Palm Desert

Superbowl Sunday

Cloudy morning. We slept till 8. Then Dave and Marylou and Sue and I got on our bikes and pedalled down to Bashas to pick up a copy of the New York Times. Then on to the Walgreen’s coffee shop for breakfast and coffee. Cycled back to the house and sat down to enjoy CBS Sunday Morning, followed by the last day of the Phoenix Open on TV. Mickelson hung onto his lead and won. Then we switched it to the Superbowl, which started just after 4pm.

Dave in kitchen.
Dave made gin and tonics for us.
Dave and Rudy with iPads.
Dave and Rudy (not) watching the Superbowl.
Dave and Rudy watching game.
What?! Don’t tell me that Baltimore is going to upset the Forty-niners in the Superbowl! That is VERY disappointing.
Sue sitting in chair
Sue stays calm despite the Ravens’ upset over San Francisco in the Superbowl.

Dave made a pot of chilli and Marylou baked a cake. We had snacks and watched as the Ravens surprised the Forty-niners in the first half. After the Beyonce half-time show San Francisco kicked off the second half only to have the kick returned for another Raven touchdown. Then the lights went out in the New Orleans Superdome. For nearly half an hour! And when they finally came back on and the game resumed, the momentum was with San Francisco. But in the end (yes, the end — in the final 90 seconds, actually) the Forty-niners came up just a little short and lost the game. Disappointment for Rudy. The others in our Superbowl Party said ‘I told you so’. We had supper and then watched one of Dave’s PVR’d movies, a western with Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner. Not too bad. Went to bed just before midnight. A good day. It’s been a very fun time here in Arizona. Tomorrow right after breakfast we go back ‘home’ to Palm Desert.

Home again, home again, dancing a jig

Had our last breakfast in Gold Canyon with Dave and Marylou. Then we packed up our bikes, clubs, luggage, and headed west for Palm Desert. We stopped for fuel and lunch at Quartzite, just before the California border — gas is 50 cents cheaper in Arizona. We got to Palm Desert at around 1:30. Instead of going home, we decided to go downtown and see about a condo or home rental for March. Our first stop was a realty office not far from our place — and we were very encouraged after meeting with an agent. Our chances are much better now than they would have been a few months ago — she suggested that there may be homeowners who don’t have someone booked, or have a cancellation, and will be happy to rent it out now. We drove down a few blocks and checked with another country club — only to find the opposite situation — all booked, very expensive, not very optimistic about our chances. Oh well, we’ll see.

We went home and unpacked. It was hot in Palm Springs. Time for a cold beer. At 4:30 we headed to Cathedral City, to the cheap theatre, to see the movie “The Sessions”, for which Helen Hunt is nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Good movie!

After the movie we stopped at a small Chinese restaurant and ordered take-out. We went home and had supper. Then some TV, including an HBO documentary.

Tuesday – housekeeping chores

Ladies with umbrellas golfing.
Ladies golf at our Chaparral Golf Club (photo taken from our patio)
After breakfast we cleaned up the house a bit. Vacuumed. Getting ready for our visitors. In the afternoon Sue went to sit at the pool for a couple of hours. She read her book on the Kindle. I worked on the computer — made a page for the SMC Echoes newsletter. At around 5pm we went shopping. First groceries. Then to Walmart to buy baby supplies — diapers, etc. Yep, getting ready for visitors. We got home at 7 and had supper. Then we watched an HBO movie, “Five Year Engagement”, starring Emily Blunt. It was on my ‘to rent’ list, so I was surprised and pleased to see it on HBO. The story is good, the actress is cute, and the soundtrack is AWESOME! Van Morrison’s songs are the main feature of the Five Year Engagement Soundtrack; quite a few of his songs are in the movie. And any movie that has Van Morrison songs is a good movie, no matter what the plot is. After the movie we watched Charlie Rose. Then off to bed.

Palm Desert Golf

Woke up at 6:00 — Sue asking ‘what’s that noise coming from your computer?’ Then just before 7:00 I hear it again. Must be my calendar alerting me to someone’s birthday or something like that. I get out of bed. Check the computer. No, it’s a missed call from Alex. I skype her: what’s up? She needs to know our address in order for them to select their  seats for tomorrow’s flight.

Today is our last day before our children arrive for a visit. That meant that Sue worked hard all morning, washing the sheets and cleaning the room for our guests. I put together a homemade ‘crib’ and assembled the jolly jumper we bought yesterday.

Breakfast was fresh mangos and yoghurt. The fruit here is so good. So was our morning coffee. Michelle, our real estate agent who is looking for a place for us for March, called. Has she got a deal for us! Suggests we go check out the neighbourhood up in Sun City. Okay, we’ll do that.

So shortly after lunch we got in the van and headed up to Sun City. Very impressive complex. Lovely clubhouse, and beautiful golf course. Well we’ll get back to her on that.

Sue golfing
Hope I don’t shank it into the water!
Sue lines up a golf drive.
Sue lines up a drive at Palm Desert Country Club.
Sue winding up the driver on the golf course.
Sue blasts another drive at Palm Desert Country Club.
Rudy with driver on the golf course.
Rudy had a lot of good drives at Palm Desert Country Club.
geese on the golf course
Geese at Palm Desert Country Club.
Golfing at Palm Desert Country Club.
Dusk at Palm Desert Country Club.


We had a 2:00 tee time at Palm Desert Golf Course, so we hurried down to the course. Got there half an hour early — but got on to the tees right away. Bonus. And the course was so nice. Wide fairways. Long holes. And no one behind us. And not too long waits for the foursome ahead of us. And I played so well. (I only wish I could have played like this when we golfed Mountain Brook with Driedgers on the weekend — this is more like my game these days.) Mostly good straight tee shots. Pretty good putting. We actually managed to finish all 18 holes — although it was getting dark at 5:30 and we had to hurry a bit. My final score was 50 on the front, 51 on the back nine. I didn’t break 100, but this is as close as I’ve gotten this year. And we had a lot of fun.

After golf we stopped at the Albertson’s corner. Sue shopped some more groceries while I took the flash drive to the print shop and printed out all of Sue’s February statements. Then home for supper. Sue whipped up a roasted chicken with asparagus and tomatoes. We watched the Daily Show and Colbert at 7, then our Redbox DVD, “Jeff Who Lives at Home”. Enjoyed the movie. Then a bit more TV while listening to the dishwasher. And then to bed. Gotta get up and out to the airport tomorrow morning.

Max and his parents arrive in Palm Desert

Tim, Alex, and Max arrive at the Palm Desert Airport for a ten day visit to Rudy and Sue's.
Tim, Alex, and Max arrive at the Palm Desert Airport for a ten day visit to Rudy and Sue’s.
Max and Rudy at airport
Grandpa’s pretty pleased about his little visitor — Max is looking okay about it too.
Max in Jolly Jumper
Max tries out his new ‘Jolly Jumper’ in the kitchen doorway at our vacation home in Palm Desert.

After a quick breakfast and a check on the internet to see what the kids’ flight status was, I was off to the Palm Springs Airport just in time to welcome Tim and Alex and Max at 9:16 this morning. Everybody was happy. Max had slept through the big flight and Tim and Alex were glad for that. Tim collected the luggage and we got in the van and headed for ‘home’. Got everyone settled into their new place and then Sue made an eleven o’clock lunch. Great! That is exactly the right time for lunch! Especially for the kids, who’d gotten up at 3am for the ride to the Winnipeg airport.
After lunch Sue and I left to go look at a house for possible March rental up in Sun City. Alex had a nap. So did Max. The house was large and very nice, but under-furnished. Our agent, Michelle, said she’d keep looking. On the way back I called Brian and Val Funk — a morning email from Brian and a phone call had informed me that they were on the road to Palm Springs from where they are staying in San Diego — a convention on the weekend. So now I called them and we arranged to meet at our house for a drink. They arrived at our gate just a few minutes after I did. So we all sat outside on the patio and had drinks and visited. Alex awoke too, and so did Max. After they left we sat around and visited and played with Max. In fact, Sue and Alex took Max to the pool but that apparently was not to his liking and they returned almost immediately. Sue put Max down for a nap that turned into a major snooze. Supper was barbecued salmon and rice — very nice, as usual. We watched the Daily Show followed by The Shark Tank. That’s when Max finally woke up. So now we could catch up on lost time — and we had a great visit with Max. The kids were tired and went to bed a little after 9pm. Max stayed up a bit longer, but by 10:30 he too was asleep again. I watched a bit of TV after Sue went to bed. And that’s how Day One of Tim and Alex and Max’s visit to Palm Springs went.

A cold and rainy start to the golf holiday

Got up at 7. Breakfast. Max went for a nap and Sue and Alex went for a quick walk. Tim and I hung around and read. Soon after the girls returned we had lunch. Max had a quick bath. Then we all packed into the van and headed to the Palm Desert Golf Club. Tim and I had a 2pm tee time and were hoping to hit a few balls at the driving range before our game. The girls and Max were planning to go shopping and walking along El Paseo. It was cool, and the forecast was for rain, so we had extra jackets along just in case. When we registered at the clubhouse we were told that we could head to the first tee right off. So that’s what we did.

At the first tee -- we had a great start, but we hoped the wind would subside and the rain would stay away.
At the first tee — we had a great start, but we hoped the wind would subside and the rain would stay away.
The weather was windy, a bit cool, but not too bad. And there was no one ahead of us, no one behind. Another perfect day for golf. But it didn’t hold. A few holes in the winds blew the clouds over us and then it started to sprinkle rain. And it got cold. Tim and I sat in our cart for a few minutes until the rain subsided. We put on our extra jackets. And we continued our game. And it was fun. We both played okay, all things considered. Finished our game in record time. Phoned the girls — they were just leaving the mall. They’d opted for a mall walk instead of El Paseo because of the weather. They came to pick us up and we headed home. The thermometer in the van said it was only 9 degrees! Cold. But the forecast is for better weather as the days progress. We went home and had happy hour and snacks. Max, who had been an angel all day, was smiling broadly and babbling at us. He modelled his new hat and sucked his fingers. Shortly after 6 Max went to sleep. Then Tim and Alex skyped with Tim’s parents while I went to return/pickup a DVD and pizza from the California Pizza Kitchen. We had supper and then sat in the living room and watched our movie, “Flight,” starring Oscar-nominee Denzel Washington. We were all tired, probably from all the wind just as much as from all our activities. Max woke up just as the movie ended, but I think he went right back to sleep. And so did the rest of us.
Clouds and wind cooled things off a bit.
Clouds and wind cooled things off a bit.

Hey, I've got a new hat!
Hey, I’ve got a new hat!

Sunshine and golf in Palm Desert

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday’s cold and wind gave way to bright sunshine today. We had bacon and eggs for breakfast. Max, who had nearly slept through the night, was a happy boy again today. I played with Max and Sue and Alex took the bikes to the Flea Market. They came back with a few purchases. Then we had lunch. After lunch we packed up in the van and Tim and I went golfing at the Oasis course. Booked it on GolfNow.com for $20 each. The course was in beautiful shape. The sun was still shining. Our play on the par 60 course was mostly pretty good. We called Sue to come pick us up at around 4:30. The girls and Max had gone for a stroll on El Paseo — Max had slept for most of the walk. They went home at around 3 and Sue and Max spent some time with the ‘Jolly Jumper’ — where Max sort of got the hang of it and was laughing loudly for most of his time in there. Sue made a great curried shrimp and pasta supper, Alex made a salad. Then we watched some golf on TV. Between 9 and 10, Max, Alex, Tim and Sue all went to bed. I wrote my journal and then went to sleep too.

After a pretty good sleep, Max enjoyed a little morning visit with Rudy and Alex.
After a pretty good sleep, Max enjoyed a little morning visit with Rudy and Alex.

Max and Alex on El Paseo -- the shopping street here in Palm Desert.
Max and Alex on El Paseo — the shopping street here in Palm Desert.

The Grammys with Cake

I woke up when I heard Max was up at around 6. Alex got up too and fed Max. Sue and Alex went for a 1-hour walk around the neighbourhood. By the time they got back Tim was up and we watched CBS Sunday Morning. Sue made french toast with bacon. After breakfast we lazed around the house, playing with Max.

max on the floor
Learning how to roll over.

I tried to get him to rollover — he was lifting up his legs and using the weight to help him fall over to the side. We had a great time. After lunch we watched a bit of golf on TV while the girls went to sit at the pool. Tim mixed up a bottle of formula and fed Max. That too is a new thing — but just like yesterday, Max gulped it down as if it is the real thing. Tim and Alex went for a little grocery run and came back with a chocolate cake from the bakery near Bristol Farms grocery store. Sue got supper going. We barbecued chicken and quickly ate our supper before 7pm when “60 Minutes” was on TV. Tim and Alex skyped with Tim’s parents — latest update from Tim’s grandma’s situation is that she is still hanging on — no real change — so they are glad they didn’t cancel their plans to come out here at the last minute. We watched our show, and then it was time for the Grammys. We all wondered how many of these singers we would actually recognize. And at least for the first hour, the ‘star-studded’ lineup wasn’t enough to really energize the show. Well, at least we had cake! And so by 10pm Alex sauntered off to bed. Then Sue. Then I lay down on the couch and drifted off just in time to miss the Levon Helm tribute — the one item on the program I actually was looking forward to! I woke up for the last song — around midnight. Went to bed tired. (I learned next morning that Mumford and Sons won for best album.)

Babysitting

max and rudy before bedtime
Max in his pyjamas, snuggling with grampa for a bit before going to bed.

After breakfast today I worked on the computer for much of the morning. Tim read. Sue and Alex went for a walk. Or maybe Alex went for a run — I’ve forgotten who did what. In the afternoon the girls went to sit at the pool. I got on the bike and cycled to Albertson’s to pick up a movie rental for the evening. Then at around 4pm Tim and Alex left for their ‘date’, leaving the grandparents to ‘babysit’. Tim and Alex went to see a movie (Argo) and then to a Mexican restaurant for a 6:30 reservation. Sue and I had a lovely evening with Max. When he awoke from his nap we played for a bit and then he sat in his ‘lounger’ while we had supper (leftover shrimp and pasta). After supper Max had a little snooze while Sue and I watched Colbert and the Daily Show reruns. He woke up just before the kids came home from their date. Sue warmed up a bottle for Max and I did my best to encourage him to drink it. But Max was battling the sandman and ultimately lost the fight — when I laid him down on the bed he gave me a giant smile, turned his head to the side, and went to sleep immediately. The kids stayed up for a few minutes with us, but they both were tired (extra large margaritas) and that left Sue and me to watch my movie rental. The movie was “Ruby Sparks” — I saw the first part of it. Sue watched the most of the movie on her own. It was 10:30 when the movie ended. I still had to write my journal. I did that, and then, by 11pm, everyone in the house was asleep.

Haircuts and Golf

Max and Grandma at the pool
Max and Grandma at the pool
Got up at 6 and took Max to the living room. We had a lovely time together during the early morning. After breakfast Alex and Sue went grocery shopping. Then Sue took Alex to the hairdresser. I worked on a website and visited with Tim and Max. I went to fill up gas and check on Alex — then returned home without her and Tim and I had lunch. Alex called and I picked her up. Tim and I went golfing at the Cathedral Canyon course — slow going, lots of golfers, but Tim shot a great front nine. We skipped a few holes on the back nine and finished up just as it was getting dark. We drove back to the house. Sue and Alex and Max had gone for a long walk and then spent another hour or so at the pool. For supper we all went out to the Outback Steak House — Tim and Alex’s treat for us. Max was a real darling again. He’d just fallen asleep before we headed out, but didn’t fuss at all at the restaurant. In fact, we were the envy of other grandparents at the restaurant — some of whom stopped to tell us how lucky we are. When we got back home Alex put Max to bed. Then we watched our movie rental, “Robot & Frank”. Not bad. Alex skipped it and went to bed. Sue and I both drifted off for part of it. After the movie Tim went to bed and Sue and I looked through a bunch of listings for options for our March home rental here in Palm Desert. Sue jotted down some addresses for us to scout out tomorrow. Tim’s grandmother passed away early this morning, and the funeral is scheduled for Friday — so that is weighing heavy on the kids’ minds tonight. Okay, it’s 1 o’clock. I’d better get myself into bed.