Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's for Dinner? Roasted Beets

So after my amazing recovery from the brink of death, I found a whole refrigerator filled with veggies that needed to be used up. I had a plan when I bought the veggies, but do you think the Phlegm Faery cared? Nope. Not one bit.

Scoob had to throw out the arugula I bought to go with these roasted beets, but I picked up some spinach while we were in Apex on Sunday. And I had to sort through a couple bunches of kale I'd bought because some of the leaves in the center of the bunches were starting to turn. But other than that, there weren't many casualties.

Oven roasted beets with goat cheese (and assorted other veggies).

Oven Roasted Beets with Balsamic and Goat Cheese

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

    6 beets
    3 cloves of garlic, whole and peeled
    3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
    ground rosemary, about ½ tsp
    ground thyme, about ½ tsp
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 cup water
    goat cheese
    balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Clean the dirt from the beets and trim the ends. The skin will slide off after they've roasted, so there's no need to peel them.

  2. Place the beets in a baking dish along with the whole cloves of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Make sure the beets get coated with the oil and spices.

  3. Add 1 cup of water to the baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until beets are tender with a fork.

  4. Let the beets cool a bit so you can handle them. Gently squeeze the beet to break the skin and peel it off, then slice.

  5. Put the spinach on a plate, add the sliced beets, a couple tablespoons of goat cheese, and drizzle with balsamic. Any leftover liquid in the baking dish can also be cooled and drizzled over the plate.

I've eaten versions of this several times and loved it, but this was the first time I tried to make it myself. Since I had so many other veggies to use up I also roughly chopped a couple carrots and a turnip (or maybe it was a rutabaga, I dunno) I'd had in the fridge along with the beets. I don't recommend the turnip, though; it was very bitter.

I also had some yellow squash to use up, so after about 30 minutes I added that to the dish, and that was good. I also made kale chips with the rest of the kale. One of my favorites! It's healthy and it satisfies my cravings for crunchy/salty.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back from the Dead

Last Sunday night, the Phlegm Faery visited and left me bountiful gifts.

Now, I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but Phlegm Faery, you can suck it!

Needless to say, last week was a rotten week. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I pretty much didn't budge out of bed except maybe to sit on the sofa. And when I did that I was promptly told I needed to lie down and rest. I know Scoob was just trying to take care of me, but I couldn't seem to get him to understand that due to the bountiful gifts, I was practically drowning when I laid down. But I did start to feel marginally better by Wednesday night.

Also on Wednesday, I had an appointment with an OB/GYN at UNC Medical Center to discuss the fibroids and surgery. My next appointment is on December 9 for another ultrasound. The doctor wants to get a look at what's going on in there, and if it's just the one fibroid, she thinks they can take it out with laparoscopy, which would greatly reduce recovery time. Although she was also tossing around terms like endometriosis and ovarian cysts, which I'd just really rather not contemplate right now.

Also, also on Wednesday the La-Z-Boy reclining loveseat I bought a couple weeks ago arrived. (It is so comfy!) So a couple of things happened that convinced us to make this purchase. First, when we tried putting our old sofa from CA up in the bonus room, we found it was way too long and couldn't make it around the corners. Second, when my Aunt P had abdominal surgery last June, she said she was much more comfortable during recovery sleeping in a recliner rather than stretched out flat in a bed.

So, our CA sofa is definitely large. We purposely bought it oversized because Scoob and I like to lie down together when we watch movies. So I was thinking, if we need a smaller sofa for upstairs, we won't be able to lie together during movies anymore, but with a recliner, we can (nearly) lie together and still cuddle and snuggle. We were both pretty sold on the idea once we thought it through.

I missed out on joining our friends for Thanksgiving and meeting new people in the neighborhood, but Scoob went and being the thoughtful man that he is, brought me home a plate so I could still enjoy some turkey on Friday.

He also brought home a ton of cheese! We are wallowing in cheese. I had sent him over with a cheese plate with Brie, a cheddar with caramelized onions (Yum!), and some other semi-soft cheese I can no longer remember. He came home with the leftovers from those 3, plus 3 other leftover cheeses—a really nice smoked Gouda, some other unknown semi-soft cheese, and a block of Bleu, which I cannot touch. It's a good thing Scoob loves Bleu because the stuff makes me violently ill.

Anyhow, when we were shopping for the cheese plate, I bought a couple others for us to have at the house (another smoked Gouda and an Irish cheddar). Now I'm thinking I shouldn't have bothered. Anyhow, we're nearly out of crackers and now I'm searching for recipes involving cheese so we can use it all up before it goes bad.

Friday and Saturday I was feeling human again. I took it easy on Friday and Saturday I actually stepped out of the house for a few minutes to enjoy some of the sunshine. It's hard to believe it's almost December; it's been 70–75 and sunny. Sunday we ran a couple of light errands in nearby Apex and I even cooked up dinner. But today was really my first day feeling really good and like myself again. Still coughing a bit, but feeling so much better.

Scoob's having to work European hours the next couple of days, which is just wrong. His company needs to post some announcements to their websites for 9:00am in Europe so the poor guy has to be up at 2:00am here to do it. I know it'll be rough on him, so I'm doing what I can to smooth out anything else I can.

In other news, the crew for the trim work came back by this afternoon and finished up their punch list and the dishwasher repairman came by tonight and finished up the last of the repairs on the dishwasher. So yea! I know we've got the flooring crew coming back some time this week to finish the upstairs landing area and then the painting crew for touch ups (no idea when yet) and the landscape crew in a few weeks when they're out in the neighborhood for another contract.

I'm still a little amazed sometimes when we pull up to the house after being out, but it's finally starting to feel like we live here. I guess getting a good sick on in a new house helps to break it in. Scoob still feels like he's visiting, though.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Just a Quickie, with Pictures

So it's Friday and our dishwasher has been working for a week (woohoo!) though we are waiting for one more part to replace one that was damaged during repairs. In addition to finding our lawn mowin' muscles, Scoob has also found his weed whackin' muscles as he attacked some tall grass that could be cut with the mower.

The second half of this week has been a flurry of activity. On Wednesday the trim guy came by and started his fixes. Most of them are done, tough I may have to have him come out and redo a couple. Nothing major, just cosmetic tweaks.

And the floor guys started their work on Wednesday. That has been more involved (and stinky). Wednesday morning we emptied the house of furniture and they puttied and sanded and applied polyurethane to all the problem spots and had to completely cut out and replace one board. Thursday they came by in the morning and afternoon to sand and apply 2 more coats of ploy to the spots. And today they've just left from buffing and and applying poly to the entire downstairs floor.

They'll come back and do the upstairs landing next week, which I'm grateful for because otherwise I'd be stuck in an upstairs bedroom for 5–6 hours, this way I'm just stuck upstairs and can at least use the bathroom. Thank goodness the plumber came by and fixed the toilet that had started leaking yesterday! I tell ya', if it's not one thing it's another.

Scoob has the day off and is out gallivanting around with a friend while I'm trapped upstairs. I hope he's having a good time because he has been working hard this week what with all the mowing (he finished the 2 side yards) and whacking and furniture moving (for the floors). All that and he even cooked dinner twice this past week! I know! Aliens!

Actually, we'd had a bit of a tiff about the division of labor around the house, and even though we didn't reach a verbal agreement, I am thankful to know through his actions that he has heard my concerns. He even asked me to teach him how to use the new washer/dryer. (I still suspect aliens.)

Our peaceful little plot has been quite noisy the last few days what with all the sanding and sawing and stuff. But the evenings have also gotten noisier. One of the reasons we chose this lot was that the lot next to it has an Aqua (the local water/sewer utility company) building on it and will never be developed. We call it the pump house, though we don't really know it's purpose.

Anyhow, the other night I noticed an engine running. It sounded like a Genny and at first I thought it was coming from one of the other houses under construction, which would make sense. I know they're digging out a basement over there and we were supposed to have rain, so yeah, running a Genny for a sump pump makes total sense.

But it's not raining anymore and the motor has been running for 3 days. We think it's coming from the pump house now instead of a construction site. We had been assured the pump house wouldn't be noticeable and that there wouldn't be any noise coming from it. Which was one of the reasons I agreed to build the house in a mirror image from the original floor plans, placing our bedroom as the closest room to the pump house.

Scoob couldn't sleep last night, though I didn't have a problem. If it were switching on and off through the night, then I'd have a problem. Anyhow, I'm calling the property management group today to see if something is actually wrong over there, or if we'll be living with this noise.

I'll leave you with some random pictures we snapped our first few days here. (Because someone—MOM—demanded pictures!)

Scoob preparing to open Pandora's box.

Not too bad (if I say so myself);
we had some shifting, which was expected, but nothing major.

The builder left us a framed drawing of the finished house, a bottle of wine (and a corksrew!) and cards to send out with our new address on them and the drawing.
I only have about 5 of these addressed and none of them mailed. I got some crazy idea about doing the Christmas cards at the same time and then I just stopped.

The chairs and nesting tables I bought last April in their intended home. Don't worry, I didn't suddenly turn into Minnie Pearl; I cut the tags off. Eventually.

I really like the way the kitchen turned out.

It's a little dark, but here's the front porch and door lit up at night.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dishwasher Drama

Oh dear. I feel like we've been playing How Many Ways Can a Dishwasher Break since we moved in. We've been here 3 weeks and we're still waiting for a working dishwasher.

When I first tried running a load of dishes 3 weeks ago I could not get water into the unit. Then I remembered the water line had been shutoff on the clothes washer, so I checked on the dishwasher. Sure enough.

Okay, now with the water valve open I still couldn't get water to the unit, so the vendor I purchased the dishwasher from called a repair company and they said they would be here in 5 days. Okay. The night before the appointment they call and say they don't service Pittsboro. You think they might have mentioned that when taking the appointment. So then the vendor found an alternate repair company.

That repair man got here last Wednesday and found a loose electrical connection in the dishwasher and voila! We had water! About 20 to 30 minutes after the repairman left, I walked into the kitchen to start dinner and discovered my kitchen floor (kitchen hardwood floor, I might ad) was covered in water. Oh yeah, we had water now.

The repairman made it back to the house on Monday, pulled the machine from under the counter and found that the drain pipe had not been connected to the drain line. Huh? How do you miss that? Apparently, whoever installed the unit mistook the condensation hose for a drain hose and hooked that up to the drain line instead. We also discovered just how much water had been dumped/leaked.

Scary stuff.

So I had the repairman leave the dishwasher exactly as he found it because the builder and the plumber who installed the unit were coming by in the morning and I wanted them to see it. The tradesman who finished the hardwood floors came with them. They all assured us that once the water dried out there would be no long-term damage and the floorboards, where they've begun to warp and buckle, would return to normal. Huh, really?

I decided to verify that through a 3rd party and whaadaya know, that's right. Apparently, when it comes to mold, it's the slow leaks over time that you have to worry about, not the gushers that get taken care of right away. Well, at least that's one less thing to worry about.

So anyhow, they switch the drain line and hook it up to the drain pipe and start the dishwasher. We're all standing around chatting when Scoob notices that a couple of the guys are now standing in a puddle of water. What the heck? And no one can figure out where it is coming from. So I call the repairman out. Again.

He made it out the same day, Tuesday, and found that the drain line was perforated and was spraying jets of water. You have got to be kidding me, right? But no. No one was messing with me. The repairman taped up the holes and tested the machine again, because with the track record so far, he's thinking he'd better cover all the bases. No more leaks. Thank god.

So he ordered a new drain hose and I'm still waiting for a dishwasher. He's supposed to be by this evening with the part, but in the meantime, it's day 25 without a dishwasher.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lawn Mowin' Muscles

We've been discussing lawnmowers for some time now. Debating the pros and cons of various kinds. We finally narrowed it down to an electric mower (my pick) or an old-fashioned push mower (Scoob's pick). I won. Heh.

Well, I was all excited when our lawnmower arrived by FedEx last Friday, then my sister asked me an interesting question. Has Scoob ever mowed a lawn before?

We tackled the lawn on Sunday. Turns out the answer was a resounding NO!

Let's overlook my stick-people drawing skills and say this is our lawn.

The black rectangle would be the house, the gray is the driveway and front walk, the black is the public road, and the green is, you guessed it, the lawn. There's a culvert (that they laid sod in!) by the public road, and two trees (in orange below) to mow around. And there's a gradual slope to the main lawn (arrow).

So here's the path Scoob started mowing with.

And that's about where I made him stop and took over to demonstrate how to mow a lawn. I tried very, very hard not to laugh. VERY hard. After I tried very, very hard not to get pissed when he dragged the electrical cord through my rose bushes! AAaarrgg! I'd rather let the deer have them than let them get destroyed that way!

Yeah, so here's my mowing path—mostly parallel lines, mostly moving away from the electrical outlet and cord.

And Scoob took over for the rest of the main lawn. All in all it took about 2½ hours. Scoob decided it's much more trouble than it's worth, but I appreciated the fact that I could actually SEE the result of our labor. I will say, the landscaper put in waaay more sod than we agreed on and when we have the time, energy, and money I want to change some of it out for flower beds.

Once I thought about it, I realized the last lawn I can recollect mowing was in Canyonville, OR (and it has been about 30 years since we lived there) compared to Scoob's never-in-my-life, so it was basically the blind leading the blind out there. But we got the job done. Mostly. We didn't mow the 2 little side yards.

Anyhow, my lawn-mowing muscles (pretty much my arse and my back between the shoulder blades) were sore Monday and Tuesday. We'll have to keep our lawn mowing muscles in shape.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Do Overs!

(Do overs, part deux!) I wrote this on Saturday from my iPad but ran into problems when trying to post it.

So I wrote a blog post the other night (Wednesday). Spent an hour and a half on it actually. Then when I went to preview it, it was lost. POOF!

It was the first time I tried posting from my iPad. So I'm going to try it again. This time I'll be sure to copy the post before I try to publish it, just in case.

So, the iPad. Scoob got me an iPad as a thank you for doing most of the work on the house. I wasn't expecting, but I didn't turn him down. :)

We're sort of settling in. But we have had a few major obstacles. There were a couple of safety issues with how the steam shower was installed, and we're working on getting those corrected  We're going on 3 weeks and we still don't have a working dishwasher. Well, a repairman came out on Wednesday and got it running, but when I walked into the kitch about 20 minutes later I found my hardwood kitchen floor covered in water. The repairman is coming back out on Monday. Not sure what to do about the floor though. I hunk we cleaned it all up quickly but a few of the boards are swelling and buckling.

The other major item is the hardwood floors. Apart from the recent water damage, there are several areas on the floor that weren't sanded smooth before they were sealed and there are a lot of rough knots. I didn't expect the knots to be totally smooth, but I also didn't expect to cut my foot (not a huge gash mind you, but more than a papercut) and I didn't expect to shred 3 pairs of socks. in addition to that there are a few spots where paint and mud were inadvertently sealed onto the floor.

The hardwood guy was out on Thursday and said he would need to sand the rough areas and the places with the paint and mud. Then he would need to reveal the entire floor with 3 coats of polyurethane, or whatever it is they use. We'll have to essentially move out for this to happen.  We've been talking with the builders about this and I'm not sure how it is all going to play out.

I'm not happy about it, but it is what it is and we'll do what we need to to get it fixed. I will say I much more calm about it today than I was on Thursday, so maybe it's a good thing that post got lost. The hardwood guy threw me for a loop when I showed him some stains in the upstairs hallway where something was clearly spilled on the raw boards before the sealant was applied and he replied, "Well, can't you just live with it?". Ooooookay. Well, yes. Yes, I could just live with it if there weren't all these other issues with the floors and if we hadn't spent what we did to build the house.

I was just really taken aback by his attitude. Everyone else hat has been out to the house to correct or fix items has been very agreeable and seemed to take pride in their work. Not this guy. It was clear when he walked in the door that he wasn't really listening and thought I was crazy for pointing out the things I was pointing out.

Anyhow, I'm not as peeved as I was earlier in the week. It's an incontinence and certainly not what we were planning on after moving in, but I try to stay focused on the big picture and not get caught up in the irritating details.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I had a chat with my sister today and sent her a link to the blog. She asked how she could be notified when I added a post to the blog, so I'm testing out an email notification add-on.

If you look to the bottom right, you should see a "follow by email" header, and below that a place to enter your email address. If I post, you'll receive an email; if I don't, then no email. At least that's the theory. So now I'm testing it out. I'm curious to see if it's just a notification that's sent or if the entire post comes through in email.