Last weekend trip with Grandkids - FUN!!!
Friday, August 09, 2013
I've been so busy or so tired that I haven't gotten around to posting this. But I work for a major insurance company who has a contract with New Mexico to handle the Medicaid for the elderly and disabled. I do service coordination for some in nursing homes and for some in their own(or family) homes who receive some in home services, like paid caregivers. The company has people working all over the state, many from home like me. We are also divided into regions in groups we call teams. There are 5 or 6 teams in New Mexico. Anyway, a lot of our training is either done though web based meetings with conference calls, or team meetings in a regional area. For us it's usually in Las Cruces, 2 hours away. Those are about every other month. Like I said, much other training, either statewide or in our team, is done though a web based program that we log into in order to see the presentation and call into from a phone. Once in a while they call us up to Albuquerque for on site training. Usually only about once or twice a year. When they do, they pay for the motel rooms up front and we get mileage reimbursement. But it's much cheaper to do the web based ones. It's also easy to feel more isolated and not know coworkers very well. I think there are about 200 or a little more people employed under this particular contract, with the main office in Albuquerque. I've worked here 4 1/2 years now. We've usually had a mandatory training in Albuquerque for a day or two, followed by a Christmas party for all the staff. The problems they've with weather though have caused some not to be able to stay for the party or have to leave the training early, or not make it. Weather may be okay there but since they travel from all over the state some areas get moe snow than others. So this year they decided to do the training in August, and instead of a Christmas Party to have a private party with a barbeque at the Rio Grande Zoo on Saturday night. We also were told we could bring family with us. They would only pay for one motel room, but we could get 2 beds in the room and get a few people in there. When I heard this several months ago, when it was in the preliminary planning stage, I immediately decided I wanted to bring 4 of my grandkids. They are all living in my house, with my 2 daughters. I have a 14 year old granddaughter, but I didn't take her because she is very much a teen girl whose main interests are boys and facebook. She has a teen attitude. I knew she wouldn't have fun and would make us miserable. I didn't tell the kids they were going with me until 2 days before we left, although I had told their moms earlier. My granddaughter was actually okay with it because she said it wasn't her thing, and she would get a break from the younger kids. The company was also providing a "Youth Zone" at the training, for child care for kids 10 and under while we were in training. I was taking my 8 year old granddaughter Bethany and her 10 year old brother Diego, as well as my other daughter's 2 kids 10 year old Keyana and 13 year old Elijah. The training started at 12:30 Friday afternoon, and it's a 4 1/2 hour drive so we had to leave early. It was also on Saturday from 8:30 to 1 pm. The zoo party wasn't until 6:30. Many people come from rural areas of the state and so love to shop in Albuquerque, especially for school clothes. It was also a tax-free weekend in New Mexico, where there is no tax charged Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for school clothes, supplies, and items like computers and other things used for education. I didn't have money to shop but we did other things instead. Money has been tight, and daughters aren't working. So I was really excited to be able to give the kids a little min-vacation.
They also arranged with the hotel to have check in early. So when we got there we could get our rooms which is unusual. So Elijah stayed in the room, watched tv, and took a nap while the other kids were in the Youth Zone. He was fine with that. The company had a hospitality room for us also, and when we got there they had pizza, water, Capri Sun drinks, and some other snacks like the packages of peanut butter and crackers and some fruit type snacks. So the we ate pizza (kind of gobbled it down to get to where we had to be) and so I didn't have to worry about them being hungry for a while. They also fed them snacks in the Youth Zone. The workers in there were from the YMCA I think they said. There were not very many kids, not as many as I expected. But many of the employees that brought kids or grandkids has spouses or some other adult with them that took care of their kids. But there were some kids. They did crafts including designs on a paper plate about food groups and played games and got some prizes like packages of markers, pencil boxes, and other things. They had a great time. After the training was done, the kids wanted to hit the swimming pool in the hotel. So we all got in the pool, including me. We played catch with a little water ball for about 45 minutes across the pool, which didn't have too many people in it at that time. I kept my legs and arms moving the whole time running or jumping in the pool in place while waiting for the ball and moving my arms back in forth in the water and things like that to get a workout while in there. Then we went to get something to eat, went back to hotel, and everyone was tired. We had left Silver City about 6:30 am, so they had gotten up really early. They watched tv and I fell asleep. The girls fell asleep not too much later but the boys were up really really late but quiet. Since I knew they would sleep late, I left both boys sleeping since Diego didn't really want to go back to the Youth Zone. He wanted to stay with Elijah. If they weren't sleeping, there is no way I would leave those 2 together in the room alone. Elijah did get up with me and went down to the buffet breakfast, along with the girls. Diego didn't want to get up. We had free breakfast Saturday and Sunday, which was nice. After breakfast he went back to sleep. The girls went to the Youth Zone. On Saturday morning they had some young adults with disabilities (I never did find out for sure what kind from the girls but one was blind I know) who talked to the kids about what it was like when they were in school with their disability, and how the kids can talk and treat people they may go to school with who have disabilities. They also had a couple of service dogs in there and showed the kids different things they can do. I thought that was so cool!!! And they fed them again LOL. During a break in the training I went to check on the boys, and Diego was sleepy but awake and wanted to know if he could still go down to breakfast. It was still within the serving time, so I got him down there and into the buffet and went back to my training. Elijah was still in the room so he could get in. A little late we had another break so I checked on the boys again and they were quiet and watching tv so that went great.
We had some training that was information, but the majority of it was team building activities of different kinds. I won't go into all of that but it was both days and better than just sitting listening to presentations.
One Saturday afternoon, once I got out of training and got the kids together, I took them on a drive up to the top of Sandia Peak, which is a peak high above Albuquerque. There is a hiking trail that climbs up the Albuquerque side of the peak that is 8 miles long and rises from 7,050 ft elevation in the foothills at the trailhead up a 3,775 ft climb to the elevation at the top of Sandia Crest at 10,678 feet. I climbed that trail back in the late 90s and someday want to do it again. There is also a race up that trail for runners once a year. Don't want to run that LOL! There is also a tram ride that goes from the foothills about 2 miles I think away from the trailhead and climbs on wires up to a different spot on the peak about 1 3/4 mile or so hike from the parking area on the Crest. There is a restaurant where the tram stops at the top. You can't drive to the restaurant. You can either ride the tram up to it, or you can drive up the road to the parking lot and hike over to it. There is a paved highway that drives to the top of the crest on the opposite side of the mountain from Albuquerque that is a beautiful drive. Also a ski resort up there open in the winter. That's the way we went.
We got back just in time to go straight to the zoo after we hiked around on the top of the peak for while. Then on Sunday on the way back we drove by Elephant Butte Lake in Truth or Consequences briefly and stopped at a place where we could feed the squirrels. I lived in that area when I was a kid, and I drove them around the town and showed them where I lived, went to school, told them stories, etc before we went the rest of the way home.
They are kids, and sometimes they did get on my nerves LOL. But we all had so much fun and I am so happy we could this. I'm going to post another blog with pictures from our hike and feeding the squirrels (they eat peanuts from your hand because they've been fed for years. We did that when I was a kid). Some pictures from the zoo didn't come out that well because of the late evening and other factors.
So more later. We had a very active weekend and a lot of fun!