Argle-Bargle

The garbage bins and the paper and the recycling were at the curb when I turned in to my driveway after work on Wednesday night.  The inside front door and the garage door were both wide open.  The barbecue was on.  The sat-radio was blaring away.  There was a half-naked man in my kitchen.

Well, that sure beats coming home to a quiet empty house.

Yes, W is home for a while.  He drove through four provinces in two days to get here because there’s too much damned rain in Ontario.  Also, he thinks he needs to be here with me to face the scary appointments and doctors at the University hospital.  This works for me.  Plus he shops for groceries and he cooks and he cleans up the dishes.  He pours my wine.

imageSpeaking of wine, this one from B.C. is devilishly good, just like the label says.  Or my taste buds have fermented and gone to hell.  It’s a toss-up really.  All I know for sure is that I’m not telling you how much of it I consumed in the three hours between getting home and going to bed.

Today I went and got a seasonal haircut.  By that I mean there’s no guessing now about the size of my ears.  The weather is lovely and hot and I’ve got a couple of fans going for the first time this summer.  I will NOT be complaining about the heat.  Somebody slap me if I do.

Our grass is green, our trees are tall.  Two squirrels, a jack rabbit and a duck dropped by for our barbecue.   The magpies have decided our backyard is a good place for their afternoon squabbles.   And we just might get a deliciously diabolical thunderstorm tonight.

So yeah.  Life is good.

Move It Move It

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Last week I made a valiant (and somewhat misguided) attempt to turn my basement upside down.  It’s looking pretty upside down to me now whenever I walk through it to get to the laundry room, so I guess you could say my efforts ended in success.  But knowing the details might make you rethink that conclusion.

I’ve been reluctant to tell this story because it makes me look like an idiot.  So I’ll just tell you right up front I have other excuses.  I’m old, for one thing.  Officially now, because the government said so.  They will be sending me money at the end of this month to remove all doubt.  Old people do some weird shit, and it’s not because they’re intrinsically stupid or anything, it’s mostly because they forget that there are things they’re simply not physically capable of getting away with anymore.

Here’s the background.  Don’t worry, it’s short.  Our television set is ancient and my son offered to wall mount his previous flat screen TV (they have a new and improved model) in our family room and hook it up for us, thus getting us back into the current century as far as home entertainment goes.

He can do this only if we move the monstrosity of a wall unit/entertainment center piece-of-crap furniture (which looks like a prop from that 70’s show) away from the wall where the new TV will go.  He suggested we throw it out.  But I’ve made silly promises to myself about things like that, so I can’t do it.  Besides, I must have somewhere to store our thousands of VHS tapes and DVD’s.  And other assorted crap which has no other home.  Sigh.

He also said moving it was part of the deal, and in no way or at any time did he suggest I should move it on my own.  He also didn’t give me strict orders not to, perhaps because it didn’t occur to him that I might try.   But I’ve been moving furniture around by myself all my life. Often up and down stairs.  I know how to empty things completely and remove drawers and take things apart until they’re manageable.  The trick is to take it slow.  Do it a bit at a time.  Preferably not in your bare feet.  That’s experience talking, right there.

The first thing to come off the wall unit was the TV which I slid carefully on to a sturdy end table kind of thing with a top surface at almost the same height.  So that was easy.  It did involve some unplugging of things but I was able to get everything reconnected and working again, so if W comes home in July to a still completely messed up basement, at least he won’t go off the deep end about having no TV.

A couch, two chairs and a coffee table are now stacked high with wall unit contents.  This includes two heavy drawers full of heavy things.  I am saving going through all this for another rainy day when I’m wearing shoes and have stocked up on garbage bags. Or when  I’m organizing a colossal garage sale.  I haven’t decided.   I could have stopped here, of course, and waited to move this thing across the room, but I had already moved other smaller things into the toy room to clear a big space and the sliding thing had gone so well.  I decided to slide the top half of the wall unit on to two end tables placed at either end.  This was trickier because of its length and having to go back and forth inching it off evenly a bit at a time.  Then the bottom half was easy to slide across the carpet to the new location.  I should have stopped at this point too.  But now I was cocky and confident enough to move the top half across the room by moving each end table a foot or so at a time.  The tops got very scratched up in the process, but they were already in need of a good sanding down.  Or a good throwing out.  Another project for another day.

With the top half in front of the bottom half, all that remains is to WAIT FOR ANOTHER PERSON to lift up one end while I lift the other and set it gently back where it belongs.  That’s how things are sitting right now as we speak.  However, there’s another little episode to relate here in which I briefly believed I was superwoman and could lift this huge thing on my own.  It didn’t end well, except for the part where I didn’t die.  It toppled over and fell face first on the carpet.  On the way down, one of the little glass doors opened (did I mention those stupid glass doors?)  Well, to make a long story slightly shorter, one of them made it to the garbage bin intact, but the other one went there in a gazillion pieces.  A lot of it got sucked up by the vacuum cleaner.

The good news is, the carpet has probably never been so well vacuumed in years.  And I’m WAY smarter than I was before.  Plus alive.   And we will never again have to wipe dirty finger prints off those two pieces of glass.  Not that I remember ever doing that, but still.  I’m trying to feel like slightly less of a moron by looking on the bright side.

Yesterday I wanted to change some things around in the bedroom because I’m tired of where the computer is and I wondered if moving it somewhere else would inspire me to sit down at it more often to write.  I stood in the middle of the room for a very long time considering the possibilities.  The feeling passed, and I didn’t move one damned thing.

Older and wiser!  At last, that could be me.

Chuck It Baby

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The night before last I had a very restless sleep and spent yesterday powered up on caffeine.  This is never a good idea, because eventually my body does a sudden power down and crashes for many hours.  Hours in which the house could burn down around me and I wouldn’t notice or care.  Happily that didn’t happen, and here I am, up and once again pretending to be normal and on my second cup of coffee already.

One of the reasons I couldn’t sleep was because some time in the afternoon I thoughtlessly tossed a black opti-flow ink pen on to my couch without putting the cap on it.  The light mushroom brown material absorbed the black ink as it flowed until there was a nice round inky black spot staring at me when I finally happened to notice it.  Even for completely unobservant me it was relatively easy to notice.  So when I should have been in bed sleeping I was instead pouring out caps of rubbing alcohol and dabbing up incredible amounts of ink.  On to white (of course they were white) terry cloth dish towels.  It was like a tie-dye experiment gone horribly wrong.  Then I used up three tide pens to get out the last of it.  All night I fretted about what it would look like dry and in the daylight, and there were also a few thoughts flitting around in my head having to do with carelessness and being a moron.

It’s not too bad, all things considered.  A very faint bluish splotch which I will now make sure I sit on whenever we have guests.  I think another tide pen should take care of it once I work up the ambition to mess about with it again.  This is the same piece of furniture which has been broken since Christmas, 2012.  W is going to get it fixed.  You know that joke where you’re told not to worry,  your husband is going to get it done, there’s no need to remind him about it every six months?  Yeah, that one.

There should have been a center support on the front cross-piece of this couch, (who thinks about these things when you see it new) especially for people like us who load it up with the entire family for a memorable photo.  We’ve had it propped up front and center with wooden blocks (complete with duct tape) for almost two years.

So my very first thought when I discovered the ink was to just throw the whole damned thing out and get a new one.   Chuck it.  Start over.  Piece of crap.

But I’ve been doing that all my life, and it’s so wrong.  Wasteful, extravagant, bad for the environment.  Can you recycle a couch?  I got a new coffee pot because the old one was leaking a bit and it annoyed me to have to clean up after it.  It was still working and probably could have done with a good cleaning, but instead of trying that, I chucked it out.  I’ve thrown out microwaves rather than bother to see if they can be repaired.  When I decide I don’t like something anymore I get rid of it and replace it with something new.  I hope you’re reading this W.  You could be next.

Nope, turning over a new leaf here.  Going to recycle and re-purpose and maintain.  Make my mother proud.

Except maybe for this gawd-awful carpet in my bedroom which originated on the ark and looks like total shit.  No point in getting completely carried away.

The Twelfth Day of June

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I have always been insanely jealous of my sisters hair.  Well maybe not insanely because I can go for several days at a time without even thinking about it.  Okay, insanely is probably pretty accurate.

Today is her birthday. She was born on Thursday the 12th.  When I was old enough to realize the significance of my own Friday the 13th birthday I decided to never forgive her for arriving a day early.  Although it may have been a relief for our mother.  I don’t know, I never asked her.

Anyway, back to the hair.  Hers was blonde.  It was curly.  It framed her cherubic little face in perfectly natural ringlets and waves.  My own poker straight dark hair showed every chop of the scissors, flat and boyish and boring in comparison.

Not much has changed in sixty years.  Except that I inherited our dads family trait of going grey early.  I like to think it’s silvery and I wish for it to some day be as white as my aunts and uncles.  Whatever, grey is grey.   With no hair coloring help whatsoever, Mom kept the color in her hair for a lot longer.  And my sister (with a little help) is doing that too. Now she has lots of blonde streaks and highlights in her waves and curls.

W asked me one time why I didn’t let my hair grow longer like my sisters.  I fought off the urge to grab him by the neck and choke him while yelling that he should grow back his bald spot and then we’d talk.  Because, you know, that would have been childish.  Instead I patiently explained that our hair is completely different and that mine would not look the same.  At all.  So shut up about the hair.

Yes, insanely is looking more accurate by the minute.

On our holiday my sister let her hair dry naturally and then gave it a quick brush and it looked perfect.  For the rest of the day.  I blew mine dry because if I don’t all the cowlicks show.  I put gel in it because if I don’t it’s about as thick as the wispy hair on a two-year old.  Normally I would use my brush curling iron to add some body but I was afraid I’d blow up or burn out our adapter and not be able to charge our more important things like camera batteries and I-Pads.  So I spritzed it all over with hair spray and called it done.  It looked good for approximately ten minutes every day, and then reverted back to exactly how it looked upon emerging from the shower.

I love my sister to death.  I want her hair.  I will die with this one fervent wish never granted.  I hope she has a happy birthday.  I hope she appreciates her beautiful hair.  It’s way past time for me to get over this and let it go.  I don’t think I ever will.

How insane is that.

Rainy Days and Mondays

011This picture was taken a couple of days ago when the sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful blue filled with fluffy clouds, and I thought W would like to see what the neighbors new fence looks like.  For which we owe him half of whatever it cost.  W is off to his island again for most of the summer, sending me texts and drinking rum.  And fishing.  Let’s not forget all that fishing.

Today the sun is shining somewhere else.  The sky is a thick grey blanket.  It’s spitting rain.  It’s Monday.  I have to go to work.  Talk about your double-double whammy.  For now I don’t have Mondays off anymore.  My schedule has always been at the whim of circumstance and a boss who schedules our lives like it’s some kind of random crap shoot.  Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays are now my days off.  Now that I’ve put that in writing it’s likely to change completely before the month is over.

Do you ever feel like the only reason you can live through something is because you know it will eventually end?  That it won’t last forever? Must be the gloomy day talking.  I have about a hundred and thirteen days to go before retirement.  Give or take ninety if I decide to work until my license expires on December 31st.  I am old and tired and would like to have EVERY day of the week off.  I read three posts the other day by three different bloggers who all used the tag ‘aging’.  It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my feelings about this process.  I don’t like knowing there are things I just can’t do anymore.  I thought I would age gracefully but often I’m just cranky and sad about it all.

So it’s time to bring Jazzy back and live vicariously through her eternal optimism and snark.  Maybe some of it will rub off on me.  Yes, I’m being completely weird because she can’t say anything if I don’t make her say it.  Poor thing.  I love this thing going around Facebook where people do 100 days of Happiness and write some happy thing every day.  What a great way to be grateful and recognize the good things in your life.

Stay tuned for “Jazzy Does Happiness” from whenever I start until the day I kiss work goodbye.  It’s looking like the end of September.  I can stay happy until then or die trying.  God, I hope I don’t die trying.

Quiche or Something Like It

Some days you just have to write about Quiche, especially on those days when you threw some together and it turned out on the plus side of edible.

I cooked some bacon until it was dark and crisp. Did I mention in any of my Greece-capades that there was not one breakfast in any of the places we stayed where the bacon was cooked any more than about half way? To me it looked as if they’d warmed it up until the fat melted and then thrown it in a heat tray in a limp and grease sodden mess. Yuck.

Anyway, I cooked the hell out of some bacon, cooled it on a paper towel and crumbled it up in anticipation of adding it to an omelette. And then suddenly an omelette sounded boring. So I chopped up some red onion, red pepper and green pepper, and sautéed it with a zip lock bag full of frozen spinach which usually ends up in my daily smoothie. Smoothies can get boring too.

Next I beat the hell out of six eggs. I don’t love cooking unless I’m cooking the hell out of things. I also find recipes and the way they’re written boring most of the time, unless they say weird and wonderful things like
– prepare the pan (apparently some pans don’t deal well with surprises)
– sit in the fridge for 30 minutes (this only works if you have a super sized fridge and you’re under 4 feet tall)
– season to taste (no really, you need to be more specific here for us taste impaired cooks and actually mention some spices and seasonings by name)

Anyway, buttered pie plate, beaten eggs, sautéed mixture, sprinkled with the crumbled bacon and shredded cheese (I’m sure it doesn’t matter what kind – pick something you like) into the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Yes, I was pretty much making this up as I went along and hoping for the best. It’s not that I don’t like a Quiche with a pastry crust but those things aren’t good for you and way too much like work.

Voila!

Voila!

Extreme quiche close up.

Extreme quiche close up.

Notice that you are not seeing any of the complicated process leading to this result.  That’s because I don’t like to tempt fate by recording the steps which may lead to colossal failure.  Even with something as relatively simple as crustless Quiche.

I wonder if my cooking skills (or lack of confidence in them) can be blamed on my mother.  We blame our mothers for just about everything, so why not.  She was an excellent cook who could whip up an incredible table full of delicious food for a crowd with very little help.   It would take her longer to tell you how to do something than to just do it herself.  She was forever apologizing for the dishes she made not being better, although we couldn’t imagine how that would be possible.  She never measured anything exactly, using her measuring cups and spoons as guidelines only.  That’s why I don’t have many of her recipes.  The best ones  changed with the ingredients on hand and were never written down.  Leaving her daughters (well this one who never listened anyway) to wing it on their own.

This was really good hot out of the oven with some salsa on the side.  I’m hoping it will be really good cold too, because I may have gone a bit overboard with half a dozen eggs for one person.  Mom also always cooked with leftovers in mind.  Maybe I’m more like her than I know.