Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cherries and Berries.

I'm posting from the office so will keep it brief...and it's during my break anyway.

This last weekend I went huckleberry picking and got almost enough for a batch of jam. I supplemented with some frozen berries from last year and I must say...it is some jesus jam!
Several jars didn't seal right so I'm eating one and distributed the others. I don't want it to go bad. Gotta eat it up.

Later that day, I went cherry picking at a patch spotted by a friend's son. They were lovely pie cherries. I got them home and was going to jam them and freeze them the next day. Well, first, I felt the need to pour them all over the floor. Being frugal, I picked them up and washed all but the ones so covered with hair that it looked like they were wearing wigs. Then I left them to soak while I pee'd or showered or something.
When I got back, there was a WORM poking out of almost EVERY freaking cherry. Bastards. If I hadn't seen them, they would have disappeared in the canning process and no one would have ever known. But as it was, I did now and I got grossed out. All cherries are now on the compost pile (the pile, not in the worm bed...I don't have enough worms to eat 30 pounds of cherries).

Fortunately, it was only 9:30am by then so I got myself together and went down to another friend's house to pick bing cherries. The picking was great. He needed to prune the tree anyway so he would cut off a branch and you just sat and pulled the cherries off it. I got a ton in a short time. I took Monday off of work to deal with the cherries.
They made 20 jars of jam, 3 trays are dehydrating as cherries, 4 trays are dehydrating as fruit leather (with added protein powder...great for camping) and 2 quarts are frozen. I only picked for about an hour. It was great.

Then it was off to errands and the radio show.

I almost bought a buttload of blueberris to make into jam yesterday but though better of it. I'd rather pick all the fruit myself if possible. It's so much better when the stuff goes right fromt the plant to the jar, skipping the 2000 mile trip in a truck.

Sorry there are no photos.
And it could be while before I can post again. Haven't made any progress on getting the home 'puter fixed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Computer down....

My home computer is on the fritz and will have to go in for repairs so I won't be able to post regularly for a while.
Apologies!...as if anyone cares.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Theeeeeere's Sherry

First, you all have to go read my mom's first blog.
We're just so proud.
Is there a space in the babybook for her first blog? Is it near the spot for her umbilical cord and her first poopy?
Clearly, Pam put in the pictures and Sher has not seen what Pam did. Pam is funny but not kind.

Anyway, I just found some cool sites but I will not bother you with them when you should be reading Sher's blogging.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Best Porn Ever (because it's not really porn)

A friend just forwarded me this link:
I was already a little in love with Isabella Rossellini (except for that time she was doing my boyfriend, Gary Oldman, but we worked through that) because she has crooked teeth and is not underweight.
Now, I am deeply in love with her. How cool do you have to be to make short films about snail sex?

I think I learned more about reproduction watching these shorts than in sex ed.

I'll probably try to talk about these on Peace Radio on Sunday. Cool.
I didn't get to do movies last time because we liked our guest so we just kept talking to him. This time maybe we'll get back to our regular features.

Enjoy the short films and I think they are safe for work for everyone but Angela. I say that only because I know one of my emails got her in trouble once when a coworker hacked into Ange's email then had the balls to confront Ange about the content of said email.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Accidental Vegan

So you know how I was going to try to be vegan a couple of days a week?
Well, I was.

Anyway, today I was accidentally vegan! I had eaten my lunch sandwich (organic fresh ground peanut butter with homemade strawberry-huckleberry-blueberry jam on 9 grain bread) by 10am (due to only having a 1/2 sandwich...same type...for breakfast) and went to the store in Plummer Idaho to get something decadent for lunch...like a turkey sandwich or a chicken strip sandwich (yes, deep fried chickenstrips on white bread bun with mayo and a slab of plasti-cheese (those pre-wrapped singles. I pick the plasticheese off). BUT I ran into El Kid there and had to set a good example so I bought organic oat bran pretzels and an apple.
This was good because it is too freaking hot to eat much.

When we got home El Kid said he'd had a hankering for a pb&j sandwich so we had more sandwiches for supper with a side of watermelon.

I was accidentally vegan. Cool. I'm still fat because I ate the WHOLE BAG of pretzels, but it's a healthy fat.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mmmm.....Thai Foooooodddd....

(be sure and say that title like Homer Simpson says "mmmm....doooooonutsss")
I tried to find the "mmm donuts" clip on youtube but it's not there. Just do your own version, please.

Anyway, it wasn't frugal or simple or anything, but Heather (a friend) and I went out for Thai food today. It was DELICIOUS. I had Larb Gai. Chopped chicken over veggies which were mostly raw cabbage. So actually, if I would cook it myself it would be simple and frugal and healthy. The dressing/sauce is quite piquant and extremely delicious. Perhaps I should learn to make it. I wonder if a recipe exists....

Here's one from http://www.importfood.com/recipes/spicychicken.html:

1 lb ground chicken
2 tablespoons sliced shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onion
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
3 tablespoons roasted rice powder (khao koor)
2 tablespoons ground Thai chile (be sure to use real Thai ground chile)
3 tablespoons lime juice
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce


Always serve with a good portion of fresh cabbage, and add green beans, parsley, sliced radish, cucumber, & coriander leaves if you like.


You can use ground chicken from the supermarket, or chicken ground in your food processor. Cook the chicken with 2 tablespoons lime juice in a pan over moderate heat. Stir until done. Transfer cooked chicken into medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Taste and season as desired. You might want more or less ground chile and/or fish sauce, etc. Serve with fresh vegetables (as shown) and warm, freshly-steamed sticky rice (or if you prefer you can use Thai Jasmine Rice). Note: if you like chicken giblets, cut them up into small pieces and cook in boiling water. Drain then add to cooked ground chicken before you add the other ingredients.

The usual way to eat this is to get a small ball of sticky rice in the fingers and use it to pick up a little lawb, then eat it with the raw veggies. You can also use a fork and spoon as a lot of Thais do.

I have never tried eating it with the sticky rice method. I do use sticky rice to soak up the delicious sauce/dressing.

Also, mine today had more veg than this picture shows. But it was the prettiest picture.

Supper actually was simple...cold leftovers and some watermelon. It is too damn hot to cook. It's almost too damn hot to move. I'm sure it's too damn hot to sleep. oh well. I don't have to be up until 3:45am...just about the time it cools off.

If either of my loyal readers would like to try to make Larb Gai and tell me how it goes, that would be fine.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The End of the Vegan Affair

So, sorry I didn't post much last week. I was staying at my Plummer, Idaho, estate...mansion...house...apartment....OK!!! It's a TRAILER.

Anyway, I got rid of my dialup service there and just didn't feel like going back into work to post blogs. Instead I watched movies, read 2 whole books (one of them is Valerie Bertinelli's memoir so not much of a book but it turns out Eddie Van Halen is a drug addict. WHO KNEW??), cooked, and talked on the phone.

In the midst of it all I tried veganism.
Not bad. I had one inadvertent dairy mishap. I thought I was eating a tiny bearclaw type pastry. But it turned out it was a tiny cream cheese strudel type pastry.
And one vertent dairy mishap. I had a peanut butter cups event on Friday. I love them. They were there. I ate some.
All in all, not bad for my first attempt at veganism.

I tried some vegan "field roast" italian "sausage." It was surprisingly edible. Especially over wholewheat pasta with some of my dehydrated tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Angela: I rehydrated them before eating.
The fake sausage is too expensive for daily consumption, but would spice up a meatless diet.

I thought I would have trouble at a meeting I went to, but the facilitator always brings fresh fruit and nuts for snacks so I would have been fine if it had not been for someone else bringing the tiny cheese strudels. I brought my own lunch of course, but wouldn't we all rather eat the free food someone else brought? Hence the joy of the potluck.

I do hope you are all following the flood blog my sister and I are keeping for the folks. My sister just found out that if you google "wagner flood" our blog is the first thing that pops up. We feel famous and stupid for wasting our fame. We should have done a sex tape or two like Paris Hilton, Pam Anderson-n-Tommy Lee, Vern "Mini-Me" Trotyer, and all the other true celebrities.

Anyway, as a closing thought, I want to re-recommend that you all go view the movie Escanaba in Da Moonlight. It is hysterical. Especially if anyone in your family ever hunted deer. Laurie: they never show a deer get hurt and the fake dead deer is SO BAD that I don't think it will be offensive. Certainly not compared to the room-o-gore you were given at the Gulick household lo those many years ago.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Vegan Monologues

I see it's been 3 days since my last post. Apologies. I have a life sometimes.
Also I'm staying in the house that has no interweb services.

Anyway, since I have a week without the complication of feeding a teen...I'm trying a week of veganism to see if vegetarianism is an option for me. I'm trying vegan since I barely eat dairy anyway and have no eggs in the house to cook with.

So far so good. It's been 2 days vegan.

I tried some "Field Roast" italian style fake sausages with pasta last night. Not bad. Then I had another over lunch with left over pasta. That seemed to be a bit much. I am belching fake sausage. It tasted OK and the texture is not appalling so I may try it again but not two meals in a row.

I also down loaded the recipe for tofu fake fudgsicles. I'll let you know soon if those work out. If they do it will be cool. You can have dessert and count it as a protein.

Supper today will probably be something featuring collard greens because they are about to go bad and I gotta eat'em up. I have some potatoes, a tomato, and an onion so I could go with a collard stirfy/hash thingy that I know is quite nice. OR if you take the stems off kale and put the coarsely chopped leaves in a medium oven you make kale chips. I might try that with the collards because it is a nice way to eat greens.

Breakfast today was almonds, craisins, and coffee. And jam on left over french bread. That was yummy. It's sad that sugar is vegan. I would probably gain weight if I decided to go vegan fulltime. It won't be soon though.

And thanks to Heather for this link to a cool slide show telling you why it is HORRIBLE to use plastic bags:

I'll post more about my grocery bag adventures one of these days. Once again I had a grocery clerk try to bag my groceries in evil plastic bags THEN put them in my handy basket. I made her take them out of the bags and then put then directly in the basket. She was mortified by the naked onion just touching the bananas like the onion-slut it was. Wierd. A clerk at the food co-op (where they are used to people just letting food touch) dug through my bag to find one of my reusable produce bags to isolate an onion from touching anything else. Whatever. Though that seemed MORE odd when he let the soggy collard greens touch the paper bag of cocoa powder. I hate it when they put wet stuff next to powders in paperbags. I'm going to end up bagging it myself (and not in a naughty way).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What the H... is THAT?

So I'm at the thrift store today, as is my wont. And I see this thing (which I stupidly do not photograph with my phone). And I think, "What the hell is that?"

So, it was like this:
A thermos. A big one like you would carry soup to school in in the 1970s. Only, a bit bigger.
And it has a carry strap. And a picture on it (the thermos, not the strap) of a happy country scene.
Nice. It's 3$ which is high for a thermos at this particular store.
And it's oddly attractive so I open it and look inside...
BUT WAIT, there's MORE.
Inside are 3 little metal tins with lids, Each about the size of a tuna can but taller. And around the 3 stacked tins is a little wire frame that makes a handle to lift them out and keeps them all together.

It's sort of like those stacked lunch containers they use in India:

But small and inside a special made thermos.

I walk away from the intriguing item but am drawn back because I notice a SECOND ONE exactly the same next to it. I can't stand it. So I open it and it is the same...only NEVER USED. The inner metal bits are still wrapped in plastic from the factory.

Now I really wanted it.

But, in the name of simplicity and frugality, I asked myself my usual questions:
Do I need it? (well, no. I have tons of lovely thermoses and other food hauling items)
Does it replace something plastic with something not plastic? (well...no. It would replace something entirely metal and recyclable with something partly plastic)
Is it useful? (well...no. The inner containers are just too small to be useful to someone of my size and appetite. Maybe if I only hauled condiments. But who the heck has a dedicated condiment thermos?)

Anyway, it killed me to leave it there. I hope someone else bought it and will love it.

At the next thrift store (I have a circuit), there was another cool thermos type item. This one all metal! And retro with the original label still on it from like the '50s or something. It was a beverage or food cooler or warmer. So said the label. it was round like those beverage containers they use at camp and at construction sites or to pour gatorade over the coach after winning the big game. Only no spigot. And shorter. And metal. Basically it was a round metal cooler. Again, I don't need it. I have a metal cooler (but not round) with a retro original label from about the same time period. I do not need another cooler by any stretch of the imagination. So, again I had to leave it there.

I think I may have to quit thrift shopping unless there is a specific item I need. Crap. Now I need a new hobby.

To get rid of my shopping addiction, I passed it on to Jonny. We had a nice long phone chat today in which I introduced him to the wonder that is craigslist. He had not navigated this. I was shopping on it for a recumbent trike (more on that in a later post) and then I started shopping for whatever. At the mention of china (tableware) Jonny noted that his was dull. I got on the Denver, CO version of craigslist and found the CHEESIEST cowboy dinner dishes EVER. Jonny
wanted them. He wanted to drive right over and buy them. Jonny has a problem. I banned him from craigslist.

Anyway, I've got to get my beauty sleep! I'm on the radio tomorrow. It's good it's not TV as I have a zit on my chin the size of Mount Fuji. It has not one, but FOUR whiteheads on it. If only Aunt Billie were here. She loves to milk a zit.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Why Can't I Remember

What I was going to post about??
I had a super idea for a post today while I was sitting staring at an excavator, then a scraper, for hours today.

OH! Why it's amusing to live in a tiny town. The kid and I stayed in Plummer last night due to my having to work at about 4am today. (starting work at 4am BLOWS. Being done working for the day by noon is pretty cool).

So last night after supper, the kid wants to go to a cafe for pie. I had pie for lunch so I was just going to have a beverage.
We head out and stop at the post office first. At the cafe we walk in and immediately run into one of the elders I work with frequently so we have to chat. We make it to the back room (better for pie), and there is another couple of friends. So we chat some more. The waitress comes over and its the neighbor lady. So we chat some more.

The pie is very good here.

After pie, we walk home. On the way we wave to many people. Then I notice lots of people going to city hall and I know about half of them so we wave and chat. A bit up the block one of the city council persons flags me over to her truck. She's standing outside of it looking chagrined. Turns out she locked her keys in there. She asks me to climb up in the bed, pull out the pass-through window behind the seat, crawl in and get the keys. I do. (Thank god I haven't put all the weight back on or I'd still be stuck in that window.)

The kid and I found this very amusing. In our big city apartment, we like the neighbors and chat sometimes, but most of the time, no one talks to us. In Plummer, you always feel a bit like the homecoming queen or like you are living on the set of Cheers where everybody knows your name.

There is a downside to living in a small town...like when you want to have a piece of pie and NOT crawl through the back window of a pickup truck.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Green Eggs and Ham

Well, ham anyway.

I was reading one of my many "frugality" blogs that I like and found this tidbit which now seems super obvious. If you by an actual ham, rather than lunchmeat ham, you not only get a higher quality product (relatively), you pay less. I tried it and it's true. The kid likes ham sandwiches. Apparently there is no limit to the amount of ham he will eat. So I make them for his lunch at work and sometimes for supper with soup or salad. This time instead of crappy plastic baggy of watery ham, I got a 2 pound watery ham in plastic wrap. Less plastic per serving. And almost 2$ per pound cheaper. I of course sliced it up and froze 3/4 of it. We'll get a half pound out of the freezer per week. That ought to do it. Now if only I could freeze parts of the giant blocks of cheese rather than buying the costlier smaller cheese. I've never had success with the smaller cheese.

Other frugal move: back to making my breakfast bars. This saves not only on breakfast, but on laxative since they are laden with fiber (or "fibre" as the trendy people say). The recipe is on here. This time I threw in some huckleberries and juice I had in the freezer so they are sort of a lavendar brown. Like if you fed a baby purple popsicles then it pooped. Ick. But tasty (the bars, not the poop).

Now if only this blasted heat would end!! I've kept the apartment 10degs cooler than outside so far, but only by shutting off all lights and unnecessary appliances, closing windows, and covering many of them with foil, cardboard, or sheets. Not pretty, though apparently effective.

I'll be back in the trailer for a week soon so can do a comparison between apartment passive cooling and trailer passive cooling. Honestly, I think the trailer performs better. It has more shade on it, and more effective cross ventilation to get it cooled off at night. Also, it's a good 10degs cooler during the day down there and often 15 or 20 degs cooler at night due to less pavement and more trees per hectare. (I could use any measure of area, but though "hectare" made it sound more sciency)

I am no longer going to try to be funny on this blog because Angela's blog is SO MUCH FUNNIER than I could ever ever be. I suck. She even committed to being funny all the time. I can't take the pressure!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Flood Specific Blog

If you are looking for Fred-n-Sher Flood updates,
Pam set up a blog just for that.
She has posted one new bit, and we'll try to move my flood specific entries over there.
Those looking for flood news probably don't want to know as much about me, my politics, and my non-toxic home cleaning habits as will be posted here.

The new flood blog is at
or the old fashioned way: http://fredandsher.blogspot.com/
OK, I'll just leave this entry as is to let everyone click on the new blog link above and then start back on my wierd hippie liberal diatribes tomorrow.
Thank you all for tuning in to Flood Watch '08
and for encouraging and supporting Team Wagner '08

Sunday, July 6, 2008


OK, I just accidentally deleted an entry. CRAP!

I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Groovy Thrift Finds...and at last I'm booked for a wedding

But first, the flood update:
The house is fully dehydrated. I am sending anonymous flooring samples to Sher.
There are some great deals online and I think if she puts the sample in a high traffic area and abuses it, she can tell if it will hold up to usual wear and tear.
Sara Jane and Slugs were at
Elkader with Fred and Sher for fireworks. Sara J. and Fred went trout fishing. Sara proclaimed it the best goddamned trout fishing of her life. Floods must be good for both bullhead AND trout fishing.
This concludes the flood report.

Now for my groovy thrift finds.
I have to go to a wedding in August. Freaking AUGUST. It's HOT. And, none of my good clothes fit at all. Went thrift shopping today and got linen pants, linen top, and sandals all for under20$. The top was new (tags and spare button baggy still attached) though at a thrift shop so pretty
spendy for a thrift buy. I love the thrift.

Now for the wedding booking:
The kid and I went to a party yesterday (which you know was not much of a party since I was willing to go) at my friends Anne and Yvonne's house. They were barbecuing some turkey and people were supposed to bring sides. I brought a pie and they made far too big a deal of it. But it was the only dessert. I think their other friends were not raised in potluck cultures. Everyone was very funny and there were 3 great dogs. One, Chinook, greeted everyone who came by ramming his wet muddy head into their right boob. Nice that he was so consistent.
Anne and Yvonne are getting married next summer and had already booked someone to officiate but asked me to co-officiate. That was sweet. I hope they don't expect me to wear a dress!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Back to the point of this blog.

Note to relatives looking for flood updates: I will post them when I have them.
Today Sher, Fred, Pam and Rob are going to Elkader for the 4th so no flood news.

If the relatives clamor for it...I can start a flood specific blog.
But for now I'd like to get back to what this blog was supposed to be about...me me me.
Is that selfish?

This started as a way for me to think through living a simpler and frugaler lifestyle so I'd like to do that today.

I've made 2 frugal moves in the last 24 hours.
One cracks me up.

For Christmas Pam/Sher gave me this super cool grocery basket/bag thing. It's the size and approximate shape of the hand baskets they let you use at the grocery store, BUT it's made of fabric (probably petroleum based fabric but whatever), can be stored flat and then you insert little plastic ribs (like the ones in the sides of my bra that are supposed to keep my pit-fat from making the sides bulge out) in each side and it is a nice rigid basket. There is a metal frame
around the top and a handle than can fold flat or stick up. The fabric basket is attached to this with velcro wraps every few inches. So in theory you can take it apart and wash the basket bit. But this hasn't been necessary because it's quite wipe-off-able.

The final cool feature is the pocket on one side (inside) to hold the ribs. Actually, I use this to hold my reusable organic cotton mesh veggie bags. And coupons and my list.

(I found a photo and stuck it in here...apparently I got a good deal since it costs 35$ at sur la table.)

So, since the grocery store in Spokane is across the street from the apartment, I just grab my basket (preloaded with veggie bags, list, coupons and etc) and head over. I shop into the basket, unload it onto the conveyor belt at the check out and make them reload the stuff back into it. At first they tried to put the crap in a plastic bag THEN into the basket but I've got most of the checkers trained now.

One check out lady, Sharon I think is her name, asks me where I got it every time I'm in there and how much it was and don't I love it and isn't it neat.
I keep telling her I bought some for gifts and have one left over.
Then she goes on and on about how it will fit right on her bike.
Yesterday she started again and I said, "I have another. It's never been used. I paid 10$. Do you want it?" She did. It took me like 5 minutes to get back to the store and she was so excited.

I got 10$ AND I got rid of clutter. Cool. I may start an e-bay page/site/whatever to offload some of my other stuff that I just don't need. I have some cool things but if I haven't used it in a year or have upgraded, why keep it?

That was one cool frugal/simple move.

The other was I noticed the shower is disgusting. It needs to be cleaned. Perhaps after spending time at Sher's bleaching and scrubbing everything, I'm on a bit of a tear about cleaning (I'm making the kid clean his room today too...I never do that but now that the laundry key is probably lost somewhere in those depths of laundry and teen stank, it needs to be shoveled out and organized a bit). I don't keep cleaning chemicals other than citrasolve around the house and that wasn't cutting it. I did however have a giant box of baking soda. So after getting a pie in the oven (going to a potluck later), I poured baking soda all over the tub and shower. It always gets the sink clean so I figured it would work on the tub. It did! That thing hasn't been this shiny in months. As long as I was in there I did the whole bathroom. It's like 6feet square so not much of a chore but I still avoid it for too long. Next time I might try salt and lemon juice. It's a pretty strong acid and cleans the kitchen drains out pretty well. Why not the toilet?

Pretty soon I'll be making my own lye out of wood ash.

Oh...one final frugal/squalid move today...
it was so freaking hot yesterday and while I love my big windows, 4 of them are on the west side of this house and we're on the 2nd floor so not much shade. The heat was pretty amazing through the old single pane glass. I've covered the top half of these windows with foil. We'll see if that helps limit heat gain. It should. It might also blind the neighbors but what do I care. They never invite me to the parties around the barbecue at night. What college kid does not want some 40+ granola woman with a stray kid hanging out at their party?? (OK, all of them.) (Unless I was willing to bring the beer but I'm not a beer whore) (wait...wouldn't I be a beer pimp?)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Home, Home in Spokane

Where I totally don't want to be.

Oh well. I'm just peeved because it's HOT HOT HOT. But the sun is down now and it's starting to cool off. Yeay! It's not too bad as long as I stay huddled directly in front of the fan blowing 88 degree air at me. The kid went over to a friend's house...probably a friend with AC.

I was going to make a pie today but it's too dang HOT so maybe first thing in the morning I can face turning on the stove.

Also we lost the laundry room key (I'm pretty sure it wasn't ME who lost it but I don't want to assign blame until we're totally sure) and I like laundry. Also, the laundry room is in the basement and cooler and I hide down there when it's hot.

So, the only flood report I have is that Stan was there yesterday and opened up the basement stairs. This is very good. Pam thinks he may get a bug up his butt and take the whole flight out and replace them on another trip. I had a bug up my butt because they are wood, there had to be poowater under there and that was the most likely place left that could get rot (that and the porch walls...but we'll deal with that another day).

OH! Pam also said that Sher managed to clear out the second floor so they can live up there and on the 3 season porch for a while! This will amaze anyone who has been there because that room was packed with their stuff. I mean packed. So was the closet. So was the attic. The bathroom had a bit of clear room but only in the tub. With a bed and potty right by they will be happier. (Fred has been peeing out the back door of the camper. Gross.) I don't know if they've moved in and I REALLY don't know what Sher has done with the stuff that was up there. She has this knack for consolidating things into smaller and smaller spaces. Sort of like when Bugs Bunny would fold a whole house up into a tiny packet the size of a matchbox.

I have NO idea what they ate today. Sorry.

At work today it was one of those days when I like working for the Tribe. An e-mail went out to all of us at about noon saying that we could leave at 1pm and still get paid for the whole day. That happens pretty often the day before a holiday. They let us go early so we're not in bad traffic and so people can get a head start on family activities.

And it was payday so win win.
The kid is working there with me this summer and took his first paycheck and got a PS3. This is apparently a very nice video game system. He says he'll save later paychecks. We'll see. He has been pining for this game system for over a year so it was not exactly an impulse purchase.

I stuffed my paycheck in my bag and will use it to pay exciting bills. woohoo. I may even use some to find out what the heck is SQUEAKING in the front end of the car. I don't know if it squeaked before I had the new bearing and whatnot put in in Iowa (the old bearing was dead. So was the hub. And the axle. And the CV boot). It squeaks now. But not all the time. This forces me to listen for the squeak all the time as I vainly try to determine the cause and location of said squeak. I was thinking of going to Boise in a couple of weeks to do some research at the SHPO office there but it might depend on getting rid of the squeak and if I can get caught up at work.

I went into work at 5am-ish to get through e-mail and phone messages before the parade of people came by the office to ask about my trip. Funny how they all start with "did you have a good trip?" Yeah. Who doesn't want to drive 1500 miles each way to help their folks clean poowater out of everything and watch their house be demolished from 2' above the floor all the way down through the basement. It was a laugh riot. Actually, there were many funny bits but people often misunderstand things we find funny. Like when Uncle Dick got Uncle Stan to bury Great Aunt Mary only it wasn't Great Aunt Mary's ashes, it was horse turds and a note saying "Gotcha" which was revealed when Uncle Don showed up a year later with the real Great Aunt Mary Ashes. The people at the cemetary who dug the hole 3 times (once in the wrong spot, once for turds, and once for Mary) did not think it was funny either.

Here are a few funny moment from flood clean up that haven't made the blog yet:

Brian and Fred going fishing for about 2 hours. Brian coming back and repeatedly announcing in the way that only Brian can that this was, "The best goddamn bullhead fishing of my life."

Shelly pointing out that Brian had grown up to be Fred. (and it is kinda true)

Pam wearing her doo-rag all the time...it's really a dishcloth tied around her head.

Sara Jane coming back after seeing her REO truck photo on this blog and saying "I look like a guy"...yes, Sara, you do in THAT photo. Actually, I thought you looked like Grampa Wagner and Shelly thought you looked like Grampa Hawbaker.

The lawn mower races were even funnier than they look in the photo but I can't really describe how or why.

Sher playing Wii Fit is HYSTERICAL and when Sher wasn't there Pam and I were playing and Sher's "mii" (pronounced "me", it is the little cartoon of yourself that you create in the game to represent you) starting doing things Sher actually does. It was a little creepy but mostly funny. Also, Sher just playing this video game is hysterical. Perhaps moreso because she had a nice glass of wine before she played.

That's enough for one entry. I'm sure there will be other funny moments that occur to me.

Happy 4th of July to you all.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Home, Home on the Rez...

Where the stray dogs and cats play...
sort of lost the rhyme there but you know what I mean.

I'm back in Plummer. I avoided work but just snuck into the office late to update the blog on the office computer (no dial up or anything at the trailer anymore).

Turns out on Tuesday I drove 792 miles...cripes! Too far.
Only about 230 to get to the rez. I plan to come to work super early tomorrow so staying in Plummer tonight rather than driving another 100 miles to Spokane and back.

I think the weekend will involve many things that do NOT include driving.

The last day on the road was thankfully uneventful.

I haven't gotten the flood update this evening. At noonish the house was still drying, the stairs were still not opened up, but Stan had come to get his giant generator and move some stuff out of the neighbor's yard back into Sher's yard (some piece of equipment). Sher had pulled nails out of wall studs until the house got too hot from the dehumidifiers. She's going to find out how long before she can paint those with Killz and get the wallboard back up.

Sher is also researching floors to replace the hardwood. She is thinking cork for the kitchen.

Here is some back story that didn't make it in earlier blogs.

Fred said that for the next flood he has that 10 sand bag system (just block the holes in the foundation rather than trying to build a levee).

Pam suggested a 2 bullet system instead. One for Fred to shoot himself. And one for Sher to make sure he's dead... (we're not a nice people...but we DO show up if you actually survive the disaster. And if you don't survive the disaster we make sure there is plenty of jell-o salad at the funeral. It's the least we can do.)

Fred and Sher will be going to Elkader for a day over the 4th which is nice. A little break will do them good. There isn't that much left that can be done by them personally until it's time to paint and paper. I wonder if Sher can contract herself to do the work...then use a Small Business Administration loan to pay herself. If Cheney/Haliburton can do it, why not Sher?
(sorry...politics just snuck in there)

OH MY GOD!!! I forgot to ask what they ate today!! Damn.

The No 'Poo (as in no SHAMpoo...see previous posts for explanation) update: My hair still had a crust of plaster dust and poowater on it even after a couple of good washings. It felt like it had glue or some sort of shit-adobe in it. So I filled the sink with water and baking soda and soaked my head in it for like 20 minutes then did a dilute apple cider vinegar rinse. Now it is clean and SUPER fluffy. And I do NOT smell like pickles.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On the road again

On the road again...

I'm at Missoula, Montana now. In the lovely Ponderosa Lodge. I don't see a website for it. There are some complaints on tripadvisor.com, but I've been here twice before and it seems fine. It's only 60$ so not bad at all. HUGE room...20 cinderblocks long (I know this because the interior walls are cinderblock). It's probably 10 wide. Since it is all cement (even the ceiling) you certainly don't hear the neighbors.
It's also across the road from a grocery store. Here are a couple of room photos:

Not fancy, but very clean and I like the couch. I think I may have had it in an apartment at some point. We also have the same floor lamp. Apparently my trailer is decorated in "cheap motel."

Here is the flood update as far as I know:
The dehumidifiers are running apace. Fred has not opened up the basement stairs yet and Pam tells me that we're not talking about it. There is an unreachable spot under the basement stairs that could probably use drying. Sher will have to handle that one on her own.

Sher dealt with FEMA, Small Business Admin, and Red Cross paperwork and funding issues today. Sounds like fun.

Billie visited! They had lunch and she brought 3 tomato plants to get the garden going again (even though you should not eat veg grown in poowaterground). Keith had also said he found a bunch of Fred's worms up in Elkader but I don't know if those got sent down.

Fred power washed a lot of things today. I don't think they can go in the house much due to the dehumidifiers making it hot and not wanting to have the doors open (why pay to dehumidify the planet).

So, enough flood...back to me.

Today I drove from Wall, South Dakota to Missoula, Montana. According to google maps, that is 768 miles and should take 10.5 hours. I was on the road about 12 hours. I stopped to pee quite a bit and I had to get gas and things so I suppose there were about 11 actual on the road hours. Plenty of construction.

The COOLEST thing I saw was a truck hauling an oversized load. As I passed I could read the truck that was the load...it was a GIANT yellow contraption and the side said "Kotzebue Airport Rescue and Firefighting". They must be hauling it all the away to Alaska. that would be a hell of a drive especially with that load.

Other than that...lots of driving. Then more driving. Followed by, more driving.
I should be home to Plummer by mid-day tomorrow. I may go in to work after a good shower and a nap just to do some triage on what I missed. Ick.

Anyway, it's early but I want to take a bit of time to relax.