Friday, October 21, 2016

Sneaky Spice

Lynne, one of my co-barn builders in that Build A Barn book Julie Sefton put together last year, did an amazing thing for me.  She sent me a spice cabinet.  That is just a reminder that you never know where your friends are going to come from, so be nice to everyone!  LOL

You know how important my kitchen is to me, how much I love to cook.  And how I am fighting the little inadequate kitchen in the camper.  Christie gifted me with that slow cooker that has been a life saver.  Lynne gave me the ability to season.

I told her I was having a kitchen orgasm!  Vietnamese Cinnamon!  Spanish Paprika!  OMG!  Oregano, nutmeg, Bouquet Garni!  I was in love with the range of spices.  Things most people don't use, but I use them all!  Mexican Vanilla, tarragon, cumin. Basil, lemon pepper, rosemary, ginger, thyme. 

All so simple, and so basic.  I am so touched  once again,  by a simple gesture like this.

In India, cooks use the same red beans we have here in South Louisiana and add cinnamon and allspice.  The result is a mild, sweet bean dish that compliments the tandoori chicken.

I make the absolute best ribs using Spanish Paprika in the rub.  No, no....I won't give away my secret!

There is this delicious apple pie I make that has a crust full of shredded cheddar cheese.  You pile the 3 kinds of apples high in the middle and fiddle with some amazing spices.  It melts in your mouth.   My son-in-law eats half of it, so I have to make two when he is nearby.  I think he can smell it from across the fields.

Remember my bay leaf trees I had to pull up this past weekend? Lynne even included bay leaves in the box!

You are amazing, my friend.  And right at the moment I needed it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

One Step Backwards......Again

Frank and I are very careful about our credit.  I have had only 3 credit cards for many years now.  We always had two, but with the internet I added the third.  I use it only for internet purchases.  I keep a credit limit of only $500 on it.  I figure if someone steals it, they will only get $500 before it shuts them off.

The other two are the ones we use all the time.  One earns airline miles and the other earns cruise points.  Frank uses both of them for his business purchases which includes a lot of food, gas and hotels.  So the balance runs up pretty quickly.  And I generally use the other for everything else.

I pay my insurance, groceries and daily buying stuff.  Lately, I also have used both accounts for the massive amounts of house supplies.  Since we are using Carrie's crews and contractors, I have the ability to purchase the material myself without a contractor mark-up and get the benefit of Carrie's professional discounts.  I have purchased things like counter tops, dry wall, drywall mud and screws, lunch for the guys and cabinets.

Well, at least I tried to purchase cabinets.

I met with Logan at Ourso Designs on Monday and we looked over the final layout of cabinets for the kitchen, guest bath, master bath and den.  We cleaned up about 3 details and felt we had it all ready to order.  They only place orders on Wednesdays.

I left my credit card information with her, the cruise line one.  They require 3/4 down before placing the order.  This morning she had two questions for Jay the contractor, and she was ready to order.

Logan called me at about 4 pm.  She said the card was not accepting the charge.  We realized that since this was a very large amount, the fraud controls were kicking in.  I decided to call the credit card company and ask them to approve the purchase in a one time thing, something we have done before. 

The problem was not only the large amount, but also that we purposefully keep a low credit limit of $15,000 on the account.  To increase the limit would require a request to another department, approval of said request, and we would have to wait 24 hours to complete a charge.  I didn't have that time option.

So I chose to use the airline miles card.   But I called them to get the approval before I called Logan.  Not my first rodeo, you know.

This account is at the same bank we use for personal banking.  The call went well, until we got to the amount.  The credit limit, while higher than the first account, was still not quite high enough.

I offered several creative solutions.  I could transfer the amount of the charge from my checking account to the card, create a credit balance and then charge it out.  No dice, he said.

Second solution was to charge half of the cabinets today, pay it out tonight, then charge the other half tomorrow.  I thought that was a great McGuyver solution!

No dice, but I really didn't understand the reason it wouldn't work actually.

In desperation, I said, check my credit score and my checking account balance, transfer the amount of money you want out of it, just do it before 5 pm so we could order the cabinets.

So it ended with his supervisor agreeing to up the credit limit for 3 days, approving the single purchase from Ourso and getting me to swear on my dog's tail feathers that I would be a good borrower and do the right thing!

By the time I got off the phone to call Logan, it was 5:15 pm and she was gone pecan. 

I lost it.  Again.  Tears.  Again.

It is just too much to take sometimes.  Fifteen minutes means that I will be a week behind in the cabinet order, a week later in November means that we are now into Thanksgiving week and vacations and loss of workers and the holidays. 

So much.  So much.  Too much.

You say I am strong, what I don't tell you is that I have stress diarrhea daily, my stomach is killing me and I cry a lot.  Frank started breaking out in hives yesterday, his inside elbows and knees.   Skin stress. 

Before all the cabinet credit stuff, we thought we would go to see a movie today.  Stress relief.  We chose Deepwater Horizon.  That was the BP oil rig blowout.  Frank is in the industry and is often flying or on a crew boat out to these rigs, although this was not his account -- thankfully. 

He was really interested in seeing this movie, so we chose it over Sully

When the blowout part started, it had gotten so intense that I was shaking and trying to calm my  heart beating inside my chest.  When the people started dying, I was sobbing.  He barely got me out of the theater, my legs were like rubber. 

I rode home in the truck trying to catch my breath and still my heart.  I thought I  was going to die right then and there.

It was not the greatest choice of movies, for sure.

And I already knew how it ended.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I cried again.....this time for gas

Yesterday was one of the most frustrating and stress filled day in the Recovery Phase of this Flood Event.  AI have to admit, I cried again.  Several times.

We chose to have the hot water heater replaced, simply because it was as old as the house and they usually have a life of 20-25 years.  So being proactive, as we are, we decided while the house was in disarray we would just hire a plumber and replace the old one.

Aside from this fact was the discussion I had with Frank that I wanted to put in one of those new On Demand Heater Systems.  I researched it and told him that is what we needed to do.  A bit more expensive now, but a lot of savings in the long run.  So he calls a plumber and has a regular hot water heater put in.  I was not really all that happy.  Not at all.

Then we had the leak, which turned out to be on the Entergy side of the meter, not the side we were responsible for.  And still.....they turned off my gas because they didn't have a permit for the hot water heater install. We did, but that was beside the point for them.

The inspector came out on Friday afternoon to inspect the hot water heater install, which I am now resigned to having the old style one and not the new system I wanted to put in.  And Frank swears he is not controlling........but I digress.

Inspector guy says to give him an hour and call to have the gas turned back on.  I called Monday morning.  The Entergy lady told me there was no permit and no inspection and she couldn't do anything without that.  She gave me the first number for the City Permit Office.

The call went like this:

Dial.  This is the Permit and Inspections office for East Baton Rouge Parish.  Our hours are 7 am to 4 pm.  We do not accept faxed orders.  This mail box is fill.  Goodbye.

I called Entergy back, they gave me a second number that defaulted to the same message and hang up.

I called Entergy again, sounded shaky but not teary just yet.  Another number and same message, hang up.

I called Entergy again, this time the lady had no patience with me.  She said it was not Entergy's requirement that we have a permit and inspection.  I said, well then, turn my gas on.  But that is not what she really meant.  Another number and the hang up.  That is 4 if you are counting.

I called my Councilman Buddy Amoroso.  Deanna said she would look into getting someone at the inspector's office.

Energy guy with new meter
I called the plumber's wife.  Lori said she had a friend in the permit office.   Lori asked me to call Entergy, tell them the leak was on THEIR side of the meter and we are not required to get permit or inspection for that.  Entergy did not care.

It was now 11:30 am.  Frank had been coming in and out from his garage office.  At one point he actually said, all you need to do is to get the gas turned on, why are you not calling Entergy to schedule it?

At 11:45 am he suggested that we take separate cars to lunch because he thought I might be happier alone.  Oh, yes, that made things so much better.

From time to time during the afternoon I would call the 4 numbers hoping that they would be getting their box cleared out at some point in the day.  No dice.  Hang up.  I even added another number at some point.

At 2 pm we went to the final meeting for the cabinets.  Jay the contractor called wanting a status update on the gas.  No gas, was the status.

I was at loss.  I couldn't get anything done if I couldn't get a person on the phone at the inspector's office.

At 6:45 am this morning I started calling the numbers for the city parish.  At 7:10 I actually got a lady on the phone who says they do not fax anything anywhere.  OMG........I started crying.

She hurriedly passed me to her supervisor.  He told me he was going to help me.  And he did.  two hours later an Entergy scheduler called to say the guy would come to unlock the meter today.  He just left.

I HAVE GAS!  No kitchen to cook with, no shower to bathe in but, gosh darn, I have gas!

And it only took 5 dead end numbers for the City Parish, Entergy, the plumber, my contractor and a City Councilman.  And two crying fits. That's all.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Planting Dogs

OK, I am still alive.  Better, but still not breathing all that clearly.  But better.

So much better that I worked on the patio area on Saturday and got a lot of stuff cleared up.  I drained the water out of the fish pond.  I still can't believe Moby and Ahab left me.  They just swam off in the largest pond they have ever seen!

So I drained the sewer water out of the fish pond bowl.  And scrubbed it with 1 cup of vinegar in a gallon of water.  The scum was about a quarter inch thick in some places.  After rinsing several times with more vinegar water mixtures, I let it sit for the afternoon.  Sunday morning I added the new clean water and reset the fountain pump.

No fish will go back in until I am ready to be responsible for more lives.  Can't handle that right now.

Looks like I was in another dimension when was doing the work.  Whoooooooooo!

After the fish pond was done, I disposed of several plastic planters by using the dirt to fill in holes made in the front lawn by the claw machines. That low planter was made by Carrie and I.  The technique is called hypertufa and is made of cement and peat moss.  We made a ton of different shapes, all of which survived the flood.

We pulled up the bay leaf trees that were dying from being in the flood.  The other bushes are not looking so great themselves.  I don't think the Flood Insurance will pay for dead shrubs.

This was the only thing that got planted!

One thing that was interesting is the strong color of the inside of the nandina stalks.  They are bright yellow.  I would like to see if they would transfer that amazing color to cloth.

Here is what it looked like after we were done.  Before and then after.

Hey........I wondered where that glue stick ended up!  I guess I have to amend the insurance claim now from 10 glue sticks to only 9.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Now If I Could Just Breathe

I forgot to take photos of the choices I made at Triton's slab yard.  Boy, do they have some really beautiful pieces of granite and quartz.  There was a beautiful dark green piece of onyx.  If I had an unlimited budget and a mansion, I would buy it and back light that baby!  Can you imagine a green glowing counter top?

I chose black honed piece of quartz with some small details for the kitchen.  Honed slabs are not as polished shiny as regular slabs.  Typically it is a bit cheaper than  the highly polished slabs. But I really love the look of the dull stone.  And a mostly white piece of marble with some grey and tan streaks for the Master Spa bathroom.  Now if I can just get a plumber.

From there I went home to meet the cabinet guy Richard.  While waiting for him, I saw Nancy, my neighbor who relayed messages during the flood from her daughter and Carrie.  She and Greg are staying with 3 different friends, moving around every two weeks.  The camper is better than moving like that.

I forgot to show Jay the Contractor the window in my quilt room.  It is double paned and seems to have water inside the two panes.  Not good.  This may mean I have to change out all the windows on the front of the house.   I can't imagine how much that will cost. 

I spent the afternoon at my GP.  He diagnosed me with a bad sinus infection and gave me pills and cough syrup.  I am actually surprised that i have not had an infection sooner with all the  horrible stuff in the post-flood world.

For kicks, I bought us a treat for supper!  We had those with a couple of chicken pot pies, and we had dinner.

All I want to do now is crawl in bed and sleep this headache away.  Hopefully I will be able to breathe again soon. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Master Bath Plumber

the plumber was scheduled for yesterday. He was to re-route the pipe from the jucuzzi bath to a new shower with two heads and three jets.

Here is how it went:

Tuesday - no show

Wednesday - showed up late but left without doing anything

Can you hear me scream from there?


Tuesday, October 11, 2016


All of this flood stuff and having to rebuild my home has overshadowed a very important thing for me.

I have two barns that are traveling in some major quilt shows.  Last weekend they were in Chattanooga and before that in the Des Moines show.  I was going to go to one of them and see my two barns nestled among the others in the Build a Barn exhibit with Julie Sefton. ( you can see the link for the book on the side of my blog.)

The flood has overshadowed a lot of things.  I don't have even have access to my photos since my server was under water.  Right now I have nowhere to put a new one, so it waits.

Charlie who owned the forklift that moved Frank's accord out of the driveway, said of his living know, I

 am real tired of living in the RV.

Hey, Charlie, I totally get it.