Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday Wanderings

I woke up to the alarm on Wednesday, even though I had the day off. I took my pills and ate the last two pieces of Spam (with toast) for breakfast.

I finished packing and did one more check of the place: Windows and doors locked, cat’s food and water more than sufficient, two extra kitty litter trays in place, etc., etc., etc. I shaved, showered and got dressed in comfortable traveling clothes. I put the last few items in the suitcase and headed out to the airport.

I left 2 1/2 hours early. I allowed myself a half hour to find a parking space and two hours to get through security (recommended due to the increased terror alert). I found a parking spot easily enough.

But, there was a problem using the kiosk to get my tickets and I had to see a real person. Then they had to call their IT Help Desk (which I found ironic) to fix the problem.

Note: The transfer from the old US Airways to US Air is complete (except for repainting the planes). However, I don’t like their tickets. They don’t tell you the gate, or the arrival time. So, I asked about the gate. The lady told me I had to check the monitors!!!

It took over an hour to get through the security lines. Not only were they huge (worst travel day of the year, I’m told), but a drug or explosive sniffing dog had to vet each individual person (before they just walked up and down the line).

A thorough pat down later and on I went to the monitor and found my gate. I checked my ticket and there was no seat or “group” number! So, I asked. Turned out they try to keep families together as much as possible, so I had a seat, just not a number yet. I ended up in an aisle seat in the last row on the plane.

But, my seat companion was an attractive woman and we had an enjoyable flight, chatting most of the way.

Once in Charlotte, I checked the monitors again, found my gate and boarded the next plane for the hop to Columbia. This time my seat companion, another woman, never said a word until almost the end of the flight, when she asked, “If you don’t mind, can I ask what you do for a living?” I said, “I’m a business analyst in an IT department. Why?” She said, ‘Well, I thought you were a college professor. I work at a college in administration and you just have that look!”

I said, “Well, I’d like to be a college professor, but I don’t think I’d make as much money.” She laughed and said, “No, no you wouldn’t” End of conversation.

I retrieved my suitcase after landing, sent a couple of texts letting people know I made it safe and sound and then waited for Jake. He had sent me a text saying he would be a little late, due to traffic.

I sat outside on a bench, enjoying the warmth (60 degrees) until I had to go to the bathroom again. I went back inside, took care of business and then Jake sent me a text saying he was there.

He loaded my stuff up and we headed home.

I got a warm welcome from Carla and Whiskey. Jake carted my suitcase upstairs and I went to change into something a bit more comfortable.

We sat in the living room and chatted until we all decided we were hungry. Carla had been working all day on the Thanksgiving dinner prep, so we decided she deserved a break and we ordered pizza.

We ate that watching some cooking shows (and chatting still). I was beat, so when Jake suggested bed around 8:00 p.m. I readily agreed.

I spent some time getting things unpack, pill box refilled, setting up my bathroom, etc. I read a little in bed, but was asleep just after 9:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tasty Tuesday

It was cold again on Tuesday when I took the trash out to the road. It started snowing again around 10:00 a.m. and was sometimes heavy. But, none of it stuck, so it must be just above freezing.

I went to Big Boy for lunch. I got my favorite waitress and my favorite meal, veal Parmesan.

Jyl sent an update on Joe. He is still getting tests.

Back home after work, I went to get the trashcan and found the garbage man broke the wheel! Dammit!!!

I got two more updates on Joe from Jyl. Still sounds serious, but it looks like they are getting a handle on it. The doctor wants Joe to have an MRI at University Of Michigan in Ann Arbor first before he declares a diagnosis.

I made fried eggplant for my dinner. It was delicious!!!

I watched NCIS and then went to bed, letting NCIS New Orleans tape.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Monday, Monday…

Sidebar: I normally do not report “family’ things. My instructions when I got the gift of this web site was to document my daily events. And, I believe I have done that for years. But, today I am going to make an exception.

My grandson, Joe (Jose) was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night by my son Jeremy and Joe’s wife, Jerica, exhibiting all the classic signs of a heart attack. But, his heart was fine.

I got an update from Jeremy around 10:00 a.m. saying, and I quote:

“It happened again. Ventricular tachycardia (V-tach) with pulse of 180-200, to the point where they shock him (cardioversion). The hospital has moved Joe to the intensive care unit.”

I have not heard an update since then although I sent Jeremy an email. I am believing that, since he spent all night at the hospital, he is taking a well-deserved nap.

I am worried, but, moving on…

It never got above freezing today. So, I walked inside both times.

I went to Newburgh grill for lunch and got a cup of the beef vegetable soup and a Pattie melt.

Back home after work, I putzed. I warmed up leftover soup and mac & cheese for dinner.

I watched lame TV until I went to bed at 9:00 p.m.

Monday, November 23, 2015


I woke up early again on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was before the programmable thermostat had kicked back up. So, I overrode it, wrapped a throw around my bare legs, grabbed a cup of coffee and started writing out the Blog post.

I made two over easy eggs and ate them with two more slices of spam for breakfast.

I got cleaned up and dressed. Then I went out back to check on the damage. It was actually five branches that had come down, two big ones and three smaller ones. I’m guessing it was the big ones that broke from the weight of the snow and they took out the small ones on their way down.

I dragged each of the big ones (with great difficulty – they were BIG) over to the fence. I got the heavy end up on my fence and, using that as a fulcrum, managed to tip them over. The smaller ones were easier, by comparison.

Carl, this is how much snow I ended up with!

I checked out front and found one branch from the dead maple in the drive. That went onto the pile under the tree.

They had plowed my street sometime overnight, so I had a barrier of snow across the driveway as well.

I forgot to go to PetSmart on Saturday. I wanted to try and pick up a smaller automatic waterer. The one I had held five gallons and was too heavy for me to pick up when full. I threw it in the trash a while ago.

So, I put the truck into four-wheel drive and backed out, easily crunching through the snow barrier.

They had plowed the streets, but not salted. So, the remaining snow had frozen overnight and driving was dicey.

When I got there, the damn store was still closed! It apparently opens at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays and it was only 9:30.

So, instead of waiting, I took a chance and went to Meijer’s. I lucked out! They had a 1.5 gallon automatic waterer, so I bought it. Slipping and sliding, I headed back home.

I washed the waterer and then filled it up. I set it downstairs to let Caley get used to it.

I watched the rest of the Sunday morning news shows until noon and then switched to the DIY channel.

I watched (or rather listened) to that while I cleaned the house. I got some of the Welsh white cheddar cheese I bought yesterday and some Carr’s water table crackers and put them on a tray in the bedroom with a knife.

When I got the kitchen floor and downstairs bathroom washed, and was effectively blocked in, I ate the cheese and crackers for lunch, watching TV.

Sidebar: I have used saltine crackers, Ritz crackers and Triscuits with various cheeses. But, I noticed the crackers can sometimes overpower the cheese. The Carr’s crackers provide a nice crunch, but are so bland the cheese really come through.

I took a brief nap afterwards.

I phone call from B___ woke me up. We discussed the snow and Holiday plans.

Then I started my Sunday supper. I had thawed out a pork chop I had fried up a while ago. So, all that remained was to make the mac and cheese.

I saw this recipe of Facebook and wanted to try it. My usual recipe is excellent, but takes too long and this one is supposed to take only 20 minutes.

I started by boiling water and salt in my pasta pot.

Meanwhile, I used my 12-inch skillet to melt six tablespoons of butter. To that, I whisked in six tablespoons of flour.

Sidebar: I thought at the time that was overkill for a roux, but I am following the recipe faithfully.

While that cooked, I warmed up a quart of milk in the microwave.  I slowly added the warm milk to the skillet, whisking all the while.

When it was all incorporated, I took the skillet off the heat and stirred in 8-ounces of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese and 8-ounces of shredded Monteray Jack. I added some black pepper and a splash of hot sauce to that and stirred it all together.

I mixed 1 1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs with two tablespoons of olive oil.

I drained the pasta and added it to the skillet. After mixing it thoroughly, I topped it with the bread crumb mix and stuck it under the broiler for a minute or two until it started to brown. 

I pulled it out and let it rest while I warmed up the pork chop and some sweet corn. Then I plated my dish.

The pork chop and sweet corn were excellent. And the texture on the mac and cheese was good. But there was a slight flour taste to the sauce that I didn’t like (I knew that was took much butter and flour!) The hot sauce wasn’t that noticeable, but it did kick it up a notch.

I think I can tweak this one!!!

I cleaned up the minor mess and then went in to watch the National Geographic channel, waiting for a show I wanted to watch, “Saints and Strangers.” It is a two part series about the Pilgrims.

I shut it off at 11:00 p.m. and went to bed.