One of our main goals was to buy a bunch of stuff at Ikea in Tempe, Arizona, as that's the closest Ikea store to Albuquerque. We also wanted to visit with some of our friends out there.
I put off dealing with hotel reservations until the last week, but we still got a decent deal on Priceline: 64$/night for two nights at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix at Civic Center. I was a bit underwhelmed, for it being a Hyatt, but it was comfy and clean and relatively quiet and fairly centrally located.
We didn't get to the hotel until about 2a Saturday morning, so we just crashed. We'd hoped to be able to leave town earlier, but alas...
Saturday, after waking up, the first order of business was to visit Seamus McCaffery's Irish Pub, home of some excellent Boxty. Sweetie got the Chicken Boxty; I had the Shepherd's Pie. The latter didn't immediately strike me as all that amazing, but it grew on my as I worked my way through the bowl. Yum.
After lunch, we headed out to Ikea to walk through and pick out the bits we wanted to take home. We were both wary of buying a bunch of stuff, when we knew that the RAV would have to stay outside for another night in Downtown Phoenix. We had a good time looking through the Ikea store, but both of us eventually burned out on how crowded it was. (We don't know whether it was due to some pre-holiday special events that Ikea was running, or if it's just always that busy.)
From Ikea we went up to the Scottsdale Fashion Square. There used to be some speciality shops up there that sweetie was partial too, but most of them had left or just didn't have good stuff this time around. She still found some boots on sale (75% off original price!) and some cute fuzzy sweaters. (Something about the fact that I like it 20°F cooler than she does...)
We were hoping to hear from my friend W about getting together for drinks, and when she hadn't called by 5p or so, we thought we'd head over to her part of town before meeting up with C and D later that evening. When we finally got ahold of W, though, it turns out that we were in northwest Phoenix, and she was in ... Scottsdale. Sigh. So we missed connections again. We did stop by the Rock Bottom Brewery (yes, I know it's a chain, I used to live in Denver). I had the brown and it was ok, but deliriumdreams was quite happy with their IPA; we grabbed a growler to take with us.
We met up with C at Macayo's, his favorite local Mexican place. We got there a bit early anyway (after a short tour into the depths of southern Goodyear, AZ), and D was running late, so the three of us had a beer or two in the bar before being seated. When D finally did show up, his new girlfriend J was with him, which was a happy surprise -- we'd heard that she had other things going on. It was nice to meet her, and lots of fun. Our waitress was a smartass as well, and the food was pretty good. Unfortunately, sweetie started feeling a bit ill right as dinner showed up, so she didn't eat much.
We then went to C's parents' house, which is even further out in the middle of nowhere (Estrella Mountain Ranch). We were all pretty tired, but we did get a chance to talk about music (D's new girl is a serious music geek) and generally catch up on things. With sweetie feeling worse by the minute, though, we headed back to the hotel to try to get some sleep.
She managed a fair bit; I stupidly stayed up until 3a, which meant that our plan of leaving at 9a was in jeaporady... and sure enough, we didn't get out of the hotel until 10 or so. We made it to Ikea by 11, and finished all the shopping (one normal big cart filled to the brim, and another flat-pack cart stacked quite high) by 12:30... but it took me another hour to get it all crammed into the RAV. Oof. Two long boxes went on the roof, but everything else fit within the truck -- impressed the hell out of me, as I halfway feared we'd be returning some of it on a "can't fit" basis...
We started heading back north, and finally got ahold of W; we agreed to meet up on our way out of town. It was nice to see her again; while I can't say that she and deliriumdreams hit it off, they definitely found some common ground and were amused by each other. (And not just over laughing at me -- although I'm sure that was a part of it!) I missed the first half of the conversation, since I went to a neighboring store to get a sandwich for lunch.
So, despite meaning to get out of town at 1p (ha!), we didn't leave north Phoenix until 5p. We had to stop for fuel, and I was a bit tired so I stopped a few times (sweetie was still feeling too poorly to drive). After fuelling in Flagstaff, though, it was smooth sailing all the way home. The RAV did better than I thought it would, even with the heavy load and the big boxes on the roof.
Got into town at 11:30, dropped sweetie off at home, then drove across town and back to fetch little K from her grandmother's house. Finally got everyone else settled here, then I went ahead and unloaded the truck. I got to bed about 3a.