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.

Dafuq?

I was making one of those “best offer” deals for something I wanted on eBay.  The seller wanted $22 for it.  I offered $18.  The seller got back to me with a counter offer of $16.  Dafuq?  Sixteen?  Really?  So, I accepted the counter offer, and paid immediately.  It’s one of those things that might have had a price tag of three figures when it was new from the manufacturer.  ???  Whatever.  it’s not my whoopsie problem.

Good & Plenty

When I was a kid, I loved black licorice.  So did my dad.  Mom would swipe all our Halloween chocolate, and leave me the Mary Janes, and licorice.  Allsorts and Crows were good, but my favorite to share with my dad were the Good & Plentys.  We’d play a game in which we each had to guess whether the next one to come out of the box would be white or pink.  There were no winners or losers, because they all got consumed.

The Christmas before my dad died, I gave him a “coal scuttle” of licorice flavored hard candy, complete with a mini hammer to break it up.  He loved it.  One, it was a joke about getting a lump of coal for Christmas, but it was also his favorite candy, and a memory that went back decades for both of us.  Dad totally got the joke.

Today’s Good & Plenty aren’t the same as the ones from 50 years ago.  Yes, there is the licorice core, but the pieces are cut shorter than they used to be.  The candy coating is thinner, too.  Still, if you want licorice, Good & Plenty is an option when you can’t find licorice whips, or licorice hard candy.

My mom bought me a package of Good & Plenty last weekend when we drove her to her local grocery store to get some things.  It was funny, because giant packages were 3/$3 there, and I can’t find them around here.  I wanted to pay her back, but she insisted that it was a present, and wanted me to grab three of them.  I went with one, which still only cost a buck.  It’ll last me until the holidays.

Ahhhh … licorice.  It’s one of those flavors that people either love or hate.  I love it.  I think I want some candy coal for Christmas.

Weird & Wonderful

This post is about various things.  First, I had the pool closed yesterday, which I almost regret because it’s shaping up to be an Indian Summeyesterdaysr.  Oh, well.  So, I can’t go swimming, or riding around on a float, but I can still catch rays on a lounge chair, if I want to.

Yesterday was a special occasion, so we wanted to go out to dinner at a local Peruvian restaurant.  Turns out it’s closed on Mondays, which we would have known if its website had given days and hours, but it didn’t.  So, we went to a Mexican restaurant in the area which we had driven by a bazillion times, but had never tried.  Turns out it was pretty good, had a liquor license, instead of being BYO, and was half the cost.  All in all, it was fortunate turn of events.  The food was not the best Mexican we’ve ever had, but it was pretty good, the service was fine, and th bill came to half what it would have been at the Peruvian place.  We’ll go back.  We may never bother trying the Peruvian place again, because parking anywhere within a few blocks of there is a bitch.

On a third topic, eBay’s going to eBay.  I have once had a vendor cancel an order he/she couldn’t fulfill, and refund me, but I have never before had one take the money and run, with no further communication for a month.  Finally had to have Ebay step in on my behalf after multiple attempts to contact the vendor, that went ignored.  We’ll see what happens.  I can deal with getting ripped off for $12, but that vendor should have to pay the piper, and yeah, I want my $12 refunded.  What’s really odd is that the vendor had a 99.7% good feedback rating, wwhich is usually alright.

Topic number 4:  it looks like we’re going to have an Indian Summer, which is great.  We got such a late start on our vegetable garden because of wet and cold soil temperature conditions.  This might make up for it.  The tomato vines are still producing, and flowering, but it’s nothing like it was a month ago, when we were giving them away to neighbors, and canning four quarts per night of them.  The peppers were nibbled so badly early on that they only recovered a few weeks ago, and are now producing fruit in abundance, but they won’t outlast a hard frost.

Our milk was going a little too sour to use for banana bread or biscuits, so instead of dumping it down the drain, I made fresh cheese out of it.  I hate throwing away food, if it can be salvaged.

So, the weird is the change of plans for dining out and the one eBay vendor.  The wonderful is the extended summer, and new restaurant option we discovered by accident.

Betsy Ross Tees

These arrived today.  My husband ordered a blue one for me, and a white on for himself.  Both are unisex larges, so they’re huge.  Mine will make a really nice bathing suit coverup, a nightshirt, or a tunic over some jeans.  I’m not wearing it out as a dress, although it’s almost long enough.

I hate clingy clothes.  This tee is nice.  Might have been nicer if it was pima cotton, but if whatever the modern version of silk screening is holds up on it through the washer, I’ll be fine with it.