Archive for March, 2014

My own personal glacier

Monday, March 31st, 2014

glacierProgress was made on the Landfill Chitchen today but nothing dramatic enough to post a photo so you get this glacier photo instead. This is what my back yard looked like last evening, March 30, 2014. Crappy old rotting piles of snow. We were grilling out because that’s what you do when you can’t use your gertrude. Note to self: cooking a hunk of protein in a PAN on the grill is a bad idea when you do not have access to full-service dishwashing equipment. It was a small roasting chicken and I filled the pan with hot water and dish detergent and let it sit over night. Let us just say, I was NOT a happy camper this morning. Live and learn.

Jerry [the Genius] covered up my beauteous new hardwood floor today. He must’ve known that I christened it last night by dripping the teensiest tinesiest little drop o’ ‘hattan juice on it. Our new dishwasher arrives tomorrow. I think his name will be Bertie. Or maybe Albert? I may change my mind. Our countertops arrive a week later. It seems unlikely that any dramatic visible progress will happen until next week and that’s okay. It’s supposed to be a three-week job and I have been amazed at how fast it has progressed so far.

That glacier? It has receded quite a bit today under sunny skies and 50-something temperatures. Do you know how long we have been waiting for this? Yes, you do, if you are one of my five regulars. Today at work, I experienced a short period of higher than usual anxiety. I calmed myself down by taking a walk. It has been a while since I have taken a walk at work. I will remember this polar vortex winter as challenging and I will remember the treacherous ice during the beginning of the thaw / freeze cycle. But I will also remember the weeks upon weeks that I got up in the morning, layered myself up to the max, and galumphed along in my boots and YakTrax upon packed snow in the dark, looking up at the stars.

That is about all I can muster for today. It’s not much but it’ll have to do. Good night,

Bold as Love

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

snowpathIf you are one of my five regulars, you have probably heard me kvetch about facebook memes before. My own personal rules are that I don’t repost other people’s content and I don’t take quizzes. Well, except when I do. Because I have another rule and that one says I can break my own rules if I want to. I took two facebook quizzes yesterday. That’s how slodgy and bored I was.

I took the color quiz. I got blue. No surprise there. Although I actually like all the colors of the rainbow, preferably in jewel tones, I gravitate toward blue, particularly turquoise / teal. I took the band quiz. What the heck, The Beautiful Sari took it, why not me? She got The Beatles, which was totally appropriate. I got Jimi Hendrix, which cracked me up enormously and was also pretty appropriate because I have always LOVED Jimi Hendrix. I did not take the “mental age” quiz. I could not care less what some random quiz thinks my mental age is. The truth is, my mental age varies constantly. I did not post any of these quiz results on facebook (except that getting Jimi Hendrix cracked me up so much that I had to comment on TBS’s post). I don’t think anybody really gives a damn what color I am or what band I am or whatever.

I did once post the results of a facebook quiz on facebook. It was a “What Band Instrument Are You?” quiz. I had to take that quiz. I got the clarinet. THE CLARINET!!! SAY WHAT!!! I am a flute player. I am good at the flute. I am out of practice now but I was once good enough at the flute to major in it in college. I learned how to play ALL kinds of other band / orchestra instruments along the way. You know, so if somebody else’s kids were unlucky enough to get me for a school music teacher, I would know how to play them. I rocked ALL those instruments!!! Well, almost all. I could do brass and strings and percussion with aplomb. The clarinet? Not so much. Took me a couple weeks to even get a sound outta the damn thing. When I finally did get a sound out of it, our nice, encouraging professor just about cheered. And, you know, once I finally got that initial sound out of the clarinet, I kind of rocked it. Actually, the questions in that band instrument quiz kind of sounded like a 13-year-old girl had written them so it was suspect from the beginning.

Here’s a youtube link to one of my fav-o-rite Jimi Hendrix songs. It’s all about color. Every color in the rainbow and then some, including turquoise. Although maybe turquoise SHOULD be its own color of the rainbow…

P. S. A whole generation of children are lucky that I grew up to be a systems analyst in the online banking biz and NOT a music teacher.

Where drywall buckets go to die

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

gertrudeToday was a pretty darn slow day. I am coping with the mess of the chitchen reno pretty well. And by “mess”, I mean all of our displaced cosmic debris. We haven’t had a lot of dirt and dust to cope with, at least not so far. Our carpenter cleans things up.

I was disappointed in myself that I got the bare minimum of Saturday-type chores done today. Laundry including sheets, shower curtains, and bathmat and clean the Blue and Only. We did do some window shopping but didn’t really come up with much and attempts at flinging were not very successful. But I think my slodginess was related to the weather. The temperatures were over 30 but it felt chilly and it was gray all day. The sun is finally making a weak appearance. Oh darn, it went away again.

I was walking by Maria’s house this morning and I suddenly thought something like, “Where the heck has Maria been all winter?” Maria is an early morning runner / dog-walker. We don’t know each other well but she’s an old Haisley mom and a regular on my skunk walk. But then I walked through the schoolyard and there was Maria! Big as Life! Where was she all winter? Can you guess? Alas, a couple of falls on ice took her out for the duration. I didn’t ask for specifics, just commiserated with her about our rough winter. We discussed YakTrax (she did *not* have them but will get them for next year!) and I told her how glad I was to see her.

As you can see, Gertrude has been temporarily repurposed as serving station. She holds a few plates and condiment-type stuff and whatnot and she has been known to serve as a bar. You can’t see the dishwashing pan off to the left. We are coping with cooking mostly by grilling a hunk of protein of some sort and schlepping prepared green and other salads home from The Plum. My quick green lizard gets credit for this strategy. I was wringing my hands (oh not really) last Sunday about how I was going to handle dinner that night. My smart cookie suggested, uh, grilling something and buying prepared salads. Duh. That’s what we did that night and I’ve been doing various versions of that ever since. A bonus has been that I have hardly any dishes to wash.

KBomb and his weather crew are teasing us with sunshine and a high of 50 tomorrow. Will it happen? If it does, I am going to throw my whole damn shambling mound of winter layers into the washing musheen (except for the bomber hat, which probably wouldn’t do well in a washing musheen). Honestly, this stuff has been piled on a chair in the living room all winter. I grab whatever I need for the current weather conditions. It isn’t dirty or stinky but it’s time to clean all of that stuff, even though I’m sure I will need most of it again.

Oh yeah, you Porterization folks, there are NO martini glasses in those new white cupboards yet. Emphasis on the word “yet”.

Sitting in the Electric Chair

Friday, March 28th, 2014

kitchfloorIt’s just a work thing. You guys have work things, roight? So, you are in a conference room with a bunch of people and a few people (meee) have their laptops with them and there’s a projector and there’s a power strip and the people who are sitting across the table from the power strip can’t reach it so it’s up to the person in the Electric Chair to plug and unplug things. So now The Electric Chair is a thing and we’ll have to go through a “Who gets the Electric Chair?” thing every time we have a meeting from here until the end of time.

Like everybody else in Corporate America, we have our own stupid little inside jokes although we are not big on bizness buzzwords in our little backwater office here on the Planet Ann Arbor. We try to be direct and get to the point. But we are humble. I was humbled today when FZ referred to me as someone with high intellectual acuity. Because I regard FZ and W1.5 and The Queen Bee and everyone in that room in the same way. But we were meeting because I didn’t fully understand something that I had to write about so that my audience of developers and QA folks could understand it. We talked through the issues together and I can now write about them in an intelligible way. We are humble because we *do* know a lot but what we know is just enough that we know how much we *don’t* know. Did that make any sense? It did to the folks in that room.

So they put down my hardwood floor today. I love this floor. I almost cannot remember what that crappy old white linoleum floor looked like. Not to mention the baroque red / harvest gold linoleum that preceded it. But wood? Yes. Why not.

The fun bit about today (which I wasn’t around to witness because somebody has to, you know, *work* to *pay* for all of this somehow) was that our Certified Kitchen Lady was spotted in the *next door neighbors’* driveway! Those excellent folks apparently saw Dreammaker’s truck in our driveway and called and next thing you know, CKL is out looking at their bathroom. I hope they like her as much as I do! And then our carpenter called her over to our prodject. Which is going pretty darn well. Small world though!

I’m moving to Fargo. You can come with me if you want.

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

sunglassesThis is my current facebook profile pic. If you are one of my five blahg readers, you saw it a while back because I posted it here too. I changed my profile pic to this one because 1) I thought it was funny, 2) I don’t look totally, absolutely, utterly awful, and 3) it seemed like a good comment on our damn Polar Vortex winter while looking forward to the possible arrival of summer someday — not to mention spring, which has NOT arrived yet in any way, shape, or form.

When I posted this on facebook, people commented about Fargo. I mean the movie. At first, I was taken aback a bit. I watched Fargo umpteen quazillion years ago and I remember little bits and pieces of it, mainly the lead actress, who was fantabulous. But what? And then I totally cracked up and OWNED it! What fun to be compared to the movie Fargo!

So last night the GG and I were walking home from Knight’s and we were both a little punchy in general for various reasons and I finally said, “I’m moving to Fargo. You can come with me if you want.” Substitute Sault Ste. Marie for Fargo and you have the statement My Old Coot made to The Commander back in 1940-something. The war had ended and the old coot young flyboy and his new wife were living in the Mac farmhouse in Garden City, which is near Daytwa. The idea was that the young flyboy would work for Chrysler (I think?) to pay the rest of his way through college. He never made it. The story I was told was that allergies drove him crazy enough that he bailed and decided to move back to the Yooperland. Was it allergies or in-laws? Or maybe a combination of factors. Anyway, my young 20-something parents moved “up north” and 10 years later they had their first child (yer fav-o-rite blahgger and it wasn’t without trying but that’s another story and not one I can adequately tell). The Commander adapted to life in Sault Ste. Siberia and died a confirmed Yooper, although I think she always had a negative attitude toward the term Yooper. But that would be a whole ‘nother blahg entry.

thursdaykitcheastThat hat was a Christmas gift to me from The Commander. Toward the end of her life, we were both flinging and Christmas was awkward. What do *you* want for Christmas? Nothing, but what do *you* want for Christmas? I fergit what year it was but I think it was after Radical Betty died. We went up to visit The Comm in the late fall and we went to Barish Brothers and they had this loverly, sparkly bomber hat. I coveted that hat. That hat was NOT Commander style at all. She had a much more elegant style, a style her granddaughter Mouse often emulates. Kayak Woman? Not so much. Bright colors and a bit of glitter? Bring it on! The Comm asked me a couple of times if I reeaaalllly wanted that hat. Yes. And so, that Christmas, I opened a package from The Comm and there was my loverly sparkly bomber hat.

I have to admit that the first couple of winters I had it, I was a bit tentative about actually wearing it. I LOVED it but… I got braver about it after The Comm died. At first, I figured I was honoring her. This winter? Oh man. If it was warm enough that I didn’t need my balaclava (like 18 degrees), I wore my bomber hat. I got so many compliments on that hat. You have to know that I told everyone, “My mom bought me that hat!”

Of course I was kidding about moving to Fargo. I’m not moving to Fargo. As a facebook / high school friend said last night, “You are getting your kitchen redone!” Plus, I have never been to Fargo but I need to be around water! BIG WATER, that is. I do not think Fargo is anywhere near Big Water.So, let’s see, I *am* getting my chitchen redone, which y’all are taaaarrred of but today they put in the upper cabinets. Do you think this is a lot of white? I do too but wait until you see my backsplash! And my accessories. And the artwork I have been collecting since forever. (Think Annie Hubbard if you have any experience with the Sault Ste. Siberia summer art fair.)


Red and [harvest] gold

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

I knew that I had some photooos of the old red and gold kitchen floor that was here when we moved in. It matched the red and gold cabinets, of course. I’ll have you know that today after work, I crawled over and around stuff and dredged through all manner of photo albums to find one. As a bonus, you get a blurry Mouse when she was a brand new walker.


And here’s Lizard Breath sitting in her fave spot on a small bookshelf (that I don’t think I have any more but maybe it’s in the dungeon) at the end of the old wooden table while her baggy old moom gets dinner ready.


Today? Progress looking east toward the back room. Old “window” is gone and wall is mudded in. Lights! Two out of three LEDs installed. More lucky-shuckial work. I dunno what else.


And finally, a westward view. The refrigimatator will be on the left where that ladder is.


Whew! I am beat and I think we’ll go out to eat tonight. It’s still pretty dern cold out, not that the cold stops the GG from grilling. But tomorrow is SUPPOSED to be quite a bit warmer. Dunno if that’ll actually happen or not. One of the other [many] times we were told it’d get warmer, we had a damn BLIZZARD on said warm day. It was 13 degrees this morning with a bit of new snow on the ground but I am trying to be optimistic about tomorrow. I am dying to be able to go out without suiting up in 15 layers and I am sick of YakTrax.

Forward motion

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

cabinetswestWhen I walked in the door this afternoon, I didn’t immediately look at the Landfill Chitchen. I was fumbling with keys and mail and my work laptop and whatever. As I stumbled across the room to dispense with some of that stuff, I thought something like, “Smells like freshly cut wood. Wonder what they did today?” Well. What they did today was install some of the cabinets.

It’s odd how life works sometimes. I have kind of adjusted to the disruption and have been creating little interim “systems” and routines and whatever. So I had mixed feelings about today’s progress. I mean, I love the cabinets and I immediately began to realize that I really, truly *will* have more space to store things, etc. But there was a part of me who was thinking something like, “Yikes! This is moving too fast!” I do NOT know where that is coming from. I am really really excited about this but a part of me is enjoying the camping out aspect of it all. Complex emotions are going on for sure.

Oh yeah. I bought a dishwasher today. I. Bought. A. Dishwasher. Today. I bought a middle-of-the-road Bosch. I had been intrigued with those dishwashers that have two drawers in them so you can just use one of them if you want. I am a hand dish washer and I don’t expect to use my new dishwasher all that much but who knows… I talked myself down off that ledge. In the end, I think that because Gertrude has two ovens I was thinking something like, “I haz two ovens in my stove, I can haz two drawers in my dishwasher too.” Not. Our dishwasher will be fine. I may even use it. Actually I WILL use it at least occasionally because appliances like dishwashers need to be used once in a while.

I will not tell you about today’s expotition to Big George to buy the dishwasher. Except to say that at one point, EVERY dishwasher on the showroom floor was open and all of the drawers were pulled out. That kind of activity is overwhelming to me and makes it hard for me to make choices. It was okay. The sales guy and I gravitated to the Bosch musheens and, with his help, I zeroed in on two and he helped me narrow it to one. The GG is the GG and I may or may not have told our salesperson about that time we bought a new washing musheen there…

No milk today

Monday, March 24th, 2014

abstractAnd there probably isn’t any milk, at least not any that’s any good. I sent the GG on a booze & orange juice run yesterday but forgot about milk. I remember the years when I bought at least a couple GALLONS of milk a week. Now it’s a quart, maybe two quarts if we are not out of town for a weekend. I keep Emergency Milk around in the form of shelf-stable tetra paks. I keep mine in the refrigerator though so they are cold if someone needs one. I am not much of a milk drinker myself. I don’t think I am truly a lacktard, just not crazy about dairy in general. I do feta cheese and goat cheese and I do cow cheese if it is melted on something or grated. Chunks or slices of cheddar or whatever are unpalatable to me. I take a tetra pak of chocolate-flavored almond or coconut milk to work every day. I dunno if these kinds of milk are healthier than regular old cow’s milk or not but I like them and I figure they are at least better than pop.

Well, that was a tangent, wasn’t it? A loverly little trip into KW’s [sometimes] picky food preferences. If you are still reading, progress on the Landfill Chitchen was not dramatic today, at least in terms of “Wow, look what they did!” I had to look around for a minute to figure out what was done. Oh! Lucky Shucky! They were running waaaarrrs today. They put some new outlets in. They cut holes for our [three] overhead canister fixtures today. And moved the doorbell. And I fergit what else. So, plenty of work was done, it just didn’t look like much to a baggy old kayak woman’s untrained eye. Definitely nothing worth photographing and posting on the internet. It will be soooo cool to have more outlets. I am so sick of power strips all over the chichen. Although we will not be getting rid of our power strips any time soon. We have other Landfill areas that lack adequate outlets.

We have the Lyme Lounge in the driveway now but it is too FRICKIN’ COLD to open it up for the business of cooking or washing dishes yet (I’m coping). When I looked at the weather on my phone at 0-skunk-30 this morning, it proclaimed MINUS THREE! Just when I was about ready to start banging my head against the dresser, the weather refreshed to, oh I dunno, something like 13 degrees, maybe? I’ll take it! Warmer now but maybe snow tomorrow? Sigh.

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

It’s getting to be a habit to post an annual spring photo of the sun rising through the woods in Chloe Belle’s neighborhood in Gaylord. I think last year’s photo was actually in April, the weekend that we drove through a goddamn ICE STORM to get up there. This year’s is below. If you click to embiggen, you can even see some of the sparkly-ness that can be snow in bright sun. That was accidental. This iPhoneographer has tried forever to capture that effect. This photo is the first hint of success ever.


There was talk of skiing today and I hope the UU got out to ski but it was bitter cold [again] this morning and we had a bit of a slow start and didn’t get out although I did walk “around the block”. Our main weekend mission (besides having fun with relatives) was to spring the Lyme Lounge from its state of hibernation in Chloe Belle’s garage and here we are about to launch down Chloe Belle’s steep driveway and subsequently the I75 SUV Speedway.


Not long after we got on the road, Lizard Breath texted asking what time we were going to get home and maybe she would come for a visit. We worked that out and a bonus was that Liz got to the Landfill before we did and moved the Ninja into the street so we could back the Lyme Lounge in. When I got inside and walked into the kitchen, it took me a minute to figure what was different since noon Friday. Oh! There is a new opening. (The old opening isn’t closed up yet.)


I’m sure part of Liz’s reason to visit today was to see her childhood kitchen demolished up close and personal. But it was also to take Mia, the dog she is sitting for the weekend, for a walk. I mean a walk in a real woods, not the urban walks of downtown Detroit. A walk with me, over by the river. I took the leash for quite some time myself since I was wearing my YakTrax and therefore didn’t slip as much when Mia dragged me along through the crusty old snow and ice. Fun times. I still don’t want my own pet though. They take too much time and attention for a couple of baggy old people with full time careers. Me and Beef Jerky Man…


Mia is hanging out here at the Landfill for the evening. Liz and I walked over to the Plum for dinner materials — steaks to grill and prepared side salads. And some kind of rawhide treats for Mia, which she demolished and then doubled down and licked up the crumbs.

Spring break at the beach

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

skiingOf course we are not at the beach here. We are at the top of a defunct ski hill. Do not ask me about my clumsy downhill runs today on my intermittently snow-covered x-c skis. Suffice it to say that a mixture of snowplow, sidestep and even taking my skis off and walking were employed. Do not ask. Uphills? Piece of cake! The first uphill slodge of the year always just about kills me and then I am okay. But I made it through the “black diamond” area by hook or by crook and then we had a long flat ski along the north branch of the Ausable River. All and all it was a beautiful ski and I kind of don’t care how much of a wimp I was about the downhills.

Meanwhile, at the beach… Our Northern Correspondent posted a loverly little video from the moominbeach on my facebook page today. Except the beach was not visible through the blizzard. And then Jeep and Pan, who live next door (so to speak) from Our Northern Correspondent sent along a loverly little photoooo of the six foot snow drift in their back yard.

Here in Gaylord, the day turned brilliantly sunny. We had loose, tentative plans to head to Petoskey today but The Lord and Lady of Linden drove up for the afternoon and instead we all kind of hung around and sipped whine on and off throughout the afternoon before heading out to Bennethum’s for dinner. It’s been a while since I have been to Petoskey and while I am happy that we didn’t drive up there today, it is on my radar screen for a trip in the not-too-distant future. I think early May would be good. All of the Petoskey shops will be getting geared up for the Tourist Season but there won’t be any actual *tourists* there. It’ll be fun! Wanna come with us?

No turquoise backsplashes here

Friday, March 21st, 2014

chloeWe arrived in Gaylord this afternoon, dredging our sister-in-law, aka The Beautiful Gay, out of her afternoon bath or shower or whatever. I greeted her with something like, “You are going to hate my backsplash!” I said it with a smile on my face. TBG does not like the color turquoise, at least not as a kitchen backsplash. But TBG respects my color choices and is excited about our chitchen reno nevertheless because it’s all about the long-overdue change and the positive energy behind it. We all like different colors. Love.

That’s Chloe Belle in the photooo. She was really glad to see us. She’s always been a really good doggie but she’s getting to the point where she is old enough to know that the best way to encounter “friendly intruders” [like us] is to ask them to pet her. I love dogs that are socialized like that. My childhood dog Tigger learned to approach strangers walking the beach by walking up to them slowly with a wagging tail and a “smile” on her beautiful old face. Tigger was bouncy in her childhood (hence her name) but was well treated and learned how to deal with people. Chloe is much smaller than Tigger and doesn’t look anything like Tig but she is a darn good doggie.

All we are missing now are the Lord and Lady of Linden who are supposed to be at the Group Home tonight although I don’t see any vee-hickles there…

Not sure if I have any words today but I do have pictures!

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Ready, set, go! One set of loverly harvest gold cabinets already out.


Refrigerator moved and more of the loverly harvest gold cabinets out. And some tomato (or whatever that color is) ones too.


I’m gonna miss Gertrude (down there at the end of the room) for the duration. She will match the new chitchen beautifully.


Now we’re getting serious — they’re starting on those damn soffits! At this point, I drove over to my office for the rest of my workday.


Came home to this bee-yoo-tifful sight. A good day’s work for the carpentry crew.


A view from the other end of the room.


Heading over to the neighborhood pub for dinner. G’night. KW.

P.S. Oh, okay, of course I had words. Just not the diarrhea of the keyboard that you usually experience if you make it all the way through a typical ababsurdo blahg post.

Why under the sun am I cleaning countertops on Renovation Eve?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Answer #1: Because I am OCD about crumbs and sticky stuff on counters. Answer #2: I do not know!


Anyway, now I am cleaning the floor because, well you can see. Upended compost container anyone? I had just been thinking about going out and dumping that. But I didn’t and now I am cleaning the floor because I do not want coffee grounds tracked all over the house.

It is the end and it is The Packing Dream come to life. You know the packing dream? I have the packing dream periodically. It is where I am trying to pack for something and I am sitting on the floor (that’s usually where I am in the dream) grabbing all manner of cosmic debris and jamming it into a bag. The bag is full but oops, I forgot this item. And that item. And all over. Those bits and scraps of flotsam and jetsam appear as fast as I can pack stuff in. So I end up with a mess. Dreams like that keep me from being a hoarder!

I started packing stuff away the weekend of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, way back in January. Carefully and slowly. Bubble wrap and boxes and trying to think through what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to get rid of and how to get rid of that stuff yada yada. Tonight? What’s left has been thrown into the bins that CKL left me on Monday. Because, yes, I needed a few more bins at the last minute. I have already gone box-diving tonight while preparing The Last Supper. I wonder if I’ll be able to find anything when we get to the other end.


Okay, so the GG is going to salvage a few loverly things from the Landfill Chitchen. And so he removed the CTW that I have always had a love-hate relationship with only to find WALLPAPER behind it. A strip of wallpaper, that is. He thinks that this wallpaper was in his childhood home in Royal Joke.


And then, “Hey KW!” “What now?” Oh. Yeah. That. If there had been an iPhone back in the Jurassic Age, I would’ve taken videos upon videos of my Mouse writing her name at the ripe old age of two-and-a-half. But I certainly didn’t have an iPhone (or even a BetaMax or whatever the heck those monstrosities were) so I can only sorta remember the process. It was a process and it involved turning the paper upside down at one point. This particular time, she wrote it on the wall. Most people cannot turn a wall upside down without magic or a whole bunch of equipment so I’m not sure how she did it.

A sane couple of people might think it would be wise to eat out on Renovation Eve. Trying to eat in has been a Royal Pain and I have been Box and Bin Diving more times than I can count but I needed to spend one more evening in this crappy old kitchen, standing at the crappy old sink blahgging from the crappy old counter, listening to National Petroleum Radio. We’ll probably eat out tomorrow night and many nights for the duration, which is only supposed to be three weeks.


Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

rubberduckyI remember the word penultimate as a term in music theory but don’t ask me about that. I could dredge up the specifics if I tried but I won’t for now. Penultimate in my current context is the night before the night before and that’s tonight and I am still trying to imagine my life without the ugly Landfill Chitchen that I have lived in for so long.

I don’t really have anything much to say tonight. I cooked in the Landfill Chitchen tonight and I guess I will cook in it tomorrow night and then, Thursday, it’ll be gutted. I am processing all of that. Do I have buyer’s remorse? Oh, probably not. I am gonna be here when they gut the place and I will be happy. But I will always remember The Chitchen the way it was when we moved in and how it has been ever since then and all the times I have cooked here.

P.S. The walking the last couple of days has been loverly! There is dry pavement almost everywhere and I only struggle through the back of the schoolyard, where there is mud and ice and snow and whatever. I may be able to stash my hiking pole before long. We’ll see.

Nobody drank green beer out of a pitcher this year.

Monday, March 17th, 2014

greentightsAs you might guess from the photoooo, we take certain holidays quite seriously over there in Cubeland. So there are my emerald green tights and I was also wearing a black / emerald green turtleneck sweater and a green scarf. We won’t talk about what’s on my feet. Suffice it to say that I do have a pair of biz-caz shoes in one of my desk drawers.

Meet and Greet for our Chitchen Reno this morning. Surprise, surprise, surprise! We can start this THURSDAY! That’s two business days ahead of schedule! Are we ready? Of course we are ready! We’re happy, they’re happy, everybody’s happy. Goodbye. I gotta go to work now… … … Except… Not quite… The GG took the day off today and we both just sort of rattled around for a little while. At least that’s what I felt like *I* was doing. He may have a different opinion about what *he* was doing. I took a couple more pictures, just for posterity. I packed up all of the food in the three cupboards I use for food. Except for the Swiss Miss, which was almost empty and I figgered the GG might want it today.

Eventually I rattled my way over to Cubeland and was happily working away when the faaaarrr alarm went off. We dragged our feet about going outside like we usually do. There was absolutely no evidence of smoke or flames anywhere, not even burned popcorn! We get a fair number of false alarms and it’s a one-story building with many exits. I took my time putting on my outdoor gear and made sure I had my phone and my purse and my keys before heading out. We’ve been through this a brazilian times and we knew there was NO FIRE! But it turned out that there was some sort of “real” incident in the other half of the building. People were calling it a Halon Dump but I’m not really sure that’s what it was. The faaaarrr department did don protective masks and O2 tanks to enter that side of the building to make sure things were safe in there.

And then, at four in the afternoon, we all decamped over to our go-to Green Beer joint to celebrate our fave holiday. As usual, this event was arranged by the LSCHP, who is a rabbi in his off hours and I couldn’t tell you for sure but if he has a drop of Irish blood in him it is a small one. Of course, many of the folks we work with probably do not have any Irish blood either but I guess we are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, even those of us who come from China or India or, uh, Russia. There were a few Scots amongst us, including The Queen Bee. I spent a bit of time drunkenly proclaiming myself as “Scot-Canuck”, whatever the hell that is.

I came home to… Hmmm… I won’t say what I came home to but it was stressful for a while. In the end, a post-it note saved the evening.

Update: I agree, the tights look turquoise. But they are in fact emerald green [grin]. I have some turquoise ones too!

For posterity #1

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

kitchencrapWhy? Because I wish I had more photos of the Old Cabin Kitchen from when I was a kid. Because I wish I had more photos of The Commander’s Kitchen in our shabby little bungalow down on Superior St. when I was a kid.

The Landfill Chitchen is much more cleared out than it looks in this photoooo. Probably 75% of the stuff in the cupboards is cleared out. I haven’t touched the three cupboards that I store food in. All of the rest are either empty or have a bare minimum of dishes and cooking stuff still in them. I’ve removed a lot of clutter from this side of my galley kitchen, not that you could probably tell. (Yes, there are Mardi Gras beads hanging there. Note to self.)

When we first moved in to The Landfill, I was entranced by this table / counter / whatever (TCW). I think that’s because, in my adult life, I had never lived in a place that had more than one kitchen counter or whatever. In the long run, it didn’t function well as a “counter” – I mean one you could use for cooking activities. It is way too short for someone of my height, average as I am.

Memories though? This is the TCW that my Mouse FELL OFF OF when she was an infant. She was in a rocky little baby seat (yeah, I know, crucify me now, please) and everything was fine and she was rocking up a storm (because that’s the kind of thing that Mouse DID) and and and… You know what happened next. Upside down on the floor. She was all right. I was not!

Lizard Breath for YEARS would sit on top of a little set of shelves that we used to have down at the end of the TCW (you can’t see where in this photo), drawing and doing other activities while I got dinner ready. Sometimes cutting up vegetables for me – after all, her grandmother taught her how to use a Sharp Knife at the ripe old age of three. We had a little TV in the chitchen in those days and every Sunday night I cooked to Star Trek re-runs. I am not a Trekkie, it was just comfortable ambient noise to me. I’ll never forget tuning the Star Trek channel in one Sunday night and finding that Star Trek WAS NOT THERE!!! Something called Star Search 90 was on instead. I am embarrassed to admit that I began using that ridiculous show as my Sunday night background music. Spokesmodel anyone?

The Beach Urchins grew up and Al Gore invented the internet and Lizard started hanging out with her friends on I/M instead of me in the Landfill Chitchen. But see the laptop there? That little space was where I ran a big chunk of the business end of the Ann Arbor Young Actors Guild for a few years. Right next to the toaster.

So I used that TCW a LOT but only occasionally as a cooking prep surface.

At this point, I would be happy if I never had to see the TCW again, but I have been informed that it is not totally going away. It will be salvaged and repurposed as a potting table in the Back Yard. I have rather vociferously expressed my opinion that it will not work as such unless the existing legs are discarded and replaced by some that make it COUNTER HEIGHT! But I do want a potting table and I am all for re-using things.

When I took this picture and began writing this blahg entry, I thought I would write something completely different but this is what I ended up with. To me that’s part of what blahgs are all about!

I see a black piano and I want it painted re-ed.

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

redpianoDespite coughig ad sdeezig ad blowig his doze, The GG was a whirlwind of activity most of this morning. He was “organizing” “stuff” in preparation for the upcoming Landfill Chitchen Reno. Which *will* take place here on The Planet Ann Arbor and not in Reno, Nevada [wink] unless the GG and I experience some sort of implosion during the prodject and head to Reno to do what married couples purportedly do in Reno. (My childhood boyfriend aka BBF had the last name Reno, which always seemed a little weird but also kind of cool. Much later, along came Janet Reno… Relation? I have no idea.)

Where the heck was I? Oh yeah, there was a lot of commotion in the Back Room, moving and shuffling and vacuuming(!) and whatnot and I was actually a little bit askeered to even look out there. When I finally — tentatively — ventured a peek, it wasn’t really all that bad. About eight feet to the left of The Red Piano is the wall between the Landfill Chitchen and the Back Room. The piano is usually backed up to that wall with an heirloom spinning wheel on top and various objets d’art on or near the keyboard. I won’t even try to describe the rest but know that the piano is now in the middle of the room and so is the guy with the seaweed glasses and his computer.

I reaally reaally wanted this piano way back when. It is a big upright with a gorgeous sound and a player mechanism. I have a long history with playing the piano and I won’t bore you with the details but, although I was never anywhere near a piano virtuoso, I could play well enough by college that I qualified to have a private teacher. But I am really a flute player. The damn flute has been a part of my life since I first saw a picture of one at the age of three and I greatly envied my two older cousins who played that instrument until I finally managed to get my hands on one. Flute was my major instrument in music school and I was MUCH better at that than piano. My interests have evolved and it’s been a long time since I’ve taken my flute out of its case, let alone play the piano. Meanwhile, the Red Piano’s player mechanism still worked when we moved it here to The Landfill but it was out of tune (all pianos get out of tune when they are moved) and after a few years, the player mechanism stopped working…

piano1So now, we are renovating our Chitchen and even though we are not knocking out an entire wall (sorry folks), I’m not sure where we will put the Red Piano going forward. It needs to be placed so that its back is against an interior wall and I do not know where that will be unless we get rid of a bunch of furniture (which I would also like to do…) The Red Piano is an heirloom and I will keep it until…

And here are four of the six Courtois Boyz on the day that we moved The Red Piano from the C-Fam’s beautiful old house on Woodsboro in Royal Joke to The Landfill. Plus The Beautiful Suzie’s childhood boyfriend Doug, who we all knew and loved. They went separate ways but Doug was and is a Class A person. Jimmy drove the truck. It took a big truck to haul that beastie over here. Jimmy remembers that they slid the piano into The Landfill on a sled. I don’t exactly even remember that but that’s probably because I had a several-month old baby then and I was dealing with her. And she was having a great time with all of those uncles doting on her. If I had had an iPhone back in that day, you know I would’ve had photos of that whole event, including the sled.

I dunno… These guys do not look unlike the Veteran Greenhorns. Four of the six Courtois brothers. Love you guys.


Friday, March 14th, 2014

graffitiThis is the kind of answer you might get if you dare to text a question to The King of Cryptic Text Messages. I asked how the walking was. The answer was, “exceleny”. It was 50 degrees so I took off in my Keens. No YakTrax or hiking pole. Exceleny pretty much described 99% of the trek down to the Oscar Tango and back. The other 1% involved navigating the MESS in the back end of the school yard behind my house. Do they not think that people on our side of the neighborhood send children to that school or what? I could not deal with the deep, mucky slush that covered the sidewalk so I potholed my way along the side in the foot-deep but melting snow. The only time I fell tonight — and all winter — was when I walked up the south side of the Landfill Driveway. That slanted piece of pavement where the sun don’t shine had some slipperly snow on it and it finally got me. I didn’t fall hard, just slid down on my butt. But my phone slid out of my hand. No issues there either, thank you Zeus (and iPhone case). Going to the Apple Store was NOT on my agenda this weekend.

Lemme see, I took Latin in high school and I know a few computer languages pretty fluently. I can *usually* translate whatever language the King of Cryptic Text Messages uses but not always. I may be his accomplice. I am not his identical twin. He does have one of those… I could translate Commander-speak like a champ. Well usually. I had my moments. But I knew (for example) that when she said, “Oh you know, that woman with the two boys”, she meant Mrs. Wilcox and by the way, “the two boys” are around my age. And when she referred to “those things that go by in the street”, she meant motorcycles. This was NOT NOT NOT NOT dementia of any sort. There is a name for it that a wonderful speech pathologist told me last year but I cannot remember it for the life of me. But The Comm’s end-of-life struggle to pull out the right words for the situation frustrated her greatly. Often if I could *not* understand her, she’d go away and think about it, then come back at me later with exactly what she had been trying to say earlier in no uncertain terms.

Oh yeah! Mark and Kami and Jerry(?) are meeting us here Monday morning for a pre-production meeting about the Landfill Chitchen Reno. It’s happening. The big drama? Will Mother Nature allow us to spring the Lyme Lounge from hibernation in time to function as our alternate chitchen for the duration. Stay tuned.

Pop Quiz — Name That House!

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

baileyHint: I lived there one summer back in the Pleistocene or whenever.

Lemme see…

Walking to Campus Corner (?) to cash yet another $20 check. (And buy beer.)

The night that MJ and I were in our beds at the back of that house and woke to someone coming into our SECOND FLOOR window at that batscope hour of the night (which in those days was not too far away from bedtime). That person said something like “shit” and MJ said, “Oh it’s just Bear.” A guy we knew. Not a boyfriend of either of us but not any kind of a threat either. (Come to think of it, I have no recollection of what Bear’s real name was!)

The night Amy rode her bike back from her restaurant job (at that batscope hour) and got chased by a predator and ended up throwing her bike over the fence and somehow running to the safety of the house. (I may be misremembering this.)

Taking a psychology class (101) (why? I do not remember or even want to) and finding it a lot like watching paint dry. I actually think I got a B in that class. I was not happy. I am not happy when I do not get an A in any class. But I hated that class and I didn’t really work very hard. But oh well.

Going on a lunch date with a booooorrring guy in whatever music class I was taking that summer. I think we went to the damn union to eat. I ordered yogurt. Why? I do not know. I cannot remember what we talked about but it was about like watching paint dry. (There was another boy that summer. One that I liked but he broke up with me. It devastated me at the time but it’s okay, it was definitely the right thing for me in the long run and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was dead by now but I’ve never googled him or anything and probably won’t. I count three boyfriends in my life. He is not one of them. (I married the third.))

Having a party (at that house) and worrying about whether the floor would cave in with all the dancing and otherwise jumping around.

A couple weeks ago, when we spent a night in East Lansing, I had to walk over to this street and take a picture of this house. I lived there such a short time and I don’t have a lot of specific memories of it, just [mostly] good times. I wonder who lives there now. Is it still a crappy student rental or is there a family there now? Over on the left is an elementary school. Not sure if it is in business or not. I didn’t scrutinize it on that particular trip.

Yeek. I dunno if that summer’s boy is really dead (still haven’t googled him) but MJ definitely is, via her mother’s obit. Such a vibrant person. Sigh. Coral Gables will never be the same.

I have no words…

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014


First photooo… This morning, 0-skunk-30. I was actually happy about this. There was enough snow that I could walk (in boots and YakTrax) and not think (too much) about ice. If I had been wearing mascara, I’d’ve looked like a raccoon by the time I got home. I was not wearing mascara. I usually wear mascara. I do not wear it on my Skunk Walk. Nobody is around to notice what I have on my beauteous face. I do put it on before I head over to Cubeland. I don’t think people much notice it over there either. We are all nerds. I was soggily snow-covered when I got home from my Skunk Walk.

Yes, I telecommuted today. Were you thinking otherwise? I woke up the GG with, “Take the Frog Hopper”, took my walk and settled into my fav-o-rite work spot, aka Sittin’ on the Green Couch Watchin’ All the Dogz Go By. There are people who NEED to be AT work weather be damned. I am not one of them. As I have prob’ly said about a billion times before, in my industry it’s actually important for people to be able to work remotely in the event of disaster. We provide an essential service but it doesn’t require most of us to meet with people face to face. So I figger why add my slippery little vee-hickle into the mix. Fewer vee-hickles on the road means (theoretically) fewer accidents and that means less business for the po-leese and EMTs, etc. Stay home and make sure the VPN still works. And watch the dogz go by. And shovel.


Shovel? Say what? I waited until my lunch hour to shovel. My Skunk Walk clothing was warm and dry by then so I bundled up and I was good to go. But what to do with all the fricking snow? I do not own a snowblower. Maybe I will buy one when I am 75 like my old coot finally did. We have his old snowblower at the Group Home @ Houghton Lake. It is a big yooper snowblower, not the wimpy things my neighbors have. The Courtois Boyz love using it. Fun times. I shovel by hand. It was not the easiest job today because this snow was deep and heavy and I was running out of places to throw it that were below shoulder level. It was a good workout. That’s all I can say. Except maybe all of these fancy workout gyms could develop a snow-shoveling machine? It could go right next to the elliptical machine.

I don’t really have any more words.