Tuesday, April 17, 2007

how embarrassing

I just paid a repairman $60 to plug in my stove. I feel like an incredible idiot. But given the situation I can't see how I could have known. This is what happened:

DH makes cookies at 3pm on Sunday. Oven is working just fine. At 5pm I set it to preheat, but it only reaches 135 (so it *was* working) and then cuts out. The burners don't work either. However the digital clock display and the timer work just fine. So obviously something to do with heating has broken on it. It's an 11 year old stove & we've had to replace the heating coil once already. Monday I call a repair place, tell them the problem. They say something about circuit boards. So they aren't thinking about it either. Repair shops, unlike tech support, do not ask "Is the appliance plugged in?" before proceeding to troubleshoot. Even if they had I would have said "well sure it is" without looking because it's STOVE not a printer & the odds of it somehow coming unplugged without a noticeable amount of deliberate effort on my part, are really quite slim. The plug is behind the stove, you have to move it out of the way and pretty much CLIMB OVER IT to unplug it. And I am not the sort of fanatical cleaner who insists on moving appliances to clean behind them on a regular basis. Once a year, maybe. So it has been MONTHS since that stove was moved, maybe even a year or more. And the stove WAS WORKING all this time. Seriously, would 'maybe the plug came loose' have occurred to you given the situation?

The guy comes here, moves the stove, says "the plug is loose" pushes it all the way in and the stove works fine. he checked out the circuit board and other electronics to be sure but as it says on the receipt "Plugged stove in" is what he did.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

oven problems

Our oven has stopped heating. It worked fine to make cookies about 2pm but then when I turned it on at 5pm it only heated to 135 and then stopped working at all. We had to replace the heating element within a year of buying the house. I can't recall what we spent. The oven was only a year or so old & Ithink the part was covered but we had to pay $50-60 for someone to come out, tell us it was the part and then come back & put the part in. Now, at more than 10 years old, we'll no doubt have to pay for the part as well. So we looked at stoves online. A straight replacement of our bottom of the Maytag stove will cost $250. Upgrading to the ceramic cooktop (which we've said we would do some day) would be $400. Upgrading still further to the ceramic cooktop and double stove model (which is my dream) would be $1000. I'll call Maytag in the morning & see how much the repair will run.

I cooked dinner in the toaster oven. It worked fine. Its just small. I need to search out my smallest baking dishes & see if they fit because odds are, that oven won't be fixed until some time after we get back from FL.

layout for today

We lost one of our cats on Monday. DH found Buddah on the porch in the morning. He had apparently passed on while laying in front of his box. The scraplift challenge at scrapbookgraphics.com inspired me to do this layout of him.

I am surprised at how few photos we have of him, or that I can find anyway. I've been going through all the photos for the digi camera years & copying out the ones with any of the cats in them into a separate folder. I found one packet of pics of the cats in with the rest of my photos and scanned them but I am sure I had more.

I'm starting to get stuff together for our flight on Thursday. A friend offered to take us tot he airport & for a bit it looked like I could ride home with DH. But that's not working out. I called around for airport taxis but it's $150-200 from here to the airport. I'll cost me about $100 in parking fees and gas to drive myself. Is it worth $50 to not have to deal with getting from baggage claim to the back of beyond parking with a double stroller, large rolling suitcase, 4 carry ons and 2 small boys at bedtime. Not from where I am sitting right now. But I can't say how I will feel when I land after 2 2 hour flights and a 90 minute layover with all of the above. Previous experience leads me think I'll be thinking "i'd pay $200 not to have to deal with this right now". But I'd have to travel with the car seats. Sure they can be used on the plane, but I'd have to take them from check in, through security to whatever distant terminal my flight is departing from. Along with all the aforementioned items except the rolling suitcase. Do they allow bungee cords through security? Because the only way I can see to manage it is to bungee the car seats into the stroller and then sit the kids in the seats, which is probably unsafe and will lead to the kids falling out. So I am driving up.

While I'm down in FL I'm hoping to have time to work on the pregnancy album I am creating for 1hourscrap. As usual I overcomplicated it by deciding to do all these different options & had to toss nearly everything & start over. I'm planning on using the flight time (assuming the boys actually *watch* the DVD I am bringing) to rework my ideas, make a full list of what I want to include & how I want to include it, so I can just sit & do it once we are there & the grandparents are playing with the boys.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


It was not on the planned menu but Safeway had a sale on leg of lamb so I decided to get it. I had them cut it in half for me because the smallest was 6lbs and really, there is no way that would get eaten. I've never made lamb before. To the best of my knowledge I have never eaten lamb before, though there is a hazy childhood recollection in my memory of skillet fried lamb chops that were as tough as shoe leather. They might have been pork chops though. My mom cooked pork to death as it were. I remember smoked pork chops and ham steaks that were dry & tough because I suppose prevailing wisdom was to cook pork so it was inedible to avoid trychsy something or other. I hated pork chops until DH cooked some that were tender and juicy for me.

Anyway, back to the lamb, my culinary adventure of the month. Not much of a cooking adventure. Joy told me to roast it to 135 & that it would take 1.5-1.75 hours for a 7lb roast. It suggested rubbing it with oil and perferating the skin and sliding garlic slices into the slits but that seemed like rather a lot of work when I could just put it in a bag and pour some garlic & olive oil dressing in there for a marinade. It marinaded most of the afternoon. It roasted for 40 minutes & came out pink. It was delicious!!! Tender & juicy, like the best steak ever only more flavorful. I'm glad I have the other half left & may go buy another one if they are still on sale. I also steamed some asparagus & made some couscous. It was a really good meal. And for probably the first time ever I had the right amount of meat. No leftovers, but plenty for everyone.

Friday, April 06, 2007


from this site

Appetizer When you travel, which mode of transportation do you prefer?

I prefer to travel by train but can't afford the cost to time ratio. It takes 12 hours by rail to get to my parents. I can drive there in 18 for a quarter of the cost or fly there in 3 for the same price. I like the room you have in a train, especially an overnight trip. You can get up and walk around and there is scenery & you can look at it without having to watch the road as well. It's nicer than a plane, roomier, you can spread out more. Some day i would like to take the family on one of those scenic 3 day trips out west.

Soup Have you ever met a blogging friend in person?

No I have not, though I might in June.

Salad When was the last time you were really, really tired?

I was really really tired from about mid 2002 until Dec 2005 when I started taking Lunesta. I was barely functioning with a newborn and then pregnant with an infant and then had a newborn & a toddler and chronic bronchitis. If I slept 3 hours in 24 it was a lot of sleep. My memory was shot, my motor skills were faulty, my personality was non-existent. It was a very bad time for me. Since then I have only been really really tired twice. Dh was out of town and my younger son was up most of 2 nights in a row & I had no opportunity to nap.

Main Course If you could have dinner with any one fictional character from a book or movie, who would it be?

Tough one, either Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Thursday Next from the Eyre Affair (and other books)

Dessert Fill in the blank: One day, I hope to see _______________.

my great grandchildren

Sunday, April 01, 2007

new menu

It's the beginning of the month so it is time for a new 2 week menu. The interesting side dish thing has continued to be a problem & lunch is becoming a serious issue for me. I am instead trying to get more veggies into the main dish & make meals with leftovers that will serve as decent, protein based lunches. I eat way too many carbs during the day. we are also still recovering from $1000 in unexpected auto expenses so keeping the cost down and not going out to eat must be included. I'm also trying to reuse multiple ingredients so I can 'chop once, cook twice' though I have timing issues with it and food sometimes goes bad. So this is what I have in no real order

Pasta primavera (Buttoni tortellini with broccoli & squash & pesto)
Frittata with potato & squash and a salad
Braciole (flank steak is on sale this week) with garlic broccoli side
Beef ragou (also with flank steak) side TBD
Grilled chicken & sweet potato salad (includes other veggies)
Pizza, with grilled chicken & artichokes
Pork schnitzel with honey garlic carrots & salad
Turkey cutlets with creamed spinach
Chicken & bean antipasta (includes artichokes & spinach)
Pasta TBD
Pocket sandwiches of turkey, artichokes & spinach
Grilled tilapia & beets

All of it but the pasta, piza and the fish make decent leftovers for lunch & on those days I'm thinking yogurt, hummus & carrots, and hard boiled eggs. Possibly some salad depending on the leafy greens situation. Pasta tomorrow night & I think after that the chicken & sweet potato salad (assuming a ripe avocado can be found).

Hopefully we'll be back to dinners out again next month & I'll be able to buy some digi supplies as well. I've got a plan to bring in some extra money to subsidize my digi habit & Quizno's addiction but it'll take a couple of months before all the paperwork is done. However it has the potential to become a long term WAH job to carry over once the kids are in school full time.