Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The times they are a'changing

Sometime this week or next, we will be moving to a web-hosting site, to get increased bandwidth and processing power. It will be Piece Offerings, but on steroids!

My Administrator assures me that given a little time, he can get the look and feel of it to something close to the current one (which was a custom programmed website). But, in the interim, all the functionality will be there, it just won't look the same anymore.

And, you know how it is with us old people; we don't like change, dammit!

Monday Night Fish Fry

I volunteered to make dinner tonight (one of Carla's favorites) but they have to look at another house after work, so I had some free time when I got home.

I got my two-month water bill (the one I dreaded) and for May and June, it was 5 times more than I paid for March and April! Now, I really dread the next one, as July was when I really had to water twice a week. A green-painted cement lawn and plastic flowers is starting to look like a pretty good idea!

So, Jake and Carla got home around 7:15 PM and I started dinner. I took three catfish fillets, dredged them in flour, then an egg and milk mix and finally coated them in cornmeal and house seasoning. I fried them in about � inch of Canola oil. I made a wild rice mixture and the broccoli cheese dish I've been raving about for the sides. Excellent, if I do say so myself!

After cleanup, we went out separate ways. I watched a little TV, then fell asleep. I woke up at 1:30 AM and could not fall asleep until 3:30 AM. My room felt "stuffy" as it was too hot outside to open the window, even at 3:30.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Steak Two Ways

Woke up around 7:00 AM. I am waiting for Jake and Carla to get up, so I am trying to be very quiet (I am assuming they are as worn out from yesterday as I am). But, I hear them moving around, too. So, I took my shower and got ready to face the day.

Jake made breakfast: pancakes, sausage patties and coffee. It felt odd to have somebody make me breakfast in my own house, but I could get used to this! Afterwards, I went out to retrieve my extension cords and found them neatly coiled by the garage door. Nice people!

Since they were already out there, I got my electric weedwacker and trimmed around the mailbox, and the front gardens. My lawn was last cut on July 3 (even with my watering it, it's just not growing) but here and there a weed is making it look a little shaggy. So, like a barber, I didn't give it a haircut, just a trim.

Jake and Carla left to clean up the apartment and turn in the keys. But, then they came back! They went to Westborn and bought some ingredients for tonight's dinner. Carla said she hasn't had a regular meal for a while and really feels like cooking! (This is starting to be quite the perk, eh?) I had picked up three strip steaks for today, but now the entr�e will be "Steak Two Ways" as they bought some Mako Shark Steaks (none of us have ever had shark steak), along with some live mussels and other things.

So, they are gone again and I am inventorying the contents of my refrigerator freezer and our chest freezer in the garage (I lost control of both of those, too, doing the kitchen project). I wrote down what was in them and threw out anything that was more than 2 months old. Sadly, I had to throw away two packages of pork chops, a steak, a package of stewing beef, two packages of ham (leftover from last Christmas), containers of bean soup, chicken soup and chili (all from last winter) homemade pesto sauce and homemade chicken stock. Lesson learned, though! Rotate your stock or lose it!

That accomplished, I turn to cleaning out Newt's tank. I make more of a mess than usual and spend most of my time trying to get spilled water off the dresser and the floor. But, eventually, the bowl is clean, the filter cartridge has been replaced and now Carla won't be complaining about "poor Newt" anymore.

It's 1:30 PM and hot outside - 81 degrees F., going for a high of 85 (I just refilled the birdfeeder and suet cage, so I know this!) so, now seems to be the perfect time for a nap (Scruffy's already asleep on my bed). So, I grab my book to read a bit and then take an hour nap.

After my nap, I putzed around a bit. Jake had dropped Carla off and went back to the apartment for the last load. So, we chatted a bit, then Jake returned and it was time for dinner. Carla made a citrus herb marinade for the shark steaks, and the steak was just seasoned with salt and pepper, then rubbed with a clove of garlic. Jake put them on to grill while Carla fried some Yukon Gold potatoes and steamed the mussels.

We each had some of the two very different, but very good steaks and the mussels went on top of the fried potatoes (so their liquor flavored the potatoes, you see). Oh, my! Excellent!

While they were cleaning up, I started watering the gardens (back to front). Jake eventually came out to see why it was taking me so long (hey! It just does!) and I eventually finished (about 8:30 PM). I put the hoses away and came in and watched some TV but fell asleep before the show was finished. And, that was Sunday!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Two guys and a girl and a truck.

I set the alarm for 6:30 AM and got out of bed at that time! I have stuff to do today!!!

I shaved and showered, then left the house for Meijer's. On the way, I stopped at my favorite Coney Island and got breakfast: Two eggs over easy, four sausage links, hash browns and rye toast with a large water and multiple cups of coffee. Jake and Carla are moving today, I have to help and I need the fuel!

At Meijer's, I replaced all the stuff I threw out yesterday, plus bought a few items on sale that had caught my eye. Raced home and put the groceries away as it was 9:30 AM and they are supposed to be picking me up around 10:00.

I got a call from my daughter Melissa, saying she had tried to use her mother's computer to see the pictures of my house (she only has a dial up connection way up in the frozen North) but it gave her an error message. I told her Jake may have shut down the server that hosts my site, but I would check. So, I did and I could see it. I called Melissa back at her Mom's and Amy answered. Stupid me, I didn't take the time to wish her a safe journey home; I just asked if Melissa was there (Sorry, Amy! I was focused on the problem at hand, rather than the bigger picture, I guess.) I talked with Melissa and sure enough, now she could get there. I hope she enjoyed the photos and would love to get her feedback on the kitchen refresh.

So, Jake and Carla showed up in a rental U-Haul truck. We drove back to their house and loaded up for the first run to the storage unit they've rented. Unloaded it and returned to their house. Then the last load went to the storage unit, and the truck and the remaining stuff (bed and TV) went to my house. We stopped on the way home at Jimmie John's (a sandwich place) and they bought lunch (both Jake and I got the #5 Vito with hot peppers - an Italian sub, and Carla got a BLT) Excellent food, BTW!)

We unloaded and set everything up. They left again to drop off the truck, go back to the apartment and pack more stuff, then take another load to the storage unit. Meanwhile, I moved the trailer to the back, added the tarp and secured it from the rain (see photos).

So, now that I am done moving things and working outside, I took a shower and got out of my soggy shirt and pants and put on my workout shorts and Tee. Ah! That's better!

After that, I called Fran, my first wife, to get a number for Amy, so I could properly wish her a safe journey. Fran didn't have her reading glasses, so she gave me two numbers she thought "might" be it. I called 612-940-7891 and got a woman from Minnesota (nice but with a rather strange, almost Canadian accent, lol!), so I tried 612-946-7891 and a recorded voice said, "This number is no longer in service." I sent Fran an email asking for the number WITH her glasses on, lol!

I thought about taking a nap, but decided it was too late in the day. The doorbell rang and it was the teenaged son of a woman across the street. Readers who have been with me for at least a year will remember his Mother having her birthday party in the field next door, with me supplying an extension cord and power to run her radio. She wondered if I would do that again and I said, sure. So I ran extension cords out about 200 feet and for the rest of the afternoon people carried stuff over for the party (I'm still amazed by this, BTW. They don't put out lawn furniture or patio furniture or folding tables or even card tables. They carry out their actual kitchen tables and chairs and set them in the grass.)

I did see the birthday "girl" and told her happy birthday and asked her to remind me a few days before her birthday next year, so I could make her some collard greens for the party. She laughed like I was kidding, but I assured her I can make great collard greens (and I can!)

Jake and Carla returned, also drenched with sweat (either I misunderstood the forecast, or it was a lot hotter and more humid that they said it would be today). So, they both showered and then we discussed dinner. Everybody being bushed, we went with delivered pizza and a side order of Buffalo wings. After eating, we went our separate ways. They went downstairs to organize their room, I went to bed to watch TV and fall asleep.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Service disruption...

Jake and Carla are moving this weekend, and Jake's computer hosts my website. So, there will be a service outage sometime this weekend for http://www.pieceofferings.com.

I will definitely let you know when we are back up!


Trailer, in its new home

Finally Friday

I stopped on the way home and picked up a 10-foot 2 x 4 at Home Depot. I need to notch it and round it off a bit so that when I put the tarp on the trailer, the rain (lol! As if we get rain here in Redford!) will run off. The trailer must go outside while Jake and Carla are here, you see.

Speaking of rain, I checked the rain gauge when I got home. We got just about 1/4 of an inch of rain, and no more in sight for the next whole week. Bummer, dude!

Started the week's laundry after changing clothes, and then went out to work on my trailer cover. I cut the 2 x 4 to length, and then notched it. I used the belt sander to round off the corners and screwed it in place. Tomorrow, I'll ask Jake to help me drag it to the back, then cover it with the tarp I bought for this (I took a photo in case you are interested).

Came in at 7:00 PM and put the clothes in the drier. I emptied the dishwasher, and then I started cleaning out the fridge. With all this remodeling, I have become increasingly dangerous in keeping things in the fridge far past their shelf life. So, I am ruthless tonight! (No, its true, Ruth is not here! I don't even know a Ruth, come to think of it, lol!) I filled a whole kitchen trash bag with too-old jelly, salad dressings, Dijon mustard, shredded cheeses and most of the inhabitants of the food crisper drawers.

Next, I decided to make some dinner for myself. Hmmm, nothing thawed, what shall I make? Decided on one of my Mother's old comfort foods: Tuna and peas, served over egg noodles. Hung up my shirts and pants and then I ate my dinner while watching TV. I dozed off for a bit, woke up, wrote this and now I'm going back to bed!


2 x 4 spine on trailer for tarp

Friday, July 27, 2007

Great Thursday Visit

So, I am taking today off as a vacation day so I can go out to Lake Orion and my Mother's summer cottage. I have not been there yet this summer, so one reason is guilt, but the main reason is my daughter Amy and her son Carl have flown in to celebrate (albeit a bit early) my Mother's 100 year birthday. Why? Because when Amy told her sister Melissa, (or as she prefers to be known in this Blog as M______) she would be flying in for Mom's birthday party in October, Melissa said, "That's dumb, then you have to share her with, like, 200 people. Come in now and you can get some one-on-one time with her at the cottage." So, that's the plan.

I might mention that it seems like I haven't seen Amy for seven years now (at the party at her Mom's house just before they moved to Minnesota). But, as she reminded me today, she did come to one of the Goerlich Family Christmas parties three years ago. Still, I know I haven't seen my grandson young Carl for seven years! Amy and I have had a turbulent relationship over the years (well, Melissa and I have had that too, but we both drink a lot and don't always remember it, lol!) so I am a little uneasy about this reunion.

I also volunteered to cook lunch, so when I got up at 6:30 AM, I immediately began prepping the food. I sliced (not minced) 10 cloves of garlic, chopped two big shallots and a big handful of fresh parsley for the entr�e, shrimp scampi over linguine. Then I peeled and deveined two pounds of shrimp. For the salad, I made Carla's creation of cherry tomatoes, halved, fresh mozzarella cut into bite-size pieces and a ton of chopped basil. I drizzled olive oil over all of it, with a little salt and fresh ground pepper and let it sit to get happy. Then I loaded the car with all my cooking tools, food, etc., and headed out. I stopped at Westborn and got a fresh loaf of Italian bread, a mixture of various olives and some dipping oil.

When I finally got there, I carried the stuff up to the back stairs landing, and then walked around to the front steps. Amy spotted me first, and jumped up and gave me a great big hug. She then immediately started a pot of her coffee (she has a special roast made and mailed to her). It was delicious, BTW.

Then I was reunited with young Carl. A little bit awkward, as I went to shake his hand (Goerlich-style) and he went to hug me. We settled on the hug. He's a lot taller and broader than I remembered and, as I was to see later in the day, a darn good fisherman!

In a little while, Dave and Melissa showed up (good to see them again). Later, my brother Joe and his wife Cathy, along with their grandkids Devon and Talia came, and then my niece Laura and her son Austin arrived.

There were also a parade of visiting nurses, etc., as my Mother has qualified for some new program in Oakland County.

So, we all visited, got caught up on everything and sat or stood for numerous photos (I hope somebody will remember to email me one or two of them - hint, hint!)

Then it was time to make lunch. My Mom sat on a chair and watched me cook. I will have to remember to print off the recipe and mail it with the blog, as she liked to read them. Lunch seemed to go over well, (at least, everyone was polite enough to say they liked it, lol!)

I was told by my brother, Amy, Melissa and Dave that my brother Carl had left strict instruction I should stay until he got there (he works in Pontiac and gets out around 3:30 PM) but, as I told them, I needed to beat rush hour traffic and Jake and Carla were supposed to come over at 6:00 PM, so I couldn't stay. I did leave Carl a pot of leftovers, though.

All in all, I have to say I had a wonderful time.

Left around 3:30 PM and, while I am sorry about missing my brother Carl (really), it's lucky I left when I did. I ran into heavy traffic on Square Lake Road, going towards Telegraph (I waited for the lights at Woodward to change three times before I got through) and moderate to heavy traffic all down Telegraph. I checked the odometer when I got home and round trip it was 68.3 miles or just over 34 miles one-way to Lake Orion, and it takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to get there.

Just as I got in the door, the phone was ringing and it was Jake, canceling for tonight. So, I could have stayed and seen Carl! (Shhh... Don't tell him, please!) I don't know if it was all of the emotions of the day or the long, hard drive back home, but I was exhausted! So I changed into my workout shorts, climbed into bed with my book, read for a bit and then took a nap until 7:00 PM.

I ate the last hamburger and some chips for dinner, then proceeded to get the last stuff out of the downstairs, not necessarily sorted and put away, but just out in the garage... The last thing to go was my exercise machine. I guess I won't be working out for the next month or two (Oh, wait, come to think of it, I haven't worked out on it for the last two or three months!)

I moved the cat's food and water dishes into the office, and the kitty litter pan into the office closet (long, LONG time readers may remember I cut a little door in that closet door so Scruffy and Mouse could go into their own private bathroom). I swept the downstairs floor, then vacuumed it and then washed it with Mr. Clean. So, I am good to go with them moving in, I think!

So, now its 10:00 PM and I am quitting for the night. I did wake up during the night to a wonderful sound: Thunder and rain!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Working Wednesday

I was really looking forward to Wednesday night, as my friend Tracey was supposed to drop by to ooh and ah over my updated house. Scruffy, too, was looking forward to batting her dog Samson around again. But, Tracey ended up having to work late again.

So, instead of taking the night off, I ended up doing more work in the back room and garage, rearranging pegs on the pegboard to hang more tools, sorting tools, etc. I even made two trips up into the attic (through the garage).

I worked until 7:30 PM. I warmed up two hamburgers and two ears of corn for dinner and tried to find something interesting on TV. Gave up and read until bedtime.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Forgot to Mention...

... but when we were looking at the house, we went into one of the kid's bedrooms. In it was a 10 gallon aquarium with a big turtle sitting on a rock in it. For some odd reason, when he saw me, he went nuts! Jumped in the water and then started clawing at the glass like he wanted to rip my heart out. Why?

I never hurt a turtle in my life!


Tuesday evening was a bit different. I picked up Jake from work. We went to his house and met with Carla, who had brought Chinese takeout for dinner (delicious, BTW). After eating, we all went to see the first house they are seriously considering. It was an attractive tri-level that the owners completely remodeled. Very, very nice. So, this one goes into the possible column, and the hunt goes on!

I got home just before 8:00 PM (I had to stop at Westborn for some stuff for Thursday and Lake Orion). I did a little more sorting and organizing, but my heart wasn't really in it, so I quit for the night and watched some TV.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mundane Munday

Nothing exciting tonight. I did more sorting and putting away tools. I used my garage floor magnet and took about 2 pounds of nails out of the chiminea (I'm not kidding. I more than half-filled a small paper bag with them!) I used the blower to get out the ashes, and then blew off the patio.

I quit working around 7:00 PM and started watering the all gardens. I finished up at 8:30 and came in. I warmed up the pulled pork, made two sandwiches and ate them, along with a dill pickle and chips, watching TV until bedtime.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sunday Bites!

I got up at 7:00 AM. Breakfast seemed desirable, but a lot of work, so I just heated up some of Friday night's pasta.

I stripped the bed and put the bedding in the wash machine. Today there is no big project, just the drudgery of getting all the tools, supplies, etc., taken out of the office and downstairs (and anywhere else I may have left them), and then put them back in the garage in some sense of order. Oh yes, and more wood burning. If there's time, the whole house needs a good cleaning, dusting, mopping, vacuuming, etc. We'll see...

By 10:45, the kitchen is empty of all tools and I have completely moved out of the downstairs bathroom. Beddings in the dryer and the last load of clothes is in the washer. Then, I installed the new showerhead in the upstairs bath (it's a twin to the one I put in the downstairs shower and REALLY liked!) I keep feeding the fire (hey, you gotta feed the fire, man!) and now I'm putting the mini-blind on the patio door (I like the light, but Jake and Carla will want the privacy).

So, now its 1:30 PM, all the wood is burned up, all the clothes are hung up, the bed re-made and I have had a light lunch of another bowl of pasta. So, I think I'm gonna try and take a nap!

I read a bit, then went to sleep and woke up at around 3:00 PM. Back to the office! I finally got everything out of the office. Then, I moved the trundle bed frame from the garage into and under the day bed. Why is that important? Because I can now fit the new back patio door there. I will install it after Jake and Carla move into there new home.

So, now its 5:30 PM and I've got the charcoal lit in the grille. First I watered all the container gardens (with Thursday's rain, I think it's safe to wait one more day to water the regular gardens). Then, I made up hamburger patties using my peanut butter jar lid and Saran Wrap, and, when the grille was ready, I made hamburgers and hot dogs. I ate two hamburgers and two ears of sweet corn (there's still a lot left!)

**Caution - potential animal cruelty ahead!**

So, I'm eating dinner on the bed, watching "Extreme makeover - Home Edition." After I was done eating, I was absent-mindedly petting Scruffy. Everything was okay, until he unexpectantly sunk his teeth in the back of my hand! My first involuntary reaction was to scream out, "Aaauuggh!" My second involuntary reaction was to backhand the son of a bitch! He flew off the bed, bounced off the closet door, then ran out of the room, to disappear for more than two hours...

Meanwhile, I staunched the bleeding (what the hell got into him anyway?) and he did eventually come back and I accepted his apology.

Next, I watched the final show of the Next Food Network Star, and then turned the TV off. I read a bit, but then fell asleep, and my weekend was officially over.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Guest Storyteller

Sandra, who is in one of my poetry groups wrote this. I can't explain what an impact it had on me at a gut level. Sometimes I think that damn war crippled my whole generation, one way or another. Anyway, with her permission, here's her story:

They went because they always said they'd go. Every spring, for the last thirty years, he'd take that damned list out of his pocket and read the names, again; tell those stories, again. As if he'd forgotten them over the winter. No, he never told the stories in winter. But as soon as the roads ran with March melt, he'd carefully unfold that paper, smooth out the creases, and read those names. And it was always worth a week long bender, in the beginning, at least, for the first ten, or fifteen years, or so. Even after he hit bottom, after he sobered up, once and for all, he'd still bring out the unopened bottles of Johnny Walker, and line them up on the kitchen table, seven in all, one for every man lost. Then, he'd hold each of those bottles in his big, calloused hands, and chain smoke a pack of cigarettes, and tell those stories. Again.

1. Andy had a week until he was going home. He served his time: two years, seven months, twenty three days, when he got careless. Fell asleep when he shouldn't have, and never woke up. They were really quiet, you know, like ghosts through the jungle. You'd never hear them coming. Shit. You rarely saw them, either, but you had to keep your eyes open. You had to stay awake. Andy just got careless, and tired. No, he never heard them coming. They were real quiet, you know?

2. Bill went down with Joe. Best friends since grade school, they
covered each other's backs for the eighteen months, two weeks and
thirty days they were there. They went down, fighting, Bill and Joe.
That's the way it should be. Make the bastards take it from you. Make
them pay for it.

3. Edgar was named for the poet. Kept a journal in his pocket, and
read the damned thing out loud whenever he had the chance, and was
stoned enough. Yes, they creeped us all out good, all those tales he
wrote, but he said it was his good luck charm, said he was going to
be famous, someday, and all of us, as well. He fancied himself a
writer, Edgar, did. He said he'd put us in his stories and we'd live
forever. We found that blood stained book walking patrol two weeks
after he died. We should have sent it home, though no one wanted to
touch it. No, his mom wouldn't have wanted it, anyway, the pages
torn, mud and blood stained as it was, so we buried it right there,
right where it had fallen out of Edgar's pocket. Hell, nobody lives
forever, anyway, luck or no luck, at least, not Edgar: one year,
eight months, three days.

4. George walked into a mine field and lost both legs. We dragged him out of there and watched him die. Some say he walked in there intentionally, some say he was just confused, but either way he was a
good friend for that first year, five months, twelve days. There wasn't one of us wouldn't have walked in there with him, if he'd asked us to. Some of us wish we had. A body bag wasn't the worst way to go home.

5. Joe was a real quiet sort of guy, until you got him drunk. It was best to give him a wide berth, then. We heard he went down fighting, Found two of them dead next to him, and Bill, everyone in pieces. It was a real mess, they said, sorting through arms and legs, though they were almost sure they sent the right pieces home. Not that anyone would've looked to be sure. They were closed caskets, every one of those funerals, photos on the top, you know-high school graduation, or football photos, most likely. If you go home in a body bag, there's usually not much left to look at.

6. John replaced Edgar, and didn't last out the week. The kid was scared shitless, most of the short time he was there. He cried himself to sleep and then awake, again, day and night. Everyone knew he'd never last, and he didn't. His screams woke the entire platoon the night he died, and every night for the next thirty years, but you couldn't hold it against him. He was just a kid. He shouldn't have been there at all. Jesus, he'd never even been laid. Six days, eight hours and twenty-three minutes, it wasn't the record, but damned near.

7. Michael replaced George, or more to the point, Mike took his place. He tried really hard to be friendly, too, but no one was in the mood. We weren't, usually, until after the first six months. It was always a long six months. He almost made it, too. It was close enough to count. Five months, twenty-seven days. Yes, we were getting ready to like him, he tried so hard. Truth be told, some of us liked him, already. I liked him, plenty, myself, I guess, but he was the last one.

So, they went, at last, because she promised they would. April warm, the sun glinting off polished, black granite, she just stood there and watched the cloud reflections, watched strangers' reflections and her own reflection. All those names so perfectly carved, so, very, very perfect. They walked, and walked, and never tried to find those names, not once looking to read what was written. And as they walked, she ran her hand the entire length of that wall, wanting some sharp edge, a chip or crack, just some small imperfection to tear against the skin of her hand in a token blood letting, but it was too smooth, too perfect, and she came away without so much as a scratch.

She never looked back. She followed the length of the wall and
then left him behind, with seven unopened bottles of Johnny Walker,
and that damned list taped to the top of the blue box that was all
that was left of him, now. And no one tried to stop her. Can you
imagine such a macabre sacrifice, left at the base of any other great
American memorial, without someone raising a question, or at least an
eyebrow? There was not one: "Excuse me, ma'am, but you seem to have
forgotten your dead husband." Not one. Ashes to ashes, she whispered, as she turned, and walked away.

His name wasn't there, though it should have been, and yes, there were worse ways of coming home, than in a body bag. In the end there wasn't much left of him, either. Technically, the lung cancer killed him, of course, but she knew it was those memories that ate him alive. And this damned party they threw, and never invited him. All his buddies, eternally stoned, while he fought every day of his life to remain clean and sober, and still remember.

Son and brother, husband and father, favorite uncle, best friend, he was just another soldier, finally making it home. No, his perfect name wasn't carved in black granite, though it should have been: Thomas, thirty-three years, eleven months, twenty-six days, five hours, seven minutes.


rock yesterday's
bottled grief,
fall in line,
reassigned as broken glass
up against the wall;

Black granite
offers no token
nor one scratched
finger carving ash from stone;

Have a drink on me.


New home for the pipe-making bench


Jake's antique server

Saturday, getting it done!

Never really went back to sleep after my 4:00 AM bathroom trip. Did yesterday's blog post, read in bed, etc. When I did get up, I made some scrambled eggs for breakfast, and then just showered. This morning is going to be busy!

I was at Brighthouse (my cable company) at 9:00 AM to pick up another DVR so Jake and Carla can use their TV while they are here. Next stop was the library. I dropped off five books and chose five more. Then I raced home, as I have a salesman from Magic Windows coming at 11:00 AM to give me a quote for installing a custom shower liner in the downstairs basement.

Got home with time to spare, so I put back on the sink face I had removed to replace the faucet. I got to use my air guns again, which is always fun! (Oh, God, am I turning into Tim Allen or what?)

The salesman showed up and I showed him the project. If it did nothing else, it did make me smile! I can buy the insert for under $200 at Home Depot and do it myself, right? But, to be fair, his is custom extruded to match my dimensions, etc., and featured three shelves in one corner, a grab bar and new fixtures. Still, the price came out to be $6,900, but with all my discounts (lol!), the "good for 6 months" price is $5,105. However, if I signed up today (and today only) the price is $3,140! Hmmm... I think NOT!

After he packed up and left (he had samples, you see) I also left. First I hit the bank and the ATM, and got the car washed. Then I got my oil changed where I always go. The guy (I didn't recognize him) asked me, "Are you sure you just want regular oil. Volvo's require synthetic oil." I said, "Listen, pal! I fell for that for two oil changes, but at the last one your own guy here told me I didn't need it at all! So, which is it?" He said, "Well, its just we recommend it for Volvos, BMW's, etc." I said, "Well, 'recommended' or not, I'd rather pay $25 than the $50 you got out of me twice before!"

Next it was Home Depot (you must think I'm now an official DYI junkie or something) and then Meijer's for a few things. I got home just after 1:00 PM, changed clothes and went to work.

First, I filled up the wood rack and added a length of chain to make sure things don't fall over. I put all the 2 x 2's and 2 x 4's up in the attic (actually, I just pitched them up there. I will need to go up when it's not so hot and straighten that out!) I used the furniture dolly and a lot of ingenuity and by 3:30 PM, the pipe-making bench was sitting in its proper place in the garage.

I took a break at that point to go out and start cutting up and burning the molding on the patio (I am sick of looking at it!) I got it all cut up and about half burned when Jake and Carla popped in.

They told me the story behind each of the 10 (was it?) houses they were shown today. One sounded particularly creepy! But, they may have found the one. At least they are going back for a second visit and asked me to come along. So, they'll set that up for this coming week sometime.

We talked both in the kitchen and out on the patio, while Jake kept the fire burning. I invited them to eat with me, but they just had lunch a little while ago and weren't hungry. But I was, so I warmed up the last of the smoked pork loin I'd been thawing since the morning. Then I sliced it thin and fork shredded the slices. I added good old Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and set it to simmer. When it was warm, I ate it on a Kaiser roll with a dill pickle and some salt & vinegar chips.

After they left, I went in the garage and carried out three armloads of more wood to burn. I cut it all up but only got about 1/4 of it burned. I blew the sawdust off the band saw and carried it out to its new home in the garage. I took a picture and posted it, BTW. It was 8:00 PM by then, so I quit for the night and settled in to read. I stayed up until midnight, reading and I did have two more pulled pork sandwiches during that time. I finished my book, BTW.

I'm not sure why, but I wasn't really sleepy, so I channel surfed and ended up watching a hilarious, if very, very irreverent (some might say dirty and gross) comedy special with Sarah Silverman. First time I've seen her. When it was finished, so was I. Turned out the light, opened the window and went to sleep.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another TGIF!

At lunch today, I took in my two 20% off coupons to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought two items that were on sale. One was a matched pair of Calphalon non-stick frying pans (one 10 inch and one 12 inch). I've made many a delicious meal in my personal frying pan, but its getting tired and these met all my requirements: non-stick; stay-cool and oven-proof handles (you can't make a good frittata without it!) and a heavy, hard-anodized pan.

The other was a Mr. Coffee programmable coffee maker (my old Proctor-Silex coffee maker is pretty tired, too, and not programmable). Both were on sale to start with, and with the two coupons, I think I made out quite well.

Once home, I started the week's laundry, put up another cup hook on the hutch (for the second fry pan) and retired my old pan to the cupboard (I was thinking I might take it over and leave it at my Mom's house, so I don't have to lug it back and forth when I cook for her).

Went outside and refilled the suet cage and bird feeder. I also shredded up some left-over hamburger buns and threw them under the feeder. Refilled the bird bath and figured my obligations to the squirrels and my feathered friends had all been met.

Then, back to the garage! I dug out the components that made up my standing wood rack, as I belatedly realized the bench would not take up the entire wall. I cut it all down 15 inches and reassembled it, attached it to the wall and then gave it and the two shelves a coat of paint. Somewhere in the middle of this, the buzzer on the stove went off, signaling me that the pants and shirts in the dryer were ready to hang up (I left the socks in the dryer for later).

So, with the wood rack and shelves drying, I checked the clock and it wsa 7:40 PM. Which struck me as odd, as I believe it was the same time yesterday when I stopped working (I checked, and it was). Coincidence, or is there something more sinister at work here?

Anyway, I browned up some hamburger and a chopped onion. Almost too late, I remembered I had a package of mushrooms that would be going bad unless I used them soon, so gave them a rough chop and threw them in too. I put a pound of penne pasta on to boil and added a jar of store-bought pasta sauce to my hamburger/onion/mushroom mix (I know what you're thinking, it's so easy to make your own pasta sauce, what's up with this? But, I'm tired, it's the end of a long week and I need to have this ready by 9:00 PM and the Friday Night Fights!)

Drained the pasta, put it back in the pan to dry out a bit, then added the sauce and let it all get happy while I made myself a well-deserved drink.

Settled into watching the fights and sometime before they ended at midnight, I fell asleep. Woke up at 2:00 AM and turned everything off. Woke up at 4:30 AM and decided to write this down and post it. I guess there is something to be said for having an old, beat-up bladder as it never lets your night's sleep be too long...

But, that's okay. As a friend of mine once said, sleep is just little slices of death. On the other hand, as I just read in a book and if you think about it, it's true: I come from a long line of dead people...

Enough weirdness! Back to bed now...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Speaking of fireflies

I did not write this, but wanted to share it with you. I like it very much.

Fragments of fire,
darting white flames:
weave stars into my dreams.

Dancing white flames,
star-insects, fire-fragments:
wave stars across my dreams.

Flitting white fires,
dashing little fireflies:
waft your star-touch over my dreams.

~Ojibwa Firefly Song

The Captain Quits!

Well, it finally rained, and what a rain! It started about 3:45 PM and lasted maybe until 4:15 PM.. Lightning, thunder, sideways rain and heavy winds. I was thrilled until I got home and checked the rain gauge - less than 1/4 inch! I was glad for the rain, but it's not nearly enough!

However, the rain did cause me a problem. Jake had an antique HP server in a cabinet which had little tiny wheels and weighed maybe 80 pounds, that was in the closet he and Carla will need (I took a picture, but didn't post it yet). We discussed disposing of it and he agreed. But when I called Redford Township, they said they will not take computers except on "Hazardous Waste Day" (next is September 15 and you have to bring it to them). So, I asked the used computer store at the corner what they would charge to get rid of it. They said since I was their next-door neighbor, it was free.

But the little wheels stuck in the rain-softened driveway! Ended up putting it on the furniture dolly (6 inch wheels) and tugged, lifted and pushed it out to the road. Once on the road, it rolled fine, but getting it there was a b*tch!

With that out of the way, I changed my clothes and got to work. I measured and installed the shelf brackets (making sure they would be level was a chore), then I screwed on the shelves themselves. Important Tip! You probably all know this, but if you don't, when screwing in wood screws, it really helps to dip them in dish detergent first. They go in much easier that way!

Once the shelves were on, I took down the fluorescent light I had hanging from the ceiling over the pipe-making bench and fastened it to the lower shelf. Then I painted the top of each shelf.

Now, here's where I changed course. In thinking about tonight's endeavors during the day, I thought that, while the first coat was drying, I'd put up the mini-blind, paint the shelves again, install the shower head, do the final coat of paint, and then stop.

But, its 7:40 PM already, I'm beat (hauling that server really took the stuffing out of me) and I'm hungry. So, I tossed the plan in the trash and quit for the night!

I warmed up the other two catfish filets, the rest of the wild rice and the four slices left of the eggplant for dinner. I watched TV for a bit, but was asleep by 9:30 PM.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


As I said in the last post, it never rained here on Wednesday, although I heard that Port Huron got some good storms. That's good for Jeremy and Jyl, as they just planted a birch tree.

But, so you don't think I am needlessly obsessing over rain, they did say on the News this morning that we in Southeast Michigan are over two inches below normal rainfall so far this year. And, believe me, you can tell!

Street Urchins Con me!

I had high hopes for today that never materialized. Supposed to rain - it didn't. I thought I could breeze through the second coat on the garage wall and the two shelves and get several other things accomplished, I couldn't.

I was painting when I heard the phone ring. It was my daughter, M______. I was sorry we couldn't talk, but I did get the dates I needed from her. So, I apologized, hung up and went back to work.

I was painting the shelves outside on sawhorses when the two little girls across the street called me over (you remember them, right? They were the ones I hired to pick the rocks out of my lawn this Spring). They had dragged their small plastic picnic table next to the row of mail boxes. So, I walked over and they asked me if I wanted some of those Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (they each had a handful). I declined, but they persisted, begging, "Please take them!" So, I said sure. They poured them into my hands and said, "Okay, that's 50 cents, please." I said, "What?" and they pointed to a 3" x 5" card, laying flat on the picnic table saying, "Goldfish - 50 cents." Laughing, I walked back and got four quarters out of the car (I keep them there for the quarter car wash). I took them back across the street, paid them and thanked them both.

After painting, I washed a load of whites and put up two curtain rods and then hung the new curtains on the downstairs window by the washing machine. I was supposed to also hang the mini-blinds on the door and install a new showerhead in the main bath. But now its 7:40 PM, and I still have to water all the gardens.

So, container gardens with the watering can first, then the back garden and worked my way up to the front and the mail box garden last. Finished watering at 9:25 PM. I checked the wall in the garage and it was dry. So, since I had everything out, gave it and the two shelves a third coat. It was just dark and the fire flies were dancing in the humid air.

Now its 9:55 PM, and I am starving. Leftovers "again" sounds too boring, though. So, I peeled the eggplant I'd bought last weekend, cut it into 3/4 inch slices, dipped it in a milk/egg mixture, then flour and fried it. I ate it watching the news on TV, but when I was done eating; I turned it off and went to sleep.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tuesday and back to painting

I noticed during the day my foot was getting better. It didn't hurt to walk on it as much. Hopefully this will continue.

We were supposed to get rain today, maybe even an all-day event with rainfall estimated to be 1/2 inch. Well, it did sprinkle around here off and on most of the afternoon. But when I got home and checked the rain gauge, there wasn't enough water in it to get to the first hash mark.

Stopped at Home Depot and bought a gallon of cheap, semi-gloss white paint, two 4-foot 1" x 12" boards and some shelf brackets for the garage. When I was cleaning out the corner where the pipe-making bench is going, I noticed how bad the wall really was (the shelf that used to sit there kinda covered it up).

So, once changed, rain gauge checked (waste of time) and bird feeder refilled, I got back to work in the garage. Cleaned out and sorted all the wood in the corner, then I disassembled the standing wood rack I had made when I moved in. I removed all the nails where things had hung and patched the holes in the wall. While the spackling was drying, I painted the boards that will become shelves their first coat. Then, I painted the wall its first coat. I cleaned up and quit at 7:45 PM.

Dinner was two hamburgers and three ears of sweet corn (for some reason I was starving!) Then came TV, reading and bedtime.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sunday Dinner on Monday

My foot is really bothering me. If I didn't already have a cane, I couldn't have walked on it today. But, enough whining...

Stopped on the way home at Home Depot and got a coupld packs of those big, strong paper yard-refuse bags. There is a lot of junk in the garage that would puncture a plastic garbage bag, so I'll put it in the paper bag, then in a garbage bag and set it out for the trashman Tuesday morning.

So, its back to inspecting, sorting and sweeping in the garage. I got two full bags of junk, the saws back in place and several places for the new tools that the kitchen project brought into my life. I stopped at 7:00 PM.

So, now onto dinner. I had thawed out catfish filets for Sunday dinner, but ran out of time. So, I patted them dry, dredged them in flour, dipped them in egg and milk and then coated them in cornmeal mixed with house seasoning (say it with me, folks: salt, pepper and garlic powder). I fried them in about 1/2 inch of canola oil. Meanwhile, I made my other favorite, Uncle Ben's Wild Rice. I also microwaved the Green Giant broccoli and cheese.

I ate them Southern-style, with hot sauce instead of tartar sauce. It was all excellent (I can now officially recommend the Green Giant broccoli and cheese - nice cheese sauce, very few calories). Watched some TV, and then went to bed.

Monday, July 16, 2007


For some odd reason, I set the alarm last night. So, I woke up on a Sunday morning at 5:45 AM! I was NOT happy! But, what better time to start watering the front grass? So, it was drag the hose around, set the timer for 30 minutes, and then do it all again until 10:30.

Then I got out my old favorite, powdered Miracle-Gro and mixed up watering can after watering can to fertilize all the container gardens. It's a beautiful day so far, temps at 11:00 AM are still under 70 degrees F (I have ALL my windows open, BTW).

Next, it's onto the garage. Since Jake and Carla will be moving back in at the end of the month, I need a home for all the stuff I have downstairs. So, first thing was to install the swing back trailer jack on my trailer (long time readers may recall I have just been setting the hitch on a stool in the garage). This allows it to stand on its own, but it swings up when you are using the trailer.

After I got that on, I put the trailer outside and applied a coat of Thompson's Water sealer to it (this was a suggestion of my neighbor). The trailer will have to sit outside while they are here and he said this will give added protection to the wood, even the treated plywood floor. I still plan on covering it with a tarp, but it never hurts to be prepared, I guess.

Once done, and while the trailer is drying outside, it's now 2:30 PM, so I warmed up some chicken soup I'd made back in March and froze, for lunch. Then, I took a well-earned nap.

Once I woke up, I continued on cleaning the garage, in preparation for rearranging it. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I realized this morning I had sprained my left thumb somehow yesterday, and now it's really bothering me. But, I forgot all about it when I stepped on a board with 2 � inch finishing nails sticking out of it. OUCH!!! The nail went through my Crocs and through my foot! So, there was some time lost while I cleaned the wound(s) with peroxide and bandaged my foot. Then I limped back to work...

I got the shelf moved from where I need to put my pipe-making bench. I am moving things, sweeping and reorganizing as I go. But, now its 7:00 PM and I need to go water all the gardens.

First I took off the 100-foot hose from in the back and replaced it with my two hoses up by the house. I replaced them with the three new hoses I bought on Saturday. Starting with the back garden, I used that miracle-Gro Liquifeed again and every plant back there got a 30 second drenching (that's about 1-2 gallons of water). Then, I worked my way around the house, starting with the mint garden and ending up in the front yard and in the dark.

Came inside and ate two hamburgers and two ears of sweet corn for dinner. I watched a little TV and then tried to sleep. But my stupid foot kept throbbing and I didn't really have a good night's rest.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

You do what you have to...

...when you're broke.

I was looking at my old 6-string guitar when this line of thinking occurred to me. Back in the day, when I really needed cash for something or another, I sold things that I really didn't want to. The short list would go something like this:

1. My 12-string guitar. You wouldn't guess it if I played guitar for you today, but back then, man, I could make that sucker sing!

2. My 22 revolver. You couldn't have stopped a raging miniature poodle with the damn thing, but, with the cheap cost of the bullets, it was a LOT of fun!

3. My wedding ring from my first marriage. Just a simple band of gold, but it would have been cool to pass it down to Amy or Melissa.

4. My Minneapolis-Moline Model B (1939-1947) tractor, Sure, my life has taken many a turn since those homesteading dream days, but I loved that big sucker!

More old song lyrics...

Today is Linda Ronstadt's birthday, so Sunday Morning Over Easy is featuring her 1974 album "Heart Like a Wheel" (which i still own, BTW). I have since heard a lot of artists sing this song, but I heard it first ( and loved it!) sung by Linda:


written by Lowell George

I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I'm drunk and dirty, don't you know
But I'm still willin'

Out on the road late last night
I'd see my pretty Alice in every headlight
Alice, Dallas Alice

And I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonopah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the backroads so I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites and wine
And you show me a sign
And I'll be willin' to be movin'

And I've been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stove in but I'm still on my feet
And I'm still willin'

And I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
Baked by the sun every time I go to Mexico
Ah but I'm still...

And I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonopah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Driven the backroads so I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites and wine
And you show me a sign
And I'll be willin' to be movin'

I keep forgetting to tell you...

... but I did eventually find some Gold Bond lotion and so tried that Canadian Gal's idea (rubbing hand cream into the white stickers on the dark green hanging pots to get them off). It didn't work. What I should have mentioned is these were NOT paper stickers glued on. They were plastic, so they wouldn't absorb the Goo Gone or hand cream.

I suppose its cheating, but I eventually just bought some dark green spray paint and covered them up. You can tell at two feet, but they are invisible any distance beyond that.

Another problem solved!


Newest container garden


Decimated hanging planter and urn


Lawn chairs with a robin


Tree garden


The last of the poansies in the mailbox garden


Tiger Lily hedge in front


Front garden - View 3


Front garden - View 2


Front garden - View 1


Homemade counterweight for sprayer hose

Saturday and sink's back in!

I woke up at 7:00 AM. I didn't sleep well last night. Oh well, I can't let that stop me. I've got errands to run this morning, and a list of things to do this afternoon.

I started with a 9:00 AM barber appointment, then went to Chaps Feed Store (birdseed and suet), Westborn (cheese, fruits and veggies), Meijer's (groceries and stuff), the Post Office, Sears (garden hoses on sale - 50% off regular price) and finally home at 1:00 PM. Put everything away, called my Mom out at Lake Orion (she's fine, a little chilly, though - it's windy today), changed clothes and took some photos of the gardens in front while some of the pansies are still alive.

BTW, health nuts, diabetics or whoever! At Meijer's I picked up some frozen Green Giant Broccoli & Cheese Sauce based on this Internet assessment: "Looks like 90 is the new number in portion-controlled snacking. Each of these freakishly good food finds clocks in with 90 calories or less.

Green Giant Broccoli & Cheese Sauce
(2/3 cup: 60 calories, 2.5g fat, 460mg sodium, 7g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g sugars, 2g protein)

This freezer-aisle phenomenon does not disappoint. Rich, creamy, cheddar-y cheese sauce smothers the mini trees (AKA broccoli) in this easy, heat-n-eat item. You could actually devour a heaping cup of the stuff and still be within the 100-calorie zone... Nice work, Green Giant!" I'll let you know how it tastes...

Now, onto the sink. Putting the clips back on is actually much easier than taking them off. Ended up with two left over clips (whoever installed it went a little nuts with these). Used the Teflon tape and hooked up the hot and cold water lines. Got the left side drain installed when I noticed the hose for the sprayer was curling up. I know that on expensive faucets, (which, even though it cost $130.00 US, this is not considered an expensive faucet) they come with a counter-weight to prevent that. So, I gave it some thought and then got a one-inch socket and a wire tie and made a weight for the hose (see photos). I didn't tighten it, so the weight could slip back and forth through the hose.

Last thing is to put the garbage disposal back. I'm having problems holding it up with one hand (hey, it's heavy!) and tightening the collar with my other. So, I cut a board to prop it up and by 6:09 PM, I was finished, with (miracle of miracles) NO LEAKS!!!

Now onto breakfast/lunch/supper (yes, I am starving!) Dragged out the grill and fired it up. First, (what else?) Georgia Peaches and Cream Sweet corn from Westborn (it's been soaking since I got home). Next, hamburgers and hot dogs for the upcoming week.

Oh, oh... I thought I'd fired up the grille, but nothing is happening. And, that was the last of my lighter fluid! So, gritting my teeth, I grabbed my cane and the garage door opener out of the car and walked to the party store down the street. Why "gritting my teeth"? Because I have my re-hab outfit on: Dark blue shorts and a dark blue t-shirt. So, almost 40 years of scars are now visible. To hell with it! Went and got two cans of lighter fluid and re-fired the grille.

I was just ready to pull off the corn when Jake and Carla pulled in. They had been working all day, boxing up stuff at their apartment and needed a break. Unfortunately, they weren't hungry. But, I was! So, after grilling the burgers and hot dogs, I ate two burgers.

Finally, we got around to playing a game of Scrabble, which nobody seemed to take seriously (too many made-up words and corresponding challenges, lol!)

After they left, I thought about it and decided it was too late to work on projects (even if I felt like it, which I didn't). Nothing on TV spoke to me, so I grabbed my book and read in bed until sleep came to call...

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Old, modern faucet, functional, but not so great!


New faucet, capable of filling stock pots, etc.

Another TGIF

I had to stop at Home Depot for "stuff" and CVS for two prescriptions on the way home. As is my usual practice, I don't even try to get back on Inkster and turn at the light (too many cars), I cut across the old (now vacant, "sniff") Farmer Jack parking lot, go through the car wash and get out on Plymouth Road, then immediately turn on San Jose. When I did that, I noticed that somebody had cut the sh*t out of the trees back there. Then I remembered a notice I'd gotten in the mail a few days ago about DTE trimming trees in my area that interfered with their power lines.

So, when I got home, I didn't change clothes, just walked out back to see if there was any impact on my trees. They didn't touch them (Thank God) then again, my trees don't touch the power lines. But the vacant lot next to me was all tore up. These were NOT tree surgeons, more like Freddy Krueger tree mutilators!

Since I was outside anyway, I refilled the bird feeder, the suet cage and the bird bath. I came back inside, changed clothes and got to work on the sink. I finally figured out what the major problem with these screws/clips is: At the distance my face and the sink is at under the sink, it is just between my normal vision and my bifocals, so identifying the location of that little slot is next to impossible! But, by 6:55 PM, the sink was out and I was removing that stupid old faucet that had caused me such grief, but now was just putty in my hands.

Speaking of putty, I don't like the smell of plumber's putty. But, I need to use it so I soldiered on. At 8:03 PM, the new faucet, with new flexible water lines attached, was attached to the sink, with (hopefully) the Teflon tape and the plumber's putty ensuring there will be no leaking. I quit at that point (enough for one night!)

Warmed up a Marie Callender's chicken pot pie in the microwave (yeah, they're pricey, but you really should try them just once. If you, like me, grew up with those little, tasteless Banquet pot pies, you will be amazed. And, it's less than 10 minutes in the microwave for a perfect pie with a flaky crust!) I made a small salad (just iceberg lettuce and scallions with balsamic vinaigrette dressing) to go with it and went in to watch the Friday night fights.

Friday, July 13, 2007

CaptainK's TV Repair Shop

Well, if you remember, Wednesday night left me with two problems. A kitchen sink to get out and no TV. So, I tackled the TV first (Hey, I'm a guy. I can get water from the bathroom, but I need a working remote!)

Called my cable company and explained the problem. I get sound and if I change channels, the sound changes, but I still have only a frozen picture from last night's show. They pinged the box and according to them, it was working fine. Much time and several diagnostic measures later, they decided it was my TV! Oh, nooooo!

After getting off the phone with them, I decided to try one more thing. I changed the connections to just the cable box and the TV (eliminating my DVD player). Bingo! Working fine! Called Jake to tell him I got it working, and he suggested putting it all back the other way (with the DVD) to see if it would work now. Grumbling, I did and it didn't! So, I changed all the connections again and now I can watch TV.

Basically, my DVD player/recorder crapped out. But a cheap one of those (without the tuner) costs about 1/3 of what a TV would, so I'm not too unhappy.

Now, it's after 7:00 PM and I'm just getting started on the sink again. I did pick up one of those fluorescent work lights for cars at lunch, so now at least I can see what I'm doing. I managed to get all of the clips from front and down one side off before my back started screaming (I was never a contortionist, but have to act like one in that tiny space).

It was almost 8:00 PM anyway, so I stopped, warmed up the rest of the pulled pork and ate that for dinner - watching TV!

Thursday, July 12, 2007



The Great Sink Adventure

Finally, the heat has broken. It was an absolutely perfect day with the highs in the 70's and low humidity. Now, if only the drought would break! At lunch, B___ and I stopped at Lowes after eating and I picked up (hopefully) everything I need for the sink and another light switch for the front entry.

When I got home, I put in the new switch first and it's working perfectly (I suppose I should try and figure out why this works and the other one didn't , but I don't care right now - I'm busy). I watered all the container gardens next (since the kitchen sink will be out of commission for a few days).

Then, onto the sink. I lucked out, in that my garbage disposal is a name brand and on their website is complete instructions (including pictures) for removal. In about 20 minutes I had it out. Next, I took out the drains and unhooked the waterlines.

One of the things (well, actually two) I bought today was extensions (one rigid, one flexible) so I can use the drill to unscrew all the little clips that hold the sink in. So, I tried the rigid one first and it worked great. Only problem is its too dark to see the little slots. I removed the sink front and that helped a little, but I really need a light (and that work light would be too damn hot in this little space - I'd melt me!) Stopped at that point since it was already 7:30 PM and I need to water the front gardens.

Gave everything a big drink of water, put away the hose and then came inside at 8:45. Warmed up a couple burgers for dinner and went to watch TV. But, no TV picture!?! Messed around making sure the connections were tight (they were, but the cable people always ask you that first when you call). Checked that my internet and phone were working (they were) so the line into the house is okay. Now my food's getting cold, so I said "Screw it!" (yes I actually said, "Screw it!") got my book and read until bedtime.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Hey, let's hear it from the audience. How many of you have tasted elderberries? I was working on the sink when Elton John's song "Elderberry Wine" came on the radio. We had a big clump of them on the farm where I grew up and I loved them. If you never tasted them, you really missed out on something!

Tuesday, beset with problems

I did manage to get to work on time, although I slept lousy again. While talking with my friend B___ about some of his electrical problems, I remembered I wanted to replace the front hall light switch and plate. So, I stopped at Meijer's on the way home (I needed to pick up some buns as well). However, they didn't have the switch I needed. So, went from there to the Home Depot. Noticed there were two kinds so I bought the cheapest and a nice wood switch plate.

Got home and it was almost 6:00 PM! My plan tonight was to take out the kitchen sink, but this whole light switch thingie distracted me. But, since I was focused on it, I removed the old plate and switch and install the new. I did it with the power one (ain't afraid!) and noticed when I disconnected the one wire, the radio in the living room turned off. Got it all wired up and the new plate on when it dawned on me the radio never came back on. I figured I blew a fuse, so I went in the garage to fix the circuit breaker, but none were turned off! Checked the living room and my bedroom and found that the TV wouldn't work, nor my overhead light (oh, no! Not the TV!!!)

Took it all apart and compared the two switches. The old one had a metal plate that joined the two hot wires. So, I scrounged around in the garage and got a small piece of electrical wire and made a little jumper cable. Now everything is working, but, each switch turns on both lights! It's obvious to me I should have bought the more expensive one, and will take the old switch with me to the store tomorrow.

Now it's about 7:30 PM and I am looking at the garbage disposal to see how it comes off. The first thing I notice is that the discharge hose from the dishwasher goes into it. I have almost a full load in the dishwasher that I will have to wash in the bathtub or laundry tub if I take this apart right now. So, erring on the side of caution, I put in the soap and start the dishwasher, giving up on the sink tonight.

It was miserably hot and humid today, and we were supposed to get thunderstorms this afternoon but nothing ever happened (at least at my house). So, I went out and thoroughly watered the back garden.

Earlier, I had wrapped the 1/3 of the smoked pork loin leftover (the first 1/3 went into my tummy and the other 1/3 went into the freezer) in tinfoil and put it in the toaster oven on 250 degrees F. to warm up. So, when I came back in from watering, I shredded it with two forks, added 1/2 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's original BBQ sauce (I like to use his "Hot & Spicy" on my baby back ribs, but this pork loin is already pretty spicy thanks to Carla's rub) and put it on the stove on low to warm up. I served my pulled pork sandwich on an onion roll along with two dill pickle spears and Salt & Vinegar chips.

I watched a taped show and went to sleep about 9:30 PM

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, Monday

It's been so long since I was at work I forgot to set the alarm, so I woke up at 6:30 instead of 5:45 AM. Frantic moments as I tried, but failed, to get to work at 7:00 AM (it was more like 7:45).

I decided since today was sooo hot (there was a heat advisory, actually - high today will be 94 degrees F and sticky-humid) that tonight I would do nothing! Yes, nothing!!! Dammit! I deserve a break!

However, that changed when I got home and saw the air compressor in the kitchen, the hose snaked through the living room and I realized I had two more pieces of baseboard molding and three pieces of shoe molding and the whole damn thing would be done. So, in spite of myself, I braved the super-heated garage, cut the boards, and, by six o'clock, it really was done.

I still have to deal with fixing the attic stairs, installing the molding around the stairs and painting them both, touch-ups on the walls, ceiling and the cabinets, installing the new kitchen faucet (somehow), figuring out the mystery of the glass door knobs, cutting and burning all the old molding and putting in the new patio door. But, my original project concept itself is done. And, I am pleased.

Dinner was leftover burgers and sweet corn. I watched TV until about 9:30 PM, then went to sleep.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Old molding, to be cut up and burned in the chiminea


Living Room Doorway, before


Living Room doorway, demo'ed


Living Room doorway, after


Entry way, before


Entry way, after


Grilled Yukon Gold potatoes, the second time around

Final Push - Day 5

I woke up at 3:00 AM and read for a bit, then went back to sleep until 6:00 AM. Got up and filled my pill box for the week, wrote the blog for yesterday and started watering the grass around both patios. It's too early to use the saws (hey everybody should have the chance to sleep in on Sunday, I think!) so decided to get back to the sink.

I was right, that little bit of pipe did give me more leverage, but all I did was bend the handle of the sink wrench, not budge the nut (oh, and I also managed to hit and break the one side of the sink's drain. *sigh* I am seriously considering using the Sawzall and just cutting it off from the top! Gave up on it for right now (having too treacherous thoughts at the moment to do it carefully).

I went and watered all the container gardens. It's supposed to be 94 degrees F (or 35 degrees C) and humid today. Finally, at 10:00 Am, I figured it would be okay to start cutting molding. I worked for a bit, then called Luanne (we've been playing phone tag for a couple of days now). She answered! But, she was very depressed, as she had to put down her horse Precious after two days of trying to get a vet to come out, etc. On the up side, her goats are starting to have babies, so her dream of a goat herd is starting to come true.

Well, back to work. At 2:00 PM, I took a break and a nap. At 4:00 PM, I trimmed the white "silver skin" from a 4 pound pork loin, drizzled it with olive oil and used Carla's rub to liberally coat it. I set up the grill for indirect heat and a drip pan and started smoking it with hickory chips.

By 6:00 PM, the alarm went off, letting me know the internal temperature was 150 degrees. All I have left is three pieces of shoe molding left in the entry way, so I think I am quitting for the night. While the pork loin was resting I tried grilling the Yukon Gold potato slices again. This time I watched them a LOT closer and they turned out great! Ate them with two slices of the pork loin and it all tasted excellent. Plus, I now have the makings for pulled port sandwiches later in the week.

Watched TV until I went to bed around 10:30 PM.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Final Push - Day 4

I woke up at 5:30 AM again, skipping shaving and showering (I just took a shower before bed last night) and went out to water while it's still cool here (supposed to be another hot and humid day today). This time I am watering the front lawn. BTW, both my knees are completely shot, now. I can barely walk!

Today is supposed to be a very lucky day/date (7/7/07). Let's hope that's true as I tackle the front entry and the rear patio door. I found that if I could get the nails out (not easy) I could pry up the boards from inside the tile. Even the door molding was trapped by the tile!

I finished the demo around noon. I started putting in the bottom door molding (it's the trickiest, as you must have it level for the rest of the door molding to line up) when Melissa called. We talked for a while and finally said goodbye.

Jake and Carla are supposed to come over around 3:00 to grill (I have a roasting chicken and they are bringing everything else) and to tell me of their adventures with the realtor they are meeting today, so I'm not sure if I will get to the back door today. I'm thinking if I don't, I'll wait until next weekend. I really don't want to have to go to work with the house open.

Since I am having guests, I stopped construction and cleaned up the bathrooms, the sink, etc. About 2:30 PM, I thought I'd grab a nap and let them wake me up. However, I woke up just before 4:00 by myself, no Jake and Carla. If I would have thought to check the phone, I would have known they got tied up looking at houses and were going to be late, but I didn't. Instead, I took a quick shower and got out of my work clothes.

I got the grill out and the charcoal lit around a drip pan, etc. Then, I grilled hamburgers for the upcoming week. I also cut up big slices of Yukon Gold potatoes and put them in a baggie with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme and dried oregano. I waited a bit, and then grilled those (burning most of them, BTW).

Knowing it was getting late and the chicken takes an hour to cook, I thought I should get it on. So I got the easiest recipe for beer-can chicken I could find. I seasoned it with the house seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder) and used � of a can of beer with two stalks of rosemary in it inserted in the chicken. I was just about to put it on when they showed up.

So, Carla rinsed off my seasoning and made Bonedust Seasoning Rub (it has paprika, chili powder, salt, ground coriander, garlic powder, mustard powder, curry powder, sugar, black pepper, basil, thyme, cumin and red pepper) and applied it liberally to the chicken. Then she and Jake injected melted butter under the chicken skin. The bird went on a � full can of beer, and on the grill, Jake made and then baked macaroni and cheese and Carla made a Tomato, Basil and Bocconcini salad.

We talked about the houses they looked at earlier (two sounded great to me) and finally, the chicken was done. Really, really good - moist and spicy, probably the best I ever had, really. The salad, too, was excellent. The mac and cheese? Sorry, Jake, but just so-so, lol! They cleaned everything up and left and I retired to bed and reading. And, that was Saturday on San Jose.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Final Push - Day 3

I woke up at 5:30 AM, shaved and showered and went out to water while it's still cool here (supposed to be hot and humid today). I gave the back garden a good soaking.

Back inside, I decided to forego breakfast, just take my pills and get to work. So, it's the last wall and the door way into the foyer to do. Started the demo and again, I'm having to kneel way more than is comfortable. Then about 9:45 AM, tragedy strikes! I was out in the garage cutting the second long piece of molding when I heard a weird hissing noise. Then, the air compressor kicked on! Not good!!! I ran inside to find the halogen work light had melted the 25-foot plastic air hose (and, right about in the middle, dammit!) Now, I am totally p*ssed! And, mostly at myself, which is not good!

Fortunately, I had bought an extra 50 foot hose (and, this one is Goodyear rubber). So, I took off the fittings but could not find the Teflon tape (I KNOW I have like 6 rolls of this stuff). So, I got cleaned up and joined my friend B___ for lunch. Afterwards, I dragged him to a hardware store (for the Teflon tape) and then to Linens & Things (to replace the cutting board I screwed up).

Now, back at home, I got to work for real. By 4:00 PM, the living room was finished. Got out the Mop & Glo, and did the floor by the wall I just finished. Since I had to wait for it to dry, I decided to reward myself with a nap. So, I did. I woke up at 5:30 PM, and oiled all the wood furniture (the barrister bookcase and the ice box) before putting it back in place. Then I used the Mop & Glo on the main area of the living room (usually covered up by my area rug).

Jake called just as I had finished, and we talked a bit. Now it's almost 7:30 PM and I am starting the demo in the entry way. Small area, but it has three doorways. I was hoping to finish this tonight and also install the new kitchen faucet. But, once again, I guess I have unrealistic expectations.

Sh*T!!! Ran into an unexpected problem! First thing I noticed was the shoe molding was wood (which was nice as it doesn't break apart, but came off whole). Second thing was that they didn't take off the existing baseboard molding before laying the 12" x 12" tiles (same as downstairs), so, essentially, about � to � inch of the molding is trapped. I tried everything I could, but short of damaging the wall or the tile, no dice.

I called my friend B___, who is the acting consultant on this project. The only advice he had was to use a 2-inch wood chisel and "carefully" cut a line in the molding at or below the tile level. Good advice, I think, but I am too tired and too bummed now to proceed.

So, I quit! I stripped off my soggy clothes and took a shower at 8:30 PM. I just washed my bedding today and don't want to mess it up this soon. Dinner was a problem. I'm out of leftovers and don't feel like cooking, but am hungry. So, I cored a small cauliflower, broke it into florets, boiled it and then ate the whole damn thing with butter and salt. Got my book and went to bed with the intention of reading a while. I probably read for, oh, two to three minutes, tops! Woke up after midnight with my face in my book and the reading light on. Put the book on the nightstand, turned off the light and went to sleep for real.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Interesting thought...

"Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?"

~Jimi Hendricks

Final push - Day 2

I got up at 6:30 AM and had oatmeal for breakfast. Then I showered and shaved and put a put of clothes in the wash machine. Next, I got back to work in the living room. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I took today and Friday as vacation days. I am planning on finishing this remodeling and getting back to normal around here (well, as normal as it ever gets lol!)

Removing the molding is getting to me. A lot of bending over (to avoid kneeling) and the shoe molding the guy used is that plastic crap, so the nails are staying in and its just breaking apart. So, I have to go back over it and pull out the nails.

I took a break at 10:30 AM, and got dressed to go to lunch with B___, who did NOT take off this week. After lunch, I ran up to the library to exchange books. Then, back home and back to work. I got the doorway into the kitchen done, and then started on base boards and shoe molding. At B___'s suggestion, I am getting the three walls done, then moving the furniture back so I have more room to demo, then redo the last wall.

Just heard there is a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for my area, with damaging winds and possible hail, so rearranged my saws and stuff so I could pull the car back into the garage. I'd locked and left it in the driveway to give me more room. Much more aggravating now, a lot less space to work in, but at least my car's safe. Sure enough, at 3:50 PM, it started raining. It might be more work for the molding effort, but at least I may not have to water the gardens tonight.

Well, no such luck. Rained a little bit, no thunder, no hail, and now at 4:30 PM, the sun's back out. I got the three sides of the living room finished by 7:00 PM. Deciding this was the last time I'd probably have all the furniture away from the walls, I got out the Mop & Glo I'd bought for the hallway and washed all three sides of the outer floor, from the furniture to the nice fresh molding. Leaving that to dry, I went out to water the gardens. I got then all done except the back one (I'll do that in the morning) and quit to go eat dinner.

Dinner was the last of the baby back ribs and potato salad. Either I was starving or the food was really good, but it all tasted fantastic. I grabbed one of the new books from the library and read until I fell asleep.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fourth of July!!!

I slept terrible last night. As I noted in yesterday's blog, I was up between midnight and 2:00 AM. I probably woke up every hour after that, for some reason, until I gave up and got up at 8:30 AM.

I made myself some eggs over easy, bacon and toast for my Holiday breakfast. I decided to forego my shave and shower and get to work. Today's project? Removing all the molding in the living room and entryway. I am being extremely careful, because I don't want to touch up the paint in here. So, I am using a razor knife and cutting the paint between the wall and the molding before removing it. I am throwing the old molding with nails out on the back patio, where I will eventually cut it up and burn it in the chiminea.

I was about half way done at 2:00 PM when I realized I was hungry, and I had made no plans for tonight's dinner. So, I warmed up two hot dogs to take care of my immediate luncheon needs. Then I cut up 6 medium-sized redskin potatoes and put them on to boil for potato salad.

While that was happening, I took a good sized valadia onion and diced it. Went to the fridge to get out some celery and...

THERE WAS NONE!!! Now, what do I do? Quit, take a shower and go to the nearest grocery store (2.7 miles away)? No way! Swallowed my pride and walked my stinky self next door and asked my neighbor if I could have two stalks of celery. She said she was all out, but surprisingly, she offered to go to the store for me. I declined her generous offer and went back home.

I thought about it a bit, and then I called Tonya, my lawn cutting lady down the street. She said she was out shopping, but would call home and tell her daughter (who I have met before) to open the door (she's not allowed to open the door when her Mom's not there) and give me two stalks of celery. So, I waited five minutes, went down there and, sure enough, her daughter gave me two stalks of celery, while I apologized for bothering her. Came back home, chopped up the celery, grated a carrot, put the potatoes in the fridge to cool and made the dressing with mustard, Miracle Whip, a handful of chopped fresh parsley and a splash of buttermilk. Put it all together with the now cooled potatoes and, after covering it, put it in the fridge for tonight. Then I got back to molding removal at 6:15 PM.

I got all but two pieces of molding removed from the living room when I decided to quit for the night. I know it sounds simple, but it was cut the paint between the molding and the wall, then pry off the molding, but not damage the wall (I used, but also cracked, my small plastic cutting board as something to pry against rather than the naked wall), then sweep up any chunks of plaster, and finally vacuum up all the dust, etc., then move on to the next piece.

So, I took a long-needed shower, then I warmed up two hamburgers and ate them with the potato salad for dinner. My lousy sleep the night before caught up with me and, forgetting all about any fireworks, I was asleep before it was dark.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


I went outside at 6:50 AM to put out the garbage, only to find the garbage men had come and gone! Dammit! The rules say I have until 7:00 AM! Now, I'm stuck with three bags of garbage for another week! I am so ticked!

Work was, well, work. At lunch, B___ and I stopped at a hardware store and picked up what I hope I need to replace the faucets: an 8 inch piece of 1/2-inch pipe (for leverage) and two new flexible waterlines.

When I got home, I was pleased to note that Tonya had cut my grass (well, I might have prompted her just a little bit. I called and left a message on her machine that I was thinking of having people over on the Fourth and wondered if she'd planned on cutting the grass today?) Anyway, she left me my June bill in the mailbox, so I filled out the check and drove it down to her. When I was there, I noticed several of her plants/bushes were dying or dead. We talked about it, but, like me and my brother Carl, we came to no good conclusion (the heat? the lack of regular rain? global warming?)

Went back home and changed clothes. I noticed a poor bird, standing in the now empty bird bath, so I filled my pitcher full of cold, clean water and filled it back up. While I was out there, I filled the feeder and made a quick pass around the back yard to pick up any trash the mower had cut up. Grabbed some catnip for Scruffy while I was at it and brought it in to him. He went a little nuts, but that's okay. I know how he feels...

Now onto the real work of the night: Polyurethaning everything! Dragged the sawhorses out, put on my rubber gloves, got set up and then I started. Other than two bathroom breaks, worked on it steady until 7:50 PM, all the while being tortured by the food smells from the Coney Island across the alley. So, when I finished, instead of working on the kitchen faucet replacement like I had planned, I warmed up some burgers and corn and ate dinner. Watched a little TV until about 10:00 PM when I fell asleep. Woke up just after midnight and watched the Tonight show. Then I came in here to find those song lyrics and to type this. Now back to bed for real!

Heard her sing this on Leno tonight...

and it touched a sad, old familiar chord...

by Lucinda Williams

I can't feel my love anymore
I can't feel my love anymore
The mystery and the splendor don't thrill me like before
And I can't feel my love anymore

I don't want to talk to anyone
I don't want to talk to anyone
All the words that used to work have melted in the sun
And I don't want to talk to anyone

Faces look familiar but they don't have names
Towns I used to live in have been rearranged
Highways I once traveled down don't look the same
Everything has changed
Everything has changed

I can't find my joy anywhere
I can't find my joy anywhere
All the magic vanished into the misty air
And I can't find my joy anywhere

Now I don't know where my faith has gone
Now I don't know where my faith has gone
From the wonder I had a sense of to the brightest star that shone
Now I don't know where my faith has gone

Faces look familiar but they don't have names
Towns I used to live in have been rearranged
Highways I once traveled down don't look the same
Everything has changed
Everything has changed

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Monday's Woes

Well, the plan was to polyurethane all the living room molding tonight, but I found 10 pieces I had stashed that never got stained. Since I can't seem to find a good way to clean the brush after using the polyurethane, I'll stain these and then polyurethane them all tomorrow night.

After that and cleanup, I installed my new flag (the old one was fraying and you gotta look your best for Independence Day, right?) Then I went inside to look at the kitchen faucet I need to replace. Problem is that the cabinet is a very busy place. It has the water meter, a garbage disposal, the drains and the water lines which don't leave a lot of room for me to get myself in there.

I did manage to get the faucet wrench on the nut, but wasn't able to turn it. I need to get about a six-inch piece of pipe to add a little leverage, I guess. But I don't have one so this project is now on hold.

Warmed up two hot dogs and the rest of the beans for dinner, watched TV and then went to bed.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A perfect Sunday

Woke up at 6:30 AM for the second day in a row. It was deliciously cool outside (I had the window opened again), so I decided to wait on the shave, shower and breakfast and went out to water all the gardens. I am using the Miracle-Gro Liquifeed again (it says to use every 7 - 14 days. I did it for the first time last weekend and I will switch to 14 days as soon as I get these gardens back in shape!) Next, I came in to write the Saturday Blog, then back out to water all the container gardens.

I noticed several things while I was watering, so I grabbed my pruning shears and headed out to the back garden. Trimmed up the bushes as needed and weeded the whole garden.

Then, I grabbed the electric trimmer and worked on the bushes up front. Finally, I got the weedwacker and cleaned up the grass next to the front garden.

It's almost 11:30 AM and now I am back to the kitchen floor and paint cleanup. I finished up and found there was a unexpected side benefit to my efforts! The "Goof Off" (nasty smelling stuff that eats off latex paint) also removed the scuff marks from my old chairs! Anyway, I finished up, so I stopped and shaved and showered. Got dressed to go grocery shopping, then filled a bucket with Top Job and washed the kitchen floor on my way out.

This time I tried the Kroger's at 5 Mile and Merriman. Much more to my liking! Wide aisles, good selection, etc., I must have liked it as I filled out the form to get a Kroger Savings card (Hey, it knocked $20 off my bill! I ain't complaining!) I admit I had an ulterior motive, too. They had baby back ribs and sweet corn on sale. I got two slabs of ribs, one for today and one to freeze.

On the way back home, I stopped at the Feed Store and got another 40 pounds of bird feed and some suet cakes for my fine, feathered friends. I forgot to mention it, but I had two adult male blue jays sitting on the two shepherd's crooks that hold the feeder and the suet cage this morning. I was struck on how big those suckers really are! Magnificent looking birds!

So, I got the groceries put away and the oven pre-heated to 250 degrees F. I cut the ribs in half, put them in the roasting pan on a rack and poured a cup pf apple juice and a cup of bourbon over them and the rubbed them with a mixture of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, Montreal steak seasoning and chopped garlic. Put the pan in the oven and set the timer for 3 and � hours. Yes, I am making my sweet bourbon baby backs and corn for tonight's dinner. Since I will have the grill fired up anyway, I'll also make 8 hamburgers and 8 hot dogs for quick meals in the upcoming week.

Next, I took the eight eggs I still had left (I just bought another dozen) and put them in a pan to make them hard-boiled. Then I took the first load out of the dryer (my bedding) and made the bed. I put the load in the wash machine in the dryer and started the last load (the rugs for the kitchen and the main bath).

I don't really have time for a nap today, but I determined I earned a break so, at 4:00 PM, I got my book and sat on the couch, reading, for exactly � hour. I got up and went out and re-stained the baseboards and shoe molding. BTW, did I mention the weather is perfect today? Not too hot, a nice breeze and enough puffy white clouds to make the sky interesting.

After that messy job, I cleaned up, lit the charcoal in the grill and went in to make the hamburger patties. I browned the remaining ground chuck in a pan with some chopped onions, and then added a can of Bush's Baked Beans.

I grilled the burgers and hot dogs perfectly, and then roasted the sweet corn. The corn went on a cookie sheet and into the oven (set at "warm") while I finished the ribs. Unfortunately, I messed them up by leaving them on a bit too long (there IS but a slight difference in time, but a big difference between "caramelized" and "burnt"). But, hey, it's just the barbeque sauce, not the actual meat, ya know?

Got everything inside and closed the garage door for the night. Made myself a big plate of ribs, sweet corn and baked beans and settled in for some TV. I fell asleep before 9:00 PM, but woke up at midnight which gave me time to clean up the mess in the kitchen, fill and run the dishwasher, throw the throw rugs in the dryer (that's fun to say! Try it!) and write this entry before going back to bed for real.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

On This Day in History

Big events happened in both our country and our neighbor to the North, Canada:

July 1, 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg, which marked the turning point in the Civil War, began.

July 1, 1867: Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain under the British North America Act.

Another Canadian milestone as noted in my Homepage - July 1,1980: "O Canada" became Canada's national anthem!

Saturday and another Father's Day!

I woke up at 6:30 AM with setting the alarm. I remembered to open the window last night, so I slept good. The plan is to run errands this morning, work this afternoon and then tonight, Jake and Carla are taking me out to dinner for Father's Day.

So, I'm off to Home Depot to buy door handles and locksets. On an
impulse, I also grabbed 5 sets of glass door handles for the hallway door (I thought they'd look nice and old-fashioned). Then I stopped at CVS to pick up two prescriptions and, after that, I stopped at Farmer Jacks (only 5 days left before they shut the doors). Half the store has bare shelves now (it's so sad) and none of the stuff I wanted is left, but did pick up a bag of frozen shrimp, some canned whole tomatoes, olives and pickles (all, now, 70 percent off).

Got back, but left the car outside. Put down boards on the floor and shifted all the new molding onto them, so I can use the trailer. I hooked it up and now I'm off to Lowes, to buy a new steel door for the downstairs patio I saw in their "Fourth of July" sales paper. Long time readers may remember that the door that's there is wood, falling apart and I can't seem to fix it. I have priced them before at Home Depot, but they run around $300. This one's listed at $215!

I admit I was a bit bummed when I told the guy at "Doors" I wanted the 15 pane steel door on sale for $215.00 and he said, "Oh, no, they're not on sale. That's the regular price!"

When I got home, I unloaded the door and propped it up in the back room. Put all the trim wood back on the trailer so I can park in the garage. Then, I looked at the glass door knobs and realized I would need the part that screws to the door (the back plate? I dunno) as my current door knobs are one piece. So, back to Home Depot for back plates (or whatever they are called). Then went home, only to drive back after realizing I left my cane on the cart. It was still there, although a couple were just then pushing it to the store.

Got back home and tried the back plate or whatever. Problem! No wood to screw into. They cover the hole, but that's all it is: a big hole! Scratched my head a while and thought of something to try. I am seriously regretting that impulse at this time!

Put that on the back burner and got to work installing more things in the kitchen. Wash rag rack, stick blender holder and toaster oven rack handle holder. I think the only thing left is the fire extinguisher under the sink cupboard.

Next, and very important, is to remove the paint off the kitchen tile. I am doing it in small sections so I don't miss any. I have three done so far. But first, lunch. So, I opened up some canned corn beef and made two sandwiches (bear in mind its now about 2:00 PM, as this will come up later as a big mistake).

Decided a nap would be nice, so set the alarm for 4:30 and went to sleep. When I got up, I shaved and showered (again) and got dressed. I left for Jake and Carla's about 5:30. When I got to Jake and Carla's, they were standing outside. So we hopped into their car and drove to Novi and Shiro's and my Father's Day meal.

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. But, enough about the setting, onto the meal!

For the appetizer, we had escargot and vegetable tempura. Then came the soup. They both had miso soup while I had clam chowder (tasted theirs and wish I'd ordered it). The salad was just so-so with a house dressing that had a lot of ginger in it. They both had saki, I stuck with water (gallons of it, probably from the salty dipping sauce).

Carla's entr�e was the Sushi deluxe. I chose the Sashimi regular while Jake went with the Sashimi deluxe. For clarification, Sushi is raw fish, rolled in sticky rice and an outer coating of a flat seaweed (unless its California-style - then thr rice is on the outside). Sashimi is just the raw fish. I did ask the waiter what kinds of fish I had and I wish I could remember everything he said, but it was like four kinds of tuna (the albacore tuna was my least favorite), salmon and two other kinds that I forget.

Here's where eating that late lunch came back to bite me. I got full before I had finished half my meal! Jake and Carla came to my rescue and ate the remaining fish for me, so it didn't go to waste. But I felt almost as stupid as I did when I tried to use chop sticks, Hey, I was good with them in Korea (but that was probably 15 years ago). Anyway, we left, full and content. Thanks, guys!

I got home about 8:30 PM and did two more sections of the kitchen floor (why didn't I use a stupid drop cloth? What was I thinking?) I happened to look out the kitchen window and noticed that the whole back yard was filled with fire flies. So, when I finished, went out and sat on the front porch. There weren't as many fire flies, but there were fireworks! Somebody was shooting them off South East from my house (which was great as that's the only view unobstructed by trees). It had to be Garden City or maybe Dearborn as they were too many and too regular to be some guy in his backyard. Just as they stopped and I was thinking of going in, a huge moon rose in the exact same spot! So, I stayed and enjoyed that for a while.

I went in and watched a taped show, then went to bed, knowing I have one more Father's Day to celebrate. When I finish with the house, I still need to make a special dish with my Father's Day present from Jeremy's clan: Black Truffles.

All in all, except for those damn glass door knobs, it was a great day...