Friday, May 4, 2012

Happiness Comes in Boxes


There are many things in life that make me happy.


Ice cream on a hot summer day (or cold winter day. I’m not very picky in this arena).


Old people holding hands.


A trip to Crate and Barrel.


And packages on my porch when I arrive home.

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I get per diem with this new job, and I’ve been so careful with the money over the past 2.5 months. It has really worked, because I have saved quite a bit of moola. The goal is to get a few things that we need without dipping into our budget money.


I was casually looking on my Amazon Wish List on Monday and saw that my Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 11-Piece set was on sale. Like, the cheapest I’ve ever seen. Other people look at their own wish lists, right? Or is that kinda weird?


I sent that text message to Hubby, letting him know the good sale news and asking if I could act on it and finally make them ours.


Whoever hit my husband over the head just as he was typing back and made him say, “sure,” thank you! I owe you one!


Thanks to free two-day shipping, I unloaded this beauty on Wednesday. With each additional piece that I removed from the box, I ooooooed and aaaaahed and immediately thought of things to cook.


I am so tickled. We’ve needed new pots since the beginning of time. Our mismatched set of a pieces from our before-marriage days wasn’t holding up any more. How much of that nonstick coating can we eat before it becomes a problem, anyway?

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Thanks to some careful free money, we were able to replace them for good. And the old pots and pans will be making an appearance at Goodwill today for someone else to love.


Meanwhile, I am absolutely elated with this new little addition. Since these pots and pans have a lifetime guarantee, I don’t see us needing new any time soon. The unfortunate news is that I mentioned their lifespan to Hubby.


What did he say? “I’m going to hold you to that “no-pot” thing.”



Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Return to Farmington


Last Saturday was another day for work. I am rather enjoying this new job.


Because Farmington is just a 45-minute flight from home, and because they wanted $130 a night to park on the ramp (wha?!), we simply flew home last Monday after dropping off our passengers in the northwest corner of New Mexico.


It was actually a real treat, since I had been gone for two months straight and had lots of things to accomplish at home before we had company (starting today…woohoo!).


So instead of spending a week in Farmington, I got to come home and work on the house. And then, on Saturday, we went back to pick everyone up.


We were supposed to be wheels-up at 5:00 PM, but the other guy didn’t show until 5:20. That meant that I had the pre-flight and walk-around finished and the airplane ready to go. And then I got to wait for half an hour.


With the time change, we landed around 7:15 PM and taught the line guy gal how to fuel our airplane. Then we rushed to a restaurant in town for a quick bite to eat. The food took twenty minutes to get to our table, and the whole time I was worried that our passengers were due back any second.


I hate being late. Did you know that? It is probably in my top-five for pet peeves. If I’m not fifteen minutes early for something, I feel like I’m late and being rude.

Even worse than being late? Being consistently late.


Because the evening started out behind schedule, we chomped down dinner and rushed back to the airport.


We would have been late, too, but the passengers called and said that they were still a few hours away. Saved by the bell? I hate being late. Is there a broken record in here?


Luckily, dinner was pretty good. Even if I only ate three bites and then boxed it up to bring home. Hubby liked it the next morning, too. Homemade red corn tortilla flautas stuffed with shredded beef and cream cheese, covered in New Mexico green chile sauce. Their rice and beans were pretty darn good, too.


I spent the next few hours peeking out the FBO window watching for my passengers. A few moments before they arrived, they let us know that there were two additional passengers. And bags. Looooooooots of bags.


I got to find out tonight that the baggage compartment of the Phenom 300 is massive and can hold a whole lotta bags. We really put it to the test. I was relieved to discover this, since our next trip has six passengers on board. Six! When translated from Aviation Speak, six means “lots of bags.”


We had some catering waiting for them as well so they could eat on the flight home instead of grabbing a bite on the way. We had only ordered enough for two people, but there was plenty inside each box to feed any army.


It was a quick flight home, and we landed around 11:45 PM. I crawled into a warm bed about 1:00 AM. What a great day at work!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Frontal Greenery, Take Three


You may remember that it has been quite the struggle to keep our plants growing at this house. We’ve managed to kill almost every living thing that we’ve planted in our dirt.


I don’t know if it’s something that should be mentioned, but our example has just been stellar. All of those landscaping and gardening magazines keep asking for interviews. It can be a burden to be so good at killing plants, you know.

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When we did some more landscaping last fall, we bought what we thought were die-hard plants. I was tired of paying for things that never grew and then just gave up the ghost. So we got a Texas Sage for the corner of the front planting area. We were sure this would be hardy enough to handle both the winter and summer months. The nursery guy agreed that this sage wouldn’t let us down.


He let us down.


In fact, he didn’t grow even a tiny little bit. After we planted last fall, he lost most of his hair leaves. We thought it was just from planting stress, but we soon realized nothing was growing back. All of the other plants were doing well at this point (knock on wood), so we knew something was up.

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I am not a fan of dead plants. I know I keep killing them, so you would think it is something I like because I do it so well. I was anxious to get Deady out of there, and replace him with something (temporarily, at least) alive.


When we were at Home Depot on Saturday, I found a sale and a nice old lady who gave me great advice. We picked out the healthiest Bells of Fire on the lot, and Hubby and I brought it home. We decided to give it the weekend in its pot before we ended its life in our soil.


Monday afternoon, while Hubby was hard at work staining gate pieces inside the garage, I got to work with my gardening gloves and a shovel. Deady came out to make room for the new Fire. He looks great! And alive…


Towards the end of gardening season last year, we found a smoking deal for bags of mulch for 80% off. At about a dollar a bag, we decided to stock up.


Since I had lots of mulch available, I decided it was time to refresh the front planting area with a new coat of black mulch. I love the stark contrast between the green plants and the not-dusty-yet mulch.

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Since we began this little greenery project out front, only two of the originals still exist. This is a Barrel Cactus, which can get huge, and a Natal Plumb, which can also get big but takes a while. Lots of our neighbors have both of these guys, so we knew it was a safe bet to get something long-lasting.

They are still alive and growing, so that is a new one for us.


We also have an Elephants Food, to which I was always drawn in the store. Finally, we brought it home. It has done the best and has almost tripled in size since being planted last fall. I love the almost-red stems next to the bright green leaves. It almost feels like a succulent because the leaves are so thick. This thing is amazing. And not just because it is Christmas colors.

Now that I know it can survive our wrath, I want to buy more for pots in the backyard.


This little guy was quite a surprise. I didn’t think he would last long, but he is now one of my favorites. Maybe because it is named “Little John?” I love the bright red flowers that have blossomed several times since last fall. This guy almost looks tropical to me, and tropical is always a welcome guest here in the desert.


See how pretty the flowers can be? They almost look like caterpillars!


When we had too much space when planting last fall, I ran to Home Depot to buy a $3 cactus. We’ve had better luck with cacti, after all. Slightly more hardy (only slightly because we’ve killed cacti, too!). This little agave came home with me and was planted to fill a small gap. He’s pretty, but lethal. Very sharp, and he unfortunately collects all of the tree leaves that get shed. I still like him, though.


This Japanese Boxwood is really pretty, too. It is often used as a hedger, but I think we can make it a beautiful, round, controlled bush out front. We are letting things grow for now but will start to tame and trim probably later this year when they’ve been growing for about a year. That is, of course, if everything makes it to a year. He has thicker stems and has beautiful white and green leaves.


Last but certainly not least is our new guy, Bells of Fire. I just hope he lasts. I love the bright green with pops of yellow and orange in blossoms. I am just craving color everywhere! After a year of growth, we will start to guide him into becoming a round and gorgeous plant to first greet our guests.


Cross your green fingers with me that these will survive this time. We are going fake plants next time any of these die. I am hoping we never have to stoop that low, but I am also tired of buying plants that we eventually murder anyway.

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