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Enjoy Thanksgiving!

Out of my Gourd with Thanks
Just a silly little shot of two gourds together being autumnal.  Happy Thanksgiving to All!
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The Balm Upon My Palm

photograph of logo and can

This is a shameless plug for a hero product necessary to anybody with either hands or udders.  Truth be told, this is not the post I’ve been fiddling around with for the last two weeks.  Rather, I was inspired on the fly as I was scrubbing the down the shower with my unique spray mix of Oxy-Clean  and hot water.  As you might imagine, shower scrubbing does a number on your digits.  (yes, yes, I should wear the rubber gloves, but since I was running the shower while I was scrubbing, it seemed counter-intuitive to be wet everywhere EXCEPT my paws)  I just kept thinking, “My hands!  They will be so chapped and rough!”  Then I remembered my soothing friend in the green tin, and I felt better (The shiny shower tiles also contributed to my sense of well-being). I use this stuff after gardening, cleaning, all year-round, and heartily recommend it to anybody who works with their hands.   Please remember the skin on our hands is thin and needs protection all day.  Like teeth, our hands need to be productive for an entire lifetime.  So give them a teat, treat!

I could not do a better job highlighting the features and benefits of Bag Balm than the charming, no-nonsense website of the Bag Balm folks so I’ll link it here for you to amble over at your leisure.

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Hiding In Plain Sight

My friends, can you answer “yes” to any of these questions? 

Drainboard full? 

Magazines piled up in random stacks?

Industrial sized poly wrapped package of Costco paper towels serving as a coffee table?

We have very few rules at the Casa d’ Nap, and we do like to keep it clean.  However, there are times when some article has been lingering so long out of its proper place that it has gained a sort of squatters’ rights.  Like that pack of paper towels we picked up at Costco 3 weeks ago.  They have settled on the family room floor awaiting final disposition in the various bathroom and kitchen cabinets.  But they have been stationary for so long now, that I like putting my Sunday papers on them, or the bowls that have to get nestled in a stack at the back of the closet, or even resting my feet on them as I catch up on Words With Friends.

And yes, it is I, the person who does not cook, who has stacks of Bon Appetit and other food porn dated from June 2011 accumulating in a stack on a dining room chair.  This is the one behavior that makes me think I am a latent hoarder.  Or am I just channeling the spirit of my MIL who loved to read recipes from any source?  Loyal Napsters may recall a previous post where I reference my “hoarding chair.”  Yes, the chair is alive and well, covered with an assortment of casual handbags…. because the weekend is right around the corner and I’ll need that denim tote/Triple5 Soul Body bag/Camo backpack.

I had a friend back in high school who was trained to NEVER, EVER leave anything in the sink…..or the drainboard, for that matter.  At Chez Nap there is almost always some bizarre collection of drain board items that tell a little story about its inhabitants.  Many tiny plastic Ikea cups lined along the edge?  Quick drinks of water — to take aspirin or a vitamin as s/he dashes off.  The little fry pan and the burned handle spatula?  Maybe the Jedi or Jenna are home and making grilled cheese.

A few other random out of place things I’ve found as I made my rounds today….seriously, these items have been in these locations long enough to grow dust beards.  It’s like I’m in The Sixth Sense.Why can’t anybody else in the household see them?

1.  A single drumstick:  to play drums, not the poultry part

2. Two boxes of “Donut Shop” Kuerig coffee cups:  one decaf/one regular

3. Random coats hung over the backs of dining room chairs.

It isn’t as though I expect my house to look like it was staged by the creative department of House Beautiful, people do LIVE within these walls, and they are messy.  Life itself is messy… and beautiful in its random way.  Call it chaos theory or wabi-sabi if you want; I’ll just call it home.

UPDATE:  After uploading this post I made one more swing though the house and *noticed* a very nice Tupperware cake plate that a family of New Year’s Eve guests left behind with their delicious homemade spice cake.  And you know I can’t put it away in MY cabinet cuz I’ll need to give it back to them when we meet up next…..which will probably be next New Year’s Eve.  So it’s part of the decor now. 

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The Zen of Cleaning Cast Iron

The Guitar Man stepped effortlessly into a new role as Domestic Deity  today as he manned-up to clean the cast iron griddle that came with our new stove.  After composing the world’s most delicious omelet for breakfast, we were confronted with a cleaning challenge.  I usually take over the clean-up, and I’ve never had a problem cleaning other cast iron pans with a combo of kosher salt and elbow grease, but this eggy mess was wearing me down and postponing my return to procrastinating over my NaNoWriMo WIP.   So, chivalrous as always, he left his iPad golf game to tag team me at the sink.

Cast iron is an enigma: You can’t use soap on it…. so it defies all cleanliness logic.

Cast iron is the maestro of all cooking tools:  The older it gets, the better it performs.

Cast iron conducts heat like nobody’s business.  If you like it hot, this pan is for you. Those who know the Guitar Man know his philosophy: if your food isn’t engulfed in flames to rival the fires of Hell, it’s not cooking.  Or it certainly isn’t cooking fast enough.

Cleaning cast iron is a form of meditation.  You are so focused on getting the gunk off that you can only be in the moment.

I dare you to name anything more Zen than cast iron.

BTW — boiling some water on the surface of the griddle seemed to do the trick.  So tomorrow, pancakes anyone?

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How Many Hours Does It Take a Married Couple to Add Knobs To Cabinets?

I was afraid that with my lofty NaNoWriMo goals of penning 1666 words/day I’d run out of juice to post, but I’m happy to report that the need to procrastinate is even greater now.  I’ve just been too tired from Sunday’s knob-a-thon to actually get onto wordpress.  So this may be a short post, but it’s another homage to my spouse who has dominion over the higher math functions.  You see, we’ve lived here for 20+ years but never put any hardware on our kitchen cabinets.  We just couldn’t make a decision to go with silver or brass or glass…. and you know how life interferes sometimes.   So this week we decided to get the stainless steel knobs and pulls to match (say it!!! ) the behemoth refrigerator.

First we had to actually figure out how much hardware we needed…. and you know, it was way more than I thought:  21 knobs and 8* pulls. Of course this meant 3 trips to the Home Depot.  The first to get all the knobs, the second to return the knobs that were incorrectly packaged/mis-marked and the third to get  2 more pulls because we miscounted the first time and only got 6.

Then we had to measure and mark all the places where they should go.  Here is where the higher math skills come in.  Like what do you call the little lines on the tape measure between the inch, 1/2 and 1/4 marks?  Those are TEENIES!!  You also need higher math skills to calculate that it took us 4 hours from start to finish!!  But look at the bright side:  the junk drawers got cleaned out again.

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Laundry Room Taj Mahal: The Big Day Arrives

We begin in the basement, prepping for the long-awaited delivery of the new washer/dryer.  Since the delivery is not expected before noon the Guitar Man and I have time to do some general tidying.   We have a finished basement where I have staked out a little space we call the Woman Bar. The WB is the yin to the Man Cave, and I have a wide counter to house my computer (where the blog magic happens) and still have room to fold a load of wash, warm from the dryer.  Underneath the spacious counter is a cabinet that holds overflow appliances and serving pieces that are only required for state occasions.  However, there is another item that has been safely stowed there.   A beloved item, hidden within 6″ of my knee.

Ohhhhhh… you must be wondering what this special item could be.  For at least a year, he claims two, my husband has been searching for his digital scale.  It’s a sleek scale that weighs up to 150 lbs, and if you are shipping something or even packing for a trip it is important to know the weight of your box/luggage.  So for the past year or so the man has been gerry rigging the bathroom scale or extrapolating the weight of an object minus his estimated body weight…. with attendant muttering and wishing for his long-lost scale.  He’s an optimist:  he has never given up hope that the scale would be found, and every so often a search party would be launched in the garage or the basement to find the scale….. yet the sanctity of the Woman Bar was never breached!

So today, as I’m re-organizing some space in the WB, what do I find?  Why, it’s the scale!  Resting right at the front of the cabinet.  So when I utter, “Is this your scale?”  I hear nothing…..just a loud intake of breath– the reverse of a sigh, you might say, and I brace myself:

“HOW DID MY MANLY SCALE GET IN THE WOMAN BAR!!!   You must have put it there on purpose…. just to torture me.”

Here is a picture of the scale:

The Long Lost Scale

I wash the dirty socks of this fine man, how could he even imagine I would intentionally hide his beautiful and useful scale?  And in his defense we did have a good laugh (an hour or so later after he went to fill up my car and get the oil changed.) He also reminds me that he’s been asking me CONSTANTLY if I’ve seen his scale. I guess you could say in my zeal to keep things civilized around the homestead I am guilty of being over-zealous in storage.  But when you see my husband please ask him what he had for breakfast that day…. or where his hack saw is.  You’ll get a smile and some stalling for time… until he asks me.  But you know, we are yin & yang, and the melding of our strengths far outweighs our collective weaknesses.

But now on to the Main Event!  They’re here in Old School White, and I’m washing my inaugural load of socks and underwear, watching the spinning and waiting for the dulcet LG chimes signaling it’s time to nestle them into the dryer. No annoying nasally buzzer; the sound is a bit like the Old Spice jingle.  I wish I had some installation anecdotes as good as the refrigerator, but these babies just moved into the space of the old tenant machines.  I have great respect for the folks who deliver appliances  8 hours/day.  They use these nifty “moving straps” to carry these appliances up and down the stairs.  It looks easy, but you know that’s just an illusion.  What is exciting are the nifty DIY platforms the Guitar Man made last weekend.  I painted them a calming blue  (with left-over paint from a previous project, of course).  Notice how my laundry baskets can be stashed right underneath.  Have a look:

The Taj
Their Best Angle

But now I realize I have about 1o gallons of the “old” detergent — not the new HE kind this new FL uses.  First-world problem for sure.