At least this weekend it will be. Wife has stated in no uncertain terms that the new pre-fab garden shed will be erected this Sunday. I am shanghaiing Gaius Derf to help. Primarily because I have the mechanical ability of an advanced sponge...an uncoordinated sponge at that.
Derf has taken a vow to avoid all home related projects now that he is back in NM from Salt Lake City. He used to be the kind of guy who would repaint his house at the drop of hat if he though the paint was fading from the sun (One room three times in two years!). But no more.
He was totally going to kiss me off on this project but as fate would have it his wife Agent W was standing next to him when I called. Agent W is Wife's biggest supporter. Bless her she piped in immediately that Derf would be happy to help.
We did this with the prior shed around 8 years ago. We nearly froze our asses off and we managed to put the walls on upside down to boot. Having set the standard so low, we are certain to score better this time around.
Short of writing material for the blog. Drop back 10 yards and punt to the cooking post. GO TEAM!
While shopping this weekend at the local plain ole market, I found some fabulous leeks. For those who don't know, a leek is member of the onion family. Most leeks in the us have small white parts and lots of fibrous not so good green. But these babies were over 60% white. Real beauties.
So I decided to make a French Country Classic - Potato and Leek Soup.
This recipe is so easy even certain readers from St. Louis who don't cook can do it. And it's tasty and low calorie
Two of three main ingredients - Leeks and Potatoes
Cut the tough green ends off and the root ends. Then cut into three pieces, cut those in half, and cut crosswise into rough chunkc Leeks need to be cleaned well as there can be sand in between the layers. Put them into a bowl with water. Roughly rub them then lift them out into a colander. Do this a few times until the water in the bowl no longer has any sand in the bottom
Peel and roughly cut the potatoes
Put into a pot and cover with some broth, the third main ingredient.
Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper, cook until potatoes and leeks are soft maybe 30-40 minutes.
Take out your trusty immersion blender and puree. If you don't have that use a potato masher for a more rustic version.
I promote my business through intense networking with people who can potentially refer business to me. I have about 20 to 25 of these a month with a mix of new people I'm meeting but most with people I know already.
On Friday I was meeting a new contact, a person a little younger than myself but certainly experienced enough to have lived through plenty of tough times. I was surprised at how 'freaked out' he was concerning the economy. I hear a lot of this these days. Earlier the same week it was with a lawyer from Chicago. But at least he has the excuse of being young. If you started your career after 1987, this is probably the first time you've experienced any major economic disruption.
Getting back to the first person, after he had gone on and on about the national and world economic order, he asked me what I thought. I told him I didn't really care what was going to happen in the economy. I had options, strategies and tactics for all scenarios except the total collapse of the world order. He acted quite surprised. But I told him that I had lived through plenty of economic and personal crises in the past and I had every intention of not only making it through this one but prospering through it as well.
Which gets me to the point of this post.
In working both personally in crises and with many, many clients going through crises, I have noticed one universal truth. Those that stay calm, that focus on what they need to get done, that acknowledge their fears but don't let themselves be overwhelmed or enslaved by their fears, are the ones that usually end up coming out OK.
If you are finding yourself caught up in all the news generated noise and hysteria, I'd like to make a suggestion. Stop paying attention to the media. It's not helping you to cope with whatever you need to cope with. You're not going to change what is going on in the macro-economy or the world political system. Know that it is the nature of the world for good and bad times to follow each other. Yes you have stuff to worry about and think about in your daily life but you will be best served by being able to deal with it in the calmest way possible. Don't let all the hysteria mongers detract from the steady hand you need to captain your fate.
I guess it shouldn't be a surprise. Whenever you have a lot of people over there is the danger that someone is going to be using something addictive. Unfortunately for us, son-in-law Armenian Deal Hound insisted while we were shopping at Costco (value provider to the upper middle class) that we pick up some 'Pirates Booty'. This turns out to be a kicked up, healthier (healthier than shooting one's self?) version of Cheetoes. And Wife and I looooovvvvveeee Cheetoes.
Not Good Sports Graffiti
After everyone goes we find all over our white board various sports related trash comments. (for you non-internationals, hup Holland hup, is for the Dutch soccer team and Allez les Bleus is for the French)
Wife recently gave me an article to read from the NY Times Sunday Magazine. It was all about this website that acted like E-Harmony and Match.com except for Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babies. The former are older men who are looking for relationships with with the later which are younger women who want to be in a relationship. They differentiators from other sites being that there is a monetary component expected in these relationships going from the Daddy to the Baby. Of course these types of relationships are as old as history. The article went to great lengths to point out the differences between these relationships and others such as prostitution and mistresses - the primary being that these are mutually consented to often with significant like/dislike components and emotional components.
What struck me was that most of the 'Sugar Daddies' referenced ranged in age from the mid 30's to the mid-40's. What gives? My mental image of the Sugar Daddy is the guy from Monopoly, you know with the top hat.
At Wife's surprise party I was mentioning this to hiking buddy Wild Bill, his wife Jill (yes, yes Bill and Jill) and comrade Gaius Derf. I was waxing a bit sadly that I was even too old to be a Sugar Daddy.
Wild Bill - "Yes you're more like caramel"
Jill - "I think he's all the way to the hard candy stage!"
It's Monday morning and the family guests from the big Mrs. de-I shindig are starting to leave. Motherrocker, husband ADH (Armenian Deal Hound), and daughter Y are making the rounds saying loving goodbyes before they catch the plane to Chicago.
Goodbye Aunt In the Sticks and Uncle DH (big hugs and kisses)
Goodbye Sister AinA (big hugs and kisses)
Goodbye Mom (big hugs and kisses)
To me de-I/Dad - we'll see you tomorrow :(
Next time MR & family and meet 1.5 hours later in Albuquerque airport both on our way to Chicago.
After months of blotting and planning, I pulled off what will go down in the annals as one of the best sneak attacks in our family's history. The gauntlet had been thrown down over a year ago when the nefarious Mrs. de-I in conjunction with her brood of nefarious off spring had pulled off the incredible surprise 60th birthday event for me. The surprise had been complete and total. As in Pearl Harbor, I was not about to let this sneak attack of love go without vengeance being fulfilled.
Fortunately eldest daughter, Motherrocker, is a complete turncoat. As willingly as she aided her mother in the birthday surprise sneak attack on me, so she was willing to act as chief co-conspirator for mine on Mrs. de-I. We were not about to do the same type of event. That would have been too transparent. In this case we were going to get everyone to her in Albuquerque. Fortunately we had one of the children, Pulisha, and a staging house in Albuquerque.
Then with only a month and a half to go Pu moved to Florida. Agh what to do? So we rearranged our ideas of how to pull of the surprise. We now had all the children and grandchildren flying in plus her brother and sister-in-law. And of course there was the home remodel which was taking longer than expected. Would it be done? And when it was done Wife decides that she's going to repaint the rest of the house.
Then with just a week to go, Motherrocker's daughter and husband came down with the flu! Agh they might not be able to come at all! Phone calls and text messages are flying as MR is making last minute arrangements. One of our plans was to get AinA who was arriving from Amsterdam late in the evening snuck into the house. But Wife on the Thursday everyone arrives starts painting both the quest bedrooms! So even on Thursday night, I'm making these excuses to wife while were eating dinner so I can get AinA and MR to change their plans for the evening and have A stay with MR.
On Friday Wife is merrily painting away when the door bell rings. Off she goes to answer it to see two of her three kids. I was not able to see her face but according to MR, surprise was complete. When her brother arrived she the shock was repreated. By this time of course she knows something is up so the arrival of Pulisha and Co. Saturday morning and the arrival of 8 of our friends at 1 PM was not totally a surprise.
We partied until the early evening. The wine flowed. Wife got to show off the new addition to all our friends. Much food was cooked and consumed. Sorry no pictures. I was so busy trying to prepare things. Sister in law, In the Sticks, was taking lots of picture and hopefully will post some.
The Ferengi of Star Trek have a rule of acquisition:
Peace is good for business. War is good for business.
Her at TPG we rephrase this:
Good economy is good for business. Bad economy is good for business.
Normally in bad times like this we do a lot of crisis management and turnaround work and this is no different except that with the banks having so many charge offs it is a lot easier to get them to make concessions.
I got a call from one of the banks in town asking if my firm would be a court appointed receiver for a liquidation. First time I've ever been contacted by the bank's side to represent them. Hmmmm Darth de-I - Sith Lord of business liquidations?
Because it is taking forever to get ourselves moved in. The big stuff was all done but their boxes to be unpacked and put away, files to be refiled. Downstairs there are 15 boxes of books (some not unpacked since we moved to this house 7 years ago) that are going into the library.
We are a one couple stimulus plan buying two new TV's (that's 100% more than we've purchased over the last 15 years), bookcases for the library, a new sofa for the living room, blinds for the new addition, carpet cleaning for all the rugs. (pant, pant, pant)
Fortunately work is still very, very strong. We're getting the shaft on our ending home appraisal because the industry is so freaked out. The appraisal for our ending mortgage came in 11% less than the one done for the construction loan done just in October. That means we'll be pay PMI. But we'll still have a rate lower than our previous mortgage.
We've had two movers this morning and in two hours they got desks, filing cabinets, boxes, files, printers, sofa, TVs, treadmills, and more upstairs...and not a scratch anywhere. Well done guys.
Now we have IT over and we're getting all the computers and phones set up. In fact I am posting this using our network right here.
I've decided that my new business digs which because of our location in the city is substantially higher than any other advice firm in the city deserves a new name totally in keeping with it's grandeur.
Podolny Group World Headquarters located in The Podolny Towers at White Cloud
I love it. Reminds me of these pretentious buildings in Dallas.
I got my inspiration for dinner tonight from my daughter, Pulisha, and a recipe she got from a blogger named Stacey Snacks. Pu is excellent at finding recipes that can be done quickly as she works and has a big family but still loves to eat well. The recipe they were writing about used roasted cherry tomatoes as a sauce for pasta.
Following their discussion of the advantages of roasting veggies (easy, brings out lots of flavor), I was inspired to make a pasta based on a roasted sauce as well. As with my inspirations, I had had a very busy day (hiking, getting house ready for moving into the new add-on, shopping for new tv's) so I wanted to do something quick.
My idea was to make a roasted salmon, asparagus and garlic pasta.
In concept this is a very easy dish. I roasted the salmon, asparagus, and garlic together while I cooked the pasta. My sauce used the roasted garlic with some of the pasta water, chicken stock base and wine. I finished the pasta with parsley, oregano from our garden (doing well in the early spring) and some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
I peel the lower part of the asparagus which can be tough and fiberous
The Salmon, Aspargus, and Garlic Ready for Roasting The garlic is in large pieces. I put extra olive oil on everything because I used it in my sauce.
The Wine, Chicken Stock Base, and Fresh Herbs
Salmon, Asparagus, and Garlic Post-Roasting (425 degrees for 15 minutes)
The Pasta Water with Chicken Stock Base, Wine and Garlic I blended this together with my immersion blender. My daughter Motherrocker pushed me to get this tool. They're not expensive at all, very versitile and much easier to clean than regular blenders or food processors.
The Finishing Touches My asparagus and salmon cut up with my chopped herbs
Yes, tomorrow is the official end of the construction. Both of us but especially Wife are sooooo ready to not have to share our house each morning with people and to get all of our stuff out of three rooms and most of all, get into our new space.
We decided that we don't want the moving in process to drag out so we've hired a couple of mover guys to come in on Monday morning to move everything all over the house to where we want it. The IT guys come in the afternoon and hook up the office and by the end of the day we should be in business.
I'm planning a full tour pictorial post next week.