Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And The Next Excuse Is . . .

The roof saga continues. As we all know, this joker took my deposit for my roof last July and it's been a battle to get him to start. He finally showed up to start the job last Monday, May 22nd. He worked Monday, uh - he musta been busy on Tuesday because he wasn't here. Wednesday I had a crew, but only part of Thursday because they had a picnic to go to and then we had a storm Thursday afternoon. Thursday night Ron and I got to strategically place pots and wastebaskets in the attic to catch the rain. Friday one guy was here, cleaning up the shingles out of the yard and taking a magnet through the yard picking up the nails, but nobody was on the roof.

Last week, the temperatures around here were pretty decent. Nice days, breezes blowing, not too hot. It would have been a good week to finish a roof! Alas, it was not to be. Tuesday I had a vacation day to give me a nice long four day weekend. I was awakened to the sounds of hammering at 7:50 a.m.! Hey, I will not complain about the roofers waking me up with work. What gets me is they are out there in full force on the hottest day of the year so far. The temps got up into the 90s Tuesday. They had to be melting up there.

Then came the next excuse. I went out in the early afternoon to fill my bird feeders. My roofer catches up to me and we start chit chatting. I thought it was just friendly chit chat. Then he drops the bomb. They are out of material. OUT of material. How can he be OUT of freakin' material? Of course, I had to pick special order shingles, so I don't know how long it's going to take the next order to show up here. What I do know is we are expecting rain for the rest of this week, so we're looking into June for completion.

I should start a pool. Name the date the roof will be completed. If this takes much longer, we'll move it out to guess which month...or maybe which year.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Some Days Are Like That

Today was really a good day. And it came about unexpectedly.

It started with an emergency phone call from brother Michael. It went something like this:

Mike: Help me! I really need your help! Mary Jane wants me to work around the house today and I don't want to! HELP! Wanna goof off and go to the West Side Market?

Me: Brother, I have your back. We'll be there in an hour.

Yes, this is sibling love at its best. What other sister would give up her own Saturday of goofing off to go help her brother out in his time of need? There was shopping to be done and by golly, I was the sister to help him do it.

So there you go. We dressed, and we were out the door.

We walked all through the West Side Market in Cleveland. If you've never been there, you should try it once. There are a zillion people there, but the atmosphere and the food can not be described. We spent way more money than we intended, but I believe we spent wisely.

After shopping, we headed to Mike and Mary Jane's to taste some of our bounty. We ate and ate and ate, and then Mike started the grill and we ate some more. We had cherries, grapes, raspberries, then grilled zucchini, peppers, onions and mushrooms and then to top it off traditional hot dogs and corn on the cob.

It truly was a great day filled with great food and more importantly, great family.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Surprise!


We only have a one car garage. Ron's vehicles are parked next to the garage on a cement parking pad. In front of the pad are a few plum trees.

Since we're not gardeners, we've never weeded around the plum trees. Some spring flowers sprout up here and there. So far there have been a few jonquils and a few tulips.

Tonight we got home and Ron was like "WOW! You have to come see this!" Of course, I went running. In front of his van was this flower that was absolutely gorgeous! Now I'm not a photographer so I did the best I could with the pictures. It stands about three feet high and it looks like it's from the orchid family. How in the heck did it get there? It wasn't there last year. Or the year before that. That was a nice surprise.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Finally

It’s been a long time in coming, but the roof on my house is finally being replaced.

To give a little background, I didn’t do as much research into my roofer as perhaps I should have. On July 4th, 2005, my roofer came over with the shingle samples and Ron and I picked out what we wanted. The following week, I gave him the deposit and was told that once he got the deposit, he would put us in the schedule and our appointment time would be about three weeks away.

Has anyone seen the movie Money Pit with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long? The builders kept telling them three weeks for everything too. And absolutely nothing ever got done in those three weeks. I have been feeling their pain.

Three weeks should have put us at the end of July, beginning of August. That time frame came and went and no word from my roofer. I was trying to be patient, but by the end of August, I was pissed and on the phone. He told me he has been “busy”. Frankly, I don’t care what his problems are; I just want my roof done as promised. I was told, oh don’t worry about it. I’ll get to it in September. Yes, September was looking good. Alas, September came and went and no roof. October came and went and no roof. Keep in mind, this bozo has never once picked up the phone to call either Ron or me to tell us of any delay or issues. Oh heck with the phone, he lives right across the street! He could have yelled over but he couldn’t be bothered with that either.

Finally in November, I went knocking on his door. Again, I have to hear his problems. He said that he had to fire his employee and he can’t do my roof on his own. Then, he finally hired another roofer, but this guy didn’t have the experience to do a roof like mine. My roof was going to have to wait until the spring. Grrr This bozo created more angst in my life than he ever should have. Mainly because he could never pick up a phone and keep me up to date on what is going on. The funniest thing of this whole thing is that when I complain to him on his lack of responsibility and at the very least common courtesy, he said that yes, he’s been told that many times before. Idiot.

A phone call a few weeks ago to him had him telling me that I am next. Hmm. At least he didn’t say in three weeks! I was next. The following week after he told me that, it rained all week. Ok, that I can’t blame on him. Even with the roofer coming to talk to Ron last Friday to let us know he was starting us this week didn’t make a believer out of me. When he showed up on Monday with a full crew, I believed.

Monday was devoted to mostly tearing off the three layers of roof already there. What a mess I came home to see. Never living in a house before let alone owning one, there are so many things that I have no clue about and was not prepared for. The mess was astounding and almost overwhelming. They cleaned off the driveway at the end of the workday Monday so that I could get in and out of the garage, but that was pretty much it on Monday. In case there are any other na├»ve people out there, they just shove the shingles right off the edge of the roof as they are tearing them off. Anything below them beware. I’ve lost part of my best rose bush and I’m hoping there is not so much damage that it can’t come back from this. I don’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it

Tuesday was more cleanup and the shingles were delivered. Once delivered, they were carried up to the roof and left there. That’s good because in my neighborhood, anything not nailed down gets stolen. Remember the post about Ron’s $1.00 ashtray stolen off of the front porch? “Nuff said.

Wednesday brought the entire crew out in full force again. I think they were working on another job in the morning, because they showed up at our house after noon. And boy did these guys work.

I started getting a headache yesterday so I left work a little early. I left about 4:30 and being so close to home, I’m home by 4:45. I really just wanted to lie on the couch and close my eyes for a little bit. That was not happening. Four or five guys on my roof with air hammers are not good napping companions. I thought we were having an earthquake. I actually at one point turned to Ron and asked if they were hurting the house any or if this was really normal. The house was shaking, people! I couldn’t believe it!

The crew finally quit around 8:00 p.m. last night. They cleaned up, packed up, and most of the crew left. The owner was the last one left. Luckily, he looked up and realized that one of the three dormers on the house was not covered by a tarp. So, out came the ladders and up to the roof he went. More banging banging banging to put a tarp up just in case it rained.

And yes, it rained last night. Poor Ron really has to put up with way too much just living with me. I don’t think I make his life easy.

Last night, sometime in the middle of the night the rain came. The sounds coming from the roof actually woke us up. I really don’t know what was happening, but it sounded like the rain was boring holes right through the roof. It might have been the water dripping from the dormers to the tarp on the roof, or just the rain hitting the roof, but it was a constant and LOUD drip, drip, drip.

You know, when mama ain’t happy, no one is happy. I actually asked Ron to go check the attic and make sure all was well and all of the rain wasn’t coming through. Being the good man that he is, he dragged his butt out of bed to appease me. The report was that everything was fine. I’ll really be glad when this is all over. I don’t know how much more Ron can take!

We have a few progress pictures that we’ve taken of the work. I’ll post them when the roof is complete. I keep telling myself that it will look beautiful when it’s done and I’ll forget all about the problems getting here. Here’s hoping anyway.

As a side note, if you haven’t seen a roofer at work, it’s something you should see. The next time I want to complain about my job, I will think about these guys. Jumping on and off of ladders, walking precariously around the roof, trusting their lives to little itty bitty ledges they put around the edge, no way. There is nothing you could pay me to do the work these guys do. I can’t even imagine what these guys go through in the heat of July and August. At least here in May, the weather has been nice and even a bit cool in the mornings. Now I know why a roof is so expensive. No matter what these guys are getting paid . . . it’s not enough.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Where Am I?

I have so much to write about I just haven't had the time to sit down and write it. Sometimes life flies by a little too quickly.

Let's start with yesterday. It was a comedy of errors from beginning to end. Some days are just like that.

The highlights of the day were that last night I was meeting my old boss for dinner. We were meeting at a really cool restaurant, right across the street from the airport. I guess I was too excited about seeing her after such a long absence since I showed up at the restaurant almost an hour early. It was a gorgeous day yesterday though, so I didn't mind. I have absolutely no problem sitting in my car and waiting. I usually have a book in my car, but with this location, I was able to watch the planes landing and taking off at the airport. Not a bad way to kill some time especially when I didn't have to be on one of those planes! Well, I was sitting there in my car and decided I couldn't wait the hour, my bladder was full.

I didn't want to go into the restaurant that early, so I figured I know that airport like the back of my hand, there's free 30 minute parking, I could just run to the airport, head to baggage claim and go pee. It's good in theory, isn't it?

I am used to walking out of baggage claim from the parking lot, not in to it. It shouldn't be that difficult, but the airport has this thing with escalators. One escalator is actually two stories non stop and that one takes you up to ticketing. There is a smaller one story escalator that takes you up to baggage claim. I missed the correct escalator and ended up one floor too high in ticketing.

Now, I have no special affinity to the ladies' room in baggage claim, so I figured any one would do. In case anyone is interested, there are no public restrooms on the level of ticketing. Trust me, I looked. So, off to find my way back down one floor to the bathrooms I know.

Again, this sounds easier that it was. I couldn't find steps or an escalator, but I did find an elevator. That worked for me. I pushed the button and waited. Keep in mind, now I'm doing my potty dance. People, I got to GO. The elevator couldn't come quickly enough for me. Finally, the door opens but there is a family inside. I don't care, I get in anyway. Unfortunately I think their idea of a fun time in Cleveland was letting the kids push all the buttons in the elevator and just go up and down and up and down. I don't think they were understanding the urgency of my situation. Finally, the door opened somehow on a level above ticketing, and I was forced to climb over their luggage cart and out of the freaking elevator. I should have peed in their bags just for the aggravation, but alas, I had more control than I thought.

Finally, I find another elevator and took it directly to BC. That's baggage claim in layman's terms. Aah, this was close to Nirvana as far as I was concerned. Once out of the elevator, I ran to the ladies room. For anyone concerned, yes I did make it in time.

I finished up, washed my hands, and I was back to familiar territory. I have flown into that airport so many times I definitely know the way from baggage to the parking garage. Piece of cake. I even made it to the ticket booth at the exit before my 30 minutes was up, so parking was indeed free. Bonus!

I was back in the parking lot of the restaurant before I knew it. I had time to watch a few planes take off and then it was time to go in.

It was so great to see my former boss again! We had an awesome dinner and a lot of chit chat, catching up on life and the people we used to work with. We had a bad ending to that job, as the company closed our local office and put us all out on the street. It was a bad time in all of our lives, but I think a lot of good came out of it. I will never say I miss the job, but I sure do miss the people.

You'd think that my story would end there. HA! There is still the drive home!

I know the way home from the airport. Honest, I do. But, I was trying to be a little creative in my route. I should have taken the turnpike for the fastest way home. But, with all of the construction still going on, I figured I'd bypass that and take an alternate route home. Sounds good, right?

I even happened to get a phone call from brother Mike on my drive home. As we all know, he has been my navigator since I moved to Ohio. Who else could help me find my way home over the phone when I would call him, tell him I'm next to a blue house and can't find my way! He always knew where I was lost at and has been able to redirect me and get me to where I needed to go.

Last night however, I think his Mojo was off.

Mike and I were chatting when I was deciding not to take the turnpike. No big deal, I'm very familiar with this area. I stayed on Route 10, thinking I'll just take it to 57. We are chatting. Then I see the sign for Route 83. Hey, change of plans! I like 83. I decide to take Route 83 to Route 20 to 57. In my mind, a much better route. We are still chatting. I guess I can't multitask! I turn onto Route 83. We are talking. Talking. Talking.

Next thing I know, I'm crossing Route 82. How can that be? That should be behind me. Hmm, maybe they moved it. Hey! That BP refinery is on the left...why? It's always on the right when I'm heading home...HEY! Oh CRAP. Mike realizes I'm having issues and asks me what direction I'm heading. That compass in my car has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion. I look and sure enough, I'm heading south. And yes, I should have been heading north. CRAP. So, Mike, always helpful, gave me great advice. He said . . . Uh, turn around and head back the other way! Yes! That's why we keep him around. Once again, he helps me find my way home.

He also did mention in passing that maybe I shouldn't be allowed to drive and talk on the phone at the same time. No kidding. Then again, I don't think I should be able to drive anymore. I need a good chauffeur. Any takers?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Clean Little Secret

Ok, I’m going to come clean. I can’t do it all myself, so I hire help. Help with keeping my house clean, that is.

We stay on top of the day to day stuff pretty well. But, it’s hard to keep up the house looking like I want it to look. So, we found a lady that does a great job, and she is very reasonable. She comes in once a month and gives it a good once over. I mean, scrubbing floors, wiping the blades on the ceiling fans, the woodwork, etc.

I’m not one that will clean before the cleaning lady gets here. But, she does usually give us a few days notice before she comes in. There are a few things I like to do before she gets there. We each have a bad habit of throwing the mail in a pile, either on the island or on the end of the dining table. It’s the “I’ll read it later” pile. A phone call that the cleaning lady is coming makes it later and we read all the mail in our piles and pitch it or file it or pay it. Also, if there are any dishes in the sink, I want to do them. She won’t put anything in the dishwasher, so if there are any dishes in the sink, she will wash them by hand and try her best to put them away.

That’s where the fun comes in! For a few days after she’s been in, and if I didn’t do the dishes, we’ve been heard saying “have you seen my favorite coffee mug anywhere?” or “didn’t we used to have a bunch of cereal bowls?” or “where would you be if you were a saucepan?” She definitely brings fun into our house when she visits.

Even when there aren’t dishes to do, it seems like things are always moved. I’m not complaining, I’m tickled she’s coming over to clean once a month. And, it does give us an adventure on cleaning day. For example, I have a few candles scattered throughout the house. She may not like the way I have them arranged or she doesn’t think they are in the right room, so she moves them. It’s cool – it always looks better after she rearranges. Things like the mail if we didn’t take care of it before she gets here, will all be piled in one pile instead of a Ron pile and a Ree pile.

I got home last night and had to move furniture back to where it belongs. She moves everything to clean! Mom would be so proud! She gets the furniture close to where it was before, but it’s always off just a little. When I’m in my recliner, the TV should be pointed directly at me, not a little to the side. A little, but enough to bug me so I have to fix it.

She has stepped it up to a whole new level this time though! Now the real fun begins.

Ron likes creamer in his coffee. The brand of creamer we picked up at Sam’s Club last trip found us buying the creamer in containers that are bigger than the shelves in our cupboards. So for now, the creamer has to live on the counter by the coffee pot instead of in the cupboard where it belongs. Well, when she cleaned our kitchen yesterday, it seems she put the creamer “away”. Our only problem is, we don’t know were “away” is! Ron checked the likely spots; under the kitchen sink, in the pantry, on the refrigerator, under the island. No creamer.

Ron even thought maybe she dropped the container and it broke so she just threw it away. So, he looked in the garbage. No creamer.

I was going to hold lottery type “find the pickle on the Christmas tree” kind of event to see who could guess where the creamer was for a prize, but so far we haven’t found it. We’ll keep looking and I’ll let you know if and where it turns up.

Next time we move, she’s helping. I’m going to have her put everything away in the kitchen so that when she comes to clean she knows where everything belongs and we’ll only have to find stuff once instead of once a month!

Jumping To Conclusions

Last night I had the living bejeebus scared out of me.

On one of the walls of my livingroom are two windows. These windows are smaller than average windows, and they are up high on the wall. The windowsills are about chest high on me. The windows face my side yard, and after that is a street and across the street is a house. This house has a family that includes a few teenagers living there.

I live in an old neighborhood. Window coverings lean towards the old fashioned pull shades, so even when the shades are pulled, you can see people in silhouette. The house across the street on that side doesn’t always have their shades pulled, so you really can see it all, even without trying.

Long intro into this story, I know!

Last night, I walked downstairs and started walking across the living room. Well, since I’m walking in the direction of those windows, I am looking out at this neighbor’s house without intending on looking out at their house. I just couldn’t help it! Since the windows are up high, to look out the window, you are looking up and out.

What I see in an upstairs window across the street is the shade open and what looks like someone hanging in the window, facing out of the window. I can see a pair of dark pants, and they are up high enough so that I can see the bottom of the pants and realize that there isn’t a chair or a desk under them. My first thought is one of the kids in the house picked a terrible and permanent solution to a temporary problem. What do I do? I scream of course.

Then I ran upstairs, grabbed Ron and took him to the spare room to look out that window. Well, since this is more on the same level of the house with the room across the street, I can get a better view too. Ron very calmly said “oh yeah, I saw that yesterday. One of the kids must have hung their jeans up on the window to dry or something”. DUH!

That sure wasn’t the conclusion that I jumped to looking out my window. I am too old to be scared that much that late at night! I’m just surprised that no one called 911 while driving down the street and seeing the same thing I did. Then again, maybe everyone else is just a little bit smarter than I am and doesn’t jump to conclusions as easily as I do.

At least this is one story with a happy ending. The down side is that with as much rain as we’ve been having, those jeans hanging there probably aren’t dry yet.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Idiots Next To Me

I had to run to the post office at lunch today. There is a lot of parking at this post office, at least 50 spots. Maybe 10 were filled when I pulled in.

I went in, did what I needed to do, and tried to leave. Keep in mind, it’s raining cats and dogs outside.

A Ford Explorer was now pulled in right next to me. A few people have stopped at the post office while I was inside, and a few left. Worst case scenario, there were still at least 35 open spots in the lot. This idiot had to pull right next to me. And by that, I mean . . . . RIGHTNEXTTOME. I couldn’t even walk between our two cars, let alone open the door to get in.

Have I mentioned that it’s raining cats and dogs? Luckily I have my umbrella. My first thought was to go inside and start yelling for this idiot to come move their car. My second thought was that I should just get in on the passenger’s side and climb over to the driver’s side. Somehow I thought of my car being a standard transmission and I had visions of something unspeakable happening between me and my gear shift. I thought better of both of those options and instead opted for thought number three which was to stand out in the rain, getting more and more pissed off. Finally about ten minutes later, a blonde who was old enough to know better came out.

She noticed me standing in front of her car, and actually looked at me, smiled, and said “hi”. I couldn’t do anything but smile back and say “thanks for your park job. I can’t get in my car”. At least she apologized and said that she had to park that way because the guy on the other side of her had pulled over too far in her spot so she had to pull over into mine. Hello??

In my best smiling manner, I said to her “good thing you got the last spot in the parking lot then” as I gestured to the other 35 empty spots. The look on her face told me that she was not catching the sarcasm I was throwing at her. She just smiled, got in her car and almost backed into a car driving through the parking lot.

Ladies, please. Watch out for that peroxide. She is living proof that peroxide makes you lose brain cells.

How The Other Half Lives

Last Friday night, my boss and I took a client out to dinner after a meeting. I just had to write about this dining experience.

My boss and I left the client’s first and was going to get a table at the restaurant. Our client had a few things to do and she was going to meet us there about 15 minutes later. We pull up to the restaurant to see that they have complimentary valet parking. Hey, it’s raining pretty hard, so complimentary or not, valet parking is a great idea! The best part was the valet opened my door and held an umbrella over my head from the car to under the canopy so I didn’t get wet. Yeah, I sure did like that kind of treatment.

When we walked in, they asked my boss his name for their “customer record”. From that point on, everyone that came to the table from the captain to our server called him by name. “Mr. X, is everything all right?” “Mr. X, would you like another drink?” It was awesome.

As the maitre'd showed us to our table, the table was all set nice and fancy, with white folded napkins on each place setting. As the maitre'd held my chair for me, he offered a black napkin in place of the white napkin on the table. I had black pants on, and he said that way I wouldn’t get white lint on my pants from the white napkin! Hey, the restaurants I’m used to going to, the napkins are in the bag with my sandwich. I was impressed.

The price of the food in this place was out of this world and everything was extra. Even the water offered for the table was brought out in a big bottle and we got charged for it. At least we had the choice of sparkling water or flat water. You want bread with your meal? Extra. A salad? Add another $10. Just crazy.

As our server brought our bill, she asked for our valet stubs. That way, we wouldn’t have to wait for our vehicles; they would be outside when we were ready. By the time we finished up, our vehicles were indeed up front with the heat on. Again, pretty dang nice touch.

This was just a little glimpse for me as to how the other half lives. The food was really good, but did it compare to the turkey and stuffing we made for dinner last night? Not exactly. The service and atmosphere was great but did it compare to sitting in my jammies in my own house? Nah. It was a nice place to visit, but I sure couldn’t afford to live there.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Great News!

Poor Ron has been living with a few issues as of late.

Close to a month ago on a Friday, he was going to ride his motorcycle over to his sister’s house. She’s a good 40 miles away. He left the house, headed to a gas station to fill up the bike. He put his wallet in his back pocket and headed over to Susan’s. A few hours later, he realized his wallet was not in his back pocket.

He called me, asking me to look in the house for it before he remembered he had it to gas up. A call to the gas station was unsuccessful in recovering the wallet. Ron looked through the saddle bags on the bike, just in case. No wallet.

Saturday, he drove the 40 miles from here to there, hoping to spot the missing wallet. No such luck. Then again, where do you look? On the road? In the lane you were last driving in? On the side of the road? It’s all freeways between here and there. If a semi or even a pickup truck ran over it, would it even be recognizable? We had horrific rains that day . . . did the wallet go floating into the sewer system somewhere along the way? It was not a good weekend for Ron.

We tried to think of everyone he needed to call and notify. The bank, the credit card companies. Ron even issued a fraud alert with the credit agencies, just in case. He went and got a new driver’s license and social security card. What else? Who should be called?

Then, this past Saturday morning, there was a knock on the door. Most Saturday mornings find us not appropriately dressed to greet guests, so by the time one of us (Ron) got dressed enough and downstairs to see who was at the door, he was just in time to see the mailman walking back across the street. Oh well, he thought. It couldn’t have been that important.

When Ron grabbed the mail out of the mailbox, he saw that he had missed signing for a certified letter. Now, who in the world would be sending a certified letter to him? He’s one of the last people you’d expect to be in any kind of trouble. The only thing that came to our minds was a sweepstakes entry. Both of us had received a certified letter at one time that was only a sweepstakes entry. Again, not thinking of anyone that would need to get a hold of him via certified letter left us with a sweepstakes as our only guess.

I am nosey by nature and I hate the suspense of waiting. I voted for scouring the neighborhood trying to hunt down our mailman. Ron nixed that idea stating that waiting until Monday to go to the post office was fine by him. Geez! Can a guy be any more laid back? Since it was his certified letter, he won that discussion.

Finally Monday came and Ron headed to the post office to pick up the letter. Guess who it was from! The Avon Police Department! Yes, the Avon Police Department! The letter stated that they had his wallet! WOW! Ron called and made arrangements to pick the wallet up.

According to the police, a guy on the Friday that Ron lost his wallet, came running into the police station stating that he found this wallet and he was in a hurry. So, he left the wallet on the counter and ran back out of the station. No name, no number. Just a real, bonafide good Samaritan. The police had the wallet since the day it was lost, and it took them close to a month to notify Ron that they had it.

Since the wallet was in such good shape, we are guessing that the guy either came by immediately after the wallet dropped or even saw it come out of Ron’s pocket. It definitely was not touched by any of the rain or hail that fell that day and it didn’t even look like it had a mild case of road rash! Sweet deal!

Everything that was in the wallet was returned with the wallet. Ron didn’t have any cash in there, but there was a gift card with over $100 left on it. Amazing. I just wish we could thank the guy properly for doing the right thing. We see so little of that any more.

The morals to this story?

1 – One phone call that you should make when you lose a wallet should be the police. The wallet was at the police station about a mile away from where he gassed up the bike.

2 – Now we know why bikers chain their wallets to their butts!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Don't Look At My Legs

We had a pretty good weekend. Especially since we did all of our shopping in one day, including buying me a footstool! I’ve have been trying to do that for quite some time now.

I know that sounds easy, but you go out and try buying a footstool. Now, I didn’t want a Cadillac of footstools. I just wanted something about this high, with some padding so my feet weren’t resting on wood or plastic. That didn’t sound too difficult but we couldn’t find anything at K-mart or Wal-Mart. So now I’m trying to think of who else would have a footstool. We figured we’d try some furniture stores.

One of the places I wanted to try was Value City Furniture. Ron and I are off to have some adventures on Saturday, the first of which is finding Value City Furniture. If you can picture this, we have Ron driving and ME navigating. That thought alone should scare you.

I kept telling him there is a Value City Furniture on Route 57. “Somewhere over there around Broad Street, or maybe Cleveland Street or somewhere over there”. With gas prices what they are, you’d think I’ve have some sort of clue as to where I was going before we started out. But, like I said, this was to be a day of adventures.

After driving up and down Route 57 I came to the conclusion finally that I didn’t have a clue where I was going. I think I was mistaking Big Lots on Route 57 and Broad Street for Value City Furniture. Oh well. They are close. So I did what I do every time I’m lost. No, I didn’t reach for the GPS. I called my brother Michael! I told him where I was and asked him how to get to Value City Furniture. For the record, I wasn’t even close. But, of course he knew where I wanted to be and told me how to get there from where I was. With these new directions, we got to where we were going.

The best news is that they had exactly what I wanted. It’s a foam cube about 1-1/2 foot square, with a fabric covering zipped around it. It came in a plethora of colors of which we chose the tan one. (Ron was lobbying for the purple one but I used a veto on that idea.) Even better, the footstool was all of $20! Now that’s my kind of price.

As a side note, we had one of the coolest salespeople, Pam. She was very entertaining and was happy to show us all over the store, just for a footstool. Her mission was a success as I found just the one I wanted. When she went to ring me up, with everything computerized now, they want to add your life story in their system whenever you buy something. We both said c’mon now, it’s a $20 footstool. So, instead of me spending 10 minutes spelling my last name to her, she said she’d just make something up. When I got my bill of sale, I see my name is Harry Legs! The three of us were howling in the store. What I want to know now is - how did she know?

Friday, May 05, 2006

What's For Dinner?

I have had a bug in me lately to cook.

I’m not a great cook, not even a good cook. I can make a few comfort foods ok, but that’s about it. I’m great at pop tarts and frozen pierogi, but that can only take a girl so far.

I asked for and received a few cookbooks for Christmas and my birthday. Before I went traveling at the beginning of the year, I scoured through the cookbooks looking at recipes and making a list of ingredients that my poor kitchen has never seen before. One shopping trip found Ron and me buying a whole bunch of stuff that so far has gone unused. (Hoisan sauce, oyster sauce, white wine, Tabasco, things like this.)

Well, I am not traveling for work right now. I am working so close to home, I’m home by 5:15 p.m. There is no reason I can’t cook and still have dinner ready at a reasonable time. Personally, I can live on orange spaghetti. Since Ron doesn’t share that sentiment, I dusted off my strange new ingredients and started pouring through the cookbooks again.

Wednesday, I picked a goodie. I thought I had everything I needed to make some Orange Pork. And, as an extra bonus, it was a crock pot dish. Go me!

I threw it all together Wednesday morning before heading to work. Not much to it. The more I thought about it all day long, the more excited I got about it. I could almost smell it from work. The more excited I got about dinner, the more I knew I had to share this with someone. Now, who would appreciate the fact that I was trying to cook? Mary Jane!

Who else would appreciate the fear I was feeling at the concoction I was making? Would it taste ok? Would the pork be overdone? Underdone? Would she realize that the recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder and that’s one ingredient I didn’t have? Would she know I substituted a few extra shakes of Tabasco instead? Would it be edible? Would it kill us? Yes, Mary Jane was the perfect victim . . . I mean guest.

I called with an invitation to dinner. Unfortunately for Michael, he was home early and received an invitation too. Always up for an adventure, he agreed to join the fun. A few short hours later, the four of us sat down to dinner.

Ok, I’m not in Rachel Ray’s league just yet. Ron took over on the presentation of dinner while I fretted about taste. He laid it all out on the table to look like a meal fit for kings and queens.

Final result? It was pretty good! Hard to believe that I of all people made it. And, today is Friday and I have received no medical bills from anyone for emergency room visits for food poisoning. Aaah, life is good.

Thanks to my guinea pigs for being adventurous and trying my cooking. Just for that, you’ll be invited back the next time I try something new!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Who Thought That Was A Good Idea?

Last night after voting, Ron and I headed out to dinner.

We went to a relatively new place in town called The Roman Room. I believe that this restaurant has only been open two to three months so far and it’s supposed to be an Italian restaurant. We went there once about a month ago and we tried to attribute some of the problems they were having to bugs in the system because they hadn’t been open long. We thought they just needed a little more time perhaps and the kinks would iron themselves out. We might have been a little wrong on that count.

I’ve been trying hard to put as nice of a slant on this as I can. I know that Ron REALLY wants to like this place. It’s new, it’s not a chain, we love Italian food, it’s close to home and the atmosphere is really nice inside. Ok, there are the pluses.

On the down side, the food at best is average. The service borders on awful. They must be hiring family because it doesn’t seem like any of these ladies know anything about waitressing or even what is on their menu.

As I said, it was an Italian restaurant. Our waitress came to our table to take back the parmesan cheese and the pepper flakes because “the restaurant only has three shaker jars of the cheese and only two with the pepper flakes”. Serious!

Poor place has big ideas of grandeur with the raspberry sorbet served after the appetizer, before the main course. Yes, that part I like. How can anyone not like raspberry sorbet for crying out loud? But for this nice, teeny fancy cups that they put the sorbet in, they give you an iced tea spoon that’s almost a foot long! C’mon now, a little teaspoon would be much easier.

Oh well. We will continue to look for good restaurants. And, if they fall short, you can be sure I’ll let y’all know where not to go.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fooled Me

It's rainy today. I left for lunch and took my umbrella with me because I thought I'd need to by the time I got back from lunch. Sure enough, it came down hard for a little bit while I was driving out of here but then it let up. It was just a little over a sprinkle by the time I got back.

I hate carrying an umbrella. I figure that since I haven't melted by now, I'm probably in no danger in a little water. I thought I could just walk a little briskly from the car, through the parking lot, across the street, through one building, through a courtyard and into the next building and be nothing more than just a little damn.

Fooled me!

I did walk through the parking lot, across the street, through one building and into the courtyard (all the while carrying my closed umbrella tucked under my arm of course) when I realized that I left my wallet in my car in full view. Since I happen to be carrying a fortune in the wallet at the moment (a whole $20!) I thought it prudent to walk back through everything and retrieve my wallet. So there I went, back to my car.

I reached into my car to get my wallet and as I was straightening back up, it started to rain just a little harder. Now a smart person would have bitten the bullet and just opened the damn umbrella and started the walk over again under the security of the umbrella. Unfortunately, I'm not a smart person.

Plus, I didn't know who was watching out the windows at me, seeing me stupid enough to walk through the parking lot and across the street once in the rain with an umbrella tucked under my arm, just to walk back across the street and through the parking lot in the rain, with the same umbrella still tucked under my arm and if I opened my umbrella now, they'd know I was an idiot! If I just remained calm and kept walking like nothing was wrong, perhaps I could fool them.

So that is what I did. Back through the parking lot and across the street now for the third time, through the building, through the courtyard and into the next building. I'm a little more than damp, but at least no one watching thinks I'm stupid.