Sunday, December 31, 2006

Countdown to 2007

Thursday, December 28, 2006
11:30ish pm Dear hubby walks into living room and announces that that coal stoker is broken. The screw that feeds the coal snapped in two.

Core temperature of house: 52 degrees and falling

Friday, December 29, 2006
Hubby worked the better part of the day taking the stoker apart. There is probably no repairing the screw - it has already been mended too many times.

Still no heat or hot water.

Core temperature of house: 48 degrees and falling

Saturday, December 30, 2006
11:00am I am standing outside Mark's Supply in Shenandoah dressed in camo pants and an inside-out sweatshirt. I am holding the broken screw. The owner of the store has gone to the warehouse to see if he has a replacement screw. I lean against the building and think to myself "Well, if you asked me what I would be doing on the next to last day of the year, I never would have guessed this."

12:15pm I arrive back at the house with a replacement screw to find that the fire pot also has a hole worn in it. No replacement to be found so it will have to be fixed ala weld-o-matic. However, it is still stuck in the stoker and takes several more hours to pull apart. Not enough time left to fix it before dear hubby has to leave for work.

9:45pm I drive to my mom's house to take a shower.

Still no heat. Still no hot water.

Core temperature of house: 44 degrees and falling

Sunday, December 31, 2006

12:15pm I stop at the distributor to get two cases of Yuengling Lager - one for us and one to send along with friends to a party in New York. Which is where we should be headed but poor hubby and poor daughter have to work on New Year's Eve. Distributor Man carries the cases out to my car for me because he is all kinds of chivalrous. I trot to my car so I can quickly make room in the trunk. He patiently stands and waits while I push things out of the way. I tell him, "There, you can just set them right there on...oh...on that box of live rounds of ammunition. Oh." He laughs. Then he sees the box of bullets. He sets the beer on top and we wish each other a Happy New Year.

12:45pm At home in the driveway, I turn over one case of beer to the happy revelers on their way to New York and tell them to give everyone our best wishes. After they are on their way, hubby takes the other case of beer out of my trunk to bring into the house. I tell him about the Distributor Man and the bullets. He says, "I'm not sure but I think you can get in trouble for that kind of thing if you get pulled over."

'Tis a sad day when a gal can't ride around with some booze and ammo.

5:40pm After working a 12 hour shift and then staying up all day to repair the coal stoker, dear hubby heads back to work for another 12 hour shift. In a few hours I will drop off some kilbo and BBQ ribs for him and the rest of the crew. Good news - there is a fire in the stoker.

7:32pm Ribs are almost done and will be delivered shortly.

So this will most likely be my last post for the year.

Once again, thank you all for reading my silly ramblings and responing with your kind and witty comments.

All in all, 2006 was a fine year.

I wish you all a very, very happy New Year.I hope your days are filled with prosperity but, most importantly, with peace, love and happiness.

Core temperature of house: 47 degrees and rising
It's gonna be a great year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

15 Serving 30

So, ok, Merry Christmas and Boxing Day and Solstice and everything else.

I'm going to wimp out a bit and keep this post relatively short. I have to go out and feed animals and then fold laundry. If I can accomplish that by the end of the night I will feel...well, like I'll have something to wear to work tomorrow.


I know you have all been waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting with great anticipation for the next installment of The Ugly Sisters Remember. So I will not disappoint.

Just for the record, this photo may be used in any argument against bringing back '80's "fashion". My poor sister was color blind and could not match socks. I was pattern blind and could not realize that a large tiger face on my ENTIRE TORSO was not flattering outside the bingo hall.

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But we so have the model pose down, eh?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

As Promised...

Ok, in the last post I mentioned that I had a photo of me and my sister that I was going to post.

Now, first and foremost, you must understand that I have been carrying this photo around for about two weeks trying to remember that I had to scan it at work. So it was planned well in advance of the photo of me as Liberace on my sis's blog and is in no way meant as retaliation.

I know I have never posted any photos of myself and it's partly because most of the people reading this blog already know me and what I look like, but mainly because, well, I don't want to go smashing anyone's dreams or anything.

But then I thought "Ahhh, the hell with it. Everyone needs their hopes and dreams shattered every now and then."

So, without further ado or explanation, I give you...

The little Halushki and the little Quintessence

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Aw, Shucks...

I sat in front of the computer this morning with my bowl of Frosted Flakes (because they'rrrrrrrrrrrrrre GREAAAAT!)to catch up on some blogs and, what to my wondering eyes should appear...

my sister has nominated my post about hunting for an ROFL award for November. You can check out the other winners on this site.

I first learned about this last month when my sister won an award in October for her post about the bat in the house and subsequent series of rabies shots. Which was really damn funny. Partly because you know everyone was ok in the end so it's ok to laugh about it now and a large partly (yes, that was intentional) because she just has a way with words.

There is a definite reason - other than family ties - her blog shows up first on my blog roll. It's because it is the one I look foward to reading the most. My sense of humor. Almost like it was written by me but with a better vocabulary and writing skills. You know, no run-on sentences, no mixing of tenses, and all that other stuff that comes with a 4 year higer education degree in English. And a whole lot of plain ol' talent.

So you can imagine my shock and surprize when I read that she nominated me for the ROFL award. Me?

But, then when I think about it, we don't have much trouble eliciting laughs from each other. When you grow up with someone, sharing the same circumstances, I think it can go one of two ways. You can either develop the "get through it and get out of it" idea of family or you can develop the bonds that run strong and deep. Thankfully we fall into the second category. It always amazes and saddens me when I hear about families that aren't close.

And just how did we end up so lucky? Was it all that quality time spent kicking acrylic blankets in our footie pajamas making static shocks? The shared misery of having to sleep with plastic curlers in our hair on Christmas Eve? Or the many hours on the road in the back of a station wagon with nothing other than Mad-libs and our imaginations to occupy us? The stars and planets? The Mountain City Diner and gravy fries? Who knows?

Whatever the cause, it's there. And I'm glad I can make my big sis laugh just as much as she makes me laugh. Thanks for the nomination!

Still, they're sisters,
Identical sisters and you'll find,
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike --

You can lose your mind,
When sisters are two of a kind.

Oh, and by the way, if you go to her blog, you will get to see a photo of us in costume. She as Che Guevara and myself as Liberace. This, as far as I know, is quite possibly the only photo of me on the internet. Even odder still, I have a photo of the two of us that I was going to post before I even read her blog but I have to scan it into the computer at work. So, once I do that, I'll post it here. And then there will be two very flattering photos of The Ugly Sisters on the internet.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Home Renovating: A Post With Many Possible Titles

There were so many options to choose from. For intance, here are some that I considered:

How I Ended My Chances As A Hand Model

An Alternative to the Death Penalty

You're Soaking In It - But It Isn't Going To Help

Why Home Renovators Need Mental Health Days

Just Put Down The Putty Knife And No One Will Get Hurt

I think you all know what these various titles are addressing.

Yes, that's right.

Glazing windows.

The only thing I enjoy more than glazing windows is spackling.

Scratch that. Glazing windows is the tops.

Can you sense the sarcasm? Good.

So I have been trying to catch up on some hatch battening. The tops on the list is trying to get some more storm windows in their proper places. The unfortunate thing is, in order to do that, I have to repair them first. Well, I guess I don't have to but, you know.

I decided the first one to tackle would be the storm window that goes over the window on the west wall of the kitchen. Reason being is that whenever we cook something, the steam condenses on that window and, if cold enough which is will soon be, it becomes a sheet of ice by morning. That would be ice on the inside of the window. That's because our house is f.. f... very cold. Like, the other night when we were having our first bout of cold days, it was 49 degrees in the kitchen.

That room, by the way, is the warmest in the house.

I mentioned my storm window project the other morning to some family members and one told me - for the umpteenth time - about "Oh, I know exactly what you mean. When we first bought our house there was one window that would get snow on the inside of the sill if it was snowing outside. That first year was terrible."


My first instinct was to grab her by her ears and scream in her face "YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I MEAN! THIS IS TEN YEEEEEAAAAARRRRRSSSSSSS OF NOOOOOOO HEEEEAAAAT!" But since it was my mother-in-law I just smiled and said "Yes, I'm sure it must have been bad."

So, anyway, I had taken this storm window down during the summer when it would make sense to do these sorts of projects and set it aside until now. I do those sorts of things because I'm real smart.

I got as far as removing the old panes of glass, scraping off the loose glazing and scraping the paint on the frame. It was all ready to be put back together, glazed and painted.

I cleared a spot in the dining room because that's the best place to do these sorts of projects and, really let's be truthful here, the only reason it is called the dining room is because that's what it used to be when the previous owners had the house. We are starting to call it the War Room because it currently houses all of our assorted weapons of mass renovation. Although, if you try to report us to homeland security I can pretty much tell you they will find no evidence of use.

Anyway, I set the window frame on a makeshift table and cleaned one of the panes of glass. This particular storm window has just two panes of glass, both of which are rather large and terribly dangerous what with being all kinds of brittle and stuff. But I managed to successfully clean the frist pane and set it into the frame. I spent the next 6 hours or so trying to locate glazing points. This was a treasure hunt on the scale of someone hiding a penny in Central Park and saying "Ok! Now you find it!" I finally located them in a plastic tub filled with other assorted joining--things-together things.

I had to take the pane back out of the frame because, after reading the instructions on the glaze can, I realized I was supposed to put a "bead" of glaze on the frame to set the pane in. Unfortunately, I didn't read the part that stated "If you have to wear more than 4 layers of clothing to stay warm, it's too cold to glaze windows." That is something that would reveal itself to me later.

So to lay a bead of glazing, you are supposed to take a blob of glaze out of the can, roll it around in your hands to warm up (Oh! the irony), roll it into a worm, and then lay it in the slot where the window goes.

Sounds easy enough, right?


Well, see there's that first part about getting the glaze warm enough to work with. And then there's that part where my house is already really cold inside. And so are my hands. And so is the glaze. And the window frame. And my heart. And my soul. Cold and dark. And despairing. Seething with hatred of people whose houses are warm enough that they can parade around in nothing but thermal underwear, sweats and a wool coat in winter. Despi... oh. Uh... Sorry about that. I got off track.

So there I was, rolling and rolling the glaze into leprotic worms that would wither and fall apart, not sticking to itself, the frame, nothing. Except my skin. Aparently the faint bit of heat left in my hypothermic body was just enough to warm the glaze enough to bond to my skin. So I had to stop once in a while to scrape my hands with a putty knife and work those bits of glaze back into the worms. Which would promptly fall apart. GAH!

Then I had the not so very bright idea of putting a drop - just a drop! - of miniral spirits into the glaze to see if that would help soften it up a bit. Which it did. Like...too much. So now the glaze was really sticking to my hands and not itself or the window frame. Finally, after many many swear words, I completed the bead of glaze.

I washed my hands and set the pane of glass in place. Tap, tap, carefully tapped the points into place. Whew! One almost done. Now all I had to do was glaze the outside part of the window. I decided to forego that part of the project and get the other pane cleaned and set in its worm-bead. I took the glass to the utility sink, washed and scraped the old glaze off, broght it back into the War Room and set it SNAP!

Crappity crap.

I broke it. I broke the corner right off. Like a big piece of the corner.

Now I have a big, glass trapezoid. And a half finished storm window. And a cold, black soul soon to be joined by cold, black fingers and toes.

So, um...if anyone is looking for Christmas gift ideas? I need a sheet of glass...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More Than My Fair Share

The other night whilst out grocery shopping, I decided to treat myself to some ice cream. I didn't want to buy just any old flavor but I also didn't want to pay $49.00 for a pint of Ben & Jerry's. So after scanning the aisle of options I settled on 1 3/4 quarts of Breyers Double Churned!, Extra Creamy!!, Chocolate Caramel Brownie.

Mmmmm, mmmmmm. You can just imagine the rich chocolaty goodness. The smooth, creamy texture. The gooey cara-


Oh. Yes. You heard me correctly.

One and three fouths of a quart.

No. Not a half gallon.

Yes, I checked. It is one and three fourths not two quarts.

No, really. Look for yourself. Look in the lower right hand corner.

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See that?

And it's not only Breyers my dear readers. It's most - if not all - of the ice cream companies.

What was that? The prices have gone up?

Yeah, well. Sure I was outraged at first. Actually this is something I noticed quite a while ago so I've had time to recover. However, if you are an ice cream afficionado and this is all news to you, you might just want to stop here and not read this post any further. Because the other information I am about to impart is going to be devastating.

Ok, you were warned.

So, I like ice cream. A lot. I always have. Chocolate has always been one of my most favorites and the more chocolate the better. Double Chocolate? Yum. Chocolate Fudge Brownie? Yes! Yes! Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie with a sliced banana and some hot fudge sauce? Well you can just cremate the body 'cause I've died and gone to heaven.

Yes, I know. Too much of good thing and blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

But seriously, I have been trying to rein in the frozen dairy monster within albeit half-heartedly. See, I used to eat a bowl of ice cream. And I mean a bowl. Like a cereal bowl. Heaped.

Oh, it wasn't every day or anything like that but even I figured I should not go to such excess.

So I cut back. Now I eat my ice cream out of a cup. A cup that is about one third the size of the bowl. Ok, maybe one half the size. Who's counting other than my bathroom scale and the overtaxed elastic on my undies? Still, it's a start, yes?

Anyway, tonight I thought to myself "Self, how's about we get a cup o' that ice cream and sit down and read some blogs or something?" And my self said "Sounds like a plan."

So I got my cup and spoon and took the ice cream out of the freezer and opened it up. Now, bear in mind, the ice cream has been in the house for a day or so, so I already had some. But when I opened the lid and started to fill my cup I thought "Hmm. One and three fourths of a quart certainly won't last very long - even if I am only eating it by the cup as opposed to by the bowl."

I thought, once again, about how dismayed I was when I discovered the size reduction and price increase and, and, and, well how dare they anyway? I mean, this is ice cream we're talking about. It's not right to go messing with people's lives.

Then it occured to me to check the serving size because well, hey, it's a capitalist nation and they have every right to make money on ice cream as long as people are willing to pay. I mean, look at what people pay for Ben & Jerry's! But they pay it. Why? Because it's damn good, that's why. And sometimes you don't mind paying for quality. And maybe that's what is going on here - it might be a smaller container but it's 6 or 7, ok, more like 8 or 9, servings of good quality ice cream and, really, in the end...


What the...?



I double checked. No, that's not 1.4 that's FOURTEEN SERVINGS! Now how in the hell...


Oh my.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

That's just not right. That's...that's... so wrong.

Apparently the ice cream industry feels that....get this.... a serving of ice cream is ONE HALF CUP.

Yeah, you heard me. One. Half. Of a cup.

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Let me give a little more perspective on this. This is one half cup along with one teaspoonful (heaping) of ice cream.

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So, according to my calculations based on my somewhate-questionable-but-so-far-so-good-spatial-analysis-skills, that's like 4 or 5 tesspoons full and BAM! you're done. Cut! No more ice cream for you!

So, in protest, I am going back to the bowl.