A Dispatchers Story

I was a dispatcher.
For six years I was part of a team responsible for making sure (approximately), 150 law enforcement agents and 100 fire fighters went home safely at the end of each shift. When we sat down in our chairs, we were responsible for the entire county: over 1,534 sq miles of land and water, about 47,000 residents and over 20,000 visitors a year. I worked with four computer monitors, two computers, a multi phone line and two or more radio channels. Dispatching is about multi tasking: not like walking and chewing gum multi tasking, but talk on the radio, listen to your officers, talk on the phone and type in all the notes at the same time. I have gone from knitting for hours to not being able to go to the bathroom for a whole shift.
I have lived through wild fire seasons, structure fires, river rafting and drowning accidents, snow storms, traffic accidents, car and foot pursuits, tasers being deployed and officers getting into accidents. I’ve sent deputies into harms way and helped find lost or missing people. I’ve heard the deputies call out for assistance and the screams of a victims family. I’ve helped coordinate multiple agency responses and prayed for the deputy I had to send in alone to a call. I’ve listened to people who just needed to talk and to people who having the worst day of their life.
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I’ve trained people who thought it was going to be an easy job and watched people walk away when it was too much. I’ve been the one to send someone to a wrong location and I’ve been one who found the location when no one else could. I’ve worked 12 hour shifts, holidays, weekends, days, nights, birthdays, anniversaries and sometimes, even by myself. I’ve gotten the request for the coroner, given CPR instructions to a family member and listened to a suicidal mother asking me for help while she’s holding her five year old son. “You’re a good Mommy” plays over and over in my head.
I’ve laughed at calls that never made sense or deputies who thought we could beam the fire trucks to their location. I’ve felt defeat and accomplishment in the same day. I’ve had open mics where I said things I thought for sure would get me fired. I’ve taken the call from an alarm company where there was a hostage situation. I’ve sent out reverse 911’s for fires, missing persons, evacuations or suspicious people. I’ve argued with  coworkers, my boss, and even the chief of police. I’ve stood my ground and lost some battles.
People ask me, what was your worst call. I had many. Sending officers into a wildfire with winds at 90 mph to find the residents who lived there to a domestic dispute with a weapon and the child who was calling,  locked in the bathroom afraid to talk to me. I’ve checked statuses on my officers with no response, where your heart stops and you can’t breathe, then you hear their voice. But my worst still plays in my minds eye like it was yesterday.
I still hear the sounds of the phone ringing, the three different radio channels constant chatter, my partner working her radio and phone, the constant noise.
The constant noise.
We had a little boy missing from his parents. He had wandered off while mom and dad were packing the moving truck. Mom thought dad had him and vice versa. They lived near the river. I remember hearing one of the officers call out, he sees the boy, he’s in the river.
The noise stops. The noise stops.
Silence.
I hear his partner advise the officer has jumped into the river with full gear and has gotten caught with an under tow. The officer is up and OK. Another officer has gotten to the boy.
The radio is silent.
The phones are silent.
My partner is silent.
The boy has drowned.
I remember the tears I held back: There’s no crying in dispatch. I headed home (was the end of my shift) and I cried all the way. I asked to go to the funeral, which wasn’t ever done before, but my partner and I went, along with the Sargent on duty that day, and three of the other responding deputies, we stood in the back, out of the way.
My partner and I held it together until: a boy about 12-14 years old comes up to us after the funeral. Stops at the first deputy standing in the line we were in, sticks out his hand to shake the deputies hand and says.
I will never forget it.
“Thank you for finding my cousin”
My partner and I turned around and lost it.
I was a dispatcher for six years. I had to walk away due to medical issues. It was by far, my most favorite, rewarding, aggravating, tiring and important job I have ever had. Dispatchers are often over looked as first responders and most of the time, we never know what the out come is. It takes a special person to be a dispatcher and I give credit to all the dispatchers out there. The job is tough. But so are they.
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DK

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Back to Arizona – The Reviews

It’s been such a whirlwind of feelings. Being furloughed, unable to go to work and see people. Being told what I can and can’t do, what I have to do as opposed to what I want to do. Feelings of fear, failure and faith. Uncertainty and hopelessness. Hope and faith. I decided today was a great day to get some happy memories going and brighten the day. 
Last we spoke of Arizona, we had just gotten into town. This time, it’s all about the hotel and food reviews. Let’s start with the hotel. 

Tru by Hilton Scottsdale Salt River

“Free WiFi, Free Breakfast, Large HDTV, 24/7 Market

Rest in comfortable, all-white bedding on a king-sized Serta mattress with lots of natural light from oversized 8 ft. windows. This king room of efficiently-designed space where you can hang your items in the open closet or colorful wall hooks, and store folded items on the luggage bench or open shelving. Get ready in a large bathroom with tons of counter space and light — with a standing glass-door shower and premium bath products from Not Soap, Radio. Complimentary gourmet coffee, tea and hot chocolate are available in the lobby 24/7.

Stay productive in the lobby with semi-private work areas, free WiFi, remote printing access and plenty of power outlets. Stop by the Eat. & Sip. Market any time of the day or night for snacks, beverages and single-serve wine and beer.”

I tried to find specifics on sizes of the hotel rooms. I believe I saw, somewhere, they are about 320 sq ft (give or take), they are small and cozy, just a bed, couple of bedside tables/shelves, a desk, desk chair, suitcase seat and a “table” on top of the refrigerator. Small. But, we did get the king sized room. The bathroom was “huge”, we get less bathroom in a Hyatt Place than we did with this room. It was big, bright and gorgeous! I loved the shower! 

Pros:
Brand new hotel – Opened Dec 2019
Colorful vibrant lobby
Close to Salt River Fields at Talking Sticks ie. baseball
Close to food and shopping
Pleasant staff
Comfy Beds
Cons:
Small rooms, however, we did know this going in and it worked for us. 
Desks sits right next to the heater/cooler…COLD! 
No storage
Overall, I would definitely stay here again. 

NYPD Pizza in North Scottsdale, AZ

Raintree & 101
14884 North Pima Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
480.451.NYPD(6973)
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I can NOT say enough good things about this place. We got there about an hour or so before closing time, not too many people in the dining room/bar. 
We were greeted right away by the bartender/waiter. He had a great personality, very attentive and easy going. We had wanted pizza, but not the normal chain we frequented at home. This was certainly worth the 15 minute drive (that should have been less than 8, but we got lost) to get there. There was only one other family in the dining room with us, however, the delivery person was way busy! 
We ordered an appetizer of Crispy Zucchini and I swear we had a whole zucchini cut up and prepared just for us! 
Quattro Formaggi Pizza was the pizza we decided on and it did not disappoint. I have only had one other “Cheese” pizza that knocked my socks off and that was at Hell’s Kitchen in Colorado Springs. The pizza came out HOT! The cheese was perfectly gooey! It was like eating at Heaven’s gates! 
The manager came out and talked with us, very pleasant and gave us some great ideas of things to do. However, when you go for baseball, Honey doesn’t hear much more!
This is definitely a main stay on the food tours when we go back to Arizona. 
We ate at the ball park, In and Out Burger, Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins. We also had a dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Mesa and while Honey really had great hopes for this place (he had been there before with his brothers on a different baseball getaway), I was not impressed at all. We arrived around 4 pm, the place was empty. We had our pick of tables, of course, and we sat alone in the dining room. Our waiter was, however, awesome! The food came fast! However, the place appeared, dirty. Not visually, but sometimes, you can just feel it. The S&P Shakers were grimy and the overall theme, while traditional Mexican themed, was (to me) unpleasant. 
The food. … I had a hard time finding something I wanted to eat. I ended up with Two Shrimp Tacos with rice and beans. Being a sissy to flavor heat wasn’t a good thing here. The shrimp were cooked to perfection, but were too “hot” to enjoy. The soft shells tasted like raw, tough tortillas. The beans were good and the salsa was WAY hot! Honey had a beef burrito, which was huge, he did enjoy it, but it was so big, he couldn’t finish it. 
This, will be someplace we won’t be back to. Which is really sad, cause Honey had great memories there! 
That concludes the review part of the trip
Next up…..The games! 
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DK

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.
Normally,on our birthdays we get together with family and celebration. It was just the three of us “celebrating”,this year.
One of my favorite places in Colorado is Rifle Falls. I had wanted to make it up to see the Falls before the ice had melted, however, it just never seemed to have the time, be the right time, etc. I checked the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, to see if it was open. Just the playgrounds, campgrounds and camping facilities would be closed, however, “All Colorado State Parks non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails, boat ramps, marinas and shorelines remain open.” 
This park is usually packed to the brim with campers, people, children, sometimes temporarily closing due to too many people in the park. Yesterday was not like that. We drove into the parking lot, there was no gates telling us no, there were cars, three to be exact. We hiked up to the Falls and there they were, in all there winter/spring glory. Falls roaring, sun shining and lots and lots of open, fresh, clean air! We happened upon a small family having lunch and taking photos, they were on one side of the falls, on the other side, us. Plenty of room for proper social distancing. Plenty of places to view, hear and take pictures of the Falls without fighting the crowds.

 

It was a grand birthday present!
I am so very proud of my momma. She has had her medical issues which made most outdoor adventures, impossible. There have been times when she has been unable to keep up with us just walking from the car to the falls, a short (maybe) 200 ft. She would fall behind normal walking speed (ours, not my aunts “normal” walking speed) and when she got to where she was going, she would be so out of breath, it was concerning. Today was not that day. She and I slowly walked the path to the falls, while Honey took his time and tested out his binoculars. We had all the time in the world. Momma had never been able to go behind the falls or to explore the caves, which makes me think that’s why this trip is not one she likes to take, but because it’s my birthday and we needed to get out of the house, she would go. Yesterday, she made it up behind the falls. She watched and listened intensely, she explored the caves and the textures of the stones. Unlike, but highly like, our Littles, she explored at her pace, there was no climbing on rocks, racing around, but none the less, she was exploring. It was a grand birthday present (for both of us)!
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She’s singing Happy Birthday! ♥
While the park was empty, the adventure was full. My heart was full and I was happy. In the midst of this awful time in the world, we spent only an hour or so, in pure bliss. 
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As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.

Leonardo da Vinci

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DK

Where Do You Start?

I’m having a hard time titling this post. 
Last Thursday about 6:30 PM, I received the call from my employer. They were told to cut 80% of their payroll. I was being “furloughed”.  That’s what happens when you work at an airport, people stopped flying, stopped renting cars and stopped bringing them back. I knew this was coming. I had two nights which I only had 2 reservations and those were complete before 8:00 PM. I spoke with my supervisor, the last day I worked, and told him, I would be willing to give up a day or two, if needed to help with payroll. I also told him I knew, last one hired, first one fired. He told me, they were trying to figure what is going to happen and they are hoping to not have to fire anyone. So, when the call came in, I was prepared for it! 
I think…
In my head, I new two things…Business wise, I knew it would have to come to something drastic and health wise, I am a person who has a compromised immune system and we live with a senior who is also still recovering from the flu AND has several medical issues, not just including a compromised immune system. I knew, with the hundreds of people who had previously come through the airport, the chances of COVID – 19 being spread was only a matter of time and numbers. Every time I received a key from the customer, I cringed. What was on it? Where had it been? Had it visited our Colorado “hot spots”? My best friend was the soap, water and sanitizing wipes. So, health wise. I was OK with the decision.  
Then, it hit me. I’m not the only being “furloughed”. We have car washers, drivers (who are 90% elderly and at risk), mechanics and counter reps. What were they going to do? Will they be OK? Will they get the virus? Will they heed the warnings? That’s when I got sad. Not for me, I knew we would be OK, but I don’t know about the others. They are my friends, they are people I care about. I pray they will be alright and we will all be back together soon. 
Now, it’s Honey’s turn. His employer is trying to keep everyone working, so they can have a paycheck. However, the day has finally come for a decision. We wait for the news to come tomorrow. He has heard some rumors, payroll has to be cut in half. Who becomes “essential” vs “nonessential”? Will he make the cut? Do we want him to make the cut? He lives with two people with uncooperative immune systems. 
Checking in on the other parts of our “PIE”. 
Called to wish our tiniest of “Littles”, we find little bit has a cold, big brother has an ear infection and momma has a cold as well. These precious people, have been checked by the doctor and as of right now, they all just have a crappy winter cold(ish) and were told to self quarantine. Biggest brother and dad (again, at this point) are fine, except dad has to work from home, as with anyone having small children and working from home, don’t usually mix well, but he seems to be handling it well. 
Oldest son is a manager at one of the big box stores, near a military base. Let’s just say, the first few days of this, he had lost patience with humanity. They had totally wiped out most of the shelves, Yes, including TP (which, at this point, no one has yet to explain to me a good explanation). Fresh meats, canned goods, cleaning supplies…all wiped out. He said, as soon as they receive items, they can only just take the pallet to the floor, unwrap and step back. The area he normally works has shut down, the store hours have been cut, he has been losing employees, and he’s working hard. I do daily check in’s on him, just to make sure he’s good. Not sure what I could do, if anything happened, but it helps me to know, he’s OK. 
It’s kind of strange though. As I sit here in my office with the window open. I don’t hear the racing of cars up and down the street. I see families and couples walking. Walking the dog, kids riding their bikes. The smell of barbecue dinner is coming from down the street and the sounds of kids playing fills the evening air. It’s kind of a peaceful time. Except when the neighbor cuts wood with his saw…
I know there is an end coming to this, we just don’t know when or what will happen until then. I pray for each of you reading this, you will be healthy, kind and patient. 

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.

 John Quincy Adam

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DK

Arizona and Spring Training 2020

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It’s been a few days since we have been back, OK, a week. What a difference a week makes.
Starting point: Grand Junction, CO
Stopping point: Scottsdale, AZ
Mileage: 590 miles
Time: Approximately 9.25 hours
Destination: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
We headed south to Arizona at exactly 8:29 am, MST on March 8th. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and Arizona was calling. Got in our nice (rented) 2020 Nissan Rogue (great employee pricing), headed to the gas station to fill up Honey’s soda cup and then off to Wendy’s for the new breakfast menu. I am one who can not start a road trip without something to eat. Usually it’s McDonald’s in Delta, CO since we usually head east to the front range, this time, it was Wendy’s. Next time, it won’t be Wendy’s. More on that later. 
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Looks good!
Drink refilled, breakfast received and off we head east on I-70 to Moab. Not even FIVE minutes into the drive, Honey says..what is so….OH MAN!!! (I did clean up his language). Somehow, he has knocked the lid to his very large drink loose and when turning on a very sharp curve, it has decided to spill all over Honey’s clean pants. That didn’t make him at all happy. Cleaned up, not so much dried up, but enough so it’s no longer uncomfortable for him. I hand him his breakfast sandwich. We got two of the Bacon, Egg & Swiss Croissants. “A fresh-cracked grade A egg and Applewood smoked bacon covered in creamy swiss cheese sauce on a flaky croissant bun. Breakfast basics worth waking up early for.” I had bitten into mine and was not so pleasantly presented with a very hard piece of bacon.  I LOVE crunchy bacon, the crunchier, the better. This was NOT crunchy. It was hard, OK, fluke, hard spot, no big deal, next bite…same thing.  That’s when I discover the mayo….Honey doesn’t like mayo, I don’t tell him as there is really no way to take it off. The mayo tastes funny…that would be because it’s the “creamy swiss cheese sauce”. In that moment, without telling Honey anything and less than three minutes after he gets his pants (near the hip) wet, he takes a bite of the sandwich and ….bloop…cheese sauce, between his legs…We aren’t even out of town yet and he’s a dirty mess.  Kids, can’t take them anywhere. With that in mind, I am not impressed with the breakfast sandwich.
Breakfast in my tummy, heading on the interstate, it’s nap time. Yes, we are out of town, no we are not out of Colorado, which is only 30 miles.
I don’t know when I woke up, I do know, the scenery was incredible. I am not, or should say, was not a fan of the red rocks for scenery, I am a mountain girl. Pine and Aspen trees, Scrub Oak bushes, water, dirt, that’s my kind of scenery, however, I have opened my eyes to new adventures and found scenery doesn’t always have to be a mountain to be beautiful. Canyons and rock formations are awesome too!
Moab wasn’t really what I had thought it would be. But then, we just basically drove through it. We have decided, some day, to go back.
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Still headed south, maybe south east, maybe south west…not sure. We finally find the area in the road where they filmed Forest Gump, when he decided to stop running. It…was…amazing!!! Never have I ever seen something so awesome where people actually get out of their vehicle, stand in the middle of the highway to take a photo of a place that was a scene in a movie. Yes, I joined them in photographing said space. Sent just the photo to my brother in law (the one who loves baseball more than honey and is at work), my son and my mom. Nothing said, just the picture. BIL – “Nice”….Mom – “Beautiful”…Kiddo….Forest Gump!!! To be honest, Kiddo worked at a movie theater for 10 years and is a movie buff, it was a gimme for him! BIL second comment, when asked about it again…National Lampoons Vacation….Oh..Bother!!! Mom’s second, Close Encounters….People…Work with us!!! OK, being fair, if I were just sent a picture of it, I would have had the same answers….Nice! Beautiful!
We had such a pleasant drive, minus the two wonderful people who decided to cross the double yellow line and pass while heading straight for us. OH and yea…we got stuck in traffic due to an accident, for about an hour (I think) just outside Squaw Valley. Which, then leads to an some awesome sunset footage and views. As we headed south on the 101, the moon was coming up. I took pictures, they are shaky, but they are cool…In my mind. I am so excited, Monday night, Superstition Mountain and a full moon.
We finally arrive at our hotel. It’s a Tru by Hilton. Opened 12.27.19. Brand spanking new!
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It’s 6:30 pm PST
Total Time 11 hours (we entered a new time zone)
Next up
Hotel and Dinner review.

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The End of Our Minds

March 13, 2020 
Friday the 13th
President has declared a national emergency due to COVID-19.
This is NOT political post. It is also NOT a post about the world coming to an end. 
I realize in my immediate family we have more than five people who fit the dangerous area of getting the virus/disease and believe me, I don’t take things lightly.  I am one of those five. However, I have resolved myself to not panicking, not over or under reacting and to educate myself. 
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Stay tuned for the trip run down! 
Hubby and I just got back from our baseball trip to Arizona. We had a blast and it’s a good thing, as we were able to watch the last entire Rockies spring training game.
One of the most basic and best prevention of this disease, is washing your hands. Perfect, common sense, everyday practice, nothing new; in every restroom facility we went to, the only way to dry your hands, after washing, is the air dryer. Great! Saves on trees, better for your hands, all that fun stuff; except when, A: you have to actually shut off the water and B: you have to open the door, grab the handle which 100’s of people have touched and probably 75% of those people did NOT wash their hands. So, my 20 seconds of singing happy birthday is down the proverbial toilet. my options are: grab the handle with my hands and risk it, grab the handle with my shirt sleeve and risk contamination of my shirt, I can go back to the toilet area and get some TP (hoping I don’t actually have to touch anything to get in the stall) and head back to the door, grab the handle and walk out. Now, I have used TP (not that way) and no where to throw it away.
Makes PERFECT sense to me. 
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We are to not panic. I agree! However, when I find that Disney has closed their locations and cruises, here in the US, I tend to get a bit worried. I’ve always heard  “Disney Never Closes”. The parks and hotels can withstand earthquakes, hurricanes and fires.  I had to find out if, in fact, Disney was truly magical and can withstand the test of times and did some investigating. This is what I have found. 
Disneyland has only closed three times. 1963, after President Kennedy was assassinated, closed one day.  January 17, 1994 after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Los Angeles, closed one day and September 11, 2001, closed one day. 
Disney World has closed a total of seven times. First, September 14, 1999 due to Category 4 Hurricane Floyd, a day and a half. September 11, 2001, closed for the day.  September 2004 wasn’t too nice to Walt Disney World Resort, August 13th for Cat 4 Hurricane Charley, September 4th and 5th for Hurricane Frances and reopened September 6th. September 26th for Hurricane Jeanne for a day. October 6, 2016 Cat 5 Hurricane Matthew, closed one day, September 9, 2017 for Hurricane Irma, three days and finally, September 3, 2019 Hurricane Dorian, closed early and reopened the next day. Important note to self….September could be a rough time to visit Disney World. 
All that..until now.
Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Paris Resort will all close this weekend until the end of the month. *Disney Resort Hotels and Disney Springs will remain open*
Disney Cruise Line is suspending all new cruise departures on Saturday until the end of the month. This news joins Shanghai Disney Resort which was first to close, however, has recently opened up areas of the resort not including Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort remain closed.
All major sporting events, concerts, many schools, museums, debates, anything with more than 10 people….shut down. To me…this means there is some serious stuff going on. I am still not panicking though. 
We’ve been told to self quarantine. No visiting patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors offices urge to call ahead. I get it, I do!
And as I sit here in an airport, working…I wonder who will return a key, a car, get off a plane, get on a plane to spread it all here. I’m not worried though. 
Not really. 
What does concern me (and many of my customers today)…is the disappearance of toilet paper and paper towels. Where in the world are they going? Why have people elected to hoard TP? Water? Canned food, understand….sanitizer and cleaning supplies, I get…
TP….Can someone, please…for the love of Pete, please explain why toilet paper? 

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Sometimes you can find peace of mind by transferring yourself to different situations. They’re just reminders to stay… calm.
Yves Behar

 

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The Countdown…

In truth, the countdown started the day after the World Series 2019; just a mere 146 days, give or take a few. 

Opening Day!

 
The sound of the bat cracking and the crowds cheering will be heard all over the US on March 26, 2020. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm ET. The Nationals v The Mets or the Tigers v the Indians. 
 
I am a Colorado Rockies fan. Have been since the original four Blake St Bombers entertained the crowds at Coors Stadium, 1995. Andres Galarraga (the Big Cat), Dante Bichette (Bichette Happens), Larry Walker (who’s walk up song was Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne) and Vinny Castilla (“Vinny”, the happiest person on the team).
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I love watching baseball at the stadium and enjoy my go to meal at the ball park, the hot dog and pretzel. Another mainstay at the park is sunscreen. This girl burns in 10 minutes. So, a great suntan lotion, hat and a seat where the sun doesn’t hit for too long. 
 
My Honey is a baseball fan…no, that’s not the right word…expert…no, that’s not it either…He lives, breathes and talks baseball. There is not a day go by he doesn’t mention something about baseball. He is the main count downer in our home, however, as much as he loves baseball, his brother is twice the expert. So, baseball season is an important season to us. Well, them. I’m OK with a game or two at the field, better yet, sitting at the field with the “Littles” sharing popcorn and cotton candy. 
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This week, however, we have set the count down timer to Spring Training in Arizona. Honey and I are headed down to Talking Stick Park to enjoy some sun and baseball. I have heard stories of the previous trips with Honey and his brothers and I have sternly told him, I like baseball and I will go with you, but I will not attend five games in one day. Not happening. I may have to go find a Spa for a mani/pedi or massage. 
 
The hotel is booked. The car has been rented. The weather is being watched and Honey would already be packed if we didn’t have to work this week. I know somewhere he has already packed his new Spring Training baseball hat, his glove and his shorts. The shorts, mainly because he can’t wear them right now…Well, he can…but it’s still a bit too chilly for them! 
 
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So, this week, is going to be a long one. He’s antsy to go and excited I’m going. I’m ready to go, just to get some outside fresh air and a ball field hot dog and time with just Honey and I. 
 
Stay tuned for updates, pictures and the good, bad and ugly of the trip. Praying for no UGLY!
“People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” –
Rogers Hornsby

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