Friday, November 28, 2008

Sweet Potatoes

We were invited to have Thanksgiving with Uncle Bill and Aunt Barbara, and our assignment was sweet pot.s. Liz decided to participate in the T-Day Turkey Trot in downtown Dallas that morning, so the assignment to peel and cook the spuds fell to me. It was not an onerous chore, so I popped out of bed and turned to. In my rush of enthusiasm, I didn't even check with Miss Fannie Farmer, whose book has instructions adjusted to the meanest of understandings. Since my task was given to me as peel the spuds and cook them, I peeled them first. I know - we often do it that way, but the CORRECT way is to scrub them, cook them, and THEN peel them. You let them cool a little after cooking and then the peels will slip right off. I read this little gem of information as my sweet spuds were cooking, so after they came off the stove I checked. Sure enough, there was a distinct layer of peel still on the spuds. We still had time, so when Liz got back from her stroll down turkey trot lane I was trying to find an easy way to get the rest of the peel off. Liz says she doesn't bother getting it all off, and it tastes OK - just not as smooth and sweet as what's inside. I made a pact with myself that next year I will remember to cook first and peel later, but then I had this sinking feeling of having made that resolution before.
What we made was a sweet potato souffle from an internet recipe:,1950,148174-244197,00.html
Liz found it while researching for interesting wedding foods and when we made up a test batch, we all thought it was outstanding! Josh says it tastes like sweet potatoes with ice cream mixed in.
Dinner at the Benac's is always an excercise in bedlam, but we had a good time. There was lots of great food. Afterwards the Cowboys won their game, so that was a nice topping on the T-Day cake. Sadly, Ruthie had to watch A&M go down in defeat later in the evening.
I left Benac's with Joe to help him get his PTAC kit together for his big debut Friday (today) when he and Josh are doing all the PTAC units at a Red Roof Inn in Irving, as a test to determine whether they do a good enough job to qualify to do a boatload of motels in that chain. Joe borrowed a brush, two rechargeable drills, two levels, two canvas tool bags, and five Sharpie pens. And maybe some other stuff. Aren't you impressed that I had all that stuff to loan them? I was.
This morning, Sterling wanted me to put a new roll of tape in the dispenser in the art drawer. Then he wanted to keep the empty roll, and ultimately he taped the colored version on his nose to become a piggie. So then Winter did too, but Ginger just made a pig face.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fall is finally here

We’ve had a remarkably nice fall to date. Of course, I always like Fall best of all the seasons, but this one was great. We finally had our first freeze (low temp. was 32 degrees) about a week ago and it was slightly chilly for a couple of days, but now it’s back to beautiful, again. This is a photo of the trees on our street. We usually don’t see so much color at one time, because just as the trees are turning color we either get a good, killing freeze, or high winds. We are forecast to have a few more nice days, then over the weekend the high temps. Will dip down to the lower 50’s. We might even get another “freeze” on Sunday. Yes, winter is on her way.

We are having a low-key Thanksgiving, going to Liz’s brother’s house for T-day dinner and watching the Cowboys. Wedding plans are consuming us more than anything else, because we plan to get it mostly settled before December, so we can then stress about Christmas, instead.

Clear Sky Handy Men is hard to measure just now. I’ve been getting lots of good leads. Of course, some don’t turn into actual income, but what’s happened here lately is that people don’t want to start a project until after Thanksgiving. I’m sure Christmas will slow work down a lot as we get closer to it. Still, I have several large jobs to do next week that have been waiting for the turkey to die, and I have a helper lined up. Maybe I can actually make some money for a change.

Jessica is a fine photographer, but she took one that is kind of amazing. I wish I had a copy of it full-size, but this one will do. It is my granddaughter, Ginger, and her pet (for 2 or 3 days) frog.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thursday, Joe called and told me he was going to a Facilities Managers Show at the Market Hall in Dallas. So I decided to tag along, thinking that I might learn something, and probably could gather some nice "trash & trinkets", which is always fun. At first I was just tagging along, but I registered as Clear Sky Handy Men, not as Varsity Contractors like Joe, so I got all the sales pitches separately. I was pleasantly surprised that 2 of the exhibitors told me that if I'd like to do installs for them, they could sure use me. That's exciting and I WILL follow up.
At the end of the first row there was a big exhibit by Sunbelt Rentals, which is located in the Lowes stores. They had some big lifts and heavy equipment on display so it took me a few minutes to place them. They also had a big wheel, kind of like a roulette wheel, but homemade. They had Joe spin it and he won $60 in coupons, which I thought was way cool. Then they let me spin and I gave a gentle little spin thinking I might get the same thing. As it slowed down, all the Sunbelt guys started talking and saying , "he might make it" , "it's coming up", "I think he's going to hit it" , and stuff like that. I was surprised, because they hadn't been that interested when Joe spun. Turns out what whey were excited about was that I was sneaking up on a slot labeled SURPRISE, and I did land on it. As a result, I got to choose between two Bosch tools and take it home. I was really dumbfounded! Bosch makes high-end tools - very expensive, but extremely well-made. I chose the circular saw, even though I already have a pretty good one. But this one is way better! So now when I get to the point of hiring help, I can keep my good one in the shop and have one for work.
Joe and I got through the last booth at about the same time as the show ended, so we also got lots of trinkets.

After the Show, Josh and I went out "hunting". We got there too late to do much serious hunting, but we sat out and watched the woods for a while, then lit a fire and enjoyed foil dinners with feral hog hot-links in them. Next morning, we did some serious target practice. Josh is a good, natural shotgunner. I was throwing clay pigeons and he was breaking most of them. Then we shot my carbine, and then a 30-30 I've had for a few years and that I had big plans for. I have previously offered all of my kids a gun if they wanted one. So far Mark and Joe are the only ones to take me up on it, but Josh hadn't had a chance. I told him he could have that 30-30 if he wanted it and he thought that was grand. I told him a bit of the history of the Win 94, and that they are no longer being manufactured. It is fun to see him so pleased.