Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving trip 2015

Every year we go home to visit for Thanksgiving.  It can seem complicated but we’ve gotten used it.  We drive down and stop at our friend’s place in the Sacramento area and stay the night then the following day with his family and in-laws (although not this year, we'd stay on our way home).  We always enjoy that and the dogs love playing with his son and running around the back yard. We then leave (usually) on Sunday morning and head to our hotel where we unload the car and then head over to his parent’s house.  We usually eat dinner and hang out for a couple hours then head back to our hotel for the night.

Monday usually has us spending the entire day with his parents.  We go over for breakfast and talk, hang out, eat dinner and watch a movie or two.  Tuesday and Wednesday are usually my family days.  Each year is a bit different based on when my aunt isn’t in school.  This year though, I went to spend a few hours with my dad on Monday while Don took his parents to the mall so his mom could get a new cell phone. My dad had a stroke in October and I needed to see how he was doing. I’ve been extremely worried about him since I found out but he didn’t want me to come down to help out.  I’m so glad to say he is coming along although nowhere near 80%+ but improving daily. He can sign his name and has a leg brace to help him walk and stay upright so I’m happy to see him improving and pretty quickly. Monday is also the day I found out my mom entered Kidney failure due to the massively strong antibiotics they’ve had her on for MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph infection) after her back surgery back in October.  I guess you could say October was a bad month for me.  Mom is going on two weeks in the hospital but will hopefully be home (although still on an IV with antibiotics) by this weekend.  When we spoke today she’d had dialysis and was in pretty good spirits, as good as you can be; that is when the whole right side of your body is bruised and sore from head to toe on one side and you’re still recovering from a fusion of your spinal cord.

So Tuesday had us going to his parents for breakfast and then meeting my dad and aunt for dinner.  We went to Outback and enjoyed dinner and the company.  Our visits with them are always so short.  I wish they were available all day but between work and school it isn’t possible.  We got to spend about 4 ½ hours hanging out together.  I did talk to them every day we were there though.
Wednesday was breakfast at his parents then we went to see my mom’s brother.  This year we went out to Mexican instead of doing a BBQ which was really good.  We went back to his place after dinner for lots of pinball and music and Don and he had a cigar. The only time Don has anything like that is the one time a year we go visit my uncle, it’s their tradition in the back yard or open garage. We met a neighbor of his and stayed way longer than we normally do but we were having a great time talking and competing for high score of the night.
Don playing my Uncle's Southpark pinball game 

Thursday we were going to try and have breakfast with my dad and aunt but it didn’t work out and instead got a phone call for us to come to Don’s parents. So we ended up at their place 4 hours early so Don set up their new printer and showed his mom how to do things with her new phone.  Later his uncle and his long time girlfriend arrived.  We would go to a restaurant late that afternoon for dinner.   I have to say it was a lot of food, good eats, and a great price per person for the quality. His uncle and girlfriend left for the couple hour drive home from the restaurant and we went back to his parent’s house for a couple hours. We called it fairly early that night so we could all get a good amount of rest.

Come Friday morning we were headed to meet up with a CA co-worker of Don’s for lunch in Irvine and a tour of Blizzard Entertainment.  Come to find out her husband works there and when he offered the tour we jumped at the chance.  We were able to find a Petsmart hotel close by to the restaurant and we made an appointment for the dogs to go to daycare while we went to lunch and did the campus tour.

I have to say I wasn’t 100% sure what we’d see outside the Orc statue out front with the flags and a bunch of buildings where people work.  We were pleasantly surprised all the statues were in place and well lit so we could take pictures. We got to see the library and holy cow so amazing! So many games, books, and other cool things to check out if you work there. I’d spend a lot of time in there playing games in the evenings if I worked there. We also saw an office from outside as we entered a building and we thought it was the store.  Nope, someone’s office with so many cool things we just wanted it to be a store (they don’t have a physical store only online). The control room was cool to see but no pictures allowed then we moved on to the timeline of Blizzard and the games they released.  It needs to be updated for the last couple years but still nifty to see all of them in one chart. The museum was cool to see, they have original art work, statues, the armor they give to long time employees, a display case of items given out each Christmas to employees and also fan art. We then got a tour of where he works.  Really cool IT dept. which is saying something.  After the tour we talked a bit then headed back to pick up the dogs from daycare.

 Welcome to Blizzard
One the core values placed around the statue

one section of the library

Only 6 hours and 14 freeways later we’d arrive back at our friend’s place for the night.  We got in fairly late but were staying the next day.  Saturday was pretty chill (and chilly!); we played World of Warcraft, watched a movie, and then played Talisman.  His son was able to have us help with addons he wanted for WoW and we had a lot of fun together playing games. 

Sunday was a 5am wake up so we could get ready, pack the car and leave for home. It would be an extremely long and cold day. I don’t think the temp from CA to WA ever got above 36 degrees.  In fact it was 28 degrees when we left Sacramento and 25 degrees when we got home to our place in WA. What was supposed to be an 11 ½ hour drive turned into 14 ½ one and we concluded we’re never leaving on Sunday again.  Thank goodness we made it to Oregon in time to listen to the football game on the radio to break up the monotony of the drive. Although the commentator’s were blah and we couldn’t really hear what was going on half the time (goodness guys take a breath you don’t have to keep talking over every play about whatever) it was a good game to listen to.
All of us were so glad to finally be back home, even if it was much later than we expected.  The cats were thrilled to see us and we them. Our brother in law took great care of them and the house while we were gone.  Hopefully next year we have a child to show off to the family during our trip down.

Here’s some pictures of our Blizzard tour and trip down south for Thanksgiving:
 Pets are allowed at work so this section of grass has been set aside for human use
 My happy boys!Dad turned on the compressor so we went to the car for a few minutes
 The internal safety poster mascot is Medimurk the Murloc
Couldn't resist taking a picture of this Diablo sign
 The one and only Horde Chopper
 Don with Grommash
 Sword is 5 years with Blizzard and Shield is 10 years (Arthas mask is 20 years)
 one piece of the fan art in the museum
My guys all snoozing after a long day