Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

I don't mean to brag,

but is there another family in the United States who celebrated Thanksgiving with exploding squash and a blowtorch?

It's been a few years since Mom had Thanksgiving at her house. For almost a decade, she and Dad have loaded up the van with presents and food and driven to Texas to spend turkey day with Captain Crossword and his family, which had the added bonus of not having to pay to ship the Christmas presents. This year, however, Mom and Dad and I are all going out there for Christmas, so Mom had Thanksgiving at her house.

I do not say "Thanksgiving dinner," because the celebrations and food started Tuesday night, when Jeeves and his family arrived. My sister-in-law's parents were also on hand, but I can't remember whether they got in Tuesday or Wednesday. At any rate, Mom has been cleaning and cooking the last few weeks, and I got to try all sorts of yummy new recipes in the run-up to the big weekend.

On Wednesday, I got the e-mail telling me I hadn't gotten the administrative assistant job, so I skipped going out to Mom's for dinner. Thursday morning I spent quietly with the dog, then got dressed and headed out. I actually got lost on the way to the house I lived in for 17 years, thanks to some recent road "improvements" undertaken in the last year.

When I got there, the house was warm and bright and smelled wonderful. Mom had decreed that lunch would be appetizers from 11-2, and I got there just before the Brie baked in sourdough was put away. A little bit of that with some of my mom's wonderful snack mix was just what I needed for lunch.

Mom had made the decision to have a full turkey and a turkey breast, and my brother was in charge of cooking them. The turkey breast was in the oven, and the full turkey was in the roaster that's been in my family for 40-odd years and still works. The only drawback to the roaster is that the turkey cooks but doesn't brown. As the bird was resting on the counter, my brother lamented the lack of brownness, and Annabel suggested a blowtorch. Jeeves responded, "It's not a creme brulee!" I was in favor of dousing the turkey in some of the sherry my brother was using for the gravy and dropping a lit match on it, but I was outvoted.

Dad, of course, has a small, portable blowtorch, which he brought in, and although I took pictures of my brother flaming the turkey, Dad claims I used the wrong camera. I think Jeeves bribed him.

In the maelstrom of last-minute preparation that included the stuffing, the green beans with pesto, the turkey breast in the oven, the blowtorching, the rolls, and the mashing of the potatos, somehow the new squash and cranberry recipe Mom was making expanded so much that it climbed the sides of the casserole pan and landed all over the floor of the oven, leading to a smoke-filled kitchen, slightly alarmed younguns worried about fire, and my father's dramatic declaration, "The yams have exploded!"

Dad is not a vegetable guy, and can't tell the difference between root vegetables and gourds.

Despite the smoke and the damp chill from having all of the outside doors open, we had a lovely meal, with food, fellowship and family. I hope all of my American friends had the same experience, however they celebrated.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Requiem for an If Bunny

I didn't get the job. It's okay, though, because there were some drawbacks, not the least of which was leaving Piggie Pie alone in the house for 11 hours Monday-Thursday and having my water-walking schedule messed up. I think Doc's going to be more upset than I am, because she is the one who told me about the job, and I would have been working right down the hall from her.

The feeling of rejection is still there, but not nearly as strongly as it was the last time I was on a concentrated job hunt. Part of it is that I know I did a good job at every step of the process, and part of it, I think, is that I might have grown up a little since 2001.

I do have to keep looking, but for now, I shall be thankful for the job I do have, the opportunities to keep looking, and my incredible support system of friends, family, and one crazed small dog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mailboxes and If Bunnies

The driver who hit my mailbox fell asleep at the wheel about 12:30 a.m. In the realm of odd coincidences, she both lives at the apartment complex where I used to work and has the same insurance company I do. Snoopy gave me an estimate for the labor, Plaid Jammies is going to pick up a new mailbox at Ace, and hopefully State Farm is going to pay for the whole thing.

On Veterans' Day, I had an interview for an administrative assistant at a local college. The benefits are good, if pricey, the time off is stellar, and the commute is hideous. I didn't know until the end of the interview that I was one of only four people offered in-person interviews, but after an e-mail yesterday, I now know that I'm one of two people to be asked for second interviews. Eeep. If (big, bouncing If Bunny) they offer me the job at the higher end of the salary range, I'll probably take it and split the extra money between gas and maybe one day at week at doggie daycare for Little Miss Piggie Pie.

When I got home tonight, there was a message on my machine for a phone interview for a position I applied for a few weeks ago, so that's another If Bunny.

Also, today was a horrible day at work, thanks to a family tragedy yesterday, the details of which I just learned last night and am still trying to process; a bitchy field examiner from the VA; a monster masquerading as opposing counsel and topped off with a brainless client. I really needed my workout tonight.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How do I even describe this day?

Last night, when I got my mail and brought in the recycling bin, all was perfectly normal at the end of my driveway.

At 9:00 this morning, when my parents picked me up, my mailbox was gone, the post was on the ground, there was a bumper attached to my neighbor's tree and giant ruts in the ditch in front of my lawn.

On the way to Columbus, I called the police non-emergency line, and they said that they had an accident report involving a mailbox from last night, and that the accident was reported because the car had to be towed. The officer told me I can get a copy of the report on Monday.

When we got to Columbus, Mom and Dad and I had lunch, then headed over to meet my brother and family to watch The Awesome Nacho's black belt ceremony at the taekwondo academy. Afterwards, pretty much the entire graduating class went to dinner at House of Hunan, both of my nephews' first experience with hibachi food and service. They both loved it, of course.

Mom missed the turnoff for my house, so we had to take a longer way to get me home, and when I got home, the package I had been expecting wasn't there, so I checked the USPS website for delivery information, and it said "Notice Left."

Um, where? In case you hadn't noticed, THERE'S NO MAILBOX TO LEAVE NOTICES IN.

They could have just left the damn box on the step the way they've left every other box in the last year, but noooooooooo, they had to f up my day.

Anyway, at least I got to see my nephew get his junior black belt, and I had a lemon drop martini at dinner. :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Happy birthday to my dryer

My Kenmore dryer is about 43 years old. It's had new motors, new belts, new fans and other maintenance over the years, but the last year or so, the paint has come off the drum and left bare metal, which leaves rust stains on my laundry. So rather than buy a new dryer, I bought a can of special appliance spraypaint and on Halloween weekend Dad came over and took out the drum and took it home to paint it. According to the guy at the appliance parts store who sold me the paint, you can't use it inside ever. Dad's a little sceptical, but he followed instructions and on Sunday, he brought the repainted tumbler back and we put it in.

It's been a long time since I was Dad's mechanical assistant, and there were a few fumbles as I tried to hand him the right tools or parts and hold the light where he needed it, but we did okay. Dad did a lot of grumbly cussing, but only one f-bomb, and when the exhaust pipe came out of the wall for the third time, if he hadn't said it, I would have. He even made a joke at one point--he was putting the door back on the dryer, and I was essentially bent in half trying to support the entire weight of the tumber when he said, "Now stay just like that. I'm going to go have a cigarette and I'll be back in about ten minutes."

Ha. Funny man in my basement. :p

I have to thank Sherri and Jay for the Legacy Kirby, because the dryer had a ton of lint and dust and whatnot inside, and with the cleaning attachments on the vacuum, I can say that I'm confident there isn't a cleaner 43 year old dryer on the planet.

Dad and I were done in about two hours, with one coffee-and-cigarette break, and then I got to work on two weeks' worth of laundry. I'm still not completely done, but it's really nice to know I won't have giant orange blotches on my clothes!

Thanks, Dad.