Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, Monday…

(Can’t trust that day!)

I woke up several times after my midnight rambling, but finally for real at 5:30 a.m. with the alarm.

It was the last repeat “perfect day” here in Southeast Michigan as a cold front is finally moving in with probable light rain.

I called the landscape company to remind them today was the last cutting for this year. I also told them I don’t want their leaf service. You have to do that or they do it automatically and bill you for it.

I went to the Big Boy at 6 Mile and Newburgh and got my favorite, veal parmigiana with a Caesar side salad.

I got home after work and noticed the front yard was cut. It only demonstrated just how many leaves had built up in the driveway. I decided I better try and remove them before the rain falls.

So, I treated Caley, changed clothes and was going outside when I looked out the kitchen window. My swings were all hooked together! WTF?

So, I went out back. Lawn guys must have put them together so they could cut easier. Did they forget to untangle them or just not give a sh*t?

On the way back up front, I saw the gate was left open, too! Now I was getting p*ssed. When I went to shut the gate, I saw they only made one pass on the side lawn. Damn! I noticed the quality of the lawn cutting this year sucked, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen!

Wait a minute, the time they ran the mower into the shed wall and punched a couple of holes in the wood siding was the worst I’ve ever seen now that I think about it!!!

I will remember this next time I need a lawn service.

Anyway, I tried the cordless blower, first. After I wore down two batteries and still hadn’t really touched the leaf pile, I gave up and got the electric blower and the 100-foot cord. I blew all the leaves out to the road, then down the road and into the vacant lot next door.

Back inside, I warmed up another small steak and an ear of sweetcorn for dinner.

I watched a 1939 Errol Flynn movie called Dodge City on TCM and went to bed when it was finished.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Extra!!! Extra!!!

Jamie Makes the Blog!!!

Family Reunion

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. The wind was calm, so I threw on my t-shirt and a pair of pants. I took the sprayer out back and sprayed some of the back garden where the picker bushes had grown up. They are too “picky” to pull out by hand.

I took the Wendy’s chili out of the fridge and put it into the round slow cooker. I turned it on “Low” to warm it up before I left for the family reunion. I wanted to watch the news on Channel Four, but they had some stupid golf tournament on. I switched it to Channel Seven, but it wasn’t the same.

I put the stove grates into the dishwasher (I had just enough room left) and turned it on. I did the usual Sunday morning chores and then thought, “I’ll make some soft boiled eggs for breakfast.” But, it dawned on me I couldn’t use the stove! Sigh… So, I toasted another English muffin (my usual weekday breakfast) and ate that instead.

I hand-washed the Dutch oven that had been soaking overnight. Then I shaved, showered and got dressed. I had a voicemail on the house phone from Jyl, asking me what time the reunion was as she thought she might come. I called her back, but got her voicemail. I left a message with the time and suggested she invite Joe and his family.

I put the slow cooker in a box, surrounded by a towel to keep it warm. I left for New Baltimore at 11:00 a.m., so I could get there at noon to help set up. I was about halfway there when I remembered I forgot to take a ladle. Dammit!

So, I got off at 23-Mile Road and took that into New Baltimore. I stopped at the Kroger’s, went in and bought a ladle I don’t need. Then I drove to the park. It was a gorgeous day, BTW, except there were a lot more high clouds than previously.

There was only one parking space available, so I grabbed it. I carried it in and found Joe and Kathy just starting to set up the chairs (they had the tables up already). So, I joined in. Jim and Coletta came in about that time. In no time at all, we had the chairs unfolded and set and Kathy was putting tablecloths on. She was one short, so Jim went to the dollar store and got some more.

There were about two dozen people doing yoga in the park at that time. Apparently it is a regular Sunday afternoon event here. They quit about 1:00 p.m., which freed up a lot of parking, thank goodness.

People started arriving about that time and things got a bit crazy (like they always do). Coletta told me later that they counted 64 people in attendance. I don’t have room to document everything, so I’ll just do some highlights:

- I was pleased as punch when Jyl showed up, followed by Joe, Jerica and the kids, Travis and Logan! I did my best to introduce them to everybody (if I forgot anybody, I apologize). Travis was so cool! He called me Papa John and told me on his first day at school (he’s five) some kids punched him!

- And Logan was just precious (okay, I realize I’m gushing, but it’s my first experience as a great-grandpa, okay?) My daughter Melissa got a kick out of playing with both Logan and Nico, Carl’s great grandson.

- My brother Carl had a confrontation with a New Baltimore cop and almost got his car ticketed and towed for parking where my other brother Jim and Joe told him to. Coincidence?

- Kathy brought me another antique bottle. This one was a Patterson's Rubbing Alcohol, made in Detroit. Thanks!

- Eventually we got around to eating. I had a small sampling of the chicken, the sandwich Melissa and Dave made, two types of meatballs and some mac & cheese.

- Travis wanted to play on the swings, so I walked over with him. Eventually, Dave and Melissa joined up. Travis was fearless on the money bars! Terry Upleger then joined us and the guys talked while Melissa followed Travis over to the slides.

- Speaking of Uplegers, the whole clan showed up, which was great!

- After the playground, I went back into the clubhouse (or whatever you call it) and found my great-niece Jamie Hugo had shown up with Dave Decker. They were seated at a table with Mary Goerlich-Taylor, Carolyn Constantine and Deanna Goerlich among others. Sidebar: See what I did there???

- I had taken Travis to the bathroom couple of times (for some reason, the doors to the bathroom inside were locked and you had to walk around outside). At one point I went in by myself. There was a young boy in one of the stalls who heard me and called out, “I love you!” I swear it sounded just like Travis, so I said, “I love you too!” A very stern young voice said, “Don’t be silly! I thought you were my Dad!” Whoops!

- There was enough of my chili left that I was able to give a container to Carl to take home.

- I was tricked into a photo by Jamie. I should have known better than to trust that sweet, “innocent” smile!

- I ended up taking home the few sandwiches left from Melissa and Dave, but refused to take any leftover pizza.

I left about 5:00 p.m. so I could get home before dark. There was no problems on either expressways, so I got home just after 6:00 p.m.

I emptied the dishwasher and did the last load of weekend wash. I was bushed so I just filled in some of the Blog and then watched a little TV. I ate another sandwich when I got hungry and went to bed before 10:00 p.m.

I woke up for a bathroom break at midnight, so I finished the Blog and posted it. Then I went back to bed for real.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


So, I woke up to the alarm on Saturday morning. I shaved, showered and got dressed. I put on my watch and went outside to spray the driveway with herbicide. I used Ground Clear, BTW. I find it does a better job than Roundup.

Sidebar: I gave up wearing a watch a year or two ago. I realized I had a phone in my pocket that showed the time and/or was sitting in front of computer that also showed the time, so why did I need a watch?

But today I did, so that I didn’t spend too much time and miss my 9:00 a.m. massage appointment.

Margaret, my massage therapist, was telling me that she had bought her first biscuit cutter. She is making a panel door (pretty aggressive) for a rolling closet door in her parents’ room (they live with her). Not a pocket door, but barn door hardware. She bought the hardware on line and promised to send me the link.

I told her about my experience with biscuit cutters and we talked about bar clamps. She, like myself, has a lot of the little 20-24 inch ones, but only two pipe clamps. I offered to lend her my two I’d bought to make Yanessa’s cradle. So, instead of continuing my Saturday chores, I went back home, got mine and took them back to her.

Hey, anybody making a panel door deserves whatever help I can give!

Then I went onto Kroger’s. From there I went to Westborn for some sweet corn. That’s when things got weird. There was a little old lady and myself, sorting through corn. I was trying not to get in her way, while selecting four ears for myself.

I took my corn right to the checkout and paid 51 cents for them.

Last stop was the Post Office. Then I went home and unloaded the truck outside and hauled everything inside.

That’s when the corn thing showed up. There were only three ears of corn in the bag. So, I went back out and looked in the truck. Nothing. I came back inside and checked the receipt. I only bought three! That little old lady must have distracted me!!!

I put my “three” ears of sweetcorn in the stock pot and covered them with water. I split the three pounds of ground chuck into one-pound packets and froze one. Then I used the last of the hard salami to make a sandwich and ate that. With lunch out of the way, I decided to take a nap.

When I woke up, I found a nice email from Jerica, my grandson Joe’s wife. She sent me some great picture of the family. Thanks!

I had asked my brother Carl what he wanted me to bring on Sunday, clam chowder or the Wendy’s chili. He picked the chili so I had to make it!

So, I did the prep work first. I diced up an onion until I had about 1 1/2-cups, 1/4 cup of green pepper and 1/2 cup of diced celery.

I browned two pounds of ground chuck in the Dutch oven. When it was ready, I drained the fat. Then I added the following:
·         - The celery, green pepper and onion
·         - 1 quart of tomato juice
·         - 1 (29-ounce) of tomato puree
·         - 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
·         - 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
·         - 1/4 cup of chili powder (use less for milder chili)
·         - 1 teaspoon ground cumin
·         - 1 1/2-teaspoons garlic powder
·         - 1 teaspoon salt
·         - 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
·         - 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
·         - 1/2 teaspoon sugar
·         - 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I stirred that while bringing it to a boil, then turned it down to simmer. I covered the pot and let it simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

I went outside. I drilled a 1/2-inch hole in the termite/carpenter ant wood and sprayed in ant killer (it was all I had for bugs). I plugged the hole with a wine bottle cork. I save them.

I sprayed the patio with Ground Clear. Then I dug out the pressure washer to use it on the house. In the past, I used just the hose and that Windex stuff.

I had to refer to my user manuals file box to remember how to use it. I save every manual, but never read them, LOL!

However, I got out the 100-foot extension cord, the hose, and the power washer and filled the soap bottle with car wash stuff I’d used on the Triumph. But, I couldn’t find the wand! What the hell did I do with the wand???

So, I put everything away, wound up the extension cord and reeled in the hose.

Instead, I started the charcoal lighter. I had already taken out the three small Angus tenderloin steaks to come up to room temperature. They were each about an inch thick, but small enough that together they weighed less than a pound.

I grilled the corn first, then the steaks. I came inside and ate one steak and one ear of corn. Delicious!

It was dark by then, so I buttoned everything up. I sat in the living room and read until I got sleepy and then went to bed. It was just after 11:00 p.m.