Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunday morning, comin' down...



I woke up around 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Jake and Carla were already up and packing the last few things into the car. It’s a 12-13 hour trip back home for them and they wanted to get back early enough to unpack and unwind before going to bed and then back to work on Monday.

We said our goodbyes and they rode off.

Sidebar: I would have like to write “into the sunrise” here for dramatic effect, but sunrise was about four hours away.

Note to Jake, Carla and Whiskey: Thanks for coming! I had a great time!! So, apparently, did Scruffy! He’s been whining ever since you left.

I tried to go back to sleep, but it was too quiet to sleep. I’ll try and take a nap later, I guess. Instead, I took down the inside Christmas decorations and updated my Christmas card labels for next year.

About 9:00 a.m. I went over to CVS. It was above freezing then, but the temps are supposed to fall all day and we are going into the deep freeze for the rest of the week. So, I also filled up the gas tank in the car and then hosed off all the salt and mud at the quarter car wash. It will be too cold to risk getting it wet the coming week and I don’t like having just a small amount of gas in the tank when it’s that cold. Right or wrong, I fear gas line freeze!

Back home, I parked the car inside; in the middle of the garage (by God!) for a change. I wiped it off and then took down the outside Christmas decorations. Yeah, I know… 12 days of Christmas and all that. But this was the last day to take them down and not freeze my *ss doing it!

I walked out back and refilled the feeders. I gave them all a Holiday treat of leftover potato chips.

I ate snacks all day so they wouldn’t go to waste. There is no need to make any food if you have spinach dip, summer sausage, brie, water crackers and olives, is there?

Jake sent a text telling me that they made it home safe and sound, which is what I was waiting for. I lasted until 5:00 p.m. and then went in to take a nap. My “nap” lasted four hours!

I woke up, had a snack and then took the dishwasher out. I had a voicemail on the phone that said they would be delivering the new one sometime between 11:00 and 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Then I read until bedtime.

I’m Baacckk…



Okay, so I will have to summarize the past week or this will be 50 pages long.

Spending the week at the rented cottage was a bust. We got there after dark Sunday night, unpacked  and found the only nice thing about the place was the view! We could have overcame all that and “tried” to cook in the tiny kitchen but…Turns out the water was just nasty with sulfur. The smell of rotten eggs permeated everything! And it got worse if you turned on the cold or hot water and/or flushed the toilet.

I found this out the hard way. Jake and Carla went to the grocery store to supplement the food stuff (a lot of stuff) we brought (along with half my kitchen implements, knives, food processor, hand mixer, etc.). I decided to make a pot of coffee and that’s when I learned about the water (by drinking half a glass and then gagging). I sent them a frantic text to buy gallon jugs of water for the coffee. But when they got back, we realized even just the pasta we were going to make for dinner couldn’t be cooked in that crap.

We agonized about the whole thing and then went to bed (on top of the beds, rather than in the sheets). I was awakened about 3:00 a.m. by the sound of Jake and Carla packing everything up and putting it back in the car. Fnck it! We were outta there!

We decided we would just have to figure out what to do with the dog and cats and went back to my house.

CATS

Again, this is a summary, so here’s how the cats and dog issue went down. I think we were all nervous, because Whiskey loves to chase squirrels and I (at least) thought she might think my cats were just big, fluffy squirrels and try to eat them. But, it turned out all she wanted to do was play with them.

Unfortunately, the cats did not want to play and spent the first few days smacking poor Whiskey in the nose whenever she got too close.

Caley never did get past this stage: Whiskey comes close, arch your back, hiss and growl and smack. But Scruffy, who was the first to stop hiding and start posing (remember poor Samson, Tracey’s Pomeranian?) eventually decided Whiskey wasn’t a “threat” and merely an annoyance he could dominate. From that time forward, there was an uneasy truce. Scruffy would generally ignore Whiskey (in fact, a couple of times when Jake and Whiskey returned from an outside walk, Scruffy let Whiskey approach and lick his face!) But Scruffy never did appreciate Whiskey wanting to smell his butt (the main difference between dogs and cats, I surmise.) Whiskey would go to smell Scruffy’s butt (“Hmmm… what kinda dog is this?”) and get smacked for his trouble.

Now, I can understand both positions (LOL). Dogs like to smell each others butt. I don’t understand that, but I get it. But cats do NOT appreciate the butt sniff (neither would I) so I get that as well.

Sidebar; Can you imagine the world if humans were like dogs? You go into a bar or a poolroom and have guys walking up, bending over and sniffing your butt? No wonder Scruffy smacked her! It’s just wrong…

So, the only major problem with cats and dogs was that Whiskey decided the cat feeder downstairs was a snack tray. And, she threw up, afterwards…

Now, I could easily have set it on the washer, but Scruffy (who is 20+ years old and can’t jump that high) wouldn’t have been able to eat. Note: At times, I have to lift him into the bed at night, because he can’t make it any more. So, I took the downstairs door (a nice door that Jake bought when he and Carla moved in years ago) and cut a cat door opening in it. I will put a grate over it when they leave.



SPENDING TIME

We spent our time playing games or watching movies and documentaries. Unfortunately, I didn’t document the movies or documentaries, but I did record the games:

SkipBo – got my ass kicked
Rummikub- got my ass kicked
Scrabble – lost, but once lost to Carla with like 220 points. WTF!!! That was a killer score! But she beat me by 10 points or something.
3-handed Euchre – got my ass kicked
Kings in the Corner – I fncking RULED! (It’s my Mom’s game and it must be in the genes).

FOOD

Sidebar: Okay, this will seem to be skewed but remember, they DON’T have Coney Islands down South, and these poor, deprived souls had a jones to fill…

Please note: Jake did take some photos, but not of everything.

So, here we go:

Saturday
Dinner: Smoked turkey sandwich with chips and McClure’s pickle. Note: Before they showed up, I went to the Honey Baked Ham store and redeemed one of my many certificates I get every year at Christmas from work. I dislike “Honey Baked Ham” (it’s too sweet) but have recently learned they do have smoked turkey breast as well.)

Sunday
Dinner: Smoked turkey sandwich with chips and pickle. (Same shit, different day, but really, REALLY good!)

Monday
Breakfast: Leda's Coney Island (I wanted them to taste the hash)
Lunch: Leo's Coney Island (they needed Coney dogs)
Dinner: Mushroom pasta – Now here’s when things got weird. I suggested a three ingredient pasta: basically linguine, olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. It’s a simple, tasty dish I am fond of. Carla agreed, but took that thought and ran with it. She twisted the idea and added mushrooms, shallots, heavy cream, etc. I sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. Her dish was fantastic!

Jake made ginger bread cookies and then Carla drizzled then with good chocolate. I bought some good vanilla ice cream to eat them with.

Tuesday (Christmas Eve and of course, more importantly, my birthday)
Breakfast:  Carla made pork sausage, scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch: Jake made “Pigs in a blanket,” and Carla made my bacon wrapped tomatoes with chive cream cheese appetizer.


Dinner: They took me to Shiro, a Japanese restaurant in Northville.
For an appetizer, we all had
- Vegetable tempura
- Edamame
Then we ate
- Miso soup (Jake &Carla)
- Shiro salad (me)
Main course for me was Nabe Yaki Udon (Bonito Broth with Shrimp Tempura, Cabbage and Egg)
Jake and Carla had:
- Sushi: Yellow tail, scallops, salmon roe
- Sashimi: Salmon, fluke, shrimp
- Rolls: Unagi (BBQ river eel, cucumber, avocado), spider roll (Deep fried soft   shell crab, avocado, cucumber, tobiko), spicy salmon roll 



Christmas Day (Wednesday)
Breakfast: Jake made waffles and bacon
Lunch: Bleu cheese dip, chips, pretzels. Now, I MUST comment on that Bleu cheese dip. I usually keep both crumbled bleu cheese and feta cheese in the fridge (just in case I get a wild hair), but Carla took my Bleu cheese to a whole new level. It was fantastic, but what was sad is that, when I asked her to tell me the recipe, she said she just added this and that to it! I know there was sour cream, vinegar, my frozen chives and who knows what else…
Christmas Dinner: Chuck eye roast, Delmonico potato casserole, kale. The roast had sat in the fridge, covered with kosher salt and uncovered to age for two days.  The Delmonico potato casserole was too complex to even start to explain. The kale (which I made) was washed and fried in oil and garlic. All in all, it was an excellent Christmas feast!



Thursday
Lunch: Bob Evans (they don’t have Bob Evans in South Carolina, either.) We had
- Meat loaf, mashed potatoes and baby carrots (me)
- Chicken tenders (Jake had mashed potatoes and gravy as his side, while Carla went with French fries.
Dinner:
Mussels steamed in white wine
Snacks
- Spinach dip
- Various breads (Rustic Italian bread to suck up the mussels natural liqueur), crackers, chips
- Olives (from Westborn, stuffed with bleu cheese and Kalamata and feta)



Friday
Lunch: Indian (Jake and Carla and Jeremy, somewhere in Royal Oak), McDonald's (me).
Dinner: Pizza (two kinds) and wings with Chris, a mutual friend of all of us.

Saturday
Breakfast: Leo's Coney Island
Lunch: Marco's Coney Island

The only thing I can recall they missed was Chinese food (they don’t have that in SC either)

We went to bed at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night so they could get an early start for home.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Unfortunately, I will be without a computer over the Holidays! So the Blog entries will come much after the fact once technology returns. So, I wanted to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my faithful readers while I still can. I will be back in 2014!

This isn't my cat, but he has their attitude down pat!



I take the rest of the year off!



I reluctantly woke up to the alarm on Friday morning. We didn’t have freezing fog (it was too warm) but we definitely had fog. So, driving into work was not hazardous for me, just sloppy. People who live north of here were all late, though, with stories of black ice!

I got a card signed by everybody and bagels for my early birthday celebration.

It was raining at noon, so I just went to Time Out. I had a mediocre cup of chicken noodle soup and an excellent Rueben sandwich.

The day dragged (as only a Friday afternoon can) but finally it was 5:00 p.m. I got two more Christmas hugs and then headed home for the Holidays. It was raining and we never got over 60 mph on the freeway.

I did the first load of the weekend wash and did more housekeeping while it worked its way through the wash and dry cycle. I warmed up some potato soup and cut more chunks of bread off for my dinner.

I started to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” but fell asleep before it was over. So, sadly, I don’t know if it’s a wonderful life or not…