Friday, May 7, 2010

Signs of Summer

John stayed home from work on Tuesday to work on one of his take-home final exams for school. Did I mention that my husband is just one week away from finishing his Masters Degree at Arizona State University? And that, as his wife, I am slightly stoked to get him back? All that aside, I felt sorry for him being stuck inside working away on his computer. It took him until dinner time to finally finish his masterpiece, but John was proud of what he had accomplished. I decided to take him out for dinner to celebrate. We have a new burger place by our house called Lenny's Burgers. The sign on the window gets my attention every time I drive by...99-cent root beer float. Eek! One of my favorite summer treats! So we headed to Lenny's to try out some burgers, fries, and, of course, root beer floats.

John got a double hickory burger, which meant they were supposed to slather it with BBQ sauce. They forgot the sauce, but he ate it like a champ. He says it was a really good burger and was much better than In and Out. I slapped him for such a comment then continued picking at my cheese fries. They were a disappointment...the cheese wasn't melted but squirted on with some foreign metal contraption. It all tasted like rubber. John got the same thing but added chili to his, like a champ. He complained about the odd flavor as well, so at least I know I wasn't being paranoid. I sipped on my root beer float and watched him enjoy his post-final dinner.

In addition to almost being done with school, another sure sign of summer is that my Summer Wreath made its first appearance today. It replaced the Spring Wreath, which hung in there with the best of them until well into May. Now that it is consistently above 90 degrees every day, I feel rather silly not celebrating with a Summer Wreath on my door. Problem remedied this week!

I love summer. Maybe not so much here in Phoenix, but it is a wonderful season full of BBQs, fireworks, and water parks.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

The trip home from Oakland was beautiful. Uneventful. The day started with a terrible "free" continental breakfast. It's pretty hard to mess up a croissant, but they managed to do it by putting out one that was at least six days old. Luckily, a bowl of Cheerios lived up to its name and made me feel all better. We headed to the airport to get The Baby ready. A classic game of hurry-up-and-wait (which is actually all my job description says). We didn't get called until Big Boss was twenty minutes away at 3:30 PM! But we were ready for him. And after a two-mile taxi to the departing runway (thanks to noise restrictions out of Oakland International), we were on our way. Conveniently, our departure took us right over the city of San Francisco. Certainly one of my favorite places to visit, and not just because of the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory Hot Fudge Sundae. It was a fast flight home, thanks to an 80-knot tailwind. They didn't even slow us down for other traffic until we were seventy miles out! A rare treat during rush hour into Phoenix! We landed and unloaded some happy passengers before hitting the road ourselves towards the east valley. What a great couple of days at work.


Monday, May 3, 2010

How To Get To Oakland In Style

Trains are cool, for a few hours. Then boredom begins to set in as the scenery remains the same as the station from whence it departed. Cars? Forget it. I can't stand to be cooped up in a car for a 10-hour drive if I can get there in an hour cruising in a Beechjet. There really is no better way to see the country than in a private airplane. It just so happens that I have access to one, and a pretty nifty one at that! I've become a spoiled traveler, thanks to my job as a corporate pilot. It's just part of the rough territory that has to be dealt with. Fortunately, it falls upon me to cope with such anxieties as no TSA security lines, no busy airline terminals, and no being accosted by security just for trying to bring a bottle of water along. It's a rough "job," but I willingly put up with it.

We get to the airplane early, after awaking at 4:00 AM. I pick Terry up at a gas station along the way so his wife doesn't have to drive him all the way to Phoenix. When we arrive at the airport, I kiss the beautiful airplane that I love so much. I then wash windows and leading edges of the wings to make sure they are shiny for the soon-to-arrive passengers. While I fill the airplane with coffee, newspapers, and ice for for cold bottles of water, Terry works on uploading the new navigational database into the airplane computer. It's always nice to be legal and safe! We are kind of sticklers on that! Before long, six people arrive in the lobby. We load up their bags and are wheels-up, just five minutes after Big Boss parks his car. I still get butterflies and a big ol' grin during every takeoff. Is there any better feeling than being thrown back in your seat from 5,800 pounds of thrust provided by two Pratt and Whitney engines?

One hardship of my employment is the constantly-changing scenery outside my office window. It transforms from beautiful and warm Valley of the Sun to barren desert to the Las Vegas strip before evolving into snow-capped mountains towards the green Pacific coast. This all occurs in a matter of an hour and a half. We pick up some light rime icing in the descent into the Bay Area, but luckily we anticipate where and when it will happen. All of the engine anti-ice, wing heat, and tail heater pads are fired up and warm long before they are needed to keep ice from forming on the surfaces of the airplane. It can get pretty cold up there! Minus-sixty degrees is commonly found at altitudes such as 36,000 feet, and when you mix a cold airplane with moisture through a descent, ice is just going to happen. Luckily, in late April, it doesn't last forever. And before long, we break out of the clouds and frozen moisture pellets to find the Oakland International Airport spread out in front of us.

We land. Terry's first in a few months, and of course, he greases it. It's hard to do in an airplane with no trailing-link landing gear to help cushion the touchdown. He makes it look easy, and I yet again feel grateful that I fly with such a competent and pleasant coworker. It's a mighty small space to not get along. I think back on the past few feels so good to be back in the sky. Can I really be getting paid to have this much fun?

We taxi in to the Fixed-Base Operator, or FBO, where we park the airplane and get some fuel. I hop out quickly to get the passengers' bags loaded into their awaiting rental car. They head inside for a bathroom break and some warm cookies. Evil FBO! Who can turn down warm chocolate chip cookies?! I make sure the passengers get out of the ramp access gate before returning to get our own rental car. We normally don't get a rental but just borrow the Crew Car for a few hours to grab some grub. However, this trip means we have a little more time on the ground than normal, and we celebrate by visiting some local attractions such as science centers and temples, etc.

Before heading out for some adventures around town, we check into the hotel. Nice, but no brand name means no hotel points. It sounds silly, but it is nice to collect those points to be able to travel for leisure and not pay for a hotel! On the bright side, the king-size bed has an indentation in it for a body, so I know exactly where to sleep. John and I have found that neither of us sleeps when I am gone for work, and tonight will be no exception. After ensuring the hotel is up to our not-very-high standards (just clean, please), Terry and I head down the block to try an Indian buffet for lunch. It is good...Chicken Tikka Misala is about as adventurous as I get with Indian food, but I love that stuff. I soak up the sauce with some Naan bread before getting too full. Then we battle a rain storm as we drive up higher and higher into the mountains of Oakland to arrive at science centers and temples, etc.

Getting to Oakland can be a pain for some. When I do it through work, it is nothing but pure bliss. I absolutely love my "job."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chabot Space and Science Center

In case it wasn't blatantly obvious and common knowledge, I am somewhat of a nerd. I love going to museums and historical sites and such. Anything I can do to enhance my brain functions, I can't get enough of it.

Such an opportunity presented itself this past Wednesday when I was "working." The guy I fly with, Terry, just bought an annual pass to a group of museums, which meant we had free admission to the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland! We arrived around noon to enjoy several hours of exploring the premises. There was so much to see, including three giant telescopes that are still used in open-to-the-public star parties every weekend. One of the telescopes was built in the 1860's and is still used today! It was fun to partake of the endless knowledge often found in a science center. My favorite part was the movie we watched in the Planetarium called "The Maya Skies," which covered the history of how the Maya began their calendars through utilization of star formations. It was so neat! There were lots of kids at the museum for school field trips. It just made me appreciate, yet again, that I am no longer a teenager.

Since the Chabot Center was up on the mountains, the views were absolutely incredible! It was a neat chance to explore more about our solar system!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...