Saturday, March 21, 2009

Three is a magic number

As regular readers know (or have figured out), I grew up during the '70's. I spent my Saturday mornings in front of the TV watching Super Friends, Isis, Scooby Doo and all sorts of other cartoons.

Isis was my favorite. She dressed like an Egyptian version of Wonder Woman. I loved Wonder Woman too. I desperately wanted a tiara and bracelets that could repel bullets.

I was also taking piano lessons at the time. They were scheduled right in the middle of Isis. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than being called out of the most exciting part of the TV show to have to take a piano lesson because if you missed it, you'd have to wait and entire season for them to repeat it and having your little brother tell you what happened was never the same because he always left out the really important stuff like those thoughtful, meaningful looks Isis would get when she found out something really deep about her past, or the amulet, etc.

Thank goodness for the invention of the DVR.

In between all this was Schoolhouse Rock. What a brilliant move, hiding education amongst the Saturday morning cartoons. Schoolhouse Rock taught me the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, how a bill becomes a law, and that three is a magic number.

Where was I? Oh yes. Let's review.

  1. Dishwasher fails (replaced with new one. Pretty!).

  2. Brewguy's car is smushed (construction foreman backed his truck into Brewguy's car. $2,200).

  3. I contracted an urinary tract infection (pain in the girly parts. Ow!).

They say that bad things come in sets of three. Why only bad stuff? Why don't GOOD things come in sets of three? Is it because we attach more weight to bad, distinctive events and as a result they are more memorable than good events?

There's a psychology theory for this but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

Let's give it a try. Three good things... Long term good things like having a job, a healthy family, and a nice house don't count. Well, they COUNT, just not for the purposes of this exercise.

  1. I found some great vintage jewelry at the thrift store on Friday.
  2. Ciprofloxacin is still effective against UTI.
  3. IKEA has free breakfast today!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

One step forward, two steps back

Mr. Brewguy is a handy fellow. Our front storm door needed to be replaced. The handle mechanism had become so contrary that it was impossible to open the door without two hands and a strong kick. Bad for fire safety. So off it came.

Brewguy painting the door jamb, inter alia.

And the shiny new door, installed!

Brewguy was then briefly possessed by the spirit of the Beverly Hillbillies.

It appears the new front door has made the dishwasher mad. It is no longer performing its primary function; that is, it is not washing the dishes. I can hear it now. It sounds like a wheezy merry-go-round. Brewguy has been doing some tests (running the diswasher, opening mid-cycle to look for water) and has determined that there is little to no water getting through. So the dishes are not being "cleaned" so much as babysat.

So here is the status of our kitchen:

Dishwasher: dead

Stove: one burner not working. Brewguy had to rewire the burners so that the front burner works using the control for the back burner, so to turn on the front burner you have to use the knob for the back burner. What fun.

Cabinets: sagging.

The dilemma is I really, really would like to redo the whole kitchen at once rather than replacing appliances piecemeal. New cabinets. Recycled wood flooring. Patch and paint the wall where the china cabinet of death used to hang.

But the cost of doing this is out of our range. The money just isn't there. I'm doing my best to get a promotion to the next GS level, but that is a long, hard process that involves rewriting the position description for my job. There are no raises coming the way of Mr. Brewguy, either. We hope he has a job in 6 months, much less more money. So I am stuck with a kitchen in which the appliances are dying, one by one, and cabinets that are losing the battle with entropy.

I will instead count my blessings.

And knit like I know how to make a gauge swatch.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Change is good?

The climate is changing and I have nothing to wear!

I’m so confused.



Winter again.

I suppose that is the definition of climate change. It changes. A lot.

I’ve just returned from a quick trip to New York City, where I gave a presentation and participated in a panel discussion. This particular conference is always held at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square. It is a very nice hotel. I have found that I take photos of the same features every single time.

The elevators.

The view from my room.

The Peruvian flute players on Times Square.

This time I tried to branch out a bit.

I had a few free hours the afternoon I arrived so I got out of the hotel with the plan of walking around the city. I made it two blocks before I started to lose the feeling in my hands. Damn, it was cold! With cold wind! Ow!

I found the New York Times.

I discovered 8th Avenue is much easier to walk than 7th Avenue.

I learned that Dean & DeLuca has uneven service and should invest more in training its employees. They were good around lunchtime but laughably poor after 4pm. To wit:

The scene: one server helping create a salad for a patron. Someone who appears to be the manager, supervising two other servers, who are guarding the cash registers. A cleaner is sweeping the rug runner Brewgal is standing on. Brewgal moves off the rug at his urging. He sweeps very, very slowly. Finally the manager type shoos him off, where he takes up residence behind the counter.

Brewgal [after waiting for 5 minutes to get someone to notice her]: Can YOU take my order? [Brewgal has to catch a train in 30 minutes and is somewhat short on time.]

Sweeper: No. You’ll have to wait for her (motioning to the salad server, who is now ringing up the other patron).

Other server wanders over: Can I take your order?

Brewgal: I’d like a pastrami panini.

Server: A what?

Brewgal: A pastrami panini (pointing to large menu behind the server on which the sandwhich is clearly written).

Server: Ok. What kind of bread do you want.

Brewgal: Rye. It says it comes on rye.

The server locates and puts on a pair of latex gloves. Then he starts fondling the few remaining pieces of bread in the bread basket on the counter. After determining that these pieces are too stale to use, he retrieves a new loaf of rye from under the counter.

Server: Do you want regular mustard or brown mustard?

Brewgal: Which is spicier?

Server: The regular mustard.

Brewgal: I’ll have the regular mustard.

Server: We’re out of regular.

Brewgal (mouth slightly agape): Why did you ask me to choose if you were out of one of the choices?

Server: That’s why I asked you if you wanted brown mustard. Is brown ok?

Brewgal: Sure.

The server gets a bottle of brown mustard from under the counter and begins coating the bread with brown mustard. Brewgal starts to have doubts about the ability of this particular server to correctly make a pastrami panini, given that he is treating it as a regular pastrami sandwich, rather than a hot squished sandwich. This doubt is confirmed when, after searching under the counter (the apparent source of all things sandwich, sort of like a sandwich Tardis), he announces,

Server: We’re out of pastrami.

At this point I threw up my hands and said, “I have to go.”

I was forced to get a supreme burrito at Taco Bell for dinner.