Saturday, June 30, 2018

Oh Blah Dee, Oh Blah Dah .......

Life goes on, as the song says.  I have to admit though, I'm getting pretty tired of this staying home puppy sitting thing.  I feel like I've been sitting forever.  If I get up and move, Cooper gets up and follows me .... not so good for someone who is supposed to be resting.

I drug two of my kennels out of the garage to test for travel.  He refused entry.  I could stuff him in, but am afraid I'll hurt his back.  Food is not an incentive with this kid.  If I get in, he'll get in and I don't quite fit.  Nonetheless, he will have to travel in it when we head out.  Otherwise he will jump up and down off the couch.

In the meantime, I think I've logged 3,000 hours on my phone trying to keep busy as I sit on the couch cushion on the floor.  I've tried sneaking up ON the couch, but as soon as my ankle cracks, he's awake and wants up.  I've created a monster.

I was finally able to finished the binding on this crazy quilt.  Does it look like the 80's to you?  It reminds me of my brown shag carpet and orange couch.  Honestly, I really need to make these a little faster.  I love the material when I buy it, but a year later I wonder what the heck I was thinking!!
Such a little angel when he's asleep.  I decided to go for the air mattress yesterday.  Boy did THAT bring back memories of camping with the critters.  We all had small blow-up mattresses that became part of the sandwich.  

The layers included a huge pile of pine needles we gathered, a large canvas tarp, the air mattress and our sleeping bag, topped by the folded over tarp with our levis for a pillow.  Unfortunately for us kids, it didn't keep out the bugs, the snakes or the bears.  

By morning the air mattress was always flat, which didn't really matter to me since I could never stay on it anyway.  I always rolled off.  Every night we had a blow-up-your-air-mattress ritual.  I have discovered I'm WAY too old for floor sleeping now.
At any rate, the gardener showed up Friday, not his usual day, and waylaid my trip.  We discussed the fact he turned up the timers so my sprinklers ran almost five hours every day and why there were still dead spots in the lawn.  Finally he replaced four sprinklers and I threatened him with his life if he turned up the timer again.  

Too late to travel due to traffic, I consoled myself with a grilled cheese tomato sandwich.  I didn't grow these, the Castle Lawyer did ... and WOW ... they are delicious!!  I had forgotten what a REAL tomato tastes like.  There's nothing like an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich to make me a happy camper.
So this was my bed for the night.  You would think the couch would be more comfortable, but it's not.  I laid out cushions, covered it with a blanket and propped myself up to watch the Giants ball game.  Surprisingly, we won against the Diamondbacks and surprisingly, it was pretty comfortable.

I probably should be rooting for Arizona, but to be honest, I just don't like their announcers.  They always have something good to say about their team, and something not-so-good about everyone else.  

Finally .... lights out.  I stretched out on my "bed", feeling pretty good about the night to come.  That's when Miss Jessie decided SHE should sleep on the bed too.  I tried to shoo her away, but she was having none of it.  It was a tight fit.  
I'm determined to get out of the house today.  The puppies usually sleep pretty good in the mornings, so I'm locking them in bathroom jail and heading out.  I probably won't get too far since my hips aren't happy with me.  Hopefully I'll be able to heal up from all this one day.  

I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I hit Arizona.  That bed is also too high for Cooper and I imagine he will have to sleep on the floor, which brings up another problem.  He's the only dog of dozens in my life that I've not been able to house train.  

Oh he's great if I leave the door open, but that invites burglars, snakes and coyotes.  I do have a large round fold-up kennel that I'm hoping works.  DING!  The light bulb just went on.  Hey ... maybe I should try that now!!  It would be perfect for him to sleep AND travel in while on the road!!  I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Queen Of Hairspray

Here we are again, not so comfortably sitting on the floor to keep the Master of the House quiet.  He was up searching for the ball at 3:20 this morning.  The good news is he's healing up very nicely.  In his every day running around, you would never know his back was hurt.

Always a little timid unless you were near his food dish, he has become even more so down the hallway near my sewing room.  I wonder if he hurt his back slipping on the floor?  I think I will lay out some rugs and see if that makes any difference.  At any rate, he's on the mend and I've lowered his meds by half.

One amazing thing has happened, my Vet has called me every day since Cooper left the hospital to see how he was doing and make suggestions on the levels of medication.  NICE!!  I really appreciate that above and beyond service.
While sitting and watching boring television, lots of things go through your mind.  I am and always have been the Queen of Hairspray ... and I found myself running low on stock.  Actually, I should have stock in this company!  This is what I ordered from Walmart.

When you have the world's worst hair, you need product .... LOTS of product.  It doesn't help that I was raised in the 50's and 60's.  The first thing I was introduced to on the school bus was a toothbrush.  Trust me, there is nothing better in the world to rat your hair to the ceiling, than a toothbrush.  

Although apparently not allowed at home, the hour's ride to school offered plenty of time to rat your "do" into mammoth proportions.  At the time I had long hair in a pony tail that I could sit on.  For whatever reason, my mother decided to cut it all off one day.  That's when the toothbrush became a permanent fixture in my life until the age of 22 when I found the perfect ratting comb, which I still use.
These are not pictures of me, but the hairdos are exactly the style I wore.  Rat rat rat ... scrunch scrunch scrunch and spray the heck out of it.  Once you had it piled up high and smoothed to perfection, you required something with the sticking power of Gorilla Glue to keep it looking like the perfect Roman helmet.
If you were lucky and had a friend who could make curls, this would be your "do" for the day.  I was able to pull this style off a couple of times by myself, but mostly I was the curler, not the curlee.  There was nothing we couldn't stick together with Aqua Net hairspray.  
Dirty hair was always preferable to freshly washed because it held together better.  When we finally did wash our hair, Tame creme rinse kept the tangles out while you rolled every strand on hard plastic rollers.  Sleeping on those was literally a pain, but we did it anyway.  If you were rich, you had a bonnet hairdryer and didn't require the overnight torture.

The next morning, rat rat rat, smooth and spray the dickens out of it.  The more spray the better!   Even when you thought the can was empty, I could get three more hair days by changing the angle of spray.  That's how I became the Queen of Hairspray.  This hair wouldn't move even in a 50 mph wind.
Old habits die hard.  I've never been able to give up the pouffy hair nor the hairspray.  "Natural" just doesn't work for me.  It's been hard to go through the long straight natural hair era.  No worries though, because everything that went around, comes around again, and soon these hairstyles will be in vogue.  I'll be right up front with my can of spray at the ready now that I have received my latest stockpile.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Where's The Aspirin??

Where's the beef used to be the saying around here.  Now that I'm older, it's where's the aspirin!!  I feel just about as good as Miss Jessie looks.  I've got leg muscles I didn't know I had, not to mention a stiff neck.
There are very few times I can get Cooper to sleep like this.  It's that darn ball game.  He feels better, so his fanaticism returned.  Luckily he will lay at my feet when I'm on the computer, so I spent a lot of time sitting here.  He will also stay quiet if I'm sewing, so I put in quite a few hours yesterday.

In between, I try to get him to sleep on the floor next to me.  I finally pulled one of my couch cushions off to sit on so my butt would have some feeling at the end of the day.  That however has brought about a new problem ... getting up and down.  I've got muscles I didn't know I had!!  You need a good workout?  I have a plan for you!

Tomorrow I'm heading out to find a blow-up mattress.  I'm going to need one in Arizona anyway.  All three of us can share and it won't hurt Cooper's back when he exits the bed.  Last night I snuck up on the couch, but it didn't last long.

These meds require lots of water and many trips outside.  I'm lucky if I get two hours sleep at a time.  It's okay ... I'll snooze in the afternoon!!
Trying to think ahead with a still fuzzy brain, I whipped up some bird biscuits for Jonathan.  I even grated apple and carrot into these.  Hopefully he appreciates it!!  I know I've said this before, but if you bake, you should check out Wilton pans, as in cake decorating.  Both Walmart and Michaels carry many of them.  Everything comes out slick as can be ... I just turned these muffins with my fingers so they would cool.  Cleanup was a breeze.
Otherwise, same ole, same ole.  The Post Office never called and did not deliver my package yesterday.  The bank never got my payment made, but they did figure out why it wasn't working and are in the process of fixing it.  Two of the now seven items returned are being re-sent.  

For an even MORE fun afternoon, my gardener upped the timer on all twelve irrigations stations.  After four hours, I looked outside to see the sprinklers STILL running.  As I walked across the lawn to turn them off, I sunk in the mud.  Squishy is the word I would use.  When I leave, I'm putting a padlock on the box.

Here's the info on Walmart should anyone be interested.  I'm not sure they ALL offer this service, but it would be easy to check.
And here's your 10% off coupon.  Just put in the code WOWFRESH.  I'm thinking it just groceries you can purchase.  I didn't go through their entire list of products, but it looks like you can purchase just about anything.  Be sure and load up YOUR store or you might be driving to Kentucky for pickup.
I'm a little ahead of schedule ... only a four hour wait ... but I'm heading off for a haircut.  It's funny, it never seems to get really dark here at night, so the puppies have me up at 3:30, thinking it's time to start the day.  The next time I need the company of a pet, I think I'll find a nice kitty cat.  At least you don't have to open the door for them every three hours.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My Little Vampire and Clerk 1

It's a good thing I got a VERY good night's sleep in my soft bed, because yesterday was pretty crazy.  I tried to force myself to sleep in, but of course that never works.  I was on the move by 8:30 heading to Walmart for my package pickup.

They sent an email saying it was ready, but when I got there, it was still on the truck.  At this time of the morning, there is NO ONE in line.  I'm pretty sure most Walmarters DO sleep in, because when they finally show up at 10:00, they still have their jammies on.

I picked up my package and headed back to the house via the Post Office (they were closed) and the gas station for a Jeep fill-up at $4.40 a gallon for regular.  Drive 20 miles and it will be a mere $3.89. I don't understand it, but this town is higher than any in the Central Valley.  I think that's called collusion in gouging the customers.

At long last, it was time to pick up my little kid.  I tried to gird myself against what I knew was going to be a heart stopping bill.  That will teach me to brag about how healthy my puppies have been all their lives.  This is a blurry picture of him barking at me ... glad to be home.
I received a bag full of meds with more directions than I've EVER seen on MY prescriptions, before pulling out my credit card.  I almost fainted when I heard the cost.  I'm embarrassed to tell you it was over $650.  It took my breath away!  I just closed my eyes and gave her my card.  As she processed it, I said good grief that's expensive!  Don't you at least have a senior citizens discount?  

Why yes we do, she says.  I just shook my head.  I guess you have to ask.  She was nice enough to reverse the entire thing and re-enter a list of charges 10 inches long.  I received $68.00 back.  She also marked my account as permanent senior citizen.  Gosh ... can I get a refund on Jessie's surgery bill too??????

So my little vampire made it home.  I mean really, he might as well suck my blood, because the vet is certainly sucking out my hard earned money!!  What can I say ... I love the little guy and am thrilled he's definitely on the mend.  In the meantime however, there's no playing the ball game or walking up or down stairs for at least 15 days.  He's very sad about that.
By then it was time to lock up both kids and head out to the Magic Kingdom with the infernal machine.  I got there just in time to start working.  Although there are a couple of things not quite the same, she worked just fine the entire evening.

Reader Dave Burdick suggested I test the use of the SD card to be sure it works.  The King had the same idea, but honestly, I didn't want to try.  I was afraid!!  I taped it to the inside of the instruction booklet where it gives them all the directions they need.  In the meantime, I'm changing my phone number.

Just when I thought all was well with the world, the Kitchen Staff came over in a panic.  THEIR infernal machine was asking for a Clerk Number.  They don't have clerk numbers and it locked her out of every function like a two-year old tantrum.

It happens with our machine too when we accidentally hit keys in the wrong order.  I've no idea what those keys ARE, but have figured out just call yourself Clerk "0" and it works.  Not so much with the kitchen machine.  After many screeching beeps and "Hit Clear" messages, I figured out their magic number is "1".  Clerk 1 signed on and it was a happy camper.  
Finally home, I tried to psych myself out for another night on the floor.  I have 14 more to look forward to.  I don't dare put Cooper on the bed ... he has never jumped off, but these meds make him very thirsty.  He was up and down all night long slurping away.  I was a VERY long night.

I do have some other news to pass along.  Walmart has a new thing going called Grocery Pickup.  It's all free they say.  You go online and pick out all the groceries you want, including fruits and vegetables, then pay with your credit or debit card.  You tell them what time you will be there to pick them up, whereupon they bring everything to the front door and load it in your vehicle.  Boy is THAT service.

The gal even said if you are unhappy with the tomatoes they picked out, you can return them and pick your own.  100% guarantee.  She gave me a 10% off coupon.  I might just try it and see how it works.    I'm not sure how this makes money for them, but maybe they will get more shoppers if you don't have to look at other shoppers in their jammies.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Potpourri ... A Mixture Of Stuff

This is what happens when you don't have kids.  You substitute with THESE "kids".  It's truly better to have the real thing, because they can tell you where it hurts.  My two just give me the "look".  Instantly I know something's wrong.

Even though Cooper was getting better, I took him to the Vet early yesterday morning.  From 1 to 10, he said this little guy was still at about 7.  He's a pet lover for sure, as he held Cooper in his arms the entire time we were talking.  That might have been more for me than Cooper, I'm not sure.

Poor baby boy had to stay in the hospital in order to get good doses of meds to reduce the swelling in his spine before it impacted his spinal column.  Lovely conversation, yes?  I was almost in tears.  The good news is the x-rays showed no damage at all, everything is in it's place where it should be.  YAY!!

He should be able to come home right after lunch.  I can't wait!!
In the meantime, Miss Jessie and I enjoyed some one on one time, although most of it she spent snoring.  We got the best sleep EVER on a nice comfy bed last night.  Your bed not comfortable?  Just sleep on the floor a couple of nights.  
In the meantime, I went BACK to the Post Office to complain about not getting packages for the umpteenth time.  THIS time they called the driver, who told them she didn't deliver to this address because it was vacant, in which case she does not get paid for delivery.  

After explaining the entire I-live-here, the UPS store closed and took my mail with them, I have a post office box because I'm gone long periods of time ..... thing, they said they would call me later in the day.  Of course they did NOT call.

I'm still trying to track down two packages I haven't received.  No doubt they were returned.

Next up .... call the Credit Union and find out why my health insurance payment is not going through.  You can imagine how that went.   I left message after message and no one called me back.  Why is it always up to ME to figure out the problem and call THEM?  Still working on that one.

For those that care, you really CAN freeze hummus.  I bought a really big container at Costco and split it into smaller containers.  I took one out and left it in the fridge to defrost yesterday.  It was exactly like the fresh.  I've no idea why I took a liking to hummus.  It's never been on my love-this list until recently.  Kind of like how I hated pizza as a kid, then one day woke up craving it.

Angelina Jolie has commented on my blog.  Can you believe it?  She actually reads my blog.  How exciting is THAT????  Not really at all.  It was written in some strange language like maybe ancient Arabic.  I deleted all three of them.  I think it's rather funny they picked her name.  Obviously no one would believe Angelina really commented.  

It's Magic Kingdom day again.  Boy that came around fast!  The infernal machine is programmed and ready to go.  I did another test run yesterday and all seems well.  That's when I discovered a slot in the front.  Being a camera person, I instantly recognized it as an SD card slot.  

I grabbed the book and began to look for anything SD.  Sure enough, you can insert a card and transfer all the programming.  I scrounged around the house for an hour, looking for a card.  Surely I have one SOMEwhere!  AHA!!!  Found it.

I plugged it in, formatted it and followed the directions.  It said it transferred every last piece of data, not that I believe it.  It has caused me hours of grief before.  I took the card out and taped it inside the book.  If this ever happens again, we may have a shot at reprogramming it rather then spending hours figuring out those 25 departments and how often to hit the Text key.

That's it for today.  I'm gearing up to pick up Cooper, then rushing home to pick up the infernal machine and return it to Bingo.   In the meantime, where oh where has my refrigerator filter gone?

Monday, June 25, 2018

So ............ I'm Back On The Floor

I love my puppies.  Whatever it takes to keep them happy and comfortable, that's what I do.  Imagine my grief when I discovered Cooper had hurt his back.  My guess is jumping off the couch, which he does 20 times a day.  THIS however, was the day he got hurt.  Actually it was Saturday afternoon.

If you could see the look of pain on his face ... he could hardly stand up.  He barely moved, sleeping uncomfortably all Saturday evening.  Sunday morning, he was even worse.  There are no emergency Vets around here ... everyone is closed up tight on Sundays.  I gave him one of Jessie's pain pills from her surgery, hoping he would sleep while I was gone.
I would have canceled on the waffles, but discovered not only was I to MIX them, I was to BAKE them to order.  Really, how hard can it be to mix up Krusteaz pancake mix, just adding in extra stuff.  The hard part was figuring out how much of that stuff we needed to use up the five pound bag.  

I scrounged up some oil and eggs (16 of them) along with a large whisk.  Batter done.  Now for the test run in the two fancy dancy commercial waffle irons.  You know, those kind you turn over to bake.  Turn them BACK over and lift the lid to discover a beautiful undercooked, NOT brown OR crispy waffle.  

Waaaaay back in the old days, my Mom told me to let it cook until there was no more steam coming out the side.  I ignored the flashing light and piercing beep, letting them cook another 45 seconds.  They came out perfect.  That's when I came up with the idea to show someone ELSE how to do it so I could go home to my poor puppy.

It was an amazing brunch ... cooked to order omelets (and boy did they look tasty), sausage, hash browns (remember the left overs from the LAST breakfast?) biscuits and gravy with all the condiments you could imagine from homemade salsa to strawberries and whipped cream.  I didn't eat a thing.  I was too worried about Cooper.
I got home to find a puppy that could barely walk.  I instantly became frantic.  I made a bed of quilts on the floor by the couch.  I carried him outside to the grass, then carried him back in.  He curled up on the quilts and went to sleep, but every time I moved, he raised his head.  

I finally put the couch cushions on the floor, sitting right next to him.  He slept for four hours.  I slept for about 30 minutes, propped up against the couch.  Having already talked to Nurse Patty, I found a heating pad and laid it gently against his back.  He refused all food and water and I became a blubbering mess!!

Finally time for bed, he wouldn't settle down unless I was on the floor next to him, so I propped myself up against the couch again with one leg hanging over the coffee table and tried to doze off.  Thank goodness he slept like a rock.  

We were up at 1:00 am, with him still not feeling any better.  Bleary eyed, I took him outside again, then back on the floor just waiting for time to pass until I could call the Vet.  

He woke me up at 3:30 as he plopped his ball in my lap.  What??  NO ball games!  You're hurt really bad.  He was having none of it, so I gathered up all his balls and dumped them in the sink.  There are two times he lays quietly at my feet.  One is when I'm on the computer, and one is when I'm sewing.  

I've been surfing the web since 3:45 and plan on continuing until 7:30 when the Vet's office opens up.  It looks like he's on the upswing.  I almost hate to take a chance of re-injuring him by going to the Vet, so I'll call first.

It's always something with these kids and I seem to be having a rather hard time of it.  Hopefully he is on the mend and I'll be able to keep on schedule.  In the meantime, there can be no stairs in his life, so I'm hunting up pieces of plywood to make ramps up on the couch both in the house and in the rig.  It is NOT my plan to sleep on the floor again!!  Time will tell.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Dirty Deed Is Done

Out VERY early in the morning with my eyes still half shut yesterday, I finally finished washing the rig.  She's all sparkly clean, as long as you don't get too close.  REALLY washing it would mean climbing up and down a ladder.

Reader and Tucson neighbor Jan Mains (okay, they live about 60 miles away, but that's ALMOST a neighbor in RV land) knows about the dangers of ladders first hand.  She convinced me with her pictures of a broken foot.

I do use a ladder to climb up top when I absolutely have to.  I cringe when the RV ladder attached to the back creaks and groans under my weight, another reason to keep on a diet.  At any rate, she's clean for another six months.

Next time I just might make Lodi a vacation spot so I can visit the truck wash.  My first experience was a bad one though ... in Oregon where the brushes had more sand on them than the ground, they scratched it really bad from one end to the other.  Hopefully Blue Beacon will be better.
With no more bumps or bruises to speak of, I was done by 6:30 am.  Not being much of a clean freak, I gave the inside the once over.  Since there were no big chunks and no black widow spiders, I shook out the rugs and called it a day.

Except for the Damp Rid.  It was so damp, it was moldy.  How that's possible in this heat, I don't know.  Time for it to say bye bye.  It could also use a little foo-foo just to make it smell nice, so I opened another jar before opening the window and turning the exhaust fan back on.  It keeps the heat down inside.

So .... that was exciting!  Next I cleaned up some of the backyard trash, discovering the biggest black widow spider I've ever seen.  We grown them big here in the sandy desert part of California, about an inch long she was, until I beat her to death with a 2 x 4.  

I've never seen so many spiders in my life.  I suppose they do keep the mosquitos down, but their webs!!!  They are so strong, you could hang off the top of a building on one.  There are so many under the rig that I wind them up with a big stick.  Some day I'll have a great new attraction ... the biggest ball of spider webs ever.  

I spent the rest of the day trying to stay cool without the AC.  It's just too expensive to run very much.  I don't know if you have figured out your toleration level, but mine seems to be 82 degrees.  Much above that and I stand with the freezer door open.  Hey, it's cheaper then the AC.

Since I finished off the smoked chicken for lunch, smothered in mayo, apples and pecans, I cooked the last of a bag of scallops I found in the freezer.  Another reason to use it as a cooling device.  I get to see what I have that needs to be eaten.  They were delicious!
You would be proud of me .... I actually declined to work at the Elks Lodge Friday and Saturday.  Said I just couldn't make it.  Today however, is the big brunch put on by the prior mucky mucks.  My Bingo buddy needs help making waffles, so I said yes to 7:30.

I have no experience with waffles, only Krusteaz pancakes.  My part in that was to buy the bag, so I'm not sure how much help I'm going to be.  Maybe I can do the measuring.  At any rate, I'm off early to get him started before coming back home.  It's going to be another scorcher today, so there's absolutely NOTHING on my schedule other than sit in front of the fan and maybe sew a little.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Blinded By The Light

Yesterday was wash-the-rig day.  Wouldn't you know, I would pick the hottest day of the year to try and clean the muck off.  The weather guessers said 105.  The RV is not dirty as in mud from the road, it's dirty from the gunk that streams off the roof after a rain.

You can barely see it in this image, but trust me, it looks like someone dunked it in drippy frosting and let it run down the sides.  This is NOT an easy task.  I gathered up all my supplies along with a few towels and began work at 6:30 am.
Using my trusty windshield washer, I scrubbed the side in the shade four feet at a time, then rinsed, followed by a squeegee (just turn the washer around) and a quick towel dry.  The washing pad is removable, whereupon I wrap a clean towel around the end and use it to dry off the water spots from my too hard water.  

Whoever came up with the idea to paint the top of this rig black should be staked out on an ant hill.  The white gunk against the black paint is a lesson in contrast.  Don't worry about that pulled muscle on my right side, I'm sure it will heal up in a year or two.

But wait ... there's a problem.  There is a 12 inch space ABOVE the slide out covers that I can't reach.  It's almost completely white.  I guess I'll have to climb up there after all.  
Yes, I should have washed the entire roof first, but it's scary up there, dragging a 50 pound water hose around.  I just didn't want to do it.  What I DID do was take my already wet rags and hang over the edge trying to wipe off all the gunk I could.  I was practically laying down on my stomach.  The less hanging over the edge, the better!  

I've considered covering the roof with some product, but that would mean washing it well, drying it, then perching on top while spreading something around.  TWICE!  It would probably be worth it.
As I started down the second side, I was blinded by the light from the sun.  I tried to hang out under the fifth wheel hitch on the horse trailer or stay very close to the rig.  That resulted in a nice goose egg on my head and me getting soaked with dirty water as it dripped off the washer onto my hair.  I'm sure my sight will return in a week or two.

A few feet further along, as I hit the black paint with cold water, steam began to emanate from the side.  I rather doubted that would work well, so I stopped for the day with about 1/3 left to wash.

I bandaged up my possibly broken toe from tripping over the hose and plopped on the couch with a Pepsi.  I earned it.  I even ate TWO peanut butter cookies, just so I could get up enough energy to feed the critters.  

THIS morning ... like right now ... I'll limp back out and try to finish the last bit.  

Friday, June 22, 2018

So Many Errands To Run ......

I'm a procrastinator when it comes to running errands.  Fuel is up to $4.90 a gallon, so if it's not absolutely necessary, I put off going to town and running errands until there's not enough time in the day to get them all done.

I contemplated that fact as I admired my beautiful whatever these are.  There are so many different shades on this bush and they are blooming like crazy.  I love it!!
Okay, I can't wait any longer.  I gathered up my long list, the stack of envelopes that had been delivered to my mailbox and a couple of bank statements.  First off ... fill the Jeep with gas, a whopping $55 worth even though I had a quarter tank to begin with.  

Next, drive to town and deposit six huge garbage bags full of donations to Goodwill.  They are not on my list of good donation sites, but they are the only one around here.  

My credit union was the next victim.  Once a month I transfer money from one to the other.  They have been doing it for four years.  Last month I received an email saying the transfer did NOT go through.  I reread it four times because I was sure that was not correct.   An hour later, having walked back and forth between the two side by side businesses, no one had any idea where the $65 went.

Well that went well .... as I drove to the next one .... Bank of America.  Not my least favorite ... but certainly down the list.  At any rate, I needed a new pin number for my debit card which I never use, except for that ONE time I needed to deposit cash.  Taking a picture of it with your phone just doesn't work like taking a picture of a check.  They tried to sell me TWO more credit cards.  I declined.

Time for a break as I returned to the house and let the puppies out.  I scarfed down a quick smoked chicken sandwich (yummy) and headed back out, this time in the truck.  Prime Shine Car Wash was my first stop on this leg.  Cool how the colors of soap reminded me of my flowers.
Clean as a whistle for $10.  Yup it's a drive through, but one of the best I've ever seen.  When I was in college trying to get my degree in accounting, we studied his business plan.  Starting from nothing, he's a multi-multi-millionaire who lives in a tiny town just down the road.
Okay ... I put it off as long as possible.  It's time to go confront the dreaded POST OFFICE!!  I had my stack of envelopes ready to pounce.  Hi he said ... you are 690 (not my real number).  Yes I am and I'd like to know why you returned all those packages I had sent to my house.

He looked confused.  "They must have had the wrong address."  No, they had the right address because I had them read it back to me.  There's no reason for you NOT to deliver to my house since I have my new mail box installed.  Look at all THESE letters with the exact same address that you DID deliver.  

To my shock, he said they SHOULD have been delivered, even if I had a P. O. Box.  He wrote everything down including the name of the girl staying at my house (remember I changed the delivery name, hoping that would work) and said he would file a complaint for me.  

Wow ... that was easy.  He said the regular mail delivery person was back from vacation and he would be sure they delivered to my home address.  We shall see what happens.  I'm sure this will not be the end of the story.

On my way home, since I had received an email from Walmart telling me my order was ready for pickup, I made that my last stop.  I even had the notice and bar code pulled up on my phone.  Don't they just scan it?  Nope ... he typed it in and nothing appeared.  He tried the name.  Nothing.  Oh come on ... you sent me an email saying it was here!!

After fifteen minutes, he couldn't find a thing.  "It's probably still on the truck parked outside".  Why oh why would you send me a notice that it was available for pickup when you still have two hours to unload the truck and check boxes in?  I have to tell you, this has NEVER happened in Arizona.

So I left without my package, totally frustrated.  It didn't help that two minutes after I got home, they called to say "your package is in!!"  Grrrrrrrrr

The best news of the day is that the infernal machine is holding it's memory.  I'm sure that's because I give it the stink eye about every three hours, just so it knows who is boss.
The only thing left on my list is to wash the rig.  It will be back on the road before too long and I don't want it looking like a homeless home.  Too bad there isn't a Prime Shine Car Wash for big rigs.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Back To Barbecue .....

I left the infernal machine sitting on the counter ...... alone.  My plan was to ignore it as long as possible.  That was a pretty hard task since it's huge and takes up half my kitchen working space.  I put him in time out.

In the meantime, back to barbecue.  As I mentioned, I picked up these two chickens for cheap at Walmart.  Not my usual meat shopping location.  These however, are Foster Farms chickens, probably the third most popular enterprise in my extended neighborhood, right behind drug smuggling and stolen cars, to Hilmar and Joseph Farms Cheese production.

I prepped them with a little maple syrup-brown sugar-smoked paprika mixture and popped them in the smoker.  It just so happened that THIS time I flipped through the direction manual that came with it.  Never leave the vent closed when the smoke is on.  Okay then ..... that's why all that horrible black buildup around all the edges and every tiny air hole.  Who knew?

I wondered what was causing all that.  I spent a few minutes trying to jack hammer it off, to no avail. Now I know better.
Five hours later I had two plump juicy gorgeous chickens sitting on my counter.  I put them in time out too for thirty minutes, hoping there would be at least SOME juice left.  You see when I punctured them with the thermometer, juice literally came shooting out like a geyser.  
In no time, I had them all cut up, waiting for the food saver machine.  I snacked on all the little bits from the carcass.  Let me tell you, they were beyond words.  Delicious, fabulous, tasty, wonderful morsel of juicy meat.  

That's when I remembered just how much trouble it is to clean up the smoker grills and grates.  They should make throwaways for this thing.  Back to the food saver.

Since I had figured out how to make bags that were open at one end, I filled them up and sucked out the air.  Again, all the juice went with it.  I noticed on the front of the machine, a button that said MOIST.  I hoped that meant it would leave at least a little moisture in the bag.  It did.  The resulting mess of juice all over the machine was half what it was last time.
It all went in the freezer until yesterday morning when I pulled one out to defrost.  It was just like fresh off the barbecue.  This Food Saver thingy is magic.  Thank you to everyone who has told me to get one over and over for the last three years.  I LOVE IT!!!

After preparing breakfast for everyone (me, the dogs and Jonathan) I fixed another cup of java and sat down in front of the infernal machine.  I quickly perused the instruction book trying to jog some of those old dead brain cells into remembering how the heck I programmed it last time.  

It was lots of trial and error, since the instructions (in five different languages) didn't make any sense at all.  I finally just blasted ahead full steam hoping for the best.  It was a little rough at first since you have to hit the Text key either once or four times depending on whether you want numbers or letters.  

I tested the first button.  Success!!  Yay, I'm on a roll.  Two hours later I did a test run and it appeared to work, until I ran out of paper tape.  No tape, no worky.  Once back at the Elks Lodge with lots of extra paper, I'll run a couple more tests to make sure all is well.  Woe be to the person who even THINKS about touching this infernal machine again!!!
Lots to do today ... fight with the post office, drop off clothing donations, return a pair of shoes,  and air up the tires on my Jeep before hitting the grocery store.  I hope you have a wonderful Thursday.  It is Thursday, right?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Just when you think all is well .... the birds are tweeting in the trees, the sun is shining brightly in the sky and the flowers in your yard are all blooming beautifully (like you're in Camelot) ...... BAM!!!   LIGHTNING STRIKES!!

I should have known better.  Everything was just too fine while I was upstairs with the troops having a coke.  I was thrilled that the Castle Lawyer would be back to help me.  We even went downstairs early to set up.

I unplugged the infernal machine (it always has to have electricity to eat or it will die a horrible death) and hauled it to the table.  That's funny ..... it says General Resetting.  I hit the escape key.  Nothing happened.  I hit it again.  Nothing.  I tried it ten times in a row.  A terrible feeling began to creep up the back of my neck.

Seriously??  I hit every key on it and nothing happened.  I unplugged it, waited a few seconds and tried it again.  Repeat, repeat.  Nothing.  Please ... PLEASE ... this is supposed to be a good night!  Where are the control-alt-delete keys on this thing?

Desperate, I dug out the instruction book.  There was absolutely nothing about it freezing up.  The infernal machine has done it to us again.  The only note in the book said to unplug the cord and take the two batteries out.  That meant it would completely erase ALL the programming, rendering it completely useless.

The Castle Lawyer went upstairs and got herself a large glass of wine.  With no alternative, I finally did the deed.  It died a horrible death ... a heart attack I imagine ... but the drawer finally opened.  I tentatively pushed a button to see if it would magically work.  Nope ... not happening.  All the air went out of my sails.
Here he is in all HIS majesty, the bleeping infernal machine.  So that meant I had to do all that calculating and cashiering by hand.  It pretty much slowed down our routine.  To my great surprise, the peasants were very understanding, letting us know if they thought we were wrong so I could add it up again.  At least I had a calculator, but it was faster to do most of it in my head.

The Castle Lawyer said if it was her, she would just go home.  No I said ... we can do this!!
It was a really long night however.  The good news is that I didn't have to balance to anything.  It was what it was.  The bad news is we had no idea how much we collected, and therefore how much to pay out.  We also didn't have a count of the peasants for the bookkeeping part of the equation.  

That's when a latecomer made a comment about "oh yeah, I told them this morning they had to plug it back in and not leave things piled on top of it".  REALLY?  Who's been messing with the equipment in the safe??  I never did find out who THEM were.  Probably a good thing or I would have read them the riot act!!

The infernal machine came home with me.  I now have to re-program it from scratch.  When we bought it originally, I think it took me two days.  It's not an easy process.  I figure it will take FOUR days ... two to just remember how the heck to do it!!  If only I had a shotgun, the infernal machine would be toast!!

Maybe some breakfast cake will zing my brain cells into action!!  I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sucking Out The Air

After having tasted the wonderful burnt ends in the vacuum sealed package from Costco ... frozen no less ... I decided to break out my smoker again.  I just LOVE smoked pork and chicken.  Unfortunately it doesn't like ME all that much, so being able to keep it in the freezer is a good thing.

Previously I either put it in those blue plastic tubs, letting air and ice surround every bite, or I would use zip lock bags.  Did you know you could close that bag all but one inch, then suck the air out yourself?  Yeah, I almost choked on a small piece that came with the air one time, but it works kinda sorta.
The other trick is to place the bag in a big bowl of water.  As you lower it in, the air comes out.  Neither way is anywhere near as good as the Food Saver.  It was cheaper on Amazon than at Walmart, but I'm mad at Amazon AND the Post Office.  There were TWO choices at Walmart ... $187 or $99.  This is the cheaper of the two.  When I say cheap, I mean plastic, lightweight cheap.
Not being terribly mechanically inclined, this was my first attempt at saving the cake I brought home from breakfast.  Of COURSE we had cake!!!  Isn't that breakfast food?  A big failure!!!  Hahaha not really, I dropped it getting out of my truck in the garage.  It was a sad moment.
This smoked pork was my first victim.  It came out perfect ... smoky goodness I definitely wanted to keep in the freezer.
The Food Saver came with lots of extra bags, most WAY too large for me, but at the bottom of the pile I found these reusable bags.  Zip loks with a hole at the top to be used with the accessory tool. 

First, I had to get the handle on the far right to move up to "seal".  It wouldn't go.  Not wanting to break the thing before I even used it, I finally pressed down really hard on the face before it clicked to the "now you can seal something" position.  

Then you take the accessory tool, also good for closing bottles of wine and expensive canisters, and place it over the small hole on the bag.  Push the accessory button.  To my great surprise, it worked!!  Next up, try making a few bags from the big roll.  That didn't go quite as well.

According to the directions, I sealed the end of the bag, then pulled it out.  It said to "seal again".  Well that didn't work because I couldn't open the bag!  Next I tried sealing the bag and cutting it with the handy dandy knife thingy.  I got a bag about two inches deep.  I finally pulled the bag material WAY out, sealed it, pulled on it again, THEN cut it off.  That seemed to work.  Okay, we're in business.

I placed the pork in the bag and watched intently as it sucked all the air AND juice out and right into the machine.  I couldn't turn the off handle fast enough.  What a mess!!  I don't remember that ever happening with my old machine.  

I spotted a "moist" button, which I assumed would leave a little juice behind by not sucking the air out quite so hard or so long.  That seemed to work better, although I still had a mess to clean up.  That was some juicy smoked pork ... at least it WAS juicy before sucking the life out of it!

All cleaned up, I was feeling like I had a brand new car and I wasn't driving it.  I went straight to the store and bought two big chickens for 97 cents a pound and set the smoker back up.  Soon I'll have succulent smoked chicken to test drive in my new toy.  I can't wait!

In the meantime, it's back to the Magic Kingdom of Bingo.  Thank goodness the King and the Knights have returned, along with the Castle Lawyer.  I would say it's going to be a breeze, but I know better than to tempt fate.  

Monday, June 18, 2018

I'm Sick Of Breakfast

I admit ... that was just too many breakfast cookings in a row.  I never want to see another sausage or egg casserole again.

I arrived at the lodge at 6:30 am (to the consternation of the puppies, again locked up in the bathroom) to find only two guys.  Luckily other volunteers showed up later.  My plan was to stay completely away from the gravy, no matter what.

The cool thing is the ovens.  If you've never worked with commercial ovens, they are a kick.  The warming ovens are another story.  My mechanical skills just couldn't get one to work.  Turns out you have to turn the timer to ON.  Who knew?

First up ... make the casseroles.  Probably three pounds of cooked bacon went into each of seven pans.  Apparently they were expecting a crowd.  That was followed by bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese before three cartons of egg mixture were poured over the top.  This might be pretty tasty!

That was followed up by sausage, linguisa cooked in cheap Carlo Rossi RED wine, biscuits and waffles.  You haven't lived until you've smelled hot Carlo Rossi Red Wine.  Totally a Portuguese thing.  Then the wait began for the fathers.  Surprisingly, there was a steady stream despite this being the first year of indoor Father's Day.  We could have used 100 more.

Yup there was a LOT of food left over.

Just as my feet were screaming it's time to sit down, we had to bag up all the leftovers, minus those six sausages I dropped on the floor.  Some went in the freezer, some in the walk-in for today's lunch, although I have no idea how he plans on using breakfast food for lunch ... and a LOT went home with the kitchen staff.

Not me however ... I don't care if I EVER see another sausage or biscuit.  Every time I turn around, I get the distinct smell of waffles from my hair.  Thank goodness it's not the linguisa!!
Although I had planned on some cooking in MY kitchen, I came home and crashed on the couch.  I guess I never really healed up after the fair because my feet were killing me.  That's when I got the phone call.  That one you KNOW you should not have answered.  They need help next weekend at the PER Brunch.  

In the meantime, I'm taking all your good advice and trying to lower my food bill.  I do keep leftovers in the freezer, but they don't last long.  Those old plastic bowls don't work so well with knife holes poked in the bottom.  It's time for them to go.

It took me awhile to find this baby at Walmart.  I might have ordered it from Amazon, but it would have been sent back for sure.  I scanned the aisles for twenty minutes before accidentally locating it next to the vacuum cleaners.  Really Walmart?  Shouldn't this be in with the kitchen appliances?

For $99 it was NOT a steal, but I should be able to make that back in a short time with the food I save by not throwing it away.  Interestingly enough, Walmart has removed 2/3 of their check stands and installed check-out-yourself stations.  

I wanted to complain about them letting employees go that won't be needed as checkers, but honestly they now have MORE employees helping people check themselves out.  They never had more than two lines (and two employees) open at any one time.  Now there are FIVE employees and I didn't have to wait in line.
Anyway, the operation of this machine will definitely be an adventure.  I've got two pounds of pulled pork just waiting to be my first victim!!

By the way, the mosquito is DEAD DEAD DEAD, smashed to smithereens and run through the garbage disposal!!!!  The Great White Hunter prevails!!!