Cooking and cleaning

June 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The boys are at Pioneer Camp this week.

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While they are busy making bricks, digging holes, forging iron, and mostly just getting dirty, I am trying to get the house back in order after termite-ageddon.

Yesterday the screens on our pool cage were repaired.

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See Maggie…that is a pool cage. Or a bird cage around the pool. Or a screened-in pool. Or whatever you want to call it. Apparently not common in California? Very common in Florida. When they tented the house for termites they had to cut all the screens abutting the house. It was so sad. All of the accumulated debris on those screens just fell through onto the pool deck and into the pool.

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It doesn’t look as bad in the pictures as it did in real life. There were branches and leaves and dirt everywhere. It was depressing.

But now…

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no more debris!

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I spent most of the morning sweeping the whole deck. Deck sweeping attire (which I would never wear in public, but apparently I would share with the interwebs…plus, this reflection is nice and blurry, mostly obscuring my squishy parts):

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Next up will be pressure washing the deck with Chad’s new pressure washer. I think it was a pretty nice gift considering labor was included.

Of course as soon as they put up the new screens some more branches fell on them.

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It was quite an ordeal just to find a company to repair the screens. What is it with contractors of all sorts? They don’t return calls. They don’t want to give estimates. I called six companies and was only able to get a written estimate from one of them! Luckily, the guys were great and did a good job, but I have no idea if their bid was competitive because I couldn’t even get a second bid. We went with Reliable Screens and they were nice to work with. They came when they said they were going to and knew what they were doing. It’s crazy how they walk around on those narrow bars on the cage ceiling.

They told me they are a “one call does it all” kind of business, and I am also going to use them to clean out and repair our gutters and clean off the roof. Maybe I can get them to remove all the branches from the top of the pool cage while they are at it.

In addition to cleaning the pool deck today, I also did a bunch of cooking.

I have Chinese five spice pork ribs in the crock pot (recipe from Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2).

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I also made cole slaw to have a side dish with dinner (recipe from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain). It is made with my awesome homemade mayo (recipe from Well Fed).

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We’re also going to have cheddar garlic biscuits that I made on Sunday. Everything is #NSNG (no sugar, no grains) of course. I’m almost 10 months NSNG now, and loving it. This is the way to live…for me and my family anyway.

I also have bone broth on the stove, but it’s a 2-day process.

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I am using Wellness Mama’s method for making bone broth. The organic grass-fed beef bones are from Rosas Farms. They are in Ocala, but deliver to St. Pete and other areas twice a month. I pick up my meat in the Home Depot parking lot out of the trunk of some guy’s car…this is normal, right?

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I’m also making a new batch of mayo since I used up all that we had for the cole slaw and we must always have homemade mayo.

Whew. I also did two loads of laundry. I feel like I got a lot accomplished today. The boys will be home soon.

In other random news, I was excited to see the progress on our Trader Joe’s…just a mile or so from my house:

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Since the new Trader Joe’s opened in Tampa in March I haven’t even been over there! I’m not quite as enamored with TJ’s as I used to be, but I’m still psyched to be getting one here in St. Pete. I like options, and I will never run out of coconut cream!

Cya.

Tenting the house for termites

June 13, 2014 at 3:12 pm

The last three days have been extremely stressful. We had to have our house tented for termites.

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This required tons of preparation and cost an arm and a leg. Not fun. I had to double bag anything consumable (food, medicine, dog food, etc.) in special bags that the Orkin guy gave me, including everything in the fridge and freezer.

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I also had to turn off the gas and air conditioners, and open all cabinets, drawers, and doors inside the house.

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I also took off the panels covering the florescent lights in the drop ceiling in our master bathroom. There are so many things horribly wrong with that previous sentence. This is the ugliest bathroom ever, other than my cute curtains.

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Those light fixtures are where we first saw evidence of the termites so I wanted to make sure that the gas definitely permeated that area. Die termites. Die.

We had to be out of the house from Tuesday to Thursday, but luckily we have some very generous friends who let us stay in their adorable beach cottage while they were out of town.

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A beach cottage with a trampoline! Paradise!

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The boys spent a lot of time hanging out on the dock and in the back yard with this awesome view.

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Chewie loved exploring a new place.

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We all quickly made ourselves at home.

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Sorry for the feet on the coffee table and all the dog hair, Amy.

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On our first day staying out at the beach, we drove all the way back across St. Pete for swim team practice in the afternoon.

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After swimming, since we were back on our side of town, we checked on this house.

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It was depressing.

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Half of my new landscaping was under that tent.

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I was so worried about the landscaping and the gutters, some of which are original to the 1948 house. I was also worried about our pool cage. The screens would have to be cut all along the back of the house so they could drop the tenting through. I was so stressed during this whole process.

Back to paradise to try to forget about it…

We drove all the way back across the width of Pinellas County to have dinner with Chad at Middle Grounds Grill in Treasure Island.

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#NSNG no sugar, no grains:

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Breakfast at the cottage:

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On Wednesday we went to the beach…across the street.

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I sort of had to force the boys to go to the beach. They were both indifferent to going. Spoiled Florida kids.

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But the surf was really rough and the boys had a blast in the waves.

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I loved the very uncrowded beach, and also jumped some waves with the boys.

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After an hour or so of sand and surf we hit up the Shake Shop.

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Not #NSNG:

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Later in the afternoon on Wednesday we drove to downtown St. Pete, to the new Sundial shopping center, to see a movie.

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We saw Edge of Tomorrow. I thought it was pretty good. I’m not a huge Tom Cruise fan, but it was a good story.

Since we were back near home again, we drove by the house to check on it.

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No tent! But still not safe for return.

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So we spent one more night in the cottage and then awaited a call on Thursday to let us know that it was safe to return home. We had a nice little staycation out at the beach, but I was very eager to get home and survey the damage. Finally, by mid-afternoon we headed home. Of course, the house was in the shambles in which we left it.

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Plus, there was some evidence that the poison had done its job.

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Much of my month-old landscaping was crushed, and some of it was just fried.

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I can’t even write about the poor pool cage without getting a lump in my throat. It’s so sad.

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When they cut the screens, whatever debris was up there (leaves, branches, acorns, dirt) dropped to the pool deck. We had thunderstorms every night, so that just added to the mess back there. The pool and lanai are trashed.

It’s a major bummer. I just paid thousands of dollars to have my house raped and torn asunder. But it had to be done. There was no choice. Stupid termites.

The screen repair guy was supposed to come today, but it has thunderstormed all day…so no word from him. I just want to blink my eyes and have my house put back together.

But alas, I’m not Samantha Stevens. It’s going to take a while.

Cya.