Mid-Atlantic States

This morning, as I was doing the Sunday crossword puzzle, the question arose as to which state was at the bottom edge of the Mid-Atlantic states.  We weren’t sure if it was North Carolina, or Virginia.  I went to Wikipedia for information.

I was very surprised to find that New York, and West Virginia are included in the Mid-Atlantic states.  Personally I would have sent New York off with Connecticut, Rhode Island and the rest, and I see West Virginia as the lead to the Midwest.

Then I read this paragraph:

“The Mid-Atlantic is a relatively affluent region of the nation, having 43 of the 100 highest-income counties in the nation based on median household income and 33 of the top 100 based on per capita income. Most of the Mid-Atlantic states rank among the 15 highest-income states in the nation by median household income and per capita income.”

Although it shouldn’t, those statistics astonish me.  I thought the wealth of the nation was much more evenly distributed, but apparently, there are just pockets of wealth where there are large cities, such as Chicago, Denver, L.A. or San Francisco and their suburbs.

I think these statistics show that those who gravitate toward government most likely haven’t a clue about the nation’s distress.  They  live among the wealthy and probably assume that everyone has problems similar to theirs: should we buy a new BMW van for the family, or where will we go for vacation this year.

What Enron and the banks and automobile industry did to the wealthy is a far cry from what happened to those who were already living on the edge, and were hurt through the actions of others.  It’s not a question of should we buy a new car, but, can we afford a car at all.

I am no longer confident that a person who has less than several million in assets can get elected to the federal government.  I don’t know how to persuade the government that they need to focus on the issues of poverty at home, and I’m very concerned that they have eroded the financial base of the middle class.

I’m feeling very pessimistic this morning, and I’d like some good news about our government.  Does anyone have any?

Shades

One of the things that persuaded me to buy our “new” house was the color on the walls.  The previous owner had painted them in what I think of as “Tuscan” shades, or, mostly warm earth tones.  Of course, we looked at the condition of the house, the neighborhood, the garden, the utilities, and location, but I loved the warm colors.

I have a favorite house painter.  He painted and stained our last house, painting the entire inside at least twice.  He’s a gentleman, is pleasant to converse with, and never leaves a mess behind.  He’s generally right on time or even early, and his prices are in keeping with the state of the economy.  We’ve had a relationship for easily 25 years and he does a fine job!  Could a tradesman have a better reference than that?

The painter came yesterday to try to determine just what colors we needed to start painting the public areas of the house and our bedroom suite.  I want the house repainted, using as close to the same colors as possible.  The highest ceilings in the living room and dining room are a soft white.  In the living room the upper walls are a warmer shade.  We’ve been calling it “linen” for want of a better description.  The lower walls of the living room, and the bottom 3 1/2 – 4 feet of the foyer are an old gold, but a pale shade, rather than what you might  think of as a Renaissance “Olde Gold.”  The dining room looks like it’s been kissed by the sun, a lovely pale, pale shade of what’s in the living room, and that color continues on into the kitchen. The trim is all white, and our bedroom has white ceilings and the palest of green shades on the walls. This green is more of a mint, or related distantly to a spruce, than the yellower greens, like lime or celery.  I think that comes to five colors plus the white for the trim.

I was concerned about scheduling problems.  The painter has been on vacation the past two weeks, and will be going away again in September.  I want to look for furniture, and once the furniture is in, it will be more difficult to paint.  Lucky for me, it’s rainy and terribly humid outside today.  Our painter was rained out of an outside job, so he was able to get color samples and start the sitting room part of our bedroom.  I think we spent an hour talking with him about colors, before he went off to buy paint.

I’ll be able to look for the bookcases for the sitting room, and decide which books to keep, and then our painter will return in mid-September to finish the job.  Getting this little bit started makes me feel as though we are moving forward.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Expert

It is good to have an expert as a friend.  In this case, my friend is an expert at all things electronic.  Dear Husband has been trying to get things hooked up in the office and we’ve run into one problem after another.  He’s worked away, diligently, but some of the problems have seemed overwhelming.

So, yesterday, I sent a wail for help to My-Friend-The-Expert.  He called right away  and said that they had some time today, so we arranged for a mid-morning visit.  His wife is one of my quilting buddies. She came along for the ride and helped me to unpack my quilt fabric, while Dear Husband and MFTE worked in the office.  He got the sound to work on one computer, hooked another up to the internet resolved one mouse and one keyboard problem, made a printer recognize a third computer, and discovered why another printer was sending strange messages (it was damaged when it was delivered).  He also talked to two televisions to get the remotes to play nice.

Now, I told him that I wanted to HIRE him.  He was happy to be taken to lunch.  We went to Famous Dave’s.  I think there will be more dining out in the near future! lol

Thank God for those people who understand how all this STUFF works!

Boat Races

I should say, the CARDBOARD boat races!  I wish I had pictures that did the race justice.  United Way in our area hosted these races.  The competitors could use cardboard, Liquid Nails, Duct tape and paint to make their vessels.  Apparently there were no size restrictions because one, designed to look like an antique New Orleans hearse was big enough for eight people, plus one more, who was in a coffin that popped out the back of the hearse! lol

Surprisingly, very few of the boats sank.  I think there are a lot of experienced cardboard boat builders out there.  There were two pastel pink boats that looked like ballerina shoes and the girls and women who paddled them wore adorable ballerina attire complete with tutus.  Unfortunately, one of those boats turned over, but the other continued on strong for second place.

One of the boats that I thought would sink the moment the horn sounded was built in the shape of a Viking ship.  It was stronger than I thought and made it through it’s heat, although it wallowed a lot and was a bit tubby.

Another boat had very high sides and young paddlers.  The kids were using snow shovels as paddles, and lost one.  The Fire Department fished it out of the water and handed it back.  The kids were so short they couldn’t reach the water over the sides of the boat, and I don’t think they made it around the post and back.

There were three boats in the mechanical division.  Those had bicycle pedals and gears that ran propellers.  One of the boats had a malfunction three feet out of the starting gate.  That left a boat pedaled by one woman, and a boat that looked like a pencil with two guys pedaling.  Unfortunately, whoever designed the pencil boat must have been VERY TALL, and the two guys pedaling were average height.  They ended up lying on their backs and pedaling with their feet up in the air.  I’m not sure how they could see where they were going, but they made it through the course and won.

The Fire Department had a cardboard boat.  It was v-shaped and painted hot red.  Unfortunately just after it rounded the post, it dumped three rowers into the drink.  The guys showed true fireman spirit,  flipping onto their backs, grabbing the edge of the boat to bring it along, and kicking their way to the finish line.

At the end of the morning, anything which was still able to float was relaunched in the final race.  It was quite a hoot to see them all madly paddling the course, with a lot getting lower in the water by the minute.  Unfortunately, the firemen went into the drink with a repeat performance, and I think the VIkings got dunked too.

It’s safe to say that a good time was had by all, and I hope to attend next year!

Conditioning

I am a creature of conditioning.  I’ve been spending a quiet morning at my computer, sitting in the dining room where I can look out over the street.  Just a moment ago, a police car drew up to the curb, and I immediately rose and went to the window, wondering what was WRONG!!!

Actually, he had pulled over so that a larger vehicle would have room to pass.  There was nothing wrong, but that was the first thought to come to my mind.  Apparently it’s not just criminals who worry when a cop shows up.

I’m old enough that I recall being taught as a child that a policeman was my friend.  I don’t know if parents still teach that to their children.  Certainly, the younger generation has a different attitude about the police than we did way back when.

It has to be difficult for the police to do their job when it feels as though everyone dislikes them.  I have a nephew who  has just retired from a police force.  I’ll have to ask him if he felt the general public disliked having contact with cops.

I’m free to go about my business this morning.  I think I’ll go make my bed..

Variety…

…is the spice of life!  Blue Witch, in a comment she left, voiced her concern that we need to take care of ourselves, and do things that are not related to moving into our new home.  Of course, she’s right.  We need to see to having a little fun now and then.

Two of the men in our exercise class are participating in a cardboard boat race.  Or, at least they have built two boats for the police to man.  I think we are going to take some time on Saturday morning to go and watch the races!  I’ve seen versions of this on TV, but never seen them in real life.

Cardboard, Liquid Nails, paint and duct tape may be the only materials they have been allowed to use.  Would you sail a boat like that?  I suspect that those of us watching will be cheering on any boat that doesn’t immediately disintegrate! lol  It should be a fun morning.

Odds and Ends

We need to be shopping for shelving!  Every closet in this house needs shelves!  I bought three Rubbermade wooden shelves to add to the setup in our bathroom closet.  Unfortunately, they are about two inches narrower than the existing shelving, so we need to put a stopper of some kind at the back to prevent the shelf from falling off the pegs.  At least I can being organizing things to clear out some of the boxes.

Dear Husband bought a corded mouse, and managed to get the computer up and running.  On the third try, the computer recognized that there was new hardware and played nice.  I should be able to get some office work done this afternoon.

A T & T came to visit yesterday and found that a wire had been snipped, preventing us from receiving calls. Now the phone works, and we’re getting calls from businesses.  I thought there was a no-call law!

Dear Husband and My Niece The Artist got the shelves in the basement set up.  I think there are seven sets of shelving all hooked together along one wall in the basement.  My job is to cover the shelves with shelving paper, and then I can begin opening boxes of fabric!  YEA!!! For safety sake, I plan to put project boxes, which are plastic, on the bottom, and I may talk with DH about a battery operated sump pump.

Are your towels all perfectly color coordinated?  I am discovering the oddest assortment of towel colors! lol    I have three shades of green towels for my bathroom, but I also have a creamy white, navy blue, lime green, burgundy, rose, pink and CORAL!  A quarter century of towels that used to work for four different bathrooms are all coming to roost.  The only ones in bad shape are my spruce green set, and wouldn’t you know they’re my favorites?

We cooked last night.  We started the Kitchen Sink Salad, which is our personal variation on a Cobb Salad.  Usually DH uses soy, rice wine, black pepper and garlic to marinade the chicken, but he was underway and discovered that we don’t have soy yet. He, punted, using Zesty Italian salad dressing, among other things, and the chicken had a lighter, Italian taste to it than usual.  Carrots, cucumber, green onion, tomatoes, romaine, spinach, cheese and a few other odds and ends made it a meal.  It was certainly better than our first meal in this house! lol

Sneezes

Can you feel it when a sneeze is on the way?  Do they burst right out, or do they take a while to wind up?

We have a lot of fans in our new home, and plan to have more.  While the air-conditioning is out, sitting beneath a ceiling fan has saved us many an afternoon.  But, I realized that occasionally the fan makes me sneeze, especially in the dining room with the ceiling fan on a “high” setting.  What is it about air rushing past you as you eat or drink that might make you sneeze?

Out of the blue two days ago, I started sneezing.  I must have sneezed ten times before it stopped.  Usually I am one of those people who sneeze three times in a row.  I wonder why we have habits like that?  I really need to surf the subject, when I have more time.

For now, I’m going to blame cleaning supplies and the dust of a house that has not been well-cleaned for years as the cause of most of my sneezing.

Rain

It’s been terribly dry in my neck of the woods lately.  We really need a good saturating rain.    My hoses have been packed, and I don’t know whether they will arrive tomorrow, or whether we have to wait for the POD to be delivered, which might be a week later.  I know the shrubs and perennials need a drink, soon.  We’ve had beautiful clouds, but very spotty showers.

I was in the post office this week and saw a t-shirt that read:  “The rain in Spain stays mainly in Seattle.”  I posted that for my youngest sister, Frankie, who lived in Seattle for a time.

For those of you who have been getting a little too much rain, send some our way. You’d be doing both of us a favor!

Undercover Restaurant Critics

Dear Husband and I decided to have dinner in a restaurant that was totally new to us.  It’s not terribly far from where we are staying for the duration, and we thought we might enjoy trying something new.

When we walked in, there was a sign announcing that there would be a private party downstairs.  We were seated on the main floor, four or five steps up.  We had the choice of a table or a booth, and choose a booth on the outer edge of the room.  At the time, only one other table was taken, which didn’t surprise us given that we were dining rather early on a Monday.

Our waiter appeared, told us about the restaurant and their aim to buy food locally. The menu had a nice selection, and we both opted for soup, and an entree.  And then things began to  go downhill. Just little things, really.  We talked about it, quietly, during dinner.

For instance, the chipotle honey butter was okay, but it seemed the chef was trying a bit too hard for originality.  Whatever happened to plain butter?  DH ordered a Pepsi, but when it came it seemed that the syrup to soda mix was wrong, and he ultimately sent it back, and settled for water.

I asked what the soup of the day was, and the answer was, “Clam Chowder.”  I had to ask which kind.  When it arrived, it might have been a corn chowder, because there was more corn than clam in it, and it looked like it was  chicken broth thickened with cornstarch.  That’s not my idea of a good New England Clam Chowder.

We finished our soup, and the soup and bread plates were still on the table when a bus boy brought our entrees.  His hands were full.  He couldn’t remove the dishes so that he could set the entrees down, so we had to assist him.  I’m surprised that they didn’t bus the table first.

We ordered two different steak dinners.  Both of us ordered the steak done medium rare. Both our steaks came rare

I rarely order dessert, but I was tempted by the idea of cheesecake.  I asked the waiter (who had been conspicuously absent during our meal) what the cheesecake of the day was.  He said it was chocolate and strawberry.  I asked for a more detailed description.  He said he thought it had a ground oreo base, and had strawberries and chocolate over the regular cheesecake.  I asked if I could get it without the chocolate and he allowed as that was possible.  When it came, it had a graham cracker crust, was slightly overcooked, and had frozen strawberries in sauce over the top. For some reason, I was expecting fresh strawberries…you know, their commitment to fresh produce, grown locally.

Now, I should tell you, that we ate most of our dinners.  What bothered us was that the service was off, and the meal didn’t quite live up to the prices.  The look of the rooms, and the look of the staff told me that we should have had a better experience.  As we left, we realized that our waiter was handling all the outside seating.  Another waiter came along and commented that they were short-handed due to the private party.  I’d have thought they would have made sure they had the staff to cover their needs.

One last thing, I went to the ladies room without my purse.  Too late, I discovered that there was no toilet paper.  Luckily a server was in the next stall and shared with me, but someone should have checked the restrooms to be sure they were stocked following the busy weekend.

So, DH and I have decided to offer ourselves as undercover restaurant critics.  We know enough about fine dining to be able to assess what’s good and what isn’t.  The staff would never guess that we were critics.  We don’t look the part.  I wonder how much that plays into whether the staff makes your experience a good one, dressing up for the occasion?   I have to say we are rather casual these days.

Maybe we can find a local newspaper that wants a restaurant column.  We could really expand this, and make a living eating out!

My first comment will be, “Don’t say ‘How’re you dooin guys?”