Thursday, May 31, 2007

When I was picking up seasoning for our last crawfish boil of the season this past weekend, I ran across a sazon by McCormick. So tonight I am cooking Francesca's bean recipe to have with ribs tomorrow.

Sounds good, eh?

UPDATE: Let me try this recipe again at another time. Those sun-dried tomatoes were too old. Talk about a "whang."

Sorry, Francesca. I'll do better next time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This spending to mitigate global warming seems to really work.

Here at 4:30 p.m. on the 30th day of May it's only 83F outside. The average for this date is 86F. See?
New Windows

Four gentlemen showed up at 10:15, installed nine windows (three of them double), and were cleaned up and packed to go at a quarter to three.

They were a courteous group, and more importantly, were courteous to each other.

UPDATE: Why no mintons? I was outvoted on dividers for the windows. Windows do work two ways, and the men in my family want to see out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The installers are here.

Joe Miller has 28 years in the business. Good deal.

Well, let's hope today is the day. Or it might be tomorrow.

UPDATE: Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Parade

Julie Finley of The Natchez Democrat wrote a short history of the local Memorial Day parade here. The drummers practice in the neighborhood near us for a few weeks before the day. Since I have the camcorder, I thought I'd go see and share.

This tape shows where the parade emerges from the neighborhood, and a shot as the marchers start to cross the Mississippi bridge.

And despite my voice I wasn't drunk. I was distracted. I've never thought of filming a public event.

(3 minutes)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Time to Lighten Up

I like the look of this template, and can read it well enough, but what about you? I am worn out with boxes and hard colors.

Comment capability might or might not appear with this post.

UPDATE: Well, that's good. But I didn't save my other template and I have a lot of catching up to do.
We planted cucumber seeds this year, and the fruit is coming in.

We keep a container of them peeled and sliced in a solution of rice vinegar, a little water, and salt in the refrigerator at all times.

However, there is a nice, cool, easy soup that I found years ago in a New York Times large-print cookbook that might be good this week:


1 med. cucumber
2 c. plain yogurt
2 c. chilled chicken broth
2 tbsp. finely chopped walnuts
1-1/2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Black pepper
Chives to garnish

Dice cucumber fairly finely. Sprinkle with salt and let stand in refrigerator 20 minutes. Mix together yogurt, broth, walnuts and garlic. Rinse and drain cucumber. Add to liquid mixture. Black pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped chives. Makes about four servings.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The crew blew the insulation in this morning. Of course, now I'm reading that blown fiberglass loses R-Value when the temperature drops below 50F. Whatever.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

All right, Possum, you did it.

I just got a call from the window installer. The lead guy who was coming this way got a call in Jonesville from school in Alexandria that his 10-year-old son was sick.

He turned around and is with the boy at the hospital now. Seems the boy was ill with a stomach virus, but felt well enough to go to school today. But he's dehydrated from the virus and is being attended. The man asked for a couple of days off.

So now we're looking at Tuesday morning. No skin off my nose, but Papa Possum, did you have to include the boy in your jinx?

UPDATE: Or did the father run across Eileen at the Stop and Shop and decide to shack up for the weekend?
Lucy has another egg today. She had one on Monday, too.

That's three this month.
I got LSU's interim mascot right here.
Ahem. It is 10:10. There are no workers here. We have received no calls. I'm getting a dial tone when I lift the telephone receiver.

I've taken down the pleated shades in the great room.

What's the deal?

UPDATE: Mr. Vater doesn't know where the crew is, either. When I called he said they should be here. He can't raise them on a cellphone.

I hope they haven't been in an accident.
Our energy auditor, Mr. Byrd, was appalled at the amount of air infiltration caused by the recessed lights in this house. All the reports remark that they are terrible energy wasters when the housings are in unconditioned spaces. They play hell with air quality, too, allowing dust and gases from the attic into the house. Lyman installed most before Halo (Home Depot, Lowe's) manufactured airtight housings.

That's one of the reasons why Mr. Byrd was pushing us toward foam. Well, foam is right out of the budget, and I've been worrying about what to do about the lights.

After some research, I've found that Halo makes retrofit kits to make housings airtight for six-inch housings. In combination with a gasket fitted under the ceiling trim, these lights can conform unto California's Title 24 Energy Efficiency Standards, which are strict.

That would only leave six four-inchers without protection.

If you have the same problem, be informed that the Halo retrofit trim kits are part of the SUPER TRIM catalog. It took me half a day to find out the name of the series. Kits for flat recessed lights run about $15 for white ones at Home Depot and Lowe's. I haven't found a price for eyeballs, but they are available.

Sure beats Lyman going into the attic and rewiring all of them. There are 16 of those up there.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The windows arrive today and installation starts Thursday.

I dread the coming disruption, and I hope these guys know what they're doing 'cause I sure don't.

The birds are gonna be beside themselves.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh, Charlie, the big tiger died.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lucy laid an egg today.
$2000 for foam insulation? Not even. That's something in the range of $7500. An R38 layer of blown fiberglass is more in that range. So that's what we'll go with. The fellow who'll install that insulation will manufacture caps for the recessed lights, which should provide some sealing.

The duct guy has been here and will start work on Friday. New ducts are of better material and will carry this house many years forward.

Ducts, insulation and windows, in that order.

It's a fair dreadful time to do these things, because we'll have the air-conditioning down for days. But when the summer really heats up, we might see some savings.

So, Al, what's going on in Nashville? You get some new lightbulbs or something?

UPDATE: From what I understand, the house in Nashville is about 70 years old. It would be interesting and enlightening for the Gores to detail the steps they're taking to make the house more efficient.

Monday, May 14, 2007

When we replace said chairs, I want to bring those home, but this time we carried a club chair home (we might be the only family who takes old things from the beach property to the home property).

So I bought a couple of bottles of Tilex to give them a good cleaning. There is no place on the property there to get after something with a water hose, so I used pails of water to rinse the chairs down when I was done.

On one trip to the balcony I slipped in a spill of water and fell flat of my back and knocked my head against the tile floor. No breaks or splits, but I feel every one of my years and then some days later.

But the old chairs look pretty good.

Monday, May 07, 2007

This type of patio furniture is called "strap" furniture and I can find one vendor in this resort town that sells it for a cool $135 a chair. The design has changed a little since these were bought in 1984 or so, but they've held up well over time except for some peeling paint, and one broken strap from six chairs, and it was cut some way after the hurricane. Our boy Fitzroy painted them once in one of his stays here, but he and his wife Ann are now busy at their place in South Carolina.

Our guests love these chairs. They're both comfortable and sturdy. Do we replace these chairs? Internet cost runs about $65 a chair plus shipping and figuring out how to get them delivered. Or do we tap down to Wal-Mart and buy 6 poly chairs for the price of one.

UPDATE: There's a lot to be said about renting a condo here and then bitching about what's wrong. And I have been remiss. Rents here are up to about $245 a night in the summer, and I don't even have the interest to justify that.

And we need a new refrigerator. There's absolutely nothing wrong anywhere except for an internal band of rust at the bottom of the door that interferes with the gasket. That's another four hundred to replace the GE bought in 2001 or so before the hurricane.

Friday, May 04, 2007

We are at the coast.

We arrived to find one of the sofas thoroughly stove-up, so it's turned into a furniture-buying trip in addition to an owner's meeting tomorrow.

I am not in the least interested in going into the second-generation of renovations that development down here demands. Those include custom cabinetry in the kitchen and bath, granite countertops and assorted other high-dollar investments.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Janis, you're very quiet. Why so?

I'm always quiet while I'm thinking about spending money.

We have accepted a bid on replacing the windows, we're looking further at blowing foam insulation into the attic, and we need to do something about our ductwork. All of these things contribute to energy inefficiency in this house.

We are in process of becoming a HERO home. Supposedly, under this program we can get some cash back on our improvements.

We paid for a visit by Home Energy Rater Wade Byrd from Baton Rouge, who is a practical energy guy, who also thinks that Al and his like should practice what they preach.

One of the things that he told us, and that his equipment proved, is that the recessed lights that we installed are all direct conduits to the 140 degree heat and dust from the attic. He suggests blowing in non-rigid foam. He does not like dry celluose. Wet cellulose he'll go with. The foam will seal the lights, and bring us up to an R38 rating from the near worthless 2-1/2 inches or so which has packed down in the attic with less bulk. We haven't gotten an estimate yet from the local provider of that service, but there, we're looking at $2000 or so.

But, you know, if we do those improvements we'll spend about what we paid for the enormous Viking, which you'll pry from my cold dead hands, and that substandard Jenn-Air.

Because I do think we should conserve energy. I think global warming is real, whatever its source, and a 30 percent savings is a reasonable goal in this old house.