* Today I had that "being a proxy" job, and it went well despite my having to have Temp Agency #1 fax me the checklist at the meeting due to the hoards of teenyboppers without power hogging up all the computers at the library where I usually print things (no printer here). Yes, I know, a minor ding to the professional image is a FABULOUS post-hurricane problem to have, and I will shut up now except to note that apparently I have gotten old. DAMN KIDS AND THEIR FACESPACE GAMES!
* Temp Agency #1 also had another job for me that starts tomorrow. I'll be working 2:30-11 p.m. M-F for a couple of weeks, and while I'm a little sad that I won't be here to greet the MFA Children after their first day of school, I'm happy to have the work! Apparently it's for an out-of-town client that has turned two floors of an area hotel into an office-away-from-their-office where I and several others will be doing Work Of A Secret Nature. Like, the sort that even if I wasn't a pseudonymous privacy-nut who obfuscates the HELL out of work-related tales, I couldn't tell you because I'll be signing lots of things to that effect. Probably it won't be NEARLY as interesting as it sounds, but MAYBE! Either way y'all won't hear a thing about it except for things like whether or not the technology there confounded me or a wardrobe malfunction strikes on a given day (my tits have apparently grown, AGAIN, SOME MORE, since the last time I had to wear business attire, and the potential is high).
* Other than that, I have a headache today that seriously needs to fuck off and die in a tire fire. It's not a migraine (my left ear is hurting, but no visual/GI manifestations), just a shitty headache that won't go away. Bleh.
* Today I butchered George de Ebil and fed her to the dogs, as grocery money is very tight until Wednesday when I get paid. She'd been back to her evil ways and laying eggs that seemed to be water inside with a yolk, very strange (we haven't been eating them; they've been dogfood); on autopsy I think she had cancer or something. There were some bits in there the other birds I've butchered didn't have, and that's as much detail as I'll go into. Except to say that for the SECOND time in a row I had "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" stuck in my head and was therefore singing it out as I plucked and butchered. My little old lady neighbor complimented me on my singing voice, but sadly thought I was singing to new baby chicks or something and tottered over to the fence to see what I was up to. She won't make THAT mistake again! My poor neighbors.
* How are all of YOU?
* Obviously we survived.
* It was pretty impressive; hours and hours of roaring winds and a ton of rain; here is what our yard looked like during the eye of the storm:
* I moved the MFA Minivan into the detached garage right before the storm hit, so it wasn't damaged by falling limbs. Very glad about that!
* Our power was out for a total of about twenty hours. Not bad at all! I keep thinking of all the nice guys and gals I met at the Linemen's Rodeo and served coffee to. They sure were a good-natured bunch! I hope none of them get hurt restoring the power on the East Coast.
* I'm really glad we were prepared; we used quite a bit of bottled water for drinking, washing, and flushing (apparently our bathtub drain-plug isn't all that watertight) and cooked two meals over Sterno cans. I was also able to use those to make Hotter some instant coffee this morning, so nobody perished in our house. The refrigerator stayed nice and cold (thanks to my idea of freezing a bunch of ice beforehand and putting it in a freezerbag, then transferring that to the top shelf of the fridge as soon as the power went) and the freezer stayed frozen. All in all our worst losses were Big Child's comforter (which the stir-crazy dogs pulled into the crate and de-stuffed) and a pan of fish sticks and french fries that were in the oven when the power blew (the chickens enjoyed those when we released them from their storm shelter). So clearly it could have been MUCH worse.
* How are all of YOU?
* The worst of Irene is yet to come, but so far we still have power (although it's flickered several times and gone out for one five-minute interval) and innernet (obviously).
* I just made a final run outside to check on the poultry; Hotter and I finally decided that the best course of action was to clear out the toolshed we don't use, spread straw in there, and turn it into a chicken and turkey storm-shelter (the ducks we left to their own devices with access to the poultry hutch should they choose to use it; we figure they're pretty waterproof and will be happier that way). Last night we carried all twenty-two squawking chickens and the three turkeys across the yard and put them inside (we put a small portable enclosure inside the shed to keep the turkeys separate). Today they all seem to be eating and drinking well, and even laying (I brought half a dozen eggs inside just now!). Neither of the windows in the shed are facing into the storm, so I think they'll be nice and safe (and it's good that they have enough light to see the food and water by).
* Up until a few minutes ago I could honestly say that Big Child's comforter was our worst hurricane damage (the stir-crazy dogs went bananas and de-stuffed it), but just now a huge limb fell in the front yard. It didn't hit anything, so that's good.
* The XY e-mailed me asking me to have the MFA Children call him. I e-mailed him back that authorities had asked everyone to forgo using phone lines unless it was an emergency, and could it wait? He said no, and since a close relative of his has been in poor health I went ahead and had the boys call him. But there was no emergency, he just wanted to alarm them with his panic-stricken shrilling of "DON'T WORRY! YOU'RE PROBABLY SAFE EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE WITH MOMMY! I'LL COME GET YOU IF IT GETS BAD!" So now the children are freaking out that he'll show up and try to take them out in the storm. THANKS, ASSHOLE! I assured them that that isn't going to happen (and it won't, because if the jackass shows up I won't open the damn door). Seriously, dude, WHY? I also don't see how they'd be safer with him given that HE lives in the middle of NOWHERE, but...oh well.
* I hope y'all are all safe and dry. We're very well-prepared, and our house is sturdily-built of mostly brick, so I'm not terribly worried. I've been mostly using up my angst by fiddling with the blog (see my new Five Star Friday badge? FANCY! I was featured ages ago, but...it was something to do. Heh). Hopefully I don't break it before the power goes out. Probably I should quit while I'm ahead.
* How are all of YOU?
* This morning I woke from a bad dream where I was trying to leave the XY all over again (Little Child was a baby on my hip again, and very sick again, and his g-tube, which in the dream was the original pull-PEG, was venting copiously, which it hasn't in ages...also the XY was telling me that I couldn't leave him because I was too stupid to get through life on my own, for example today I had traffic court but would I know that without him to tell me? Nooooo) at dawn and ran to pull up the local court's website. Sure enough, I DID have traffic court this morning and had forgotten all about it! I was awake in plenty of time to get ready though, and got the last of the tickets from the expired registration dismissed. Perhaps my ex-husband is my new spirit animal? Oy.
* I saw my divorce attorney at court and we exchanged pleasantries. That was kind of weird.
* My kids are so excited about the hurricane that last night I finally gave them a Mason jar full of heavy whipping cream with a couple of marbles in and set them to making butter by taking turns shaking the jar just to wear their energy out a little. They crapped out when it was still just whipped cream and I had to take over, the little slackers, but seriously this creates the best damn butter you will ever taste and I highly recommend it.
* Last night I ate too much at dinner but it was soooo good. Hotter made his famous potroast, which is unbelievably delicious, and I made fresh bread rolls that came out of the oven right as we were sitting down, plus we had the fresh butter (which is delightfully spreadable) to put on the rolls and for dessert, homemade strawberry ice cream.
* Temp Agency #1 called today; they gave me a job on Monday that should take one hour or less, but I get paid for four hours because the contract is a four-hour minimum, plus the job pays 40% more per hour than I usually make. I'm basically going to be someone's stand-in at an important business meeting, like when royalty used to marry from a distance and they'd send a proxy to ceremonially "consummate" the deal by touching thighs with the person they were marrying. This tickles me to no end.
* At this point, I think the MFA Children are going to be devastated if we don't get to eat shelf-stable foods warmed over Sterno cans for at least one meal. If you're reading this from anywhere along the Eastern seaboard, are YOU prepared for the hurricane? Don't forget a manual can-opener and a lighter for the Sterno cans in your hurricane kit! Honestly I think half the reason the boys are so excited is that we don't generally eat most of the canned and processed foods I bought in order to be prepared for Irene (Chef Boyardee ravioli, Handi Snacks, boxes of shelf-stable chocolate milk, etc.) because I consider them to be junkfood. Someone who shall remain nameless spent a good portion of yesterday evening dancing around the house chanting "CHILI-MAC! CHILI-MAC!"
* This slays me:
Figure One: Yes, I know, some folks have cracks in their foundations and are NOT AMUSED, and the Washington Monument is damaged, etc. but I don't think Japan and Christchurch feel overly sorry for us right now, is all I'm sayin'.
* How are all of YOU?
I just called and paid Anthem off, and all is roses there. WHAT A RELIEF! And now I have to go and do more pre-hurricane baking and laundry (I figure if the power's out for any extended period we'll need PBJ fixins and muffins galore, and it'll be good to have all the laundry done). THANK YOU, friend-who-saved-my-arse. Thank you lovely person who hit the tip jar this morning (that'll allow for the purchase of a few candles and some more jugs of water). Thank you everyone who held my hand. I'm a lucky girl.
* Apparently there was an earthquake yesterday. I say apparently because I honestly didn't notice at the time; I was driving to work, and thought the MFA Minivan had shit the bed on me. When I heard that it had been an earthquake, I was relieved. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Hotter felt the 'quake and thought he was having a seizure until Little Child asked if he'd felt it. So he was relieved, too. We're strange people here.
* Insurancegate is over! Or will be tomorrow (or Friday at the latest) when a PayPal transfer hits my bank account and I call Anthem. I...well, there's a reason more than one person in my life has threatened to make me wear a neck sign like Sandra Bullock in 28 Days (her character was in rehab and a therapist made her wear a sign around her neck reading "Confront me if I don't ask for help"). A reader of this humble site did just that a while back when we were really struggling, and offered me a generous loan. At the time I wasn't sure whether the XY was going to pay the restitution funds he owed me or not, and wasn't sure when or if I'd be able to pay back that kind of money, and said thanks but no thanks. Currently I know I'll have the funds as of the first of the month, and so I asked her if she was still willing to make me a (slightly smaller) loan, to be repaid in eight days, and just like that the nightmare was over. Thank you, friend-who-I-haven't-asked-if-I-can-name. Not worrying about losing my health insurance (and the dental benefits!) is an unbelievable relief and a wonderful feeling, but having someone I could call on like that is an even better one. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you people are like the extended family I lack offline (yes, even YOU Stalky--my family of origin had some loons in it that put you to shame!).
* I have spent the past two days working. It was a very temporary temp-gig, just yesterday and today, wherein I helped a designer and their assistant furnish and decorate a model home for an upscale neighborhood. SO. FREAKING. COOL. We walked into an empty house with nothing but paint on the walls and two days later it looked like a very tidy, affluent family with impeccable taste was going to get home any minute. Also, how many people can honestly say they were paid handsomely by the hour to set up a Monopoly game and hot-glue all of the pieces in place (apparently people will knock over or pocket the pieces otherwise)? I wish I could show you pictures of some of the beautiful rooms (or heck, even the pretty piece of wall-art the designer gifted me when they couldn't find a good spot for it in the model), but I wouldn't want to potentially "out" myself to the client, who was so pleased with my work that they said they'd specifically request me the next time they're in town.
* You know how I always talk about how "chickens are not nice?" Well, guess what? NEITHER ARE TURKEYS. Yesterday Hotter and I were outside looking at the mid-sized turkey, which is the nicest of the three (the little one is a menace to society, and y'all know how Loud and Crazy is). The turkey was looking at us from behind the chain-link (they really do look gentle and even intelligent when they look you in the eye, which is totally deceptive) and I was saying "Awww look at the mid-sized turkey. I dunno if I can kill that one, look at the way she's looking at us!" and Hotter was like "what, all doe-eyed?" and reached his finger into the fence. "Yeah, she's ni--" BLAM! The mid-sized turkey bit the everloving HELL out of Hotter's finger! "HOLY SHIT THAT HURTS!" he bellowed. Turkeys are REALLY not nice, y'all. It's a good thing they're delicious.
* Hurricane coming. Ugh. Thanks to the loan from that reader, I was able to use a little of the money currently in our bank account to purchase several three-gallon containers of spring water (our water comes from a well, which means that if the power goes out we have no water), and I plan to fill the tub before the storm hits for flushing the toilet with, but that'll only get us and the MFA Menagerie through one day. The last time a hurricane kicked our arses in this area the way Irene is threatening to some folks didn't have power for over a week! I'm hoping it misses us, for all of the above reasons and also because closer to the date of the storm if the news tells us we're going to get thoroughly thrashed Hotter and I are going to have to drag one of the 8x12 chain-link pens we keep the poultry in into the garage. Because I don't think the chickens, ducks, and turkeys ought to be out in it if there are 100 mph winds. And I would rather NOT have to clean up after THAT.
* How are all of YOU?
So I did my level best to make the past weekend a worry-free zone, and I think I succeeded pretty well. Unfortunately the health insurance thing was waiting for me afterward, and it's still not good, and I'd say there's maaaaybe a 25% chance I can fix it (my original estimates right up until squinting at the bank account a few minutes ago were much more optimistic, but I have to buy some gas to get to work today and tomorrow). But literally at the last minute (the 31st--IF Temp Agency #1 pays me on Tuesday or Wednesday for the work I'm doing for them today and tomorrow, which they generally--USUALLY--do, although technically they have until Friday to do so). So I'm a big ball of stress.
Also apparently there's a hurricane coming. Which doesn't particularly scare me, as I've weathered plenty of those before, but if we lose our fridge we're fucked. Completely and utterly FUCKED. And as with everything else there's not a damned thing I can do except worry. So...yeah.
If I lose the insurance I can replace it before I would have been uninsured for 60 days, but what I couldn't replace would be the dental policy, which took eighteen months of continuous coverage to kick in, and that would put fixing That Tooth completely out of my reach as opposed to just MOSTLY, and I won't lie, I'd be really, really bitter about that.
It might be for the best if I take a little break from here until this is settled one way or the other, because I'm probably not going to have anything very entertaining to say. Mind you, that doesn't mean that I WILL...I might lose my resolve and desperately need to vent. We'll see.
This is a nice, mouth-warming but not-too-hot vinegar-y BBQ base that I use mostly on chicken, although I've also used it for ground-venison "Sloppy Does" and it was fantastic in those, too. It's not too spicy for MY kids, but if you have picky eaters you might want to omit the banana pepper and maybe halve the black pepper. Or just throw a PBJ at 'em, make this as follows, and possibly eat it with a spoon, because it's THAT GOOD:
MFA Mama's Shebangarang! BBQ Sauce
1 c. ketchup (I buy store-brand when it's on sale if we're poor, Heinz Organic at the local big-box store if we're less-poor, depending)
1/2 large sweet onion, diced up small
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small banana pepper (like, thumb-sized, or you can use a jalapeno if you want to make it really hot), deseeded and also finely minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Shebangarang!
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 drops "liquid smoke" flavoring
Put the EVOO and onions in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to clarify. Add the garlic and banana pepper and keep stirring until the garlic begins to brown (don't overdo it or it'll be bitter). As soon as you see the first hint of brown on the garlic, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until it coats the back of a spoon nicely. This was makes enough to coat an entire picked chicken's worth of meat (if it's a backyard-raised chicken, so probably only the breastmeat of a store-bought roaster), which is dinner and leftovers at my house.
A friend called something to my attention on the Twitter the other day that culminated in my sharing this with Hotter:
His reaction? "That's HORRIBLE! They need to get those poor bears some merkins!"