Friday, August 5, 2011

San Diego Way

I flew this week! We left early Wednesday morning for an hour-long flight to San Diego. Rather than going to the big international airport, we were a little further inland at Gillepsie Field. I had never been there before, and it was fun dodging a giant mountain right next to the approach end of runway 27R. I'm just glad we landed in the daytime so I could see it properly!

Since Big Boss said they wouldn't be back before 3:00 PM, we had an unusually leisurely day in San Diego. We borrowed a crew car and ate a delicious breakfast at IHOP. Eating out for breakfast is one of my favorite things to do in the world. All the calories were listed by the items, and they had symbols to make it easy to find healthier options. I found some wheat blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs for under 600 calories. It was so delicious and hearty! Perhaps food just tastes better when someone else is footing the bill?

After breakfast, we went back to the airport and walked a few blocks to the San Diego Aviation Museum. It was incredible, and $Free.99! I spent two hours walking around the airplanes. After just a few minutes there, one of the workers made the mistake of asking if I had any questions. He then happily showed me around for the rest of the time and had lots of fun stories to recount about the airplanes. I really love aviation museums, but even more when they are so close to the FBO that I can walk! I took lots of pictures, of course, and eagerly listened to his animated versions of how each airplane arrived at the museum. 

The best part about visiting museums is that I usually see something I've never seen before. This time, it was the Ryan X-13 Vertijet, and only two exist! This particular one in San Diego is on loan from the Smithsonian, so it must be important! The X-13 was the predecessor to the well-known Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) jet, the Harrier. This airplane had a special launching pad to get it airborne rather than being able to go vertical completely on its own power. But for early 1960s technology, not too shabby!

I also got to see the cockpit of a Boeing C-97 Bomber, which stole a lot of design aspects from one of my favorite airplanes, the B-29. I love that era of aviation. Standing in the cockpit made me reflect on what this particular airplane had seen in its lifetime. It did smell of throw up, so I felt badly for the ones who had been flying it!

In addition, the museum housed a F-14 Tomcat. Since their decommission from service in 1996, the government has been destroying F-14s in shredding machines to prevent the wrong countries from getting their hands on them. Crazy! It's always one who ruins it for everyone else. These planes are SO COOL! Seeing a F-14 in-person and so close was a real treat. I guess they found a homeless guy sleeping in the engine air intake one morning. Apparently everyone likes it!

Five hours late, our passengers arrived at the airport around 8:00 PM. They sat in the lobby and discussed their day while we patiently waited to find out where they wanted to go next. It was quite a surprise when he said we were headed home! We all brought luggage that morning, so I'm pretty sure this wasn't the original plan. But who's going to complain at a chance to sleep in her own bed? Not me, I say!

Though it was only out for one day, it was a whirlwind and full of airplanes galore. I don't know what more one could possibly want from a day at work!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tree-Hugger She Ain't

I realize that I fly airplanes for a living. This involves no small amount of button-pushing, jet-sound-making, and lots of looking out the window with a huge grin on my face. Flying airplanes is very technical and requires a keen ability for hand-eye coordination and perfect situational awareness at all times. I pride myself on having these qualities and then some. I do, after all, fly airplanes for a living.

All this taken into account, you would think I could back a small car out of the garage without hitting a tree, wouldn't you?

It happened last Thursday. I was backin' it up to head to the gym...a morning ritual that I happily undertake when I am in town and not out working. As I reached up to push the button for the garage door to close (what will they think of next?!), I heard a little crunch as the Corolla came to an abrupt stop. I put Corolla in "Park" and then walked around to the back, dreading what I would find. There, in the grass and still partially-attached to the car, was a shattered taillight. The tree made out unscathed, as did the rest of the Corolla.

Why on earth am I driving Hubby's Corolla, anyway? The reason makes the whole light-crunching ordeal that much harder to bare. Last year, when we discovered that my car needed new struts all the way around, we decided it was time to stop pumping money into a car that was ten years old and had over 230,000 miles to its name. We would continue to perform routine maintenance and oil changes and simply drive it until it dies. This was an easy thing to do, since I rarely get reminded that the struts could use some attention. So when the Taurus' air conditioner died about a month ago, and an estimated $1,200 was necessary to fix it, we decided to exchange cars any time I was in town rather than shell out money to have it fixed. Consequently, Hubby drives my beloved Taurus to work each morning at 6:20 AM, and then he drives it the short mile-and-a-half route home at 3:00 PM in the blistering heat each afternoon. I, on the other hand, get to enjoy air conditioning as well as a radio that displays who-is-singing-what as I "sing" along at the top of my lungs. I felt awful about the car exchange until I tried a few days without the AC going full-blast. Isn't Hubby awesome for wanting me to be cool?

To thank him, I backed his car into our tree. Look at the pictures. This was some impressive feat, considering the tree is located approximately three feet off the driveway. It takes skills to chase down and hit a tree that far off the beaten path. Unfortunately, I managed to display such skills.

Hubby took it well. He was calm and loving and simply reminded me that the brake light needed replacement anyway. I was tempted to just have the taillight fixed without telling him what I had done. How could my pride survive such a story to my husband? He took it like a champ and has only made fun of me a few times. Every hour.

Something not to be made fun of? The cost to replace a taillight in a Toyota Corolla. Even with a 20% sale on parts, I ended up shelling out $150 for my misjudgement of a tree in our front yard. I guess one could say the lesson was learned. I am now so careful each time I bring Corolla out of the garage. We wouldn't want taillight replacements to become commonplace, would we?

Please just ignore the fact that Hubby is the one doing all the manual labor to replace the taillight. This is in no way a reflection of how I felt about such a dire situation. In fact, I still feel pretty silly, even though everything is all fixed and shiny and new.

I'm probably lucky that the only damage done was to the taillight and not to the rest of Hubby's baby. He loves that Corolla like I love pancakes. Of course, we must factor in the damage done to my self-esteem in the driving arena! You'd be safer pulling to the side of the road next time you see me coming!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A New Addition to the Family

No, I'm not pregnant. But we did add a silver gazelle to our family after visiting my favorite local store.

I hadn't been to TJ Maxx in over three weeks. That is probably a personal record for me.

So when I went in on Saturday to look around, it felt like a completely new store! So much to see! And so many cool, new accessories. I accidentally found my gazelle head and knew exactly where he should go in our house.

So, while my Healthy Choice lunch was cooking in the microwave (I'm all about homemade, afterall), I hung Mr. Gazelle right where I wanted him. I still crack up every time I see him! He is so fun. Animal heads are the latest craze, and I've been keeping my eye out for one in white. Everyone seems to have a rhino head in white. But you know what? I am so in love with the silver gazelle that I've completely forgotten what a white animal would have looked like on the wall next to our entry door!

He's perfect. And funny. And friendly. But he petrifies my nephew, Evan. Which makes Mr. Gazelle even more of a conversation piece as you enter our home!

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