My mother turns 70
For my mother's 70th birthday we decided that we should go some place that she had never been to but a place where we could take the kids and family. After much deliberation, consulting and researching we decided that the Grand Canyon was it. My mother was very excited. Janice found a 5 bedroom house that could sleep up to 18 people just outside the Canyon so we went ahead and booked it. We had a 5 day trip planned including travel time over spring break. Shahed and Kim could not make it and Tayyba stayed back with Athena, but Janice's mother joined us. We would fly into Phoenix from Houston and then drive over to the Grand Canyon; Janice's mom would fly into Phoenix from Baltimore and meet us at the airport.
Finally on the departure date we went to the airport and were checking in. We handed all of our ID's to the gentleman behind the counter. A minute later he handed us back what looked like my mother's ID and said this does not match the boarding pass. I looked at it and saw that it was in fact my father's ID! My mother frantically searched through her purse and could not find her ID; she had switched purses just for the trip and left her own ID in her other purse and accidentally picked up my father's. We did not have enough time to go back home to pick up her ID and still make the flight. And because it was Spring break, most of the other flights were sold out. In the mean time we were seeing weather reports talking about a major snowstorm between Sedona and the Grand Canyon (Sedona is half way between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon). What a perfect start to the family trip I thought.
We decided that Janice, Unity, Wesley, Rashed and Natasha would go ahead on the flight. They would meet Janice's mom in Phoenix and then find a hotel to stay overnight until the snowstorm passed. The weather news at this point was urging people to avoid the highway to the Grand Canyon. My mother and I would stay back and find an alternative way to get to Phoenix by the next morning. The two of us drove back home and then I spent several hours on the phone with various airlines until we found 1 ticket and 1 standby on a very early flight the next morning. I booked my mother and put myself on standby. Luckily the next morning some passengers did not show so we both were able to get on the flight. We arrived at Phoenix around 9:00 am. Rashed picked us up at the airport and we all got together at the hotel for a quick breakfast. Then we loaded up the two cars and headed north.
When we arrived in Sedona it was lunch time. We stopped at a restaurant for a quick lunch and then decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in Sedona enjoying the stunning views. Our first stop was the famous Bell Rock. We parked the car and started walking towards Bell Rock. A few minutes into the walk my mother started feeling sick so Rashed walked her back to the car. Janice stayed back with my mother to watch her. She vomited a couple of times and had a slight fever. It became clear that the vege-burger she ordered at lunch was not fresh; the rest of us had eaten beef burgers. My mother rested in the car for the rest of the afternoon while we took the kids to a couple of more sights. We had dinner in Sedona while she stayed in the car, then we started our drive to the house near Grand Canyon. There was snow in the ground and after sunset the temperature started dropping rapidly. We were also going to a much higher altitude. When we arrived at the house, it was 27 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
It was a ranch style house on 40 acres of wooded land. We parked on the gravel driveway in front of the large wooden deck. Janice unlocked the door, stepped inside and noticed that it was very cold inside. We tried to adjust the thermostat and fiddled with the heating unit to no avail. Meanwhile my mother was running a very high fever, Wesley was asleep in the car and Unity and Natasha were ready for bed. Janice called the owner of the house and left a message.
We found one electric heater in the closet and put that in my mother's room. The owner of the house called back and tried to walk us through over telephone how to ignite the heater. It didn't work so they said they would send someone over next morning to fix it. Nothing could be done in this remote area during the night.
In the main living room there was a cast iron, wood burning stove with a chimney that went up through the ceiling. We gathered some logs from outside and started a fire in the stove hoping that would warm up the house a bit. It did. Eventually we all went to bed after the fire went out.
The next morning my mother was feeling much better. We had breakfast and fed the kids. Janice started the fire again early in the morning and we sat by the fire with our coffees. Around 10am the heating people came and fixed the heater. Just after they left, the heater turned off and would not ignite again. We called owner of the house again and she said she would send out the repair people again during the day. We loaded up the car and headed for the Canyon.
Fortunately the rest of the trip was less eventful, except the last night when the heater broke again. This time the outside temperature was higher so the inside wasn't freezing. We spent the next few days walking the Canyon rim, we watched the sunset and we woke up one morning at 5:00 am to watch the sunrise by the Canyon. We also had some great food during the stay. The scenery was just simply breathtaking. Above all, my mother had thoroughly enjoyed the trip. You can see the photographs here.