Wednesday, June 30, 2010

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Tokyo Drift? Chick Magnet? I think not...

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The old bush I decapitated out front

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Sand cherry revival (I hope)

Tuesday

I got the garbage out in time and headed to work after opening a couple of windows. A cold front moved in overnight, so the temperature when I woke up was just over 50 degrees F. and low humidity. Much nicer than Monday!

In the afternoon, I finally gave up and called the Volvo dealer to ask about my car. He said he was just about to call me (yeah, right). He said the car was fixed (when they put in the new heater core, they had apparently broken a rod that this module activated to open and close a door). I asked him what time he was dropping it off. He hemmed and hawed and finally said he could be there about 6:45 PM. I said great. I reminded him I still needed my receipt (that I left on his desk) and the secret code for the radio. He said he'd bring them along.

So, when I got home, I didn't change clothes again. I figured I didn't want him to see me in my raggedy shorts and the t-shirt that says "Canadian girls kick ass!" (one of my favorites).

But, I still got some things done before he showed up. First I watered all the container gardens with the monthly Miracle-Gro mixture. I was disheartened to see a squirrel, sitting on the edge of the potted geranium, eating the geranium! WTF? No wonder it hasn't been blooming!

Using my kitchen shears, I cut back the leaves on the one day lily and the tarragon, so the basil could get more sun. Then I cut back the oregano on one side (for the parsley) and the other (for the sage). I suppose I should have dried out the herbs, but I just threw them on the cement patio for cleanup, later.

Then I filled the bird feeder and the bird bath. Next I got the bow saw and cut off the sand cherry just above ground level. See photos. While I was thinking about it, I took a picture of the bush in front that was dying out that I'd cut down last Spring to show that this does sometimes work. Also see photos and check out the thickness of the old trunk I'd cut through.

Since I was standing next to it, I took a picture of the loaner car. Babe magnet? Not that I noticed. Damn...

I started a load of laundry and sat on the couch, reading and waiting for him. I saw him drive by and went out on the porch to wave him down. But, he had realized his mistake and already turned around.

He was obviously in a hurry to get home (can't blame him), so we just exchanged keys and he blew out of here. After he left, I realized the receipt on the seat was just for the heater door, not all the work I'd paid for, and NO secret radio code. Oh well, I'll call him tomorrow and ask him to mail it. I pulled the car into the garage.

Back inside, I warmed up the last of the leftovers and ate dinner watching some TV. That was boring, so I switched to reading. About 9:00 PM, I went and shut the windows as the house was getting a little too chilly! Of course I fell asleep, but I woke up at 2:00 AM for a bathroom break, found my glasses on the floor, then turned off the light and went to bed for real.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back to the Sweat Shop

I checked the gauge on Monday morning and found I'd picked up just over a half inch of rain on Sunday. It was uncomfortably hot and muggy on Monday. It was only a high of 83 degrees F. here, but the humidity was awful.

So, I didn't run any errands at lunch, just went straight home. Unfortunately, I had a 2:00 PM meeting down in one of our buildings in Allen Park and some of the meeting involved touring the non-air conditioned garages.

I still hadn't gotten a call regarding my car, so I went home after work and gratefully got out of my damp clothes.

I damn sure didn't want to go outside, so I stayed in and read my book. I just ate leftovers for my supper and went to bed early. I did watch a taped Agatha Christe movie on PBS, but still went to bed before 10:00 PM. All this reading is wearing me out, LOL!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Slow moving Sunday

I woke up after 8:00 AM on Sunday. Reading the new book cut into my sleep time, apparently. I made a cup of Rick's coffee and posted the Blog, listening to Sunday Morning Over Easy. I'm not sure why, but I was feeling lazy.

So, I went with that (lazy, that is). I cut up the last grapefruit and ate it in bed, reading. Just before noon, my daughter Melissa called and we talked (and talked and talked...) When we finally hung up, it was way past lunchtime, so I toasted an English muffin and warmed up a burger patty in the microwave along with two ears of roasted corn. I put mayo and yellow mustard on the "bun" and butter and salt on the corn and ate my Sunday dinner.

I had cut up more of that watermelon, so I had chunks of it for dessert.

Back to my book! It was a good day for reading as it rained off and on all day.

I reluctantly put it down when I found my brother Carl had called during the Melissa conversation. So, I called him back. We talked for a while and then I made my supper (almost a duplicate of dinner, but this time it was a hot dog with yellow mustard and chopped sweet onions). Leftovers are nice when you want to read!

I went in to watch my Sunday night shows. During the first one, they broke in and showed pictures of a campground in Clyde Township (in St. Clair County). It was near where Lu and I lived in Emmet. An apparent tornado hit it (not confirmed then), picked up several camping trailers and tossed them into a nearby pond. They had a number of injuries and some fatalities. It looked awful!

I missed the end of the last show because I fell asleep around 10:30. Apparently reading for most of the day wore me out!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A nice Saturday

I woke up at 7:30 AM on Saturday. I cut up another grapefruit and ate it watching the news. I suppose it makes sense, but in the winter, I crave heavy things like pot roast, pancakes and bacon, dumplings, etc. But, in the summer, I just want to eat fruit and melons.

I left the house just before 9:00 AM to get my hair cut. After that, I ran some errands and got home about 11:00 AM. BTW, in spite of my fantasies, no hot chicks have waved or honked at the fire-engine red Volvo (Sigh).

It did sprinkle here just before I left for my haircut, but it was just cloudy and hot when I got home. I looked out the kitchen window and was annoyed (again) about the grass clippings (from cutting the lawn too short).

So, I bit the bullet and got out the riding mower. I set it on #4 (the setting I should have used). I worked from the middle to the outside, blowing the grass clipping on the one side to the south fence and the other to the north fence. I finished up just after noon. It's still too short, but at least all the grass clippings are gone.

I made the stewed rhubarb and then the Strawberry-Rhubarb pie (see previous post). I lay down and watched some of the Saturday morning taped cooking shows.

Jake and Carla showed up sometime after two o'clock. They had called and said they wanted to drop off my Father's Day present. I gave them my card for their anniversary and they gave me my present: a great book!

It's called Empire of the Summer Moon (subtitle: Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history). Excellent!

Jake asked if he could borrow it to read, but I selfishly said, "NO!"

We sat out on the patio for a bit, and then we took a tour of the back yard. At the raised bed garden, Jake picked some of the peas (I hadn't realized they were there yet) and asked Carla to try them. Now, you may remember that Carla HATES peas. Why? I can relate! All we had as kids was canned peas, which taste like mush. But, a fresh shelled pea pod? OMG! Even Carla had to admit they tasted great.

I showed them the dead Sand Cherry and we all agreed the damn thing was dead. DEAD! Not only are the leaves crunchy, but the branches just snap off. I'll cut it down on Sunday and hope for the best (or buy another one next Spring).

Back inside, I served up the Strawberry-Rhubarb pie (why do I keep capitalizing that? I dunno..) and topped it with a scoop of Stroh's Vanilla Bean ice cream (one of my errands this morning). OMG! It was a bit soupy, but tasted excellent.

When they left, I made sure they had the soap and frozen goat milk Lu had left for them (to Lu: Yes, I did tell them how to clean the jars and to return them to me so you can get them back).

I also gave them the rest of the pie and the ice cream (nothing a diabetic needs in his house). The remaining stewed rhubarb when into a bowl and into the fridge. I'll fantasize about being a kid again later...

I started reading the book until I fell asleep and got a nice nap in.

When I woke up, I reheated one of the hamburgers and toasted an English muffin for the bun. I put yellow mustard on one half and mayonnaise on the other. I nuked an ear of corn for the side and ate that watching some TV.

I got tired of that after a while and switched to reading. It was after 2:00 AM when I shut off the light and went to sleep. Fascinating book!

Rhubarb

Background: When she was up here, Lu and I were talking about the old days, and I mentioned the abundant asparagus and rhubarb that our old neighbor, Mr. Dupee, used to bring over every spring on Palms Road. I related a story about how I wanted some rhubarb for something last Spring (strawberry rhubarb pie? Compote? I dunno...) and that the only place I could find it was Joe's produce. And, that was a short pale pink version of what I grew up with.

I since have learned that if it is pale pink, it was grown in a hot house. The vibrant red of my youth (and Mr. Dupee) is grown outside in the ground... Anyway, she brought me a bundle of the bright red stuff she'd picked up on her last overnight trip.

So, I emailed my brother Carl and asked if he remembered how Mom used it. He replied that he remembered her making:

1. Rhubarb Pie (Open crust with lots of rhubarb and sugar, etc)
2. I think she made a Crisp (with Bisquick, like apple crisp)
3. Stewed it (like the pie filling) but ate out of a bowl
4. Strawberry/Rhubarb jelly

Now, all I remember was the Stewed Rhubarb in a bowl in the fridge. I used to help myself to a bowl and loved that sweet/tart taste.

So I checked like a hundred recipes online. None of them sounded like I remembered, but I found one that was close. So, first I weighed Lu's rhubarb (two pounds) and adjusted the recipe as needed. I'll give you the recipe for one pound and you can extrapolate from there.

I trimmed the rhubarb and cut each stalk into half inch pieces. I put that into my Dutch oven (a medium saucepan would have worked with just one pound). You add one tablespoon water and 3/4 cup of sugar. I heated that up until the juice began to bubble around the edge. Then you would mix two tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of sugar (are all you diabetics trembling?). I stirred in some of the hot rhubarb juice and made a paste. I added that into the rhubarb and boiled it for another minute, stirring constantly. Then I shut off the burner.

I got out two deep dish pie shells. One I turned upside down on some parchment paper and let them both thaw for 10 minutes or so.

Besides the Stewed Rhubarb, I want to make a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, but couldn't find a recipe where you mixed one with the other. So, I made it up. I took a big container of strawberries and sliced enough to make a layer in the pie shell. Then I added a ladle full of the stewed rhubarb. I repeated that over and over until I reached the top of the pie shell.

I peeled the other pie crust out of the tin and put it on top. I crimped it and cut three slits in the top. I put it on a cookie sheet (Thank God!) and stuck it in a 350 degrees F. and set the timer for an hour.

When the timer went off, I pulled it out to cool. Not sure why (maybe I overfilled it or didn't cut enough slits) but the filling blew out one side. Fortunately, the cookie sheet caught it and saved my oven.

I put the rest of the Stewed Rhubarb in a bowl and in the fridge to savor the taste (and the memories) later.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

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My pink rose bush in bloom

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First blossoms (after three years)on the honeysuckle

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Dead or Dying Sand Cherry #1

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Dead or Dying Sand Cherry #2

Oh Crap!

I just noticed that my beautiful Sand Cherry out back is now dead! I have no idea what the hell happened to it (it was fine in the Spring). If nobody has any ideas how to save it, I guess I'll cut it down to the roots and hope it grows back. See photos.

I Get the Car Back (Almost)

I slept in on Friday. When I finally woke up, it was still just about 60 degrees F. outside, so I opened all the windows to air out the house. I finally remembered to reverse the ceiling fan in the kitchen (you want it to run clockwise in the winter to blow the warm air down, but counter-clockwise in the summer to suck the cool air up).

I made a cup of Rick's coffee, ate a grapefruit, shaved and showered, read a magazine and generally screwed off until 10:30 AM. Then I got ready to go and get the car.

I picked up Jake at his work and we headed out. As I said before, it's not a particularly complex trip, but it does take 40-45 minutes to get there.

When we got there, I got the bill. In addition to the new oil cooler, heater core, rear shocks and struts, he told me they had checked the in-car filter and it was black. So, they replaced that, too. Funny, I never knew I had an in-car filter. I paid the bill (just under $3,400.00 US) and he went to get the car. That's when things went a bit crazy, again... Sigh...

He was gone a long while and when he came back, he said he'd been sitting there and ran through the various heating and cooling cycles. Some of them didn't work. So, he had a mechanic check the codes to see what the problem was. He said he didn't know if it was something that was screwed up before, or something they did, so they wanted to keep it but they would fix it for free.

I told him I had to get Jake back to work and turn in the rental car and suggested he give me the car and I would come back on my next day off. I'd just sit and wait until they fixed it, then. He said, no, they didn't want to let it go if it wasn't right. He offered me a loaner and said he would personally drive the car to my house and exchange it for the loaner car. That way I wouldn't have to drive all the way back.

What the hell! I said okay. So, they brought around a 2010 Volvo S40 and gave me the key. (Oh, God! It's fire-engine red!!) So, I drove the new Volvo and Jake drove the rental car.

We ran into quite the traffic back-up on Southfield (construction) but finally got moving again. We finally stopped at Enterprise and parked the Volvo. Then I drove Jake back to work (he was only about five minutes late). I mused on the way there if they had given me the loaner because they thought they screwed up, or if this was something they routinely offered. If so, I could have saved like $200. Jake told me I shouldn't think about that and to just let it go. Good advice, but, still...

BTW, thanks again, Jake!

I went to Enterprise and paid for the car rental. They asked if I needed a ride and I said no. That was lucky, because there were already three people waiting for rides. I got in the Volvo and drove about half way home (It's only like three miles) when I remembered I left my garage door opener in the rental car. Disgusted, I turned around and went back to get it.

When I finally got home, I changed clothes and lay down on the bed to eat lunch and get some rest (it was a stressful morning!) I didn't fall asleep, but I did lay there until about 3:30 PM. It felt good!

I missed the call from the dealership. But the voicemail from Justin (after three grand we are on a first-name basis) said it was some sort of module that failed. They've ordered the part and he should be dropping the car off Monday evening. He said to enjoy the weekend in the loaner car. The best part of it is that this one's absolutely free!!! Plus, I can use the new red Volvo to pick up hot chicks this weekend! (Note: The Captain was engaging in fantasies at this point).

Back to reality, I got out the push mower and cut the front lawn. It's hot (81 degrees F.), but with low humidity, so it wasn't that bad. I used the push mower to cut a couple of patches in the back lawn as well. Why? Well, after adjusting the deck height (side to side and back to front) I am no longer sure what setting to use.

So, I drove next to the push mower patches and lowered the blade from 5 to 4 to 3. The 3 setting looked about right, so I went with that. I cut the four turns around the back yard. At one point, I had to go into the front yard to turn around and I noticed where the riding mower cut, it was shorter than the push mower. Damn! Well, now I know. Number 4 setting would be better. But I am committed now to the number 3 setting, so that's what I cut the back lawn at. I got a LOT of grass clippings to deal with, but it's been hot and sunny for two days now, so they are all dry and not clumping up.

I put the lawn tractor away and got out the push mower again for the back yard. I cut around the reflecting pool, the raised bed garden and all the trees. I forgot to note the time, but I finished before 8:00 PM.

I was gonna make some soup for dinner, but it seemed like a lot of work at that point. So, I just ate some leftovers and watched TV until I fell asleep.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grillin' and Chillin'

I checked the rain gauge Thursday morning and I picked up another half inch overnight.

The dealership called and left a message saying the car's done. I asked Jake to go with me to run out there and get it Friday at lunchtime.

I ate the last BLT for lunch. It was excellent!! Then I trimmed up the sweet corn that I'd stashed in the fridge, put it in my stock pot and filled that with water. I put a dinner plate on top to hold the corn in the water (it tends to float, otherwise).

After work, I changed clothes and did some inside chores. Then I walked out back. I weeded the raised bed garden. Then I lugged the birdseed outside and filled up feeder.

I talked to B___ for a bit on the phone, and then went out front to fire up the grille. I used two more cans of lump charcoal this time as I have another 10 ears of corn to roast.

When the coals were ready, I put on the corn. Again, I turned them every five minutes (1/4 turn). As I said before, this results in perfectly roasted sweet corn on my grille. If you're one of "those" people who use gas instead of charcoal and have the advantage of setting your temperature, my temp varied between 350 and 375 degrees F.

When the corn was done, I moved it to the cool side of the grille and cooked four hamburgers and eight hot dogs. I used a pound of ground chuck for the burgers and Koegel's Natural Casing Viennas for the 'dogs.

I plated up two hot dogs (with whole wheat buns - gotta get my fiber) and two ears of corn (butter and salt - gotta get my butter and salt, lol) and went in to watch TV.

I fell asleep watching TV, but woke up just after midnight. I shut everything off and went to bed for real.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wet Wednesday

I ran errands at lunchtime on Wednesday. I went shopping at Chaps Feed Store (birdseed), GFS (lump charcoal) and Westborn (mozzarella, a watermelon, some sweet corn and some green grapes). It started sprinkling during my shopping trip.

Back home at 5:00 PM, I changed clothes and started the Wednesday night wash.

Then I used five of the remaining six tomatoes to make a salad (I'm saving the one for one more BLT, you see). I swear I saw this salad done somewhere, but can't find the recipe, so I made it up. I cut the top off of each tomato and cut it into eight wedges. Then I took eight or ten mozzarella balls (the size they call cherry, but they are a little bigger than that) and cut them in half. Those too went into the bowl. A quick trip to the patio and I had a handful of basil. I cut that chiffonade.

I stirred it altogether and covered it with balsamic vinaigrette for a marinade. I put that in the fridge to get happy.

I went out in the garage and finally (finally!) finished the mower by adjusting the front to back level. It took forever to break the two nuts free from each other (I ended up using a 2 x 2 to get enough torque!) I was back in the house just after 7:00 PM.

I strained a bowlful of the tomato salad to get rid of most of the marinade and then ate it! Hmmm... not bad, but I think it will improve overnight.

I went to bed at 10:00 PM again and, again, was awakened by thunder and lightning. The sound of the rain on the windows put me back to sleep, however. I should tape that sound for the nights when insomnia comes calling!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday

This time the thunderstorm did wake me up at around 3:00 AM Tuesday morning. I guess parts of Redford were hit hard (trees and power lines down, etc.), but here it just was a brief, heavy rain. I listened to it on the windows until it lulled me back to sleep. I checked the rain gauge in the morning nd we picked up a half inch overnight.

At lunchtime, I went over to the grass cutting place and paid my bill. I told them I'd fixed the mower so, hopefully, I will no longer require their services.

After work, I treated the cats and changed clothes. I straightened up the house a bit and then went out to work on the mower.

I put on the threadlocker with a Q-tip and then put on the other nut. I held the first nut in place with a wrench and tightened the new one to it.

Next, I cut a piece of 2 x 4 on a 45 degree angle to make a little gauge to level the deck. I slid it under the fixed-height side and marked on the wood where the deck hit it. I checked the other side and it was off (It's hard to read a tape measure accurately with bifocals!) So, I got out the sockets and reset that side.

I was going to do the back-to-front adjustment (the front has to be 1/4 inch lower than the rear) but the phone rang. When I went into the house, it was after 7:00 PM! It's supposed to rain on Wednesday, so I'll do it then.

I turned on the stove fan and preheated the oven to 400 degrees. I put half a pound of bacon on a rack, peppered it and stuck it in the oven when it was heated. I checked it at seven minutes, decided it need a bit more time and took it out when it just started to get crispy.

Lu had left a bunch of tomatoes (she was using them in her salads) so I need to eat them fast. What better way to start than BLTs! So, I toasted some sourdough bread, got some of that leaf lettuce, cut up a tomato and, using a little mayo and salt, built my dinner sandwich. It was excellent!

I watched some TV, but went to bed at 10:00 PM.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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Filled Hummingbird Feeder, Awaiting Customers...

MORE Car Problems!

I didn't mention this in Sunday's post, but Sunday afternoon I was looking out the kitchen window and two "somethings" shot by it. It startled me and before I could un-startle, it happened again!

I decided it was either two large bees or hummingbirds. Now, long term readers may remember all the years I hung out the hummingbird feeder, but to no avail. I finally decided that hummingbirds must not frequent Redford. But, maybe there's hope after all!

At lunch, I went to Meijer's to grocery shop (I haven't done than in almost a month). Actually, I didn't buy many groceries, mostly "stuff" (I needed dish detergent, dishwasher soap, laundry soap, toilet bowl cleaner, Ivory hand soap, etc.).

While I was there, I picked up a bottle of premixed hummingbird food. I always used to make this by hand from sugar and water, but it takes a while and I want to put it out as soon as possible!

So, I put away the perishable items and got out the hummingbird feeder. I put it outside on the garden hook and filled it up. We'll see...

The car dealership called around 4:00 PM at work. It looks like replacing the oil cooler fixed the problem. But, there are more problems now. It seems the pressurized antifreeze/oil mix screwed up the car heater (their guess is the heavier oil/water mixture burst some of the fins in the heater core). So, now when the heater is on, a mist of antifreeze enters the car through the vents!

Oh, and the rear struts are rusted (I knew one was, but the mechanic who showed me that about two years ago said it wasn't dangerous; it would just make a clunk every now and then). And, the rear shocks are both bad (probably from too many clunks).

Anyway, even with a 10% off coupon they will give me, the cost of repairs is still over $3,000.00!

When I got home, it was hot and muggy. I was more than a little depressed, so the ToDo list for tonight got pitched. I did water the container gardens and the newly planted iris. Since I was out back anyway, I filled bird feeder with the last of the seed (yet another thing I ran out of).

I made my Mother's tuna and peas and served it over wide egg noodles. I still think I remember her putting it on bread or toast or something.

I watched a little TV, but decided and early bedtime was in order.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Done Right!

I woke up with the alarm at 6:00 AM. I knocked on Lu's door to wake her as well. Jeremy is supposed to be here by 7:00 AM to drop off Riese.

I just brushed my teeth and hair and, at first, put on my work T-shirt and shorts. Then I changed my mind and swapped the shorts for my work pants. I made a pot of coffee.

Lu was still packing stuff and hauling it to the front door. Jeremy called at 6:30 AM and said he was about a half hour away. Then he asked if I would like to go to breakfast after the ladies left. I said, "Sure!" and went in to take a shower and dress in better clothes.

After Jeremy and Riese showed up, we visited for about an hour. Lu took her shower after they were here and then had a couple cups of tea. We all carried the remaining baskets, bags and coolers out to the car and Lu carefully fit it all in. Once again, the car was packed to the gills!

They left a little after 8:00 AM. Jeremy asked about restaurants and I named a few (I couldn't think of Bob Evan's but just kept saying, "You know, that sausage place.") I said if he just wanted a decent breakfast, the Coney Island across the way isn't bad. He started to get in his car, but I told him we could just walk. So, we did.

I had the mushroom and Swiss omelet, with grits and rye toast. He had an Italian omelet with hash browns, white toast and a side of bacon. I was stuffed by the time we finished, so the walk back home felt good. We visited for a little while longer and then he left.

Thanks for the Father's Day breakfast, Jeremy!

I went in to post the Blog Entry. Then I changed back into my work clothes and, about 11:30 AM, headed out to the garage. But the phone rang first.

It was Carla's Mom, calling me from Missouri (she's visiting her son Carlos) to wish me Happy Father's Day. We exchanged well-wishes and she said she's see me in August when she's planning on coming up for Carla's birthday.

Then I went into the garage. I finally figured out how to take off the pulley without removing the deck (saving me a couple of hours of hard work). When I got it off, I cleaned the bolt up and left for Home Depot. I thought I only needed a lock nut, but I noticed the bolt was a little chewed up. A helpful sales associate found me a similar bolt (it's extra hardened) and that lock nut. I got it 1/2 inch longer than the original bolt (for easy of installation). I also picked up two more rolls of those Velcro plant ties for the tomatoes.

Back home, I first went out and tied up the tomato plants. It was obviously past due as, the first time, I did get some of the plants attached to the first rail. But today, I also did the second and in some cases, even the third rail.

Then it was back to the mower. It was much easier to take the pulley off than to get it back on. I had to thread it through a hole in one movable arm, one fixed arm, a spacer and then into the deck itself.

I was still trying when Jake called a little after 2:00 PM. He started out saying, "Well, we were going to come over for Father's Day..." I said, "Oh, please don't! I'm still trying to fix the damn mower!" He said, "No, you didn't let me finish. We were going to come, but I have a speech to write, so we'll try it next week or weekend, if that's okay." I said, "Great!"

I finally got it, put the lock nut on and then put the belt back on. I tightened it up to "too tight" and backed it off a quarter turn. Then I put the belt back on. Am I finished? No, I still need to level the deck (again) and I think I'd like to add another nut (with Locktite on it) to make sure it doesn't come loose again. But, I'm finished for today!

So, its 4:30 PM and I'm tired, sweaty, greasy and grass covered. I put my work clothes in the washer and me in the shower. After getting cleaned up, I went outside and took a picture of the day lilies that just started blooming. Then I lay on the bed to take a rest. I ate the last of the cut up watermelon as a snack. After a while, I roused enough to turn on the Sunday night news and watched that until 7:00 PM.

Then I went to make my Sunday supper. When we left Jake and Carla's last Thursday, Carla gave me some pasta sauce she said she created just to use up the veal that was leftover from making the sausage. So, I warmed that up while I made a single serving of spaghetti. I put it altogether, topped it with Parm and headed in to eat and watch my Sunday night shows.

It was excellent! Thanks, Carla!

I fell asleep during the last one (say 10:30 PM), but woke up later and turned off the TV and lights.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

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The day lilies, blooming

Saturday

I finally woke up at 8:45 AM on Saturday! I kicked the cats off the bed and stripped it. I put the bedding in the washer and then cleaned up the kitchen. The dishwasher wasn't "full" but there was enough in there that I was starting to miss things, so I added soap and turned it on.

I turned on "Saturday Morning, Over Easy" to ease into the weekend. This Friday off thing is messing with my head and I keep thinking its Sunday.

I shut the bedroom window before it got hot and then posted the Blog entry. The bedding went into the dryer and I went back to the kitchen. I cut up the other half of the watermelon for later consumption. I cleaned the counters and emptied the dishwasher.

I did a little vacuuming and sweeping, more to keep the cat hair down than to "clean" the house.

I walked around the back yard to check out the grass cutting effort this time. Nice! I pulled a few more weeds out back.

I made egg salad for my lunch (three hardboiled eggs, sliced up, some diced celery, a little mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice, some fresh snipped chives, salt and pepper). I used Romaine lettuce leaves as a wrap and ate them that way. Tasty!

I came back inside and tried to take a nap. It didn't work. So I watched some TV until Lu showed up. She started the laborious task of packing up all her stuff for tomorrow's trip home. I offered to help, but she said she needed to do it alone, so she knew where everything was and that she got it all.

We talked as she worked. She filled me in on her visit to her sister's and with Cathy. It sounds like everybody's doing okay. Lu finally varied her dinner!!! Oh, not one of my various vegetarian dishes I'd planned on making. No, this time, instead of her salad, she made popcorn with thyme and salt (no butter, of course).

We were both beat (her from traveling and a late night last night and me from not sleeping worth a crap Friday night) so we opted for bed at 9:30 PM. She went in to read. I was going to, but I got into bed, smelling the fresh clean sheets and promptly fell asleep.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First Friday Off

I woke up around 6:30 AM on Friday when Lu flushed the toilet. I heard her go back to bed, but I couldn't.

So, I got up and started a pot of coffee. I sat on the couch drinking it, watching the day arrive. Then I shaved and showered. I got dressed and had a second cup of couch-coffee.

We left about 8:30 AM, with me driving the Volvo and her following in the Goat-mobile. The trip to the dealer was rather straight forward, but still took about 40 minutes. She sat in her vehicle while I went in and told them my sad story.

The guy did go out and check the anti-freeze (it's starting to gel again) and my sample. Then I signed a work authorization, agreeing to pay a minimum of $250.00 to "diagnose" the problem. They are supposed to call me today with their preliminary ideas.

We got back home and Lu had her breakfast. Then she started to get ready for today's events: she's visiting her other sister and then spending the night at her childhood friend, Cathy's, house.

Since the lawn was never cut yesterday (the day they told me it would be), I called to make sure I didn't fall off the schedule or something. I just got their answering machine.

Lu left around 1:00 PM and I went in to catch up on taped TV shows. I didn't want to go outside and miss the dealership call. I ate some watermelon chunks, topped with salt, for my breakfast/lunch.

They finally called at 2:30 PM. They say it still might be a head gasket, but think it's more likely it is the oil cooler (you know, the one Sam said was fine, let's replace your turbocharger?) If so, it will cost me an additional $750.00. I said, go ahead, and check it out. (Sigh)

I tried the lawn service again and got through. No, I am still on their schedule, it's just their trailer broke an axle yesterday, so they are way behind. She said they would get to me as soon as they could.

Depressed, I took a nap.

I went outside to get the mail at 5:00 PM. It wasn't bad this morning (in fact, it was a great morning, weather-wise), but now its 81 degrees F. and the humidity has climbed so it's a bit stifling. I trimmed the bush in front of the tree box. It had grown enough so it rather obscured the tree box, which is supposed to be the focal point of that garden.

I got the dandelion digger and my garden gloves out. I want to dig out those picker plants in the back garden and throw them in the lawn before it gets cut.

So, that's what I did. My technique is to use the dandelion digger at an angle, grab the picker plant with my mule-hide gloves and pop the sucker out. I threw the plants into the lawn for their mower to cut up.

So, did I weed the entire back garden? No. But I got all the picker plants out (some of them were over three feet tall!) and a lot of miscellaneous other weeds.

I was back in the house just before 6:30 PM, so I watched the news until 7:00. Oh, BTW, still no grass cutting crew yet. Whoops! I spoke too soon! They showed up just after 7:00 PM. Like a swarm of locust, they descended on the lawn.

Amazing! It was 25 minutes between them pulling up, unloading, cutting the lawn, trimming the lawn and blowing off the driveway before they were gone again. It takes me about three hours just to cut it!

I ate the leftover salad for my dinner. I forgot that Lu asked if she could take the bottled dressing with her and I had said, "Sure." So, I mixed up a balsamic vinaigrette (easy-peasy).

I started watching TV. I fell asleep early but then woke up around 2:00 AM and couldn't get back to sleep.

I finally gave up and moved to the front porch. It was a mild night. We had had severe thunderstorm warnings up, but if they came through when I was sleeping, they didn't leave any rain. No puddles, anyway.

They say leaving the bedroom when you can't sleep helps. Believe me, I've tried all the remedies (tensing and relaxing each muscle in your body, counting backwards from 100, etc.) but none of them are sure-fire.

I went back inside and opened my bedroom window (inspired by the mild air). I did fall asleep, but then was awakened by a horrible noise. It was Caley, smashing down the slats of the mini-blind with her paw so she could stick her head out and sniff outside. Disgusted, I raised the blind so she could look out (and people could look in if they wanted) and went back to sleep.

Friday, June 18, 2010

photo

The Goat-mobile #1

photo

The Goat-mobile #2

Pizza Party

So, they finally got done flushing out the coolant system about 1:00 PM. They refilled it with fresh antifreeze and called to let me know I could pick it up. I was grateful that they didn't charge me anything for it, but am still pissed about the $1700.00 that it cost to NOT fix the problem.

I had a guy at work run me over there and I drove it home. Then I asked Lu to drive me back to work.

After work, I got home. Originally, Jake and Carla were coming over with pizza. However plans got changed. They realized if they came over here, Whiskey would be without companionship for over 14 hours (not good). So, they asked if we would come there. Sure, no problem...

Then Lu was talking to them about her making a salad. She mentioned that she had some killer guacamole and chips. Next thing you know, she volunteered to make spinach and feta goat cheese quesadillas. Problem...

I made the mistake of mentioning to Lu that I was kinda looking forward to the pizza (I haven't had one in about a year and I HATE avocados!) So, she called them back when I wasn't around and asked them to get a pizza for me. I felt very stupid after she told me that!

So, we went over there. We visited for a while and them Lu started making the quesadillas. The pizza came while Carla was draining some black beans and adding it to the salad. Then she diced up some fresh tomatoes. Everybody was busy, including me (I was petting the dog).

They arranged the food buffet-style on the counter and we all fixed our plates. I ate too much! I had a generous helping of salad (for me anyway, not for Luanne), two of the quesadillas (just spinach and feta cheese on whole wheat tortillas, but very tasty) and TWO pieces of the Hawaiian-style (ham, pineapple and bacon) pizza. Oh, and NO guacamole, thank you!

We left around 9:30 PM and headed for home. I was full and tired, so I just went to bed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday

Wednesday was weird. I had been waiting all day for the repair shop to call and let me know their preliminary findings.

At lunch, I had the last knackwurst and two ears of sweet corn.

I gave up waiting at 4:00 PM and called Sam the mechanic. He said they had been flushing it out all day and still hadn't got all of the anti-freeze/oil gel out. He sent a guy to buy some special coolant flush additive and would complete it Thursday morning. But, he said, he had NO idea what's wrong (so much for that year's warranty on parts and service). He suggested I take it to a Volvo dealer and have them look at it.

Damn! So, I called the closest dealer (in Troy, about 45 minutes from here) and made an appointment for Friday morning. Lu will be here until about noon, so she can follow me and take me back home. If and when they fix it, though, I have no idea how I will get it back here.

After work, I did some little projects: cut half a watermelon into chunks, washed a load of clothes, fixed a loose toilet seat, vacuumed the carpet in the living room along with the two walk-off rugs, watered the container garden and weeded the raised bed garden.

It was about 7:00 PM and I was getting hungry. So, I cut up two redskin potatoes and put them on to boil. Then I warmed up two pieces of meatloaf and half a jar of beef gravy. I plated the drained potatoes and the meatloaf, added a little butter and salt to the potatoes, topped them both with the gravy and went in to watch TV.

I fell asleep, so I don't know when Lu got back. But she was there and putting her stuff away when I woke up at 10:00 PM. We chatted for a bit, and then I went to bed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lazy Tuesday

Before going home for lunch, I swung by the landscaping place and settled up my bill. It cost me $60.00. She said for my sized lot it would normally be $45.00, but they had to cut the back lawn twice to get it to look nice.

But, it was worth it! I would have struggled with that for the rest of the summer. While I was there, I made another appointment to get it cut this Thursday, since I haven't gotten back to the mower yet (I'm thinking Sunday after Luanne and Reise leave).

I ate another "knackwurst" and an ear of corn for lunch.

It was a long afternoon at work and I was beat by the time I got home. I'd called the repair shop just before 5:00 PM to see what's up with the car. They said they hadn't gotten to it yet and would call Wednesday morning.

I changed clothes and lay on the bed watching the news. It's a little muggy outside, but not too hot and I definitely should have been working outside, but I'm tired.

About 6:30 PM, I started making supper. I'm going to make a simple meatloaf. I'd thawed out two pounds of hamburger, so I got that out. I beat an egg in a bowl, then added about 2/3 cup of milk (I used some of the condescended milk Carla had opened. The rest went down the drain!!) I added a slug of ketchup, about a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and a handful of fresh-chopped oregano I picked on the patio.

I added the meat and mixed well. Then I added half of a chopped red onion (I suppose I would have added a chopped green pepper, if I had one). Last came a good handful of crushed saltine crackers (you can also use bread, oatmeal and/or cornflakes). I mixed it again and put it on a cookie sheet, forming it into a loaf shape. I never use a loaf pan: there's nowhere for the grease to go!

I had to go online to look up the cooking time and temp. But, I found it. So, I set the oven for 400 degrees F. I turned on the stove vent and opened my bedroom window so the house wouldn't get too warm, BTW.

I baked it for half an hour, and then turned the oven to 350 degrees F. I squirted some ketchup on top to make the glaze (I told you, I'm not playing chef here, just making some dinner).

While that was baking, I got out the cauliflower I'd bought for Lu to use in her salads. I forgot that it's Sadie who likes to add cauliflower and/or broccoli to salads. I took out the core and broke it into flowerets. I put some in a saucepan and the rest in a big baggie in the fridge. I just boiled the cauliflower, didn't bother to get out the steamer.

When the meatloaf was done, I let it cool for a while, and then cut into it. Two slices of meatloaf and the side of cauliflower (buttered and salted) made a damn tasty supper!

I didn't stay up late.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"On my own again..." (Briefly)

[Lu's off visiting again until Wednesday night]

I took the car over to see Sam the mechanic at lunch. In the short (less than one mile) trip to the repair shop from work, it already was overheating!

Sam was, unfortunately, on the road. But, another mechanic looked at it, felt the green globs and confirmed my suspicions: it was antifreeze and oil. He also HIGHLY recommended I didn't drive it in this condition. So, I borrowed his phone and called Enterprise. They (eventually) picked me up and I rented another car. Well, they didn't have an intermediate car on their lot, so I got stuck with a GM HHR (sort of a rip-off of the old PT Cruiser). I don't like it, BTW, but it's a vehicle and, has a radio!!!

Since I now had a more dependable vehicle, I swung by Westborn and got eight ears of Florida sweet corn, some scallions and a watermelon.

When I got home, I trimmed up the corn and soaked it in a stock pot, filled with water. I ate the last of the cut up melons and grapes for lunch, and then headed back to work.

After work, I got home, treated the cats, changed clothes and started some charcoal burning. This time I used two cans. I cleaned the grates and then put the corn on. Meanwhile, I trimmed the scallions so they would fit in a bread pan (this is my method to contain the mess), put them in, drizzled them with olive oil and hit them with some kosher salt. I tossed them around a bit to coat, then got out Jake's bratwurst.

Back to the grille! I had been turning the corn one-quarter turn every five minutes or so and, when the whole husks were brown, I moved them to the cool side of the grille. I put on the brats. It didn't take long until they had the most wonderful color on the casing (Damn! Now that I think about it, I should have taken a picture!)

I moved them to the cool side as well and quickly grilled the scallions. Using my mule-hide work gloves, I shucked the steaming corn. Then I shut up the grille, closed the garage door and went inside to eat.

I buttered and salted two ears of corn, added a bunch of scallions to the plate and one of the brats.

Let's talk about the brats. Both Jake and Carla remarked that they were put off a bit by the taste of the mace the recipe called for (mace is a spice that tastes a lot like nutmeg). So, I tried two bites plain. Hmmm... you definitely do taste the mace, but it's not as bad as they led me to believe (maybe because I grilled them). BUT, I normally eat bratwurst with Dijon mustard. So, when I added that, the mace taste was non-existent!

The texture of the brats was unlike any I ever had. Most brats are loosey-goosey with a lot of grease. These were thick, tight and with no visible grease. I know it was a lot of work for them (took all weekend to make) but I'd say they were a success!

I turned on the computer and started the website backup. This is supposed to be a weekly event, but with being sick, then the cable problems and having a houseguest, it is over three weeks since the last one. My apologies to the Webmaster.

I cleaned up the kitchen and put away the leftovers and then wandered in to watch TV (TV!) I fell asleep just after 10:00 PM, woke up at midnight, turned off the TV and the lights and went to bed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday

[You have noticed, no doubt, that these titles are getting pretty mundane, but I'm not feeling all that clever]

Sunday was the first day I actually was feeling more like my old self. No naps. I got some stuff done (albeit I didn't do a lot and spread it out). I made myself dinner, etc.

After making a fresh pot of coffee, I started out by doing the wash (so I'd have clothes to wear the coming week). I ate some of the melon mix for breakfast. I had cut up the other two halves on Thursday, and this time added in a bunch of seedless white grapes. The grapes gave a nice tangy counterpoint to the sweetness of the melons.

I chatted with Lu over my second cup of coffee while she drank her tea. I hung up the pants and shirts and folded the socks, and then I went outside to plant.

Now, you may or may not recall me saying how I'd subdivided the iris that was here when I first moved in. The results is iris in many places (and healthy patches they are) but all my iris are the same purple color.

Well, before Lu left to come up, Sadie dug me up two good-sized clumps of iris, one burgundy and one yellow. So, I broke them into four clumps and planted them between the hosta in the front garden (in the rear of the garden, where the seeds I'd sown never came up). I didn't know which was which, but I did alternate them. So, it should be interesting next spring (if they bloom) to see what's what. The last clump I planted next to the vicious moss pig.

I checked the oil in the car. Yep, it's a half quart low. But, I won't worry about it today. There will be time on Monday to see old Sam and find out just how good that warranty really is.

I read for the rest of the afternoon. Lu was out in the back yard, still trying to get some sun.

About 6:30 PM, I started to get hungry. Lu was going to just have her usual huge salad, so I asked her to make just a little bit more (so I could have a side salad). Then I made a quick pasta dish I invented on the spot.

I cut about a handful of pitted Kalamata olives in half. Then I cut eight or so cherry tomatoes in half, seeded them (by squeezing them over a bowl) and put them in with the olives. I minced three cloves of garlic and my mise en place was ready.

I put water in a medium size pot and, when it was boiling, salted it. Then I added a quarter of a pound of spaghetti. While that cooked, I heated up some olive oil. Here's where things went slightly wrong.

I was talking with Lu at the same time (unlike a celebrity chef, I find talking and cooking difficult) and, without thinking, put the garlic in first. Realizing my mistake, I immediately added the olives and tomatoes, but it was too late. The garlic burned a little.

Why is that a big deal? Saut�ed garlic tastes sweet. Burned garlic tastes bitter.

Anyway, I added the drained pasta to the sauce, mixed it together and put a lid on it while I ate my salad. Good salad, BTW. Then I plated it, topped it with fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. The flavor was good (maybe even great) but there were two problems. One, too much olive oil (you can always add some at the finish if necessary) and, Two, the bitter garlic. Anyway, I will definitely make this again.

I finished my book around 8:30 PM. Lu was reading, so I went to see if there was anything even remotely interesting to the both of us on TV. Nothing! Even the Hallmark channel (usually a good source of chick flicks) was showing "Might Jo Young" (a gorilla movie). She said she didn't mind reading, so I watched the Food network shows and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Funny Thing I Forgot to Mention

When the Brighthouse guy came on Friday, I was sitting on the couch (waiting for him). So, before he even opened the van door, I had the front door opened. He was just getting out (he had one foot on the driveway) when he stopped and stared, then slowly put his foot back in the van.

"Hey," he called to me, "you got some kind of weird animal in your front garden!"

I said, "Huh?"

He said, "Yeah! I don't know if its a raccoon or a possum, but I think it must be rapid. It's not running away!"

So, I stepped onto the porch and looked where he was pointing. I shouldn't have (I couldn't help it), but I laughed.

I said, "No, that's just a wire pig, stuffed with moss so the ivy can grow on it!"

Shamefaced,he got out of the van...

Jake's Birthday

Saturday was Jake's birthday. Lu had decided she wanted to take them out to dinner. They decided on Shiro, a restaurant and sushi bar in Novi. So, Lu and I spent the last few days pouring over the menu Jake had sent us.

We were supposed to be at Jake and Carla's house at 2:00 PM, to visit a while and play with the dog. Dinner reservations were at 5:00.

I made some coffee for me (the first time in over two weeks - I feared the coffee!) and putzed around in the morning (vacuumed the carpet and the walk-off rungs, etc.) Meanwhile back at Waqua Creek Kids (the name of Lu and Sadie's goat farm) Sadie and some friends were loading up 19 male kids (10-12 weeks old) to take to the livestock auction. About noon, Lu decided to try and get some tan on her legs, so she went out on the patio after asking me to call her in a half hour.

I did, but as she was moving the chair back, she slipped and fell, bruising both her palms and skinning the hell out of her knee on the concrete. It looked bad! So, I gave her some peroxide and a large bandage and went to get cleaned up.

I shaved and showered and got dressed. When Lu was ready, we left for Jake's.

After greeting the dog (obligatory), we moved into the living room talking, chatting and laughing. Just before we left to eat, Sadie called Lu and told her the goats had sold for the amazing price of $1144.00!!! Lu did a happy dance and shouted!

We left for the restaurant about 4:30 PM. As I said back a couple years ago, Shiro's is a Japanese and French fusion restaurant inside the distinctive setting of a 1930's Greek revival mansion. The white mansion was built in 1929 as a gift from Charles Rodgers to his future wife, Harriet Thornton. Charles had the grand staircase (and it IS grand, BTW) designed to fulfill a special dream. Because he had fallen in love at first sight, it was his wish to see a daughter escorted down the stairs to marry her own true love.

I am going to try and recreate what we ordered (it's complicated, so bear with me):

We all shared two appetizer-sized orders of vegetable tempura with a soy based dipping sauce (the red peppers were the best!) and a bottle of Sho Chiku Bai (warm sake).

We all ordered the miso soup (I'd never had it before, but they all had). Delicious!

Jake and Carla picked out a variety of sushi and sashimi we could all try and ordered two of each:

Toro (fatty tuna) sashimi
Hotate Gai (scallops) sashimi
Ika (squid) sashimi
Tai (red snapper) sushi
Unagi (spicy BBQ eel) sushi
Amaebi (Sweet shrimp) sushi
A.A.C. (Avocado, asparagus, cucumber) sushi
Spicy King Crab Roll (just what is sounds like) sushi
Spider Roll (Deep fried soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber) sushi
Tobiko (Flying fish roe) sushi

Lu also ordered a grilled Albacore tuna roll (tuna, jalapeno and avocado) sushi. And I ordered a Tempura Udon noodle bowl (bonito broth with shrimp tempura).

Now, why with all this food did I also order a Udon noodle bowl? Because I've watched people on TV eating Udon noodles for years; some on cooking shows, but mostly on travel shows (Bourdain's No Reservations, etc.). It is the most popular Asian street food and I always wondered how it tasted.

And, the coolest thing about it is you are SUPPOSED to slurp them! None of this Western daintiness of carefully twirling your spaghetti on your fork, so as not to offend the other diners. You just suck them down! And make a lot of noise doing it!!

Unfortunately, the sushi and sashimi came out first. We all dug in, trying this and that. I didn't eat everything (not even close) but my two personal favorites were the A.A.C. sushi and the Spicy King Crab Roll sushi. We shared another bottle of the Sho Chiku Bai (warm sake).

Sidebar: My chop stick licks were pretty damn rusty, but I made it through the whole meal using them.

Finally, they brought out my Udon noodles in a HUGE bowl. I ate the two tempura shrimp (excellent) and then started on the noodles. There were a variety of Asian herbs and vegetables, along with a slice of hard boiled eggs in the bowl too. The bonito broth was better than I'd hoped for, BTW.

Then I began to slurp my noodles. They are about twice as fat as the thickest spaghetti. One thing they never showed on the travel shows is, with all the slurping, your glasses, beard and face soon become dotted with broth! So, I throttled back on the velocity of my slurp.

But, try as I might, I could only eat less than half the bowl.

I was fascinated watching Lu, who tried everything once, some more than once. And, she liked the sake.

We did leave some items, but not much and, of course, over half my Udon noodles.

We headed back to Jake and Carla's, and then Lu and I headed home. We got there about 7:30 PM and I immediately lay down (I was full and tired). I read and don't /think/ I slept any. I got back up for an hour or so around 9:00 but then went back to bed for the night.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Forgot to mention...

My daughter Melissa called again to check up on me. I can tell she's concerned as this is the second or third time she called and talked less than 10 minutes, because "You need to get your rest."

She said it was hotter than hell down there. She'd just finished cutting the front lawn and was resting up a bit to do the back.

Oh, and for dinner last night, I ate some leftover mac & cheese.

And Coming...

This time, I waited until after 8:30 AM to call Brighthouse (so the service call list would be right at hand). I explained the situation, she apologized profusely and said the next available service call would be on Tuesday. I groaned and once again stressed that I need a phone for emergencies. She said she would talk to her supervisor but she needed a work number in the system. So, I had her pencil me in for Tuesday. She said she'd call me back (heard that one before...).

I've been playing phone tag with a local lawn service since Thursday. This was my friend B___'s idea (and a damn good one). Since the lawn in the back, except for that first past last weekend, hasn't been cut in over two weeks and we have gotten some heavy rain, the grass is like 8-10 inches tall. I am starting to panic that I won't be able to even get the mower through it.

So, B___ suggested biting the bullet and paying someone to cut it once (or maybe even twice). That will buy me a week to take my time and get the mower fixed right. She couldn't give me an estimate over the phone, but I said whatever's fair. She said they'd try and squeeze it in today if the rain holds off. The office is closed next Monday, so I said I'd be in on Tuesday and settle up.

Brighthouse called back (I apologize for my thoughts) and asked if I would be available between 5-6:00 PM today. I said, "Bless you, yes!"

Next Problem:

I had to run a brief, two mile errand in the afternoon. On the way back to work, I stopped at a light and noticed steam coming from under the hood! WTF? This car has never overheated since I bought it. I checked the temperature gauge and sure enough, it was slowly climbing upward.

So, instead of driving back to work, I drove home and parked in the driveway. I opened the hood and steam and greenish goop was bubbling out of the radiator recovery tank. I poured a couple of buckets of water on the radiator and then carefully opened the tank, using a towel (always use a towel; you can scald yourself in a heartbeat). The greenish goop continued to percolate up (please God, don't let that be oil). When it finally settled down, I filled it back up with water, put the cap back on and drove back to work.

I will have to deal with this, of course, but not now and not this weekend. I can only take one tragedy at a time...

I left work at 4:30 PM (so as not to miss the Brighthouse guy) and found the one bright spot of the day. They had come and cut the lawn! It was cut, trimmed, edged and blown. I took a quick trip out back and everything was perfect! This is the best I think I've ever seen my lawn look!!

The Brighthouse guy showed up just after 5:00 PM. He said he would try and reboot the old modem first. I said no, I've done it twice and your guy did it once. It will look like its working and then fail. I want a new modem!

So, that's what he did. He did say, "Wow! This really is an old modem." The new one really doesn't look anything like it, BTW. There is a LOT of calling and registering the numbers when they install a new modem (which is probably why they try and avoid it). But, by 5:30 PM, he was gone and everything was working again.

I changed my clothes and lay down on the bed to watch the news (The news!!!) Then I started watching other shows and eventually fell asleep.

Lu called about 7:30 PM and woke me up. She was just leaving her Mother's and said she'd be there around 8:00. We visited for a while and then at 9:30 PM, I went back to bed to read. I fell asleep within the hour. I woke up around 1:30 AM, went to the bathroom, shut the light off and went to bed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

And Coming ...

I called the cable company the first thing Thursday morning. She said the service call schedule didn't come out until after 8:30 AM and she would call me back with the time. When she hadn't called back by 9:30, I called back there. This time I talked with James and he said a technician would be at the house between 11:00 AM and 1:00.

I raced home at 10:50 and the guy was already there. Alright!! He was there about a half an hour, came out and said he's rebooted the modem and it was working perfectly. I asked about the signal and he said it was great. Whew! Problem solved.

I spent the last of my lunch hour watching TV (actual TV) and then went back to work.

When I got home from work, I went to see about the gazillion email messages I probably had, but I got the message "Unable to connect to the server." Uh, oh. I checked. No TV, phone or Internet! Damn!

I tried to call Jake to have him help me through the reboot, but a little message came on the emergency cell phone, saying my minutes were about to expire. So, I had to stop what I was doing, go get a credit card and buy some more (there is no point in buying more than you need as they always expire after 90 days).

I finally got Jake and he talked me through the reboot. After a few minutes, I was back in action. I called B___ to try and explain all these weird, cut-off calls. I was talking to him about five minutes when I got the feeling he wasn't there. Sure enough, it had gone out again!!!

Damn! And, I had the guy right here. I should have asked for a new modem. Disgusted, I will now have to start the whole process all over again Friday morning.

I was too annoyed to make the dinner I'd planned, so I just heated up the leftover wild rice and ate that, instead.

I popped in the DVD for Master and Commander and watched that until I fell asleep.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One of my favorite analogies

"In a bacon-and-egg breakfast, the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed."

And the hits just keep on coming...

Just when I thought things were getting better, they took a turn for the worse.

I got home after work. Lu is gone for the next few days, visiting friends and relatives. So, I was really looking forward to a nice nap, maybe watching some of my taped TV shows and then making an early night of it.

But first I thought I'd call B___ and let him know how the graduation went. So, I changed clothes, started the Wednesday wash and grabbed the phone. It was dead! I checked the computer - can't get online. Checked the TV - nothing!

So, I got the flashlight and a toothpick and lay on the office floor to reset the modem. I went through all the steps and checked the light display. Still blinking. So, I did it again. No luck.

I went out to the car and got the emergency cell phone (one of those "pre-pay by the minute" ones) and called the cable company. It annoyed me to be kept on the phone that long (since I pay for every minute) but I finally got through.

The technician said there weren't any general outages in my area (which is normally the problem). She checked remotely and said, "Yes, there's something wrong! I'll schedule a service call." I said, "Can't you do things remotely or talk me through it? I don't care about the TV or the Internet, but I really need a phone!"

She warned me it would be involved but said she'd try. I was following her lead and we were getting along great until "the battery pack." She told me to take off the cover and remove the battery pack. I didn't bother; I just told her there was no battery pack (I've been through this before). She said, "Are the lights still on?" "One." "And the electrical plug is out?" "Yes." "That's impossible!" I said, "Well, maybe there's enough electrical feedback from the computer or something, but there is no battery in this modem!" So, I took off the cover just to prove it to myself. Nothing.

Then she said, in that voice that young people use with older people who they think are senile or something, "Now, it's not going to look like a "battery," it's a battery pack." I said, "I am not a child and I know what a battery pack looks like. There is nothing under this cover but empty! There aren't even wires to hook a battery pack to in there!"

Well, we worked through that and eventually, it came back on. She did say the reading she was getting were so low, she couldn't guarantee it would stay up.

I tried B___ but he was busy and said he'd call me back. I downloaded the pictures from the graduation, but my computer wouldn't unzip the file. So, I emailed it off to the Webmaster. Just about that time, it all went down again!

Somewhere with all the kneeling and laying on the floor, I managed to wrench my shoulder and it hurt. I spent the rest of the night watching taped TV shows (you can do that even if you don't have a cable feed and fortunately, with Lu being here and me being sick, I had lots of them.) I went to bed at 11:00 PM.

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Dad and Grad v2

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Dad and Grad

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Grandma Lu and the Graduate

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Grandma Nancy, Joe and Riese

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Grandpa, Joe and Riese

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Setting up for pictures

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The Graduate

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Assembly, just before the (darkened) entrance.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

You would think after all the sleep I got; I would have been up early on Tuesday morning. Nay, nay!

When I finally did get up, I putzed around a bit and then had some more melon for my breakfast. I think that Lu actually got up before me, already had had her breakfast and was having her tea in the living room.

We had to be at the River Crab in St. Clair by 3:00 PM, so I suggested we leave no later than 1:30. Sure, sometimes you can make it in an hour, but with all the road construction, etc., its better to be safe than sorry.

About 10:30 AM, I was starting to feel poorly again. So, apologizing for being such a poor host (and I have been a rather absent host), I went in to take a nap. Lu said she'd wake me up at noon to get ready. Believe it or not, I did fall asleep and did sleep until she woke me up.

We both got ready and hit the road just after 1:30 PM. Traffic wasn't bad and the only real glitch was that the St. Clair exit was closed (under construction). We had to get off at Wadhams Road. Why is that bad? Because, that took us to Yankee and right past our old house. Lu hadn't seen it, so she slowed (well, stopped actually) and I had to look once again at what those yahoos did to my house!

We got to the restaurant about a quarter to three, and both of us brushed off the hostess and headed for the restrooms. I got done first and asked the hostess for the Joe Garcia table. She checked the listings and got quite flustered. She asked how many people were coming. I said I had no idea. So, she went away (probably checking the phone records) and came back, said there would be seven and immediately had a waitress set up the table.

Now, in a crowded restaurant, that would have been a problem. But there were only three or four tables being used and they were all outside on the deck. There is an advantage to eating on a weekday afternoon! About that time, Jeremy and his family showed up, along with Joe's paternal grandmother, Nancy.

Lu came out and we proceeded to the table. After the menus, water, etc. were dispensed, we all got to studying the menu. Now the River Crab was originally one of the many Chuck Muer restaurants (Charley's Crab, etc.) but he's been dead for years. Anyway, they have always specialized in seafood.

Here's how I think it ended up: Jeremy had a cedar plank salmon filet; Riese had a bowl of clam chowder and a chicken plate (something originally fancy, but minus the mushroom and artichokes - so chicken with a sauce, asparagus and mashed potatoes); Jyl had some kind of scallop and mushroom dish that looked great; Nancy had a Caesar salad (that she thought would be a side salad) and fish and chips; Joe had a bacon cheeseburger and fries and Lu had a custom-ordered salad (it may have been what she ordered, but it suffered, presentation-wise).

Me? I wanted to order something great, but knew I'd never be able to eat it all. So, I, too, ordered the clam chowder and just an appetizer: Mussels ala Muer (mussels steamed in white wine, garlic, butter and lemon).

Riese commented that the clam chowder didn't taste as good as mine (it didn't), but my mussels were good. Mussels look like a big plate, but it's mostly shells, not meat. So, I took my time and finished it all!

Nancy and Jyl had the key lime pie for dessert and Riese had a Sander's hot fudge sundae.

Then we headed back to Jeremy's house to visit, have coffee (and tea) and to let Joe get dressed. We left for the ceremony about 6:00 PM.

Now, Joe had to get there early, of course, so we had plenty of time to find some great seats. Jeremy spent some of the time planning out just how he wanted to take the shots of them walking in (getting the zoom and the focus all set, etc.) I watched the band set up and then just people-watched.

Finally, the moment arrived! They were massed outside the auditorium, each holding a flickering electric candle. Jeremy tensed up, the music started, and they turned all the lights off!! It was a dramatic entrance, but not one that inspired a Dad, who wanted a picture of his son walking in.

The ceremony was very nice and, thankfully, very short (I've seen them going on for like two or three hours). They managed to graduate 300 kids in less than an hour. Afterwards, we took some pictures (well, I didn't - I don't have a camera bag and really wasn't up to messing with it, anyway. Jeremy said he's send me some for the Blog when he got the chance) and then we took our leave.

It rained off and on during the ride home, but Lu kept up the pace (naturally). We got back to my place at about 10:15 PM and I went to bed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back to work (finally)

I woke up Monday morning about two minutes before the alarm went off. I was very proud of myself for not waking up my house guest. Then I thought... uh, oh...

You see my normal weekday morning routine is to wake up at 5:30 AM, post the Blog and then at 6:00, turn on the Weather Channel. After the local forecast, I switch to the local news until about 6:30 AM. Then I shave, shower, etc. and go to work.

But, I have somebody sleeping in the office (so no Blog posting) and can't turn on the TV (WAY too loud - Jake rigged up amplified speakers so I can still hear it these days). So, I read (instead of slept) for the next hour or so.

I should have set the alarm for 6:30!

I was feeling a little out of it (okay, a LOT out of it). Two examples: I was on San Jose, pulling up to Plymouth road and looking to my left for cars when I heard somebody yelling, "Hey, hey, HEY!" I stopped about 6 inches away from a lady on a bicycle who was coming from the right. I gave her a sheepish grin, she glared at me.

Then I stopped at the gas station and told the guy I wanted to buy some Copenhagen. It's one of those with the bullet proof glass, so I slid $10.00 into the tray, turned around and walked out to the car. Another customer chased me down and said, "You forgot your stuff and your change!" Feeling like an idiot, I went back inside and straightened that up. This doesn't bode well...

The IT Director stopped by to see how I was feeling and told me I looked like hell. At the staff meeting, my boss told me I looked white as a sheet.

At lunch, I was hoping for a quick trip to the hardware store to get extra keys made for Lake Orion. Wrongo! Took them forever to find two of the key blanks and the third one they said was an antique. They suggested I try Livonia Lock and Key, but they would charge me more.

So, I drove another four miles or so and asked if they had blanks for the key. He looked at it and said, "Wow! An antique Taylor key!!" I told him it was from a 100 year old cottage. Fortunately, they had chairs, so I slumped into one while he got them cut. He did charge me more, but what are you gonna do?

I had to drive by Westborn to get home, so I stopped and picked up a Honey Dew melon, a cantaloupe and seedless green grapes for me to eat. I slumped onto the love seat, too tired to eat. So, Lu made me a sandwich.

I went back to work and somehow made it through the rest of the day. I got home just after 5:00 PM and Lu was vacuuming. She said, let me just finish trying to get the cat hair off the couches and then you should take a nap.

I changed clothes and lay on the bed with the cats (they fear the vacuum). I thought I'd wait until she turned it off, but fell asleep in about one minute. I slept until 7:30 PM!

Feeling a little better, I sat and talked with Lu until about 8:00 PM. Then she made herself another salad while I cut half of each melon into chunks. I put those in the fridge to cool.

I had a little bowl of them (delicious) and then, before 10:00 PM, went back to bed. I read until I fell asleep. Long day...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Slow Moving Sunday

Before we move on from Saturday's storm, I must tell you this. As I said, to me, it didn't sound as bad as Friday night's thunderstorm. As I wasn't all that coherent, one thing did bother me was this incessant wailing noise. It was very hard to fall back asleep. When I mentioned this to my friend B___ on Sunday, he said, "You *ss! That was the tornado warning!" Apparently tornados were moving through Wayne County (where I live) and one touched down in Dundee.

Lu was still sleeping when I got up at 7:30 AM (that straight-through drive can really tire you out). So, I went and shaved and showered. Just out of curiosity, I got on the scales. I lost over 10 pounds in this past week! I AM the biggest loser!! But, hey, people have been saying that about me for years...

I sat and read on the couch until she got up.

She had her morning tea and I made a cup of that coffee. I could only drink about 1/2 cup. I was finally starting to get hungry again, so I made myself some scrambled eggs. Delicious! I ate all of it with no ill effect.

We mainly sat in the living room, either talking or reading.

It was a weird day, weather-wise. It would be sunny for a while, then cloud up and rain, then switch back to sunny.

About 1:00PM, I was really getting tired. But, I didn't want to take a nap, because I needed to sleep all night and go to work. So, I excused myself and lay on the bed to read. Whenever I felt the urge to sleep, I'd get up and walk around a bit. I did that until after 5:00 PM and felt much better. After that, it was more talking and reading.

About 7:00 PM, Lu said she was hungry and was going to make herself a salad. Did I want any? I thought salad might be a bit rough. She suggested rice. I thought that might be too bland. So, I made up some Uncle Ben's Wild Rice (a personal favorite).

I normally eat half of it at two separate meals. But this time I could only eat about a quarter. I went to bed at 9:00 PM (missing all my Sunday night shows) and read until about 10:30 PM, when I turned the light off.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saturday's Story

I had another amazing night's sleep (hell, I don't sleep this good when I'm healthy!) As I said, I went to bed around midnight, woke up for a bathroom break at 5:00 AM, lay back down and slept until almost 8:00 AM!

Lu called a little while later, saying she was on her way and had decided to drive straight through! Damn! No working on the lawn mower today, I guess. I gotta get this house in shape.

Now, normally when I have house guests, I spend the previous week "deep cleaning" each room. I pick one room a night, dust it, clean the cat hair off, polish the wood surfaces, vacuum, dust mop, etc. Well, this week I've been sick, so no time for that. So, I did my usual weekend cleaning, minus washing the downstairs or the kitchen floor.

Jake and Carla stopped over. He wanted to borrow my meat grinder to make sausage this weekend. Carla stayed outside (smart girl)and both of them held their hands over their mouths and noses. It was hilarious!

The house is better now, but still not how I would like it to be. I did lie down every now and then (I had to) but finished up about 4:00 PM.

I set my alarm for 6:30 PM and took a nap. Lu showed up just after 8:00 PM, in a light drizzle. I helped her get some of her stuff inside. She arranged the stuff in the office and I sat on the couch.

She had stopped and got some stuff (one of the times she called to give me a progress report, I mentioned I hadn't gone shopping yet and there was NOTHING in the house for her to eat). She also picked up two bottles of something called G2, which she says is like Gatoraid, but with less sugar. She says I need to get my electrolytes (?) back up.

During our discussion, we decided it wasn't the stomach flu, but rather food poisoning from the old condensed milk I used in Tuesday soup.

She was whipped from the long drive and I was whipped in general so we went to bed just after 10:00 PM.

I was reading a magazine that home come today when another thunderstorm blew in. This one was noisier, but it didn't sound like the rain was as hard.

That was an illusion as, Sunday morning, the low spots in the back yard were all flooded and there was another two inches of rain in the rain gauge!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Forgot to mention...

We had a wicked thunderstorm blow through Redford last night, just after 9:00 PM. Thunder, lightning and high winds. It blew out the cable for about 10 minutes.

This morning, I had some rather large branches down in both the front and back yard and one inch of water in the rain gauge.

Friday

I got an amazing amount of sleep last night. I slept from 11:30 PM straight through until 4:00 AM, when I got up to go to the bathroom. I went back to bed and slept until 6:00 AM, took another bathroom break and then went back to bed until 7:30!!!

But, I was still weak and still have the damn fever. So, I called my boss again and told him I'd see him Monday morning.

I putzed around inside (did a load of laundry, etc.) until about 10:00 AM and then reluctantly went out into the garage. With great difficulty, I finally got the mower deck back on, the replacement cable hooked up, the deck re-leveled and the trickle charger hooked to the battery. I was dirty, sweaty, grimy and sore. So, I shook off my clothes as best as I could and sat down in the rocker on the front porch to take a break.

I gave myself 1/2 hour to recover, and then I went out to cut the grass. I cut the front lawn and the side lawn (it's been way too long and there are grass clipping clumps everywhere). But the mower is working flawlessly!

Then I went out back. I started on the first of the four outside cuts I make (that's how my Dad showed me to plow or disc a field and it works on grass cutting, too).

Then I got to the area by the house, between the new arbor and the reflecting pool. Here it's a little trickier. You have to go as far as you can, then stop and release the Power Take-Off (PTO), back up (you can't back up with the blades running or the engine dies - it's a safety thing), re-engage the PTO and drive forward again (about four or five times). It worked fine the first couple of times, but the third time I engaged the PTO, nothing happened!

"Oh crap!" I thought, "The cable came off!" It was a difficult installation. So, I pulled it forward, got off and lay on the grass to check. No, cables working fine... WTF? So, I looked at the deck and saw the one idler pulley was about 2 inches too high and canted over.

Now, this was the pulley that had caused all the trouble. You have to tighten it until the other idler pulley can't move and then back it off a quarter turn. So, if I had just done that, it might still be fine. But, no, not me! I had the damn deck off and was gonna do it right! So, I had taken it all apart, sprayed everything with penetrating oil, greased it and put it back together.

Well, by reaching way under the deck, I verified that the nut had come off. Totally ticked off, I ran the mower back in the garage, grabbed the garage magnet and went out to try and find the nut. No such luck. Then it occurred to me it might have come off anywhere and, when it fell off and hit the blades, it would have shot off like a rock.

I gave up. I went and lay down on the hammock and tried to forget about it. I did a physical inventory. I have more bumps, bruises scrapes, cuts and sore spots on my poor body than you would believe. I look like I got in a fight with Attila the Hun and the only thing he didn't do to me was kill me. The worst spots were my right hip (lying on the garage floor, I'd guess), both knees and my right shoulder.

But it was sunny with a nice breeze and eventually I fell asleep for an hour or so. I woke up and went inside. I took my shower to get all the gunk off me. I put on my robe, went in the bedroom to dress. Instead I lay down on the bed and slept until my daughter Melissa called around 6:30 PM.

We didn't talk long. She said she didn't want to tire me out, just see how I was doing.

When we hung up, my friend B___ called. I told him the lawnmower story and he said, "Did you clean the penetrating oil off with alcohol?" I said, "Well, no. Why?" He said that lock nuts or even Threadlocker will not work if the threads have oil on them. Then he said, "Did you buy a new lock nut?" "Ummm... No, why?" he said a lock nut only works once!

Damn! Wish I'd know all that a day ago!

This really has been the week from hell for me...

He also suggested I call Lu and let her know the situation, so she could decide if she really wanted to stay here. I hadn't yet, because I thought I'd be better by now. I called but just got the answering machine. She did call me back. I suggested she stop by for the keys and stay at Lake Orion for a few days, just in case. She said she'd think about it and let me know.

When we hung up, I decided it was time for breakfast/lunch/dinner. So, I warmed up a can of chicken noodle soup. I was starving, so I ate half the can. It tasted great!

But a half hour later, I threw it all up. I blame that on overeating, rather than still being sick.

Because of my two naps, I stayed up until midnight, and then went to bed.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday

I only barfed once during the night and as I said, I did get some occasional sleep. So, I was feeling a little better on Thursday morning. I did the Blog entry, shaved and showered and then called my boss to say I wouldn't be in (again).

The vomiting is not a distant memory and I still have that damn fever. In fact, even though it's not the weekend, I washed the bedding this morning. I been laying on it and sweating for two days now and its gross.

Besides, I am incredibly weak, still. To give you an example, yesterday, when I took the mower lower deck off, they had bent the two cotter pins too much for me to straighten and pull out. So, I ended up cutting them off with the Dumore and a cutting wheel.

So today, I need to get new cotter pins. So, I got in the car and drive to Home Depot. I walked in, bought a couple of packs of them (not sure of the size I needed), walked back to the smoke detectors and found they were out of my kind (I thought I'd bought the last one and they must had not restocked yet). Then I paid and got back in the car. I stopped at a deli and bought a turkey sandwich and some ginger ale.

My idea was when I got home; I would finish the deck, put the tractor back together and then take a rest. By the time I drove the three miles home, I was too tired to even take the stuff out of the car (well, I did grab the sandwich and the soda). I put that in the fridge, walked into the bedroom and then laid down for the next three hours! I was beat!!

But, I made myself get up and go to work on the mower deck. I got the new cable on, the idler pulley freed up and greased and tightened a few loose bolts. I should have finished the job by putting the deck back on the mower, but I just couldn't.

Instead, I went back inside and took a rinse off shower. Then I went to go lay down again.

That's when I discovered poor Newt. So, Instead of lying down, I went out and buried him. When I came back inside to lie down, I noticed I couldn't stop looking at the aquarium. So, I got back up and took it apart. I moved the fan over to its spot so it wouldn't look so obvious.

Finally, I lay down. I took a brief call from my friend B___, who didn't know I'd been sick. The first thing he said was, "What the hell's wrong with your voice?"

I notice that myself at Home Depot today when I was talking to a sales representative. My voice is way higher, (almost squeaky) and tends to break up. I suppose its from all the throwing up.

At about 9:00, I girded my loins and worked on that sandwich. I discarded the bread, the lettuce and the tomato and tried to eat just the turkey. Problem was it was way too dry. I managed to choke down about 1/4 of it and then gave up. But, the good news is that I didn't throw up!

I watched some taped TV shows and went to bed when I was sleepy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sad, sad day on San Jose...

It was great sadness and regret that I must report that Newt died during the night.

I buried him under the new arborvitae I'd recently planted out front.

I can't stand looking at the tank, so I disassembled it and threw the smaller pieces in the kitchen trash. I put the stones under the new arbor out back and the tank in the garage for the trash.

Rest in peace, little buddy!

Is it the flu?

As I said in yesterday entry, I slept lousy (if at all) last night. I was either too hot and sweaty or freezing cold. The idea of a fever didn't occur to me then. But, I did make it into work. Since I couldn't eat anything last night, I thought I'd try a few Saltine soda crackers I keep them in my drawer. Not five minutes later, I was running to the john to throw up.

Now throwing up at home is gross enough, but a public john with people coming in and out? I think I better stay home this afternoon. I've been really nauseated since yesterday's lunch (I thought it was a mild case of food poisoning or something). Now I am sure that I have a fever. I haven't heard of any flu going around, but something's tearing my guts up. It might be the H1N1 - I didn't get the shot for that.

I made an attempt at a nap from 1:00 PM from 4:00 PM, but it didn't happen.

I went out to the garage and took off the mower deck. But I was weak as a kitten, so I didn't try to fix it. I just went back inside and laid down at 5:00 PM. I actually slept this time until 6:30 PM. I was disgusted at my lack of performance these last two days, so I went out to trim the back yard. I just got the immediate area around the two patios when it started raining again. So, I put everything away and went back to bed.

Weird part about this flu (or whatever) is if I drink a half a glass of water or more I throw up within 10 minutes. So, I have been trying to only take little sips. That way I throw up every 2-3 hours. But with all this sweating and upchucking, I am worried about getting dehydrated. I know that the muscles around my stomach are so sore I can't lie on my stomach.

I watched TV until 11:00 PM and went to sleep. I still spent a restless night, but this time I was sleeping in between waking up.

What really pissed me off was when the third smoke detector (downstairs) started beeping, indicating it, too was now broke. Talk about planned obsolescence! I got up, pulled the batteries, threw up and went back to bed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

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These are the roots I cut out

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Where the tree roots were

Tuesday

It had stopped raining by the time I woke up for work. Before I got ready, I walked out on the patio in my bathrobe to check the rain gauge. We got just over 3/4-inch of rain here yesterday.

Back home at lunchtime, I started one of the indoor projects: getting all the tools and wood left from my recent projects out of the backroom and into the garage.

After work, it was hot and a little muggy. So, I switched into my shorts and went out to trim the front yard. Since I had the electric cord out for the line trimmer, I stopped when I got to the last pine tree on the south side of the garage. I unhooked the line trimmer and plugged in my Sawzall.

This tree has large roots growing above the ground. I'm not sure if the frost heaved them last winter or they are just growing too big, but I've hit them twice now this year with the riding mower.

I cut them out big and used the pickaxe to try and pop them out - I broke the handle. Cut them out smaller and did underneath and along the sides and popped them out with the garden fork. See photos. Sawzall gave me a huge blister that had already popped before I noticed it. Too big for a regular bandage, so I smeared it with Neosporin to minimize the likelihood of infection

I went back to trimming and when I got to the big bush, I again unplugged the line trimmer and plugged in the electric shrub trimmer. I trimmed the bush. When I finished the lawn trimming, I put a big ring of fertilizer around both the lilac and the little forsythia. Then I mulched them both.

I was gonna cut the front lawn (it's supposed to rain most of this week). But I went inside to go to the bathroom and it was already almost 8:00 PM! So, I quit for the night.

I watched TV until 11:00 PM and went to bed. But, I was back awake by midnight and that was the start of a long, frustrating night, sometimes dozing, but mostly lying awake in the dark.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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Front clematis showing off (north side)

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Front clematis showing off (south side)

Memorial Day

I think Memorial Day just might be my favorite Holiday. Not only because it celebrates the men and women who constantly put themselves in harms way to secure freedom for my dumb ass, but its also the official start of summer here in Michigan.

I slept in a little, but made a cup of that coffee for my breakfast and then shaved and showered. Then I posted the Blog entry.

With all the negative comments regarding me not going to B___'s for dinner (and rightly so), I accepted Jake's invitation for lunch. So, I got there about 1:00 PM.

This was very interesting. Because he (like me) hates plain-Jane hamburger buns (I use English muffins these days), he made pretzel buns. Yes, he made pretzel dough, formed it into buns, boiled them (like you do pretzels) and then baked them. Then he grilled bratwurst sausage patties, while Carla took out some of the bread from the top of the buns (to hold in the toppings better - worked great!)

When they were ready, he topped them with some raw onions Carla chopped, some kind of cheese I think (I didn't notice what kind, I was petting the dog) and then some sauerkraut.

He plated that with potato chips and some dill pickles and we sat down to eat. Excellent! Neither Carla nor I could finish the burger (these were not "baby" burgers). But the taste was delicious.

Jake had just got the grille back in the garage when the rains hit. It rained like hell!!! It was what they call a gully-washer in the Southwest.

They cleaned up and we moved to the couch to watch a few shows on the new "Cooking Channel." Finally the rain let up and I went home.

There were a lot of leaves and branches and standing water in the roads. And, on Ford Road, several of the traffic lights were out (so we all did the four-way stop thing). I finally got home just before 4:00 PM.

The first thing I did was to take a long nap. The phone woke me up. It was my cousin Sue, who decided she wanted her father's canoe. So, we discussed various options for her to get it home. She's gonna work on getting a roof rack and then call me to set a date to pick it up.

I took another call from my friend B___, and we chatted a bit about the holiday weekend. I noticed it was raining again, but not as hard.

I warmed up the other half of my brat burger and the last ear of corn. I ate that watching TV and went to bed about 10:30 PM.