Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Remembering my Grandma on Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!


Homeowner chaos has continued here at chez Cat. It's been a whirlwind of broken appliances, idiot repair men, clogged drains, and many, MANY trips to the "home improvement" store - which I'm sort of thinking is a bit of a misnomer, at least in my case... It's more like the "home just-trying-to-get-things-back-to-where-they-were-a-month-ago" store. Seriously folks, I've had issues and problems with, literally, every single major appliance in the past month.



To be fair, the fridge issues actually would qualify as improvements, since they stemmed from the plumbers adding a new water line behind it, so I can now use the icemaker for the first time ever. It's wonderful to have ice on demand, but I did have to install a filter on the line and order a few parts to make it all work.

And I suppose the dryer problems could also sorta be considered an upgrade. That too was fallout from the plumbers since they managed to punch a hole in the duct pipe - which had apparently been installed incorrectly - so I had to spend 3 days with my head stuck in a hole in the basement ceiling trying to get that sorted out. I now know more about dryer ducts than I ever wanted to.


And the washing machine and dishwasher are both intact - I just couldn't use them for a few weeks - first because there was no incoming water, and later because the drain pipe in the floor got clogged and they couldn't drain. Still not sure if the drain clogging is somehow related to the plumbers installing new pipes, but I sorta doubt it since they only replaced the incoming pipes not the outgoing ones.


And then there's the saga of the oven. The day after the water finally got turned back on I went to cook CatMan a nice birthday dinner. I filled the oven with a lasagna, some veggies to roast, and a pie - came back half an hour later to check on it, and it was all still cold. UG! I'll spare you the details of the idiot repair people, but suffice it to say, a new range will be arriving on Thursday - along with a new freezer to replace the one that died earlier this fall.

You know, It's not that you don't expect this sort of thing as a homeowner, you just don't expect it all to happen simultaneously! Clearly, I have offended the gods.


But hey, looking on the bright side. I now have new pipes and fixtures throughout the house, a new hot water heater, a better dryer duct, a functioning ice maker in the fridge, a clear drain pipe (with improved strainers and lint catchers on the way for every drain in the house,) a filter on the bathroom sink (did I mention the water from the new pipes tasted horrible, so I had to install filters everywhere?) and a new oven/range and freezer arriving the day after tomorrow.



Whew! I won't bore you with the story of the bank freezing my business account and impounding the money because I supposedly hadn't used it enough. But if anyone out there is still using Wells Fargo, I'd move your money if I was you.

Well ANYWAY, I'm heading over to my dad's house for Christmas dinner later today, and I really hate to arrive empty handed. Since there hasn't exactly been a lot of time for shopping this season I was sitting there yesterday wondering what I could do. Normally I'd bake something, but since I don't have a functioning oven...

Then suddenly it occurred to me that somewhere in the chaos that is my basement (things are still not quite put back together after all of the repair jobs down there) I still have my grandmother's pizzelle iron. It only took a small bit of digging and, voila!


The thing is probably over 75 years old by now, but amazingly enough it still works fine. Now, THERE's an appliance that was built to last!

If you're not familiar with pizzelle, it's a traditional Italian Christmas cookie, and my grandma used to make them every year. This is my favorite photo of her.


So I spent the evening last night making pizzelle and thinking about my grandmother. She was always a calming influence in my life, and honestly, with the way things have been going lately, I could use a bit of calming! Besides, I'm sure my dad will appreciate the reminder of his mother much more than he would some store bought basket of goodies.



So I guess every cloud does indeed have a silver lining.


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!



Monday, November 26, 2018

Cat's Feeble First Attempt at a Video Blog

Hi Guys,

Well, after my last blog post waded into some fairly heavy territory, I thought perhaps it was time to lighten things up a bit, so this is something completely different!



I've actually gotten sucked into the world of YouTube recently, and I'm thinking that I might try my hand at it, but since I'm such a Luddite, it's gonna take me a while to sort out all of the technical stuff. And since I totally suck at learning things for the sake of learning them, and I seem to require little exercises to get myself to actually do things rather than just think about them, I decided that rather than leaping into one of my many ideas for a meaningful YouTube channel, I'd just experiment with it for a bit by doing a few video blog posts.

And you all get to be my guinea pigs... you lucky devils, you!

So, I made a little YouTube video describing all of the exciting things I've been up to recently. It sorta got cut off at the end... did I mention I don't have a clue what I'm doing? Well anyway, for your viewing pleasure:


Anyhoo... hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving that was (ahem) a bit more restful than mine was. Perhaps the universe just wanted to remind me that I ought to be grateful for hot water and indoor plumbing? Seriously, folks, I tried to boil water on the stove to take a bit of a bath, and after an hour of shuttling every pot in the house from the kitchen to the bathroom, I managed to get a whole 4 inches of water into the tub. OY! At least my crazy closet full of bottles of water came in handy with the water shut off for several days.

So that's the news from the funny farm! I hope my video at least serves as amusement!

Hugs to you all!
-Cat



Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Missing the Point

Well folks, the elections are finally over and I have heaved an enormous sigh of relief knowing that the Democratic takeover of the house means that I, along with all of my self-employed friends will still be able to purchase health insurance for at least another two years.


Perhaps my anxiety over this issue is overblown, but having watched so many people being denied coverage, or being charged literally twice their monthly income for premiums, I honestly don't think so. The orange beast and his minions can still do plenty of damage, but at least that one little piece of the puzzle is safe for the moment.

Anyhow, with that knot in my stomach fairly well dissipated, my mind has been set free to wander a bit this morning. So as I was scrolling through my Google news feed, I noticed an interesting article about a house for sale in Colorado - one inspired by Henry David Thoreau's classic, Walden.



Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Then I clicked on the link. Good Lord! I'm pretty sure Thoreau is rolling over in his grave. Call me crazy, but somehow I don't think that a lavish $29 million 10,500 square foot luxury estate with 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms is exactly what he had in mind when he penned these words:


It just sorta makes you wonder doesn't it? How could someone who claimed to be inspired by Walden, create something which is its absolute antithesis? And even more to the point, how could the people writing articles about the place fail to notice this rather glaring point?

I dunno, perhaps it's just another example of the enormous hypocrisy and contradictions that seem to permeate our society these days. As horrifying as I have found the political divide in this country to be, one thing is sure, a lot of true colors have come to light. 


I found it interesting and sad that as last night's election results came in, there was no repudiation by the evangelical community of the politics of hate, in fact, it was quite the opposite. I've never been a Christian, so perhaps I'm missing something, but it seems to me that the current administration, in terms of both policy and personal behavior, represents the exact opposite of what I understood to be "Christian values."

I'm curious to know what those of you who are Christians think about that. Do you consider it hypocritical to see people who consider themselves to be morally superior lining up behind a racist demagogue who seems to be actively working to harm as many people as possible? Or is there just some completely different interpretation of morality at work here... one that I'm obviously missing.  

Anyhow, those are my thoughts on this November morning. Hope you're all enjoying autumn. Here's the view from a recent bike ride - and I'm thrilled to report that I'm back on my bike - more on that lengthy topic later...