Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Story

I'd like to tell a story to illustrate a point. For our honeymoon, John and I went on a Carnival Cruise from New Orleans to the popular northern destinations of Mexico. However, before we even got into the Gulf of Mexico, the ships engines broke down and stalled us for about four hours. Because of this, they gave a credit of money to each guest for causing delays in our first day at port. Some people would now be late to their day excursions, so the cruise line was reimbursing for such setbacks. The money came in the form of a credit to be used on the ship. I'm sure most people not only spent this $33, but went way above that in purchasing trinkets, pictures by the boat photographer, massages, and drinks while gambling the night away in the floating casino. My husband and I, however, received a check under our door the morning it was time to disembark. We made money on our cruise. We didn't spend a single cent!

The moral of this story is that my husband isn't exactly known for spending money. When we were setting up our budget after first getting married, I decided it was a good idea to have a small amount set aside each month as a "Fun Fund" for me. It was money that I could spend without feeling guilty and without having to answer to a single soul for it. When it came time to allot some money to John for the same purpose, he skipped on to the next item on the list. The point is that he spends no money on anything not necessary for life support. He's very good with money in that he never uses it on useless items.

That being said, you must now understand what a big deal it was for John to finally break down and purchase a new receiver for his theater room. He has been wanting and researching receivers since I've known him. His old machine didn't have half the hookups he needed for all the new components out these days, and the sound just didn't do any movie justice. Every time he mentioned it, I was very encouraging towards us just ordering a new one online. He wisely never told me which model number he would get, simply because I would have gotten it for him years ago! But last week, he came home a different man. And he said we should order a new receiver from our favorite online retailer, Amazon. Before he was finished saying the sentence, I was already on Amazon looking up the receiver so he couldn't change his mind. I'm decisive like that. Especially when it's for a husband who literally never spends money on himself.

I tracked the package all week until it finally arrived on our doorstep yesterday. John was so excited and tore into the box immediately! Then he read the manual for the next two hours so he knew exactly how to make everything perfect. I doubt I could have been so patient with a new toy! While I worked around the house, he ran some sound tests and finally announced that it was ready for preview. Of course, he used his favorite movie, Dark Knight, to show off what this new machine could do. We only own one blu-ray disc, and that is the latest Batman movie. Don't worry...we use the blu-ray player lots since all the DVDs we get from Netflix are blu-ray. He was grinning as I sat down to listen to his work. And you know what? It's absolutely incredible. I had no idea what we were missing!

Though he hates anything Apple, he offered to show me how to hook up my iPod Touch to the receiver to play my Christmas music. Do you have any idea how great Andy Williams sounds in surround?! It wasn't hard for John to get me excited about this latest and greatest machine!

We rarely go to movies anyway, but I doubt the theater will see us ever again. And though John never spends money for fun things for John, he is rather enjoying this new treat. The cruise line would be shocked and proud.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Temple Lights of Mesa

As a child, I remember making family trips to Salt Lake City to visit the Christmas lights of Temple Square. It was always incredible, with every square inch of trees being covered in bright, cheerful lights. However, it was almost impossible to withstand the negative temperatures while still enjoying the festive surroundings. Even hot chocolate didn't do much to warm us up at we wandered the grounds in downtown Salt Lake!

The Mesa Temple also has a Christmas Lights display each December, but it is much more pleasant to be outside.

Reasons Mesa Temple Lights Are Better
1) I was wearing a light jacket and not shivering.
2) There isn't a single patch of snow to be seen within one-hundred miles.
3) Everything gets translated into Spanish after being spoken in English.
4) We could visit the same spots of wedding pictures taken two years ago.
5) I still had hot chocolate, but it wasn't necessary to sustain life.
6) Not once did I have to avoid a pile of manure from horse-drawn carriages.
7) We drove eight minutes to reach the temple grounds, as opposed to almost two hours.
8) Two words: Palm trees.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deck The Halls...And Everything Else

Let it be known...I happen to think Christmas is awesome. And when the time comes around each year to finally put up and decorate the tree, I begin to feel like an excited little kid yet again. Christmas was always a big deal when I was growing up. Without a better way to describe it, this time of year is simply magical! I love when the holidays begin!

I had forgotten how little effort the tree really takes to assemble. Two years ago, we bought it from Costco. John surprised me that week after I arrived home from work with the tree up and lit. He really is romantic. So I let him do the honor of assembling again this year, because that's how I roll. After checking that all the lights were working, we added the red tinsel garland. We also bought a huge container of ornaments from Costco a few years ago, and they do quite the job in making the tree look perfect. Perhaps the best thing about having the tree finished is being able to sit on the couch each evening to enjoy the beautiful glow. I discovered last night that it's even prettier without contacts! Blurry, but pretty! I am glad we have it up. I am already dreading that awful day when society insists I take it down. July will be here before I know it.

Inside the decorations tub, I found my favorite book as a kid, Jolly Old Santa Claus. I took a moment to flip through the pages again, and I still love it! Every scene is full of hundreds of things to enjoy! Each elf is doing something fun, and the artwork is just incredible. It doesn't feel like Christmas until this thing is out. I am reading it at the Ward Christmas Party this Friday...that's how much I like it!

Great news: the Christmas lights outside work like a charm! They are subtle but colorful, and I love them. They last about eight hours, so they turn off automatically after the juice is gone from the solar-charged battery. That's good for us to be automatic, since we have a tendency to accidentally leave things on all night (I'm talking to you, Pool Refill Hose). I didn't know if the lights were a good purchase, but now I'm tickled I found them!

I'm off to go stare at the tree. It's so pretty that I can hardly resist! I love Christmas!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Lights Sneak Peek

For some unknown reason, we've been too busy to put up our Christmas tree. This is very uncharacteristic of me, and quite frankly, I am scared to death of these uncharted waters! We finally found a few hours yesterday to hang the Christmas lights on the house. I found a smokin' deal on Black Friday for solar-powered LED Christmas lights, and they happened to have multi-colored strands, which is a personal necessity for Christmas. I accidentally bought a few boxes of lights and proceeded to force my man onto the roof to put them in place.

The job ended up being more laborious than we expected. The previous owners left approximately fourteen-million rusted nails from previous decorating attempts. We had to first remove those, then drill tiny holes for the newly-purchased hook fasteners to go in. Then the lights were strung from hook to hook, and my husband tried to evenly space them without me even having to ask! Maybe my OCD tendencies are rubbing off? After the lights were up on portions of the house that were accessible by a step ladder, John prematurely played Santa Claus by climbing up on the rooftop. Click click click. While he was up there, he finished adding the remainder of the lights.

Now the fun part. Since the lights are solar-powered, they need to get about ten hours of sunlight before properly working. They charge all day then automatically turn on at dusk. Honestly, what will they think of next? The hard part for me is that after all my (John's, really) hard work, I have to wait another day to see our (John's, really) results! There really is nothing like owning a home to teach patience! And we woke up this morning to an overcast and rainy of three that we get annually. Thankfully, the solar-powered lights claim to be able to charge from the sun, even if it is hiding behind clouds.

Hopefully, tonight will be the reveal! I can hardly wait! Now, if we could only figure out when to put up the tree!
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