It occurs to me that I learned one really weird and disturbing factoid in my trip. (I also saw “the Ring” and stuff, but I’ll comment on that later.) Was talking to James’s boss’s wife, who’s a vet that works on horses. She was telling me how “paint” horses are much more desireable than solid colors. Much more desireable. Monetarily lucrative. As in, when a paint horse throws a solid foal, unscrupulous breeders will sometimes try and fix the matter. There’s tattooing, cold branding, bleaching, all kinds of things. Naturally, as fast as people invent these things, buyers get canny to it and look for the signs on the horse to make sure they’re not getting screwed. So now, the latest thing is to get a vet to do skin grafts on the foal to fix the coat.

As a result, naturally, breeders buying paint horses require extensive documentation, practically from birth, that it really IS a legitimate paint and not doctored. The whole thing is so bizarre, and a weird little insight into a world I am generally ignorant of that I just had to shake my head and go “Weeeeeird.”

Return from the desert

We got an apartment.

I am struck by the sheer inadequacy of the English language in this case, because “we got an apartment” does not at all encompass the days spent looking at crappy places, looking at not so crappy places, shaking hands with multiple landlords and thanking them for the tour, standing in bare apartments and doing the invision-my-furniture-here squint, filling out cramped little applications, and the nerve wracking day and a half when, after applying, our prospective landlord couldn’t get ahold of our current landlord and thus couldn’t verify that we’d lived there. Fortunately, our upstairs neighbor who was catsitting was able to break into our filing cabinets, find our lease agreement, and fax it to us in the wee hours of the evening, and thus the apartment was secured!

And there was much rejoicing.

It’s nice. It’s almost twice as big, and costs $50 LESS a month, has a patio and actual counter space and there’s even a pool. I don’t particularly enjoy swimming, but possibly when it’s 120 out in the middle of August, I will learn to love it.

Arizona in general was very neat. The dry heat really doesn’t feel as gawdawful as the muggy stuff they get here, and since it was spring, everything was blooming, including prickly pear and various other incongrously bright flowers that I don’t really know the names of. We were staying with James’s boss, who lives way out in the boondocks, and there was desert (or at least semi desert) everywhere. And quail. I never really considered it, but quail must be a weedy species, ‘cos the little buggers were everywhere, running across the road, scurrying everytime you took a step. The little topknots are adorable. And my sinuses were clear as a bell.

All in all, pretty good trip. Now…to commence the packing…