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Arizona – Saturday, November 12

November 13th, 2016

Our day began with a trip to Midway airport. We used Midway Park Ride Fly since I was able to get a decent discount by pre-paying online. I had our boarding passes printed so getting our bags checked with the new self-serve terminals was a breeze. I was incredibly anxious so before going through security I took a Xanax, used the restroom, and then dumped what was left of the water in our bottles but kept them since there’s a bottle filling station after security which saved us from spending $4 on water

There wasn’t really a line for TSA so we breezed through that and were at our gate an hour and a half before departure. We had a nice view of the planes taking off so we watched them while I texted with my brothers and cousin. When our plane pulled up to the gate, I took a photo of it.

Plane to Phoenix

I also asked the gate agents whether I could meet the pilots and they said sure. I mulled that one over while we waited to board since I didn’t want to lose out on prime seating by making a stop in the cockpit first. I purchased the early bird check-in specially to avoid getting stuck in the back of the plane and it paid off – we were in group A positions 43 and 44 so we were able to snag seats in row 13 just aft of the wing. I really wanted row 15 since on the 737-800 that’s the exit row and there are only two seats instead of three but someone beat us to it. They had their head down when we were getting closer so I was pretty disappointed because I thought we were going to luck out.

After everyone finished boarding I made my way up front to ask if I could use the restroom just as one of the pilots went inside the lavatory. As I was waiting I decided to inquire if I could meet the other pilot and the steward said sure. The guy was really nice: he introduced himself (unfortunately I don’t recall his name), shook my hand, and invited me to take a seat. It was so cool! I asked if I could take a photo of the cockpit controls and he said sure.

20161112_161700802_ios-cockpit

Then I asked him whether they’d be making any turns shortly after takeoff since I hate that part and he told me unfortunately they would need to once reaching 1000 feet. I joked that at least now I’d know what to expect. Around that time the other pilot appeared and made a joke about whether I had learned enough to fly the plane. I asked whether he’d mind taking a photo of me in the cockpit and he happily obliged. I also asked them both how long they had been flying and it was over thirty years! Then I hurried up to use the restroom since they needed to get going. It was a really cool experience and helped calm my nerves somewhat. I quickly posted my cockpit photo to Facebook before putting my phone in airplane mode.

Takeoff was still scary for me, but it helped that I was listening to The Cure and holding onto Joe’s arm. I also kept my eyes closed until we were out of the turn since seeing us tilt toward the ground freaks me out. The main part of the flight wasn’t bad at all even though the seat belt sign was on the majority of the time. There was some very mild turbulence here and there but nothing concerning. I passed the time watching YouTube videos I had pre-downloaded thanks to a free trial of YouTube Red.

Interesting enough, shortly into our flight Joe pulled up the plane stats and it showed we only had about two hours and thirty-six minutes left. We were confused since the posted duration was three hours and fifty-five minutes. I asked a stewardess whether it was accurate and she said yes, and we’d be arriving early. That was nice because the flight didn’t feel nearly as long as I had visualized it would.

The only part that really freaked me out was the steep bank we made at 5000 feet to line up with the runway. Other than that it wasn’t so bad. Plus I only got up once to pee! IF you know me at all you know that is pretty darn impressive.

Once we landed and got our luggage we were picked up by Joe’s sister, T. We were pretty hungry (especially me since I ate absolutely nothing since the evening before) so we stopped at In-N-Out for burgers and fries (Joe & T also had shakes).

In-N-Out

The burgers were much better than I remember but the fries still suck. Interestingly enough, it was nearly exactly 7 years ago (only a difference of two days) that we did the exact same thing – got picked up by T and then got In-N-Out. How’s that for creatures of habit?

After arriving at Joe’s parents’ trailer – where we’d be spending the week in T’s room – and hanging out for awhile, we went to Target to pick up a few things including contact lens cleaner for yours truly. I was nervous about packing hydrogen peroxide so we decided it was worth the cost to just buy a bottle once we got there and throw it out before we left than risk ruining all my clothes.

For dinner we went to Mesa Festival Forest which is 15-25 food trucks every Saturday night at Pioneer Park. We ended up trying some ridiculously delicious Nutella s’mores crepes and an ok lobster roll. There was live music, picnic tables, toys for the kids to play with, and just a nice relaxed vibe.

Crepe

Since we shared the food amongst the three of us (T was with us), we were still a little hungry when we left so we stopped at Pete’s Fish & Chips nearby. Their food was ok but nothing so great that I’d go out of my way to eat there again.

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