Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Seen here is Myself with my birthday present from Mags. A brand new grill. This is a new kind of grill. It cooks by convection? Instead of the flames directly hitting the meat, there are hoods over the flames and the grill sits on top of stainless steel plates that have hundreds of little holes in them. Im not too sure how it works, but it does.
My sister in law Steph went with me last weekend to pick it up but we were told we couldn't take the floor models so I had to have one assembled. It would be ready Monday Im told. So I call Lowes at noon and the grill assembly guy wont be in until later. So it will be ready by 7pm. I call Steph and tell her not to worry about it and could she do it tomorrow? She says her and Dave could and will do it tomorrow.
So tomorrow rolls around and I get a call from Steph. She is at the store to pick up my grill and there is a problem. (this is about 3 hours before my car crapped out on me by the way) Whoever assembled it put a massive dent in the front of the stainless steel panel. Dave tells them there is on way he is taking the grill like that.
So he gets the manager and the manager agrees to let him take a floor model after all. I tell Steph they can use their discretion about picking one out because they like the good stuff and won't take anything unless it is perfect. So they picked out the best of the bunch (which looks great as you can see) and drove it to my house.
They also gave me a card and in said card was a $15 dollar gift card for Wegmans, with a note saying "get yourself a couple of steaks or some burgers. Enjoy your new grill!" Nice huh?
So yesterday between Mags and Meself we got the grill from the garage, through the house and onto the patio. I then grilled some doggies and some burgers and later that night a London Broil. I think I'm going to really like this new grill, so thank you sweety! And thanks to Dave and Steph for picking it up for me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When it Rains it Pours. Literally and Figuratively.

It all started almost two weeks ago when the thermal fuse on our dryer blew. It has been a steady downhill slide since.
The people we called to repair it came out almost immediately and diagnosed our problem. Sadly the repairman did not carry the part we needed. Since it was such a small part Mags assumed he would have it. His reply, was, "If I had to carry every part I could possibly need, I would be driving a tractor trailer." A simple "don't have it handy ma'am" would have sufficed. He could get the part but it would take 5 days. Okay. One more week.
Yesterday the rains came and rain it did. Torrential, driving rains. A dirty 'oul day to be sure. So I'm driving home and suddenly my temperature gauge shoots all the way up to hot. Hot hot hot. I, vexed, call my brother in law Dave who is a mechanic and knows plenty about cars. He advises me to pull over immediately and call AAA. I pull into a small plaza and run into a pizza parlour and ask the man behind the counter for the street name I'm on. I know it's route 33 but street name is helpful. He tells me Rte 33 so I thank him and leave. I run into the next business, a printshop and approach the man in said store. He immediately screams at me to get "behind the front desk". He then takes a phone call and when he is done he storms over and asks me if he can help me. I calmly tell him I only need to know the street address. My car has died and I need to give AAA an address. He bellows "Well I'm not Triple A!" Really? Oh it was the printing presses that through me. Thanks for your time cock-bag.
I run back through the lashing rain and call AAA and wait. It could take up to an hour. Super. Luckily the flatbed pulls up in only 5 minutes. However, the driver backs up to the wrong car. I got out of my car because, I thought, silly me; he was here for me. When I called Triple A I told them I drive a 1999 Camry, four-door, silver, so it baffles me when the driver backs up to a 2005 gold, 2door Chevy something or other. I walk over, in the still torrential rain and ask him if AAA sent him. He says yes and I tell him he is about to hook up to the pizza delivery guys car. He looks baffled and says "they told me it was gold". I did not want to get into the whole different color, two less doors, completely different model thing..
So I'm towed to Daves and he says he will get right on it.
Mags gets home and I relay the news. She takes the news well. I guess. As well as you could take that kind of news. She saw my car wasn't home and was worried I may have been in an accident. Luckily no.
So back to our dryer. The company called and Mags returns said call and is told our repair man, while he has said part, it may be several days before he can come back and install it. This is not satisfactory to Mags and she makes it know. So we are up in the air as to when our repair will be made. We are waiting for a call from them telling us that maybe Friday it can be done.
Dave then calls and tell us that on top of the water-pump, the timing belt is shot and needs to be replaced.
So if anyone at all could send us some good vibes, Mojo, Juju whatever, we'll gladly take it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Death of an Athlete

Today in a small town, somewhere in Russia, friends and family will gather to say goodbye to the young Georgian Luger, Nodar Kumaritashivili.
Nodar as you know was killed in a practice run on the luge track in Whistler, BC. He had even called his Dad earlier and said the track scared him. This is remarkable because Nodar was trained to ride his luge down an icy slope and expected to reach incredible speeds. He knew he'd be cookin', but this track was too fast.He was scared. When someone who knowingly hurls himself down an icy slope while riding a small fiberglass sled, knowing he will reach speeds of 85 mph on a regular basis tells you he is scared there is something wrong.
Nodar died doing something he loved. He died preparing himself for an Olympic event. He was representing his country and had hoped to medal.
This is sad on so many levels. His family, his friends, his teammates, his countrymen, anyone who knew the young guy. His age, too. Only 21. Too young to die at all. Sadder still, was the networks decision to keep showing the crash. And it wasn't just him flying off the course, out of sight. No, you saw him fly off the course and strike an unpadded cement column at 88 mph.

From a very young age, little boys (okay and some little girls) dream of becoming athletes. We want to play a sport for a living. We admire our sports heroes. We see them on tv, we read about them in the papers. They become a part of our everyday lives. We hang on their every word, every action, every success and every failure. When we grow up, we want to be them. To replace them. We want to excel and we want to be the best. We want the money, the adoration of fans, to make our parents proud,
to be the best in our field. Some people would prefer to be on the pitch at Old Trafford, the frozen tundra of Lambeau field, maybe hitting the ice at the Boston Garden, while some of us (including the author) would prefer to stand at short-stop in the idyllic baseball shrine that is Fenway Park.
Once we get a little older and we realise we will never reach that dream, we revert to our hero worship. We watch these talented men and women and we live vicariously through them. We enjoy the talent and the speed and the skill....the things that make them great athletes. All the things we could never quite do.

So when something tragic happens, all of us that love sports, that admire athletes, it affects us. It saddens us as we think about how this person died doing something they love and how they may never acheive the goals they set for themselves or how they may never accomplish more than they have.

The Olympics will carry on, the best athletes in the world will continue to vie for a spot on the platform and we will watch. Memorials have sprung up around Olympic village for Nodar, I'm sure he will always be remembered. But I'm hoping he is remembered for being a fine young athlete who died doing something he loved, and not just 'the guy who died luging at the Olympics'.

To Nodars family, I offer my condolences. I wish you peace and comfort in your time of mourning.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Way I'm Going to Work Today

So we have survived the Blizzard of 2010. Snowmageddon, whatever. My place of employment closed yesterday and today. And rightly so, the storm has dumped over 18 inches of the white stuff on us and clean-up will take months. Okay maybe not months but a long time.
On Tuesday night the snow started falling. Softly and beautifully. And when we awoke Wednesday, it fell 'til about 1030 then stopped. I wondered out loud if that was it. Had Mother Nature steered the storm off to the sea? Sparing us any more aggravation and back-breaking cleanup? no. The bitch did not. At around 130 the snow started again, and this time it was not softly and beautifully. It was mean and freakin' nasty and it snowed well into the night. When we awoke we were literally buried. Im talking 16 inches on top of the 19 that fell only on Friday. I do have to say, from my seat at the kitchen table, it was amazing and beautiful. My back yard abuts a wetlands so there are no houses behind me. Just acres and acres of trees. The snow covered all the trees and weighed down their branches. The sky was an amazing deep blue against the snowy Earth. Very serene. Until, of course I had to go clear away snow.
So I went out early to clean off the cars and unbury them in our snow-locked driveway because Mags place of business decided that their employees were expendable and opened for business. I suggested she use a day to stay home where it was safe and warm and not, She agreed and called out.
I had to use my shovel this morning because I was getting her car ready to go at around 630 (before I knew she would not be going in).
Long story short, I finally finished the task at around 1030 and when I went into the house Mags mentioned that pizza might be a good idea for lunch. Who am I to say no to pizza? So we called Luigis and ordered up a pie and I made the three mile trip to get it. The trip took twice as long as it should have because the roads were not completely cleared. But that was okay because,
After a nice lunch I went out and dug out our mailboxes. Fun.
Then we ventured over to Bubs' place and once there, I resumed my shoveling duties.
Mags dad has had many strokes and is bed-ridden. They had a cement ramp poured up from the driveway to the back deck. I shoveled the ramp out and then the decks. Bubs insisted I didnt have to do it all, just a spot on the deck for her Boston, Lucy. I insisted because if, God-forbid they need to get JW out of the house, it has to be via the ramp. I'm not sure how long it took but it went pretty smoothly. Of course shoveling uphill is a bit more challenging and if you saw me shoveling the ramp from the deck to the house you'd have a good laugh. Because I kept sliding backwards on the wooden ramp while trying to shovel 'uphill'.
I did have a brief break for tea and then I went out to finish up. Lucy, was looking curiously out the door and seemed a bit put-off by the shovel. But she's happy now that she can go down the deck into the yard where I shoveled out a small spot for her to...well you know.
Bubs was very appreciative and thanked me several times. I don't mind at all. They are both very nice and have been very good to me in my years with Mags. It was my pleasure. My back may disagree later but hey, we're family.

Now we're home resting up. I'm sure we'll both be going to work tomorrow.
If I weren't feeling so tired, I'd have taken pictures but you can watch the news and get the idea. Stay warm.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Now That Was Easy

So last night New Jersey got some snow. I guess we got about 17 inches or so. Gusty winds and really, really low temperatures. Lots of drifting too. A good day to stay indoors, right? Well...someone has to clear the snow. Which leads me to my entry title. Since I've met Mags, her son Tom, has been very good to me. He's a great guy and we get along really well and he will do anything to help us out. He has done much for me also. He knows of my ailing back and one day during the summer came to the house with a self-propelled' lawn mower for me. He bought it second-hand and using his mechaincal know-how, refurbished it and gave it to me, telling his mother "Connor should have one of these. He shouldn't be pushing a regular mower." Nice right? Well, last year he found a used snow blower and same deal, reworked it, tuned it up good and brought it to me. However, last year I just couldn't get it started. I have problems with those 'pull start' devices. Same thing this year. Last night, however, he came by again and primed it up for me.
I was hesitant because I had so much trouble in the past. Well this morning I tried again and no luck. Frustrated I came into the house and told Mags, "no deal"
She suggested taking a break and trying again. Which I did. Well, this time the puppy fired up right away.
The difference between shoveling and and using one of these cannot be described. It was soooo much easier. The hardest part was the crap at the end of the driveway deposited by the snow plows.
So easy in fact, I did our neighbor Shirley's driveway. Her husband is having back woes and she is a good neighbor so I dug her out. They were pleased and I then stepped across to help another neighbor do the very end of her driveway.
Then it was across to Keith and Staceys to help them out.
It was almost fun. Okay. It was fun.
All in all I got alot accomplished. It's a good feeling when you can help a neighbor out.

~Good things are happening with the Devils. They picked up Ilya Kovulchuk from the Atlanta Thrashers. The big Russian comes in with 31 goals already and he has more moves than a street hustler. This guy can stick-handle in a phone booth. The Devs played an exciting game last night against the Maple Leafs, Scoring three goals late in the third; including two in the last minute of regulation for a huge win.
I watched the game in between shifts on the snow blower.

~Got to visit with Keith and Stacey our groovy neighbors across the way and their 3 crazy pooches. After that came home for a beef stew I did in the slow-cooker. It was okay but could've been better. Live and learn. Mags made a good suggestion as to how to spice it up and next time I will follow her sage advice.

Well, my body is achey and I think I may be turning in soon. Stay warm everyone.