Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday Moanin'

If you remember, I bought two new fluorescent bulbs last week and replaced the ones over my washer and dryer. I put the two bad ones out in the garage with my stash of bad bulbs. Now, why (you might ask) do I have a stash of old fluorescent bulbs? Because I used to know, but now can't remember, how to get the gas out so you can break them without having them explode. I seem to remember there is (or was) a dimple on one end you could tap a nail through to relieve the gas. But, I'm not sure so I called a friend in maintenance on Friday and asked him. He said he had no idea what I was talking about; he just throws them in a dumpster.

So, Monday morning I stopped next to the dumpster at work before parking my car and threw away eight used fluorescent bulbs.

[Sidebar: this is the kind of real-life drama you just don't read about in most blogs!]

After work and after changing, I took off the old mower blade and compared it to the new blades I also bought last week. As I feared, the new ones are too short (by about two inches). So, I'll have to take them back, dammit!

For dinner, I warmed up some of the pasta alla Carbonara, topped it with a little salt and Parmigiano-Reggiano and ate that, watching some TV.

I was tired and discouraged (the whole stupid stock market thing) so I went to bed at 10:00 PM, letting "Boston Legal" record instead of watching it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

John Stewart, RIP

I just learned that a hero of mine, that my friend B___ first introduced me to, back in the day, John Stewart, had passed away. John Stewart died on Saturday, January 19, 2008 after suffering a major stroke a day earlier. I will be posting snippets of his songs that I loved the best, every now and then.

YOU CAN'T GO BACK TO KANSAS
~ Music and lyrics by John Stewart

Time moves like a river
You can either sink or swim
And a wise man learns to forgive her
For all she's done to him
And no one's getting younger
And a few aren't getting old
It's all in what you feel
And not in what you're told

Oh you can't go back to Kansas
I was there just yesterday
Oh you can't go back to Kansas
It just up and blew away
Oh, but I will go on loving you
It's easier that way
But you can't go back to Kansas
'Cause that was yesterday.

Sunday, cleaning up!

I woke up at 6:30 AM on Sunday. After warming up a cup of coffee, I looked outside. Hmmm... it's foggy out there (again, that's rare here in Redford).

I am using up stuff in my fridge this weekend, so I fried the rest of the bacon and used some of the unopened buttermilk to make pancakes. I ate three pieces of bacon with my pancakes and put the others back in the fridge. The extra pancakes went out back for the squirrels.

Speaking of pancakes, did you ever notice the first ones you put on the griddle usually suck? Seems like either the griddle or you have to get in a groove.

I cleaned up the kitchen and then cleaned myself up as well. After a shave and shower, I was ready to get to work. I started by cleaning the house.

Oh, the fog had dissipated and the sun was shining by about 10:30. Other than the fog, today is supposed to be the same as the last 13, mid-seventies and sunny, chilly at night. But, there is actually a 60% chance of rain on Monday night/Tuesday morning. In case you are from elsewhere and wondering, this is unusual weather for Michigan in fall. But, it did give my Mom extra time out at Lake Orion and for that, and my tomatoes, I am grateful!

By 11:30, I had the kitchen floor washed and was just waiting for it to dry. I gave Lu a call to see how she's doing, but just got their recorder.

As I said, my goal this weekend was to use up stuff. I had about two pounds of baby redskins that were heading south. So, I used then to make my roasted potato salad. I followed the recipe (that's listed under "Recipes" in this web site) except for one thing. In my own recipe, I suggest waiting for the potatoes to cool completely before adding the sauce. But, I just saw a show with Bobby Flay where he recommends always mixing in the sauce with warm potatoes (either boiled or grilled or, in my case, roasted). He claims the warm potatoes suck up the sauce while cold ones repel it. I dunno, I just thought I'd try it and see.

While I was doing that, I made a Spanish-style marinade for the last steak left from the meat we bought last fall (after that, I only have one package of stewing meat left and the chest freezer will be ready for this year's meat). I used the food processor and added a lot of parsley, 1/2 of head of garlic (not peeled or anything), two whole jalapeno peppers from my garden (one that nobody saw and that turned red and a little one that will never make it to the correct length) and some Canola oil, salt and pepper. Once thoroughly mixed, that went into a large baggie along with the steak and the baggie went into a bowl and then the fridge. I took a quick taste: Whew! That will wake you up!

I just finished that when Lu called me back. Her goat milk business is booming (she can't keep up with demand!) and she was asked to set up a demonstration booth at a local college that was displaying agricultural products of Virginia. She did and got two or three more customers. So, all seems to be okay down there, although she still has to go to therapy three times a week.

Back to the kitchen! I washed the half sheet pan, the Shun and the food processor parts. Then I checked out the fridge again and found two bunches of scallions I didn't use. So, I peeled them back into shape by pulling off layers of sad leaves until they looked okay (albeit a bit thinner, lol!)

Meanwhile, I took the last three ears of corn from last weeks grilling. I melted a couple of tablespoons of butter and, on top of a piece of tinfoil (one sheet per ear) brushed the melted butter onto each ear of corn. Then I hit them with the house seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oh, you know!) and wrapped them up in the tin foil. The scallions got a drizzle of olive oil, then kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

At 4:30 PM, I lit the charcoal in the charcoal lighter can and let it get up to speed. When it was hot enough, I oiled the grill grates and started the corn, first. Next I grilled the scallions (that only takes a few moments) and finally, the steak. I got some great grill marks on that steak, by the way. Back inside, after the steak rested for a while, I plated up dinner. It looked so nice; I took a photo of it, before eating it! And, eating it was even better than looking at it!

I cleaned up the dishes, started the dishwasher and then wandered into the bedroom to catch the Sunday evening news. I watched all my Sundays shows (all new, for a change) and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

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Sunday's Dinner

Fun Facts to Know and Tell

Did you know...

if a recipe calls for salt, unless its specified otherwise, it means table salt? And, if you use Kosher salt (like I do) it is NOT a one-to-one conversion? It's actually twice as much Kosher salt as table salt!

Saturday, being bummed

In spite of going to bed early Friday night, I did wake up again in the middle of the night. So, I slept in on Saturday (but, who cares?) and woke up feeling like 40 miles of bad road, as they say (or used to, anyway). I put a pot of coffee on and posted to the Blog.

I just found out that Paul Newman died from cancer. This, coupled with a phone call I had yesterday from a collection agency looking for my old neighbor in Columbus, has left me in a bad mood.

I took out some bacon for tonight's dinner and went out on the porch to drink my coffee and try and lighten up. But, it's not working...

No, I am crabby today. It ticks me off about my old neighbor. He was a hard working, self-employed contractor who did tile work for commercial buildings. He had the nice home next to me, and bought my place on the spot when I needed to sell it to buy the house in St. Clair. He was building a beautiful year-round house (I saw the blueprints) up north to retire to. I expect the collapse of Michigan's economy finally got to him, but still... it upsets me...`

As you might be able to tell from my multiple posts, I am not really doing anything yet. I am just p*ssed and just don't feel like it. And, I think that's okay, every once and a while. Screw that ToDo list! Power to the people! I want change! (Who said that? Obama or McCain? Oh yeah, both of them.)

But finally, at almost 2:00 PM, I got tired of feeling bad and went out to trim around the back. In the Captain's (my) world (anyway) you can only feel bad for so long, then you gotta shake it off and get busy! I got everything trimmed in a 100 foot radius (the length of my extension cord). I picked 14 tomatoes and brought them inside. BTW, since there are not enough tomatoes at any one time to make into sauce, I have been eating them as late night snacks, with just salt. Six of the tomatoes were not ripe enough, so they went on my new, extended, kitchen window sill to ripen.

I decided to take a nap. So, I did. I woke up at 6:45 PM, disoriented. I thought it was morning for a moment, until I realized it was not this light at 6:45 AM. So, I got up and went out to put the oscillating sprinkler in the front lawn. I turned it on and set the timer for 30 minutes.

I decided to make pasta alla Carbonara for my Saturday dinner. Now I have made this and reported this enough so that I felt I did not need a recipe. So, this would be a CaptainK original. I took half a pound of bacon and sliced it about 1/2 inches thick. That went into my largest saut� pan to render down. Meanwhile, I diced three cloves of garlic and two small yellow onions. They went into the bacon as well.

I boiled a pound of Fettuccine pasta in salted water. I whisked three eggs, about a half of a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, a teaspoon of Italian herbs, some fresh chopped parsley and a couple of handfuls of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. After that, I added about a cup of heavy cream and whisked it together. When the pasta was "al dente" I put it in with the bacon, garlic and onion. I added the egg/cream mix and stirred it all together. I let it get happy for a bit and then plated it.

I watched TV until 11:30 PM and then went to bed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Song I relate to...

You may be Right

~ Billy Joel

Friday night I crashed your party
Saturday I said I'm sorry
Sunday came and trashed me out again
I was only having fun
Wasn't hurting anyone
And we all enjoyed the weekend for a change

I've been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Stuy alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I'm insane

You may be right, I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
Turn out the light, don't try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know, but you may be right

Remember how I found you there
Alone in your electric chair
I told you dirty jokes until you smiled
You were lonely for a man
I said take me as I am
'Cause you might enjoy some madness for awhile

Now think of all the years you tried to
Find someone to satisfy you
I might be as crazy as you say
If I'm crazy then it's true
That it's all because of you
And you wouldn't want me any other way

You may be right, I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
Turn out the light, don't try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know, but you may be right

You may be right, I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
It's too late to fight, it's to late to change me
You may be wrong for all I know, but you may be right

You may be wrong but you may be right!

Feedback...

... on my poem "Passing Through." This is the third or fourth comment, but I really liked it. Comes from a fellow poet I only know as Cobalt Rain.

"I loved this poem! Passing Through Indeed! Ahhhh but the most precious gift of life, and leaving our eternal mark on the world...
The smiles given in joyous rapture! The laughter ringing out for no reason at all! The hand offered to help a total stranger!
Life... what a glorious gift! Death what a sweet new beginning! YES! I love passing through!
Thank you for sharing!!!"

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Grass seed in the front lawn, coming up!

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Damn rugged tiger lilies, coming back!

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Volunteer morning glory, embracing the Gerbera daisy

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Maple tree, across the street, turning...

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Black walnut leaves, littering my front yard

I just heard

that Paul Newman died overnight from cancer. Damn! I know he did tons more, but my favorite movies of his were:

- Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
- The Hustler
- Hud
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
- The Life and Times of Judge Roy bean

and my all time favorite, Cool Hand Luke

Rest in Peace, Paul

Falling...

Friday, after getting the stuff from Lowe's I took a ride down through Hines Park before going back to work. Thee weren't a significant number of trees changing colors yet, be there were definitely some. I wish I'd brought my camera.

Back at home, in my yard, the black walnut has been littering the front lawn with yellow leaves for a couple of weeks now. It's always the first of my trees to react to the cooler weather.

Across the street, one of the maples is starting to go, so I took a couple of photos for you...

Friday's Fish Fry

Friday, at lunch, I went to Lowe's and bought another set of mower blades. It ticks me off, but I must be hitting "something" that is bending these blades up (although I can't, for the life of me, figure out what!) Since I was there, anyway, I also bought two new fluorescent bulbs (the ones over the washer/dryer have recently begun to flicker)

I just grabbed two normal bulbs when I was immediately accosted by an elderly, little Italian gentleman, with a HEAVY accent, who told me I bought the wrong kind! I asked him what he meant and he explained: In his basement (or "baseament") he had installed the ones I just picked up and they cast a yellow tint. So, he changed to the "Daylight bulbs" and he was picking up another case of them. "Itsa so bright, now!" he exclaimed. Under his guidance, I put back the ones I picked and got the "Daylight" ones. Same price and we'll see.

Once home and changed (and cats treated) I went to check on my ink-stained pants. As I said in my comment on the last post, I had completely forgotten about them, and they were still in the washer. I inspected them and probably 75% of the stains were gone! So, I treated the remaining stains with more Zout and rolled them up.

Next, I checked the dryer. The people who had posted on the web were right. I did have ink stains in the drum of the dryer. They said that, as the dryer warms up, these will transfer to the next load. So, I did as they suggested and scrubbed the drum with "Soft-Scrub". It took a long time and a lot of elbow grease, and it still didn't come all off. I rinsed it with a damp sponge. I installed the new fluorescent bulbs, but didn't notice any big difference.

Now according to my ToDo list, I am supposed to be trimming the back yard, but it's almost 7:00 PM. So, I went out and watered all the grass-seeded sites and the container gardens, instead. I ended up by attaching the hose to the square sprinkler and watering the raised bed garden. I came in, set the timer for 30 minutes and wrote this all down.

Back to my list, I checked the pants and rubbed all the remaining ink spots. I turned the washer back on and ran it all through, a second time.

On to dinner: I put on the Uncle Ben's wild rice mix and then heated about 1/2 an inch of canola oil in my big cast iron fry pan. I readied my breading stations with flour, three beaten eggs and yellow corn meal. I got out four catfish filets and, when the oil was hot enough, I pan fried them. I let them rest a bit while the rice was finishing and hung up my pants to dry and threw my white towel and bath mat in the dryer (the perfect test for the ink stains).

I ate dinner watching TV (and what a tasty dinner it was). When the dryer shut off, I carefully checked the towels and didn't find any transferred ink stains, so maybe we can put all this behind us. Hmmm... Maybe. BTW, when I turned on the lights in the dark, they were noticeably brighter! Thanks, little Italian guy!

I watched TV for a bit but, after last night's insomnia, I went to sleep early.

Quote

"You know what they say; it's a sign of old age when you start saying 'heave-ho!' before every move"

~ Rokusaburo Michiba
(First Iron Chef Japanese)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday's This & That...

When I got home on Thursday, I changed clothes and got to work.

First task is trying to get the stains out of my pants. I didn't get nearly the response I had hoped for in my plea, but I soldiered on. I am trying my personal choice for simple laundry stains first, "Zout." I sprayed all the ink spots (and, there were many) and then let it sit for about 10 minutes. When I unrolled them and started rubbing them (as the bottle suggested) some of the stains disappeared immediately!

Encouraged, I proceeded. I threw them into the washer with my white bath towel and my bath mat, cranked the water in the washer to "HOT" and filled the tub. We will see. I intend on hanging them dry, not using the dryer at this point. Which reminds me: I should check the dryer and see if there are any ink stains in it. I have heard horror stories about this vicious cycle.

Before proceeding, I checked the calendar. October is a pretty filled in month, weekend-wise. But one thing I can do (since it's still so warm outside and, right now, both the furnace and the air conditioner are off) is replace the furnace filters. So, I did.

Next, it's onto cutting the back grass. I noticed last night that my homemade mulch cover attachment is degrading. Since I soon will be dealing with heavy leaves, I decided to replace it with the normal "chute". So, I took Jake's side-grinder and cut the heads off the bolts that secured my homemade cover (except for the two on top that used to hold the side-discharge chute and will again, tonight. Lots of sparks, BTW. I knocked out the remainders of those bolt and got the socket set to disconnect the bolts I need to keep.

While I was at it, I checked the blades and found that the one I thought was hitting the mulching cover was bent up just enough to hit a bolt that comes down from the deck! What the heck? I just replaced these!

Then came a ridiculous effort on my part to bend it back. I pulled off the blade, stuck it in the vise and tried everything. Did you ever try and bend a piece of hardened steel? Giving up on bending it, I beat on it with the hand sledge. Nothing helped. I looked at the clock and it was almost 7:00 PM!

So, I gave up, put it back on and proceeded to cut the back lawn. I still ending up cutting the last of it using the headlights.

Back inside, I warmed up a hot dog and two ears of corn for my dinner. I fell asleep watching TV, but woke up at 1:00 AM and couldn't fall back asleep until after 4:00 AM!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Help!

I forgot to mention that, while I was cutting the grass, I was also doing the Wednesday load of laundry. Because I wanted to get out and cut grass, I didn't check all the pockets and, yep, you guessed it: I washed a black ink pen along with my shirts and pants. Most were dark and so are okay and the one light shirt just has a tiny spot in the back, so it's okay, too. But, my tan slacks have a lot of spots on both pant legs. Unfortunately, I didn't catch this until I was hanging them up AFTER everything went in the dryer.

Anybody got an idea if and how I can get these ink spots out (either home remedy or store-bought)?

Yes, I am on the level, now!

Wednesday was another picture-perfect day (that's 10 in a row, if you're counting). I had decided that my concept of cutting the lawn during the week, to free up weekend time, was still a good one. It just needed to be modified to allow for the sun setting earlier.

So, today, once I had changed clothes and so on, I cut the front lawn only. I am happy to say that the mower is now cutting much more evenly! This also allowed me the time and energy to use the line trimmer and trim the front as well. The front yard looks as nice as I've seen it in a long time!

Then I dragged the hose around and watered all the new grass seed areas. After buttoning everything up, I went back inside. It was almost 7:00 PM. I washed up and then warmed up the clam chowder. Excellent!

I started watching TV, but realized I was beat, so I turned it off at 9:30 PM and went to sleep.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, cooking

Tuesday morning, and its garbage day. And, its also "large pick-up" day, so that picnic table and benches should be gone when I get home. It only goes to show you what shape they were in, because, other than the couch I sawed in pieces, this is the first "large pick-up" item that somebody didn't "pick up" before the Township got here.

I stopped on the way home at Westborn Market and picked up 1/2 pound of Cremini mushrooms, some celery and some onions. I need them tonight for the second part of my Mom's Birthday present. The first part was the CaptainK Secret Recipe Clam Chowder. The second part will be the Beef Mushroom and Barley Soup. Ah, yes, my friends, the way to a 101 year old woman's heart is not knickknacks or flowers, but food!

So, after arriving home (the trash and table were gone, BTW!), treating the cats and changing clothes, I got to work. Oh, I have a few things to do outside, but they can wait until things are on simmer.

So, first I boiled a tea kettle full of water. Once it was boiling, I poured three cups of it over one ounce of dried wild Chanterelle mushrooms (I bought them for the Lemon Dill Chicken with Wild Mushrooms but Carla decided not to use them) and about 1/2 ounce of dried Shiitake mushrooms that Luanne gave me last year (I think).

I let them soak for about 20 minutes or so, until softened. Then I drained them in a sieve, lined with a coffee filter, put over my four-cup Pyrex measuring cup. I reserved the soaking liquid, rinsed the mushrooms, patted them dry and gave them a fine chop with the Wustaf chef's knife.

Then I got the medium stockpot out and filled it with eight cups of just plain water, the chopped and soaked mushrooms, the three cups of soaking liquid, 2 1/2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper and about two pounds of beef short ribs (one of three packages I have left from the meat we bought last fall). I brought it all to a boil and then reduced the heat to simmer (partially covered). I skimmed the foam occasionally until the meat was tender (about one hour). This gave me time to go outside.

I retrieved the hose from the raised bed garden and the square sprinkler and watered all the new grass seed in back. Then I dragged the hose out front and used the oscillating sprinkler on the front grass (and newly seeded area).

I went back inside and skimmed of the foam from the broth. Then I chopped up two cups of yellow onion, two peeled carrots and two celery stalks, all into 1/4 inch dice (knife skills, baby!) I cut the Cremini mushrooms into quarters (except for the littlest ones, which I just halved). All of that went into my large skillet, with two tablespoons of Canola oil and two teaspoons of butter. I flipped it occasionally, until everything was well browned (about 20 minutes), remembering to keep skimming the foam off the beef broth.

Meanwhile the timer went off, signaling the end of the watering in front. So, I took a break and hauled the sprinkler and the hose back in the back and secured the gate.

Back inside, I pulled the sort ribs out to let them cool and tasted the beef broth. OMG! It was so perfect, I was really, really tempted to strain it to make consume. But, I reminded myself, we are making soup here, and so resisted that impulse. I stirred in 1/2 cup of pearl barley into the onion, celery, carrots and Cremini mixture and cooked it, for about a minute or two more.

After the meat cooled, I worked it, discarding bone, fat and gristle. I cut the remaining meat into 1/2 inch chunks and added it back, along with the barley, saut�ed onion, celery, carrots and Cremini mushrooms, to the beef broth with the wild mushrooms.

The original recipe called for adding fresh dill to the pot just before serving it. But, knowing I am going to freeze this, I went with a more traditional approach and added 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme and three tablespoons of fresh, minced flat-leaf parsley. I simmered it, uncovered, until the barley was tender (the recipe says about 45 minutes; I gave it over an hour). I skimmed the fat from the surface one last time and tasted it. That is GOOD! I didn't even need to season it with salt and pepper.

I moved the stock pot off the burner and let it cool. I had begun making tonight's dinner while the soup was still simmering, BTW. I took a leftover half of a Vidalia onion and sliced it thin into heated olive oil and butter in my skillet. To that, I added the fresh shiitake mushrooms (maybe 3-4 ounces?) left from Saturday's chicken. Once they were soft, I deglazed the pan with cooking sherry. I let that reduce a bit, added another pat of butter and then poured this sauce over the micro-waved, warm leftover steak (from Sunday).

I ate that watching TV. When I started getting tired, I performed my nightly ablutions, put the soup in a big, covered Tupperware bowl and into the fridge and then went to bed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

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The extortion attempts stop!

Am I on the level?

Monday and yet another fine day, in a veritable string of perfect days. It started after the heavy rains of Ike and is supposed to last at least through this weekend. Each day has highs in the mid-seventies and lows in the low fifties, no rain and usually sunny.

When I got home, I checked the ToDo list. I had thought (and then confirmed) that there was only one big item I had left undone this weekend: leveling the lawn mower blade. It had cut the grass noticeably uneven this past week.

So, I dug out the manual and read up on the procedure. Hmmm... seems simple enough... So, I changed clothes and went out to the garage. I got my environment ready: garage door open, radio on, socket set down and opened and large adjustable wrench at hand.

It was not hard, but it wasn't all that simple, either. I eventually thought I had it right, so I got the keys and cut a test strip in the side lawn. It looks close. So I tightened everything down and closed up the garage.

Oh, midway through that project, my Mom called. She said she is coming back to New Baltimore this weekend. While the days are still beautiful (as I said), the nights are getting too cold out there, even with the heater and the fireplace.

I warmed up half of my leftovers from Saturday (the Lemon Dill Chicken with Wild Mushrooms over Fettuccini) for dinner. It still tasted good, two days later! I watched TV until 9:30, and then switched to my book for a bit. I went to sleep just after 10:00 PM.

Monday, September 22, 2008

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Attention Hammock-nappers! The damn thing only cost $125 brand new and I ain't that attached to it!!!

Last Sunday of Summer...

I woke up at 7:00 AM and put a pot of coffee on. It was cool and overcast outside (today is officially the last full day of summer here in Michigan).

I had a cup of coffee and then made some eggs for breakfast. I did get a call back from both guys I called at 3:30 AM. The overheating was not in the server room itself, but in the adjacent room where the UPS' are and they had a man onsite, fixing the problem.

I did a little of this and that, waiting for noon. I need to get some charcoal from Gordon Food Service (GFS) and they don't open until then, you see. I think I am duty bound to grill outside on the last day of summer, right?

So, I left around 11:30 so I could also stop at Meijer's. When I was there on Saturday, they had tons of whole chickens or those huge "economy" packs of just legs or just thighs, all marked at 40% of the original price (somebody must have over-bought, or something). So, I bought one whole chicken (for like $2.45) yesterday. I thought about it overnight and this morning, I went and bought five more whole chickens (average price - under $3.00). I figure this way I can make a big pot of homemade chicken soup once a month throughout the whole winter! I also picked up some heavy cream that I will need today.

At GFS, I bought a big bag of lump charcoal and another half-sheet pan. On the way back home, I picked up some prescriptions from CVS and filled up my gas tank. I really lucked out with gasoline, BTW. If you remember, on a whim, I filled my tank up the day before Ike hit and gas prices soared. It has lasted me long enough that the prices have fallen back to where they were before Ike.

Back home, its time to deal with the clams on the half shell Jake and Carla left me. I decided to turn them into my special clam chowder. I normally use three cans of chopped clams and the juice from two of the cans. So, this time I just used two cans and the rest of the fresh clams, rough chopped. I finished the last taste test at 3:30 PM (excellent, BTW!) and let the pot cool. I put the 10 ears of sweet corn I bought yesterday at Westborn in a stockpot full of cool water and took out the small, tri tip steak to let it come up to room temperature. Before I put it on a plate, I hit both sides of it with the house seasoning.

I went out in the back yard to check everything out. I watered the grass seed both in front and in back and then checked the raised bed vegetable garden. I picked 11 tomatoes and three nice size green peppers. I hooked up the square sprinkler and watered the garden for 30 minutes.

Back inside, I put the soup away. I got two four-cup containers that went into the freezer and one two-cup container that went into the fridge. Since it was already after 5:00 PM, I went out and lit the charcoal for the official "Last Full Day of Summer 2008 Grilling."

I roasted the corn first and, as always, shucked it outside, then put it on a half sheet pan and stuck that in the oven on "warm." Next I grilled the steak, and then when that was resting, I did a package of hot dogs for next week.

I ate half of the steak and two ears of corn for my dinner. I cleaned up the few dishes and then wandered in to check out the TV. One of my shows was preempted for the Emmy's and the other one is a rerun. So, I watched taped shows until 10:00 PM and then went to sleep.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

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I received this in my email today from an unrecognizable sender!

Saturday Supper

I woke up at 6:00 AM on Saturday. I kicked the cats off the bed, stripped it and put the bedding in the washer. I ran out of coffee last week, so no coffee this morning until after grocery shopping.

I started cleaning the house. Since I did such a deep cleaning last weekend (after the tile project), this was more just dusting and polishing. By the time I was finished, I had the bed remade and the second load of laundry going. But, I stopped at that point and took a shower. It's time for shopping!

I left at about 10:15 AM. I hit Meijer's (for the bulk of the items), then Kroger's (for some sale items) and finally Westborn Market (herbs and veggies). I got back home about 12:30 and had everything unpacked and put away by 1:15. I put the second batch of clothes in the dryer (I had stopped the washer before the second rinse when I left on my errands). I took the remaining 6 eggs from the last grocery shopping and hard-boiled them.

I blew off the patio for the first time in a long time. Then I got a bucket of hot water mixed with Pine-Sol and a brush and washed all the patio furniture. Finally, I rinsed off the furniture and hosed down the patio.

Then I took a break. Jake and Carla are supposed to drop over this afternoon to check out the tile job and cook something with me. I didn't exactly take a nap, but I dozed off and on and felt refreshed when they showed up around 3:30 PM.

Carla had said she would be bringing the appetizer and did she ever! Twelve big clams on the half shell on ice, fresh from the restaurant they buy all their seafood from. The clams went in the fridge and we started playing cards (Kings in the Corner, my Mom's favorite). I did win one game and Jake a few more, but Carla was the big winner, today.

Halfway through the games, we ate about half of the clams raw, topped with a spray of fresh lemon juice and a little seafood cocktail sauce. Delicious!

Once we were done with the card games, Carla was ready to cook! I had picked a recipe I wanted to try ever since I saw it made on a Food Network show: Lemon Dill Chicken with Wild Mushrooms over Fettuccini, (recipe courtesy of Aaron McCargo, Jr.).

I had asked Jake if he would mind correctly hooking up my DVD-R and VCR (I had got it to work when I replaced the DVD-R, but it wasn't pretty!) so he went to do that. I got to be the prep chef while Carla assumed her role of Chef. It's interesting to watch, as she really does get in the "zone," becoming almost like Chef Ramsey, without /most/ of the swearing, lol!

So, I will give you the basic recipe steps, but since I was relegated to pounding the chicken flat, getting the pasta pot filled with water and on to boil, etc., I can't promise she followed it exactly. In fact, I know she said she had to add a lot more chicken stock than the recipe called for (she said otherwise, the sauce would be too thick) and also refused to plate it as he suggested.

So, here it is: While I pounded four boneless, skinless chicken breasts to about 1/4-1/2 inch thickness, she took a medium-size bowl, and mixed one teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and 1 teaspoon of fresh, chopped dill with 1/2 cup flour. In another medium bowl, she added some water. She wet the flattened chicken cutlets with water and then dredged it in the flour mixture.

Next, she melted four tablespoons of butter in large saute pan over medium-high heat, and sauted the chicken breasts, about four minutes on each side. After they were cooked, she removed them to a plate.

She added to the same pan one tablespoon of diced shallots and a tablespoon of fresh chopped dill. She stirred in 1/2 cup of flour and whisked it until pasty. Then she added 1 1/2 cups of dry vermouth. After the alcohol burned off, she mixed in two cups of sliced mushrooms (I wanted a mixture of cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, but couldn't find any oyster mushrooms).

Now the recipe says to add one cup of chicken stock, (but I know she said she added more) and four ounces of freshly squeezed lemon juice, (about two lemons) and then cook it for an additional three to four minutes, which she did. Then she turned off the heat and stirred in the remaining two tablespoons butter and a pinch of fresh chopped parsley. Then she seasoned it with salt and pepper, to taste.

Jake removed the pasta from the water after cooking it al dente. Carla drizzled in olive oil to coat the pasta and added one tablespoon of lemon zest.

Now, for plating! The recipe says to put the pasta on a serving platter, then lay the chicken across the pasta and pour the sauce over the top; then garnish with parsley. But Carla said that would be too messy to cut the chicken, so she cut the cutlets (that was fun to type, BTW) into about one inch strips and added them and the pasta to the sauce. Jake had already set the table, so all we had to do was dig in. Fantastic! Excellent taste!!

Jake insisted on cleaning up, so we let him, lol! He hand washed the big pots and pans and loaded the rest into the dishwasher. Afterwards, Jake and I dragged the old picnic table and benches out to the road (I have a "big item pickup" scheduled for Tuesday). Then they took their leave, leaving me with the other six clams and half the leftovers (I insisted they take the other half).

I went into the living room and sat on the couch to return a call. The couch was so comfortable that, after hanging up, I went and got my book and returned to the couch. I got about one-third through the book when I fell asleep. I woke up at 1:30 AM, and went to sleep in my bed.

I was woken up by a call around 3:30 AM from the security corporation, telling me that the data center was registering a higher heat level than it should. So, I called my shortlist of people, left two messages and woke up Dale, who said he was in Georgia and couldn't help (sorry, man! I didn't know). Figuring I'd follow up with calls in the morning, I went back to sleep.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday Night, not much going on...

Friday night and I didn't do any real work! I watered the grass seed, chatted a bit with the neighbors and did some straightening in the garage.

I ate the last of the leftover chicken strips for dinner and watched taped TV until 9:30 PM and then I went to sleep.

Friday, September 19, 2008

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Hey, Amer! I deadheaded the tiger lilies for you!

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All that's left of the pansies in the mailbox

Auuurgh, matey! It be that time again!

Just a reminder that the one Holiday this Blog REALLY celebrates is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" and it's today, September 19th!

Avast!

Last Time

I got home on time Thursday night, but with this and that, I didn't get started mowing the lawn until 5:45 PM. I was extra careful NOT to run over the places where I had sown the fall grass seed. I did mow down the tiger lily "hedge" in the front yard so my brother wouldn't rag on me about deadheading it.

I moved into the back yard and again, took pains to avoid the seeded areas. It is a good thing the mower has headlights because I cut the last half of the yard in the dark! I can't wait to see how it looks, lol! But, I'll have to, because it's dark when I leave for work, now.

I really liked cutting the grass on Thursday, BTW. That way, it always looked nice over the weekend and grass cutting itself was not then a "weekend chore." But, it looks like this is the last time I will be able cut it on a weekday this year (unless I spread it out over two days).

I got in the house at 8:30 PM. I warmed up some leftovers and ate them, reading a book. I was beat, so I didn't even bother turning on the TV. I just went to bed after eating.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

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French Fries

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Chicken Tenders

Bar Food

Another sunny day. I got home from work, got changed and got to work.

First I caulked the joint where the counter top meets the backsplash. The closest color match I could get was "almond". It's a little lighter than the grout, but not too noticeable.

Next, I went out back. I raked and seeded two more bare spots in the lawn. Then I watered all four spots again.

Back inside, I started to make dinner (I'm tired of leftovers). Tonight I'm making a kicked up version of bar food: chicken tenders with a honey mustard sauce and French fries (shoestrings).

I made the sauce first so it could get happy while I'm cooking the rest. I combined 1/2 cup of honey, 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of mayonnaise and a tablespoon of lemon juice. I stirred that together and added salt and pepper to taste. I covered the bowl and set it in the fridge.

I filled my cast iron Dutch oven halfway up with canola oil, put in the candy thermometer and turned up the heat. I took a big handful of frozen shoestring potatoes out of the bag and, when the oil hit 350 degrees F., dropped them in (I did it in two batches, BTW.) I put the finished French fries on a paper towel in a cookie sheet and salted them while still hot. Then they went into the oven which was set on "warm".

Then I took three boneless skinless chicken breasts (close to two pounds) and cut each one into one-inch strip. The longest strips I cut in half. I set up a breading station of one cup of flour, then three eggs and finally two cups of panko bread crumbs (these are Japanese bread crumbs, Mom; very light and crunchy). Into the bread crumbs I added one teaspoon lemon-pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

So, each chicken piece went into the flour, then the egg and finally the seasoned panko bread crumbs. Then it went into the hot oil until golden brown (about 6-8 minutes). Once they were done, they went on a rack set over a paper towel lined cookie sheet and salted. This took three batches.

When everything was done, I plated about half the fries and several of the chicken tenders (topped with some of the honey mustard sauce). I left the mess in the kitchen for tomorrow and went in to watch TV and eat. I went to bed at 10:00.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

AIG Bailout and you

The government bailed out AIG last night and I understand why. But, according to my calculation, that's nearly 1 TRILLION dollars in bailouts year to date! Hmmm... with our huge deficit, I wonder where the money will come from?

Well, from you and me, my friends. Make no mistake: No matter who wins this upcoming election, all the promises of reducing the tax burden on the middle class will disappear like magic.

Cynical? No, I've just seen it happen over and over before. The incoming administration will blame the outgoing administration and say, "Well, I did promise not to raise taxes, but George Bush (or the Fed or Wall Street greed) left us in such a mess, I have no other choice!"

Wait and see...

Spreading my seed...

Tuesday was finally bright and sunny, but cool. It's getting downright cold at night, BTW. Fall is definitely upon us.

When I got home, I changed clothes (Note to self: This shorts and t-shirt ensemble is not gonna cut it too much longer for outdoor work) and went outside.

I raked the dirt I put in the front yard's low spot, applied some grass seed and raked it in. The low spot is directly over where the old pine was and I believe is caused by all the wood chips I left in the hole (where they chewed up the stump) slowly rotting. When I finished with that, I dragged the hose out front and Obama-ed it (watered it liberally). I took the last pictures of the front garden for this year to show how some of the moss roses did finally come up and some never did.

Then I went in back and raked the spot by the bird feeder where I apparently dripped herbicide earlier this summer. This was a lot harder, but still doable, only because of the rain. Then I seeded, raked again and watered it, too. Now I just have to water both daily for the next couple weeks and I should be okay.

There are more spots to do in the back yard, but my arms are tired so I put everything away for tonight. I was going to caulk the tiles tonight (the edge between the counter and the wall was not supposed to be grouted, but rather caulked to allow for expansion). But, it was already 6:50 PM, so I decided to wait on that.

I warmed up the last catfish filet and the rest of the wild rice and ate that for dinner (Note to self: From now on, make four filets, not just three). I watched TV until 9:30 PM, then switched to a book, then bed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

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Last pictures (I promise) of the front garden #1

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Last pictures (I promise) of the front garden #2

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Here's where the moss roses let me down! Last pictures (I promise) of the front garden #3

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Last pictures (I promise) of the front garden #4

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Last pictures (I promise) of the front garden #5

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The bush I trimmed that my brother Carl derided me on, growing back

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The "Exxon Valdez" in my back yard. Here's where the herbicide apparently leaked out of the spay canister, when I was walking out back.

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Sink hole, filled and seeded

Saturday Morning, Over Easy (a liitle late...)

[This song always reminds me of my Mom, back on the farm...]

Canned Goods
~ Greg Brown

Well let the wild winter wind bellow and blow
I'm as warm as a July tomato

There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin
Supper ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Grandma put it all in jars

Well there's a root cellar, fruit cellar down below
Watch your head now, and down we go

There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin
Supper ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Grandma put it all in jars

Well maybe you are weary and you don't give a damn
I bet you never tasted her blackberry jam

There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin
Supper ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Grandma put it all in jars

Oh she got magic in her, you know what I mean
She puts the sun and rain in with her beans

There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin
Supper ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Grandma put it all in jars

What with the snow and the economy and everything
I think I'll just stay down here and eat until spring

There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin
Supper ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Grandma put it all in jars

When I go down to see Grandma, I gain a lot a weight
With her dear hands she gives me plate after plate
She cans the pickles, sweet and dill
And the songs of the whip-or-will
and the morning dew and the evening moon
I really gotta go down and see her soon
Cause the canned goods that I buy at the store
Ain't got the summer in em anymore
You bet Grandma as sure as you're born
I'll take some more potatoes and a thunder storm

There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin
Supper ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Taste a little of the summer
Grandma put it all in jars

Monday

Sidebar: Did you ever notice how short the Monday post always seems to be?

Anyway, Monday! It was cloudy and a little damp all day but no more real rain. Ike had gone in search of Tina (Okay, I sorta stole that from a sign I saw they had down in Texas, but I thought it was cute).

I got home late after running an errand. I had picked up a big bag of top soil to fill in (once again) the depression that forms every year over the place I had that big pine tree cut down in front. So, I dragged it over and dumped it in. Then I smoothed it with a rake and let it settle overnight. I took an old coffee can and got some of the remaining fertilizer and then hand-sowed it over the front ditch (where I could not get to with the riding tractor.

Inside, I changed clothes, did a few minor things and made a couple of calls. I warmed up a plate of sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes for dinner. I watched TV for a bit but I was tired, so I went to bed at 9:30 PM.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend Update

I checked the rain gauge this morning and we go just over another inch of rain since I last checked it. So, by my reckoning, the remnants of Hurricane Ike dropped just over 4 1/4 inches of rain on me.

Sunday's Summation

I woke up again at 6:30 AM. Before shaving and showering I checked the rain gauge on the patio. Another inch of rain fell overnight. According to the Weather Channel, there's still more to come today, and Flood Warning are posted until Monday morning.

I took my first cup of coffee out to enjoy the cool morning air on the front porch, but that didn't work! It was already 73 degrees F. and with the high humidity, it was sticky and uncomfortable.

I washed another batch of dishes from last night in the laundry tub and then went out in the garage to get the tools to re-attach the sink. After some difficulty, I did get the garbage disposal hooked back to the sink. But, it was as I feared. Raising the level of the sink 3/4 inches higher was too much for either trap to make up. So, I put on my "going to the store" clothes and left at 10:00 for Home Depot. I bought a new trap for the disposal side and two 6 inch drain pipe extenders.

I treated myself to breakfast at Leo's and then stopped in at Kroger's to pick up a sale item. I was back home and back to work by 11:15.

It took a while, cutting down the extenders to the exact correct length, but I finally was ready to try it out. I turned on the water and had my first scare! The hot water was dripping from the shut-off. These are soldered in and I can't solder worth a damn, so this would be an expensive call to a plumber!! But, I tightened the nut that holds in the valve stem and it stopped!!! Whew!

The drain on the disposal side worked perfectly. But the other side was dripping. I took it all apart and checked everything, then put it back together, making sure I hadn't cross-threaded anything. This time, no leaks! I was tempted to stop there and call it good, but I made myself plug each side, fill the sink completely full and then unplug it, as a final test! Hurray! No leaks!!!

So, at 1:30 PM on Sunday, September 14, 2008, my kitchen was completely back together. I took some photos for the Blog. It has been a long project, but I definitely think it was worth it.

I started a load in the dishwasher (oh, how I have missed you, baby!) and carried the tools back out to the garage. I must have dragged some dirt going back and forth this morning, as I needed to sweep the kitchen again. It was drizzling when I was out this morning, but the sun did finally come out for a bit. Then it got cloudy again and, by 3:00 PM, it was raining once more (When it rains, it pours!)

I refilled Newt's tank and washed the tablecloth that had protected my kitchen table these past few weeks. I kept up doing any and all of these little chores that I have largely ignored during the tile project until 4:00 PM. I decided then to treat myself to another recently ignored weekend pleasure: a nap!

It took a while, but I did eventually fall asleep. I woke up, refreshed, at 6:00 PM. I had thawed out three catfish filets yesterday, so I set up my breading station (flour, egg, yellow cornmeal) and got about 1/2 inch of canola oil heating in my big old cast iron fry pan. While that was getting ready, I put the water and butter in a sauce pan and put in the "original" Uncle Ben's Wild Rice mixture. I know, I know... I can hear you purists saying, "Captain, you are using a box mix! Who cares if it takes 25 minutes or the 'new-improved' quick-cook, 5 minutes?"

Well, I do. The old style just tastes better than the quick-cook. It makes a damn good tasting side that's definitely worth waiting for!

I patted the filets dry, put them in the flour, then egg, then cornmeal and into the hot oil (I'd say around 350 degrees F. because I didn't use a thermometer, just the "bubbles around a wooden spoon handle" method). Now the pan could "probably" fit all three, but I hate to crowd frying food. You risk getting "steamed" rather than "fried" food if they are too close. So, I did two, then one filets.

As soon as they came out of the pan and onto the rack (on a cookie sheet, over paper towels), I hit both sides with just kosher salt. I covered them with tin foil, waiting on the rice.

Meanwhile, I must tell you, the rain seems to have abated, but the winds have really picked up. The trees in the back yard are dancing and swaying in the gusts. As always, I worry about falling limbs...

So, the rice was done and I plated tonight's feast. I put two filets on a dinner plate, with a healthy helping of wild rice and topped the catfish filets "Southern-style" with generous dashes of red hot sauce (I use Frank's Original, myself). I took the plate into the bedroom and prepared to watch my Sunday night shows...

My nap helped me stay awake until they were finished at 11:00 PM and then I went to sleep.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

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Kitchen complete #1

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Kitchen, complete #2

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Kitchen, complete #3

Saturday, cleaning up

I woke up at 6:30 AM on Saturday. I got cleaned up and got to work. The Water guy can come anytime between 8-12, so I want to finish up the kitchen (except for the sink) before he gets here. I carried in the kitchen chairs from the living room (first time they have been back since before Labor Day!) and pushed the rolling cart back into place. Other than the sink, the kitchen is now together again!

For a change, I remembered to fill and program the coffee maker Friday night. I had my first cup while working, but stopped to enjoy the second one. I sat on the front porch and watched it rain. It rained (softly) off and on all day Friday, BTW, and when it wasn't raining, it was overcast and foggy here in Redford.

It was still not raining hard, although they said on the weather channel we could get heavier rains today and maybe thunderstorms. What amazed me was that, when I looked out the kitchen window, my whole back yard (which has been mostly brown for all of August) was now a lush green! I took a photo so you could see, but it's a bit fuzzy from shooting through the screen.

He still had not arrived by 9:00 AM, so I went in and printed off this weekend's ToDo list. Other than installing the sink, it's mostly cleaning the rest of the house (which also had suffered and been ignored during the construction). Oh, by the way, if you were keeping track, I had 12 items on my list to accomplish Friday night and I got 11 of them done! I took some pictures and posted them while waiting for the Water guy.

10:00 AM came and went and still no guy! Maybe they don't work when it's raining? That makes no sense, because he was supposed to be working inside. I was dusting, then vacuuming and spit-shining the living room. You would be surprised (well, maybe not, but I was) how much dust doing that tile job created and where it all went!

By 11:00 AM, I was finished with the living room, but still no guy. It's raining a bit harder now, but still minimal wind, so it's coming straight down. After giving my dust mop a last shake on the front porch, I moved into the office. About then, I was wishing I had taken the time for breakfast, but I didn't (I thought the guy would be here any second).

He finally showed up at 11:20 AM. He tried all the easy stuff, but none of that worked. So, he pulled off the old meter and put in a new one. Unfortunately, that meant he had to go outside and replace the external reader, too. I would like to mention and commend him for taking his boots off each time he came into the house, because it was pouring! Sadly, that didn't fix the problem, either. He said that the wire outside had been spliced twice before at some time. So, on the next sunny day, he will return and replace the outside wire. Since its good in the house, I won't have to be here, so that's okay. He took the old meter and said that will be this billings' reading. The new one is set at zero, so I'm cool.

I did tell him the hammock story and he, like me, couldn't believe anyone would go through all that trouble to steal a stupid old hammock (Bastards!!!)

I finished the office at 12:10 PM and went to set in the sink. The adhesive/caulk I am using needs to set for a minimum of two hours without movement, so I might as well get that started. It also can't get wet for 24 hours, so the earlier I get it in the better. I liberally applied the caulk and then put in the sink. The Salesman at Lowe's suggested weighing it with books or something, so I put a full gallon paint can in each side (see Photos). I wiped off the excess caulk and moved on...```````````

Next, while that set up, I finally made some breakfast/lunch. I fried up a can of corned beef hash and topped it with two over-easy eggs. I ate it (with some buttered bread) watching taped TV shows. I finished cleaning my bedroom (except for making the bed. The bedding is still in the dryer) just as my daughter Melissa called. We chatted for while about their remodeling in the house and adding a large garden to the front yard (I KNEW they wouldn't be able to just move in!) I hung up when somebody pulled in the driveway. When I walked out on the porch, they backed up and left (wrong house, or more thieves scouting for hammocks? I admit I'm more paranoid than ever before, here. That's sad...)

The rain had let up enough I could put on a rain coat and go get the mail. So, I did. Then I walked out back and refilled the bird feeder and the suet cage, checked the rain gauge (I have had 2 inches of rain here so far) and picked all the ripe tomatoes (both heirloom and plum), three green peppers, a handful of basil and about the same of oregano (I got a plan).

Back inside, I washed off the veggies and cut the tomatoes in half, until I completely filled a half sheet pan (I still had six tomatoes left). I salted them and let them sit a bit. Then I drizzled them with olive oil and put them under the broiler to char. When I had them where I wanted them, I took them out and let them cool. I checked the clock and it was 5:20 PM, so it took about 30 minutes and I had rearranged them once, BTW. Again, see Photos.

I was amazed (and somewhat dismayed) to see how much the tomatoes had shrunk! I had pictured making gallons of fresh tomato sauce, but after pureeing them in the blender, I only had four cups! So, I adjusted accordingly. I minced up three cloves of garlic, diced one half of a green pepper (I ate the other half raw. OMG! Fresh veggies from my own garden!! You really can't beat the taste!!!) and one half of a yellow onion, diced medium and put them all in a sauce pan. I threw in about a tablespoon of fresh oregano leaves and about the same of fresh, diced basil. I added in the tomato puree, a little black pepper and a big pinch of crushed red pepper (I gotta have my heat!), brought it all to a boil, and then turned it to simmer to reduce a bit.

We seemed to be in a little lull, rain-wise, so I checked the weather map. Lull, yes, but there was still one heck of a lot more rain clouds showing, stretching all the way back to Chicago, so we are not done with this storm yet, by any means!

I went downstairs and washed everything I messed up in the laundry tub. Damn! I want my sink back!!! But, the adhesive/caulk I bought goes on white and then turns clear when it's dry. And, I still see a whole lot of white when I peak under the rim. So, I made an executive decision to let it dry overnight before I start jiggling it around to hook up the one drain, the garbage disposal and the water lines. This really has been a long project, so there is no point in screwing it up so close to being finished.

At 7:00 PM, I taste-tested the tomatoes. Damn! That's good! No, that's great!! A nice, thick, but fresh, tomato taste (unlike, say, canned tomato sauce). It could use a bit more salt, but I'll probably be re-seasoning it when I use it this winter, so I let that go. I pulled it off the burner and let it cool down. I am inspired! Maybe I'll go to that Farmer's Market next Saturday and see if anybody's got tomatoes by the bushel for sale. Don't get me wrong, I still have tons of green ones out there, but who knows how long the weather will hold and if they will all ripen?

But think about it. Sometime this winter, when the Michigan snow is piled deep around the house, and the wind is howling, I'll thaw this out and use it on pasta or a homemade pizza and smile, thinking of this summer! Perfect!! Sometimes, I love being me!!!

But, back to reality (sometimes I really HATE reality). Its time to tackle the last room today: the main bath. Yes, I recently washed the floor, but the counter has been used (and abused) for two weeks now as the fall-back kitchen sink. So, I prepared to wash it all down, ceiling to floor.

But, first I should get dinner on. I had bought the fixin's to make Jake's Kicked Up Kraut during my last grocery shopping trip. His recipe consisted of roasting (in the oven on 425 degrees F.) potatoes, smoked sausage and a diced onion and then adding it to sauerkraut. But, I haven't made it yet, and the stuff been in the fridge for over a week. So, I went back to old school (boring) by putting the sauerkraut in a pan, adding twelve baby redskins (cut in half) and then smoked sausage cut in one-inch slices, on a biase). I brought it up to a boil, turned it to simmer and cleaned the main bath.

I stopped and turned the long-neglected drier back on to fluff up my bedding. I finished the bathroom and left it to dry while I made up my bed. Then I got a plate of sauerkraut, smoked sausage (with some Dijon mustard) and boiled potatoes (with butter, salt and pepper) and, by 8:30 PM, I was watching TV and done for the day. But 10:30, I had opened the window (its was still raining), turned off everything and turned in for the night.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Update

In Surfside Beach, retired carpenter and former Marine Ray Wilkinson became something of a celebrity for a day: He was the lone resident in the town of 805 to defy the order to leave. Authorities found him Saturday morning, drunk.

"I consider myself to be stupid," Wilkinson, 67, said through a thick, tobacco-stained beard. "I'm just tired of running from these things. If it's going to get you, it's going to get you."

He added: "I didn't say I had all my marbles, OK?"

I admire him, too!

Sidebar

I forgot about this until something just reminded me! I was buying a 1 x 4 board last week at Home Depot after work and, at the checkout, the guy (who was probably 10+ years older than me) was ringing me out (or whatever you call it) when this young, attractive chick (a store employee) slipped in between us to drop something off.

She said to me, "I'm sorry, I'm just here to give Bob a backrub." and started rubbing his shoulders. He let her do that for a minute or two and then said, "Oh baby! Lower and slower!" She laughed and slapped his back and then said, "You dirty old man!" and split.

But, I admired him for it!!! Dirty old men of the world, unite!

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Tomatoes, after charring under the broiler

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Sink, set in adhesive/caulk and weighted down

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Still no sink yet, but here's how the "L" counter looks #1

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Still no sink yet, but here's how the "L" counter looks #2

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My new Acacia wood cutting board

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Back yard, going "green"

Bang that Drum!!!

By shear happenstance, I filled up my car's gas tank on Thursday. I had to get gas for the lawn mower and since I was there, why not? Today, I'm glad I did, because gas prices at that very station are ten cents higher a gallon today and supposed to go up even more tomorrow. All due to Hurricane Ike, of course.

When I got home and changed, I started washing the items on the table that have to go back on the kitchen counter (toaster oven, bread box, coffee maker, toaster, etc.) and then putting them back. Now, I know what you're thinking: Why isn't he installing the kitchen sink?

Because, Saturday morning the Redford Water Department is coming over to replace the sending unit for the water meter (so they can read it outside). So, I thought I'd leave it out and make it a little easier on the guy.

I moved the stove back into place (finally!), the table back into place and put all the items that should go under the sink on top the table (still covered with a tablecloth to protect it). I had bought an interesting-looking, thick cutting board a couple of weeks ago, so I put some felt cushions on the bottom. My plan is to leave this setting on the counter next to the stove. That will give me not only a place to cut herbs and such, but also a resting place for hot pans, etc., so I am not screwing up the tile.

Next I installed the switch and plug plate covers. This is starting to look like my kitchen, again! I swept the kitchen floor and then made some dinner: A wedge of iceberg lettuce, topped with Blue cheese dressing and a microwaved chicken pot pie. I put that in the bedroom to cool while I washed the kitchen floor.

I ate dinner watching TV, but started nodding off. So, I turned it off and started reading a magazine that came yesterday. When that too began to make me sleepy, I turned off the light and went to bed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday Night Update

It did rain overnight. I checked the gauge this morning and had close to 1/4 of an inch of rainfall. So, it was a good thing I fertilized last night!

Thursday, violated...

I don't know if I mentioned this, but I bought a pull-behind fertilizer spreader for the tractor earlier this week. If you remember, after five+ years, I canceled my contract with Tru-Green Chem-Lawn this spring. But, in order to maintain the lawn, I need to put down a fall fertilizer application.

I saw on the web that Lowe's had one for $38.00 USD (in-store only). This was appealing, as a good brand (say, John Deere) costs between $150 - $250 USD. When I got there, they were out of them (of course) and the guy said they weren't getting anymore in as they wanted to use up the cheap stock and go with only the expensive stuff. But, they did have one left of the same manufacturers, but the next size up. It cost $68.00. It kinda pissed me off, because you could tell the box had been opened and then re-taped. But, the guy said that's the last one they had, and I could return it if I wasn't happy with it. So, knowing it's the season for them, I bought it.

Well, today, I went home and put that spreader together. I opened up the box and found there were no instructions! So, I went to their web site and (thankfully) they had one online. I had to download and print a 14 page instruction booklet and parts list (half of which was in Spanish and I could have not bothered printing had I looked at it first). But, I printed it all. At least I found the booklet, and all the parts were there. Though, some of them were doubles, too (not just extra nuts and bolts, but pieces of the frame!) Why? I dunno. Maybe they combined two returned ones or something.

I got it together, but then ran into a snag with the spreader. It says in the manual before I use it, to check the Spreader Setting Sheet. I didn't get one of those, either! And, they don't have one on the website. So, I emailed them asking for one.

Meanwhile, I went inside and applied the first coat of grout sealer. Now, according to the bottle, this will prevent staining, mold, fungus, mildew, athlete's foot, syphilis, and damn near anything from screwing up my tile. I had to laugh when I opened the bottle: its white water! And, like water, it's hard to apply without dripping it. But, I did the best I could and then wiped the adjacent surfaces with warm water. I waited the prescribed 5 minutes and then wiped everything dry (trashing one of my few remaining kitchen towels). I now have at least one hour before I put on the second coat.

So, it's back to the fertilizer. Why is this so important tonight when I was finishing up the tile and can have my sink and dishwasher back, soon, you might ask? I'll tell you. It's supposed to rain off and on starting tomorrow and continuing throughout the weekend. So, if I don't get it done tonight, it will be a while. So, now is NOW!

So, without the Spreader Setting Sheet, I went back to basic mathematics. My front yard is approximately 45' x 73 minus the 24 foot wide driveway. So, I figured 45 x 50 =2250 square feet. Since the bag of fertilizer is supposed to cover 15,000 square feet, it should take 15% of the bag to do the front yard. 15% of a 46 pound bag of fertilizer would be just less than 7 pounds.

I got my bathroom scale out. I took a clean trash container and, after allowing for tare weight, got 7 pounds of fertilizer. I put the mower with the spreader attached on a flat spot in the front lawn, put in the seven pounds of fertilizer, dialed in "4" and started off. When I was done with the front, I still had maybe 1/4 of the fertilizer left. So, I went back over it until it was all gone.

I refilled the hopper with the rest of the fertilizer, changed the setting to "6" and went in the back. It was then I made a discovery that has left me both angry and sad!

This morning before I left for work, I noticed my back gate was opened. So, I walked out in back and looked around. Hmmm... St. Francis, the young Shaolin monk and both Buddha's were still there. So was Jake and Carla's birdbath, my trailer and the sail boat. Odd... but I went to work. Well, tonight I solved the mystery. Somebody stole my hammock!

I was upset, but I finished the backyard. There was only about an inch of fertilizer left in the hopper when I was done, BTW. So, "6" is the setting. When I got back inside, I found I had an email from the spreader manufacture that said:

Agri-Fab no longer has a "spreader setting" chart as the seed and fertilizer manufacturers change their recommended settings constantly.

A good rule of thumb is:

3 for a light coverage
4 for a medium coverage and the lawn has been treated previously
5 for a heavy coverage or infestation of crabgrass

Please note this is a guide line only. We always ask that you do a test pattern on a driveway or level ground to check dispersal.

So, I would have had to do it by trial and error, anyway.

I put the second coat of sealer on the tile and grout. Again, I waited 5 minutes and then wiped everything dry (trashing another kitchen towel). I checked the clock and it was 9:20 PM.

I heated up a can of Hormel chili with beans and topped it with shredded cheddar cheese. I ate that and went to sleep, burping.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday's Work

I got home Wednesday night and got back to it! First I took care of a bunch of miscellaneous little daily chores and then I called my granddaughter, Riese, to get the details on this year's fundraiser. Sounded worthwhile, plus I should end up with some sort of Field Guide for Michigan Butterflies. Good deal!

I watered all the container gardens and then got back to work in the kitchen. I caulked between the new window sill and the window. Next I used the longer screws I had bought to re-install the switches and electrical plugs. This one was not so easy, because where the screws had to get screwed into is now buried 3/4 of an inch deep, behind the tile and the backer board. The darkness inside each electrical box and these damn bifocals didn't help either! But, I finally got them all put back.

Speaking of "back," I put the refrigerator back in its place (for the first time in almost two weeks!) I got some warm water and washed all the tiles and grout for the last time before sealing them (hopefully, tomorrow).

I checked the time and it was 8:10 PM, so I stopped for the night. I wanted a quick, fast comfort food for dinner; something simple. So I made an old favorite of mine and my Mother's: Tuna and peas, served on top of wide egg noodles. I watched a little TV, but went to sleep before 10:00 PM after opening the bedroom window.

I got up around 1:00 AM to use the bathroom (shivering) and checked the thermostat. It was 58 degrees F. in the house! So, I shut the window and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday

Tuesday, I got home and changed clothes after work. I have a list of 13 items I'd like to get done tonight, so I got busy!

First on the list was to take all the pins, paper, cardboard and tags off my new shirts and get them into the washer. Sounds pretty easy, however, if you've ever tried it, you know how time consuming that can be. But, I got 'er done!

While they were washing, so was I! This time it was the main bathroom floor. I left that to dry and moved on to the next item.

I had bought several of the filler pencils to fill in all the nails holes in the molding I put in the living room, kitchen and hallway that I never used (yet). But I took one and filled in the nail holes in the window molding. When I was finished, I put the laundry in the dryer.

My old landlady had left me almost a full box of extra self-stick tiles that she had installed in the kitchen when I first moved in. Well, she must have miscalculated the correct spacer amount because, over time, the tiles directly in front of the sink had spread until there was about a 1/4 inch gap. So, I took my trusty painters knife and a hammer and dug out six tiles and two spacers. This sounds a LOT easier than it was. The tiles didn't just pop out, but came out in little chunks.

Eventually, though, I got out all the tiles. I washed my hands and the tools in paint thinner to get the sticky crap off them and then laid down new tiles. I stepped back to admire my work, when I noticed the clock: it was after 8:00 PM! I hung up the shirts and folded the rest of the laundry. Hmmm, three items checked off the list of thirteen? Not too impressive!

I quit for the night and made dinner. I took the remaining seven plum tomatoes, (I haven't checked the garden in a while), cut them in half and seeded them, reserving the seeds, goop and water. I put a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in my big pan and heated it up while I sliced about six or seven cloves of garlic. I was making this recipe up, in case you were wondering.

I saut�ed the garlic in the oil until it was soft, and then added the tomato water, seeds and stuff. I seasoned it and let it reduce.

At Jake's suggestion, I had bought some of the refrigerated fresh pasta made by Buitoni. This particular pasta was the Portobello mushroom and cheese tortelloni. I boiled the torelloni in some of my thawed-out homemade chicken stock.

When the pasta finished cooking, I drained it and let it sit a bit while I diced up the tomatoes and about 1/2 cup of pitted Kalamata olives. I added the tomatoes and olives to the garlic, and then topped it with the tortelloni. I let that all sit and steam for a bit, just to warm the tomatoes and olives, but not cook them.

I mixed everything together and topped it with Parmigiano-Reggiano. I ate dinner (very good, BTW) watching TV and then went to bed at 10:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monday Night Update

I forgot to mention that it started sprinkling on my way home. As you could tell from the last post, I never went back outside and was too busy to pay any attention to it after arriving home. However, I do remember hearing the rain still falling when I opened the window, prior to going to sleep.

When I woke up Tuesday morning and took out the garbage, everything was still wet and dripping. So, I went around back and checked the rain gauge: over a 1/2 inch of rain last night!!! Sweet!

Monday, back to work (everywhere!)

I had to run an errand after work, so I didn't get home until 5:45 PM. I changed clothes and got busy.

Tonight, it's trim! After test fitting both the sink and the new window sill, I realized I made the sill too wide. I made it oversized (at least for this house) on purpose so I could maybe put a small pot of herbs on it, or big tomatoes. But it's only about an inch away from the faucet and it looks crowded.

So, I used the table saw on the straight piece and the band saw on the notches and cut it down 3/4 of an inch. I hooked up my "attack" air compressor and tacked it into place. Next I installed the 1/2 inch stained filler pieces. I cleverly attached the new curtain rod holders BEFORE I put up the sides pieces and then the top.

I put in the piece that goes under the sill and finally, really attached the sill. I stopped at that point to take some photos I had an off-line request for. I posted them and was reviewing them (you have to, as you are dealing with file names, not thumbnails, so you must check and make sure the caption matches the photo and so on) when I saw something. There were tile, up under the cabinets, which I did not get all the grout off!

So, I found my painter's knife and scraped them. I used the vacuum cleaner's attachments to get up the dust. Then I got buckets of hot water and went over all the tiles again (I was going to do that anyway, because they said to get the grout to dry extra hard, you should remoisten the grout).

I stopped and took the air compressor, hoses and guns out to the garage, so it couldn't scare me again!

I got the big floor bucket and mop and washed the floor with just water. There were a few spots under the counter in the corner that did not want to come off, but it was late and I figured I would tackle them tomorrow. So, I stopped.

It was almost 9:30, so I warmed up the leftover's Jake and Carla had sent home. Funny, but the German potato salad tasted even better today (well, I was pretty hungry!) I watched TV long enough to eat supper, then turned it off and went to sleep.

Monday, September 8, 2008

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Kitchen curtain, finally put back up!

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Closeup of homemade windowsill

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New, shimmed out, window trim

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Tile, after grouting #1

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Tile, after grouting #2

Tile Man's Sunday!

As I said, I woke up late on Sunday. But I woke up to a wonderful sound: the sound of rain! Yes, it was raining and yes, it had rained enough that there were puddles in the road. It stopped before noon, so I checked the gauge and it had over 1/4 inch of rain in it. No watering needed this morning!

I had some soft boiled eggs for breakfast and then I ripped up the leftover buns and stale bread for the birds and squirrels. I started a load of laundry (I still haven't done the shirts I bought, though).

I had to grout today and, having never done it, I was a little nervous. So, I used my daughter Melissa's trick and decided that it was probably more important to call Luanne and see how she was doing. They came through the hurricane okay, about 5 inches of rain and wind but no big tree limbs down or anything.

Finally, I got the grout and mixed in the liquid (I didn't use water because now they have a liquid that makes the grout resist mold and mildew. Since I'm sealing it anyway, I'm not sure how important this is, but better safe than sorry.

You have to mix this by hand because a drill-powered paddle would add unwanted air bubbles, so I used a leftover piece of molding. And, you have to mix it 5-10 minutes! So, I sat in a chair in the kitchen and mixed it up.

At first, it was very wet and drippy. I started on the wall behind the stove, figuring I'd make my mistakes (and hopefully learn from them) somewhere you couldn't see. I think more fell on the floor than got in the grooves and I wondered, "How in the hell is this gonna stick to the tiles on the edge of the counter?" I decided to do them last.

It said to use the edge of the rubber float to dig the grout out of the bucket, then put it on. You wait a bit then run the float over it at an angle to the grout line. Next you wait 15-30 minutes while that dries, and then use a sponge and several changes of water, wipe the grout off the tile faces.

I worked in sections on the back splash, then the counter top. I found getting the grout out of the bucket was easier using a drywall taping knife, so I did. And, the grout in the bucket got firmer and firmer as time passed, so by the time it came to do the front of the counter, it was pretty easy (and no big dripping mess.)

I finished up just after 6:30 PM. I took a little time to admire my work (it looks damn good!) I cleaned up the mess on the floor as best I could (I'll wash it Monday night, because I am pretty tired right now). I put my clothes in the washer and myself in the shower.

I warmed up the last two hamburger buns and ate them with steak sauce and some of the pumpernickel bread. I watched my Sunday night shows, but started falling asleep around 10:00. So, I let the last one tape, turned everything off and went to bed.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Heart-pounding fun!

I got up and got going on Saturday. First stop was my haircut, then to Casual Male (they were having a sale on shirts and I needed some), next to Famous footwear (for a sale on shoes and I needed some of them, too) and then I took a break. I stopped at Leo's Coney Island and had breakfast. Finally, I went to Meijer's for the bulk of my grocery shopping.

I got home at 11:30 AM, put everything away (except for the shirts, I'll deal with them later) and got to work again! This time I was making brownies. Carla's mom is up for the weekend and they invited me over today, so I said I'd bring dessert. Why brownies, when I don't eat that stuff? Well, I saw an article about a woman who won over some 350 contestants in a brownie contest that Zender's (a famous old restaurant up in Frankenmuth, Michigan) had put on. They printed her winning recipe and it intrigued me as it used white chocolate chips and Godiva white chocolate liqueur and no nuts. Booze, chocolate and no nuts? Perfect for Carla!

So, those went in the oven at 12:30 and I went and washed more dishes in that damn laundry tub. After the recommended 30 minutes, I checked it with a tooth pick and got just goop. So, I put it back in for 15 minutes more. I checked that and it still seemed a little sticky on the second toothpick. Fearing burning the top, I covered it with tin foil and left it in five minutes more. Then I put it on one of my cookie racks to let it cool.

It didn't cool that fast, so I was about 20 minutes late to Jake and Carla's (and it was still cooling) But, I got there. We all sat outside in the shade, enjoying the mild temperatures and nice breeze.

Carla and Jake got going on making dinner; while Acenter and I chatted outside (I did like this part - just visiting, no work, lol!) Jake and Carla played a little bit of the ladder game, but the biggest competition today was to get inside or outside without letting any flies in the house.

So, today's dinner was an all-German one (with substitutions for her Mom, who doesn't eat pork). And, I am NOT kidding, (and not bragging, either) I didn't do one damn thing to make it happen, other than I did turn on the gas grille outside when Carla asked me to. Usually, I at least do some prep work for them.

We had bratwurst, which was fresh, so they boiled it inside and then grilled it outside (you boil it first so it doen't split on the grill and lose its juices). As each piece was judged done, it went into a beer and sliced onion bath, also sitting on top of the grille. We ate it with whole grain mustard. Yumo!

They made German potato salad (potatoes, green onions, vinegar, sugar and whole grain mustard). We sprinkled bacon bits on top as we were served, as Carla's Mom doesn't eat pork. Served warm, it was delicious!

We also had boiled cabbage, made with bacon fat, again whole grain mustard, salt and pepper. They made a separate pot without the bacon grease, too. Being German, I had smelled this dish when I walked in the front door!

Carla grilled chicken legs and wings for her mother's meat dish. Now, I never grille chicken, I always deep fry it, but that made a believer out of me. It looked fantastic, even with no sauce at all, nothing but seasoning. I gotta try that!

So, all of that was served with a round loaf of artesian pumpernickel bread Jake sliced and some Samuel Adam's Oktoberfest beer (Carla's mom opted for water, of course). We all ate with great gusto! It really was an excellent meal. They all tried the brownies for dessert and said they were good, so I was glad.

Jake jumped up and started cleaning up and then was joined by Carla. So, again, no work for the Captain. They made me a big plate of food to take with me, so I made my grateful goodbyes and hit the road.

I got back home just before 7:00 PM. I hooked up the hose way in back and proceeded to give the back garden a good drenching.

When I got back inside, it was after 8:00 PM, but I decided that I would clean the tiles one more time before grouting them tomorrow. So, I used my painter's knife to scrape off any excess mortar and then wiped down each section with warm water. You would be surprised at just how many little spots of mortar were still on the tiles. Trying to do a final quality check with bifocals is really a bitch!

I finished up at 9:30 and went in to watch the fights on HBO. I managed to stay awake until it was over, then I went to sleep.

Now, normally, this would be the end of the post, right? Nay, nay! Because, at just about 2:30 AM and while deep in sleep, I was roused by a terrible racket. It sounded like the Special Forces were landing several Hueys on the front lawn, or somebody was on my roof using a jack-hammer to break in!!!

I jumped out of bed at the same time the cats were all jumping off to go hide. I grabbed the shot gun and raced to the living room: Nothing! By the time I got back into the kitchen, the noise became familiar and I realized that, on Tuesday when I installed the wood spacers around the window, I apparently had never unplugged or shut off the air compressor in the back room. It had finally leaked enough air out to turn it on...

My God, that scared me! As a result, I could NOT fall back asleep. I eventually (and reluctantly) turned on a movie, watched it to the end and went back to sleep just after 5:00 AM, which is why this post is so late.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Friday

I drove home to "Bang the Drum" Friday night. Made me smile! I was gonna brave the crowds to buy some shirts, but I found out the sale is on all weekend, so I put it off. Once home and changed, I stripped the bedding and put it in the wash machine.

I was just starting to resume cleaning the tiles when my daughter, M_______ called. Since they moved to North Carolina recently, they are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first hurricane.

After hanging up the phone, I went outside and set up the square sprinkler in the raised bed. I went back inside and got back to work for 30 minutes. Then, I turned it off.

I noticed it was almost 8:00 PM, so I stopped, made up my bed and warmed up a hamburger for dinner. I watched "Stand up to Cancer" until 9:00 PM. There was no boxing on tonight, so I watched taped shows until bedtime.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stand up to Cancer

I started watching this historic program (shown on all three channels, tonight). I totally lost it with James Taylor and Sharon Crow singing "Fire and Rain". I will never forget my doctor coming in after my biopsy and telling me, "I'm sorry, but you have cancer." I never felt so alone in my life...

In spite of me knowing that they had just lost their daughter to cancer (my lovely niece, Linda), I drove over to my Brother Jim's office and asked for his advice. Why? Because I knew that they had exhausted every possible approach to treating their daughter.

He immediately called a contact at the Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit and got me an appointment with a doctor. While the treatment (radiation seeds injected in my prostate) was not pretty or painless, I am happy to report I am now cancer free.

But, I will never forget the hours I spent, sitting in the waiting room, with women wearing head scarves (to cover up their baldness) or with children, with shunts sticking out of their shirts (and chests), for their chemotherapy.

I recall a time I got confused, leaving the examination room. I was standing in the hallway, and said out loud to myself, "How in the hell did I get here and where am I supposed to go?" Unbeknownst to me, a woman was behind me and she said, "Hey, we all ask that!"

LMAO!!!

If you have been paying attention, any time I mention the state of the economy here in Michigan in my Blog, I get a raft of sh*t from my son and his ex-wife. Why, their house hasn't gone down in value, Governor Granholm has brought in tons of jobs (if only the stupid factory workers would go back to college and spend money they don't have to get them) and so on...

Well, I just saw a new Barack Obama ad, where they quote John McCain as saying how the economy is basically okay, but then they say, except for Michigan!

Get it together, liberals! Either Granholm and Kwame have been doing great, or, as we already know, they suck!!!

Thursday, Tiling (again)

I raced home Thursday after work, because I had a lot to do! After the usual hubbub, the first thing I did was to add an elbow to the gas pipe that sticks out of the stove. I never liked how I hooked it up when I moved here and seeing it these past few days was a reminder. So, at lunch, I went to the hardware store and got the pipe pieces I needed and I installed them after work.

It was sprinkling on the way home again, BTW. When I checked the rain gauge Friday morning, it was less than 1/8 inch of rain, again! It's like God is teasing me!!

I used spray polyurethane to coat all the window trim. I remembered to change my glasses, first. Next I cut down the scrap piece of base board molding I stained to use as filler for the window sill. I put glue on the bottom of the sill, added the filler piece and attached it with the air gun, using 3/4 inch staples.

I swept up the sawdust, got out the sawhorses and set up the tile saw. I measured my space and cut down eight tiles, plus cut out two for the rounded corners where the sink goes. I applied mortar and set the tiles. Much better than before!!!

While I was at it, I test fit the sink. Perfect!

When I was doing that, Tammy next door came over with my container I gave them (filled with my salsa, if you remember). I invited her in to see my work. She liked it. She asked if I liked potato salad and I said, "Sure."

So, she left, but came back with a small bowl of potato salad and some tortilla chips and that three layer Mexican dip stuff (refried beans, my salsa, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream). I walked her back home and talked with Rick, her husband, who was in their garage.

He said he saw Jake and Carla on Saturday in the tile shop. I explained about the angle cut I needed, but the saw was out on a job site. He said he wished he would have known that because the saw was still right there, sitting on his garage floor!

It was getting dark when I got back home and I was getting hungry. So, I hosed off the tile saw and put it inside. I dragged the hose back in back, shut the gate and then shut the garage door.

I warmed up a hamburger patty for supper and ate it, with her potato salad. Later, I ate the Mexican dip and chips while watching TV. I went to sleep at 10:30 PM.