Tag Archives: beer

Surprise Blooms and an Unidentified Blockage

red flowers

About a month ago, I was either getting the mail or taking out the trash when I noticed something red on one of the bushes in front of my house. I rarely use the front door, except to water the jasmine that’s out there, so I never look at the bushes. I smiled as I approached the bush — it had a few of these cool red flowers that I’ve never seen on it. I have lived here for almost two years without this bush blooming to my knowledge.

red flowers
Standing in front of the surprise blossoms was like having a conversation with a friend who still continues to surprise. There are many more things to know about parts of our lives — inanimate or not — than we consider.

stalk

And then there are inanimate things that we — or I — could live a happy life without “consider”ing. Desert plant buffs, prepare to cringe. Before the holidays when my amazing neighbors came to help hack down all my bushes, they suggested trimming this plant by tying up part of it and just trimming whatever was underneath it. Part of this was to deter pack rats and spiders and promote the general health of the backyards that all four intersect in the corner where the plant resides. Come spring, I was throwing a going-away party for a co-worker and thought this to be a good time to approach this task. I whined and cried and pissed and moaned as I crawled around under that thing for maybe two hours with a pair of gloves and a small pair of handheld gardening clippers. The spiky fronds kept pulling at my hair and scratching and stabbing pretty much my entire body. Add to that the spider webs I found, the old dead rotten oranges fallen from the neighbor’s orange tree, and intermittent and sudden “scurrying” by lizards, and I was not a happy girl. I had a huge pile of spines and other plant parts by the time my wrist was ready to throw in the towel. I am still only half finished. If you see a tweet in the feed about me opening a beer at 7:30 in the morning, you’ll know I am tackling the rest of those damn dead fronds. As I was working I kept thinking that the previous owner should’ve trimmed them AT LEAST once (!!), but to be fair, I have lived here for a while now and could’ve done it much sooner too.

stalk1

Just to add a little more fun to the subject of the almost-succulent from hell, a stalk has grown out of the top of it and is, of course, leaning toward my neighbor’s yard as it begins to flower. Really need to keep an eye on that sucker as the monsoon approaches. Ah, the perks of DIY landscape maintenance.

As a horrific note, my sons thought it would be a good idea to fill my compost can with water . . . and leave it sitting there . . . in the heat . . . without telling me about it . . . so that after a few days it was positively putrid and full of f_______ flies. I had to drain a bunch of the water; hated that. I put a bunch of dirt in the can to dry it up and the boys heard about it from me.

Moving indoors, I repaired a towel rack last week. My Monkey Children like to swing on the towel racks, naturally.

towel rack

I bought a Tiny Screwdriver set as suggested by Video Joe Knows. It came with a standard and a phillips head screwdriver, mini, as the name suggests. Turns out all you have to do is screw the part that holds the bar into the little flat piece mounted on the wall. That took about 1 minute to do as my son cleaned out their bathroom drain:

water

That’s the first time it’s ever stopped up that much. And the water is murky because they continued to use the sink to brush their teeth and rinse out their mouths in it. So that is my eldest son’s hand in the photo as I am instructing him to untwist and pull out the stopper of the drain. He asked why he had to and I explained that it’s their drain and he needs to learn to do it, that he’s a boy and boys like gross things, and lastly that I would vomit if I had to do it. After some complaining and wrestling with the stopper, he got it out and we were faced with this:

gunk2

Bleh. He wore a glove because he wanted to and used about 187 toothpicks to pull all that crap out. He thought it was hilarious how unsettled I was by that gunk. He was proud to have gotten it all out though. Little punk. He even WAVED some of it at me. Gross.

gunk3

I had him clean out the sink after that and put all of our tools away where they go. I don’t understand what that is in the drain and I don’t want to know. Perhaps some preventive maintenance is in order. It’s funny the things I am still learning about running a home. I don’t know if these things are basic or obvious but I suppose the important thing is that I am learning them.

My basil seeds sprouted on Wednesday.

Time to make a drink. Good night.

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Corn on the 4th of July!

We decided to have tacos for dinner on the 4th. You might be able to see in the photo above that I bought the burrito-sized tortillas so we ended up with burritos instead. Steak burritos with guacamole. And a couple beers for me. I was also the recipient of no less than four ears of corn courtesy of my mother, who bought them on sale. The boys and I could probably easily devour four innocent ears of corn on the cob in one sitting, but if you look at them all together, it looks like a hell of a lot of corn. Like magic, Bon Appetit magazine posted to Twitter:

Which led me to find this amazing recipe: Roasted Corn with Manchego and Lime. Never roasted corn in my oven before. I think I’ve shucked corn once. And I have never cut corn off of a cob before using anything but my teeth. This I sincerely believe I could not have done after three beers, people. But it turned out spicy and delicious and I should probably make it again. It’s sweet and spicy at the same time and the lime lends a nice zip to it. You should try it too.

It has been very rainy here lately. We have had lots of severe thunderstorm warnings and flash flood warnings. Luckily the power hasn’t gone out for us but the weather has done a lot of damage around town. Up here the worst I’ve seen is the roads around our house closed due to flooding. A wash runs over two main roads that we take to get home. Promises of a bridge in the next couple of years have been made. More importantly though, all this water has brought to my attention the need to rebuild my firepit to allow for more drainage. After it rained for several hours a few days ago, the firepit was reduced to the beginnings of a wishing well. backyard flood
Also, in the foreground of the above image, you will notice the lake that collects on the west side of my backyard. There is a small hole in the wall on that side of the yard for drainage. You can all see how effective it is. This adds another project to the list: leveling the yard and figuring out the lake situation. I don’t always want to have to put a towel down in front of the dog door. This could be particularly bad as the dogs get older and the floor gets tiled.
I will say that my sons had a spectacular time playing in the mud the following day. Also, we have an empty desert lot very near to our house that accepts a lot of the rainfall runoff from the street. My neighbor called to inform me that she was making us drinks — fresh strawberry basil lemonade with vodka, lucky me! — and the boys and I were to put on our shoes and meet her outside, as we were all going to the lot to meet and play with a few of the other neighborhood boys. Which we did and had a great time.
Lastly, I want to tell you all what happened in my living room when all the lights were off. The boys were freshly laid in their beds and I was reading random nonsense on my phone while sitting on the couch. My big [baby of a] dog started sniffing the floor by one of the walls and would repeatedly buck up like the horse that he is. That only ever means one thing: whatever he’s sniffing is alive. If it’s dark in the room and I can see whatever it is moving, it’s probably a tarantula. When my darling sons let the dogs back in, they were way too busy to close the door so the spider felt welcome. This is what he looked like right before I swore at him for being in the house, swore at the dog for continually attacking it (I later looked it up and they aren’t poisonous, just menacing), tried not to swear at the boys for getting out of bed to see why I was swearing, crated the dog, used a broom to sweep it off the back of the tv (those things make a loud thud if they hit the floor) and eventually swore and shooed it out of the house:

TARANTULA
This was the first time I’ve ever had a tarantula in my dwelling. I’ve seen several and I think they’re pretty cool but it’s a little different in closed quarters with my precious dependents, furry or not. A couple nights later, I caught my big dog growling at the door, something he never does. I thought someone was walking by or had parked randomly in front of the house. Turns out the tarantula was hanging out on the front porch, possibly laying in wait for my beloved gecko. It eventually walked away. Guess dogs do have hard feelings.
It’s a lovely rainy breezy night tonight. Time to open up the windows and enjoy it while I sleep. Good night, readers. Thanks for stopping by.


In the Garage

I would just like to paint a picture for all of you tonight. For the last two to three days, my nose and sinuses have been going haywire. I’ve had headaches and sneezes and congestion and have generally been laying low. I have also been blowing my nose like crazy so it’s very red and irritated. I decided to [finally] start on the second, hideous, kitchen drawer. I bought sandpaper last week sometime with intentions to get started that afternoon. There are a few different kinds of sandpaper that I was introduced to that day. There’s a fine sandpaper for finishing your projects, an “in-between-layers” paper, a medium grade paper, and lastly, a stripping paper. If you remember, the drawer was FULL of paint, glue, nails, cracks, screws, and grief. Naturally. I bought the heavy duty paper ($8 for three triangles to fit on my Black & Decker Mouse sander!!).
SO I decided tonight would be the perfect night to treat my nose to a little Vaseline, put on mismatched pajamas, crack open a Sam Adams Summer Ale, start a load of laundry, plug in the sander and give that drawer what’s coming to it. I pulled a little stool I have into the open half of the garage. The plan was to use the stool as a table to avoid sanding any part of my fingers or legs. The only outlet on that side of the garage is conveniently located in the ceiling. If memory serves, the former owner had a work area in the nook on that side. I have a tiny stool and the sander does not have that long of a cord. There is a built-in cabinet close to the outlet (6 plugs can fit in at once if I so choose to do that) so I opened up the door so that I could put the sander on one of the higher shelves if necessary.
sander setup
There I was all set up to restore the drawer when I realized I didn’t grab or locate my safely goggles. We all know I need them. I looked everywhere in the garage, every hook, every drawer and shelf, even a bowl with paint stuff in it. Nothing. Then the dog started barking. Inside the house. I let him outside and returned to the garage when I remembered that the last time I used them was when I was sawing a hole in the wall for the dog door. I found the goggles! On a shelf with the incomplete dog door, but that’s neither here nor there.

safety/beer goggles

Ready to sand!


I finally got to work and I got some of the paint off but a lot of it is under an ugly layer of glue and nails and screws. What I think is funny is that the former owner built the cabinets and drawers and shelves that are in the garage by hand and they’re great. He did a really nice job with them. I just don’t know why there had to be this much glue involved. As I was sanding my oldest son came to the garage and scared the hell out of me. I didn’t scream that time though. He wanted to tell me about a dream he had yesterday about the power going out. After he went back to bed I tried to grind off the rest of the glue but some of it is here to stay, folks. post-sanding
In addition, some of the drawer itself is also damaged so I think I’ll need some different wood clamps to get everything to stay in place properly as it dries. I definitely need to invest in some quality cabinetry at some point though. Don’t want anyone lamenting the cabinets I left them with down the line . . .


Burgers, Beer, and S’mores

Last night was the virgin voyage of our firepit. Finally! I now really want to make the firepit permanent. The boys didn’t get a chance to roast marshmallows on a recent camping trip and we had the bag laying around. The first thing I did when I got home was soak the bamboo skewers. I don’t know why I soaked three as I really don’t like marshmallows.
I made burgers for dinner, which I thought would be perfect for our outside plans for later. I topped them with avocado, peppered bacon, tomato, and pepperjack cheese. Yesterday morning my neighbors donated half of a huge watermelon to us because wouldn’t fit in their cooler for their weekend lake trip. Watermelon goes beautifully with a burger. As well as beer. I bought a Sam Adams Summer Ale and the kids got root beer.
We ate dinner at about 6:30 and at that time the sun’s still pretty high. I finally cut up some of the bigger branches from the bushes from the front yard to keep the fire going. The fire’s been built for about a month, I just didn’t have the chance to light it. I think I was waiting for someone to share it with too but who the hell matters more than my wonderful sons? I also moved the patio chairs over next to the pit and brought over a short table alongside the chairs so the boys could make their treats there.
So around 7:45 I brought out the graham crackers with little chocolate bars on them and the skewers and of course extra marshmallows. And a fourth beer (which is a lot for a toothpick like me). The boys came outside with me and we got ready for the fire! The kids went nuts when I lit the fire and it burned nicely. They got out of their chairs and ran around a little bit. Next time I will add larger firewood toward the beginning as it didn’t catch fire very well after I added it. This time it was okay because the boys needed to go to bed anyway but I am happy with the way it turned out. Only two marshmallows were lost to the flames. They get really soft when heated! The boys enjoyed their treat though. It’s good to have them home and it’s good to be their mother.
I can’t wait till the next time we have a firepit night. It’s too windy now and it has come to my attention that Arizona is under a “no burn order” right now. Soon. I have plenty of things left to burn up in this backyard.