Missing boots and Parmesan paranoia

This is not easy for me but I just have to do it. I have been complaining for weeks about my missing boots. Now that we have massive snow, I have been in serious need of boots for my feet. Here I am complaining about the Imelda wannabe I live with and her collection of ornamentation for her Princess feet and now the whole foot/shoe issue is coming to bite me in the behind.
I do have to say, regarding the allusion to Imelda, and to explain that I need to mention the beloved Imelda Marcos, wife of Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines’ fame, illustrious wife of the dictator who had immense quantities of footwear, that I have take some flak from readers regarding my shoe stance. I must say to them that men do understand the true issues and that we need to periodically poke fun at things in order to deal with things that are perhaps beyond our control and might even give us some pleasure. We just cannot always admit that!
Today, when rummaging in the living room closet, I decided to move the portable crib (with the name I can never remember) found there. Stow and Crate? Stow and Play? Whatever! In doing so, I solved the mystery of the last few weeks, the missing boots. I must mention her that my “cowboy boots” are still MIA, however.
I had mentioned that I was in a store and asked to check out boots and I refused. I had finally resorted to looking for sales on them only to find out that MK had taken matters into her own hands and purchased some new Sorel, top of the line boots at a decent price from Nordstrom rack. They arrived yesterday and I sheepishly pulled them out of the packaging, admired them, and somewhat moved on, trying to hide the intense pleasure that they were bringing me. I didn’t want to make a big deal of it.
Today, I find the offenders and I offer you a photo of them. Hidden in a backpack where I apparently had put them, were the boots I have been looking for, making their appearance a day after the new boots arrived. To be honest, in making a comparison of the two pairs, the new ones look like Porsches next to Ford Escorts. So, I guess I shall deal with my pride and just accept them.
I must publicly apologize for the Parmesan paranoia that I have put upon my family members. They deserve better. On the other hand, my sons throughout the years have literally fed my paranoia by taking my things and not telling me about them. But, I am really sorry nonetheless.
So now I have two pairs of boots…”Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” meaning The more things change, the more they stay the same. I guess I just need to reform, maybe the days of stealing Dad’s items are long gone and I just have to deal with my own ridiculous nature.

The Soup Spoon debacle

 

Tis a cold day once again in the northern suburbs of Chicago and I ponder a subject brought up to me by my sons recently, the ubiquitous soup spoon.  I must admit that I have generated some funny stuff in my time and the soup spoon subject is one of them.  For some reason, years ago, I discovered that I truly enjoyed soup like many people, and I still do.  My grandmother always made all of the family noodles and I grew up not really knowing the store bought variety.  Her noodles probably made soup such a large part of the Koerner repertoire.  Along with this, I was also spoiled by using a most amazing soup spoon, one that makes the “dégustation” of it all the better. 

I don’t know why, but for some reason, the soup spoon intrigues me.  There are so many shapes out there and so few of them appeal to me.  I am sure that most of you are going to be wondering what I am talking about.  How can it be that the simple shape, size, and weight of a spoon can affect your enjoyment of something?  It can, however, and when I moved to Chicago from Cleveland I brought my own special soup spoon, absconded from my mother’s kitchen.  

The infamous soup spoon is on the left, simple stainless steel, lightweight and thin, and having the perfectly rounded, not too small or not too large shape.  For some reason, soup just tastes better with this implement.

I realize that everyone does not have the reaction to this issue that I do, and at times I thought that perhaps I am odder than the average Joe.  Frankly, I am guessing that I am.  Mary Kay has assured me of this fact from time to time.  Mary Kay’s reaction to the soup spoon issue has always been one of incredulity.  She didn’t understand why I would make a face when a different, heavy, humongous, spoon was given for me.  She didn’t get that using it would make me enjoy the experience less.  For her, a soup spoon is a soup spoon.  I guess I was just born with a stainless steel soup spoon in my mouth and she wasn’t!

For years I wondered if perhaps I needed professional help in this area.  I was almost to the point of wondering if I could really enjoy soup with the wrong instrument.  I feared going out into the public arena and being forced to ingest soup with a less than perfectly shaped piece of silverware.  Restaurant forays scared me for this reason. 

Along came the Koerner boys and I soon realized that although I now had to share the one, precious spoon I had imported from Ohio, that I had proven that spoon shape does make a difference.  Over the years, the Koerner boys and I had constantly vied for the position of wielding the stainless steel soup spoon.  When soup was served, we would all do our best to jockey the spoon into position at our place setting.  

The result of all this is that I came to a new understanding of myself and the fact that I really am “okay!”  My fascination and need for a good soup spoon was normal! 

A few years ago, we made an important discovery.  In my acquisition of the Dirilyte (or Dirigold) silverware we received when we broke up my mom’s household, that we were in need of a few replacement pieces.  Good old eBay came to my rescue.  I inadvertently picked up a few more pieces than I had planned on, among them the soup spoons.  For some reason, we rarely used the soup spoons of this set, but one glorious time, we did.  I discovered that although the stainless soup spoon was good, the Dirilyte version was spectacular.  The other thing is that I now had a large quantity of soup spoons at my fingertips, and we would no longer have family squabbles at dinnertime!

Yes, the Dirilyte version is even better.  For some reason, the shape is perfect and even more importantly, the weight is right.   It is the perfect soup spoon.  Why this has not caught on with the American populace is beyond me.

Do I need a life?

Snowmageddon V: Whoa, still battling and…

 

Late afternoon, as the snowplowers were convocating in our house, several difficulties came to the forefront:  the plow on Christian’s truck was not responding.  Between grabbing a bite to eat and resting, Christian went out to see what was going wrong.  He did a little bit of Internet research and figured it out, but due to the day that it was and everything being closed, we were out of luck.  Then, his truck decided not to start.  That was a real issue because since the blizzard had pretty much shut everything down, there was no place to get help, and we thought it was the starter.  Finally, the snow blower we had to do the local driveways decided to not function at all.  Earlier in the day a wheel fell off and Mikey put it back on with bolts he found in my newly organized garage.  This time, it totally malfunctioned.

Richie’s shoveler, Danny, was ensconced by the fire to warm up and dry off.  His pants had been caked with snow and his socks and boots were wet and cold.  We fed him, gave him warm socks and some athletic pants to wear while his jeans were drying.  Sustenance while resting before the final snow push!

The pressure was on, there were several big lots to plow and the snow was piled way too high.  Then there were several driveways where plowing had not been consistently done and where the layer of ice was hindering progress.

We brainstormed and decided that one thing we could do was to call AAA for service.  I have a new app for my iPhone and wanted to “click” our request in.  The reaction was that it would not function today.  Then we tried to call them on the phone and the line was busy.  So, I “clicked” the info in and lo and behold, much to Mary Kay’s surprise, they showed up in less than an hour!  To make it even better, since the remote was charging in the truck, it was a drained battery and the truck was started momentarily.  It turns out, if I am not mistaken, that the plow function was affected by the low battery, so the plow was now working.  So, all four guys headed out to finish up the plowing!   Once again, my technology saved the day!

The latest is that we are to get freezing temperatures and therefore we are glad that all of these driveways and such can be taken care of before that happens.  Such is life at Snow Plowing Central!

Snowmageddon I

the current view at 8:00 AM on Groundhog Day, I guess he isn't going to see his shadow today!

I must admit that I did not make up that title. My oldest used it when talking to his mom yesterday. Looking at the picture, it is easy to see how he came up with such a title. It is eight o’clock and we are snowbound in our home. Mikey is using a snow blower (belonging to his older brother’s snowplowing business) to get us out before going to help clear others out. I have, as of yet, not ventured out. That is unusual. Both Mikey and Mary Kay have made me remain housebound. School, of course, is closed, and MK is at home. I shall venture out to at least do some damage against Mother Nature’s work, at least clearing the stoop and doing some cleanup. Mikey told me that he will get the rest later. Due to the nature of the snowfall and the reaction of the populace, the boys did not go out right away. Things were at a standstill as the major snowfall came and they were not even plowing the streets. So they waited and rested. Once sunrise opened up the day, Richie went out and started plowing.

We are unable to determine exactly how much snow we have received as of yet, due to the drifts. It looks like well over seventeen  inches and we are under a current snow alert that there will be more. The total accumulation could be up to two feet. I just read on my iPhone app that there is an alert in Lake County and all roads are officially closed as they try to deal with stranded motorists. They are asking people to stay in.  Needless to say, the drifts are tremendous, it kind of looks like a topographical map, the huge drift in the back yard looking much like the continental divide out west.

I remember bad snows but this one takes the cake. I wasn’t in Chicago for the famous 1967 snowfall, but we certainly had our share of them in Cleveland. I do remember a few bad ones here in the Chicago area, one actually where the mailman yelled at me for not cleaning my walk. That year was one in which all of us happened to be housebound with a nasty case of the flu and I was totally unable to find the physical strength to actually even clear a path. Those were also the years where the idea of even paying someone to do it was about as possible as finding the needle in the haystack, money being a bit hard to come by in the early teaching years.

I have to contact my tutee’s families that today is not a good day for tutoring. It is just not worth going out. They are frankly even asking us to stay in. I am not sure that that will be in effect later in the day, but I guess so.

Mikey is continuing to work his way through our driveway’s snow as he waits to be picked up by his brother to go out and clear out the clients’ driveways and paths. The sky is still very gray and heavy with a very traditional “snow cloud” look. The fire is crackling gently and both MK and I are fast away at our laptops, she is researching the weather and traditions and such surrounding the groundhog and his predictions. That is so “Mary Kay.”

One thing that comes to mind is my father’s birthday, which is today. He has been gone for so long I sometimes wonder if perhaps I just didn’t make him up as some sort of piece of my history to hang on to. He would have been ninety-two, very hard to believe.

Another funny bit of info is that surrounding the calling off of school. MK told me that the local superintendents were having what she called a “pissing match” with the weather and the school closures. It seemed that in some sort of machismo-like reactions to the meteorological events, they were each waiting for the other to call off school, not wanting to be the first to do so and admit weakness! Isn’t it funny how little the distance we have come from our origins? Even the highest professionals are affected by primitive instincts. I recall, during my teaching years, of always hearing of the same type thing.

Speaking of superintendents, there was a brouhaha in the local papers as some local retired superintendents are collecting money as if it were hanging from trees. As they retired and started collecting their pensions, they moved to another state and picked up another superintendency, thus receiving their nicely sized retirement monies along with a hefty new salary. Seems that I know several of them really well and this information doesn’t surprise me in the least. It always seemed so interesting to me that those of us in the trenches were so often skewered and the scads of administrators who were overpaid were so often overlooked. I am not saying that administrators don’t earn their pay, my biggest complaint is when an administration had far too many “administrators” and then didn’t care, for example, that my conversation class was over thirty students. Let’s think about what kind of conversation you can have in a class of thirty that only lasts forty minutes…

Here it is almost half an hour later, Mikey is still out there and I feel very lazy here in the house. The fire is nice, though. I wonder how long I can contain myself?

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Trying to get back to normal

Yesterday started out busy and a bit hectic. The last thing left to do was to return the rental car. Since we had changed the original plan and decided to return it on Sunday instead of Monday, we had to take it to O’Hare, which was the only Hertz open. This necessitated, obviously, taking another car to pick me up. Mary Kay and Mikey drove in the Subaru and followed me.

As usual, I thought I had planned for every possible outcome. It is this planning for every outcome that sometimes leaves me in the lurch. I say that because if things don’t work out fitting into my planning, I find it very annoying.

The only major annoyance of a rental car in Chicago is the tollway and its issues. The Illinois Tollway system is quite interesting. They want you to purchase a transponder so you don’t have to stop for tolls. That is nice, and we actually have an extra one, but in my cleaning details, I had organized so well, I couldn’t find it. Technically, that is illegal anyway as I found out, since they are supposed to be “connected” to a car.

My usual car, which has a transponder, was not at home, being borrowed by a son. No biggie, I thought I would just pay with cash.

So, I get in the car and I drive toward the airport. I get off and get ready to pay the toll. Unfortunately, no human beings at the toll stop and the money baskets demanded $.80 in change, and I only had a dollar bill. Therefore, I was forced to “illegally” pass through. That annoyed me to the point where I had what I would call a “meltdown,” a temporary time where something stupid caused me to “lose it” for a moment or two. When I was picked up by MK and Mikey, I was still in that phase. Not that it lasted that long, but I guess the big stresses finally came out in me as I tried to deal with the stupidity of the Illinois Tollway system.
Here is what ensued: I went online and answered a few questions. I finally came to the conclusion that I could not pay my toll online as they said I could, since I owned a transponder and I was in a rental car. After calling the Tollway personnel, they told me that in fact, I had to pay online, that my mistake was in thinking I had a transponder. If I happened to be in a rental car, I had NO transponder. Go figure.

I finally got the info I needed, went back online, and paid my $.80 fee with my credit card. The oddity there is you would think I could take it off a transponder account but no, I had to enter all my info and proceed that way. I was happy when that was over, it was a silly annoyance! They even made me tell which toll stop I was at, which direction I was headed in, the license plate and state of the car.

The rest of the day went okay, Mikey and I went to take a swim at the gym pool. We arrived to find out there was a pool party and we would have to do a workout instead. Luckily, I had my workout clothes, Mike didn’t though!

Mike took the pot roast from the previous evening and made wonderful tacos, they were delicious and we “veged” out for the rest of the evening.

This morning, I flew out quickly when Mary Kay left for work, got in my swim and returned home before Christian showed up with Samantha. She and I took the “whites” I had washed and hung them up. We are almost all done with the cleaning of Mike’s clothing. We still have some shirts that need to be taken to the dry cleaner’s but we are at least normalizing.

After that, Samantha and I watched a little of “Flushed Away,” her new “favorite movie. Of course, we are watching it in French!

More to come…

In the car, Day Four of Travels for Mikey

last pic from trip, none in OK but this one is from MO in the Ozarks!

We are in the car traveling along toward St. Louis. It is somewhat cold and now a bit windy. We just dined on barbecue in Rolla. Great pork sandwiches!

I am doing this on my iPhone, a geeky first for me. Obviously my driving stint was earlier!

It has already been an interesting day so far. I was recorded during the night by my son to see if I snore (unbeknownst to me); the result is a wheezy whistle. Breakfast was served at Kimmy’s Diner by the lovely Vietnamese émigrée who told us her life story. Between the Oklahoma/Missouri border to just north of Springfield, a quite religious area, we noticed no less than five “Adult Book Stores!” While at lunch I noticed I received a Facebook “proposition” from a comely young lady. I seriously think she must have sent it to the wrong person! What was she thinking? Then I get several lovely messages from friends in France. Follow that with the news that Samantha can count to ten in French and English. Despite my countin for her in French she has not even done it for me. Papi is ecstatic! What a day!

Sun is now hiding behind clouds for the first time in days. We are scheduled to arrive around seven this evening. I cannot wait!

I know I shall need to proof this as it is hard to scroll back and the self-correction elements are driving me crazy!

What is happening?

Got up in my pretty usual mode of being totally awake and unable to stay in bed, so, I did the right thing, I got up.

After brushing my teeth and such, I went downstairs, started the coffee process, and then went into the family room to check on the progress of the upgrading of my iPhone software.  I am convinced I have an iTunes/laptop issue and it was still “processing” just as it was when I went to bed.  So I force a shutdown and reconnected.  At this point it said I needed to do a “system restore” which was just what I expected.  I tried more than once and now it says there is some unknown error.  This is why I don’t like to update, this has been happening since my previous phone and it is making my laptop (which I am writing on) look more suspicious.

Once Mikey gets up I am going to grab my netbook, used mainly for travel, and see if I can find success restoring my iPhone with its iTunes.  Since Mikey’s possessions are still in California, I have lent him this computer for the time being, it was just sitting around anyway since I am no longer working much for the language lab company, if at all.  It has iTunes on it so maybe that will be the answer to my issues.

I can only hope so.

I did get an e-mail from George Washington (my former boss) regarding some training that he wants me to do in Batavia, far west of the city.  He had asked me if I had heard from the teachers.  Originally I had and fielded their issues by forwarding their concerns to the IT people working for the company.  Of late, that is something I do frequently.  Then I had heard nothing from the school.  He wants me to contact them.  I told him I thought we should wait a bit, I know they are anxious to get back to work now that their Windows 7 vs. the language lab software issues are now in check, but they are usually good about contacting me when they need help. I reminded him that it is final exam time, so that is probably why they aren’t following up on it.

Anyway, this morning is not exactly promising to be a fun day.

I may have to hit the Apple Store, once again to deal with those issues if I am unsuccessful with my netbook.  The good news here is that today is the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.  I am probably one of the few males around who has no major plans to sit in my easy chair and spend time watching the progress of that contest.  I am not into watching sports on TV, something that inhibits my conversations with fellow males.  I am finally at a point in my life where my inability to have a conversation about something that doesn’t interest me is no longer an issue. I am who I am.  I am remiss here; however, “inability” is the wrong choice of words.  I usually just have “passed over” doing somewhat of a fake when I respond to the typical sports’ related questions.  I have gotten darn good at it.  My sons pretty much follow my path but they do it far better than I do.  They have learned just enough to be able to do it more convincingly. Due to college, they might have some interest, anyway, in their alma mater’s teams and actually do watch occasionally. They also have a much better version of the “I really don’t care what others think” sentiments than I have had in the past, but I am much better at that than ever before.  Somehow, I sense there are more guys like me out there than anyone might realize!

Did I mention that this is not going to be a fun day?  Well, just about thirty minutes ago, the phone rang and I picked it up.  It was the local police calling to speak to me.  They asked me if I was Mary Nylund’s son.  They even got my first name wrong.  Given the amount of times they have called and that we have had the same conversation, this surprises me.  Then again, it doesn’t, because I remember what and whom they are dealing with, my mother-in-law.  Poor soul that she is, at the age of ninety-one and a half, living alone in an apartment less than a mile away, suffering from dementia and the other mental issues she has had most of her life that were never dealt with, and we get the news that once again she has fallen and is being taken by ambulance to the hospital.  At the risk of seeming to be cold-hearted, I must say that my mother-in-law’s hobby has always been her health related, medical issues.  They are the driving force of her existence, her claim to fame, and her way of getting attention. Years ago, this phone call would have elicited a different response from us, but the frequency of the, as I call it, “hangnail/911/Emergency room” calls has changed our reactions.  Through the years we had asked my in-laws to please call us before dialing 911, but that was rarely the case.  They were the local 911 “frequent flyers” and so when I received the call today, Mary Kay and I agreed that we would wait a bit before going to the hospital.  My father-in-law, God rest his soul, enabled the poor lady and by taking care of her real and perceived needs not only paved her way to being Queen of Highland Park’s ER but also undid himself and frankly undid his own fragile health.  He has been gone for over a year, my mother-in-law still calling us frequently to ask where he is. She incessantly thinks he is out drinking with our oldest son.  Amusing since I never saw him have more than two beers at a sitting and that was only when we “forced” them upon him at our house since he wasn’t allowed to have anything but non-alcoholic beer at home.  I say “forced” because that way “Nana” pretty much had to leave the situation alone since we had instigated it.

Mary Kay did receive a call from Nossi, the sweet caretaker (who my mother-in-law, despite her dementia, and still having a wicked streak, calls “Nazi”) who told us that she was currently in the apartment and felt that my mother-in-law was fine.  We figure she will be out of the hospital by early afternoon.

We needed to get over there anyway as the lovely Senior Apartments have been undergoing renovations on an apartment by apartment basis for years.  We know that since, until about a year ago, my mom had a beautiful apartment there as well and we were acquainted with the situation.  The kitchen is getting redone and we knew that we had to get over there to remove everything from the cupboards so that they could do the work. 

So, despite the fact that we thought we had a calm day here, between my silly iPhone issues and my mother-in-law, we are going to have fun.  Really?

How early is it appropriate to have a glass of Scotch?  The funny thing here is that I am about as close to a teetotaler that you can get and I ask this question!

Oh, wait, where is my blood pressure checking equipment?  I need to check that, but perhaps I should wait until later.

I just went to find the granola for breakfast.  I realized that some may think that I have made up these stories.  The scary thing is that they are only the tip of the iceberg.

Did I mention that Mary Kay is doing crossword puzzles right now?  Are we coldhearted? 

Later…