Saturday, November 20, 2010

Boom Boom

Lock up your dogs and sharpen your knives: Huntin' season has begun.

Rifle season for deer, that is. It started at sunrise this morning. It is well known that if you pronounce the "g" in "hunting," you will never get a deer. That "g" makes it easy for the deer to tell you're a pansy and not a real hunter, see. So when rifle season begins, even well-educated people with careful enunciation drop that "g" in anticipation of venison. Like us.

We also have to put Otty the Escape Artist on a leash in front of the house so she doesn't take off into the woods and get herself shot. One or more of the dogs will eventually make a break for it and find a delicious rotting deer carcass that they will then proceed to gorge themselves on and drag back to the house piece by piece (Exhibit A). But we keep them close for at least the first few days of the season, when the activity is at its peak and their likelihood of being shot is highest.

So all the dogs are locked up tight, the woods are reverberating with the echoes of rifle shots, and the deer are in mortal peril.

Yup. Must be huntin' season again.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I actually took a couple of pictures of the chaos that is the dining room right now, so you could see how we're living. Then I turned the camera off and proceeded to the kitchen to get coffee. While I was in there, I decided I should take a picture of the work in progress in there. But the camera wouldn't turn on again.

The batteries are probably dead. They're rechargeable, which is great. It would be even greater if the charger hadn't been in the kitchen and is therefore now in the great mess of stuff I had just taken a picture of in the dining room. I have no idea where the charger is--I have a hard time finding large light fixtures in that room at the moment, forget a four-inch piece of black plastic.

So no pictures today. Sorry.

On a more positive note, the state of the kitchen has been forcing me to return to a previously amusing diversion that I sort of forgot about last winter--woodstove cooking. The appliances in the kitchen are functional, but I really prefer to get the hell out of there when there's plaster dust flying around from sanding the ceiling and whirling dervishes in the shape of the MiL and her sisters priming anything that's standing still. So dinner for the past few nights has been courtesy of the woodstove. Lamb chili last night, kielbasa and sauerkraut the night before. I think Italian sausage, peppers, and potatoes tonight.

I set up a little cooking station by the woodstove, with a small plate on the mantle to hold the stirring spoon and a towel over the small table by A.'s chair to set down hot lids or pots. It's not entirely convenient, but it keeps me out of the kitchen. That's pretty much my whole goal until everything is done.

I may run out of woodstove meal ideas before that, though. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Independent Corroboration

My suspicions have been confirmed by outside, unbiased observers: Cubby is huge, happy, and handsome.

I don't go a lot of places with Cubby where he's examined by strangers. We go to family events where everyone is biased in our favor, to the village where everyone knows us, to the doctor where everyone is jaded from constant contact with kids. But on this trip we encountered numerous strangers who felt compelled to remark upon Cubby. Without fail, their comments were positive. Now granted, not a lot of people are going to come up to a parent to let them know their kid is a miserable pill with a funny-looking face, but we got so many comments about his size, his attractiveness, and his jolliness that I'm almost convinced I haven't been deluding myself.

No less than four complete strangers referred to him as a "tank." As did my father. This is now his new nickname. One flight attendant said he looked like a wrestler. I'm not sure if that's a compliment, but point taken. This kid is big.

On our first flight, we had a male flight attendant who I could tell was not particularly enthused about children. Not rude or anything, but none of the little smiles and cheery comments that people who like children inevitably provide when faced with a kid. But by the end of the flight, when Cubby was standing on my lap grinning at the man as he went by with the trash bag (it could have been the bag Cubby was grinning at--he does love crinkly plastic), the flight attendant stopped to let me know Cubby is a good-looking boy and so happy.

The happy comment was a very frequent one. At least a dozen people felt compelled to remark on it. And he wasn't even as happy as he normally is, due to a combination of extreme exhaustion and, on the trip out, teething. I don't have much experience with other babies, so I guess I take it for granted that he doesn't cry much, doesn't scream, smiles at anyone and everyone, bounces around and plays, and is generally a very content baby. This is, apparently, not the case for every parent.

So, in short, everyone loves Cubby, Cubby loves everyone, and I should be thanking my lucky stars every day that I was given this particular child.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We did indeed survive our cross-country funfest yesterday, which included a really wretched two-hour drive home from the airport in pitch black and pouring rain. Yay! We got home around 7:45 p.m., and Cubby went straight into his crib. Could he form coherent words, I'm sure he would have been saying something along the lines of, "THANK GOD. What took you so long?" Or maybe not, since he was asleep before he hit the mattress. Poor kid. He's a trooper.

The MiL had the woodstove going and dinner all ready for us, bless her heart. She also had the kitchen all torn up and every item from it in the dining room because she and three of her siblings--brave souls all--have started the absolutely staggering task of painting and papering the kitchen.


Considering this was last done in the 1960s, you can imagine the amount of work involved. The cleaning alone took days. Our kitchen was really, really yucky. Kind of inevitable, since to call it a heavily used kitchen is a drastic understatement. But still. Gross.

So they're mostly done with the cleaning and have moved on to the sanding and priming and prepping. This means that all of the dishes from the kitchen are on the dining room table and the various foodstuffs from the cabinets are in boxes all over the place. Cooking will be a challenge for awhile.

We're supposed to host Thanksgiving this year, which I suppose gives us a goal for completion. Or maybe we'll just have to make everyone eat in the parlor this year. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Well Hello, 5:24 in the Morning!

Yes, it is indeed that absurd hour of the morning, and I am indeed up and showered. Voluntarily. We're leaving for the airport at seven, so when I woke up at five and realized I would never be able to go back to sleep due to the Important Thoughts engaging my brain (such as, OH GOD I HATE taking off my shoes at airport security), I figured I might as well get up.

There are few things less appealing to me at the moment than leaving my parents' house to embark on the epic journey that is transporting a baby across the country via airplane, but it must be done. So we will once again brave the Not-So-Friendly-and-Definitely-Uncomfortable Skies to return to our country estate on the lake.

Blackrock, here we come!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm a Lifelong Learner

They say (whoever "they" might be) that you're never too old to learn something new. I totally agree. For instance, I just learned last night that lime-flavored vodka is actually a fabulous substitute for gin if you and your husband and brother and sister-in-law have managed to consume the entire bottle of gin (it was a pretty small bottle) in two days but didn't make it come out evenly with the tonic water. Don't you just hate it when that happens? Yeah, me too.

It would really be too bad to leave my parents only a half bottle of tonic water*, taking up space in the pantry and going to waste. But dig out that bottle of Smirnoff Twist of Lime triple-distilled vodka left behind by a previous houseguest and TA DA! Delicious vodka tonics. A radical departure from my beloved gin and tonic, but lovely in their own right. Just so you know. Because we are all students in this great classroom of life together.

Or something.

* Do I really have to go home tomorrow? It's supposed to be 78 degrees here on Friday, and I think the forecast at home is calling for the dreaded "wintry mix." Ew.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Easily Satisfied--That's Me

Know what's intensely gratifying? Loading a dishwasher when you have to routinely do dishes by hand. No boiling water on the stove because the hot water is all gone, no fishing around for utensils in the bottom of the dishpan and slicing your hand open on an unexpected knife, no hefting a full dishpan up to dump out the water. A dishwasher is like magic! The dishes go in dirty, you press a button, and half an hour later, the dishes are clean. What will they think of next?

Good thing we're going home on Tuesday. I may be in danger of getting spoiled by these new-fangled appliances.