One Part Snow, 99 Parts Chaos
February 26, 2013 by almostakiss
I thought I’d finally achieved a schedule for blogging. Posting once a week seemed almost manageable. Then life intervened as it tends to do and I’m back to doing it whenever I can squeeze in a spare moment. Last Wed. it was too cold to walk the dogs. I usually feel guilty if I don’t do it. This time I was almost giddy with the anticipation of having an extra half hour of free time! Turning over in my mind all the things I wanted to do and I’d have to choose whether to blog or do something else. Instead the decision was made for me when the phone rang at 9:45 am.
It was my postal friend Doreen. My coworkers from the time when I worked at the Post Office are like family. I liken it to the comaraderie of soldiers in battle. The fact that we all survived what goes on there (untold to this point) gives us an unbroken bond that time and mileage can’t break. Doreen lives in Milwaukee so I hardly ever see her but we try to keep in touch. We have always been able to talk for hours but the last few times we chatted, I had to limit it to only an hour. Last week Doreen called unexpectedly to say she’d just gotten back from a week in Tucson, AZ and had taken the day off to recover. My extra free half hour evaporated into thin air along with more so that we were on the phone until just after noon. It was good to catch up but I always feel like something else has to suffer when I do it. We talked about many things and then she told me about making her own laundry detergent. It sounds so interesting with ingredients like Borax, Zote soap, baking soda, Oxy Clean, Purex crystals and Arm & Hammer washing powder. Yesterday I received a small envelope containing a sample of it in the mail from her. I just finished all our laundry last week but I am anxious to try it. Between her and a few others on Twitter, it sounds like it’s the best thing since sliced bread! I just can’t figure out why there’s such a trend now to going back to the olden days when everyone made their own stuff. Of course it’s cheaper but lack of time is where convenience and laziness comes into play.
What else has been going on? Last weekend, after a week of getting quotes and comparing, we finally switched our car, RV and homeowners insurance. We’d had Progressive for our RV insurance since June 1998 when we first started RVing. We’re on our 3rd (used) RV and have always stayed with them. We used to have a $1000 deductible (later switched to $500) which sucks since we had to put in a couple of claims. One was back when 3 punk teenagers broke into both skylights in the RV, shimmied in and vandalized, stole and partied inside. This was inside the “secure” place we used to store it at. They also broke into 29 others the same night. It happened like 2 days before we were going to leave on a trip and had to cancel and have the motorhome in for repair for 2 months! It was a nightmare going to court. One of the kids didn’t even show up, the others the judge didn’t even let or any of the victims speak. He just gave them a slap on the wrist. One used the excuse of being bipolar so he wasn’t responsible. We actually heard the lawyer tell the kid NOT to get a job or he’d have to make restitution to us. Another time we had a claim when the wind blew the sides off the RV. It’s as freaky as it sounds. Anyway, Progressive was very good about it so we decided to keep them. 2 years ago, our car insurance, Constitutional Casualty, went belly up! We got a notice from the state saying we could get part of our premium back if we showed proof of payment. Well, we’d recently switched banks and the only proof I had was the entry written in the checkbook which didn’t count. So we got screwed there. We blamed our no good insurance agent who’d recommended the company. We decided to go with Progressive for our 2 cars also. We had them rewrite the policy for the RV (minus the agent) so we would get a multi-vehicle discount. Well, every time they send us propaganda or reminder notices, it would say “you’ve been a customer for 1 year”. All the years with them previously didn’t count. ANNOYING. Both the car and RV insurance EACH went up $30 a year. We’ve had no accidents, tickets and the cars are getting older and I’m over 50 now. None of it made sense! We called Progressive to get a new quote or see if they could lower the premium before we started looking elsewhere. First when we asked WHY it went up, they said they look at EVERYONE in our neighborhood’s claims and go by that. RIDICULOUS.
When we mentioned about having RV insurance with them since 1998, they don’t see it in their records. It shows since 2004, according to them. So much anger just fueled us to get as many quotes as we could. Now with our homeowners’ insurance, we’ve been with State Farm since we moved here in 1995. We’ve never filed a claim and yet we pay $900 annually. It is outrageous, we’ve just been too lazy to look into a different company. We got quotes bundling the 3 vehicles and the house. Liberty Mutual looked promising. Me to hubby: “I thought they were kind of a sketchy company for old people.” Hubby: “We ARE old people.” Me: <blink>. To make a long story short, we went with AAA. With Progressive, we had been paying $410 twice a year for my ’93 Pontiac Bonneville & hubby’s ’04 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The RV was $600 a year. Now we’re paying $435.13 for 6 months for all 3. The house insurance is down to $574. This is all for identical coverage. Hopefully, we’ll feel the savings and they’ll be a fair company to deal with.
We hate insurance. It’s a necessity but it seems like we are always paying and never get to use it. I guess everyone feels this way. Dealing with the insurance agents was awful. For trying to get your business, some of them are downright rude! They won’t let you get a word in edgewise. At least that’s over with.
Sunday night I finally broke down and ordered a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) light from Amazon. I’ve been thinking of it for years and finally my Twitter friend Liza told me which one to get. I will take pictures and post all about it when it arrives. Every year the lack of sunshine really messes with my mood. I’ve been SO TIRED lately, that all I can say is how tired I am all the time. February is the worst for me and since Feb. is almost over, I thought I might just wait until the fall. Then I realized how much I’m suffering and to just give it a try. I get so down that I don’t even go on Twitter, I don’t take any pictures for Instagram, etc. I just withdraw and I know it has something to do with how dark and gloomy this time of year is. I’ve really got my hopes up that this does the trick!
Last Wed. hubby stopped to get milk on his way home from work and Dominick’s was out of milk. They let him have 2 half gallons (the last 2 in the store!) for the price of a gallon. Every time a snowstorm is predicted, people buy up everything like they might never get fed again. Anyway, while he was there, he got me some spring flowers. Beautiful tulips in a pot that I can replant if I want in the fall. They hadn’t opened yet when he gave them to me but they’ve been opening more every single day. Today with a blizzard outside, they are fully open! I love having fresh flowers in the house. It always makes me think of Nikki Newman on The Young and The Restless who always has huge arrangements of fresh flowers in her home. Yes, I want to live my life like the GOOD parts of a soap opera! 😉
I’d been planning to make a pork roast in the crockpot for over a week. Doreen told me about what she put on hers: a can of mushroom soup, a packet of onion soup mix and a can of Pepsi. I’m always game for anything so I did it yesterday. We didn’t have any regular Pepsi only the XFactor Pepsi which we bought because it was $1.29 for a 12 pack. Later on we found out it is Dragonfruit flavor. I don’t even know what that is but hubby tried it and loved it. He’s been using it to make Milk & Pepsi for him and my mom. He’s been a fan since he was a kid and saw them drink it on Laverne & Shirley. I’ve tasted his and it’s ok but I can’t get past the fact that it’s soda and milk. Although I like rootbeer floats and that’s not that much of a stretch… Anyway, I put that on the pork and it turned out great. I had a HUGE roast that I’d gotten for half price because it was reduced for quick sale at Sam’s Club. I only buy those if they look perfect, not a hint of “oldness” to them. I froze it right away and it was just as good as if I’d paid an enormous amount. The roast was SO BIG it was all I could fit in my crockpot. I had bought a slew of vegetables to go with it so had to go in the basement and unpack my other crockpot. I keep it in the box and only use it in situations like this. Both have ceramic inserts, the one I had the meat in has a metal holder, the veggie one is plastic. Both are the same size but the veggie one has a divider in the middle. So I filled the other crockpot with veggies and added a can of chicken broth so it wouldn’t burn. I added several small onions, 2 parsnips, 3 turnips, 1 rutabaga, 3 tiny Linda squash, 2 decent sized yellow squash, etc. Then I made my mashed potatoes. I don’t brag unless I know for a fact but these are the best mashed potatoes in the whole world and these are! I peel and quarter about 7-8 potatoes (at least 2 meals worth), boil and when done, drain and put on low heat to dry out. Add 1 8 oz. package cream cheese cut into 8 cubes, 3 heaping teaspoons minced garlic (I use the jarred garlic in liquid), a splash of milk and a hand potato masher. NO BUTTER or SOUR CREAM is needed. Mash and stir with a spoon to get mixed well. Add quite a bit of salt and some pepper. They are to die for. They need NO gravy. This is comfort food at its best. Each potato ends up with about 1 oz. of cream cheese. I let the port roast go about 8 hours because I don’t like it sliced, I like it shredded. I take it out and tent it in aluminum foil for 20 min. or so, then shred. Sometimes I add it back into the liquid when I cook it with veggies but usually just leave it on the platter. Then I put a portion of shredded pork on a plate, ladle the veggies and broth over it and place the mashed potatoes along side. We’ll probably get 4-5 meals out of it and still have meat left to use for tacos, burritos or barbeque pork sandwiches.
It’s been snowing since 11 am and it’s a blizzard out there. Hubby tells me I call every time it snows a blizzard. Only if I don’t want to go out in it! 😉 Today at 4:30 pm, instead of finishing this, I decided to go outside in the backyard with the dogs. I took pictures while they played in the snow. They just have the best time and it’s contagious! It did wonders for my mood. Amber had fun playing with the basketball in the snow while Ivy & Elvis roughhoused. They are the definition of “horseplay”. They knocked over the sunroom lamp and broke the shade today but I can’t be mad at them. They are DOGS. We need to follow their example and live life in the moment and enjoy whatever comes our way.