Monday, July 30, 2012

Monsoon Blooms

"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain"
--- Unknown

The summer monsoons here in Arizona are an amazing phenomenon. The rains that they bring thrust the desert, the mountains, everything into the most incredible splashes of color. We have had a very active July here in Tucson. There has been lots of afternoon storms to cool us down and bring out the beauty of the desert that, like October skies, is so fleeting.

If you have never heard of the monsoon phenomenon, let me give you a visual. This particular storm is building in the Santa Catalina mountains that serve as our house's backdrop. It was a doozy by the time it made it down into the foothills where we live. We are averaging about 4 days a week of storms right now.

Our pomegranate tree is very productive. Unfortunately, thanks to the pack of javelina that live in the wash next to our house, not many of the pomegranates are going to make it to ripe. Said javelinas also think that my driveway is their toilet, but I will save that story for another day.

I just love bouganvillas. Even someone with a brown thumb of death like mine can grow them.

The purple and white sage are SO fragrant after the rain.

This is one of the saguaro's growing in our front yard. They put on these little antennae at the top, which bloom out into the state flower of Arizona.

Mmmm, prickly pear. Margarita's anyone?

I think this is called a barrel cactus, but I am not really sure. These blooms are absolutely gorgeous, and, honestly, were kind of unexpected.

This is the biggest agave I have ever seen. It's taller than me. Tequila!!

I really need to brush up on my cactus names. No idea what this one is.

And finally our oleanders. Good ol' oleanders, they grow just about anywhere.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just Be Patient... I'm A Work In Progress

I thought I would take the opportunity to showcase what we have managed to get done in the house so far this week. The unpacking is going well, there have been few damages, and most importantly, we have found someone to take our boxes and packing paper off of our hands. Thank you Brooke!!!!! We are thoroughly enjoying our new house and look forward to finding a place for everything and putting everything in it's place.

This is Summer's room. We allowed the girls to pick their own room colors, and this blinding green is what she chose. :)

No surprise, Paige opted for hot pink.

I chose a nice sunny yellow for the room that will eventually be the guest bedroom/office. Don't you just love my makeshift desk? For those of you who were wondering, Gidget is acclimating nicely to the new house and particularly enjoys sitting in the nice deep window sills.

The master bathroom. The rug's gotta go and I have to either paint over or hang something over the ivy stenciling. Other than that, it's pretty much finished.

This is our bedroom. Den found the Mexican rug at a farmer's market a couple of weeks ago and it went so nicely in here. The brown dresser will get the same paint treatment as the white eventually. I was trying to decide if I liked that lamp in there and now that I see a picture of it, I do not.

This is the girls' bathroom. It may or may not get paint.

This will eventually be the family room

The dining room is a little awkward with the furniture that we have, so right now we are using it as a staging area for unpacking. 

The kitchen is pretty much unpacked with the exception of hanging things on the walls.

Last but not least, is the living room. This fabulous turquoise was already on the walls and I totally love it so it got to stay. As you can see, there are a few more boxes to unpack, and sadly, our coffee table doesn't fit, but this room is pretty close to being done.

So, there you have it. We are getting there slowly but surely. Dennis went back to work on Monday, so we are down one unpacker, but the girlies and I are charging on along. I'll post the finished product as soon as the last box is pitched out the door.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

Today, while Den and the crew were working on the endless ceiling project, I decided to tackle the refrigerator. I can honestly say that it was absolutely disgusting. Seriously, I think they let their dog sleep in the freezer. I followed the directions in the owner's manual and turned off the fridge, then removed all the shelves, drawers, etc, and washed them in warm antibacterial soapy water. I put them out in the sun to dry and then gloved up to tackle the inside of the fridge and freezer. At one time there had been some kind of chocolate ice cream with nuts in it spilled AND THEY JUST LEFT IT THERE! It had fossilized and I ended up having to rustle up one of the scrapers the drywall guys used to scrape the ceiling to get it up. There were stains and spilled food galore. I would never turn my house over to someone and leave something so filthy.

After everything was clean and dry, I turned the fridge back on, and nothing. The compressor didn't kick in, the lights didn't come on, nothing. That baby was totally dead in the water. After several hours and phone calls to GE (who informed me that my refrigerator was purchased in 1988), my realtor, my sister, and anyone else who would listen to me rant about the damn dead refrigerator, my phone was low on battery, so I plugged it in to the GFI outlet in the kitchen. I noticed that it wasn't charging, so I reset the GFI, and VOILA!!! the refrigerator was resurrected. The genius electrician who installed the GFI's in the kitchen before we closed on the house put the outlet that the refrigerator plugs into on the GFI circuit. Are you kidding me? In what universe does that seem like a good idea? Needless to say, Mr. Electric will be getting a phone call from me in the morning. Thankfully, though, we did not have any perishables in the refrigerator, so the worst thing that happened was that the beer got warm. All's well that ends well, I guess.

Oh, and thanks to all my pacing, and complaining, I forgot to reapply the girlies' sunscreen, so I have two pink kiddos tonight. Looks like we will be taking a break from the pool tomorrow.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Making This House Our Home: Days 1&2

We closed on our new house on Monday. It's a beautiful acre at the base of Mt. Lemmon. We are using the next five days to make some upgrades to the house and really begin to make it our home.

Our little piece of the desert

We bought this sign on our last trip to Shenandoah Valley Campground to match the
"Casita de Haggis" sign we bought for the camper last year.

The girls have spent pretty much all of the last two days in the pool

I LOVE this turquoise wall. It is totally staying.

Hopefully there will be many wonderful meals shared with family and friends in this
dining room. I am now taking suggestions for a color.

Time to start the dirty work - taking down the popcorn ceiling.

Natalie from Goldy Locks came and gave us all new locks

Day 2: time to play in the mud!

When we pulled up the carpet in the bedrooms we ran across the hot 1977 linoleum!

We ended up having to remove some drywall and the baseboard from this closet
thanks to the previous owners' marking dogs.

I'll be posting pictures of our renovations as we go. I am so excited to begin our new life here out west in our new home.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Griswold Family Vacation: Stop 1

Our first stop on our westward migration was an old favorite - Shenandoah Valley Campground in Verona, VA. We decided to leave a couple of days early so Paige could spend her birthday in one of her favorite places.

We started off with some trout fishing

Lots of bike riding

Paige was VERY surprised by her birthday present - the begged for Kindle Fire

Mini Golf

Den rescued this very nice lady from the current as she rushed by

The river was already warm enough to play in

This little guy hung out on my hand forever!

One of the girls' favorite things about SVC are the free range tame bunnies that live
at the campground. If you're lucky, they'll come eat right out of your hand.

Cotton Eyed Joe!!


We always have such a great time at SVC. It's one of the things we will miss most about Virginia. We also got a sign for our new house to match the one for our camper? I'll post a picture of it when it's in it's new home.

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