Thursday we went to the Phoenix zoo with Sherry's daughter-in-law, Trindall, and her two sons, Cyrus and Xavier. Xavier became Isaiah's new best buddy a day or two before when Ruth and Sherry took him over to Xavier's house to meet the other two boys. Cyrus is still a baby, but Xavier is only eight months younger than Isaiah and they get along marvelously.
Once again, we didn't get started early (c'mon, we are on vacation) and it was about 10:30 when I asked Sherry if Trindall was usually punctual, or whether I had enough time to finish drinking a can of Coke before she showed up. Sherry suggested that I might have plenty of time, but just as soon as I popped the top of the can, Isaiah, who had been eagerly watching out the front door, shouted "They're here!".
Admission to the Phoenix zoo is pretty steep, but Trindall had a member's pass good for free admission for two adults and two children. Since Cyrus is under two, he's free and that let all of us get in for the price of one adult admission. As mentioned above, one adult admission is a lot- $12, but it's actually almost worth that much. The zoo is huge and it is so beautiful that I think people would pay (not as much) to get in even if there were no animals there outside of what you'd normally find in the desert.
We wisely decided to rent a stroller for Cyrus and a sort of two-seat big kid stroller for Isaiah and Xavier which we referred to all day as the "car" or the "buggy". The two boys had a good time riding in the buggy together- especially with me pushing and taking every opportunity to go off-road through the bumpy stuff, or to go fast, or swoop around corners and down hills.
At one point we'd stopped to take a bit of a rest. We were sitting on a bench about 15 feet across the pathway from a concession vendor. Trindall had brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for all of us, but Ruth was the only Waggener that partook. I knew I had no interest in peanut butter and Isaiah spit out the one bite he tried. He was still hungry, though.
"Can we get a pretzel, Daddo?"
"You want a pretzel, eh?"
"Yes, can we get one?"
"Maybe. I've got a deal to propose to you, do you want to hear it?"
"Let's hear the deal..."
"If you buy the pretzel with your spending money, I'll buy us a drink to go with it. Does that sound like a good idea?"
"OK," he resignedly muttered, "I'll pay for the pretzel."
I may have unintentionally executed what the old-timers refer to as a 'sharp operation' on the boy, though, because Ruth requested the the drink I buy to go with the pretzel be lemonade and when I came back with our snack Isaiah didn't want lemonade. Oh, well. I say you pays your money and you takes your chances, right? Besides, he did OK. Later on Trindall bought an Icee for Xavier and Isaiah to share and I must say that for a four year old and a three year old they did a mind-bogglingly good job of sharing the cold treat. After, that is, I had the good idea to put two straws in it. Both of them being able to drink at the same time worked much better than trying to get them to pass it back and forth.
On the way back from the zoo Isaiah fell asleep for what was his very first nap in Arizona. He has been doing an incredible job of keeping going and remaining in a good mood. I don't have any idea where all his energy comes from, but it seems like just as soon as I am sure he's about to nod off, he gets a second wind and is running amok once again- just like he was when he woke from his nap.
We didn't let him go too crazy, though, because we wanted him to keep his post-nap outfit clean and unrumpled-looking because the three of us had a dinner appointment to meet Ruth's cousin Patty who lives in Chandler. Ruth doesn't get to see Patty as often as either would like since she lives in Arizona, but whenever we do we have a good time. We had a nice dinner together and a good time discussing Ruth's family and sharing stories about church work.
When we got back from dinner with Patty, we hung out on the courtyard chatting with Dad and Sherry a while as Isaiah played around in the semi-darkness. Soon, though, it was time for all of us to turn in early. We were all worn out from all the hard vacationing we'd been doing. My dad's physical condition requires that he pace himself pretty strictly and he's been about the only one to do so. Isaiah continues to run himself 110% out of steam each day and I have been telling myself daily that I would get to bed early that night and it hadn't happened yet.
Friday Dad took us to Goldfield Ghost Town. It's a semi-authentic recreation of a ghost town centered around a gold mine near the base of the Superstition Mountains. The nice thing about Goldfield is that it's free to get in and most of the stuff there is reasonably priced. If you wanted to, you could spend a couple of good, fun hours there and not spend a dime (or very few dimes, anyway). The first thing we did there was to ride the train. It's an authentic narrow-guage railroad like would have been used in a gold mine. The particular one at Goldfield, though, was built in the 60s and so was diesel instead of steam powered, but we still had fun.
Isaiah wasn't too sure about it at first, but when he realized it wasn't going to get going very fast he liked it a lot. The ride took about twenty minutes, but most of that time was spent stopped while the engineer/tour guide told about the two or three mines visible from the train that were still active to some degree. It was fun, though, and enough ride to satisfy Isaiah.
After the train ride we scouted around town a bit. Most of the shops were selling stuff and were of limited interest to those not in the market for dust-catchers, but Dad bought Sherry one of those type of things while Isaiah and I had wandered off on our own for a few minutes to see some neat old mechanical junk and take a couple of pictures.
We wandered up and down the boardwalks in front of the storefronts looking at the wares and finally came upon the Superstition Mountain Museum. It's a rather small museun, but intertesting and cheap, and without a four year old you could probly spend an hour or so reading all the information and looking at all the stuff there. With a four year old, it's probably good for 25-30 minutes tops which is about what we spent there.
When we were done in the museum, Isaiah and I spent some time riding a rock horse over the desert landscape. That is, we sat on a boulder and waited while Ruth and Dad looked throuhg some more of the shops.Eventually Dad came back and sat with Isaiah while I went looking for Ruth (the rock was getting kind of hard). Dad tells the story that before Ruth and I got back to he and Isaiah, a family with three daughters came walking by the rock and Isaiah called out "Hi girls! Do you want to sit on the rock with us?" I tell you that boy has never met a stranger in his life and he certainly has a way with the ladies of all ages.
After we'd satisfied our taste for the 1890s in Goldfield, we came back home and gradually relaxed into a dinner of inch thick pork chops and home made fries followed by more relaxation. It's hard work, but someone has to do it.
Today was even more laid back than the previous two days. All that was on the schedule was a big barbecue at Bill and Dawn, Sherry's son-in-law and daughter's house. We were the first guests to arrive at about 12:30-ish and the weather was perfect- not hot, not chilly, and just enough breeze to keep it that way. The afternoon consisted mostly of eating and hanging out with one rather exciting moment.
At one point, Cyrus, the baby who went to the zoo with us, fell in the pool! Fortunately Dad had seen the situation about to arise and was right there to jump in and grab him. Luckily it was the shallow end of the pool and he just hopped in and handed Cyrus up to Trindall, his mother, but everybody was a little shook up and Dad was more than a little wet.
Much later this evening, back at home, Isaiah finally gave out. Ruth was resting in our guest suite while Dad and I were talking in the bar and Isaiah was inside the house in the living room with Sherry, where he was transforming the cushions of the couch into, among other things, a schoolbus and a "four winged rocketship". When Dad finally decided he'd better get to bed, I bid him goodnight and headed for the guest suite where I assumed Isaiah was with Ruth. Before I got there, though, he called to me and told me there was something I didn't want to forget inside.
I went in and Isaiah was laying asleep in the floor. Sherry said he fell asleep in the middle of telling her a story. One moment he was expounding on the narration of some flight of his imagination and the next moment he was unconscious. It's hardly surprising. He's been running at full power all the time for a complete week now. He was bound to run down sometime. And so am I- that's why this is the end of this account.