Sunday, July 29, 2012

Seven Quick Sunday Takes in which I am very busy

--- 1 ---

Two weeks ago, Scott and I spent the entire weekend away from home at a family reunion/picnic thing.

Last weekend, we drove 5 hours northwards for a wedding. On the way back, we had brunch with some friends whom we haven't seen in a while and then we had dinner with my family because they were celebrating my sister's birthday.

It sounds very not-crazy written down like that, but trust me. It was crazy busy and exhausting.

--- 2 ---

I insisted that this weekend we would do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And then yesterday I went to the library to return a book, we went to Scott's parents' to pick up some mail and got gas along the way, and we went to Confession and Mass. Plus we did all our regular chores and made dinner and stuff. And I ordered Scott two new polo shirts because they were on sale at Kohl's for $9.99.

Today, though, I didn't get dressed until about 1 p.m.

--- 3 ---

We got a new cell phone after 8 months of dithering about it. So now a) We have two cell phones and b) We have a cell phone with our current area code. (Hopefully. We haven't actually activated it yet.) Previously, our one cell phone was the one I've had since I was 15, which has the area code of the area just north of here, since I lived in that area code for my whole life up until last year (not counting college).

Due to web-ordering weirdness, we had to get the phone shipped to Scott's parents' house, which is why we bothered going up there to get our mail. Reminder cards from the allergist are not worth a whole extra trip, since we already know we're total allergist slackers.

--- 4 ---

On Thursday, Scott and I were both very tired when he got home from work. Scott: "We should stop both being tired." Me: "You first." (Proverbs 31 right here...) Scott: "Is there anything I can do for you?" Me: "Unload and reload the dishwasher." So he did, and it actually really helped the evening be more enjoyable for both of us. At least I think so.

Then yesterday he took out the trash without being asked and without even making a big deal out of how awesome he is for taking out the trash.

But wait, there's more! Then shortly after he woke up today (he woke up at like 11:30) he spontaneously wandered into the kitchen and started unloading the dishwasher. Me: "Are you unloading the dishwasher?" Him: "Yeah. I figured you were going to ask me to help anyway." Me: "I wasn't, actually, but let's go with that." So he went ahead and unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher.

My husband is awesome.

--- 5 ---

I have been sewing a birthday present for Andrea (it's a suprise...). Unfortunately, I sew at approximately the rate of glacial advancement, so it wasn't done last week. I am determined to finish it before I see her again this Wednesday, though. (She has a doctor's appointment down here in the Big City--totally routine; don't be alarmed.)

This is here partly because I am running out of Quick Take ideas and partly so that you all can hound me to post pictures once I actually finish.

--- 6 ---

As my contribution to the family reunion picnic mentioned above, I made this cake, but I halved the recipe and heavily modified the frosting (I think in the future I'll use a different cream cheese frosting recipe to begin with; I didn't like that one very much,) And I put on 13 stripes and 50 stars because if you're going to put 3 days of effort into making a flag cake you might as well do it right.

Here's a picture!

And a close-up of the bottom edge just because I think it looks particularly mouthwatering. (It tasted as good as it looked.)

Teresa was absolutely fascinated by this cake. After mulling it over for a while she decided that I must have bought it at a store. Maybe I should show her all the other pictures I have of me making it step-by-step.

--- 7 ---

Last week, I baked these muffins in an attempt to get out of my muffin rut. (We eat a LOT of banana muffins around here. Om nom nom.) 

They are delicious, but do make sure to heed the warnings in the comments about how these will overflow all over your oven if you're not careful. Because they will. 

On the plus side, I can add "Knowing how to clean an oven" to my list of Adult Skills. It's turning into a very long list.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, July 23, 2012

July grocery shopping and menu planning Part 2

Most of these groceries were bought on Thursday, July 12; it's been a really busy couple of weeks.

Powdered sugar: $1.29 at Aldi? I can't find the receipt, so I'm not sure. I bought this sugar on Monday, July 9 because I was making a cake for a picnic and the frosting needed more sugar than I expected.

Milk: $1.69 at Aldi.

Orange juice: $1.29 at Aldi.

Lunch meat: $3.29 at Aldi.

Sliced cheese: $1.99 at Aldi.

Shredded cheese: 2 lbs. for $5.98 at Aldi.

Ice cream: $4.99 at Aldi.

Eggs: 4 dozen for $5 at Kroger. It's bad when that's the best deal you can find.

Carrots: $1.29 at Aldi.

Apples: $2.99 at Aldi.

Sausage: $2.29 at Aldi.

Bread: $1.29 at Aldi.

Celery: 99 cents at Aldi.

Green beans: $2.19 at Meijer.

Tortilla chips: $1.19 at Aldi.

Chicken bouillon: $1.69 at Aldi. (I seem to recall that it is usually much more in the 1.29 range.)

Baking powder: 99 cents at Meijer. (I had baking powder on my Aldi list because it's usually cheaper there, but I happened to go to Meijer first and snapped that baking powder up as soon as I saw the price tag.)

Pickles: $1.19 at Aldi.

Diced tomatoes: 2 cans for $1.18 at Aldi.

Olive oil: $2.99 at Aldi.

Cornstarch: $1.23 at Meijer.

Marshmallows: 99 cents at Aldi.

Beans: $1.50 at Meijer.

Rice: 96 cents at Meijer.

Total: 50.47

Month-to-date: 148.94

Meal plan:

Breakfast: Sausage egg muffins / Leftovers
Lunch: Lunch meat sandwiches, apples or carrots, apple cinnamon muffins / leftovers
Dinner: Leftover pizza (Friday), Family reunion picnic (Saturday), TBS (Sunday), Rosemary pork, green beans and bacon, potatoes (Monday), Chicken noodle soup (Wednesday)

Meal reality:

Breakfast: Sausage cheddar biscuits (from my mom) / Sausage egg muffins / Leftovers
Lunch: Lunch meat sandwiches, apples or carrots, potato chips (from my uncle) / leftovers
Dinner: Leftover pizza (Friday), Family reunion picnic (Saturday), Free food from my mom (Sunday), TBS (Monday), Chicken noodle soup (Wednesday).

I am cooking that pork finally as I type this. I should go start on the green beans.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Liveblogging Monday

This is for Melanie, who thinks she doesn't get enough done. Also, I like doing these "day in the life" posts and haven't done one since March, which was before Scott started his job.

12:00-:4:57: Sleep. (I actually slept from about 10:00 Sunday night, which was kind of awesome.)

4:57: Wake up to use the bathroom. Curse my bedtime water-drinking habit.

5:00: Notice that Scott's legs are very much on my side of the bed. Heroically refrain from kicking him in the shins.

5:00-5:50: Doze fitfully.

5:50: Be woken up by the backup alarm. (Primary alarm = clock radio; backup alarm = cell phone.) Wonder irritably why the primary alarm doesn't seem to be working lately.

5:50-6:00: Get dressed, put cell phone in Scott's jacket pocket so he has it later. (Sometimes I get dressed before breakfast, sometimes after.)

6:00: "Scott?"
"Time to think about waking up."

6:00-6:10: Get breakfast together. Curse my previous usage of muffin papers that now have to be peeled off the egg muffins before I can eat them. (I also have orange juice and a multivitamin, and I don't want to hear about how taking it with breakfast probably makes it useless. It has a psychosomatic effect at least.)

6:10: "Scott?"
"Are you going to take a shower this morning?"
"Okay. You should still get up soon."

6:10-6:13: Wait for Firefox to decide it wants to work while eating breakfast.

6:13-6:21: Liveblog my morning in painstaking detail, forgetting to continue eating breakfast.

6:21: "Scott? Last wakeup call."

6:21-6:29: Remember to eat my breakfast while checking email and Facebook.

6:25: Scott: "Is the bathroom free?"
Me: "Yes."
I hear him open and shut the door from my spot on the Pong chair. (It's not spelled Pong, it's a Swedish thing with accent marks, but we call it the Pong chair so that's how I spell it. We also have The Comfy Chair--diabolical torture device--and the couch.) 

6:29-6:43: Put together Scott's lunch. (An apple; two blueberry muffins from a bag that my mother gave us; a sandwich with mayonnaise, ham, pepperjack cheese, and dill pickles.)

6:43-7:00: Put together Scott's breakfast (a rice and bean dish that we also brought home from my parents' with some of our own salsa added); brush and floss my teeth. (Anybody else who's lived in a 1-bathroom dwelling: I'm not the only one to ever spit my toothpaste into the kitchen sink, right?)

7:00: "I'm going to go start the car. I'm taking your lunch and your breakfast, so don't wonder where they are."
"Ten minutes, okay?"

7:00-7:09: I don't like not being able to nag my husband. I distract myself by listening to the radio.

(This car-starting thing is new since the whole anti-theft system triggering fiasco. I know how to reset it now, but that takes 10 minutes no matter what. Therefore, I go down 10 minutes early.)

7:09: "Yay, you're here!"

7:09-7:18: Drive drive drive.

7:18-720: I stand on the sidewalk holding Scott's lunchbag; he stands next to me eating his breakfast. Usually we both sit in the car and I keep a sharp eye out for the bus, but the weather was nice today and I was feeling restless.
 Scott: *munch munch munch* ... *munch munch* ... *munch*

7:20: "Are you getting full?"
*munch* ... *munch*

7:21: "Like I said, don't feel obligated to--BUS."
I give him his lunch; he gives me his 2/3 eaten breakfast. We manage a quick hug and kiss, and then I head back to the car while he pulls out his bus pass.

(I was going to say "Don't feel obligated to finish." As I had explained to him while we were driving, I gave him a big bowl because better too much breakfast than not enough, am I right?)

7:22-7:32: Drive drive drive.

7:33-8:00: "Coffee break." I finish liveblogging my morning and then read blogs. I do not drink coffee.

8:00-8:22: I start two loads of laundry. After going up and down the stairs my back feels all out of alignment so I decide it is time to sit down and have another break.

8:22-9:02: The internet is very distracting. *guilt*

9:02-9:51: I put my laundry in the dryer, unload and reload the dishwasher, hand wash the dishes that can't go in the dishwasher, and pre-cook some ground beef and rice for dinner tonight.

9:52: I start loading my Sims game while the rice finishes cooking and the stove timer counts down to when I need to check on my drying laundry.

9:52-12:15: I play Sims while finishing the rice, keeping my laundry moving through the dryers, and eating lunch.  

12:15-12:40: Check email, read blogs, blog

12:45-2:45: NAP.

3:00ish-3:40: I go to Wal-Mart and get a birthday card for my nephew, who turned 6 on Sunday. I forgot. In my defense, I have only been an aunt for 8 months, I have not yet had much practice keeping track of these things.

3:40-5:09: I have a little snack, and then remember that I haven't showered since Sunday morning, so I shower and trim my nails and then sit in front of the computer because there's no point starting anything when Scott could call any minute, right?

5:10-5:30: I pick up Scott from the bus stop.

5:30-5:50: We chat a bit and I put dinner together; it is easy because I have precooked most of the elements.

5:51-7:20: I surf the internet sitting on the couch next to my husband, who is playing videogames, while dinner simmers. Once dinner is ready, I eat at the table with a book; Scott eats on the couch. Someday we will have family dinners like civilized people, but at this stage in our life we don't.

7:20-8:02: I work on blog posts other than this one.

8:02-8:18: I work on a sewing project. I like the results of sewing but find the process insufferably tedious, so I make myself do it in 20-minute increments. (Roughly.)

8:18-8:40: I put away dinner and do a general tidy of the apartment, putting misplaced things back where they belong, throwing away junk mail, that sort of thing. This is insufferably boring as well, so I only stick with it for 20 minutes.

8:40-9:01: I work on blog posts some more.

9:01-9:20: I look at the wedding registry of a friend who's getting married on Saturday, thinking vaguely of buying a physical present instead of just giving them a check.

9:21: I abruptly become VERY TIRED. Blah.

10:52: I actually get off the computer. Maybe THAT'S why I'm always tired.

11:20: I actually go to bed, having changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth (AND FLOSSED), etc.

11:50+: I actually fall asleep.

Like Melanie, I wish I had more balance. I've been stressed out lately by everything and also somewhat depressed (I really think I have some sort of reverse Seasonal Affectative Disorder; summer always makes me feel generally listless far more than winter does.) But spending endless hours clicking around on the internet doesn't help, especially that period in the evenings when I'm too tired to do anything but don't want to go to bed because...I dunno. Because if I stay up maybe I'll feel "finished" instead of restless and bored. I do okay with my Sims, I think, though probably not everybody thinks 2 hours a day of computer gaming is a worthwhile investment in one's mental health. I can walk away from that at the end of my allotment and feel finished and I might even feel refreshed from having had fun, but the internet is rarely like that. Just click click click, waiting to find something that will engage my depleted brain and make me care. (I just reread this paragraph and realized how pitiful it probably sounds. I find it easier to care about little pixel people than real people or anything in the world of real people.)

That probably makes it sound like I'm super depressed. I'm not, really. I'm just condensing all the little moments of not-caring into one big gloomy box.

Would it sound too contrived if I say I kind of want to write a nice neat conclusion to this post but just don't have the energy to think of anything?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July grocery shopping and menu plan part 1

On Monday, after the car was done being obnoxious, I went on a truly massive grocery shopping trip. Behold:

Sausage: $2.29 at Aldi. (I was AMAZED that sausage was so cheap, relatively speaking. I mean, 2.29 would be a decent price for ground beef!)

Bacon: $2.99 at Aldi.

Bread: 1.29 at Aldi.

Eggs: 4 dozen for $5.16 at Aldi. (Not the best price, but what can you do?)

Milk: 2 gallons for $3.38 at Aldi. (Yes, that's 1.69 per gallon. AGAIN.)

Cream cheese: 16 oz. for $2.38 at Aldi.

Butter: 4 pounds for $7.96 at Kroger. (One is unsalted because I am making a cake that calls for unsalted butter. This is the first time it has occurred to me to care that there is a difference.)

Mayonnaise: $1.99 at Aldi.

Shredded cheese: 3 lbs. for 8.97 at Aldi.

Lunchmeat: 1 lb. for $3.29 at Aldi. (Side note: I used to ask Scott to pick what kind he wanted, but he doesn't like having to make so many choices [I would ask him at the same time I would ask him to help me plan 3-4 dinners all at once]. So now I just grab whichever one strikes me as something he hasn't had in a while. This week was chicken.)

Sliced cheese: 8 oz. for $1.99 at Aldi.

Raspberries: $2.50 at Meijer. (I think those two packages add up to something like 12 oz, but I am very confused by the whole oz/pint thing.)

Blueberries: $1.34 at Meijer. (You can't really see them, but they are there under the raspberries.)

(I am going to try to make this cake for a family reunion picnic next week.)

Bananas: 59 cents at Aldi. (29 cents per pound.)

Lettuce: $1.99 at Aldi.

Celery: 99 cents at Aldi.

Peaches: $1.88 at Meijer. (99 cents per pound. I just felt like buying peaches.)

Tomatoes: $1.49 at Aldi.

Regular carrots: $1.29 at Aldi.

Orange juice: $1.29 at Aldi.

Green beans: 2 lbs. for $2.19 at Meijer.

Lima beans: 1 lb. for $1.99 at Meijer. (I was like: 0.0 But I bought them anyway because peas get very very boring after a while.)

Corn: 99 cents at Aldi.

Baby carrots: 3 lbs. for $2.97 at Aldi. (Again, 0.0, but I chose to think of it as a substitute for the $2.99, 3-pound bag of apples I normally buy for Scott's lunch rather than in terms of "But they were 49 cents the other week!")

Saltine crackers: 89 cents at Aldi.

Spaghetti: 2 pounds for $1.99 at Aldi.

Nonfat dry milk: $6.99 at Aldi.

Flour: $1.58 at Aldi.

Pickles: $1.19 at Aldi.

Baking cocoa: $2.99 at Kroger. (I need to remember to stock up when Aldi has it during the winter.)

Peanut butter: 4 lbs. for $6.99 at Kroger. (I am never going to need peanut butter again.)

Tomato sauce: 5 cans for $1.45 at Aldi.

Egg noodles: 99 cents at Aldi.

Sugar: 2 bags for $4.06 at Aldi. (Me: 0.0, but in a good way. That's why I got two. Now the trick is to NOT use it up twice as fast just because it's there.)

Onion flakes: 99 cents at Aldi.

Marshmallows: 99 cents at Aldi. (Have I mentioned that Aldi should have a dollar menu like McDonalds? That would be cool.)

Powdered sugar: $1.49 at Aldi. (Fun fact: It says "Confectioner's sugar" on the bag, but my receipt says "Powdered sugar.")

Potatoes: $2.99 at Aldi.

Total: $98.47

So...yeah, at this point not any lower than I was last month, and I didn't even buy (much) meat. I guess we'll see what happens later on.

Menu plan!

Breakfast: Egg muffins / Leftovers

Lunch: Lunch meat sandwiches / Leftovers

Dinner: Chicken noodle soup (Monday 7-2) / Rosemary pork roast, rice, and green beans with bacon (Wednesday 7-4) / Cheese pizza (Friday 7-6) / Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and salad (Saturday 7-7) / Chicken parmesan (Monday 7-9) / Fried pork chops, corn, and lima beans (Wednesday 7-11)

Dessert: Leftover cupcakes / Leftover rainbow sherbet (/ possibly some homemade pudding, since I'm down to one cupcake and it's 5 days until I go shopping again)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Seven Quick July Takes

--- 1 ---

I've had Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" stuck in my head very nearly continously since Jen Fulwiler posted it in her Seven Quick Takes last week. (I like both the original version and the Pentatonix cover for different reasons; please note that that first link has some nudity.)

And I'm not too unhappy about that.

I always feel vaguely guilty admitting to liking popular secular music (aren't we good Catholic types supposed to just like Gregorian chant or something?), so I figured I'd get that off my chest early.

--- 2 ---

For those of you just tuning in for Quick Takes (so, everybody but my husband and possibly my mother), I posted some Tales of Woe earlier this week. The first world problems have been thick in my life this week.

Addendum to Part Two, by the way: Around lunchtime, I checked messages and had two from EYB, one saying "Scott made the bus" and one saying, "Oh, by the way, Dad says he can drop Scott off after Schola so Scott says you don't have to come unless you want to." So I called Scott's family and sorted out that I would be able to drop off some dinner for him there and Mr. Cobbler et al. would bring it to him. So around 5:00 I did so (that way I only had to drive for 20 minutes total instead of 90 minutes total, and could stay home doing my laundry instead of hanging around trying to be quiet), and around 11:30 Scott finally got home (bear in mind that he had been gone since 8:00 that morning) and reported that he had gotten his dinner and it was delicious.
--- 3 ---

Yesterday I was Skyping my family and Mom let me talk to Matthew for a while. He looked around confusedly and then tried to grab the iPad and put it in his mouth.

Babies and technology are funny.

--- 4 ---

The other day, Teresa was apparently hiding from "creditors." Because creditors are scary and have sharp teeth and claws.

--- 5 ---

High-protein breakfast update: I made egg muffins. I made them once by greasing the pan with shortening and once using cupcake papers. I do not like the cupcake papers. I will try canola oil next, I think.

Anyway, I like them, Scott likes them, they DON'T make Scott sick. (What do boiled eggs and omelettes have in common that baked eggs don't? That's not some weird riddle, I really want to know.) It remains to be seen whether my grocery budget goes up astronomically as a result of all those eggs.

--- 6 ---

Update on the car and air conditioning: I keep forgetting to park it on the shady side of the parking lot. You'd think the sensation of suffocation and burning every time I get into it in the afternoons would motivate me, but no.

--- 7 ---

I am tired of thinking of things to write. Here is a picture of my brother:

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Remind me to never complain about lack of blog fodder again, Part Two

Okay, so I left off my last narrative when I was making stroganoff for lunch on Sunday. Scott got up at 1:30, we ate stroganoff, and then I decided to go take a nap. I napped from 2-4, so we really did NOT get a lot of one-on-one time over the weekend, between spending Saturday with his family and spending Sunday sleeping.

So I was kind of cranky going into Monday morning; I felt like I had been cheated out of my restful weekend. (We'd been busy the couple of weekends before that, so I had been very much looking forward to it.) I went to bed around midnight, but could NOT fall asleep. I ended up getting up at about 1:00 and sitting in the living room reading a book of Midshipman Quinn stories that I borrowed from the in-laws and drinking hot cocoa. (Two reasons: 1) There was no point in waking Scott up with my tossing and turning; at least one of us could get some sleep. 2) At a certain point, lying in bed stressing out about how I can't fall asleep is distinctly unhelpful; taking my mind off it by getting up and doing something else is much more productive.) I went to bed again at about 2:15 and still had trouble falling asleep but did so at some point before my alarm went off at 5:45. That didn't exactly put me in a good mood going into Monday morning.

We got up and got ready as usual. We were running a bit late, but if we hurried we could still just make the 7:20 bus.

I turned the key in the ignition, the car sputtered...and nothing happened. I tried a couple more times, because I am nothing if not insane. :) Still no ability to drive the car.

We called Scott's family, of course. Nobody answered, probably because it was 7:15 in the morning. Then we called AAA. (SO happy that my parents renewed my AAA membership last year.) Somehow it had gotten to be 7:30, because I remember the AAA call-answering person saying that the AAA service person would arrive sometime "between now, 7:33, and 8:03, or even before." I made fun of that phrasing to Scott after I hung up. "So they will come between now and half an hour from now, or they might even come BEFORE now!" I am mean when I'm trying not to have an ugly sobbing breakdown over my stupid car that won't start.

Around 7:45 we called Scott's family again. A few minutes later they called back to say that Eldest Younger Brother was getting ready to go and would be along shortly. (We need to buy EYB a video game or something, for all the times he's driven places on our behalf lately. Also, honorary awesome points go to Youngest Younger Brother, who apparently heard our message on the machine and immediately went to wake up EYB.)

Around 7:50, I called AAA again wondering where my service person was. The call-answering person (a different person than the first one) said that the service person was assisting somebody else and would be by when he was done there. I asked if she knew how long that would take, and she just repeated that he would be along once he was done with the person before me. So I said thank you and hung up, feeling even more irritated.

I should note a couple of things: 1) Scott and I currently only have one cell phone between us. 2) Scott had a Schola thing that night, so I really wanted him to have the cell phone so we could figure out stuff relating to the Schola thing. (He can take a bus from his work to the church at which the Schola practices, but he wanted me to meet him there and bring him dinner and his Schola stuff.) But I had given the AAA people my cell phone number, reasoning that it was better to wait by the car rather than in the apartment. So I couldn't send Scott with the cell phone in case AAA tried to call me.

So we worked out that Scott would go straight to Schola from work, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and that I would meet him there shortly before the Schola thing was supposed to start. He wouldn't need the cell because he would be going straight to an established meeting place, and if he thought of something wrong with the plan he could hypothetically call me from his work phone. Then he decided to run up to the apartment and get his black binder so I wouldn't need to remember to bring it; I'd just have to bring his dinner.

(This whole "only having one cell phone" thing is a fun brainteaser--though I don't find it fun when I have to think on the fly how to work around it.)

A few minutes later (shortly after 8:00), EYB showed up. I stink at giving directions, so I settled for asking Scott if he knew how to get to the bus stop (he said yes) and hoping for the best. Then I went up to the apartment to get Midshipman Quinn to pass the time while I waited for the AAA man.

By 8:30 I figured that EYB and Scott must have made it to the bus stop, because otherwise they would have come back and I would have had to help figure out what to do about the fact that the 8:15 bus is the last commuter express of the morning.

Meanwhile, the AAA service guy showed up around 8:15 (which was later than 8:03; I should complain) and started messing with stuff--testing the battery, doing this, doing that. Finally he declared that he couldn't figure out what was wrong and would have to call me a tow truck so my car could be towed to a repair place.

So he went back to his truck and I settled down with Midshipman Quinn to wait for the tow truck. But a few minutes later AAA service guy tapped on my window and said that he wanted to check one more thing. (I have no idea if he consulted his oracle in the truck or what. I don't really care.)

So he tried resetting the anti-theft system, which involves leaving the key in the "on" position for 10 minutes and then turning the car off and then trying to start it.

That worked. So he packed up and left, I went back up to the apartment to complain on Facebook, and all was well with the world.

Fast forward to this morning. I drive Scott to the bus stop, I turn off the car while we wait for the bus, bus arrives, he gets on, bus drives away, I go to start the car...sputter, sputter, nothing. I think about how Scott just rode off with our only cell phone. I reassured myself with the thought that I'd seen a couple of people coming from the left with shopping bags of pop and cigarettes, so there must be an open store somewhere nearby, which means people, and People Are Generally Nice, Not All Axe-Murderers. (I need to needlepoint that on a pillow.)

Meanwhile, I did the "turn the key to 'on' for ten minutes" thing. Ten minutes is a long time when you're in a deserted parking lot with nothing but the occasional cigarette-toting passerby.

Finally ten minutes passed and I tried again. And the car started. Hooray?

So now I am trying to figure out how to disable this stupid anti-theft system. After all, to quote my mother, "It's not like anybody would want to steal your car."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Egg muffins: An illustrated recipe

I basically invented this myself, cobbling it together from various recipes I found via Google.

1 small potato or 1/2 large potato
1/4 pound sausage
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 dozen eggs


1. Brown the sausage and boil the potato. Chop up. You'll notice that I have half a potato and 3/4 a pound of sausage in the background there waiting to be put in the freezer. 
2. Grease the pan or use muffin papers. I used vegetable shortening this time and it worked fairly well; I will report later on other possible methods.
3. Distribute the sausage among 6 of the cups and the potato among the other 6 cups. Sprinkle cheese into all 12 cups.
4. Crack a whole large egg into each cup. You could also crack them into a separate container, scramble them, and then pour the scrambled egg into the cup, but I felt like doing it this way.
5. Beat them all with a fork.

6. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. They should be done when they're a little brown on top. They seem to come out better when they are cool, but I need to experiment further with that.

7. Refrigerate. Carefully labeled bags are optional.

To eat, heat in microwave for 30-60 seconds.

(I think they came out pretty awesome, though next time I'll probably add salt. Scott also reports that they were awesome.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Remind me to never complain about lack of blog fodder again

Friday morning, I posted Seven Quick Takes in which I mentioned a couple of times that I was scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of blog post ideas.

At about 4:20 on Friday, Scott called to let me know that he'd gotten off work early and could I come pick him up? So I did. We got back about 4:45; it was too early to eat dinner so we settled down in the living room with our respective laptops.

The moment we did so, we heard thunder. We didn't think much of it, just unplugged our laptops and kept right on computing. Then the power started flickering. Again, we didn't think much of it.

Around 5:30, the power went off and stayed off. We still weren't worried. After a little while, Scott fell asleep and I went back to my laptop. Around 7:00 the power still wasn't back on and my laptop had run out of battery (it runs down the battery really fast), so I called my family to complain about how bored I was. (There was enough light coming in through our west-facing patio door that I could have read a book, but complaining is so much more fun.) They'd lost power around 4:00 and the little kids were apparently both kinda cranky. While Mom and I were commiserating Scott woke up from his nap. We decided to see if his family had power. They did. (The funny thing is that they live 3 miles away, while my family lives 80 miles away. I guess power outages happened in patches across Ohio.) So we packed up our laptops and some leftover macaroni and went over. (Since they weren't expecting company, Scott's family had made just enough fish for everybody currently living there.) We used their microwave and their air conditioning and their internet and actually passed a fairly pleasant evening. We left around midnight, but not before borrowing a flashlight and a battery-powered lantern thing just in case our power wasn't back on.

It wasn't. So we passed a rather stuffy night. I woke up around 7:30 the next morning and puttered around for a little while. At about 9:00 I woke Scott up so I could whine about how bored I was. So we packed up our laptops and our refrigerated food and went back over to his parents' house. (We were hoping the power would come back on before we'd have to worry about the freezer stuff unfreezing.)

Oh, at some point during the night our phone went out as well. That wasn't a big deal since we had the cell phone, but we did end up calling the power company from Scott's parents'. They said that a tree branch had come down on the power lines and they didn't know when the power would be back on, but they'd call to let us know. So we settled in for a day of hanging out. I played Sims, uploaded pictures of Scott's birthday to Facebook, stuff like that. I was kind of socialized out at that point, having spent 5 hours with Scott's family the day before. (Extreme introvert, remember?) 

Around 5:30 we went back to the apartment on a rescue mission for our freezer stuff. While we were on the way back, the power company called Scott's parents' and asked if the power was back on. (My thought: "Um, you tell us. You expect us to hang out in the hot apartment all day waiting for the power to come back?") Scott's mom said no. (She had a logical reason for that, but I forget what it was now.) Anyway, we got back and stuffed our meat stockpile in the basement fridge's freezer. Then we ate dinner with Scott's family. They made stroganoff, inspired by me. I contributed a pound of thawed ground beef.

After dinner I holed up in the living room that doesn't have video game systems. (You know what I'm talking about. At some point in your life you've been in a two-story house that has a living room in the front and another in the back, right? At Scott's parents', the back one is the one with the computer and the TV and everyone plays loud annoying video games in there a lot.) I actually managed to get a little introvert recharge time reading the internet.

Around 9:00 Scott suggested that we go back to the apartment and see if the power was back on. I must have given him a look or something because he said, "Or [Eldest Younger Brother] can drive me." Me: "Yeah, how about you do that." Scott: "Hey, [EYB], you just got volunteered to drive me to the apartment." Me: "Maybe you should ask him before you volunteer him."

Anyway, EYB was feeling self-sacrificial or something so he drove Scott down to the apartment and back and they reported that the power was in fact back on. So Scott and I loaded up all our stuff and drove off. I immediately started the dishwasher, before I even put the food back in the fridge and freezer. (I had loaded it up before we left that morning so that I could pretend that the kitchen was clean and I didn't need to hand-wash any dishes.) Then I told Scott that we would be going to 6 p.m. Mass on Sunday. Usually we go to 12:30, but I didn't feel like getting myself and Scott out the door that early. Plus, he hadn't really gotten to sleep in on Saturday.

Sure enough, Scott slept in until 1:30 on Sunday. He might have slept longer, but I woke him up to tell him I'd made stroganoff and that was interesting enough that he got out of bed. (Since the only thing I'd contributed to the Saturday-night stroganoff was ground beef, I still had all the other ingredients and had plenty of ground beef to replace the other pound. So I made stroganoff for Sunday lunch.)

That's the end of Long Story Number 1. Side note: We still had about half of Scott's birthday cake left, so we brought it along to share with Scott's family. EYB looked at it and said, "Oh, it's a lemon slice." He wins major points for guessing; Scott didn't guess and he had the whole cake to look at instead of just half. (On second thought, maybe a half-cake looks more like a lemon slice.)

Oh, another thing I forgot to mention: I estimated that the power was out for 25 hours because when we got home at 10:30 the clock on the stove said 9:30. I can't explain how I did that math but it makes sense in my head.

Lest you think I do nothing but complain, I will now list the things that made the weekend Not So Bad:

Thing #1: Scott got off work early. Normally I pick him up around 5:30 (so I'm on the road between 5:20 and 5:40 or so, depending on traffic and whatnot). So we would have been on the road right as the worst of the storm was blowing through.

Thing #2: It was the weekend, so while it was kind of lame to have to deal with this instead of lounging around having a relaxing weekend, at least we didn't have to deal with it on top of our usual weekly business.

Thing #3: It was the end of the month, so we had almost nothing in our fridge, making it easy to transport everything over and fit it in the nooks and crannies of Scott's parents' fridge.

Thing #4: Obviously, the fact that Scott's family had power and we were able to go hang out with them made the weekend much less bad. I imagine if that hadn't been the case we would have hung out at the library or something, but I don't think any other arrangement could possibly have been more convenient. 

I had another long tale of woe unrelated to this one, but this post is unwieldy enough already so I'll just leave you all on a cliffhanger.