Thursday, May 16, 2024

Had enough

 

Alas, it is true. 

Cookie has had enough.  

As we are surrounded by trees of every shape, size, and cultivar, Cookie's eyes are sandy, my throat sore from post nasal, and the chronic hacking cough of copious amounts of gunk drip, drip, dripping down my throat - and let's not forget the sneezing - its allergy season. 

Not a pretty picture. 

And it makes you feel cruddy. 

It got so bad I made an appointment with the doctor. 

Ugh. 

And the wonderful doctor is like a half hour away. 

But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Exacerbating ALL of it is that we won't have AC until June.  But, we'll have it. 

But, miracles of miracles, I am doing better than I have in ages. My eyes aren't swollen, I can walk across a room, and when I am home, with the windows down, I am fairly symptom-free.  I can cut the grass if I wear a mask. 

So tomorrow I will get poked and prodded. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Yes, its been a while, but...

 


...but I am still here. 

We continue to pour money into "Withering Heights".  Recently, it was gutters and trees.  New gutters that work, and new trees that will soak up the water from the strings that run under the lot. 

We have planted birch trees and will add in dappled willow bushes.  They will soak up gallons more without destroying the house's sewage or water supply lines. 

Still, the lot is wonderfully wooded, and it is like a private forest around here. 

Rocky is showing signs of old age and I am really worried about him.  He's fifteen and has slowed down so fast.  He has kidney issues, so peeing in the house can happen.  So we invested in a Bissell Litle Green Steam Cleaning machine and it has become my new favorite thing in the world.  I can grab it, right when it happens and get all of the pee out of the rug fibers.  Then fill up it with just enough cleaner and clean the area.  So worth the money.  But back to Rocky, he's having major dental work done in June so I am hoping he comes through that.  Can't think about what happens if things don't work out, you know?

Now we are getting the house appraised so we can move onto phase two, the air conditioning, the kitchen and the sleeping porch windows.  The previous owner, a Neanderthal who fancied himself a carpenter really effed up the sleeping porch.  But the biggest eff up is what he did to the fifty-year-old replacement windows, which now have to be replaced. 

But I gotta tell you, all of this weighs heavy on Cookie's mind.  I feel so tired, so overwhelmed. I am hoping that soon, thing will turn a corner. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Tombstone Twitch


Over the end of last week, Cookie and The Husband developed a terrible case of Tombstone Twitch.  

 And it could only be treated within a couple days of the Ohio Genealogical Society's Annual Convention and Meeting. 

Now y'all know that I am a genealogist, but we have these together where we all pile into a conventional environment and receive education on the topic at hand.  There are vendors, and those vendors sell us goods and services if we so choose to buy.  We meet up with friends, we eat a great deal, and then we drink, and it can get pretty raucous. 

How raucous? 

Not like the Morticians can get.  Do you want fun? Crash a mortician's convention.  Seriously.  They know how to party.  And there are a lot of very good younger morticians. 

Anyhow, back to genealogists.  A lot of us are friends.  And our friends bring their friends.  So we enjoyed a lot of good food and a lot of good laughs.  And yes, there was the quaffing of a good many beers and cocktails. 

I used to go more often, but it's hard to get back to these when you live 450 miles away. 

This year it was at the Kalhari Resort in Sandusky.  And it was crawling with children on spring break.  Fortunately, they are not allowed in this monstrous convention facility. 

These events are wonderful if you are into these kinds of things, and I am.  On a state level, they seem to be a bit more basic.  On a national level - like Rootstec, they can be overwhelming.  Still, we have a good time. 

An extra bonus is that when in Sandusky - home of Cedar Point - there are a plethora of places to eat.  So on Friday for lunch, we snuck out and went up the road for Lee's Fried Chicken, and it was so flipping good. 

Highlights for Cookie included a new and different way to look at Family Search and get the search to do what I want and a better to delve into estate files and loose paperwork to get identifying information on women's dower rights in the 19th century. 

Now to go out in the field and get to work.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Being there for what happens, and...

 

Mitsubishi Eclipse. Are any of these left around?
I guess we won't see one of those this week, either.

...not damning the universe for what does or will not happened is Cookie's motto going into the eclipse.  

We are in the path of totality in Clevland, and in the heights, although the westside will get a 15 seconds longer in totality than we will.  Still, count your blessings my mother used to say.  

And for this event, I am.

Still, the weather forecast is not good, and not bad.  

We will have clouds, the question will be will they be high thin clouds (good) or the low thick ones that envelope the city most of the time in winter and early spring.

Either way, I will be out on our "Back Forty". 

If I get to witness the eclipse, great. Grand even!  

If not, and the weather blocks us the guards block Caitlyn Clark last night*, well then, I will bask in its daylight to dim-light to dark to dim-light to daylight. 

What other option do we have?  Cookie and the Husband have no desire to get wrapped up in the madness of driving somewhere, standing somewhere, and then trying to get back to the homestead.  

When state safety agencies have to post alerts to drivers NOT to drive while wearing eclipse glasses (Oh, yes!) it is not a time to take chances. 

Besides, we have a full week ahead of using something I have wanted to do for some time.  And the husband is doing it to.  (Get your minds out of the gutters.) And we will meet up with old friends all coming here. 

Cookie


*Sports reference - that doesn't happen all the time!

Loose threads.

 

So work continues on Chateau Cookie.  The boiler was two weeks ago, this week its gutters.   Cookie is hoping that the mini-split AC system goes in next.  The kitchen estimate is nearing completion as the window people are her on Friday to get the specs for the six windows we have to replace.   But hey, its only money. 

__

Cookie and the husband will at home for the eclipse, as we are in the totality zone, but we don't expect to see it.  Long range forecasts are saying most Americans will be under cloud cover.   But at least we get to watch it go from gray, to dark to gray.  Whoo hooo!

__

A Former Neighbor of ours from Baltimore, who grew up around the corner from my grandmother in Shaker is in town, and since Cookie is tired of VAD (which is always cold in the market space) we met at the Stone Oven and we had a hoot.  A woman overheard that we had both live/lived in Baltimore and she joined in having spent time there as well. Former Neighbor and her husband are considering coming back here for retirement.

__

Cookie is relieved that MSNBC dropped Rona McDaniel like a hot brick.   Cookie is amused that Rona was as wanted as a redheaded step child at a bastard reunion by the MAGA people.  Now they have taken up Rona's cause.  Fickle Fuckers. 

__

Far be it from Cookie to wish ill on anyone, but when it comes to Lauren Bobert, who are we kidding.  That's not a question.  Apparently BoeBoe ended up in the hospital to have her medical condition, May-Thurner Syndrome, corrected by the implantation of a stent to keep blood clots at bay.  I wish her well, but she is still going to be one fucked up bitch with a stent in her leg. 

___

NOW, for some news of an impending change.  I am considering ending DHTISH, and beginning anew on a new blog from scratch.  Part of the problem is that now that I am back here, I think a change is in order as well.  None to worry, y'all will get an invite to the new digs if I do it. 


Cookie

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Oh, Baltimore: In a state of shock

 The Husband came quickly up the stairs this morning as I began the process of waking up.  In my not-quite-up-yet daze, I heard him say that the key bridge in Baltimore had been hit by a ship and collapsed. 

It didn't seem real. 

I brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes, and went down to the TV.   The images were like some nightmare. 

And there I sat all day. 

Talking with friends, explaining it to people. 

I never enjoyed going over the bridge.  It was huge and long, and its 150 height over the water made it seem even higher than it was. Luckily, it wasn't a part of everyday life when we lived there. 

And I say this disgusted while looking on social media while trolls and toads tried to blame this on Biden, on the Democrats, claiming that if Trump were President none of this would have happened.

And all I could think was "You vile assholes."

What the fuck is wrong with people?  

Now the Key Bridge stands for something other than transportation.  What I can not get my head around is that it isn't there anymore.

 

Friday, March 15, 2024

A tale of the people you meet...

 





... and you never know if someone will try and break your mood and steal your Chi, or bring a small smile to your face and revive your outlook

Eariler this week, Cookie had been in contact here in Cleveland that knew the same people my family knew.  He wanted to meet for coffee, so I said OK.  I told the husband where I was and that I would call him after I left because I needed to stop by the market and pick up some stuff.  So  I got in the car, schlepped to Fairmount Circle, plunked myself down, and waited.  And waited. And waited.

The weather outside was delightful, sunny, and warm.  It felt so good.  After waiting and waiting, I was about ready to leave. 

Finally, Mr. TTOQ showed up.  For the next hour and a half, I could not get a word in edgewise.  The people we both knew from the old days had been friends of my parents.  In my memory, lovely people.  But in his book, they were all assholes, bitches, or creeps.  Each of them had ruined some part of his life. His career. His Money, His Children. His ex-wife. His love of the arts.  His business partner. His next door neighbor.*  On and on.  

I sat. And I listened - I did not tune him out - to how this person and that person disappointed him, personally, professionally, and socially.

Finally, when he caught his breath and asked me about my life, I decided I needed to leave.  I knew way too much about his unhappiness, and I didn't think he needed any part of me.   He and he alone did this to himself. But some people need to blame others when they are really unhappy with themselves. 

From there I ran up to Heinen's, a grocery store on Green Road.  I did my shopping and went to return my cart, and in doing so I noticed that many people were simply too distracted to put their carts back correctly, so I cleared up a mess of five carts when a woman behind me said "They ought to hire you."  I smiled and we commiserated over those who think the carts magically put themselves away and we got to talking. 

She and I were both East Sider natives, both born at Mt. Siani, both grew up in the Heights, and surprisingly, we both lived in Baltimore.  She had been there 22 years and left in 2015, so we overlapped. But we lived in Baja Towson, and she was up in Pikesville.  We had a lovely talk with many smiles. 

For my money, I would have loved to had a cup of coffee with her and not just fifteen minutes.  But what a fifteen minutes. We knew the same families, the Woolworths, the Rogoff's, the Oetingers, etc. and more.  I mentioned Emery Kritzler's jewelry store which was once located across the street, and she had picked out her engagement ring from him. "Wasn't he a gem of a guy?" she remarked.  And he was. 

I hope our chat brought as big a smile to her face as it did to mine. 

So the day with an hour and a half of bad, was lifted up and out by 15 minutes of good.  But both encounters were worth it. You learn a lot about people and how they see life, see others. 

Again, another day, and another day I am grateful to be back home. 


*This guy lives on an acre lot and he was bitching about his neighbors and the noise, the lawn, the parties, his politics, his religion, and one and on. 

Thursday, February 29, 2024

New Old Home Angst: It's not you Helga...

 


Yes, Cookie is mad at the dirt. 

For the past couple of days, Cookie has spent a couple hours a day on his knees, not that way, but in the kitchen of this house, deep cleaning the floor. 

As you know, when we moved in here, the previous owners left a hellish mess of dirt and filth, in more ways than one.  

We cleaned what we could, and sterilized everything else.  And while Cookie is no neatnick, some things had to be prioritized, and others set aside.  The bathroom had to be cleaned, the kitchen cupboards, etc and so on.  

The kitchen floor was something else, altogether.  While we had swept, mopped, and swept, and mopped some more, the floor brightened but it wasn't "Mother" clean.    

After the sewer repair, and with the plumbers coming in and out, Cookie finally decided to go all Mommie Dearest clean on the floor. 

Now the kitchen floor is getting removed with the forthcoming remodel. But until then, we have to live with what we have. 

Right now the floor is the same Congolium that was laid down in 1974, so it's about 30 years beyond its life expectancy. So the gloss finish has worn off and now its faux Italian villa tiles just attract dirt.   The problem is that the pattern has these small press lines meant to give it that worn, "Olde World" look when it's all simply worn.  So damp mopping isn't going to cut it. 

Armed with a spray bottle of neutral soap, a small Rubbermaid battery-powered scrub brush, and a floor brush, Cookie has spent hours going faux tile by faux tile scrubbing out the dirt, and then mopping that filthy, dirty water and cleaning up with paper towels. All of this effort has been around the baseboards, under the appliances, and under the cupboard's toe kicks. 

I will not show you what has come up, but I will tell you that the decades-old Mop and Shine had turned black with age, the black goo of built-up old mop water left to dry on its own, and old food and hair, is gone.  I have filled two contractor bags full of paper towels with black, brown, gray and plain old wet paper towels.  And that's only around the baseboards, two "tiles" out from the wall. 

Tomorrow, the GE Floor scrubber, circa 1965 comes out, and the main part of the floor gets it, and gets dried.  THEN a floor sealer gets applied. Its purpose is to keep the daily dirt of life from redepositing back onto the tiles, again. 

The new floor has been chosen. 

We are going back to the cork floors we loved in Columbus.  Lovely to look at and a dream to keep clean, they'll provide insulation, a cushion of softness, and a whole lot less wear and tear on Cookie's knees. 

Then I will attack that bathroom caulk. 

And we all know how Cookie loves to handle caulk.


Monday, February 26, 2024

New Old Home Angst: Don't Look in There Edition

 

So, Cookie and the husband have crossed over the shock, surprise, and expense of the sewer repair, and onto better things. Or are we?


What would Mona Plash say?

The other day, husband was working in the basement when it ventured into the glorified crawl space that is the room under the original kitchen of this house. Moving about, he looked high and low, and then backed into one of these CFL bulbs that everyone hates. 

Well, crash-tinkle the bulb broke and shards of glass went everywhere.   I was able to get the vac with the HEPA filter and vacuum him up, he took off his clothes and I washed them (twice) and sent him up to the bathroom to shower.

Yesterday, the husband went back into the room to clean it up.  And while he was down there he also cleaned out the nasty, filthy garbage left behind by the previous owners who refused to come back to the house after they moved to clean up the mess they left. 

There was a nasty memory foam pillow, bits of broken this, that, and everything, a child's crib mattress, and assorted detritus or life left behind by the nastiest people in the world.  Even Babs Johnson wouldn't want these folks around. 

Then he came across a very nice black zippered bag.  And he opened it. 

Oh, what, WHAT, could this be?

Alas, there were no piles of real cash or even counterfeited cash. Nor was there anything illegal, immoral, or otherwise prohibited by law.  No, it was something else altogether different than anything we ever imagined. 

Now before I go on, Husband is a stand-up guy.  Quiet, and respectful, and this sent him into a state of shock.

"Honey," he called up the stairs, "would you mind coming down here for a minute."

So Cookie went down the stairs, into the Hobbit hut of a room, and there I saw it. 

Now before I tell you what I saw, I will say that even Cookie was a bit taken aback.   Even the husband said "I thought it was a breast pump." No, not that kind of milking.

I have owned four homes, and I never, ever had a previous owner leave something like this before.  

And if I had such a case - and it was very nice - I would pack this first and want to know where it was at all times. 

These were, eh hem, personal items. 

"Was it a dildo," our neighbor asked?

No, not a dildo.  

It was a dildo bonanza. Every color shape and size. 

And yes, I pulled each one out. One at a time. 

And there was more. Much, much more.
Not pictured the rest of the toys in the case.

It was like someone cleared at your local Adult Mart. They were pink and purple - both sparkled - and a couple were silver. There was a very large fleshlight with an anus opening. And it had an extra sleeve, and no, I did not look inside.  There were cheap handcuffs and beginner restraints. And bottles of lube. There was a prostate massager, or two.  There were cock rings, of the silicone variety.  No steel, no real leather.  Oh, yes - a silicone cap to place over the head of one-eyed willy with a cup to receive a big vibrator head. There were purse vibrators as well.  And nipple suction cups, too.  

And that was just the first three-quarters of it. There wasn't enough room to unload the whole case. 

And let's not forget the anal chakra wand.

And Cookie could not stop laughing. 

I mean if it were "their" toys it wouldn't have been in their boudoir? 

But these were hidden. These were tucked away under the castaways of life.  As if one didn't want the other to find them. 

I asked my realtor what was the oddest thing anyone left behind in her personal experience. "A cat.  Which is now our cat.  Why? What did you find?"

When I told her, there was a gasp. "No! Really?"

Yup. 

It looks like the case was originally for a CPAP machine.  There were instructions. Someone just found a better use for the bag.

So now we have to figure out what to do with these.  The husband wanted to toss them, but I said, let's wait. Gawd knows we don't want them, but let's not be too hasty. 

One friend said to ship it to them.  Just box it up and ship it.   No, that's the type of thing that can end up in front of a magistrate for harassment.  

One friend said to toss them. "You do not want to be the real reason why their marriage fails."  A point well taken. Why would I want to break up a marriage? That's their job, not mine.

Another friend suggested, "Call that excuse for a seller's agent and tell her you found this bag with some personal items, and well, do they want it back?"  Now that was delicious. 

But Cookie is taking another tact. I am not going to call them. Because I know that the one who hid the bag, and is missing that bag, is on edge wondering "Where did that bag go?"  He is wondering if we have found the bag, who else knows about the bag, and will his wife find out.  He knows that we know about what he likes, and what he is experimenting with.   And that is driving him bonkers. 

Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing, and just let them twist in the wind.  Self-doubt for the stunts they pulled on us is the best repayment yet.



Sunday, February 18, 2024

Nothing Special Edition: An unexpected snow.

 


We met friends for dinner last night.  

When I got up, yesterday morning, the sky was clear, and it was bright out, a rarity for NE Ohio this time of year.  As we neared noon, the creeping clouds came in from Lake Erie, nothing abnormal.  

But by 4:30, there was a layer of fine snow on the porch roof. 

The husband and I settled for some time with the dogs and the sofa, and by the time we went out at a quarter of six, the car really needed to be cleared off - with about two inches of fine powder snow. 

Now, the east side of Cleveland usually does a great job at clearing the roads, but last night, something was off.  The roads were white, the snow wasn't melting, and it was coming down kind of hard, but still fine, like frozen dust.

So we got to Geraci's on Warrensville Center and enjoyed the company and the catching up, the food came, and a good time was had by one and all. 

Two hours later we left for the parking lot and the streets still hadn't been cleared.  Moreover, now the first layers of snow had become slick, and with powdery snow on top, the lane markings were obscured. 

So we carefully got in the car and started home, and I have to say that 99% of the drivers were great, not hurrying, not driving recklessly, and we only encountered two cars being driven like the roads were clear.  One of them made a left too fast and spun out.  I think he/she/them/they might have learned a lesson, or maybe not, but they weren't going where we were headed. 

We did get home safe and sound, and the dogs had a good romp in the snow.  They were like puppies, wanting us to toss the powder into the air so they could run through it. 

All in all, a pretty perfect evening. 

Still, I find it odd that the roads hadn't been prepped, which was unusual. 

But it was a nice night, without anything happening but a good meal. 


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Nonstop Pie-Hole

 

Even Joan Cusack wouldn't know what to do. 

As a Valentine's date, the Husband took Cookie out for a meal. 

We were seated, the table next to us was empty, and the table to my right was a man, about sixty-something who smiled when we were seated. 

About five minutes later, while we gazed at the menu, his dinner companion arrived. She was well dressed, almost stylish, but once she was seated, her mouth kicked into gear. 

Now, Cookie and the Husband were at a modern, nice dining location. The hum of the people talking was semi-loud because people operating restaurants think that a vibrant atmosphere means that the noise level should be loud enough that when using your inside voice you need to lean forward so the person seat on the other side of the duece top can nearly hear you.

The husband and I were seated next to these two for one hour and twenty minutes, and of that time, her mouth was in gear for an hour and fifteen.  A very LOUD hour and fifteen.

She only stopped talking long enough to throw some food into her piehole or take a quick sip of her Moscow Mule. 

And her constant kvetching wasn't anything worth listening in on.  There was nothing juicy, no complaints about food, politics, not even sex or gossip. 

Nope. Her mouth ran nonstop complaining about employees and coworkers, and their inability to follow or communicate their processing of workplace processes. 

Honest to Gawd people.  It was as if she picked up an abandoned unfunny script for the final episode of Seinfeld.  

And, she was loud.

AND dear reader, I kid you not, this came out of her mouth: 

"I asked her to explain her process for processing the required process to reach the outcome assigned to her, and she couldn't! Can you believe that?"

I leaned into the husband and said "Not explain her process? That takes some nerve."

At one point, her dinner companion took one of the few moments in which is was sipping her drink or chewing her meal and started to say "Well, being Swiss..." and she plugged that leak in the conversational dyke faster than the little Dutch boy in the child's story. 

"Then you know what I know about the importance of established processes..." and with that, she was off to the races again. 

We finished our meals, listening to nagging neh, nehneh, neh, wash rinse and repeat. 

When we waited for the check the piehole was in fine form, with process this, and process that, process, process, blah, blah, blah, process!

When we left, the husband had a rager of a headache.  "How did she even breathe?"

"I would have recommended a career as an auctioneer."

And I swear that while watching Find Your Roots, I started mumbling to the TV demanding that Skip Gates show us his researcher's processes when the husband said "You know those processes better than Dr. Gates."

To clear our minds, the Husband put on an episode of All Creatures Great and Small, which settled us down.  

Instead, our conversation turned to a favorite topic of mine, Helen's massive hair, which deserves its own paycheck and representation. 

No matter how bad something is, Helen's hair can always divert my attention. 

Last night in my dreams I remade the Sandra Bullock film "Speed", only this time, the heroine was told by some malevolent being that if she stopped talking about processes for more than thirty seconds, then bad things would befall her.  

How did the dream end?

I have no idea, I left the theater with Helen's hair before the resolution and then woke up.  


 

Friday, February 9, 2024

Damn hippies

 



We the hole is being filled in.  Thank Jesus Christ almighty. 

And we passed our inspection.  Praise Allah

The plumber hands me the permit and says "You ought to post this in a window."

A little late, slim, ain't it?

Tomorrow we go and buy gypsum for the gash, to try and make the clay they are turning up more porous. 

We did have a "neighbor" come by walking her dog.

Woman: "What's going on here?"

Me: "Draining our savings, it'll flow freely to the water treatment plant."

Woman: "Did you let your neighbors know?"

Me: "Oh, yes."

Woman: "I had no idea."

Me: "Where do you live?"

Woman: "Three blocks that way.  Did you tell the city?"

Me: "The plumber pulled the permit with the city and we passed inspection this morning."

Woman: "If you did this without a permit, I'll need to call and report you."

Me: "Call away, Gladys."

Woman: "My name is Tonya."

Me: "Kravitz did you say?"

Woman: "No, TONYA!"

Me: "Stop by anytime Gladys."

Our neighbor Randi heard this and came over.  

"Tonya has lived over there her whole life. She'll call the city and report you, but she won't remember the address or she thinks you are probably the people who lived here in the 50s."

Shaking her head, Randi said "She's harmless, but a pain in the ass sometimes. Lotta peyote, that one."

Wouldn't doubt it. Damn hippies. 

But what do I care?  I am poorer, and our house's poop pipe is squeaky clean. 

Damn Hippies, indeed.




Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Sewer stuff

 


Well here is my update: What will be will be.

The sewer repair seems like Mr. Tesander and Mr. Apollonio and digging the trench for Mr. Blandings. 

"Well, we've run into a problem.  You see that blue marking for your waterline?"

Yes.

"Well, the water line doesn't come in there. No.  It comes in here about five feet south of the marking, then travels across your front yard at an angle to the other side of the house.  So we'll have to cut it and hook you up a temporary connection."

What about the gas line?

"Well, it should come in over here, but there is a ledge, or an erratic over there, so it comes up on this other side of the tree."

The up shot is, the price has doubled not because of the sewer line, but the ulitites that aren't where they are supposed to be.

Then the city got involved. 

"You need to display your permits."

But we don't have them.

"Of course, you don't, because they were issued to the plumber and he should have let you know."

Well, he didn't.

"Ignorance of the process is no excuse..."

Would you like to speak with our attorneys? 

"Well, I can let you off this one time, but the next time you have this line replaced, you better have that permit displayed."

UGH.

So we have water from 4pm to 8am.  Then we are on our own. 

Our neighbors have been wonderful in letting us use their bathrooms, and their dogs have been wonderful in giving us all types of love. 

Honestly, if it weren't for the neighbors, both of us would be in a rubber room.


Friday, February 2, 2024

Hot Chicken Sandwich

Vonda, Can I get a third Hot Chicken Sandwich?

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland's main newspaper, ran a story last week that made Cookie's jaw drop.   

Literally. 

I said to myself, "Cookie, this cannot be true." and "What witchery is this?"

It claimed that the Hot Chicken Sandwich - something I grew up with when I visited Marion, and later moved there -  is a very well-known entity in Greater Cleveland.  So well known, it is part of the Cleveland Canon of Foods. 

Why I nearly took to the couch and called out for the husband to "bring me my digitalis."

Dear Reader, having regained my composure, in the first 14 years of my life in Shaker Heights I never encountered a hot chicken sandwich in anywhere in Cleveland. 

Ever. 

My Cleveland family never encountered it.  And my mother would never have made something that would betray her farm girl childhood.  (But if the Marion Fish and Game Club had an ox roast, she'd ask for one.)

So the idea that the sandwich is part of the same food heritage that gave us chopped liver, corned beef, Aurora Spaghetti House spaghetti sauce, Bertman's brown stadium mustard, perogies, the Polish Boy Sausage, Kilbossa, Chicken Paprikash, and a Heck's Rocky River Burger, is like saying that the sun comes up over Fairview Park and sets over Pepper Pike.  Madness I tell you, its just madness.

But you will say, "Cookie, that was in the last century." 

And that would be right. 

You will point out that "surely a chicken breast on a bun is the creation of the 1980s that exists today, usually in fast restaurants." 

Yes, a chicken breast sandwich is a universal thing these days.  A cliche among sandwiches. 

But that isn't what I am talking about. 

I am talking about a HOT CHICKEN SANDWICH, not a chicken breast sandwich.  

The Hot Chicken Sandwich's beauty exists in its simplicity.  

So what is this food unicorn that evokes memories of neighborliness, community, and good eating? 

A Hot Chicken sandwich is shredded white meat chicken, that simmers with a can of cream of chicken soup, salt, pepper, and maybe a crushed cracker filler in a crockpot (Or Nesco Roaster if you are feeding twenty or more) for a few hours and, served on a hot steamed bun and served with a couple Vlassic dill pickle chips.


The Hot Chicken Sandwich.
Look good? I told you it is.

First of all, the only place where you can get a Hot Chicken Sandwich is:

  1. At a covered dish fundraiser for the fire department
  2. At the county fair from the tent run by the Rotarians, the Lions, Altrusa, or a fundraising tent for a fire department.
  3. The Jer-Zee drive-in, or Stewart's Rootbeer Stand, or some other such that is local.
  4. A tailgate party at someone's house in the fall - or - 
  5. From your mother's kitchen if she says she has a "yen for one."
How do you make it? 

Well, its rather simple:
  1. Either bake or parboil your chicken, but don't overcook it, because the chicken is going for a mellow swim in the crock pot.  If you hate baking and it's a million degrees out and you don't want to heat up the kitchen, you can buy shredded, unseasoned cooked chicken at the market.*  
  2. Turn on that crock pot for low.  
  3. Shred the chicken.  Don't dice it, don't slice it, you want that chicken shredded.  You can use fork, an egg beater, meat claws, or whatever floats your boat.
  4. You take shredded chicken - how much is a mystery, and no one knows for sure.  If you are going to make some you might as well make enough for the neighbors, too - and place it in the crockpot. 
  5. A can or several cans of a condensed cream of chicken soup.**  (How much?  No one knows for sure how many people you are feeding. It is based on whether or not you are feeding your family, family and friends, family and neighbors, a church group, or several hundred people at the fair, tractor pull, or family reunions.  Generally it's one can for every four to six people, more or less.)  
  6. Some salt, some pepper.  How much, enough to season it but not so much that it tastes salty, or too peppery.  When you overseason people think you are trying to cover something up. 
  7. Stir it around and cover for a couple hours.  Add just a wee bit-o-water now and then. 
  8. After about four hours, serve it on a steamed fresh bun with some dill pickle chips. 
That's it, people. You have mid-Ohio nirvana. 

Now, there are a couple "oh, no you don't" things to keep in mind.

A) Do not add any hot sauce to the batch.  Not everyone thinks Frank's Hot Sauce, Tobasco, or some other overly spicy sauce is ever needed, wanted or desired.
B) If you want hot sauce, as my mother would say "do it alone in the corner of shame." And ask yourself "What in the hell is wrong with me that I need to ruin perfectly good food with that crap."
C) Stop adding crap like ground cauliflower, fresh herbs, and Gawd only knows what else.  You are not above good basic food.
D) Don't overthink this.  Seriously.
e) Just open that pie hole of yours and eat.

Variations:
a) Some people will crush a few Ritz crackers, or saltines, into the mix at the beginning of cooking.  If you do, add a bit of water.  This can extend the recipe if you really are feeding a big group. 
b) Purists will use chicken base instead of soup.  I you do this, add 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of whole milk.  You need the fat from the milk.
c) Some people will use cream of mushroom soup, but Cookie is not a fan.

As for side dishes?  Ballreich's chips are good, so are tater tots, and so is California medley.   Asparagus? I wouldn't, but that's me. 

For dessert? Well if you really want to knock it out of the park, a mock apple pie.  And before you say anything, it is out of this world delicious, and people will want to cook you a chateaubriand and throw you a parade. 

NOW, people tell me that the Hot Chicken Sandwich is a West Side thing and that I get it.  Cleveland is merely a city floating in the middle of a sea of communities. I am an eastside person and only hang on the west side if I have reason.  They feel the same way about the east side. 

So this year, if there is a Fire Department fundraiser in Avon, or a church festival in Parma, I will go and see if someone is serving up Hot Chicken Sandwiches.

But until I find it commonly served, it will remain to be seen if it is a local example of good eating.

_________

*Only you will know if you shred it and put the love into getting it right, or some stranger named Beverly or LaVerne who could be a man, could be a woman - has put their love into prepping the bird.  You'll know too, but you are not telling anyone, because well, it's all part of that aura of yours. We all know it and people will and do talk.  I know I do. 

**Use Campbell's Cream of Chicken because it shows you love the people you are feeding.  Store-brand, or off-brand cream of chicken soup tells everyone what a cheapskate you are because everyone knows it's not as good as Campbell's and people will, and do, talk. 




Wednesday, January 31, 2024

How much?

 


Today was a lot like the movie Ground Hog Day. Get up, find strange men in the backyard putting up the fence to keep the dogs in and the deer out, being miserly with water, cursing the sewer line, and on and on...

We got the estimate from the plumber.  Well, let's just say it isn't as much as the worst possible number, but it came close at $1X,XXX.68

That's a lot to deal with.  In any event, the work starts early next week.  And the good news is that they won't be working in the rain. 

But they are going to be digging a whole lot of digging. 

Anyway, the utility marking people were here and the good news is that the gas line was not laid over top of the sanitary, so that's good.  And the gas line is nowhere near the sanitary sewer, so that's good. 

The downside to this is my hope of attending Roots Tech in Salt Lake City no longer exists, along with the new car I hoped would be on its way over the next three years.  So it looks like the Doodlebug will have to keep itself together until 2029.

On the plus side, a friend of mine that I met in Kindergarten came over for coffee, and we realized that it has been a half-century since she came over to my house to play!

So while I feel horrible about this expense, things could be worse.  I could have no friends left from Mrs. Bauter's kindergarten.  And that would be a shame. 

And here is the best news in the world: Ground Hog Day really is less than 48 hours away, and Ground Hog Day is Cookie's first day of Spring.  

Monday, January 29, 2024

I am having a sick headache.


 And are they ever good? 

No. 

The news on the plumbing is horrible.  

We have a collapsed sanitary sewer pipe.

How bad is it going to be? 

Really, really bad. 

And we will know the amount when the estimate is tomorrow. 

Then it needs to be scheduled because they are bringing in a backhoe, and not one of those adorable little ones, either.

We are so fucked.  

Now, we trust this plumber - we really, really do.  That's why we called this plumber. But the idea that things are so bad that it going to take him another 24 hours to estimate it all out is unnerving as fuck.

UNTIL THEN, we have been told to use "minimum plumbing" We can't run the washer.  Showers at a minimum, and the dreaded "If it's yellow, let it mellow - if it's brown flush it down" is now in effect.  

Because no one wants effluent in the basement, and we really don't want it down there because there are about 70 boxes of our stuff down there.  Luckily they are sitting about a 3" off the floor, but still. 

So, try not to make any noise, no playing in the living room, someone bring me a washcloth soaked in cool water and wrung out well and I just try and get through this sick headache. 

 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

This Old House Angst: backed up drains

 


Today in Old House Angst, we are featuring backed up drains.  Went to do a load of laundry, started the machine, and noticed the floor drain well is full. Then I check another floor drain well, and it is full. 

Why, fuck it all. 

Fuck Yeah!

So now we have a call into our plumber's emergency service, and a backup (no pun intended) call to Roto-Rooter, which I loathe having to call.  The Rotor Rooter call can be canceled at any time. 

While a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, a hand in the bush is much better, so I have heard.   

So Cookie has options covered.

Nothing seems to have burbled out from the sanitary lines into the floor drains, but we do not want "effluent" in our basement. 

And why-o-why does this have to happen on a Sunday?

Obviously, the fates are testing me. 

In any event, the weather has been - in Auntie Mame speak - nothing but Diedre weeping cruel tears.  The whole yard is underwater.  I heard from the granddaughter of a previous owner that our backyard had a spring-fed pond.  Filled in many years ago, and gardens around it.  I believe it.  Maps of this area from the 1890s show tributaries to a brook.  Lucky us. 

Good lord, looking out over the acreage, I am wondering if we will need a boat. And we are not even in a low spot, either. 

In other news, the Husband and I have started watching Harlots on Hulu. Personally, I love a good girl fight, although the mention of things gleety and gleamy can make me queasy.  Still, I recommend it. 

I'll let you know when our "full" house turns into a Royal Flush. 




Friday, January 26, 2024

Oh, mother. And all this time...

 


I thought my whites were really white.1

I thought that the girls kept declining invitations because they were busy.2

I thought that Dad was my father.3

I thought Dave Garroway was talking to me, not at a camera.4

I thought that Bill and Bruce said that they were going fishing with the guys.5

I thought Al Ghazali was Aristotelian when in fact...he was actually anti-Aristotelian!6

I thought I only had to do it one time, but the truth is: I liked it. I like doing it. Now Bill thinks I am too demanding.  What is wrong with me?7


1 Detergent ad

2 Lysol ad

3 Genealogy clients after DNA returns a NPE.  

4 My father about one of his early clients

5 A wife who is confused about what he husband really gets into.

6 The Big Bang Theory

7 True Stories Magazine


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Just a wee bit-o-snow

 

See, just a wee bit-o-snow.

So we got a wee bit-o-snow yesterday.  

Woke up to a winter wonderland and watched all day as it continued to snow.  The whole day.  Hour by hour. 

And from 1am to 5pm, it continued.  Oh, it slowed down alright. But it kept coming down. 

Lest anyone panic, we really didn't end up with much because it was a very fine powdery snow, fluffy and the temps kept it from getting heavy.  So in all total, we only have about 12" as I type this. 

When we told people we were moving back to Ohio, the universal chorus was "But the SNOW."

And my response was always "But they know how to deal with the snow."

The thing is, greater Cleveland really does know how to deal with snow, like a pro. 

So while we were toasty inside, the snow fell outside.  Snow plow crews kept the main arterials and freeways clear, and when they had time, they dealt with the secondary streets.  Residential streets where we live got plowed once in the day, and once in the evening.  

This morning, we got plowed again.  

Yesterday, our driveway was plowed twice by Luis in his big black truck.  Once at 1pm, and again at 10:30PM. 

And this morning, the roads are fine.  Went to the grocery, and the stores were fine.

Now in Baltimore?  Schools were closed if they suggested snow. People would be complaining about ice on the sidewalks. 

And three inches of white powdery stuff? Chaos. 

"But," they would say "the ICE".  

"Be safe," they encouraged us as if we were in Iceland and the fissures were opening under our feet.  

From 12" of soft powdery snow?

But it's just snow. Thats all.  And people from this area know it. 

Now we did drive out to Legacy Village this morning and they were getting Lake Effect Snow.  But down where we are. Not much, today. 

Nature is resilient. The birds are chirping up a party next door where our neighbors feed them.  And I went out and slapped so Crisco onto the bark of a box elder, and the woodpeckers are having a feast.  So I guess all is right with the world, right?

And wouldn't you know it, but the January thaw is coming this week.  So all this lovely snow will be gone. by Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Well, it was pretty while it lasted. 



Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Winter is a cruel, cold mistress

 

Aunt Doris Winter* was a cold, cold woman.

Well, it's cold here. It could have been colder, but we lucked out. 

It could be colder if Aunt Doris Winter was around.  Doris was not a blood aunt, she was a longtime friend of my grandmother's, a cold woman, lacking any warmth for anyone under 40. "Doris has been through a lot," Gramma would say. "So don't bother her."

Aunt Doris would visit Gramma if she didn't think I was around. She had no phone, so she would just show up. She would bring a Miller High Life -  just one for herself because Gramma didn't drink - and pour into a jelly jar glass, which had Flintsones graphics on it in pastel colors.   When she left, Gramma would reach up into the "sugar jar" and fish out a five-spot which she gave to the woman.  Evidently, Aunt Doris seemed to hit rough patches in life like a newly-minted driver hits icy patches on the road.  

"Everyone needs a friend," is all Gramma would say after Doris' car left the space in front of the house.

Grandpa didn't care for her, and was usually sound asleep by the time Doris would come by after lunch. That dislike reached far into the past, a past not discussed, and when asked, wasn't answered.  

At Christmas, she would leave a bank deposit envelope from the Fahey Banking Company for me, with a dollar in it, signed "Doris".  No "Merry Christmas", no "Season's Greetings".  Just "Doris." But I steered clear of the woman as the adults advised. 

I asked Mom, years later about what happened to Doris, but Mom said "She was always like that."

"Did you ever ask Gramma?"

"Cookie," my mother would say, "My mother would never discuss Doris' plight. Sometimes, life hands you mysteries that should remain just that."

_________

Back in the winter of 1994 it got down in the -20s in Columbus, so hovering around zero this past week was simply an annoyance.   The boiler on the house is working overtime to keep the first floor at 67, while the steam heat on the second floor has my home office up to Tuscon-in-Summer.  The boiler man was here this morning adjusting the fuel/air mixture, and he said "Above 10° they do find, but when its below 10°, they start to struggle."

The bad news is we really do need a new boiler.  The good news is we have some time. 

This has been a bitterly cold week in New England, the Upper Midwest, Lower Midwest, the Mid South, South, etc., and Canada. 

If anything, misery loves company.  Everyone, except Blobby, is cold.  Well, he may be cold, but Blobby doesn't let it slow him down.  He's either cooking or running or doing something. 

For Cookie, this type of cold feels heavy, like a burden.  

It takes more from you to get up and walk the dogs, to take out the trash, to get the car cleaned off.  Trips get canceled, and that sort of thing. 

And it takes a lot out of the Husband who has been working nonstop for the last week, and under a mountain of pressure.  I feel a spousal sense of obligation to help him.  So the laundry gets done and folded, errands get done, shopping gets done.  But not walking the dogs.  He needs to leave his office, which I have named the "Crows Nest", get out, get some air and walk. 

In other news, I think I found a general practitioner and a dermatologist.  Given the surgeries to remove diseased bits from me, I am due to see a GP.  And January is my mole check month. (I know, but "as we grow older", things can develop.)

Still, the people of Northeast Ohio continue to be wonderful. Every now and then you meet someone not at their best, but we all have off days. And who amongst us doesn't have a bad day, and that isn't a question. 

I have started keeping a list of all the places I want to go and see when the weather breaks.  I have research trips planned for Canton (Ohio, not China), and points south.  I have also been driving about, going down roads, and reacclimating myself.  In the spring, I want to walk the Euclid Creek path, from top to bottom.  I want to explore Lakeview Cemetery.  And I want to become more familiar with the west side.  

Sometimes we need the cold restrictive times to nest, to think, to plan, so we can revel in spring when the days grow longer, the smell of wet earth blossoms, and the crocus pop up with those first peeps of color. Mother nature has goals, and first time in a very long time, so do I. 


*Not the actual Doris, but the best representation I have ever seen.





Thursday, January 11, 2024

My indoctrination thus far




 Well, I am STILL here and STILL unpacking. 

My will to go through boxes at this point waxes and wanes.   I feel energized on days when it is brighter outside - I would say sunny, but we have had but one "sunny day" since December.  During the winter, the east side of Cleveland is known for its gray days.  We get socked in with a solid cloud cover that makes the outdoor light bleak.  Oh, the sun is up there.  And If I am about 30 minutes south or west, the sun is more likely to show its face. Otherwise, I am quickly reminded of why I hated my childhood in Shaker Heights.  

Moreover, we still haven't found my full spectrum light and I am about ready to buy another.

But do I regret moving here? 

Not for a single second.  

I have all but blotted out that eleven years in Baltimore.  Oh, I know I was there, but it seems like decades ago, and fading fast.  I may need to reread this blog to remind myself of the things that happened. Or not.

As for indoctrination to "The Heights", well, I continue to find lovely people all around us.  Save for a nasty woman in Home Goods the week before Christmas - and frankly, I too can understand why she was unpleasant - everyone has been at least a good sport, but most are simply wonderful.

Streets and avenues aren't a thing here like they are down in the city of Cleveland - it's either a road, a boulevard, or in rare cases, a lane.  No "garths" either.  The is a "Mews" in Cleveland Heights; haven't been down that one yet.   Traffic lights on main roads? They are freaking everywhere.  So are "Stop" signs.

And what about the snow? Well, we haven't had one of those 12-24" storms yet.  It comes and goes.  The rain, on the other hand, has turned the back year into a bog.  

Honestly, a bigger problem are the dear herds.  They are fucking all over the place.   And Bambi doesn't trot away when humans are around.  Oh, no. They just sniff at you like you are the hoi polloi.  

We had a button buck looking into the house through the back door while I was coming up from the basement.  Scared the shit out of Cookie.  Did he trot off? No! The bastard just looked at me like I had farted in a packed theater. 

Still, the wonderfulness of being here outweighs any minor inconveniences. 



Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Still here

 



Cookie admits it. He has been quieter than usual.  

I had forgotten how dreadfully dreary in winter Cleveland can be.  Still, we go through each day as best as we can.  But dear God where or where is the sun?  Today was rainy and then the fog swept in while I was running an errand on the west side. While heading east on 490 to get to the Opportunity Corridor (a fairly new road that connects University Circle to I-77 and points west) as I drove past "Steel Valley" I could not see the huge steel plant or three car lengths in front of me.  But I made it back unscathed.

We are still unpacking, though at a much slower pace.  

One of the unpleasant surprises about the new Maison d'Cookie is that our furniture doesn't fit in many instances.  We have too many side chairs and too many side tables.  We also have too many windows that don't have UV Glass, so the art that we had on walls in the old house can't be placed in many places for fear it will fade. 

But we are through Christmas, and we are meeting new people.  

And I am going places that are totally new - Like Cleveland's West side and burbs. I am finding out that the chain stores out that way are really superior to what we have on the east side. 

One thing that has me concerned is that I have been having some memory issues, which I am attributing to having so much on my mind.  Oy!  New traffic patterns, and new routes, and I am still conquering a lot of the agoraphobia I developed during COVID.  I'll get there, and some sunlight will help. 

In any event, on to New Year's.

There is a lot to do and get done in 2024 and I am looking forward to it all.  The people we have met around here are beyond wonderful.  And that makes it all worthwhile.  


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Jade Dragon

On a swatch, it's one thing. in a large room, it's overpowering.

 

As the husband and I settle, or try to settle, into the house, something has us bamboozled. 

Where are we going to hang the art?

We don't have priceless works, but we have a few that have been in the family forever.  And this house, at 112 years old has an interesting problem - a forty-foot-deep living room that has two big bay windows, two huge arches, a fireplace, and as little wall space as you can imagine.

Honestly, many open floor plans "for today's living" don't even offer that kind of space.  

The walls in the living room were, at one time, Sherwin Williams' Jade Dragon, a color that has darkened over the five or six years since the room was last painted.  What color is Jade Dragon? The same color as Margaret Hamilton's make-up in The Wizard of Oz.

Said living room will be painted a far lighter hue come spring, but in the meantime, we are pulling nails, and patching, which meant, finding the remnants of what was in the can of Jade Dragon in the basement, dry as the desert. 

So I spent an hour and a half at Sherwin Williams today waiting for my turn.  All I needed was a quart of this concoction (I am a Benjamin Moore kind of guy) watching other painters who got there before me, strut around. 

I spent most of the time looking at my paint fan (that quasi booklet of every paint color that Sherwin Williams makes, they give them out if you ask) and trying to decide what color we could paint the living room if I didn't hate dirty Jade Dragon so much. 

Then my mind had a thought: Jade Dragon is a perfect drag name. Not for me, but for someone else. Neither the Husband nor I do drag, still, we have drag names. The Husband's "drag name" is Taffeta Darling, after Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein. 

Mine is decidedly more Shaker: Bubbie VanAken®, an homage to all the Jewish bubbies that lived on Van Aken in the 1960s and 70s, who furnished their houses in Glitzy Louis the XVI furniture. 

Anyway, after the rough trade painters were through, it was my time.  I told Miss Thing at the counter what I needed and his reaction was "Really? Do you really need that color? I mean I never would have thought you were a Jade Dragon type of guy."  I told him that we evidently were in sync, that I wasn't, but that I needed it for touch-ups.

And we talked about colors, and the names of the colors. And what a job it would be. 

"Could never do it," said he. "My names would be too honest for Corporate."

I could see his point.  I mean, one of S-W's biggest selling colors isn't a color at all, it's a shade: Agreeable Gray.  It's not too light, not too saturated. With white woodwork, it's a totally safe bet. 

I told him I would have named it Safe Choice Gray.

"And who wants to go safe when you paint a space?"

Which brought us back to Jade Dragon. 

"This color cries out for bird of paradise wallpaper, with banana leaves."

So I left, a can of paint in hand. The spots have been touched up and are now drying. 

And before you know it, the sun is beginning to set. 

Tomorrow, another adventure. 

But tonight, it's all about covering Jade Dragon up with art.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Your catharsis is not my ephiphany

 

What fresh Hell is this?

Well, today is my birthday.  Whoop de-do.

When you are born on Thanksgiving or have a birthday during Thanksgiving week, it's always a bummer.  

Making it worse is that in the United States, this date is always a day of National Day of Mourning.  Kennedy was killed on my first birthday. 

After a while, you get used to it. 

You never get a real birthday party on your birthday if you were born on a Thanksgiving week, because everyone is traveling.  And a meal on Thanksgiving is never a birthday feast.  Trust me, my family tried that con enough times and it never worked. 

Presents always came after the Christmas sales started. UNLESS, you have that Aunt who buys a gift for you at Christmas close-out time and by the time your birthday rolls around, you are too old for the gift. 

The absolute worst of those idiots are people who say "It's your birthday? Well did you know that Kennedy was killed on this day?" 

Why yes. Yes, I do. Because I am not stupid, I have lived that connection for my entire life, had the national news remind me every damn year. And your catharsis doesn't equal my epiphany.

There was a girl in high school who took every opportunity to ask me if I knew I was going bald.  And every time she did it, it was like the first time she knew it was happening. 

And some people, like "Becky" from high school, who have said it once, like to do repeat performances like "Becky" every damn year. 

"You have pointed that out every time my birthday rolls around, and, I can assure you, it's not as big of a revelation to me as it is for you." 

Quite literally, I am trapped in some macabre Groundhog Day movie. 

Making matters worse is that the weather in Cleveland every November is dismal, wet, grey, chill to the bone cold, which just makes my SADD shift into high gear. 

None to worry - this too will soon pass. We'll get through this weekend, and then ramp up for Christmas. 

Still, The Husband hurts for me. He wants me to be happy and have a nice day, and it pains him that he can't make it so.  I keep telling him I have everything I could ever want. I do have friends. I have my health. He has his health. We have a rainy day fund in the bank, not much, but enough.  So what else could I ever wish for?

Good things come to those who wait.  

I can wait. 

And because Thanksgiving floats around the calendar like Veterans Day, you really have no way of knowing one year to the next.  But in 2024, its on the 28th, and my birthday is a Friday the week before.  So things are looking up.

And yes, I can wait. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

When did light bulbs become such a pain in the in the socket?

 

One of the toughest things about the new house is getting the "light" situation in each room settled. 

Unlike the last two houses, where the longest exterior walls faced north and south, this house is like our home in Columbus, this house faces east and west.  Because of this, and the layout of the rooms, our windows are east-west and north, with only five facing south.  

The previous owners, who were a man-child and his wife, were huge fans of bare bulbs in clear glass fixtures, which give off horrible lighting effects, making everyone look like a ghoul.



I mean, c'mon people, it's going to be 2024 - don't we all know what lightbulbs look like?

We've been using LED bulbs for a very long time. But the new mainstream LED bulbs in "equivalent watts" don't seem to get the job done anymore. 

Light output is measured not in watts, but in lumens.  Today's modern 60-watt equivalent bulbs are supposed to crank out 800 lumens.  Add to that the light temperature of daylight (which makes everything look and feel cold), Soft White, and Warm White, which has a brownish cast. 

The problem is, that there is no standard for what qualifies as "Soft White" light anymore.  And then the manufacturers have their own standards.   today I saw a box of lightbulbs that claimed to be "Soft White" and on the high end of the kelvin (bluish light) scale.  Can someone tell me how that is supposed to work?

And there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the lumen ratings.   The difference between GE Reveal soft white 60-watt equivalent bulbs and the 75-watt equivalent is 15 lumens, supposedly. But when I get out my camera light meter, the output between the two bulbs is almost the same. 

We've had luck with GE 100-watt equivalents which actually do put out a reasonable amount of light.  But at the same time, we now have a box full of lousy 800-lumen bulbs that are worthless because their light output is all different. 

Change is the only constant in life, but dealing with these light bulbs and their inconsistencies in illumination could drive one to drink. 

Slowly, we are testing and finding "watt" works, but so far, the 800-lumen bulbs are losing out to the brighter cousins. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

A lot to unpack here.

 

Even Kevin has tried to help with the paper problem. 

So here is the deal.  We've been here for five weeks. The movers packed 215 boxes and crates of our stuff.  Yes, we have a lot of stuff.  But remember, both Cookie and The Husband both work from home and out of our home. Still, 205 boxes of all sizes into a 2,500-square-foot house is a lot. 

To date, we have unpacked around one hundred boxes.   So there are, more or less, 105 boxes to go. 

And that isn't counting the art on the walls. 

Our burb picks up trash once a week and yard waste and recycling on the same day.  everything has to go in the can, or the yard waste bag at the curb.  The only time you can put out "overage" is the first trash day of the month. 

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get rid of these boxes so they don't end up wet or bug infested, and recycle them?

But wait, there's more! 

The movers used 24x36 sheets of clean newsprint to pack each box.  The paper wrapped around stuff, wadded up to provide a soft bed to place things onto, stuffed inside stuff, and wadded up and placed on top of said stuff, filled up voids, etc., and so on.   

On average, dishpack box (about 48" tall, 24" wide, and deep) contains about - and are you ready for this, on average, 40 sheets of this crumpled paper.  Less for smaller boxes and more - sometimes a whole lot more -  for huge boxes, especially if they just contain a "lamp".  

That means we dealing with potentially 12,000 sheets of this stuff, more or less.

So when we unpack, each sheet needs to be pulled out, and searched through (to make sure there is no little stuff), and then the sheets have to be laid down and smoothed out. That takes time. It can take one minute or ten to unpack an item. 

And this shit doesn't lay down smooth.  No, you can smooth it out and it'll fight ya.  And try as you might to make neat piles, like likes to slide this way and that. 

That's why after five weeks, we are only into 100, more or less, boxes. 

MOREOVER, those boxes need to be broken down and the tape stripped from the boxes so they can be recycled. 

But there is nowhere to take these boxes as they pile up.   And you can't put things where they need to go because the dumbass movers put the furniture in the middle of the room and boxes against the walls. 

But ah, the good news is that we have found several people who have gladly taken the boxes, and most of the sheets of packing paper.   One woman was in a disability-accessible van talking to a young man about boxes.  Cookie interjected himself overhearing this, and asked "Does someone need moving boxes?"

Indeed.  The woman is the sole caregiver for her son who has CP, and they are moving into a one-floor condo and needed boxes. They took fifty boxes and reams of packing paper.  "How much do I owe you?" I said that we should be paying her.

Then after not being able to give the boxes away on Next Door (ugh) I stumbled into a Facebook group and found that a woman had just posted something asking for boxes to help a friend move. How about thirty of them, I asked, and packing paper, too. Again, I got rid of the boxes and packing paper, and she was delighted that they were free. 

Another 20 boxes went to someone that a friend knew who was moving into his condo. 

And lately I have been having dreams that one day I will wake up and find my home full of the boxes that I gave these people.  Having used them, they returned them. Then I wake up. 

Last weekend I unpacked my office so I am taking it easy until this weekend when we get into the pictures and artwork. 

I am hoping to have the first and second floors squared away by New Year's.  

But the basement is clearly a 2024 project. 


 


Monday, November 13, 2023

East side, West side, We're Going On the Town

 


Cookie and Husband have been exploring the East side, and the West side of Cleveland, but not the South side of Cleveland.  Cleveland doesn't have a south side. Oh, there is a south side, but the parts that are east of Cuyahoga are the East and the parts that are west of the river are west. 

To help the husband acclimate to what is where, Cookie has made sure he knows which main roads lead to, and what they don't do.  And he has passed driving tests, where I tell him where we going and he has to navigate the route. 

He has learned that Mayfield Road is a east/west arterial, that Warrensville Center Road will take him to Shaker, and that Warrensville Center Road is fucked up as they replace the bridge over the Rapid at Shaker Boulevard.  And that's not all. 

He's been the entire length of Superior Avenue, which alas is mostly not Superior to anything,  and that Prospect Road doesn't lead to any prospects unless it's hookers yer' after. 

He has learned that effectively that one can get to Culver's in Eastlake just as fast as S.O.M. Center Road will take you, and that the nearest Menard's is in Mondo Parma. 

The great surprise is that the "Opportunity Corridor" (a stupid name for a road through the burned-out neighborhoods of the eastside), which is an extension of 105th Street will get you to I-71 faster than if one had taken Lee Road across to 480. 

Together we have learned that the huge modern building that looks like a tribal casino from the Opportunity Corridor is in fact the new youth courts building and detention center. 

He also has learned, as have I, that the Giant Eagle at Legacy Village is the place to shop, not the Giant Eagle on Chagrin, which is just gross.   That Heinen's, a grocery chain from my childhood, really does have finer foods, in more locations, and that Dave's Market is great as well. 

And we have discovered that Spectrum Cable sucks - I mean, Jesus it is lousy - when it works. 

He has also learned that the dysfunctional city of East Cleveland (sister city to East Saint Louis, Illinois) is to be avoided, always. No reason to go there, no reason for it to be its own city.  May it be ripe for redevelopment in our lifetimes, or annexation by the City of Cleveland.

Finally, we have discovered how much we hate steam heat and that the ker-chunking of the heat pipes as water and steam vapor duke it out.  I tell you the first night we heard that racket we both sat upright in bed thinking that some depraved soul had taken a pick axe to the house. 

Two weekends ago, I took him to the West side of Cleveland, another land, far away. 

So yeah, it's good to be home. 




Saturday, November 11, 2023

Longer than a little while.


 

Well, that really did take longer than expected. 

Our time in the "Old Line State" has ended. 

The husband and I are in the Heights!

The whole moving company was a gigantic fuck up, maybe more on that later. 

But the good news is, the air is sweet in Ohio.  Cookie's asthma is doing better, and the dogs have more prance in their steps.  The husband is more relaxed. The Grocery stores are better, shopping in general is better, and the drivers aren't as batshit angry when they drive. 

Cookie's office should be set up on Monday or Tuesday.

One bit of good news is that the Husband and I registered our cars, and I was able to snag my old license plates, which had been my mother's for 55 years and my father's for 10 before that.  Somehow, that seemed to reset our exit from Ohio 12 years ago. 

AND, we were able to vote in the November election, casting YES votes for women's reproductive health, and legalizing weed for retail sales. (Although the scuttlebutt on the street is that the Ohio House is trying to introduce legislation to muck up BOTH constitutional amendments.  We'll see.  Ohio voters don't like to be ignored.)

So more to come as time permits. 

And oddly, there is nothing we miss about Maryland, except AMTRAK. We aren't pining for anything, or anyone, save for a handful of friends.

My body still aches when I move and I am exhausted from all of this lifting, but we are getting there!