A Three Pour Evening

A bottle of Argentina Malbec

A bottle of Argentina Malbec (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This day has been interesting. Yesterday, I discovered a cabinet on the wall of my garage falling down. The contents were too heavy for it and the fasteners began pulling out of the wall. Although, I didn’t want to tackle the job, I did. I removed the cabinet before it fell, and dragged it down to my basement workshop. There, I added new wood to reinforce the weak spots. Then I dragged the cabinet back upstairs and out to the garage. The plan was to remove the sister cabinet and to rework it before it too became a problem. A closer look at the sister cabinet changed my plan. It was very secure and already strengthened. I added more wood to it while it stayed in place. I also added a cleat under the cabinet to give it more foundation. There is no way I want to have to do this again. I finished the job, cleaned up the work site, put away my tools, and headed for supper, and some serious pain killing beverage.

The wine of choice this evening is Malbec from Argentina. I enjoyed a nice pour while heating my frozen pepper steak and rice dinner. Another pour with dinner, and a third with my dessert of pumpkin pie. By now my mind was somewhat numb, and I felt no pain. I donned my heavy jacket and left the house for a walk in the darkness, except it wasn’t dark. My neighbors have decorated their yards with hundreds of mini-lights on their trees, shrubs, gutters, and houses. It was not dark, it was beautiful.

I didn’t walk fast tonight, I kind of stumbled along. The sidewalks were somewhat uneven and I stumbled from side to side in a jerky rapid fashion. Kind of like I was trying to keep myself from falling down. I needed to make a sudden fast moves to stay upright.

The streets of my neighborhood seemed magical. A few years ago, the President of the local Homeowners Association talked everyone into decorating their parkway trees with the same colors, green lights on the tree trunks and white lights on the branches. The sight of a long curvy street lined with trees glowing in green and white lights is absolutely beautiful. The tradition continues and only those houses that are empty or those that are newly occupied do not follow the formula. They are obvious since they are dark and break the chain of diamonds glistening in the night air.

A full moon accompanied by cold crisp air added to the beauty of the evening by contributing a special aura to the electrical lights. By the end the walk my steps were less tenuous and my side to side wandering narrowed to a smooth slightly wavy line.

What Ever Happened to the Millennium Bug?

Year 2000 Time Bomb Disposal Kit

Year 2000 Time Bomb Disposal Kit (Photo credit: rjw1)

Does any one remember the millennium bug? Back in the late 1990’s the planet was a buzz about  a worldwide catastrophe, “the bug.” Personal computers came into existence in the seventies. At the time, computers possessed limited storage capacity. Programmers allowed only two digits to define a year. After all, in nineteen eighty, who could imagine the world lasting until the year two thousand? Between two thousand, and the limited capacity of early computer memory, no one could imagine that using only two digits to define a year was a problem. Finally in the late nineteen nineties the world became aware. What will happen on New Year’s eve of 1999 when the calendar turns over and it becomes the year 2000?  Will the year 00 mean 1900 or 2000? Imagine the confusion. What would happen to the stock market? What about our savings in the bank? Would we earn the interest of 1900 or the interest of 2000? Worse yet, would those on the verge of retirement in 2000 be set back to 1900 and not be recognized as being born?

The millennium bug caused a rash of business to change out all old computers with new ones that could handle the four digit year. I remember my company racing to check computers to decide if they contained any software that limited the year to two digits. If they identified  a problem they replaced it, or bumped it down to an application where the year was not a factor. The whole world sat on the edge of their seats waiting for the clock to turn, and the computers to crash. It is now twelve years after the fact, and I have yet to hear of a problem related to the millennium bug. What that means is we converted every computer on time, or that the millennium bug was a non-problem.

Today, I hear a lot of discussion about a similar catastrophe, the “fiscal cliff.” What will happen to the economy if we reinstate the Clinton era taxes? Many pundits, Congressmen, Senators, and “we the Sheeple” believe it will destroy the economy and send us into another more deeper recession. Really? Who has any definitive knowledge or facts to back that up? I think it would make a great experiment to let it happen i.e. do nothing to avoid the fiscal cliff. Let the taxes go into effect. It is a democrat’s dream to get all that extra money into the coffers (or trough). Perhaps we would learn once and for all about economics. Is economics a real science, or is it a political folly? If it is a science, the democrats will be proven wrong and the people they profess to protect will suffer. If they are right, economics will be proven more witchcraft than science.

It might be interesting to take a simple poll and see how you feel about this argument. Click on the poll below.

Are You a Dinosaur?

Me and my 542 bestest friends (on Facebook)

Me and my 542 bestest friends (on Facebook) (Photo credit: tychay)

Here is some interesting stuff for all old timers out there. If you are not on Facebook or Twitter you are a dinosaur.

Although I am on both, I do not know yet how to use these media venues to my advantage. It’ll become my challenge to learn and conquer before I expire.

Social Media Election

A Dinner to Remember

Thanksgiving oven

Thanksgiving oven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanksgiving day 2012 will be one I remember with great detail for the rest of my life. Most of the family came to give thanks, and those who could not make it were in our thoughts and prayers.

Peggy and I planned this one out so we wouldn’t be stressed. We shopped early, taking advantage of sales as much as we could. We made a menu, and stuck to it. As a special treat I bought a smoked turkey breast from a local restaurant called Smokey Barque. Peggy pre-made her salads the day before, and I baked my first pumpkin pie using the pumpkin that grew outside our back door. I prepared all the ingredients for the stuffing the night before, and we set up the table too. By eight o’clock Wednesday evening we watched TV. We retired early to get an early start on Thursday morning.

The plan was to cook the turkey in the roaster-oven and to use the conventional oven for the stuffing and the sides.  We scheduled everything to finish by four o’clock. I put the turkey in the roaster-oven at one p.m. The roaster cooks fast, (about half the time of a conventional oven) and I was more concerned about over cooking than I was about serving it raw. While the turkey cooked, I assembled my first-ever casserole of green beans, mushrooms, and french fried onions smothered in butter, and a can of cream of mushroom soup. I mixed the stuffing and added my mother’s secret ingredients (cooked turkey gizzards and eggs). The manufacturer of the roaster advised against using it for a stuffed bird.

All was well. At two o’clock, I tested the turkey with a thermometer and the needle ran right up to 130 before it slowed to a crawl. It needed at least another hour. I read e-mails while it cooked. At three-thirty, I checked the temperature again. What? The thermometer needle stopped at 100, my trusty roaster-oven died, just as the door bell rang and our first guests arrived. That’s when the fun started.

What do I do? Thank God I had a three pounds of smoked breast resting on the counter top. Three pounds of meat will not suffice for eighteen people. What do I do? Placing the big bird into the conventional oven would take another three hours minimum, and it would interfere with all the sides that needed finishing, like reheating the dressing, my casserole and two dozen rolls.

E-E-E-E-KKK! Within two minutes of my scream the remainder of the guests walked in to find me in a frazzle.

My daughter-in-law Peggy came to my rescue. Peggy works for a restaurant in the adjacent town of Orland Park twenty minutes away.

“Do you want me to call and see if they have a whole turkey?”

“Yes, yes please do.”

“They have whole turkeys but they will need a couple of hours in the oven to heat up, do you want sliced instead?”

“Yes, yes.”

“White and dark or all white meat?”

Being a retired decision maker I sprung into action with an immediate “all white”  without conferring with anyone else.

Peggy and her daughter raced to get the turkey. In the confusion, I took my eyes off the rolls, and my daughter said, “Dad, do you want me to take the rolls out?”

I couldn’t believe she asked instead of acting. One tray of roles was black on the tops the other turned dark brown as we watched..

Dinner finally hit the table at six, after a miraculous recovery and team work by the girls who took over after seeing me lose it in a frazzle of nervous spasm. My last rational act was to put the big bird into the conventional oven.

I said grace, and could not resist including my favorite target. I asked if everybody saw the chair at the end of the table.

“I invited a very special man to attend today, but he had another engagement. He is the Empty Chair.”

“Who is it Dad?”

” I can’t tell you his name but his initials are B.O.”

Dinner began and all was well.

Our last guests left at nine o’clock. Peggy and I hurried to tidy up the little that was left after the Team cleaned the kitchen. I tested the bird and it was at 170 and climbing. I pulled it out of the oven to rest while we finished.  By now, I was so tired I could barely stand. Yet, the job of carving and prepping the bird for the freezer and the roaster-pan clean up lie ahead of me. I finished and went to bed.

The last thing I heard was the clanking of dishes, as Peg unloaded the dishwasher before joining me.

This morning, I pulled a spoon from  the drawer to eat my cereal, and realized it was dirty. I sorted through the tray and realized everything was dirty. Then I inspected the china so neatly stacked and tucked into the dust case, everything was put away dirty. The light went on above my head. The girls rinsed and stacked the dishwasher, but we never turned it on.

I guess I wasn’t the only one tired last night.

NOTE! An autopsy of the roaster oven revealed a melted wire feeding the heating element. RIP.

Another List of Crazies

america in a nutshell / they're all nuts

america in a nutshell / they’re all nuts (Photo credit: Vermario)

I received this from a grammar school chum. As dumb as some of these sound they are all true. We are a bunch of turkeys for allowing these things to happen.

 

TOP-10 “Only In America ” Observations ~ by a Canadian:

1) Only in America , could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 a plate campaign fund-raising event.

 

2) Only in America , could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black while only 12% of the population is black.

 

3) Only in America , could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

 

4) Only in America , can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

 

5) Only in America, would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just ‘magically’ become American citizens.

 

6) Only in America , could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as “extremists.”

 

7) Only in America , could you need to present a driver’s license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

 

8) Only in America , could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

 

9) Only in America , could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year – for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.

 

10) Only in America , could the rich people – who pay 86% of all income taxes – be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.

 

Dear Lord, We Thank You For. . .

I wish all  my friends, relatives, enemies, a very happy Thanksgiving.

You cannot eat healthcare.

Learning the Meaning of Dysfunctional

Dysfunctional Family

Dysfunctional Family (Photo credit: Chris Pirillo)

Many times I have read a movie description which proclaimed the film to be about a dysfunctional family or couple. I never truly understood the meaning of dysfunctional until a few days ago. Peg and I were planning our thanksgiving meal.  You must understand that Peg and I are widows who married. We have two sets of kids, two sets of grandkids, two sets of traditions, two sets of nationalities. This marriage isn’t like our first ones when we married young and stayed with our partners until “death do us part.” Because we started young we grew up together as a family. We adopted the good from our parents and families. These became traditions for us. It wasn’t long before I adopted the traditions of my young wife and she modified the traditions of my family to fit in. Together we set up a new tradition that was exclusively ours. Peg did the same with her husband.

Here we are in our mid-seventies trying to make everyone happy. Simple things like “what time should we serve?” become a major debate.

“My kids all have to work and can’t come until late.”

“Well, my kids have young children and they can’t stay late.”

Suddenly, the meaning of dysfunctional began to roll through my mind. Is this what they mean? Suddenly, two families merged into one begin behaving outside their norms. Will we ever live long enough to create a new tradition that melds the two families together?

If we do succeed, it will be because Peg and I will concede and drop hosting the holiday meals by delegating the job to our children and grandchildren, who I am positive will make us happy by providing our favorite traditional dishes from all nationalities.

I look forward to this year as the most dysfunctional Thanksgiving ever.

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