Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wet Dog December

I gave Teddy a couple of dunks in the river after she got all muddy playing fetch in the field adjacent to the golf course.  TBG insists that area is always well drained and doesn't get as soggy because the grass is a better quality than your average "park" grass.  Well, you could have fooled me today!

This is a rare picture of her standing still.  Once she's had a brisk cold swim, she tears around the house.  That lasts for about ten minutes.  Now she's  doing a typical Golden Retriever thing -- on the ground, bunnie in her mouth, her face pressed right against the rug.  I think she'll fall asleep that way for a while. 

My work is done!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pasta Salad for 60

This is a boatload of pasta salad, based on four bags of rotini and two bags of frozen tortellini.  It's been augmented with two bags of frozen fajita veggies, two small containers of sliced mushrooms and a bag of shredded carrots.  The binder is one bottle of Wishbone Buffalo ranch dressing and a bottle of plain ranch along with some melted butter, vinegar and hot sauce.  It is now cooling on the back porch.  That's the beauty of living in a frigid climate.  This kettle is too big for the fridge but it's so cold outside that the back porch will do.  We'll stir it a few times tonight and then fold in a couple of containers of crumbled bleu and Gorgonzola cheese in the morning.

The Big Guy is hosting a lunch for contractors tomorrow and they've ordered fried chicken.  He needed a side and asked if I'd make a pasta salad.  I thought a little Buffalo heat would be a good side for fried chicken.  One of his guys is making a big batch of meat balls.  I'm heading over a little past noon so I can have some fried chicken myself!

I make the guys a big batch of pasta salad a couple of times each year and every time I try to do something new.  Since TBG loathes mayonnaise,  I am always looking for an idea that doesn't use it at all.  He is happy with this formulation but wasn't sure what to think once I had gotten home with the ingredients and told him what I planned.  The thing is, if I am going to offer my services, I get to decide how I'm going to make it.

I've got time to do this because the heater at the town pool is broken. My swim on Sunday was very cold so I can just imagine what it is like now.  It wasn't fixed today and that would have to mean it's substantially colder. I've decided that when my membership is up, I'll join another facility. This one has too many maintenance and scheduling conflicts with school practices and swim meets.  I don't expect the problem to be fixed until at least the end of the week so I'm looking forward to having fried chicken in lieu of exercising. I will never be thin!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Not Having a Picture Tonight is Probably a Good Thing...

This is because we had an odd dinner.  Probably not something to document in pictures!

I forgot to make the frozen stuffed clams last night.  I almost forgot about them tonight.  We had left-over chicken and andoullie so that went into burritos. Then I remembered about the clams.  Since they were already thawed, that's what we had.  Burritos and "Clams in an Ashtray."  I did make a side salad.

After a meal like this, TBG always wants something sweet, often with chocolate.  I am going to surprise him with fudgecicles.   They are a good compromise.  Not very high in calories, a little sweet... and a lot cheap!

I also finished getting his stocking stuffers today.  After having broken a few wine glasses in the past month, I also managed to snag a few at the thrift store for fifty cents a piece.

The path to the laundry area is cleared in the basement and we have the cash on hand to pay for the dryer.   I hope we get it early in the day. They call at 7:30AM that day to tell you what time to expect.  Since the pool filter was broken over the weekend, I didn't bother swimming yesterday or today.  If the delivery and aquatic gods are with me tomorrow, I'll get the dryer in the morning, do a load of laundry, then swim in the afternoon. Fingers and fins crossed!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tires, Exhaust, Toaster, Camera Battery, Clothes Dryer...

The list of things we need to replace grows every day!

I put a load of clothes in the dryer and started another one in the wash, then went out to run errands this morning. One thing I planned to do, was buy a  new camera battery.  The battery store wanted $34 for it -- when I can get it on line anywhere from four bucks and up.  So, I took a pass and will be pictureless for a bit until I order one and it is delivered.

When I got home, the clothes were still wet.  The drum was turning, which was due to my having replaced the belt for that last month.  Unfortunately, there was no heat.  I'd need a repair person to diagnose and fix that -- not worth it!  The laundromat around the corner is a dump but it was fortunate to have one so close to dry the two loads at. Before dinner we went out and found a scratch and dent Maytag for $336.  In perfect condition, that would be $397.  Since there is nothing perfect about the basement, the blemished version will fit in just fine.  There's free delivery but it will cost $50 for installation and removal of the old dryer.

It's tough having this happen after two major car expenses and it also being Christmas.  We were going to get "us" a gift -- and the new dryer is it.  Not sure when I'll be getting a new battery for the camera... posts without pictures are so dull. I'll figure something out... I always do!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pictureless Saturday

My camera battery appears to be dead.  I will charge it tonight and if it still won't work, I'll get another battery. The last time my camera stopped working, I got another. This time, I'm going to just try a new battery. I can't think that much else would be wrong with it.

Last night I didn't end up posting just out of laziness. After lunch with my former colleagues and a trip to the big-box liquor store, a load of laundry and a few other household chores, I was ready for wine, dinner and the couch!  We ate left-over stew and went to bed early.  We are boring old people!

While I mostly try to mellow out on the weekends now that I am doing housewife work during the week, I managed to be a bit productive.  I folded the laundry I started last night and steam mopped the kitchen floor.  That steam cleaner has turned out to be pretty useful.  It was purchased mostly because there is so much white tile and grout to clean in this house but I am really liking it for cleaning floors.  No messy mop and pail, no waiting for the floor to dry.  It's a really quick job!

Teddy and I also walked along the river today.  The path was plowed so it was a clear, cold and windy walk.  Once at home, I started soup and took some dough out of the fridge to rise.  We had chicken, andoullie, rice, veggies and barley soup.  There is plenty for TBG to have for lunch on Monday and Tuesday.

While job hunting is sorta slow going because I'm turning down overtures from recruiters looking to fill contract positions and also not scouring job boards for positions, I have found a few postings that interest me and have spent time applying.  I am done with on-line applications that take an hour to do.  If any process takes that long, I'm not ready to invest the effort.  Putting in that much time to have your resume screened by a program and kicked out instantaneously just doesn't seem like a wise investment to me. 

Tomorrow I'll be going to the pool at 1PM.  The Bills are playing the Packers in Green Bay and I'm certain we'll lose. I'd rather take advantage of that time to get a lane in the pool -- more people stay home to watch football.  I'll probably do a few other chores but mostly plan to take it easy.  If my camera battery recharges, I'll be back with pictures!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

All I Have to Show for My Day...

...is a picture of my dog wearing antlers!  It is nice that this dog (unlike her predecessor), is willing to keep them on.  She was dressed for our dinner guest.  I managed to handle three rounds of snow shoveling, lunch for TBG, cleaning up downstairs, wrapping a couple of Christmas presents, making a batch of blondies, a big pot of beef stew and a batch of biscuits.

We got about 10 inches of snow and I was first up at 6AM digging out the driveway so The Big Guy wouldn't have to.  I then hit it all again later in the morning.  My neighbor did the sidewalk in front of our house once too -- so I reciprocated by getting rid of the snowplow sludge at the bottom of his driveway.  Then I had to hit it all a third time before TBG got home from work.

As for my culinary accomplishments, I used a blond brownie recipe from the side of the King Arthur white whole wheat flour package and they were awesome.  The recipe calls for chocolate and butterscotch chips (which I was missing and not about to drive out and get in a snow storm).  I put in extra chocolate chips and a variety of other nuts and some seeds.  They were yummy.

I expect we might get a little more snow over night, but probably nothing major.  My former co-workers are meeting for their usual Friday lunch and I'm joining them.  I'll be near my favorite big-box liquor store and should be able to pick up a few Christmas gifts there too.

While TBG doesn't mind me not working, he gave me a high score for my efforts today.  If I keep this up, he'll never want me to go back to work!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Some Chores You Just Hate More than Others...

Need I say more?  This is the absolute worse cleaning job I can think of.  It might have gotten done once while I was employed, but I doubt it.  The fact that it's white means grime really shows up.  We keep up on it daily, but so much crud falls under the top and there is stuff you just miss.
I have been thinking to look up prices on-line for replacing the elements and the drip pans.  Especially the drip pans.  They are never going to be completely clean and I don't think the elements heat up evenly anymore.  They got the best cleaning I felt like doing and the sponge lost its life in the effort.
Here it is put back together.  I ran the oven clean cycle for just two hours as I didn't think I could take the smell for all four hours.  Now I just need to sweep the dust off of the oven floor. 

This is definitely not a glamorous oven but it will have to last for a while.  That's why I'm thinking it makes more sense to replace the elements and pans.  A new stove and oven would be too pricey to consider and not a sensible thing to do until we update the kitchen.  Who knows how long that will take. 

Cleaning the stove and oven is such drudgery -- it's not fun to do and I'm not that fond of the appliance itself.  But it's ours and it works so it pays to take care of it.  Me and the stove. It's a love/hate relationship!