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May 2006 Archives

May 12, 2006

A Perfect Ending

As all good things must, our condo rental for the ski season came to an end. With much stuff left inside, including a full refrigerator, we started off on our cleaning mission trip early Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps because it was such a glorious day, or perhaps because we knew arrival at the condo meant laundry, vacuuming, scouring, packing and more, we doddled along the way. First we looked for the 4 Aces Cafe, a place we used to stop for dinner on ski trips back in college. We found it, looking rather more upstanding than the seedy place we remembered, but it wasn't open on Sunday. That byroad eventually brought us to Bethel, where the grain mill we've driven by forever, positively required us to stop and test out our Keld Helmer-Petersen-inspired photography. Here's the result in a Flickr photoset. Then because the day was so close to perfect, we arrived at the Sugarbush access road only to realize I had forgotten the condo key. Then it was perfect, with no cleaning to be done, and an unscheduled gourmet meal and accomodations at Pizza on Earth.

May 15, 2006


The Simple Minds song says it all about the last couple of days - "rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling, down, down, down". And that means in our basement, the water keeps coming, more, more, more. It comes under the door, around the door, over the steps and under the steps. After hearing the raindrops on our roof change during the night from patter to torrent, I knew as soon as I finished my breakfast juice and yoghurt, I'd be off to the basement to assess the situation.

When I got down to the bottom of the stairs, the water was passing by in a narrow line, coming from a much wider accumulation toward the steps and door to the backyard. Time to break out the Ridgid Shop Vac, tool of choice for any homeowner who must deal with a wet basement. Now I want to sound just like a commercial because I really love this vacuum, and that's saying a mighty lot for a person who believes all vacuuming should be left to professionals, as in my house cleaners from the Joy of Cleaning. The reason I love the Ridgid and you should too, is that its workings are completely obvious, a key feature when the water is flowing. No need for a manual. The hose pieces just push together, the top unhooks on two sides with a simple pull just like a plastic storage bin does, and the bottom, which is essentially just a big bucket with wheels can be rolled out and dumped. Best of all is the change in the vacuum sound when the bucket is filled. Suddenly the noise goes to a high-pitched whine which obviously calls for stopping the machine. Then when you open it up you see that it's filled right up to the line marking the limit. And if you buy the right size, meaning one that's not so big you can't lift it when it's full, you'll be able to get it up those three stairs and out of the cellar to dump into the street drain.

Of course there are lots of people here in Massachusetts who have much worse flooding problems but nonetheless, after emptying the Ridgid, I came back to find almost as much water as I'd just vacuumed up. I called for the engineer, who came to the rescue with the next line of homeowner's defense, not the Quickcrete architectural products redefining precast concrete, though the benches, planters, etc. do look interesting, but the badly-spelled Quikrete hydraulic water-stopping cement. You just mix this stuff up and plug it in wherever water is spewing out. Then it sets up and hardens really fast in spite of the fact that everything basically stays wet. Apparently this is the hydraulic part of its name, though I just think of it as a miracle of science. As a result we're among the lucky ones, with a dry basement this morning in spite of continued rain. Science has allowed me to put the vacuuming and the joy back in the hands of the pro's. Hallelujah!

May 19, 2006

Holy Mackerel!

Apparently I've gone into a born-again mode, what with my Hallelujah posting last time and now this.

Holy mackerel is an apt expression for the situation however, since I had just put last night's leftover fish on the stove to sear when I opened up the new Megnut at the Comparing Frozen Fish to Fresh feature. As you might guess from a careful reading, my leftovers were flash-frozen from Trader Joe's and better Tilapia filets I cannot imagine. Last night I pan-seared them and served them on a base of polenta, topped with wilted spinach, then the filets, and covered it all with a mango butter sauce. Today's lunch was just an extra quick pan-searing of the leftover fish, served along with some tomato slices. No mango butter sauce as it failed to survive a lazy effort at reheating it in the microwave.

I don't know what made me change my mind about buying Tilapia. I've been passing it up in the freezer at Trader Joe's, thinking that the original name was actually something else that didn't sound at all appetizing. When I googled it up, the unappetizing and scary named fish was Patagonian Toothfish, known in markets and on menus as the much pleasanter sounding Chilean Sea Bass. Tilapia turned out to be a well-respected, farm-raised fish available around the world, a kind of green alternative to over-fished wild species. Now just to be fair I guess I'll have to look for some fresh filets to compare, but meantime, I stand by my recommendation. Flash-frozen Tilapia tastes really good and, holy mackerel, you can even feel good about eating it.

In spite of Megnut and this post going 'foodie', heyjud will maintain its usual rambling self.

May 29, 2006

A New Style

Styles come and styles go, and it was past time for heyjud's old gray/green style to go. Welcome the new sunset look but don't worry. Heyjud's content will continue just as it always has, somewhat erratically and always eclectically.

About May 2006

This page contains all entries posted to hey jud in May 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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