Always tweaking something!



Good ol’ Winter Storm Stella seemed to start a little slowly.  Or maybe just late.  But that gal had some staying power.  Our area had just recovered (almost) from a one day windstorm where the measured peak gust topped out at 82mph.  Here in western NY.  Over 100,000 customers without power.  That’s about 1/3 of out county.  We were spared  from that and actually hosted our son and his clan for a day before their power was restored.

Spent Saturday morning at their house cleaning up some ash trees that fell.  The largest took out a swing set we had just built last summer.  Clearing out the rest of the ash trees is high on this springs to-do list.  The Emerald Ash Borer is wreaking havoc here.  After that, the swing set will be re-built.

Then came Stella.  Slow, steady and with the endurance of a marathon runner.  Tuesday morning, not so bad.  Tuesday night?  Less than great.  Got home to 12″ in the driveway (I love my 4WD truck, yessir!).  Got the driveway cleared out, came in and collapsed.

Wednesday morning got up early so I could clear another 10 inches out of the driveway.  If you’re keeping score, that’s 22 inches in about 30 hours.  Made it to work fine.  Schools closed, many businesses closed.  Traffic was wonderfully light and our road crews here kick some serious butt.  Sure, there was some snow in the road, but for the most part you could find clear wheel tracks to ride in.

I’ve been providing rides to a colleague at work who is up visiting from Florida.  She’s helping me clean up some work that got delayed by another client flexing some muscle and re-arranging my schedule.  She got a front wheel drive car but hasn’t driven in snow for years.  Her hotel is also having trouble keeping the snow from drifting in over their driveway.  My truck gets in & out fine, no way her car would make it.

So.  Wednesday night I drop colleague off at her hotel.  Drive home – house is cold-ish.  Dropped to 60 or so.  Turns out the furnace vent got drifted in and the controller won’t run the furnace with a clogged vent.  Went around the side of the house, cleared out a 4 foot tall snow drift from around the vent.  Furnace is fine & we were back up to a toasty 68 in a couple of hours.

There are another 4 or 5 inches of snow waiting for me in the driveway – I’ll get that in the morning.  That makes our total snowfall from Stella 26 inches in about 42 hours.  Not a record for here by a long shot, but it was nearly double the forecast.  Oops.

Thursday?  Back to normal.  Roads were actually pretty clear coming home tonight, morning rush ought to be back to usual.  That’s too bad,  I was actually enjoying driving on the nearly deserted roads during our local travel advisory.   Guess normal is all relative, eh?




Well. Got more snow than was originally called for. Thought they were calling for an inch of snow Sunday night into Monday. Ended up getting a couple inches Saturday night and another 4 or so Sunday evening into Monday morning. Driveway was warm enough that half of it melted and we don’t fret a couple of inches of snow in the driveway. Maybe now I can put the snow blower away for the season.

24 hours from now (1:53PM EDT 4/5/16) I fully expect to be in one of Boeing’s finest jets headed south out of Chicago, kinda sorta following the Mississippi River down to one of the most fun cities in the country. Going to need a cocktail or two tonight just to get me to sleep.

Everything there is to know about the festival is here: French Quarter Festival I do believe I heard that last year there were 750,000 visitors over the 4 days of the festival. So come on down – there’s plenty of room! I’ll be at the Zydeco stage.

X’s & Y’s

So. When did I last write? Was it around the “Blizzard of 2014” time? I put that in quotes because, really, to excite anyone around here ya gotta deliver more than a measly 14 or 15 inches of snow.

Then there was the little surprise we had this past weekend. Something like a combined 12 inches of grauple/sleet/freezing rain/mostly snow. That stuff was extremely heavy. So glad I got a snow blower after the boys went to college! But since Sunday we’ve had a couple days in the 50’s so all that stuff is almost gone now.

Bowling season ended last week. Missed my target average by a whopping 14 pins. I needed 14820 pins over 78 games to hit that magical 190 average. Ended up with 14806 and a 189.82 average. So NEXT year we’re aiming for a 195 average.

In baby news, that little Avery is still the cutest thing on the planet and has more energy than 3 Energizer Bunnies. She never walks anywhere. Hop, skip, run, bounce, but no walk. Incredible. And her parents (Z & J) decided to find out the gender of their #2, due Sept. 3. Looks like Avery is going to be a big sister to a little brother! The important bit was that yesterdays ultrasound showed that everything was progressing just fine – head looks good, spine is in good shape, fingers are flexing – all good stuff. The fact that it’s a boy is gravy – we all would have been thrilled either way.

In a couple of weeks E & K have their next ultrasound (well, mostly K. E will be there for morale support) and they too will be learning gender. Their due date is 9/13 – like the baby cares! But September promises to be pretty thrilling.

Then, last night I learned that my nephew & his wife down in Tennessee, who originally declared they weren’t having kids because this was a horrible world to bring children into, had a little announcement of their own. Apparently they’ve had a change of heart about the whole bringing a baby into this world bit. Turns out they are having twins and are due just after the bunch up here.

So here’s my poor mom, who right now has 1 great grand child. By the end of the year she’ll have 5! Somehow that makes me going from 1 grandchild to 3 sound not quite so bad. And? I’ve been telling my nieces & nephews (all 6 of them) that I am a great uncle. You know, great, as in a jolly good fellow kind of uncle. Now? I WILL be a Great Uncle. Thanks to Z & J, my brothers already enjoy that status. About time the older one gets to join in, eh?

I gotta run. There are 5 other kids in my son’s generation that are technically capable of having kids. Granted only one of them is married, but at the current pace, one never knows who’s going to get knocked up next!

They shut down work!

Guess the National Weather Service bulletins made an impression on the corporate bigwigs back in Massachusetts.   We got the high sign to head for home.  If we can work from home – fine, if not then take it as a 1/2 day vacation.


This is what the roads look like near where I’ll have to drive:



That’s a traffic cam shot of the lovely I-390/Ridgeway Ave intersection just a few miles north of my house.  The roads themselves aren’t so bad, yet, but I guess the winds are up around 30mph and the snow is coming down 1 – 2 inches per hour.

I have reports to write & upload and frankly, I can do that from the comfort of my own living room just as well as I can do it sitting at my desk.  Plus?   There’s a re-purposed table & 6 chairs in my bay of the garage and I’d really like to get them in the basement so I can park my beast in the garage tonight.

For something completely different – we smoked a couple of whole chickens a couple weeks ago.  Sent some home with the kids and put some in the freezer for ourselves.  Finally figured out what to do with the leftovers.  Saw a recipe for  Cajun Turkey Pot Pies at Simply Recipes. Only had to make a few subs. Instead of actually making the crust, I got prepared crust. Of course I subbed my smoked chicken for the turkey (had lots of thigh meat too – yum!). Oh – I did omit the jalapenos the first time through too. (Odd – I normally am quite the chili head and don’t consider jalapenos hot at all) Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. I have to say – they were fantastic. Absolutely NOT your mothers chicken pot pies. More like chicken gumbo pot pies. Next time (there WILL BE a next time) I might add andouille sausage or maybe I’ll dry some jalapenos in the smoker and use that (yeah, kinda like a chipotle, but home made). I did sacrifice a very nice bottle of dark beer (Great Lakes “Edmund Fitzgerald” if you must know), but it added such a depth of flavor and no beer taste at all.

I have one pie left over and I’m having it for lunch today. Can’t wait. So I’m going to do what the corporate bosses say and go work from home. Write reports, upload stuff and maybe varnish some moldings for the basement. Oh – I owe you pictures of that progress. Maybe next time.


Put up or shut up time

Well, it appears that winter storm Vulcan is on it’s way to the Great Lakes area.  We look to be in for maybe a whole inch of snow Tuesday night, then 8 – 12 inches during the day Wednesday and another 4 – 8 Wednesday night, so maybe  12 – 20 inches total?

Getting to work in the morning will be a breeze.  That 4.1 mile commute home will be fun though.  I see much driveway snow blowing in the future too.  Ought to be a blast with the 20 – 30 mph winds.  I think most schools are anticipating at least closing closing early if they open at all.  Might have to see Detroit & Cleveland get overnight before they commit.  But work?  We won’t be shutting down.  Not a chance.

It’s about time we got some significant snow here too.  Poor folks down south have been getting pounded and we get our 3 here, 4 there and somehow have accumulated 86 inches of snow for the winter.  (Not on the ground now, just total snowfall)  Tomorrow’s little blast ought to get us to 100, our long term average snowfall for the season.

Speaking of averages, after last weeks pre-game bowling hype, know how I bowled?  Very average.  First game 2 pins under avg.  Second game 1 pin under avg.  Third game 4 pins under avg.  Total – 7 pins under.  So much for trying to get 20 something pins over.  Now I need at least 35 pins over this week.  Next week is the final week of the season where we bowl a position round and have our singles tournament.  Team wise we are hovering in the middle of the pack, just trying to maintain more wins than losses and barely making it at 106 & 102.  Might have to switch back to argyle socks, the T. Rex socks just didn’t have it last week.  Maybe my purple argyle socks with a nice purple polo shirt.  Could be the new power combo.

Two grandkids coming in September.  Still can’t get over THAT one.

Thought I Quit Smoking!!

Day 2332

Got a little snow in the area Saturday. Maybe a whole 4 – 6 inches. Not a lot bu local standards, but it did inspire me to try a new activity. Fortunately for you, I only have pictures of the inanimate objects involved in these exploits and none of me.

The short version of the story? Saturday night while soaking in the hot tub I had the brilliant idea of making a snow angel in the back yard. In that virgin 4 – 6 inches of snow.

Here’s a random young gal displaying the correct technique:

The Technique

When you’re done, you should have something that looks like this:

The Result

Except, picture me making that angel wearing nothing more than a conservative pair of swim trunks. The invisible force field you get in the hot tub lasted until my second sweep of my arms & legs. Then I gave it one more sweep and jumped out of the snow and bolted for the tub. Think there was still some snow clinging to me in places. I dared Cindy to do it too but she bailed right at the last minute, afraid she’d have trouble getting back up out of the snow. I would have helped her, after capturing the whole sordid mess on video, of course.

I was going to get a picture of my own snow angel, but the local deer are apparently also art critics. The snobs walked right through my angel! Plus, we’ve had a little more snow and the contrast has been reduced significantly. And NO, I won’t be repeating it anytime soon.

The scarier part of the evening came just after the half-nekkid angel sprints. The dryer was occupied doing laundry, so to get our towels dry for the next trip to the tub, I hung them in front of the (glassed in) fireplace. Who knew the glass was hot enough to start a towel smoldering? Who knew that when you pulled that towel away from the fireplace it would burst into flames? Who knew that the *&%#$ smoke detector that goes off every time you sauté a few onions in butter wouldn’t go off when the family room was chock full of thick blue smoke?

Once I had the towel in my hands I rolled it up to smother the part that went flambé. Then I got it out onto the back porch and surveyed the damage. Poor towel was totaled. It looked kinda like this:

Towel Flambe!

On a plus note, Zach & I bottled 5 gallons of Irish Stout (Think Guinness Extra Stout) Sunday. Now it needs to sit for 3 weeks so it can carbonate and mellow a bit. January 30 we’ll be busting it out for a little test run.

Zach, filling the bottling bucket.

Lovely dark beer

That whitish stuff on the bottom of the carboy is mostly yeast & hops. There’s also a wide band of yeast around the top that was deposited there during the height of carbonation. Surprisingly, it was fairly easy to clean. I just don’t know what the local water treatment facility is going to do with that load of yeast. Does it even matter to them?

Next up is a batch of Octoberfest Lager. I also got a book of beer clones – 150 of North Americans favorite craft beers. One of them is Eric’s fave – I’ll have to see if he’d like a batch brewed up for his wedding. Some of them take 6 – 8 months to fully age, so I may have to start early. Nothing like a little anticipation!

But it was 80 the other day!

Wasn’t it 80 where I was the other day? This is our parking lot at work today. Ugh.

  • Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.