing I’d ordered another Lego Viking Longship for myself, especially after seeing Austin putting together the one I got him.
  • The plane trip back was…well…it was Southwest Airlines.  And, for all they carry on about love, I think they must have been carrying something else on their flights, because a few hours after getting home I got attacked by one wicked head cold.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 29, 2005 4:45 pm

    Sounds like a great time! Welcome back!

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