Saturday, February 21, 2009

So About That Twitch I've Developed...(and a recipe, too)

I've been saying for a while now "If one more thing goes wrong I am going to (fill in the blank; it varies)." Now may be the time to fill that blank right in. Things are coming under control, I am feeling inspired. Sketches, swatches are flying around the house. I am totally stoked about Sock Summit. Meg tells me I should not say "stoked", but what does she know?!

And then Something Else happens. Let's recap. Since last spring we've had (in no particular order): burst pipes, dead well pump. A bathroom sink stopper, which used to be an easy fix but thanks to "modern" plumbing requires a task force to repair, apparently, is busted which means that the water just accumulates endlessly and you have to prop the drain open with a piece of broken chop stick. The dishwasher hasn't worked in so long I've forgotten when it was exactly that it died, but "before Christmas" would be accurate, as I remember the clean-up from dinner with the kids. My car needs service, and just this morning began announcing this quite loudly, but after paying for the pipes and well pump, let's just say that's not on the table right now. My mother's successful surgery was followed by a week of hell in which we were not certain she'd chew and swallow again, let alone walk and talk, both of which she is, I am grateful to report, doing very well now. This surgery followed six or so months of drama and crisis and doctor and hospital visits during which I somehow managed to write a book. So really right now I am about as out of energy for, well, living.

On the up side, we went to Florida and the plane did not crash. I hugged chipmunks. I ate indecent foods, including some animals I never met before. I had an adult beverage with Tinkerbell on the side of the glass, and another with a light-up ice cube. I finished the second book, and no one died. I took on some design work, including a sweater or two, and a few socks. I am settling in to some kind of rhythm. Progress, I feel progress. Things are not as bad as I think they are, right? Or...are they?

Very early this morning before we'd even gotten out of bed I began a litany of "stuff we need to take care of". First, I announced, the toilet needs to be dealt with. It just wasn't acting right, but since it's one of 3 of the stupid things, it didn't feel critical. Then, I said, the dishwasher really has to be fixed because it wastes water to wash by hand, and the sink stopper as well just because it's annoying me. Next up is the front door, which the previous owner chose to paint badly, throwing green paint on an un-primed metal surface, causing peeling and cracking. The whole door has to be stripped, primed and repainted, a situation compounded by the extra layer of paint applied by the former owner. Note to homeowners planning to sell - do not torment your buyers by doing things wrong. It may save you time and maybe even money, but in the end the new owner will regard you with about as much generosity of spirit as that reserved for the IRS guy. Which is to say, not much. We need 2 more garden boxes this spring, and seeds need to be started next weekend, so I need the lights and heat mats and tables. There's more, but you're probably already good and bored. Anyway, I run through my (and I really do not like this phrase, but here it seems to fit) "honey-do" list. Honey do this, honey do that? I do not do plumbing. I will install flooring, paint, trim, saw, what have you; I've put in insulation, hung sheet rock, and even built a chicken house or two all on my own (but they were both rather small). I also excel at demo work, which may say something about me, but we won't go into that right now. I do not do large electrical (dishwasher) or plumbing (fussy toilets). Those are jobs for someone else.

We rose from bed and headed off to begin our day; a shower for me, making coffee for him. He headed down to "his" bathroom (a benefit of having so many of the stupid and at this moment utterly useless things; we each have our own), where he discovered that the delay in aggressively going after the fussy toilet had resulted in a minor catastrophe, or a major one, depending on your tolerance for "gray water" a half inch deep on your bathroom floor at 7am.

I am griping about this for two reasons. Maybe three. First, it seems that for every positive thing that happens in my life, a negative must accompany. Second I had a plan today that did not involve sitting here waiting for the plumber. We were supposed to go to Williamstown to The Clark, and then fetch Girl from the train for spring break. And third. Has anyone heard about this alleged recession?? You know, the economies are all messed up and sad? Well, I can feel it. And money for a plumber is like a knife in my heart right now. I've quit lattes. I've stopped buying organic. I've delayed car maintenance. I'm trying to decide what to cut to cover said plumber.

Here's what I think. This replaces what I previously thought, which was that we'd come back from vacation and things would settle down. I am amending that, so here's what I think as of today: This chaos really began in earnest in the spring of 2008. By May of 2009, things will be back to smooth sailing once again. Until then, don't stand too close. I am not certain it's not contagious.

Yesterday I tossed a bunch of stuff in a bowl, poured it over turkey thighs, and 8 hours later got back a decent supper. I present it here for your amusement, and hope you'll try it and report back, but only if it's good. If it's bad, well, you don't have to tell me. I don't think I could take it today. The bold things are what you'll need on your shopping list.

MMO's Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Turkey (because even if everything else is chaos, we still need to eat!)

In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup peanut butter (the all natural kind, just peanuts, nothing added)
1 1/2 tablespoon Thai green curry paste (this is delightfully floral and not curry the way most people think of curry. Kids would eat it)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons lite soy sauce (mine if gluten free)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I wanted rice wine vinegar, but had none. it was a good thing in the end)
juice of 1 fresh lime
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (more if you like heat, less if the people who don't are watching, then squirt more in when they turn their backs)

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, then whisk in

2 cups organic chicken broth

In slow cooker with crock (I used a Proctor Silex 1.5 qt round slow cooker. A Crock-Pot would work as well) place 2 whole turkey thighs, bone in and skin on (this is important. a huge amount of flavor comes out of those bones and skin, and fat can easily be skimmed off during or after cooking) along with 1 sweet red pepper, sliced thin. My feeling is that you could substitute some other poultry, although I recommend dark meat; legs and thighs or wings as it works well with the richness of the sauce. Just my humble, and all that.

Set slow cooker to high and ignore for about 5 hours. Reduce to keep warm, and ignore for a couple more. About an hour before serving (or however long your method requires), prepare 2 cups (when cooked) of brown rice on stove top or in rice cooker (Zojirushi's 5.5 cup Fuzzy Logic is my best buddy, and no I did not pay that much for the thing! Holy cow!).

Turkey will slide off of the bone and melt in your mouth. Serve turkey over freshly prepared rice with or without a bit of sauce. Add some green beans, and a crisp unoaked chardonnay, and have at.

Some folks find this amusing. It's not wholly lacking in entertainment value, although Boo was not impressed, as you can see.


Kathy said...

Had the HVAC guy here at the house again today for a furnace issue. The entire house stunk of melted something. This is his 3rd visit in 5 months. My furnace is less than 7 years old. It's about to be relieved of it's duties as is the HVAC guy if anything else goes wrong with it in the next 13-18 years. Grrr.

tina said...

Hugs and more hugs. Houses that argue are hideous. Part of the reason I must confess to the whole Downsize Thing and the attending loveliness of calling someone else to fix stuff in a timely and smiling manner.

The recipe sounds DELISH and I will most def give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Another person - for whom things going right signify am upcoming disaster - yea!!!
I thought I was the only one.

A few years ago, I would slow down to catch red lights when driving across the city (or stop at green lights) because the "good luck" of arriving at an intersection on a green light (and thus being able to sail right through) would be more than off-set by the un-niceness of events after the journey.

janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca

Deborah Robson said...

Your pup video is one of the good things.

When we were walking our dogs yesterday, I noticed that about 80% of the cars we passed (which was a decent number) have broken windshields. I think we are not the only ones who are putting that job off for better days. Among other things. I won't give you our list, because it's just a list. Toilet, yes. Get furnace (25 years old) checked, ah, should really do that. And so on.

I'm REALLY sorry you missed out on a trip to The Clark to wait for the plumber.

We just started making dinner over again because the butter that had been in the freezer had been there a bit too long, alas.

2009 has got to be better than '08. May, you say? I'm for it!

Adrian said...

The recipe sounds GREAT, Melissa.

My gosh, this post made me nervous. Your life is my life. At least we're still alive. My in-laws are visiting soon, though, so that could change.