Most Boring Stupor Bowl Evah, and Nice Haul

Typically, for a Super Bowl, I make several finger food type munchies:  potstickers with dipping sauce, nachos, chicken satay, etc.  This time around, I wasn’t up for doing all that, so I just made a batch of chili, and quéso, served with tortilla chips.  The chili was spicy enough to make my mouth numb, but hardly what I’d call five alarm (more like three alarm).  I think I’ll use the chicken for tikka masala this evening.

As it turned out, the chili made me sleepy, so I dozed off before halftime, underneath my favorite throw blanket, and didn’t wake up until that turnover right near the end of the game that sealed the deal for the Patriots.  Evidently, everything I missed was something I didn’t regret missing, from Adam Levine’s nips and tats to the god-awful supercilious, sanctimonious ads.

Unless their home team is in it, most people watch the Super Bowl for the ads, anyway.  Apparently, those scored even less than the total game points, if that’s possible.  There hasn’t been a good halftime show since Prince.

Today, I made an errand run to a local deli/bottle shop.  They were still selling their collection of logo beer glasses for $2 apiece, so I picked up another dozen.  They get them for free as promotions from the beer distributors.  Two bucks apiece is a good deal, since they normally run anywhere from $5 to $8, if you get them from the brewery.  The Hoegaarden glasses were supposed to be $5 each, but the woman who works checkout during weekday morning to afternoon hours sold them to me for the same $2 as the other glasses.  I probably wouldn’t serve beer in them, but they’re great for root beer floats.  The rest of the ones I bought were some more Heinekens, Long Trail, and some from Commonwealth Cider (which I had never heard of before today).  The Long Trail ones are laser etched, instead of stamped on, so the logo will never wash off, no matter how many times they get run through the dishwasher.  The only beer glasses I have that need to be hand washed are the Stella Artois and Chimay ones that have gilt or silver around the rim.

Seriously, for $24, these dozen were well worth it.  When they get condensation on them in the summer, people drop them on the patio, and they shatter.  With these, I don’t really care if they get broken, as long as we can sweep or vacuum up the shards before anyone steps on them barefoot.

Bad Brew

We went out for dinner last night, and on our way out of the pub, I picked up a 12-pack of assorted brew from a place called “Mother Earth.”  It wasn’t skunky, but WTF were they trying to brew?  The cream ale was over the top vanilla, and tasted like cream soda.  The gingery one tasted more like ginger beer or ginger ale than a beer.  I like ginger, but this was supposed to be beer, not soda.  The two IPAs that came in it were alright, sort of; they were under the table hoppy, so, not good.

Let’s just say that I will never, ever, ever again buy anything from Mother Earth.   *blecch*

I’ll stick to Yuengling, Yards, Founders, Stella, DAB, and my own home brew, which is an Oktoberfest style lager.  When I can brew better beer than you, you might want to rethink your business model, or at least your recipes.

I’m not used to dissing breweries, just for one thing that is awful, but everything from this brewery is awful.

Better to know now than to stock it in a cooler for a cookout with 20 neighbors.

Yeti Feet

My package finally arrived from Peru.  These alpaca slippers are probably as warm as shearling, and, since they’re white, make me look like a Yeti from the ankles down.  The soles are reasonably thick suede, so I probably could wear them outside, but I wouldn’t go squishing through the mud in them.  I predict one of our cats will want to sleep on them.  I can’t get anything warm and fuzzy without at least one of them deciding it belongs to her or him.

Logistics Software

I do not understand the logistics software the USPS uses.  It makes sense to send a package from Detroit down to Indianapolis, before sending it east.  What makes no sense to me is sending a package from Maryland through Virginia, then up to New York, only to go back down to where I live.  Nor does it make any sense to send a package from here to Maine by way of North Carolina.

Seems like I can get a package here from China faster than I can get one from Queens.  Not quite true, but it’s not as much of an exaggeration as you might think.  The one I’m expecting that was imported from Peru made it through customs in Queens three days ago.  There’s no way it should take three days to travel ~180 miles, during the week.  Are they using a mule train to move the mail?  UPS and FedEx are far more efficient.

The upside, I suppose, is that every last postal employee I’ve ever dealt with, from the guy who drives the route that includes my house, to whoever is working the counter, to the supervisor who answers the phone when I call to inquire about where my supposedly delivered package was delivered, when it sure as shootin’ wasn’t at my house, has always been fantastic.  Nobody from the USPS has ever “gone postal” on me.  Still, it would be nice if the whole company was more efficient.  Yes, it is a company, rather than a government entity.  Your clue is that it has a .com address rather than a .gov one.

On another topic, we brought our dog in for his annual checkup and vaccinations this morning.  Rabies isn’t annual, but he would have been due for it in April, so we had the vet do it today, after he got his annual combination shot.  Saved us another trip, and probably another $35, because it just got tacked on as a line item, so we didn’t also get charged for a new visit/exam.  I happened to have exact change in greenbacks for the visit, so that was good.  I hate using a credit card, or writing a check, when I can avoid it.  Not sure the vet cares all that much how I pay, as long as I do it before we leave.  Fortunately, none of our cats are due for their visits until late summer.

Lucked Out

We were supposed to get a foot of snow overnight.  Instead, we got an inch of rain.  That could have become a problem, if the sun had stayed beyond cloud cover, but it broke though, and the wet driveway is getting dry.  Good, because it’s supposed to go into single digits over the next couple of days, which wouldn’t be long enough to burst pipes, but would make getting out of the driveway a bit interesting.  Phew!

On another note, my neighbor who brought over some Christmas cookies replied to my “Thank You” card asking whether she’d be willing to share the recipe for her peanut butter chocolate bars (to die for!) with one of her own, including a handwritten index card with the magical recipe.  Some people are funny about sharing recipes.  This neighbor was willing to pass it along.

Score!

I had to drop something off at the UPS Store about a mile from here, and decided to stop by another place on my way back to pick up a 12-pack, mostly because my home brew needs another week’s worth of fermenting, and it was on the way.  The place happened to have a nice big display of promotional glassware from various breweries for $2/glass, or 12 for $20.  Why not snag an extra two for the same price?  So, I did.

It’s a mixed bag of Stella, Heineken, Chimay, Allagash, Long Trail, O’Hara, and Red Hook.  I didn’t want any of the Guinness ones, and the Hoegaaarden ones looked like they should be filled with ice cream and root beer, rather than beer, so I passed on those.  We have a wet bar in the basement rec room, and when we host parties, usually during the summer, when we set one up outside on the main patio, glasses get broken or chipped.  It never hurts to have extras.  None of the ones I snagged look like your basic pint glasses.

I felt sorry for the woman who decided they had to be wrapped individually, because none of them would fit in a 6-pack or 4-pack box.  But, she’s a doll.  We’ve known each other by sight for a couple of years.  It was like packing glassware or coffee mugs for moving day, except that they all went into paper bags, rather than a corrugated cardboard box.  She even helped me carry it out to my car, so that I didn’t have to make two trips.  I didn’t ask her to do that, but I appreciated, and took her up on her offer.

I’m sure the place got these promotional glasses for free from the respective distributors, but selling them for what they did is a win-win for them, and their customers.  These sort of logo’d glasses normally run anywhere from $5-8 each (plus shipping), if you order them directly from the brewery, depending upon whether the rim is plain, or covered in gilt or silver.  The Stellas are gilt; the Chimays are silver.  Hand wash those.  The rest can go though the dishwasher, just like any other glass can.  The niftiest part is that eight of them could do double-duty to serve wine, in a pinch.

Coach

I love Coach handbags, and their other leather goods.  Although we have a Coach outlet store `5 miles away, I had to order this clutch sized purse online directly from Coach to get it for half price, plus another 10% off, in the color I wanted.  For some reason, they call it “plum.”  No.  It’s more like burgundy.  The funniest thing, though, was that 3/4 of the instructions for cleaning it were written in Chinese, and they involved buying cleaner and moisturizer from Coach.

Seriously?  Saddle soap works just fine.  It’s available for ~$5 per can.  Also, if you’ve got some decades old smooth sided ones like I do, that get a little scuffed up, shoe polish does the trick, black, navy, green, or burgundy.  Black shoe polish and cocoa butter works just fine on my 1920s horse brass.  Why would they not work on this clutch bag?  It’s not suede.

Post Holidays Sales

This is the best time of year to stock up on indoor/outdoor lighting, whether it’s “fairy lights” or torches.  I don’t mean flashlights, when I say torches; I mean things that are solar, but look like what people in the movies carry with their pitchforks.  Most of my outdoor lighting is solar.  Some is electric, and some uses some AA batteries.  When it’s crummy cloudy, rainy, or snowy, the solar ones don’t always get a full recharge, but they won’t trip a GFCI outlet circuit if water gets in.  Battery operated ones aren’t my fave, but AAs can be bought in 30-packs for ~$15, so swapping them out isn’t a big expense.  It’s even better if they’re on a 6-on/18-off timer, with a waterproof battery case.

For me, anyway, it’s best to find a Chinese eBay supplier that ships from a U.S. warehouse, because the goods arrive within a week, even if they’re shipped via mule train from CA, and they’re so much cheaper than buying them at a local bricks & mortar store.  Failing that, the cheapskate in me will order directly from a vendor in China.  Yeah, the shipment can get stuck in customs for a couple of weeks, but LED lights always pass on through.  If you’re not in a rush, it’s the way to go.

So, I got enough “fairy lights” and “torches” to light up our patios, deck, and pool area, with enough left over to light the ends of the driveway, if I want to.  The thing about the driveway is that if it’s icy, it’s easier to drive over the lawn.  I don’t care about any ruts left in it.  The tractors leave enough of those as it is, when the ground is a bit squishy, and nobody can see them from the road, anyway.  This place is/was a farm, after all.

Sunday Deliveries

I do feel for post office staff who have to work extra hard this time of year.  It’s only the few weeks leading up to Christmas, and after it that they deliver packages on Sunday (no regular mail, though).  Today, I got two:  one from Feather Three, and one from The Vermont Country Store.  I needed a pair of drapes to block the mid-morning and mid-afternoon sun glare that comes through the patio sliders this time of year, when the sun remains fairly low in the sky.  And, we ordered a beanie and sweatshirt from Feather Three.  Full disclosure:  Feather Three is my nephew’s e-commerce site.

I thought “feather three” meant feather the number 3 engine on a plane, because there are several pilots in my family.  Evidently, it’s also a reference to ballroom dancing that I didn’t know until my nephew explained it.  Anyway, the merch is nicer than I expected.  My other half will use the beanie while he’s out felling and chopping wood, or plowing the driveway after a snow, and I’ll wear the hoodie.  A unisex medium is rather baggy on me, but it means it fits fine over a turtleneck and heavy duty flannel shirt.  I hate any kind of clingy clothing that isn’t a bathing suit, or underwear.  I didn’t really need a new sweatshirt, but I’m happy to help support my nephew’s business.  Ballroom dancing, or any other kind of dancing, for that matter, isn’t my thing, so paying to take lessons from him, which he does get paid to teach, isn’t going to happen.  Even someone who has all the grace of an ox can wear a sweatshirt.

Half a Cord Delivered

Alright.  The half a cord of wood was delivered earlier this afternoon to our neighbors across the street.  We gave them a heads-up call, so they knew to expect it.  It was a little challenging driving the L210 with a trailer across the 50 mph highway; it could handle the load uphill just fine, once it crossed the highway onto their driveway.

We made good on our promise.  They got their firewood.  Charlie looked at the L210, which is older than La Femme Nikita, and commented that those old things are workhorses.  Yes, they are.  They are.  It’s our oldest tractor, but with maintenance, it still works very well.

We have a smaller Kubota, and a much larger IH, but the L210 was the one for the job.  Mission accomplished.