Tuesday, March 26, 2024

More House Upgrades

 For a guy who either works from home or is not currently working, I don't update here as much as I should.  it's hard to believe I used to journal and then blog like a madman and now I've just lost the motivation.

I have at least 5 ToDo list items that will literally take 30 minutes or less but I'm not motivated to start on them.


We just dropped $8500 on landscaping and water mitigation.  When it rains here, the water would pool around the house and most likely under the house.  So I paid a guy to put in some catch basins.  While he was at it, we wanted to do something to upgrade the curb appeal of the house.  I also had him install some lights so the house would look prettier and during the holidays, the poor Amazon delivery drivers could see our porch after we went to sleep.


I got three quotes.  Each one was broken down into just water mitigation, and landscaping.  We decided to bite the bullet and do both.

What we Wanted

The first guy could do everything for $7k.  But he didn't send me a formal quote and I wasn't sure.

What we got

The second guy (the one we went with) was $8500.  I don't think he got me the best lighting system and might have forgotten what I told him about the front of the house not getting direct sunlight.  He gave us bushes that thrive in direct sunlight so we will see what happens.  

The third guy was a little flaky.  He could do it all for $5850.  But I just didn't get the sense that he understood just how much water mitigation was needed.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

COW: Prayer after soccer games

My Crisis of the Week is this:  after the game, my daughter's soccer coach gets the kids together in a post-game huddle.  He says a prayer.  Of course, anyone who doesn't want to participate can sit there quietly.  

If I say anything, my daughter might be targeted. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I came along and uttered a Muslim or Jewish prayer. God, I hate this state.  maybe I should find a church down here and start playing soccer during the homily. 

Playing in the rain...and mud

I acknowledge that I'm disproportionally upset about this.  I've known about it for a few weeks and Natasha is fine with just sitting there silently.  I think I'm really upset because of all the other things going on. 

I'm not allowed to vent in the traditional ways.  I don't even have anyone to vent to down here.  And Nightingale has censored me and chided me when I do rage out.  

We have snakes

 On Saturday Natasha and her new BFF were playing in the backyard and they saw a snake.  When we first moved in, Natasha told me that she saw a snake in our back forty.  I didn't, not believe her.  Still it has been 3 years and this is the first confirmed sighting of a serpent-type creature.

As much as I loathe killing any of God's living things, I couldn't take a chance and decided to put the snake out of my misery.

BIL Confederate Jethro confirmed that the snake was not venomous but also shared that he kills all snakes he encounters as well.  

Monday, March 18, 2024

Herb Roasted Chicken with Lemon Orzo

 This Herb Roasted Chicken with Lemon Orzo from @kaylasbeencooking is the perfect way to try our NEW House Blend Chicken All-Purpose Seasoning. 🍗

 I did skip/substitute a few things but it turned out fine.  Didn't use their Signature Chicken Blend, but some other poultry blend that we got from a place in Grosse Pointe, MI.

Didn't have Orzo so I used these Goya Alphabet macaroni that we bought a ton of because it's something Moose and Squirrel will eat.

And I used vegetable broth instead of Chicken because that's what we had. 

Our signature chicken blend features the perfect mix of sage, porcini, rosemary, bell pepper and more, taking your everyday chicken from good to great.



2 TB The House Blends Chicken All-Purpose Seasoning

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Salt and black pepper, to taste

2 TB olive oil

1 cup orzo pasta

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup or more chicken broth

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

Fresh parsley



Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pat the chicken thighs dry. Season both sides with salt & pepper and The House Blends Chicken All-Purpose Seasoning.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken, skin side down, until golden brown (about 4-5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken & set aside.

In the same skillet, add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

Stir in the orzo pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly toasted. Pour in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and return the seared chicken thighs to the skillet.

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Garnish and serve!

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Voting Against my best interest

For some reason, this story from deep within my memory banks rose to the surface recently.  One semester at NMSU, I was in a Differential Equations class. This was a class that was mostly comprised of Physics Majors like my friend B-Gill, and Engineering Majors like myself.  There might have been a math major or two, although I don't think it was a requirement.

Anyway, the Prof decided to let the class decide how the final exam would focus: Physics problem heavy or Engineering problem heavy.  I think that meant that more questions would be Physics-oriented than straightforward Engineering problems.  

I was struggling with the Physics type problems but doing fine with the Engineering ones.  Most of the Physics students could go either way, including B-Gill.  When it came time to vote, I don't remember how close it was, if we were told at all, but B-Gill chose Physics.  

That our exam was Physics Heavy cost me an A.  Meanwhile, B-Gill, who had missed some exams because of sickness, had a chance to score an A for the semester just by getting an A on the last and most important test of the class.  

I don't know why this came up in my MindFeed upon waking up in the middle of the night as I often do.  I'm sure I displayed some disappointment at B-Gill for not casting a vote to help me out.  He was gonna get an A no matter what the questions were.  

The Polish Calculus

This beats any Chem Test
In the Spring Semester of my freshmen year at NMSU, I had a solid B going into my Chemistry Final Exam.  As long as I got a few questions right, I would get a grade of B for the semester.  To get an A, however, I would need to have scored 46 out of 50*.

It was a three-hour test and only the TA was there.  On the first pass, I answered all the easy, soft questions 101 exams are often peppered with.  On the next pass, I knocked out a few more tougher questions.  At about the 1-hour mark, I determined that I had comfortably answered 40 out of 50* questions correctly, give or take a question.  In other words, my B grade was secure.    

But I also realized that there was no way I was gonna get 8 more questions correct in the next two hours.  If I hadn't learned it by now, there wasn't gonna be a Finals Miracle.  I probably did my best to make educated guesses and then just picked random answers which might have given me 1-2 lucky guesses but still not getting my A.

I could have sat there for two more hours pretending to work on the problems and maybe, maybe I'd get one or two more, but I wasn't getting the eight I needed to get into the A zone. 

I turned in my paper and went back to my dorm room and loaded up my mom's car, allowing us to leave 2 hours earlier on the 7+ hour ride back to Chicago.  

People don't like to hear stories like this because they feel you are giving up or taking the easy way out.  What they fail to understand is that is how a Greedy Algorithm works.  You make the best decision/select the best choice based on the information/options you have at the moment.  You cannot hope something will change down the road or expect a last-minute miracle.  

* I'm going off very old memories about the exact point differences.  Suffice it to say, I was sufficiently out of range for an A that nothing less than a perfect test was gonna convert my B into an A.