Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tuesday



I woke up to the alarm on Tuesday morning. I know, I know! I’m officially on vacation. But, we have a new (position) Vice-president of IT (he started last week). And I thought I should just pop in and reconcile the corporate Visa statement before year end.

Sidebar: It’s all about the impression, you see.

However, when I got there, there was a TON of stuff to catch up on. So, I got started...

There was also some problem at our Building 73 (either no power or no network connectivity). With this being the year end, and the accounts payable folks located in B73, my boss had volunteered our office for three people to come and work. I asked who they were and when she got to Joyce, I said she can sit at Courtney’s desk, LOL!

So, one of the techs set up three computers and then they showed up. But then another showed up. And then another! The estrogen level in the room completely wrecked the normal male vibe.

But I enjoyed sitting next to Joyce… Been a long time since we worked together.

Vicky asked me if I was going to lunch (she forgot hers at home). I said, sorry, I’d be gone by then. But, when noon came, I still had not even gotten to the credit card reconciliation. So, I asked her to come along and we went to the Newburgh Grille. She had a Greek salad with chicken on it and I asked for the meatloaf, with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and a cup of the bean and ham soup – I was hungry!

Sidebar: She said she had never tasted meat loaf. I offered her some, but she declined. She said it sounded awful. Puerto Ricans!

I finished up after 2:00 p.m., wished everyone a Happy New Year and went home.

I changed clothes and then got started on the drawer front.

Now, there was a problem with the drawer front. Without going into great detail, the one side stuck out 3/8-inch!

I had thought about it off and on all during my Christmas vacation and even discussed possible solutions with Jake. My final decision was to mark the 3/8-inch on the one side and sand the back of the drawer face to it.

But, back at home, I realized that would tilt the hinge face (probably not a good thing) and make the drawer handle screws too long (definitely not a good thing).

So, I set my Skil saw depth for a 3/8 cut and ran it along the one end for about an inch. 



Then I got the palm sander and curved the edge into more of a transition.



Note: This will be more obviously a “fix” and I will have to live with it as long as this desk exists. But, hell, I can say I fncked up and not be ashamed, right?

Right???

Help me out, here!

I came inside after blowing the sawdust off myself. It was almost 7:00 p.m. Now, normally, it would be, “Who cares?”

But, I was supposed to be at the Lucky Strike bowling alley at 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for a birthday event for both Vicky and myself (joint December birthdays). I know Vicky was bringing my honorary granddaughter, Yanessa and I think Courtney planned on bringing her son Aiden. And, my boss was supposed to be there as well.

On the other hand, I was tired, dirty and disgruntled. So, should I clean up, drive all the way to Farmington and greet the few people (if any) left who hadn’t already gone home? I can’t bowl, so at best I could just buy a round and then leave. Seemed dumb.

So, I stayed home. Sorry, Michelle! I seriously was going to go, but I have to get this damn computer desk done and delivered.

I re-stained the back of the drawer face and put it in the office to dry. Of course, it stunk up the house.

I warmed up a can of Hormel chili for dinner. I put it in a bowl and topped it with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. It was delicious at that point, but the gas it inspired during the night took the edge off my enjoyment.

There was nothing great on TV, so I tried to catch up on taped TV shows. But, I fell asleep around 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Homeward bound (I wish I wasn’t…) Redux



I woke up at 5:30 a.m. on Monday. I read for a while in bed until I heard others stirring. Then I got up, shaved and showered. I finished packing my suitcase and hauled it downstairs.

Sidebar: I didn’t even think about breakfast. Which, upon reflection, was bad. Carla had specifically bought me some English muffins to eat with my morning pills. I had one, if you remember, but then Jake started making breakfasts. So, thanks for the thought, Carla. Make something FANTASTIC with the rest of them!

I wrote out the last Blog from South Carolina and then went downstairs. Carla was dressed and ready for an 8:00 a.m. appointment. Jake was ready for work. So, he loaded my suitcase in his car, I said goodbye to Carla and Whiskey and then left for the airport.

At the airport, I made my goodbyes to Jake and then went to get my ticket. Since I was pretty early, the ticket kiosk suggested that there was a 9:15 a.m. flight I could transfer to for just $75.00. I was sorely tempted (getting home two hours earlier sounded fantastic!), but I sucked it up and stayed with my original ticket.

Sidebar: I have the same temptations when they say I could upgrade to first class or get preferred boarding for such-and-such. But, so far, I fight it!!! So far…

Instead, I went to the Sunrise Café (don’t be fooled by the name – it’s a counter) and got a sausage biscuit, “upgraded” with an egg and cheese. I ate that with some of the bottled water I bought after successfully negotiating the TSA line.

Sidebar: I can understand the TSA’s insistence you cannot carry bottled water in. But sometimes it feels like just a scam so I have to buy a one dollar bottle of water for $2.50 from the airport. I’m just sayin’…

I found my favorite waiting spot: Two leather arm chair with leather ottomans. I have sat there before when available. Both were empty, so I plunked my butt down and read my book, interrupted only by a few text messages.



I still had time, so after a while, I went back to the Sunrise café and bought a cup of black coffee and a cheese Danish. I wasn’t hungry, I just like cheese Danish and they had them.

Sidebar: As I think I’ve mentioned before, when I first got into management back in the late 80’s, morning client meetings always included cheese Danish. From there it went to donuts, then muffins and finally bagels. Don’t get me wrong, I like all of them. But I have a soft spot in my heart for cheese Danish.

Finally it was time to board. We walked outside in the warm rain and up the little ramp into the plane. This time it was a small jet, rather than the prop plane. I have a soft spot in my heart for old prop planes as well.

We got to Charlotte on time and, as usual, I hiked across the whole damn airport to get to my next flight. I never understood (and probably never will) why they land at one end of the airport (and the end varies) but the next flight on the same damn airline takes off at the other!

The plane I was leaving on was delayed due to weather, so we were about 30 minutes late taking off.

I sweet-talked the stewardess into giving me two cups of coffee (always a plus). The flight itself was uneventful other than a little turbulence at one point.

We finally touched down in the “D” and I put my coat on. It took quite a while for the luggage to spit out, but it finally did and I went out to find my truck.

It was where I left it, but not how I left it. Somebody had cleaned out their trash (including a half-eaten salad) in their vehicle and dumped it all into my truck bed. I was p*ssed, but what could I do? I gathered up the crap and dumped it into a nearby trash receptacle.

Sidebar: Why didn’t they do that?

I bailed out the truck and headed home.

It was later than I had planned, I was hungry and knew I didn’t have anything to make at home except canned or frozen food. So, I stopped in at the Chinese place next to CVS and got a quart of chicken fried rice.

The house was still standing when I got home and unlocked the front door. Caley was hiding under the loveseat, but finally came out when she realized who I was. Then I couldn’t get her to shut up!

I emptied the dishwasher, started a little load of clothes in the washer (the bulk of my dirty laundry was done yesterday at Jake and Carla’s) and then dished out a big bowl of chicken fried rice. I ate that watching the 5:00 p.m. news.

Then I unloaded my suitcase. It was still sorta light outside, so I dumped the used kitty litter on my horseshoe pits. Since I was out there anyway, I refilled all the feeders and the suet cage (they haven’t gotten anything for a week, you see).

Back inside, I put the laundry in the dryer and went back to work on the computer desk. There was a slight problem with the drawer face fitting. So, I took it off and then removed the drawer handles.

But, it was getting late, so I decided I would deal with it tomorrow in the daylight.

I took the time to refill my pill box and then began to update the next Blog post.

I stopped at 8:30 p.m. and reheated the rest of the chicken fried rice for dinner. Then I turned on a taped NCIS Los Angles episode, but I fell asleep before it finished. When I woke up to go to the bathroom, I turned the TV and the light off and went to bed for real.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Quote of the Day!

"Gays and lesbians marrying? Haven't they suffered enough already?"

~ Unknown.

Sunday

Sunday morning dawned cold and clear. It's weird here in South Carolina. It often time starts out colder than in Michigan, but quickly warms up into the 60's.

Jake made breakfast again. This time it was waffles with sausage patties, topped with a butter-maple syrup mixture. Yummo!

We had previously decided to take the day off. So, nobody went anywhere. We just chilled.

Carla started the Sunday dinner around 3:00 p.m. Thanks to previous prepping, it went easy-peasy.

I sauteed the onions and garlic in some olive oil, along with a little salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a bay leaf. When they were translucent, Carla added two big cans of whole tomatoes. I smashed them with a potato masher. She added a little more olive oil. I brought them to a boil and added the bread cubes. I let them simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bread started to fall apart (about five minutes). Then I pureed the whole pot with a stick blender.

Lastly, she added chicken stock and some brandy. We just let that sit in the Dutch oven until we were hungry.

When it was time, Carla put a mixture of chives, Gruyere and brie cheese that Jake had made yesterday in the food processor between two slices of rye bread. She slathered the outside with my mixture of butter and Dijon mustard from yesterday as well and grilled them.

She dished out the tomato soup and sprinkled them with chives as a garnish. She plated the soup and we sat down to eat an adult version of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Excellent!



Seriously, you should try this!

We watched "The Wolf of Wall Street." It's a long movie, but very good.

I went to bed around 9:00 p.m. I packed up what I could, leaving what I needed  for the morning still out. Then I read a bit, but quickly fell asleep.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday’s Story


Saturday, Jake made ham and eggs with fried potatoes for breakfast. He, of course, prepped the potatoes the night before as well as baking the ham slice (to eliminate some of the excess moisture). That way, in the morning, all he had to do was fry. Breakfast was delicious.

Sidebar: I am sorta glad my scale at home quit working a while back. God only knows how much weight I’ve gained this trip!

Jake and Carla had an errand to run, so I stayed home with the dog. I used my time to fill in the Blog post and to shave, shower and get dressed.

When they got back, Carla and I switched places. She stayed home while Jake and I made the trip to Whole Foods. We got the few items we needed for both tonight and Sunday night’s supper.

Back at home, I switched back into shorts and a tee shirt (another sunny, warm day). In the afternoon, we started prepping. Jake and I each had our own station and were directed by Chef Carla.

I paid no attention to what Jake was doing, but it had something to do with chorizo and various cheeses. I know I medium-diced an onion, minced three cloves of garlic, seeded and diced two Roma (Italian) tomatoes, chopped a quarter cup of fresh, flat-leaf parsley and, after removing the crusts, cut three slices of hearty white bread into one-inch cubes.

All the ingredients went into baggies or plastic containers and into the fridge.

We relaxed and watched some TV until Jake decided to clean the mussels. After that was done, Carla started dinner.

She decided, last minute, that she wanted to have shoe string French fried potatoes with dinner, so Jake peeled three russet potatoes, cut them into shoestring slices on the mandolin and then he and I separated each slice into the shoestrings.

She was making a Portuguese stew with mussels and sausage (in this case, chorizo). She browned the sausage and added in the onions and garlic. Next came the diced tomatoes.

She varied from the original Portuguese recipe by adding a healthy slug of white wine.

Next, all the mussels went in to get steamed for about 10 minutes.

Jake, meanwhile, had heated up some oil in a pan and was making the French fries in batches.

Carla ripped big hunks of bread off a baguette and we finally plated everything.



Dinner was served with the remaining white wine (a sauvignon blanc).

The stew was excellent, especially when you sopped up the broth with the crusty bread. As we ate, the mussel shells got bigger in their discard bowls and our stew bowls got emptier. The fries were long gone by the time we decided we were full.

All in all, it was a great and memorable dinner!

Jake cleaned up the kitchen and we settled in to watch another John Wayne movie, “The Sons of Katie Elder.” When it was done, Carla said she was going to bed. So, Jake and I watched a documentary about Muhammad Ali (one of my personal all-time sports heroes).

When that finished, I went to bed. I read for about 15 minutes and decided I was too tired for reading. So, I went to sleep.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Friday


Sidebar: I normally would title this post as "Finally Friday," but since I don't want this week to end, I'm sticking with just "Friday."

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on Friday and couldn’t fall back asleep. So, I finally gave up, went downstairs, got a cup of coffee and read on the couch.

When Jake and Carla woke up, Carla and I watched the news while Jake made us breakfast. He made biscuits and gravy and it was delicious.

We all rested up after breakfast until we eventually took our showers and got cleaned up for my birthday present.

They took me to an IMAX theater and we watched “The Hobbit Battle of Five Armies” (supposedly) the last movie made from the J. R. R. Tolkien's books.

Long time readers know I have been a fan since 1974 (when it was just books).
I loved it (of course)!!!

Afterwards, we went to a nearby seafood restaurant. Carla had a salad and the seafood pappardelle (shrimp, mussels, scallops, tomatoes, garlic herb wine sauce).

Jake had a cup of smoked Andouille and shrimp stew and the Seared Ahi Tuna Rare with leeks, shitakes, tomatoes, fresh corn and an orange chili soy vinaigrette.

Since it was my birthday, I went with a grilled ribeye steak with a brown butter and balsamic vinegar sauce and steak fries. It was fantastic!

Back home, we shed our go-to-town clothes and changed into something more comfortable.

We eventually watched a documentary called “Happy People – a year in the Tairga” about life in Siberia. Very interesting and I would recommend it.

Then we went to an old classic, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” starring John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. It also had a host of other famous actors and was directed by John Ford. Oddly enough, I had never seen it. It was excellent, as well.

I decided it was bedtime for me, so I went up and read for a while. Then I turned the light off and turned in.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!


I woke up later than usual and found Jake and Carla already up. I grabbed a cup of coffee. And we chatted a bit. Then we got down to the true meaning of Christmas: presents!

Sidebar: Just kidding…

Jake and Carla exchanged their gifts and then I opened mine. It was a set of track saw clamps. Very nice track saw clamps and I guess I was still half asleep, as I didn’t get it. Until they brought out the rest of the gift: a plunge-type track saw and the track!!!

Note: Unless you were a woodworker, you probably would not realize what a big deal that was.

They said they figured if I really was going to try and supplement my eventual retirement with woodworking, I’d need it. I am, so I do

Thanks, guys!

I gave them my present: two adjacent plots of land in Glendoe, Scotland. They are admittedly small plots, but it does give them the rights and title of Laird (Lord) Jacob and Lady Carla!

Sidebar: No, seriously! The Scottish government not only gave them the deeds, but a legal paper so they can even change their names on their driver’s license, etc.

They will be impossible to live with, from now on…

Breakfast was a pantalone cake with small glasses of port.

Then we got dressed and visited her brother’s house for their present exchange. I, of course, didn’t bring any. So, of course, I got one anyway: a pair of memory foam slippers.

When we got back, we rested a bit and changed clothes.

Weather here was spectacular: Sunny and 67 degrees. Jake's back lawn is getting confused as it’s starting to green up and there’s even a dandelion in bloom!


 We started Christmas dinner around 1:00 p.m. It was yet another non-traditional holiday dinner: chicken and waffles (a southern staple I’d never eaten).

Their twist on it (and there’s always a twist) was to make chicken wings instead of the standard chicken breast.

So, I was in charge of breading (actually double-breading) the buffalo-cut chicken wings (i.e., no wing tips). Carla fried them up while Jake made the waffles.

It was delicious! The sweet waffle and maple syrup, mixed with bites of the savory chicken was a perfect match. No wonder why Southerners love this dish!


 After cleanup (mostly Jake) we rested up and watched several episodes of “A Chef’s Life” a series on PBS I had never seen before. They were fascinating.

Jake was prepping for a future dish in the kitchen when the garbage disposal plugged up.

So, Carla and I went out to help. We were hampered by the lack of a plunger in the house. So, Jake and I tried several MacGyver-ish ideas, none of which worked. It was Carla’s suggestion to remove the plumbing from the garbage disposal that finally saved the day!

Sidebar: So much for male egos, LOL!

After that excitement, we started (late) to watch a movie. But the movie was a little violent for Christmas night. So, we switched to several episodes of Family Guy that I had never seen. Hilarious!!!

I went outside in the dark with Whiskey and was amazed at the beautiful moon and all the stars. I never see stars this clear in Redford!

I went to bed at 9:30, after a Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!