Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday's Story

I got up on Saturday just before dawn, so it looked gloomy out. I lazed (is that a word?) through my morning routines and after shaving and showering, but on my shorts and T-shirt. Even after the sun rose, the clouds hid it, so it still looked gloomy, which depressed both my mental state and my ambition.

I didn’t do any one big thing all day, just a collection of small things that needed to be done (two more loads of laundry, clean the toilets, wash the stove top, stuff like that) interspersed with some DIY TV show watching and general laziness.

The sun did finally come out here in the afternoon, but by then I was into working on stuff inside and decided that I’d do outside on Sunday. There is a “slight” chance of rain Sunday morning, but it never rains here when they say “slight.”

I did talk with Jake, who was on his way to the Post. He said it was drizzly down there and Carla was thinking about making chicken soup for Sunday dinner. Which is interesting, because I thought I’d make some comfort food for Sunday dinner myself.

As far as food goes, you know my normal breakfast, but for lunch I made some of the blue box mac and cheese (more to use up some of the milk before I have to dump it, actually) and then for dinner I made a Marie Callender’s Chicken pot pie.

I couldn’t watch the evening news as the Ryder Cup golf tournament was on Channel 4 until after 8:00 PM. So, I mostly read (at first in the lift chair in the living room and then in bed) until 11:00. I watched the news and then went to bed.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I forgot to post the Blog Entry!

I woke up on Saturday and went to post it, but got involved with a lot of Facebook stuff. I shut it down and went on my merry way and never posted the Blog entry. I don’t think I’ve ever done that, even when I was drinking heavy! I apologize.

Let’s see... Friday morning, I went in early (to make up any time for rehab) and it was cold. So, I wore my jacket. Note: this seems weird, but traffic is worse at 7:15 than at 7:45 AM.

At lunch, I decided I had errands to run and gave up on eating. First, I went to the credit union and went inside (to a LONG line of people) and got out the money to pay for my dental work.

Next, I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to check something out (too expensive) and got some more trail mix for my breakfasts.

Then I went to Lowe’s and picked up some shelf paper. On my way out, I bought two hot dogs (they are definitely better at Home Depot, BTW) and ate them driving back to work.

When I got home from work, I started a load of laundry. I went outside and pulled everything but the tomato plants up out of the raised bed vegetable garden. I would had taken out the tomatoes, too, but I forgot to bring scissors to cut the Velcro strips that hold then to the trellis.

Back inside, I hung up my shirts and made dinner. I was trying to eat all the leftovers so I don’t have to throw them out. I watched a little TV, but went to bed early again.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Good Thursday

The weather never lived up to Thursday morning’s forecast. It sure didn’t feel like it got up to 70 degrees (but it might have just been the chilly wind and me with no jacket).

I had therapy again today at 11:45 AM. Instead of a drive through on the way back, I stopped at Westborn Market and got a big container of excellent chicken noodle soup. I actually think that was quicker!

When I got home, I changed my shoes, put on a jacket and watered the container gardens. Then I set up the oscillating sprinkler to water the garden in the back of the house.

I went back into the house and turned on the bedroom light to check out the news. That’s when I saw a cat had barfed on the bed. And, not just on the bed, but also part of the sheet and one pillowcase (I KNEW I should have made the bed before I left for work this morning!)

So, I stripped the bed, treated the stains and put all the bedding in the washer. I also changed the timer for the sprinkler from one hour to two, to allow for the lower water pressure when the washer fills for washing and rinsing, etc. Then I went and watched the news after making a cup of coffee to warm up.

I talked with both Jake (he wanted to know more about my new dentist and tell me his own dentist story) and B___ (he’s just about finished getting his boat ready to be pulled and also wanted to know if I was going hunting this year – he’s not, he was just curious).

I shut off the water and reeled in the hose under the glare of the security lights (it had gotten dark by then. I got the bedding from the dryer and remade the bed.

When I got hungry, I reheated another container of chili I made and froze last winter, and thawed overnight. I ate it with corn chips and this time some medium salsa. When! Then my stomach hurt in two ways: the muscles from PT and the insides from the spicy food.

I watched a couple of taped shows, but went to bed early.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Re-potted plant at work

Hump Day

It was a drizzly kind of morning that turned into a drizzly kind of day on Wednesday. I noticed my stomach muscles were sore from Physical Therapy when I was washing them in the shower.

I took back the de-thatcher to Home Depot at lunch (yes, I don’t have PT today, thank goodness!) Since I was there anyway, I bought a small bag of potting soil (I’ve used up all mine at the house). At home, I ate lunch (the last brat) and then I grabbed a big pot and took it and the potting soil back to work. Then I repotted the single living plant left in our office. As I thought, it was root bound, so the bigger pot and new soil should help it keep alive. It was also all bent over, so I tied it to a stick to straighten it up. I watered it then and it looked a 100% better. I took a picture of it with my phone for you.

I stopped at CVS on the way back home after work to pick up a refill on a prescription. Then I went home, treated the cats and changed my shoes. I checked my email and replied to a few. Then I went out front and watered the new grass and the mailbox garden. Then I dumped two gallons apiece on the new arborvitae, the new rose and the old, little forsythia.

Two neighbor’s I’ve seen before but don’t know their names went by on their bicycles and yelled out, “Hello.” I said, “Hello!” back. Then the guy said, “Your yard looks great!” I thanked him, but it was funny because I had just been thinking how crappy my yard looked with everything dying now and the black walnut leaves everywhere.

When I got back inside, it was after 7:00 PM. I had missed the evening news and was getting hungry. So, I warmed up the rest of the pizza for my dinner. I watched another episode of Breaking Bad and then taped shows until about 11:00 PM. I went to bed, then.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Long Day

It was 51 degrees F. Tuesday morning (at least 10-15 degrees warmer than Monday morning) so I left my coat home.

This time I really did have therapy at 11:45 AM. It was a pain in the, well, stomach again, but much easier when doing it BEFORE eating lunch. He added a few more exercises and a few more reps to the existing ones (but they always do).

When I was done, I did go through McDonalds (there’s one nearby) and got a Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal (extra salt on the fries and a small cola). By the time I got back to work, lunch was gone.

I remembered to take four 500 MG tablets of Amoxicillin at 4:30 PM to pre-medicate myself for my 5:30 appointment with the new dentist. I stopped at home just long enough to bring in my empty garbage can, brush my teeth, gargle with mouthwash and, of course, treat the cats and still made it to my appointment on time.

I was very impressed with his facility, the staff and the dentist himself. They took a complete set of digital x-rays (I’ve never seen that technique before) as well as digital photos of my teeth.

Then I had a nice chat with the dentist, after he checked everything and did an oral cancer test. He started talking about capping my front lower teeth (which are worn from chewing with them, both before I had the original bridge made and since losing it). I explained to him that at my age, I don’t give a crap about having a perfect smile and teeth. I just want a bridge, so I can chew my food again.

He said if it was a matter of money, they had a 0% interest payment option. I said, no, I will pay for it when I get treated. But I want to know BEFORE I get things done what I am going to have to pay. He said they can get close, but not accurate, as sometimes the insurance pays more than they say they will (I doubt that) and sometimes less (that I can believe).

So, I set up the next two appointments. In order to fix what my old dentist screwed up and make the molds for the bridge (just the molds, mind you) my share will be “approximately” $273.00 US. I told the office manager to go ahead and schedule it (as I said, both the dentist and his staff all impressed me).

By the time I got home it was after 7:30 PM and I was beat. It had been a long day. I made myself a BLT and ate that watching some taped TV. Later on, when I got hungry again, I ate the last of the faux Roka Blue Cheese Spread on saltine crackers. I went to sleep just after 11:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday Moanin’

It was freaking cold on Monday morning! We didn’t get any frost here, but I did have to wear my thicker jacket.

I had set up all my physical therapy (PT) sessions near noon. That way, I figured I could hit a drive-through on the way back to work and grab a bite to eat in the car.

I was supposed to go at 11:45 AM today, but they called and said there was some scheduling problem and could I come at 2:15 PM instead. “Sure,” I said.

So, when Vicky and Michelle went out to lunch, I gave them some money and asked them to bring me back something (they said they’d call when they decided where they were going). I was hoping the Newburgh Grill, so I could get a mini-Greek salad. But, it turned out they ended up at Jimmy John’s, so I asked them to bring me back a turkey sandwich and a pickle.

Well, they didn’t get back until around 1:00, so I was starved and I wolfed down my sandwich (and pickle) then. BIG MISTAKE!

I learned a valuable lesson that I will now share with you. Never go to a PT session with a full stomach when everything you are doing involves your stomach muscles!

Today's physical therapist, Chuck, told me an amusing story about trying to get to work this morning. He lives further out and parks outside. So, when he left for work,he had heavy frost on the windows and no idea where he put the window scraper last Spring. Late for work, he tried the window washer fluid and wiper thing and drove the first mile or so, trying to look through a six-inch square of streaky frosted glass. Note to self: Put the ice scraper back in the car (I know where it is).

Two of our IT techs were off sick with the flu today and Matt (another Tech and Help Desk guy) said he was in bed all weekend with it as well. Uh, oh... So, it was probably too late, but I stopped on the way home at CVS and got my yearly flu shot. It took a while, but I hope it was worth it.

Back home at last, I took the garbage out to the road and started rounding up the rest to go into another garbage bag with the used kitty litter. I watered the new grass seedlings again.

Jake called and we talked for a while, mostly about their trip to Atlanta. He said it’s going to be their new Chicago. Since I’ve only driven through Chicago, and never stayed there, I can only relate to what other people have told me about it (great places to eat and shop, great views, all within walking distance of nice hotels).

I put a DiGiorno garlic bread pizza in the oven after adding some banana peppers, red chili flakes and more mozzarella on top. When the timer went off, I took it out and cut it up. I ate some of it watching TV and it was very good (and very garlicky).

I went to bed after the nightly news.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday's Story

I woke up at the usual time on Sunday (for a change). Unfortunately, it’s too cold to do anything outside yet. So, I watched the morning news shows and had several cups of coffee. I refilled the pill box and rewound the clock.

Fortunately, B___ called around 10:00 AM. Unfortunately he said my idea with the dethatcher wouldn’t work for what I wanted. He said they have springs, so when they touch the ground, they spring back and don’t disturb the soil itself. So, my idea of dragging it across the packed limestone driveway to get rid of the existing, but dead grass, will not work. He said he uses herbicide on his patio blocks and then uses a hand-held propane torch to burn off the dead vegetation.

But, he said, he had no idea how many little propane tanks it would take to clear off half my driveway. I said, “No problem!” as I still have the mother of all flame-throwers left from when Jake and I laid down a new roof on the St. Clair house second story deck. It hooks to a propane tank and puts out a flame that would melt, well, rubber. We hung up and I went about my day.

I started by putting the unopened dethacher back in the back seat of the Volvo. I’ll dig out the receipt later and return it on Monday.

I still hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I made it a brunch. I heated up a handful of frozen hash browns in canola oil and butter. I warmed up two strips of the bacon I made (for the BLTs) in the microwave (a paper plate and paper towels help keep the mess down) and then cooked two eggs over easy. I ate it and thoroughly enjoyed it while I watched a DIY show.

Then I shaved and showered. Next I did the usual Sunday morning (although it was already afternoon) stuff. It was cloudy and looked like rain, but I didn’t trust it. So, I watered all the container gardens and the newly sown grass seed. I also started the last load of the weekend wash.

Then I filled the two gallon bucket with water and dumped it on the new rose bush, refilled it and then watered the new arborvitae in front and the two peonies out back.

I did dump the rest of that god-awful veggie soup in the trash. But, when I went to take out the bag and put it in the garbage can, the bag broke! So, I took a real garbage bag and put it over the trash basket. I turned it upside down and let most of it go into the bag. That went into the garbage can.

I soaked a sponge with Pine-Sol and washed the kitchen garbage tub outside with the garden hose. Luckily, the sun was out, so I left it to dry sitting on a footstool on the patio.

Back inside, I put a small grill I bought a while ago for Lake Orion and the shelf I took down when I installed the new shelving unit downstairs up in the attic. Then I went out and started cleaning the small workbench.

It was after 5:00 PM, so I decided to take a nap again. Unfortunately, I didn’t wake up until after 7:00 PM, so it was way too late to roast the turkey and the yams. So, I put the turkey back in the fridge and made a BLT for my dinner. I brought in the new-dry trash can and put a fresh bag in it.

I dug out the humidifier and found the carbon filter inserts (I had two left). I put in two cups of vinegar first before adding the water tank. Now the whole house smells like pickles (which reminds me of a girl I used to know, but that’s another story).

I watched taped shows and then the next episode of Breaking Bad. When it was done, I went to bed. I don’t know, I got a lot done, but since I didn’t get the peg board installed, I felt like I wasted the weekend...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Song Snippet

I got some bad news this morning
Which in turn made my day
When this someone spoke I listened
All of a sudden, has less and less to say
Ohhhhhh how could this be?
All this time, I've lived vicariously
Who's gonna save my soul now?
Who's gonna save my soul now?

~ Gnarls Barkley


I woke up a little early on Saturday, but drank coffee and watched the news for a while. Then I posted the entry for the Blog and went through the rest of my morning rituals (only deviating by eating a slice of buttered zucchini bread instead of oatmeal for breakfast). I had a 9:00 AM haircut scheduled.

I left and got there five minutes early, but it was okay because she was already here (usually, one of us has to wait for the other for a few minutes). When I was done, I started my weekly errands run.

First it was Westborn for some yams. Since I was there, I grabbed two tubs of the Williams Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Spread. Melissa has got me hooked on this stuff. It’s the only place around here I can find it and I know I probably pay too much, but dip a pretzel rod in it and IT IS WORTH IT! Okay, so, eating it as a snack in bed watching TV also leaves crumbs that are uncomfortable later when trying to sleep but, trust me, IT IS WORTH IT!

But, I digress. I also got a head of garlic and another sweet onion.

From there, I went to Home Depot. When I was cleaning out my furnace/water heater closet (What? You don’t?) the other cold, windy day, I noticed a draft coming from where the pipes come through the cement block wall from the air conditioner outside. The furnace is in the way of the only light in the closet, so I couldn’t tell exactly “where” it was coming from. So, today, I picked up some of that foam insulation spray.

Now, from bitter experience I usually only buy the non-expanding stuff (a door frame will go out of plumb or level using the expanding stuff, for example. I know. I been there.), but this time, since it’s a cement block wall, I went with expanding, hoping to seal whatever leaks I might have.

I also picked up two 60 watt-equivalent CLF bulbs, but the kind that still look like a regular light bulb (round, not squiggly). I want to put them in the bathroom, but I don’t want to mar the look the of the antique glass fixtures my Mother gave me that belonged to my Grandmother.

Note to Jake: Remember this when I die. Don’t leave those glass globes in the bathroom. Take them off and give them to somebody in the family who might give a sh*t. There were originally three, but I only needed two, so I gave the other antique one to your Mom. So, either give my two to your mother or ask for the one back. They were from your great-grandmother. Your call.

I also bought two 2 foot by 4 foot white pegboards for the garage redo and a tractor pull-behind lawn de-thatcher because I have a wild idea up my *ss on how to fix my driveway. And, if it doesn’t work, I can always de-thatch my lawn, I suppose.

Next I went to PetSmart and got more cat treats and a 42-pound bag of kitty litter. I thoroughly enjoyed flirting with the young blonde cashier and she seemed like she did too. I mean, come on, its not like she’s a waitress and you’ll give her a bigger tip if she’s nice, right? Let an old man have his fantasies...

Then I drove home. I unloaded a handful of stuff and treated the cats. Then I went back outside for the rest. I stripped the bed while the cat’s were preoccupied and started the weekend wash.

The I replaced the lights in the bathroom. Hmmm... The round bulb does sorta hide the squiggly CFL, but I’m not impressed with how long it takes to get fully lit. I suppose, though, that would be a blessing on some mornings when I need to “ease” into facing myself in the mirror to shave. I dunno... I’m just trying to get green and save some green at the same time.

Next, I got out my rolling walker (I still keep it downstairs, just in case) and rolled it out to the garage and put the kitty litter on it, then rolled it back into the house. I don’t fear picking up a 42 pound bag of litter and putting it into the cart and then into the car. But carrying it for a distance seems fraught with peril for a spinal fusion kinda guy. So, I just roll it (hey, that’s how I roll, man).

Then I went out and started working on the two benches just around noon. I pulled the car back outside and left the garage door open, BTW. We’re not supposed to get any rain (we never got the predicted 8:00 AM rain here, BTW) until tonight and I like the fresh Fall air and the added light. I really need to install windows in my garage door (one of the items on my 2012 projects before I got screwed up).

Speaking of rain, I did check the gauge this morning and we got less than 1/4 inch overnight. We’ll see what develops today. At least I don’t have to worry about the newly sown grass.

But, before I started on the work benches, I had two missions to accomplish. I dug through my little chest freezer in the garage and took out the rest of the bird suet (I had bought a whole carton somewhere, sometime, last year and froze most of it) and a young turkey I got on sale after last Christmas. One of the suet cakes and the turkey I left out to thaw. The other suet cakes went into the fridge.

The next item of the day was to restore my Craftsman socket set. If you remember, I dropped it and sockets and stuff went everywhere. So, I had washed out the case and, when it dried, I sprayed it with WD-40 and let that dry as well. So, today, I am wiping off every socket, extension and ratchet and replacing them. This took a long, long time and I am still missing about half of them (I can only assume they are under the benches or something).

Then I started cleaning the work benches. Here’s how I get around the stupid garbage pickup regulations (but don’t tell anybody): Now, I’m pretty sure that a chunk of wood will disintegrate long before a plastic bottle. So, I feel justified to use a “Lawn and Garden” paper bag inside of a plastic trash bag. I put all my trash in it until its about half full and then just fold it over and tighten up the plastic bag. That goes out to the trash on the pickup day.

So, I got the main work bench done (the one with the tool box and the chop saw) but I went back inside before tackling the small bench (with the band saw and belt sander).

I decided to take the bull by the horns with this “going to bed to early” and just take a nap, so I did.

I slept until after 6:00 PM and woke up refreshed and invigorated. But, not so invigorated that I felt like going back out to the garage and working. So, I pulled the car back in and buttoned everything up for the night.

Back inside, I decided to make some vegetable soup for dinner. First, I sautéed a chopped onion, Then I added a pound of thawed ground chuck and browned that. When it was ready, I added four cups of chicken stock, a handful of fresh thyme leaves and another handful of fresh oregano leaves. A dried bay leaf completed my herbs.

I added half a bag of frozen mixed veggies, two diced redskin potatoes (skin on) and, in a moment of sheer stupidity, a diced fresh butternut squash (I peeled it, dug out the seeds and cubed it). To further compound my error, I put in about a half a pound of elbow macaroni I had left from something or another.

I had to add another whole box of chicken stock to keep it soup. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and dished out a big bowl.

It tasted like crap!

The butternut squash gave it an off flavor that even more salt couldn’t fix. Don’t get me wrong, I ate it and even had a second helping. But, the rest will go in the trash. Bleech! DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, FOLKS!

I watched some taped DIY and NCIS shows and then another episode of Breaking BAD. Note to Jake: Now I get it! Tight!

I went to bed at 11:30 PM after the news.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quote (?) of the day

"Sometimes the most significant moments happen in your life without any choice at all."

~A character on an old NCIS episode

Random Thought

Fran and I have been going back on Facebook about the latest terrorist acts. But, since we are talking about religion, it brought back a memory I'll never forget. It was like first or second grade in Catholic School and the nun (I don't remember her name anymore) was saying that only baptisted Catholics would get into Heaven. Everyone else was doomed to hell.

My old friend, Danny, (who's was killed in Texas with his son in a train/car wreck probably 30 years ago) spoke up and said his dad was good man and a practicing Lutheran who went to church every Sunday and had married his sweetheart, Danny's mom who was a Catholic. So, won't he go to heaven, too?

The nun said, "No, I'm sorry to tell you this, but he will go to hell."

Even as young as I was, I couldn't believe anybody (no matter what religion) would say that to a little kid!

Song Snippet

Note: I am pretty sure I have posted this before, but I heard it this morning and it once again touched me deeply, so you're just going to have to deal with it, LOL!

“There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all”

~ In My Life

Safety stripe with overspray

Rearranged garage #1

Rearranged garage #2


I woke up around 3:30 AM (I went to bed too early, it seemed) and dozed off and on until the alarm went off. I was too sore to do my morning exercises, so I skipped them. It was even nicer weather Friday morning, so again I didn’t wear my jacket. It was supposed to get up into the 70’s but with rain about sundown.

At lunch, I went to Costco and picked up more coffee and some sugar (but they only sell it in 10 pound bags). I forgot they don’t take credit cards, just debit or cash. Luckily, I had enough cash in my wallet to cover it.

I took the stuff home, treated the cats and then heated up a brat for my lunch. Before I went back to work, I taped off about a one inch strip on the garage floor and then used that red marking paint I bought to create the garden behind the house to paint it.

My big project for the weekend is to rearrange the garage (now that all that junk is gone) for the best possible use of space. For example, I want the riding mower next to the big grill where it doesn’t have to be moved a lot, or at all, during the winter. Right now, its in front of the workbench, so I have to man-handle it every time I want to use the bench or get a tool. Once I get all that done, I will (hopefully) clean off both work benches.

The red stripe will just be a reminder NOT to have anything past it where it could possibly get hit by the garage door going up or down.

It was getting cloudy and more windy, but thankfully it was still dry by the time I went home at 5:00 PM. I opened the garage door, but left the car outside (locked). I pulled up the painter’s tape and rolled it into a ball, I shut the garage door and went inside the house.

I treated the cats and changed my shoes. Even though I have the “big” cereal Tupperware container, it would only hold about nine of the ten pounds of sugar. Damn! Now I’ll have to bake again or something so what’s left doesn’t get hard. I watched the weather (it’s gonna suck this weekend) and then went back out and opened the garage door. I started rearranging things.

Oh, and that red line? There was some (not a lot) of overspray I hadn’t counted on. Oh, well...

I got it where I think I wanted it. Both benches are now accessible and I can get to my shelves (and “stuff”) by merely rolling the light items out of the way. I took some photos so you know what I am talking about. The red stripe (and overspray) seemed dry enough (it said on the can, “dry to the touch in 15 minutes, totally dry in eight hours), so I pulled the car in, shut the garage door and buttoned everything up. I’ll try and work on the benches over the weekend.

I had found two containers of chili I made and froze last winter, so I had thawed one out overnight. I dumped it in my small saucepan and warmed it up. I ate that with corn chips as my side dish (Hey, corn is a vegetable, right?) The chili was pretty good. I’ll have to go back in the archives and find out how I made it!

I watched a couple more taped shows (I have to, my cable box hard-drive is filling up) but I called it an early night again. After I went to sleep, I got another wrong number voicemail from old George. I was glad to here he’s still around.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tired Thursday

It didn’t sound chilly outside on the TV Thursday morning, so I left without a coat. I took in the one loaf of zucchini bread. I cut half into slices and then cut them in half. I put the rest back in the baggie to stay moist, Everybody loved it. In fact, after a couple of hours, I had to cut up the second half.

It was a lot darker inside than most zucchini bread I’ve seen (even the ones I burnt were light on the inside. The only thing I can figure is that I did run out of regular sugar while making it and, since I didn’t want to make it taste like brown sugar, I used one cup of that “sugar in the raw” (natural cane turbinado sugar from Hawaii). I had that in the cupboard to sprinkle on top of Christmas cookies in past years.

It rained a little during the morning and when I took my obligatory walk in the parking lot, the chilly wind reminded me I should have brought my coat.

I worked through lunch, but luckily Michelle still wasn’t feeling well (although she came in) and decided she was going to order a Jimmy John’s sandwich for her lunch. So I had her order me a turkey one and a pickle.

I left at 1:34 PM for my physical therapy (PT). She asked me if I wanted to lie on heat pads or use a recumbent bike to loosen up, so I picked the bike.

Then we did just little exercises on the table (no machines), like sucking in your belly button as tight as you can, holding it for ten seconds (while continuing to breath – not your diaphragm, just your belly button) and so on. Sounds simple, right?

The last ten minutes or so, I laid on the hot pads. I fell asleep! She woke me up and told me my session was over.

I drove like a wild man back to work and finished my day. By the time I got home, my stomach muscles hurt! Simple exercises, my *ss!

I cut the remaining loaf of zucchini bread in half and took it over to the next door neighbors.

Carla called and we talked for a long time (not a “Melissa” long time, but a long time for me and Carla).

I warmed up two brats for dinner (I was going to make soup, but I was too tired). I ate those watching TV. Then I cleaned up and thought about either reading or watching TV. I decided what I really wanted to do was go to bed, so I did.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Second time's the charm

Man, it was cold this Wednesday morning when I woke up! I went in early again (I don’t want anybody giving me any sh*t about the time it will take me to get to and from therapy).

Lunchtime was a hurried rush. I had errands to run and I got them done! First, I went to the Credit Union and took out more cash, then I went to the bank to deposit it in my checking account. I had to stop at a gas station (the cheapest one I could find in my travels up and down Merriman Road) and filled the car up. Naturally, it wouldn’t take all the money I gave them, so I had to go back in and get my two dollars change.

From there I went to Kroger’s (Merriman and Five Mile) and grabbed a few items I needed: More zucchini, some tomatoes (mine were either all picked and used or not ready yet when I checked Tuesday night), ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon and two 1/2 cup packets of chopped pecans.

Since I knew I didn’t have time to go home and eat lunch, I picked up a pound of their Key West Rotini and Krab salad (I know Krab isn’t crabmeat, but it tastes good and I like it) and headed back to work. So cats will be p*ssed about missing their mid-day snack. I ate lunch while I worked.

Michelle finally admitted she was sick and took the day off to go to the doctor’s (she’s not been feeling well all week), so I had to do both our work. And, of course, today was the day a ton of her Purchase Requests came in and Purchase Order stuff was delivered so I was working in PeopleSoft (our ERP system) all day. As a result, I forgot to get up every two hours and take my walk, so my back started killing me. I took a pain pill and a long walk about 3:00 PM and began to feel better.

The sun was out, but it was still chilly when I got home after work. I wrote the date on the nutmeg and cinnamon bottles so I know when to dispose of them. Next, I watered all the container gardens and then the new grass seed (which has sprouted nicely, BTW). Back inside, I changed clothes and started the Wednesday night wash.

I lined a half sheet pan with tinfoil and cooked up a package of thick bacon, seasoned with fresh ground black pepper, in the oven. There’s nothing that takes the chill out of a house like using the oven!

While that was cooking, I mixed up another batch of zucchini bread. Now, it’s not that I like zucchini bread all that much, I just don’t like failure! So, when the bacon came out of the oven, I dropped the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and stuck the two load pans in. I set the timer for one hour.

I put the clothes in the dryer, made another cup of coffee and watched the last of the evening news. Then I hung up my clothes and waited for the timer to go off. When it did, I checked and they were still wet in the middle. I set the timer for another ten minutes and then checked it again. Perfect!

I pulled the pans out and let them cool on one of my cookie racks. Meanwhile, I made myself a BLT for dinner. I put the rest of the bacon in the fridge and poured the bacon grease into the cup I keep in the refrigerator.

I ate my sandwich watching a DIY show. Afterwards, I took the two loaves out of their pans. One stuck a little on the bottom of the pan (that one I’ll eat here) but the other came out perfectly (I’ll take that one into work). I put them both into Ziplock bags and went in and watched tonight’s episode of Breaking Bad. So, now I’m done with Season One.

I watched a taped NCIS show and went to bed around 11:30 PM.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I just found out I missed National Cheeseburger Day (yesterday) but at least I did get reminded by Jake that today is "Talk Like a Pirate" Day! Arrrgh!

Quote of the Day

"I've always tried to create an awareness in my children that a family is more than just a father and mother, that it can be a large community, a place of refuge - and an endless treasure trove of stories."

~ Oliver Potzsch

(he's a German author, but I can't make the umlaut in this damn Blog)

Chicken Thighs and Acorn Squash

Rainy Days and Rehab always bring me down...

It had rained here overnight, but had stopped by the time I left for work on Tuesday. As I was about to pull out of the driveway, I noticed the little wicker table was still there. I suddenly decided to keep it rather than throw it in the trash, so I put it (now newly washed) back on the porch and drove to work.

It started raining again just after I got there (whew). I left about 10:50 AM to the Botsford Center for Rehabilitation for my 11:00 AM consultation. I went through the usual talk and then the push/pull stuff. I explained that all I wanted to get out of it was my core strength back and my left arm to work better. I was getting up off the table when I got yelled at because I didn’t do the log roll and get up thing (I had completely forgotten about that by now). She said NO ONE with a spinal fusion should ever just sit up!

The receptionist helped me set up a schedule that that worked for both of us and gave me a copy. I left with that and a sheet of exercises to do at home.

Since I was right there, I stopped in at the Ackroyd Scotch Bakery and bought a cold beef meat pie for my lunch back at work. The girl behind the counter started telling me oven times to warm it back up and I told her I would be at work with just a microwave. She said, “Well, it will get kind of mushy in a microwave.”

And, since it was made with a puff pastry crust, I suppose it did, but it tasted great! In fact, since it only cost me $2.75 US, I wished I’d bought two. I ate my apple for dessert, instead.

It started raining softly again about 3:00 PM and continued until just before I left for home. So, I took the freeway, although I still had to use the wipers due to the splashing from the cars and trucks.

I got the mail and then got in the empty garbage can. I went into the house and treated the cats and then went out to check the rain gauge. I was surprised (and a little disappointed) to find that all the rain activity had only resulted in less than 1/4 of an inch here. But, it will keep the new grass and grass seed damp, I suppose. BTW, we reached the high today sometime around midnight and the temperature has been falling ever since. It was 60 degrees F. here at 5:30 PM with a chilly north wind.

And, it’s supposed to be in the low 40 degree F. range tonight. Fall has come, I guess.

I just did some chores around the house until dinner time (vacuumed the rug in the living room and the two walk-off rugs downstairs to get rid of cat hair, emptied the dishwasher, etc.). I called B___ and told him the junk hauling story and he reminded me it was cheaper than a dumpster and at least I got rid of a lot of stuff (all of which is true).

I warmed up the chicken and the squash for my supper. This time I took a picture for my Brother Carl.

I watched a couple taped episodes of NCIS and then another episode of Breaking Bad (I find its better to watch just one at a time to let everything relevant sink in). I went to sleep at 11:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The driveway, blown off

The cleaned out garage #1

The cleaned out garage #2

I Think I Got Ripped Off

(but I think it’s my own damn fault!)

I woke up stiff and sore to the alarm on Monday morning. Oddly enough, although my back did hurt, it was my arms, shoulders and legs that were killing me (that attic ladder is murder on knees).

I left for work a half hour early (to compensate in part for the two hour window I might be gone at lunchtime), I was the first one at the building and, thankfully, remembered the code to shut the alarm off. I made a pot of coffee and got to work.

I left for home a few minutes before noon and, when I got there, nobody was there (of course). So, I didn’t even park, I just turned around and went down the street to Arby’s. I have wanted to try their new warm turkey club sandwich for a while now, so I ordered one. Naturally, when I got back home (less than five minutes later), they were there and just calling my cell.

So, I left lunch in the car and opened the garage door to show them what I wanted hauled away. They took one look and the head guy explained that I had paid for 1/7th of a truckload, which he said was about a 1/4 of what I had lined up!

So, I need to pay for the extra space if I wanted them to take it all. So, he did some calculating and, based on a full truck load dollar amount, minus what I had already paid for, I owed them another $359.00! Since I had everything stacked up and taking the space for my car, what choices did I have, really?. But, rather than guessing what 1/7th of a truck amounted to, I should have asked cubic feet or size or something. I damn sure didn’t want to carry it all back up into the attic, so I gave them the money (well, I gave them my credit card number) and they put it all in the truck

Note to Carl, they do recycle as they put all the metal in one spot, wood in another, trash in the middle and the cardboard all on the end. They even swept the garage floor and then they left. It took them about 20 minutes, tops.

I got my lunch sack and ate it watching the rest of the noon-time news. The sandwich was excellent, BTW. I went back to work and was there well before 1:00 PM.

The afternoon passed pretty quickly and soon I was headed home again. It was a beautiful day, BTW, though it’s all supposed to end tonight after midnight.

I parked the car on the side lawn and took out my electric blower. I blew out the garage as best as I could and then blew the junk and leaves out to the street. Then I pulled the car in and shut the door. The cats were ticked, though, because they had to wait for their treats.

I put together the last of the trash and put the can and that little wicker table out to the road. If I’m lucky (or I guess, if they’re lucky) the people who took the chairs will notice the table and take it, too. We’ll see.

Back inside, I returned some calls and answered some emails. I took out some brats and a porterhouse steak I had thawed to let it come up to room temperature. Then I went out in front and watered the newly sown grass again.

I locked everything up out front and went out back. I started the charcoal chimney and then used the hose to water the new grass by the edging. I also wet down the side of the raised bed garden nearest the state park grille (I always do). I’m pretty sure it’s far enough away that there’s no danger of it scorching, but there’s no sense taking chances.

When the coals were ready, I spread them out, cleaned the grate and oiled it. Then I grilled the brats. I pulled them off and threw on the steak, seasoned with just salt and pepper again. Once it was done, I took it inside, added a pat of butter on top and let it rest a bit. I peeled and rough-chopped those three hard-boiled eggs and added them to a container of deli potato salad (mustard, this time).

The steak was delicious, the potato salad was good (not great) and I ate them both watching some TV. I cleaned up the minimal mess in the kitchen (that is one of the best things about grilling outside – you don’t mess up your kitchen inside!) and put the cooled off brats in the fridge with the rest of the potato salad.

Back in the bedroom, I was looking at the TV listing and trying to decide between a regular show, a taped show or another episode of Breaking Bad. I looked at the clock and it was a little after 9:00 PM.

I decided that as sore as I was, what I really wanted to do was take a pain pill and go to sleep, so I did that, instead.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My car, spending the night outside, with the garage light on so it doesn't get scared.

Zucchini Bread, Well-Done

Junk for Pickup

Cardboard stack

Sunday, Hitting it Hard

I woke up at 6:30 AM on Sunday. I did finally get some sleep, but I stayed up until after midnight before I got sleepy (too much coffee, I’m guessing). I refilled my pill box, wound the clock, ate breakfast, etc., and finally got around to shaving and showering about 9:00 AM. I washed out the cat waterer and left it to air dry (I gave them a bowl of water while they were waiting, of course).

I left for Kroger’s about 10:00 AM. Fortunately, the next two days are still supposed to be summer-like. Unfortunately, they say a cold front will move through Monday night; bringing some more rain (thank you) but also below normal temperatures they predict will last the rest of the month!

So, last night, I cracked open the kitchen and bedroom windows and turned the furnace on (to burn off that damn burnt-dust smell). I was hoping to grill something for dinner today but, before I watched the weather, I thawed out some bone-less skin-less chicken thighs (it was chilly last night and I was gonna make soup). No bones for flavor? No skin for crunch? Grilling them would just be stupid!

Anyway, back home, I treated the cats and put the groceries away. I hard-boiled the last three old eggs while I was putting things away. I moved my car outside and got to work on the main project for today: cleaning out the garage and the attic for the junk pickup on Monday.

I put on my work gloves and, after moving the car outside, started gathering up everything that was “junk” in the garage. I was just finishing up this part of the project when my daughter, Melissa called. So, I sat on the porch rocker and chatted for a bit. I was sweeping up crap and using the transfer shovel as a dust pan when I inadvertently hung up on her. I called her right back and we chatted a bit more, but she could tell I was preoccupied and let me go.

So, once the garage was cleaned, I opened up the attic stairs in the garage. But, that was just for the opening. You see, the stairs are old, wooden and rickety and I don’t trust them as much as the metal one Jake and I installed in the house. So I went up through the house into the attic and proceeded to throw down every empty box (and there were lots of them), Christmas decorations I no longer use, old cabinets and counter tops and the five ugly wood chairs Lu got with her table she bought at Goodwill a few years back. I was hot and sweaty and it was almost 3:00 PM when I finished upstairs.

Back downstairs, I took a brief break and then got to work with a box cutter, slitting all the empty cartons so they would lie flat. I am not sure just how much space (what the hell does 1/3 of a truck load mean, exactly?) I paid for, but I know I can dispose of the boxes at work, if need be, (they recycle cardboard, so they would be happy to see me with a load of it). I put the cardboard in the last row. If they take it, fine; if not, I’ll get rid of it at work. I took a couple of photos for you.

I admit, I should have checked. But, before I went grocery shopping, I never thought of it. I had downloaded a recipe for zucchini bread and it was pretty simple. But, if you remember, I threw away most of my spices. So, when I went to get some ground cinnamon and nutmeg, there was nothing there!

Dammit! The zucchini I bought for the ratatouille is going south and I needed to use it up! So, like a beggar. I went next door to ask for a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of nutmeg. Tammy had the cinnamon, but no ground nutmeg. But, I have whole nutmegs, so I can cope.

So, at 4:30 PM, I started baking zucchini bread. I preheated the oven for 350 degrees F. and in a large bowl, I mixed together the dry ingredients: 3 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh ground, I might add), 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 3 cups of sugar.

In another bowl, I mixed up the wet ingredients: 1 cup canola oil, 4 beaten eggs, 1/3 cup of water, about 2 cups of grated zucchini (I used a box grater rather than my food processor – the food processor would have been faster, but more of a pain to clean up) and a teaspoon of lemon juice. I mixed the two bowls together and folded in a cup of chopped pecans. Did I mention this was a Paula Deen recipe? If it was a Michigan recipe it would have been walnuts, I’m guessing.

Anyway, I sprayed my two standard loaf pans with non-stick canola oil spray and put the mixture into each. I put them in the oven, set the timer for an hour and went to watch some DIY shows while waiting.

That’s when things went horribly wrong…

I’m not sure if it was the late night last night or all the climbing around and sweating in the attic, but I fell asleep. I woke up about 7:00 PM to the sound of the timer and the smell of burning bread. DAMN!

I planned on giving half a loaf to the neighbors (for their cinnamon contribution) and taking another loaf into work. But, nope! I did check it out and if you cut off the burnt crust, the inside tasted delicious. But the presentation sucks! I took a photo for you to demonstrate (the Captain is not ashamed to showed the world he screwed up! It ain’t the first time, nor probably the last…)

Note;: if you don’t fall asleep and bake it too long, this is a really, really good zucchini bread recipe!

Be that as it may, it was now time to move onto tonight’s dinner. I jacked the oven up to 400 degrees F. and cut a beautiful acorn squash I bought in half. I dug out the seeds and gunk and added two tablespoons of butter to each cavity. Then I added some salt and pepper and a handful of fresh-cut thyme stems to each (I know, I know, my mother would had put in brown sugar, but I’m catering to that “Type 2 diabetes” thing. Besides, the herbs taste pretty good or else I’m just getting used to them). I put them on my cookie sheet and into the oven, setting the timer for another hour.

But, no naps this time! Instead I put a couple of cups of self rising flour into a gallon zip-lock bag. To that I added sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder. I shook it up to mix it while I heated up some canola oil and butter. I stuck two pieces of the bone-less, skin-less chicken thighs at a time in the bag and shook it up (sort of a “shake and bake” thing, if they still have that). Then I shook off the excess flour and put the chicken into the hot oil.

I got a nice crust on both sides and then shut off the burner. I took the skillet and stuck it in the oven to finish cooking with the squash. My smoke detectors didn’t like that idea, but I opened the bathroom window and turned on the fan in the microwave and they finally shut up.

When the time was up, I checked the squash (it was done) and then plated my Sunday night dinner (after I threw away all the thyme stalks). I ate it watching another episode of Breaking Bad.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I slept lousy again on Friday night, so when I finally fell asleep, I stayed asleep until after 8:00 AM.

I skipped breakfast because I was busy stripping the bed, starting the wash, etc. In fact, over the course of the day, I did four loads of laundry. There was nothing washable that didn’t get washed (except for one black sock – started looking for it when I came up one short and found it under the bed)

About 11:00 AM, I was starting to get hungry, so I made a can of roast beef hash and topped that with two eggs, over-easy.

I talked briefly with Jeremy who was calling to confirm my attendance at Joe’s wedding. I said I’d be there and I will.

I did a lot of miscellaneous, but necessary chores (cleaning the tub, loading the dishwasher and running it, then unloading it, hanging and folding clothes, remaking the bed, etc.) But my main focus was the downstairs.

I assembled that shelving unit I bought and put it where the low one was. The low one went behind the exercise bike. Then I started rearranging stuff.

The only time I went outside was to bring in the box containing my new Bialetti pasta pot (ordered before the car problems) off the porch.

I drank a lot of coffee and wasn’t really hungry again until night time, when I was watching two more episodes of Breaking Bad. But some saltines and more of that faux Roka Blue cheese spread fixed that right up.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Finally Friday

I slept lousy Thursday night and so overslept almost an hour through the alarm (was it reading late or the Roka Blue and crackers? I dunno). But anyway, I had to hurry though the morning rituals but I still got to work five minutes early.

But, I felt it all day long and had to keep getting up and walking around to stay awake.

The weatherman had got it right for a right for a change and it was raining when I left for work. They had said it would stop by noon and they were right again! It was sunny when I went home and ate a cucumber sandwich (I need to use these gifts up).

I checked the gauge and we got a 1/2 of rain overnight. That made my watering Thursday night unnecessary but at least everything got watered…

The afternoon was long and sadly, unbroken by me chatting with Cindy (our administrative secretary who was fired yesterday) who I used to joke with about it being Friday and payday.

But, I eventually made it through and headed home. I gotta tell you that turbo kicking in right is sweet! I suppose I will get a ticket sooner or later, but right now, I’m digging it!

In spite of the turbo, due to traffic I didn’t get home until 5:20 PM. So, I missed a call from Jeremy. However, I have a strict rule about that. You call and leave me a message, I call you back. You don’t leave a message, you’re out of luck. He didn’t leave a message.

I got the vacuum cleaner out and downstairs. I have three things to do this weekend. One is to clean out the closet and furnace room downstairs, another is to empty out the attic of all those empty boxes, excess chairs, etc., and the third is to get all the scraps of wood, tile and cement backer board assembled in the garage. I bought another of those Angie’s List items: a third truckload of garbage pickup for $79.00 US. This was BEFORE the car puked out, BTW, but they are coming on Monday.

However, the phone rang and I talked with Jake a while. After we hung up, I was already tired and decided the projects could wait. So, I made myself another sandwich and ate that, along with some corn chips and salsa.

Instead of watching TV, I read my book until I fell asleep and Friday was done.

Rest in Peace

"Evelyn Mary Cowan. Marysville. Evelyn Mary Cowan, age 93, of Marysville, formerly of St. Clair, died September 13, 2012. She was born October 6, 1918 in Detroit to Rudolph and Mary Horwath. Evelyn was employed for 57 years as pastry chef at the St. Clair Inn, she was most known for her famous strawberry pies. Evelyn also enjoyed sewing, embroidering and working word search puzzles.

She was a friend of my son, Jake, when he worked there.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Road Trip v2

It was the last, beautiful day this week on Thursday. That’s because a cold front is coming in Thursday night, bringing possible rain and definitely cooler air with it.

The nice weather was welcome, because I had to go pick up my car at lunchtime. Which I did (although I considered just calling them up and say, “No, it’s okay, we can just trade. You keep mine and I’ll keep this one.”)

But, since I really didn’t think they’d buy that idea, I left at 11:30 AM for Troy. Traffic was surprisingly heavy (as compared to my last ride on Saturday morning), but I eventually got there.

It cost me $3,731.44, but that comes with a two-year, unlimited warranty on all parts (and I got a lot of parts) and labor.

I didn’t even get to Maple Road when I realized the radio wasn’t working and the screen said “Enter Code.” Now, I went though this when I replaced the battery in it a long time ago and I have the code written down somewhere, but I said screw it and went back to the dealership and made them fix the radio (its an anti-theft thing – if you disconnect it from the battery, you need a secret code unique to your VIN number to make it work again).

I finally got back to work at 1:20 PM.

When I got home after work, I turned on the sprinkler (which, if you remember, I put in place last night) and set the timer for an hour. Then I hand watered all the areas out front where I put grass seed. When the timer went off, I shut off the water and carried two buckets of water out to the peonies. Yes, I did say its supposed to rain tonight, but it has “supposed” to rain a lot this summer and didn’t.

I refilled the bird feeder and went back into the house for a garbage bag and my stick with a nail in it. Carrying those buckets out back reminded me just how bad the trash was getting again. I walked the entire back yard and ended up with a garbage bag so full it was hard to close! Damn litterbugs!

It was getting dark by the time I got back inside, so I warmed up the last of the spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (I will miss them).

I couldn’t help myself. Although I said I was going to wait for the weekend, I opened the first season of Breaking Bad and watched the first ever show. It was great and Jake was right: Now I understand some things better.

I was going to watch the next one, but decided I better get some sleep. But, before I did, I read a little of my book and had some saltine crackers and that Roka Blue cheese spread knockoff. I was lying there reading when it struck me just how often my Mother probably did the same exact thing: ate a snack of Roka Blue spread and crackers and read a book, even though it was getting late.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


It was an absolutely perfect day weather-wise on Wednesday here in Southeast Michigan.

For a change, I had nothing to do at lunchtime, so I went home, made a sandwich and watched a taped DIY show (if you fast-forward through commercials you can watch a half hour show in less than 20 minutes).

On the way back to work, I stopped to put gas in the loaner car and spent a good five minutes trying to figure out how you open the fuel door! In my defense, I have only seen ones that open somewhere either next to the seat or under the dash. This one is a button up on the dash with a little gas pump sign on it (Duh!)

It was a long, boring afternoon (I think because it was so nice outside) that culminated with our long-time receptionist, Cindy, being fired (for coming in late too many times). That bummed everyone out. I not only knew her well, but knew both her daughters and her grandson, from his birth to his one year old birthday a few months back.

When I got home, I did the Wednesday night wash. When it was in the dryer, I set the oscillating sprinkler in the front yard (for the new rose bush and grass seed) and set the timer for an hour. I had a voicemail from the dealership that my car was ready, so I’ll get it tomorrow.

I hung up my shirts and pants and, when the timer went off, I moved the sprinkler to the back to water the gardens around the reflecting pool.

I talked with Jake who called to ask if I got the first three seasons of Breaking Bad they had ordered for me. I said, “No,” so he told me to check on the front porch. Sure enough, there they were! Thanks!

He had already been sent a text from a co-worker about Cindy being let go so we talked about that a bit before we hung up.

I warmed up another bowl of spaghetti with meatballs for my dinner.

I shut the water off under the security lights, so I just repositioned the sprinkler to water the new garden behind the house, but didn’t turn it on.

I made up that faux Roka Blue cheese spread recipe Jyl has sent me and, with the optional splash of vinegar, it tasted spot on.

I ate it with Triscuits (certainly not traditional) and probably ate too much, but it was so good!

I went to bed early without breaking out the Breaking Bad DVDs. I may have a marathon this weekend, though, lol!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Three of the four branches cut

The cable wires are safe now!

The new yard with much more sunlight

My sharp, if short, new ride!

Road Trip

I didn’t set the alarm for Tuesday morning. I had an appointment with my spine doctor at 10:00 so I knew I’d be up in time. But, I woke up at 5:30 AM anyway. I had a cup of coffee in bed and read a magazine that came in the mail yesterday.

About 7:00 AM, I started my normal routine (breakfast, pills, shave, shower and get dressed). I left early to go to Home Depot (for another shelving unit) and to the bank to see if the ATM worked. It did! So, at least I don’t have to worry about driving around with that kind of cash on me.

I came back home and dropped everything off. I took my now-empty garbage can back inside and then left for the doctor’s.

I should have paid more attention to the morning traffic reports, because when I got to I-94, the on-ramp was backed up about 1/4 mile. I sat there for a bit, but when there was a break in traffic, I pulled out of line and went to I-75. From there, I went back to I-94 and whatever construction was going on had ended by that point and the rest was smooth sailing. So smooth in fact, I got there about 20 minute early.

My appointment went well. My x-rays were good (she double-checked after I told her about hurting myself really bad putting my bicycle on those hooks – she said I might have pulled a muscle, but the screws were fine).

She asked about my meds and I said I still had plenty left. I asked about therapy and she said enough time had gone by she didn’t see why that would be a problem. So, she wrote me out a script for four weeks of physical therapy 2-3 times a week.

On the return trip, I got off onto I-75 again and took that to I-96, just in case the construction on I-94 was on both sides of the expressway. I got off at Beech-Daly and went straight to the physical therapy place. I got an appointment for my first consultation and a ton of paperwork to fill out (even though I’ve been there twice before) and bring back with me next week.

From there, I took I-96 to Newburgh Road and went to Lowe’s to return that air cleaner for the tractor. I used some of the returned cash to buy a four pack of those 60 watt equivalent CFL bulbs (to replace the outdoor lights on the porch and the edge of the garage. On the way back towards work, I stopped at the Newburgh Grill for lunch and had a bowl of their ham and bean soup.

I got to work about 12:30 PM. It was a long ride, but in that car it was easy (I really like that car, which is probably why they gave it to me, to lure me to buy it). Since everyone was out to lunch, I started to fill out as much as I could of the paperwork (I’ll need to check the names of the prescriptions I take and the dates of my other surgeries when I get home).

Vicky and Michelle got back from lunch and I loaded the one chair into Vicky’s trunk (I couldn’t get both in mine, although I tried).

The rest of the afternoon went by and I headed for home at 5:00 PM. When I pulled in, I saw my neighbor was true to his word and cut out those branches on my black oak that might interfere with the cable wire. I checked it out. He only had to cut four branches and now the cables are safe and way under the tree. This also means my front flower garden will get a lot more sun!

Since I had the camera out for the tree shots, I took a picture of my loaner car for you.

So, I just changed shoes again and watered the grass seed areas again. My neighbor and a buddy walked over, so I thanked him and told him he did an excellent job.

I had about six items on my list of things I wanted to do tonight. Second was to switch out the bulbs in the porch and front garage fixtures. Now these are those black metal framed boxes with glass panels on all sides and the bottom, so the only way to replace the bulbs is to take out the two screws that hold the metal and glass cover on.

I used that short step ladder Jake gave me and did the garage one first. It was a little hard on the fingers, but the screws did finally come out (I know I’ve never had either off since I moved here). I sprayed the screws with WD-40, replaced the bulbs with the compact fluorescent ones and then took the fixture to the laundry tub to wash out years of dust, dirt pine needles and dead bugs, etc. I dried it all off good with paper towels and went out to re-install it.

That’s when the trouble began...

I couldn’t get the screws to start, no matter how hard I tried. I finally got one and was trying to install the other when I dropped the screw! It fell down and bounced who knows where into the garden behind the trellis.

Thank God they were cheap fixtures to begin with and it wasn’t brass, or I never would have found it. As it was, I had to leave the glass fixture hanging with just one screw (hoping it wouldn’t fall and break). I ended up cutting the entire wisteria down (it was dying from the bottom up anyway and would have needed it in another month) and using the garage floor magnet I have to find the little bugger.

I cleaned it up, oiled it and tried again and dropped it! In my defense, there is less than, say, eight inches between the fixture and the trellis, so you don’t have much room to maneuver. So, I got the magnet and found it again.

I finally got it started, but by this time my poor fingers were too sore to turn it. So I got a pair of needle nose pliers and got it tight that way.

Then I moved onto the next fixture. This was much easier as I could position the ladder directly under the fixture. I did the same thing: washed and dried the glass cover, switched out the bulbs, sprayed the screws and so on. It didn’t take any less time to get the damn things started though, but at least I didn’t drop one. I finally got them both and tightened them up with the pliers again.

I put away the ladder, magnet and pliers and shut the garage door. Then I washed up. I looked at the list (assemble the shelving unit, rearrange the backroom, etc.) and looked at the clock. It was almost 8:00 PM!

So, I decided the list could wait. I warmed up the rest of the steak and two ears of sweet corn. The meal tasted just as it did on Sunday. That trick with the blue cheese crumbles was a good one, Melissa!

I watched a little TV, but fell asleep after only two shows. It had been a long day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, Monday...

It was a beautiful fall morning here in Redford Monday morning. I had left the bedroom window cracked open again so the house was a little chilly for an old nude guy, so, for the first time in a long time I used a throw blanket on my legs (I had put my bathrobe on by that time) to fill in the Blog.

I went to work and everything went okay until lunchtime, when I went to the Credit Union to get out the money for the car repairs. I was really glad I had it (the last time with the turbo problems, I had to charge it and pay interest until I finally got it paid off). But, it still hurt!

I went to deposit it in my bank near the Credit Union and found that branch had been closed! I stopped at Jimmy John’s and got, yes, another turkey sandwich (#4 with cheese) then I debated on driving to my bank on Plymouth Road. But I only had 20 minutes left, so I went back to work instead.

After I ate lunch, I called the dealership to see how the repairs were coming and they transferred me to the service manager. Unfortunately, he said he had just left a message on my home phone (I told them to call my cell, dammit). It seems as they were tearing it apart, they noticed the water pump was bad (now, I can believe that as, if you remember, it was pumping coolant and engine oil a few years ago when the turbo charger went). But they also found the tensioner for the serpentine belt was sticking.

Good God!

So, in addition to the $3K I’m already on the hook for, I’ll need another $290 for the water pump and $269 for the serpentine belt tensioner. They said I was lucky (oh, yeah, I felt freakin’ lucky) because since they have to tear it all apart anyway, I will only have to pay for the parts, not any extra labor.

I thought about it for a long, LONG minute and told them to go ahead. But, based on B___’s rant yesterday (about it not being worth fixing) I did check the Kelly Blue Book Value. And, if I sold it myself, in “good condition” (which I believe is a fair assessment) it’s worth about $4K. So, while I am not happy, I don’t think I’m p*ssing the money away. And, I really do need it to last two more years.

I stopped on my way home to deposit the money in my checking account and found the ATM was broke (this is just not my day!). I noticed there were still people in the bank so I swung around into a teller lane and pushed the “Call” button. The lady firmly told me, “We are closed, sir.” I replied, “I know that, I just wanted somebody to know the ATM isn’t working.” Then she smiled and said, “Thanks! We know that and the repairman has been called.” I drove home.

It was still cool out, so I treated the cats and just changed my shoes. I rolled the garbage can out to the road. Then I took the watering can with the sprinkler head and watered all the areas that I put grass seed down out front (it’s already sprouted next to the arborvitae). I used it to water the mailbox garden as well. I works great!

I went out back with the other watering can and did the window box. Then I used the hose to water all the new grass alongside the garden edging I put in. Finally, I took off the nozzle and stuck the hose in the reflecting pool (both to clean it and water the Japanese maple). I turned the water on 1/4 turn and went in the house. I set the timer for an hour and watched the rest of the evening news.

When the timer went off, I shut off the water and reeled in the hose.

Back inside, I warmed up a dish of that spaghetti and meatballs for my dinner. It was still tasty! I watched TV until I started to doze, and then I went to bed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The last official photo of the kitchen window box before I have to tear it apart and take it inside for the winter

The old and new watering cans. The new one on the right is for watering the newly sown grass seed


I woke up at 5:15 AM on Sunday, but decided to go back to sleep. So, I did, waking up for good about 7:00. Before I went to bed last night, I had closed and locked all the windows except the one in my bedroom (I left that open with the burglar locks on, so you can’t open it more than five inches). The house was a bit chilly, but it smelled like Fall.

I got the dishwasher loaded up and turned on. Then I washed the big pasta pot and my Wustof by hand. I made some coffee and then made my breakfast.

I refilled my weekly pill box and wound the clock. Then I shaved and showered. I got a call from B___ with a few more questions about the car repairs. Then we talked mostly about the upcoming Fall projects we both need to get done (his are worse as he has to get his boat ready to be hauled out).

After we hung up, I started the second load of weekend wash (bath towels, hand towels, bath mat and my bath robe. Then I headed out for an errand.

Since I was reminiscing about the dimming of summer and the coming of fall, I decided a blow-out barbeque was in order.

So, I went to Westborn and picked up some thing, both for today and for the coming week. For today, I picked out a beautiful 1 1/2-inch bone-in Delmonico steak, four ears of Michigan sweet corn (they were eight for $1.89, but I can’t eat eight and I am not that impressed this year with Michigan sweet corn. It’s not as “sweet” as I recall; I assume because of the drought), and a small tub of redskin potato salad (making potato salad for one is not only time-consuming, but you end up throwing away a lot you just can’t eat).

I also got another small jar of Red Pelican Hot mustard, some Westborn salsa (I still have a lot of corn chips left, but no salsa), two Granny Smith apples and three Gala apples (for afternoon snacks at lunch), another jar of McClure’s dill pickles (still on sale) and eight ounces of fresh mozzarella (for chicken parmesan, later this week).

I finally found Melissa’s Williams Jalapeno cheese spread (so we WILL be having a pretzel fest tonight). And, I got the ingredients that my daughter-in-law, Jyl sent me to recreate the Roka Blue spread from my youth. Her recipe called for the following:

1 tub (8-ounce) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread
1/4 cup Athenos Crumbled Blue Cheese

Mix until thoroughly blended.

Add up to 1/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time if thinner consistency is desired. For added tang, stir in 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar.

Now, of course, nothing is that easy. I could only get the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread in a 12-ounce tub and they did not have Athenos Crumbled Blue Cheese. So, I bought a 0.485 pound tub of Westborn Crumbled Blue Cheese and will adjust the recipe as needed. I’ll let you know how it turns out but, thanks, Jyl. My Mother would thank you, too, if she was here (I believe it was her favorite, too).

Back home again, there was NO sign of that “slight” chance of rain between 12:00 and 2:00 PM, so I dragged out the hose and set it up to water the front yard (More for the newly planted grass seed and rose bush than the grass). I set the timer for an hour and changed into shorts and a tee shirt and started the last load of weekend wash. The second went into the dryer.

I noticed I had a voicemail and checked it. It was from my daughter, Melissa, so I called her back and we talked (again for a long time). During our conversation, the timer went off, so I went outside and shut the hose off.

When we finally hung up, I was exhausted, but instead of taking a nap, I started to clean the house. I got the main bathroom spotless and noticed it was after 5:00 PM and so I went out and changed the oscillating sprinkler to the square head and moved it closer to the new arborvitae and turned it back on, setting the timer once more.

Then I rough chopped a hard boiled egg and added it to the store-bought potato salad (that’s the one thing missing from Westborn’s redskin potato salad). I took out the steak and heavily salted and peppered it, letting it come up to room temperature.

I went out and fired up the charcoal chimney on the state park grill. While the coals were getting hot, I took out the second load from the dryer and ran the third load through another rinse cycle (these were my work clothes and I didn’t want wrinkles).

When the coals were ready, I cleaned the grate and put on the sweet corn. The timer for the sprinkler went off about then, so I shut off the water and reeled in the hose. I put the work clothes in the dryer.

I grilled the sweet corn perfectly (if I might brag a bit) and then oiled the grates again. I threw on the steak and let it get a good crust on one side before I turned it. When I did turn it, I tried a trick Melissa told me today and added some of those blue cheese crumbles on top.

When it was done I pulled it off to rest a bit (the corn was already husked and in the microwave to keep warm). I hung up my shirts and pants and just then Jake called.

We talked for a while, long enough for everything to get cold. But, that wasn’t really a problem. I warmed up the steak and an ear of corn in the microwave and ate dinner watching TV.

The steak was excellent and the blue cheese was an interesting taste twist. But, it was too big to eat the whole thing when combined with the potato salad and sweet corn. So, once it cooled, I put about half of it in a baggie and in the fridge, along with the rest of the sweet corn.

I watched TV until I was tired (I’m going through Longmire and Breaking Bad withdrawals) but I did try Melissa’s pretzels with the Williams Jalapeno cheddar spread and, she was right again. Excellent snack!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday's Downs and Ups

I woke up at 6:00 AM on Saturday. It was no longer raining, (although still pretty windy) so I walked out in my robe to check the rain gauge. I got more than half an inch of rain overnight. That’s good, especially for the new bushes and grass seed.

I did my usual morning routine, ate breakfast, shaved and showered, etc., and then left the house at 9:00 AM. I have a 10:00 AM appointment at Suburban Volvo in Troy. I need this hesitation problem solved, so I made the appointment (online, BTW).

I was hoping they had the wrong spark plug gauge, the wire wasn’t put on tight or something (you know, “something cheap”). I also thought I’d solved the coolant problem by adding more to the tank.

I was wrong on both counts. The spark plug wires were arcing because they were covered with oil. They were covered with oil as two small oil lines had clogged and so the resulting pressure wrecked the seal one the camshaft(s) – I forget if there’s one or two. And, the timing belt is worn and the Volvo engine is not one of those “freewheeling” (I think that’s the term when the piston and valves are far enough away they can never touch, no matter what happens), so if the belt brakes, the valves that were down would stay down as the pistons came up (the crankshaft would continue to spin a bit) and the resulting collision would cause me to have to buy a new engine. And the coolant sensor really was a bad coolant sensor, which meant the electric fans were always on.

I could go on and on (he sure did) but the upshot is it will take a minimum of three days and cost me just over $3K. I don’t like it (I REALLY don’t like it) but I need that car to last me at least two more years.

So, I drove home in a sweet loaner 2012 Volvo S60. He showed me how to start the car (there’s no key, you shove the fob into a slot and, with your foot on the brake, push the start/stop button).

But, he didn’t show me how to turn on the A/C! Fortunately, it was cool outside, so I drove with the window down until I could figure it out.

I was both hungry and depressed by the time I got out of there (about 1:30 PM. So, I stopped at a Big Boy on the way home and had the fish and chips. I ate my French fries with malt vinegar and salt and felt very English (well, at least Canadian, lol). The fish was delicious, BTW. Then I sat there a while, trying to start the car, until I remembered you had to have your foot on the brake.

I stopped at the Redford Post Office and bought two books of stamps (sadly, I didn’t see any hot chicks checking out my ride) and stopped at Georges Lawnmower service to buy the right air cleaner for the lawn tractor (the one I got at Lowe's and the guy looked up in his book didn't fit). I got home just before 3:00 PM. I treated the cats, then I stripped the bed while they were preoccupied and put the bedding in the washer.

I did learn one thing from the non-A/C interlude: that it was windy and cool outside (72 degrees F. at 4:00 PM) So, I opened up all the windows in the house to air it out a while. It felt good and the cats loved it.

I took a break and watched some DIY shows, which only depressed me more, because I was going to go and get the wood for the bench and start that project this weekend. But I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want me hauling lumber in their loaner.

I walked out to get the mail (it wasn’t there when I got home) and all the box contained was an AARP magazine (sigh)...

Back inside, I started making dinner. I am completely winging this, but I am making meatballs and spaghetti.

Now, I have seen and made meatballs myself three different ways: frying them, cooking them in the tomato sauce or baking them. They taste good made any way and I’m not Italian, so I don’t know what is, or if there is, the “authentic” way to do it. But, today I’m baking them.

For the meatballs, I combined one pound of ground chuck, a handful of finely minced fresh oregano, flat-leaf parsley and basil, a half cup or so of store-bought breadcrumbs, about a 1/4 cup of finely minced sweet onion and a 1/4 cup of leftover grated parmesan. I added a lot of cracked black pepper, but no salt, (I figured with the parmesan I didn’t need it). To that I added one egg and enough water (I would have used milk, but I was out) to be able to form it.

I covered a half sheet pan with foil (easy clean up) and preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. I also warmed up 4 cups of that marinara sauce I made but didn’t use.

I oiled both my hands with olive oil, so the meat doesn’t stick to them (and it makes your hands sooo soft – but I digress) and used my one-ounce ice cream scoop to try and maintain some sort of uniformity. Then I started making meatballs. I ended up with 15 perfect ones and one slightly smaller one.

I popped them in the oven and set the timer for 14 minutes. You’re supposed to bake them 25-30 minutes, but I like to turn them over with tongs halfway through. Its not that easy (and some do break) but I think it keeps them from getting crusty on just one side. While they were baking the first time, I threw the bedding into the dryer.

When the second timer went off, I pulled them out, turned the oven off and set them on the cutting board for the juices to rest. Then I put them in the marinara sauce to get happy. I stuck the marinara/meatball pan into the oven to keep warm.

Then I set a pot on to boil and make my thick spaghetti. Somehow, only thick spaghetti will work with this, at least in my mind.

While it was getting up to boil, I made the bed and then called B__ to b*tch about the latest car incident. He asked if I had realized yet that, with the turbo problems a few years ago ($3,700.00) and this new $3,000 problem, I probably should have and could have bought a pretty good used car. And, that the car is probably only woth $3K right now. I said I knew all that, and that I gave it a lot of thought, but I need this car (with no payments) to last me until 2014. He just sighed...

I put the spaghetti in the water with a twist (no, I mean a motion, not something different) and cooked it until al dente (about 11 minutes). I drained it and added in the marinara/meatball sauce and carefully folded it together.

Then I put some in a shallow bowl and ate dinner. (I deliberately did not put any parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano on top as I wanted to taste-test the meatballs). It was very good, although I think the meatballs would have benefited by more herbs and less parmesan. And, although messy, I think the thick spaghetti was the perfect choice of pasta. So, a day that was pretty depressing became less depressing.

I’ve heard people say, “When life give you lemons, make lemonade!” Well, I say, “When life give you car repair bills, make spaghetti and meatballs!”

I watched about half of Saving Private Ryan before I fell asleep, but its okay – I know who won the war.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Random Thought

What ever happened to Ewoks? I thought they were cool.

Restoring my Brother's Faith in Me

It was mild and overcast when I woke up on Friday. However, it’s supposed to rain after 5:00 PM with possible thunderstorms. One can only hope.

I gave a lot of thought to my Brother Carl’s recent comments. Since I have a forsythia quite near where the tree came down, and a new-fangled little pink (rather than an old fashioned overgrown white) Spiraea in the garden in front of the house, I decided to go with his suggested Red Knockout Rose bush.

So, at lunchtime, I went first to the Newburgh Grille and got a cup of clam chowder and a turkey sandwich on a croissant. From there I went to Lowe’s and picked out the best Red Knockout Rose they had left (there were only six to choose from). I also got two bags of Miracle-Gro garden soil and one bag of Miracle-Gro potting soil (to make my magic mix – I am sold on this combination!)

I also got a bag of shredded cedar mulch and a watering can. The watering can I use for my container gardens only has a single spout opening and does not work well for grass seed. This one has multiple holes and will work better, I hope. It’s a long, long way to drag a hose just to water the small amount of grass seed I planted around the border of the new arborvitae.

It’s not supposed to rain until later this evening, so I left the sunroof open so the rose wouldn’t bake. Several people who walked by the car later came in to tell me my sunroof was open and it looks like rain. I told them, “No problem.”

But, there was another problem. Today was the picnic day for the department who’s building we live in. Now like everyone in whose building I have resided but not been a part of the department, they apologized but said, “Sorry, it’s just for our department.”

And, to be truthful, IT does the same, EXCEPT, one of our IT guys is married to the owner’s daughter, who runs the museum, so we don’t have our picnic out in some parking lot, we have it in the museum.

But, like my Building did today, we always set out the leftovers for anybody who wants them. I was stuffed from lunch, so I was good for a while. But to get to the bathroom, I had to walk by all this food! I finally gave in around 4:00 PM and ate a hamburger, some macaroni salad and somebody’s special baked beans. I was definitely stuffed, but later managed to eat a brownie and then decided I wouldn’t need dinner.

Finally, it was 5:00 PM and I was heading home. It was overcast, but no rain yet. I treated the cats, changed clothes and got to work.

I was going to plant the rose right where the tree was, but decided if it really does get to be four-foot wide (and I’m hoping it does) and that forsythia ever starts to grow, it will look a little crowded. So, I planted it just south of the tree spot.

I dug a big hole and naturally ran into a tree root. But, I cut that with the bow saw. I mixed up my dirt and filled the hole to the proper depth. Then I added two gallons of water. When the water went down, I put in the rose (loosening the root ball a little) and then filled in the hole with the fresh dirt.

I cut another circle of landscape fabric and added some of the mulch. I watered all of that with two more gallons of water.

I spread the rest of the dirt over the tree spot and the low spots in the lawn where the old evergreen used to be (yes it still sinks a bit every year even though it been about 10 years since I had it cut down). Then I raked in grass seed in all the bare spots. Since its supposed to rain tonight, I didn’t bother to water it, but I did put two more gallons of water on the new arborvitae.

It was almost 8:00 PM, but I used the electric blower to get the leaves off the driveway. The black walnut is the first tree to drop its leaves in the Fall and its already started. Then I put everything away and locked everything up.

I cleaned up, but still wasn’t hungry. So, I watched some TV. But, I did finally have a snack of cheese and crackers, shortly before going to sleep.

Rose Bush #1

New Rose Bush #2

The low spot in the lawn, covered with fresh dirt and grass seed, complete with black walnut leaves

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ground Stump #1

Ground Stump #2

Stump Hole filled by my neighbor


Thursday was noticeably less humid, although it did hit 82 degrees in the afternoon.

At lunch, I stopped at the Newburgh Grill and got a cup of beef vegetable soup and a patty melt (I’ve been eating too much chicken and pork). Then I stopped and filled my gas tank. The light hadn’t come on yet, but it was almost empty. It cost me $47.00 US and I only have an 11 gallon tank!

Then I went to Lowe’s and bought a new spark plug, air cleaner and pre-cleaner for the riding tractor. That only cost me $23 US.

When I got home, the stump was neatly ground up (the other two times I had that done, it looked like a small bomb had gone off). I took a couple of pictures, before changing clothes. When I went back out to start watering the container gardens (next chance of rain is supposed to be this weekend), my neighbor was filling in the hole with some dirt he got from his yard.

It’s not enough, of course, but it’s a start. This is the third time I‘ve done this and, unless you mound the dirt, over the year or years, the ground sinks. You can still tell in the front yard where I took out that gigantic evergreen, even though I add topsoil and grass seed every spring.

We chatted a bit and I paid him the money we’d agreed on ($270 US). He said he noticed I’d trimmed the ends of some of the branches last night with my pole lopper (I forgot to write that in the Blog entry). I said I just didn’t want them to get any closer to my cable wire. He offered to take the whole branches next to the trunk for free if I let him have the wood. I readily agreed as it will both protect the cable wire and let more sunlight onto the front grass and gardens. Also, it will help my continued efforts to keep the black walnut trimmed right as it’s a beautiful tree.

The cats had barfed on the bedspread so that and the clothes I wore today went into the washer. Then I hooked up the oscillating sprinkler to water the garden around the reflecting pool and, as a side benefit, the arborvitae surrounding the St. Francis garden. I’d like to get those fertilizer spikes in soon.

When the timer went off, I moved the sprinkler to water the garden in back of the house and the raised bed herb garden and then tried to pound the fertilizer spikes in and around the St. Francis garden. Some were in the mulched garden and went in easy. Others needed to be in the grass, but since I had just watered (and in some cases, using the claw on the hammer to open a hole) I managed to get the rest planted all along the drip line of the four arborvitae back there.

Back inside, I made dinner: another BLT with a tomato I just picked from my garden and the last of the bacon. I put the now-dried bedspread back on. The timer went off at 8:16 PM and I went outside. I turned off the water and reeled in the hose under the glare of the security spotlights.

I shut everything up. checked all the locks and watched some TV until 10:00 PM when I went to bed.