Wayward Kitteh

One of our cats escaped this afternoon.

The background is that I wanted to roll back up the awning by the pool almost a week ago, but had to wait for a couple of days worth of sunny weather for it to dry out after all the rain, and before the snow started, so it didn’t mildew over the winter.  The old (partially plastic) hand crank pole shattered when I tried to retract the awning.  Fine.  I was able to temporarily swipe an all metal one from the main patio by the house, but it was too short for long term use.  No way was I going to climb on a storage trunk to reach the crank every time I want to extend or retract the awning down by the pool, so I had to order a new 6’6″ one.  Besides, I want the shorter one back where it belongs for next summer.

The new hand crank arrived today, ~early-mid afternoon, so I unpacked it, and opened the sliders to go outside to hang it where it belongs.  That’s when Ozzie slipped outside behind me, before I could close the sliders.  DAMMIT!  There was no point chasing the old geezer, or yelling after him; he would have run away even faster to explore the great outdoors.  Hours later, he still hadn’t returned, and we had to leave to go to a birthday dinner.  We “Motel 6’d” him, and left the patio and deck lights on.

More hours pass after we get home, and finish watching Star Trek on MeTV.  Still no Ozzie.  Then, just when I was ready to turn off the lights, he appeared by the patio sliders.  “Get the dog!” I yelled.  “Get the dog.  NOW!”  Ozzie would not come inside while the dog was there staring at him.  My other half grabbed Ben by his collar and pulled him away.  Ozzie was a little skittish, but in he came, thawed out a bit (it was maybe high teens to low 20s Fahrenheit), and demanded dinner.

That little guy scarfed down an entire can of food faster than I’ve ever seen him eat.  He’s missing teeth, and has various other issues that make it tricky for him to eat dry food, unless it’s mixed in with canned stuff, and he’s been on a special urinary tract formula food, ever since he passed a couple of kidney stones ~two months ago.

After he was done with dinner, he decided my lap was the best place in the house, and hasn’t left it since.  I’m so glad we have him back.  He’s a special needs senior citizen cat, so to speak — not mentally, but physically.  I would have felt awful if a fox had gotten him, or we’d found him frozen to death.

If I’m lucky, he got his big outdoors adventure out of his system, and won’t try that again.  Phew!

Outlaws Concert

Some band called Cosmic American Derelicts opened for the Outlaws.  They were remarkably good.  Their genre was closer to Country than Southern Rock, but there is overlap between the two.  Aside from playing good music, they looked so relaxed onstage, played their own stuff, and it might have been complicated for someone else to try to cover it.

Outlaws were really good.  How many times have they dissolved, and reformed, with Blackfoot in between?  Anyway, they played for 90 minutes straight, after a brief intermission to remove the warm-up band’s equipment, etc.  We got our money’s worth for those tickets, no question.  Their new stuff doesn’t really sound a whole lot different than their ’70s stuff, which suits me fine.  When you have a sound, it’s your trademark, so to speak, and the fans keep showing up to pay for tickets, don’t mess with what made you great.  They don’t.

G.A. Kohl Bottle

My other half found an antique G.A. Kohl bottle in the backyard, down by the pond and creek.  We knew nothing about it, but I looked it up online, as best I could.  Turns out there was a brewery in NJ by that name in the mid-1800s that produced porter and ale.  I found a few examples of ones like it for auction, that went for anywhere from $50 to $150, depending upon condition.  We knew it was old because there were air bubbles in the bluish-green glass.  Modern glass beer bottles aren’t shaped like that, the green ones are more of an emerald green than this teal green, and they do not have air bubbles in the glass like this one does.

I got the mud out of it, but it might take a little bleach in hot water to eradicate the moss/algae/whatever growing in it.  It’s not in perfect shape, but it has no cracks that will leak, and the neck/top is intact, so it’ll make a nice bud vase or candle holder for a taper.

Cool find.  This property dates to pre-Revolutionary War days.  Something 120-150 years newer isn’t that unusual to find on the place, but it is unusual to find an artifact in such good condition.  We’ll just keep it.

Tornado Warning

Last night, our electricity went out twice, only for ~15 seconds per time.  That tells me that a circuit tripped at a substation, and successfully reset itself.   No big deal.  It sometimes happens during torrential rain with high winds.

Then, we go to bed, and the radio station we had on beeps  three times, indicating one of those emergency messages.  Thankfully, it was repeated, because my other half was yakking away so that I couldn’t hear it the first time.  It was a tornado warning — not unheard of, but unusual for this part of the country.  My county and township were specifically listed, along with several others in the general area.  Not much we could do, except stay away from the windows.

This morning, on the radio news, it turns out that eight houses were leveled just a few towns away.  Wow.  Nothing like the April ’96 tornado that completely wiped out Ogden, IL, but still.  We’re nowhere near tornado alley.  We escaped with some branches down in the yard, but that’s it.  Hopefully, those homeowners were all paid up on their insurance, and either have some relatives with whom they can stay, or can either afford something like an extended stay motel, or a rental house while theirs gets rebuilt.

Happy Halloween

We’ve got our pumpkins out.  They’re a combination of heirloom sugar pumpkins, and sugar pumpkin/zucchini hybrids that we grew in our garden this summer.  The latter mature to orange, and look like tall, skinny pumpkins, with yellow-y orange flesh, sort of like acorn squash.  I didn’t decorate them, because I intend to roast and process them for pies, custard, and soup over the holidays.  The mash freezes really well until we need it.

It’s kind of a shame we never get kids trick-or-treating.  The houses are too far apart, there are no sidewalks, and there aren’t many kids around, anyway.  OTOH, if I want Halloween candy, I can buy it tomorrow for half price.

Even though we won’t be getting any kids stopping by, I also dug out a couple of unglazed ceramic pumpkins I had in the basement.  They can take votive candles, but it’s easier to toss in battery operated LED versions.  That way, I don’t have to carve out any melted and re-solidified wax later.  It’s rainy, so those will stay indoors.  They’re fun, anyway.

Have a spooky day!

Exit Zero Filling Station

We were down in Cape May for a few days on a mini-vacation.  Typically, we go there once or twice a year during bird migration, which is off-season.  Better B&B rates, no crowds, etc.  This time around, I got some awesome sunrise pictures at the lighthouse, and some equally good sunset pictures at Sunset Beach.  The birds were plenty, but not so cooperative for pictures.

Our favorite place to eat there is Exit Zero Filling Station.  A few years ago, it was called Exit Zero Cookhouse, and was located across the street.  We usually go for an early dinner, but didn’t this last time, and walked over in heavy rain and gusty wind around 7pm.  Turns out that at that time, there was a live band playing.  They were local, but they were no crappy teenage garage band.  They were quite good.  I stuck a few bucks in their tip pitcher.

Anyway, the place had a door prize type drawing, like a raffle, but one free entry per person.  I never win anything, but my other half won it, and selected a print of a local WWII landmark done by a very good local artist.  We thought that was the end of it.  That print will look nice in our basement bar/rec room once we get it framed, next to the pictures of WWII era planes.  It fits the theme.

That wasn’t the end of it, though.  When we got up to leave half an hour later, we were shepherded into the adjacent gift shop, in which someone  packaged up two t-shirts, two pint glasses, and two flight sized glasses for us — for free.  That was a “Wow.  Thanks!”  The retail price of what we walked away with was roughly the cost of our dinner, plus beers, and tip.  That’s never going to happen again.

We love the place, and will continue to go there every time we’re in Cape May.  It has nothing to do with the door prize winnings.  It’s just a great place for food, and now that it has a liquor license, we don’t have to bring our own booze.

Really Good Fridge

The delivery guys hooked it up, but shoved it a little too far back into the cubbyhole for it, after they made sure the water line worked.  That cut off the water supply.  I had to squiggle the fridge out half an inch to get the water line working again.  My shoulders are sore from that.  Still, everything works, and after I bought it, I looked it up.  It turned out to be #1 best rated for most reliable side-by-side refrigerator models for 2019.

Refrigerator Delivered

As promised, I got a robocall from the delivery contractor yesterday, giving me a four hour window for delivery, and indicated that I’d get a follow up call half an hour before they arrived  Unfortunately, the delivery window was right smack dab in the middle of the day, rather than early morning, or late afternoon.  I did get the half hour warning call, and they showed up on time.  They were in and out in ~half an hour, carting away our old one, and installing the new one, water line and all.  I thought they were going to have to take the doors off the fridge to get it in through the door.  Instead, they took off the kitchen door, then reinstalled it before they left.  Better them than I.  No way could I have taken that door off its hinges, although I could have taken the pin out of the storm door to allow it to swing as far out of the way as needed.

Delivery and installation were “free,” meaning included in the purchase price, but I did have to cough up an extra $25 when I ordered it for them to take away the old one.  Would have cost me a lot more to arrange for our trash hauler to do so, and we would have had to manage to get it up the hill, curbside, which wasn’t going to happen.  Our other option was to call someone like 1-800-GOT-JUNK, which again, I’m sure would have cost a lot more than $25.

We knew the model I had picked out would be a tight squeeze for the opening, horizontally.  So was the old one.  Still, it fit.  It should have.  I measured everything twice.  Width and height mattered; depth, not so much.  I was originally going to order a 22.1 cu.ft, model that was 3″ narrower, but when we perused the floor models, with my tape measure, this 25.4 cu. ft. model looked the same, was the same price, and the same 36″ width as our old one.  I’m not sure the trim around the opening for it is completely plumb, but it it fit, regardless.  The only thing I wish about it is that it came with one more shelf on the refrigerator side.  The deli, crisper, and onion drawers are not adjustable, but the top shelf is, and who needs 2-1/2′ worth of top shelf, or between it and the deli drawer?

Gave the guys each a $10 tip.  Got a call ~an hour after they left from the delivery company to follow up on what I thought of their delivery service, and told the woman I thought it was very efficient, they were very professional, etc.  She gave me a number to call within the next two days if something was amiss, and they’d come back.

If we decide to get a fridge for the kitchen in the annex, I think we’ll go with a $600-700 over/under model with no ice maker or water dispenser.  That’s what we bought for the old house, but it only cost us $400 at the time, because we took a floor model, brought it home ourselves on the spot, and did our own installation, which was limited to plugging it into the outlet.  That thing was a total champ!  We left it for the new owners because they indicated that they wanted it.  It was an enticement to buy.  Otherwise, if they hadn’t wanted it, we would have managed to get it moved here.  People say you HAVE to move a refrigerator upright.  No, you don’t, but if you don’t, you’re going to have to let it sit upright for a day or two, unplugged, to let the lubricant settle back into place first.  Then you can plug it in.

Haven’t gotten the freezer stuff that we stashed in  the upright freezer in the basement moved upstairs yet, but all the fridge stuff we packed into coolers with ice packs is in the fridge side, which is doing its job.

The funniest thing to me is that when I got the half hour warning call from the delivery team, from a cell number I didn’t recognize, I answered it, and told him we were ready for their delivery.  The guy told me “see you then, sweetheart,” and then when they both were leaving, he told my husband “thanks, boss,” even though I handed them their tips.  Maybe it’s a Hispanic cultural thing to assume the guy’s the boss, and the gal’s “the little missus,” or something.  Anyway, we got a chuckle out of it.   I picked out the model.  I paid for it.  I tipped them.  Yet, he’s “boss” and I’m “sweetheart”?  *eye roll*

New Addition to the Household

This time, it’s not a new cat or dog.  It’s a new fridge.  The one that came with this house finally shot craps.  It’s marginally working, keeping things frozen, and cold as need be, but the circuit board has been flipping out the past the past few days.  By now, the thing’s probably 20 years old, and like a garage door opener with a dying circuit board, would cost as much to have repaired as getting a new one, so …

I’ve never had a refrigerator crap out on me before, but then again, I’ve never had one that was electronically controlled.  I’ve always had basic mechanical workhorses that were on/off, with knob type temperature adjustments.  Those never die.

Anyway, did my measurements, and checked out what I could get through the box stores, plus a local appliance dealer. that would fit.  No way could I justify spending $9k, or even $3k on a fridge.  I wanted a simple side-by-side model, and didn’t care whether it came with an ice maker or water dispenser.  Settled on a Frigidaire model, on sale, with free delivery, but I had to pay an extra $25 to have them cart away the dying one.  Would have had to pay the same $25 to have them move the old one into the annex, but if it finally did die, good luck finding someone to cart it away for less than twice that.

Still, the new one came to a hair under a grand, with tax.  That price is more like it.  I simply cannot justify forking out the bucks for a Maserati, when a Volvo suits my needs, if you catch my drift.  If I decide to buy a fridge for the kitchen in the annex, a basic under/over mechanical model like we bought for our previous house can be had for ~$600-$700, delivered and installed.  We mostly only use that kitchen for canning excess summer produce, and around the holidays when we need extra stove top burners, or an oven set to a different temperature than the turkey or ham.

The previous owners of this house offered to sell me all their moveable major appliances, some furniture, bar stools, etc. as a side deal from closing on the property.  Took them up on the fridge, upright freezer, washer, and dryer, in the main house, and passed on everything else they had in the annex, and down by the pool.  Although it has its own kitchen, the annex is really for sleepover guests to have their own “apartment,” instead of one of the bedrooms down the hall, and it’s where our basement “man cave” wet bar and game room are.

Delivery is scheduled for Thursday.  I will receive a call Wednesday afternoon to give me a four hour window for the delivery.  That gives me plenty of time to shift freezer goods to the other freezer, and refrigerator goods to either our bar fridge, or coolers with blue ice packs.  Nothing’s going to spoil during the changeover.

On a different topic, I sent mom a fruit basket for her birthday.  It ended up containing more citrus fruit than advertised, so, since she won’t eat it, she gave me a few pieces, plus the kiwis, and the basket in which it arrived.  She kept the pears and apples, and will give away the rest of the mandarin oranges to someone else.  We had to go out and fetch bottled water for her, so I decided to see if the grocery store had corn cushions, too, which, oddly enough, are hard to find in quantity except online.  They had some, so I grabbed all three packages off the rack for her.  She always pays us back for the water, or sends us over with money to fetch it.  She wanted to pay for the corn cushions, too, even though she didn’t ask us to get any, but she settled for  “Absolutely not, mom.  Happy birthday!  Consider it a trade for half your fruit, plus the basket.”  Really, it was more like 1/4 of the fruit, but I was trying to make my case for not taking money for something she didn’t ask me to get for her.

The older you get, the more you appreciate presents that have practical uses, I guess.  I would have been so crestfallen as a child to open a Christmas present, only to find a pair of socks, but now, a pair of thick hiking socks would be great.

Shredded Knuckles

Our 11 year old special needs male cat had a urinary tract blockage a little over a week ago.  We called the vet the next morning, and got him an appointment that afternoon.  Well, if he was passing a kidney stone, the problem was gone by the time we had the appointment, but the vet, who happens to be the owner of the practice, probably in his 70s, and runs it with his son who is also a vet, and a few others, plus some vet tech staff.  This guy has seen everything by now, and he also treats large animals, which is a little rare nowadays, even though there are plenty of horse farms around here, and a few sheep farms.

So, after that urinary tract issue, we were given some antibiotics to give the little guy, once a day.  At first, he licked/swallowed his meds like a good boy.  Then last night, he put up such a fuss that he shredded my knuckles.  I can still type, obviously, but I cannot make a fist, because of the swelling.  That cat got me.  Dayum!  He likes living with us, but med time has become a struggle, and I’m on the losing end.  So … his liquid med gets mixed in with his breakfast.  No claws are involved with that tactic.  The good news is that this cat still adores me, an will come camp out on my lap for half an hour or so.