Old Farts

Back to Normal?

I took my truck to the shop today, after going early yesterday to make an appointment. All I could say was an oil leak. There is still 600  miles left on this oil change, so the leaks were clean oil.

87,000 miles, I figured maybe a main seal or timing cover gasket, after all it is a 2002.

So, after getting up early (again), parking in front of the shop with closed doors, standing with other folks getting there early, rushing in when the doors opened, getting a place in line, then the wait.

Fortunately, the only other person waiting was a guy who actually had a head on his shoulders and we talked cars and bikes for the duration.

Final damages: $17 and change. Problem? Loose oil filter.

Damn! I did that too. The last time I changed it, I could hardly get the dingdang filter off. You know what they say

tighten one quarter turn after gasket makes contact

Never seemed enough.

Still, a sigh of relief. Oil leaks can lead to seriously expensive repairs.

The wife is due in today. As of this moment, she has not called to announce her departure. It is now 10:10 am so that puts her here at 4:10 if she leaves right now.

Hopefully, her cataract surgery will allow her to see the road signs now, and she will not end up in Junction (60 miles west of here…the wrong way).

The yard guy is due here today. He was due Tuesday too, but I guess he figured that he got the 4th off. Surprise for him, he will not get a paid holiday.

My only friend in the neighborhood across the street, has put his house up for sale.

He has two separate living quarters. The main house is a 2/2 with a huge covered deck complete with sink, fridge, stove/grill, ceiling fans, screens, nice.

The cobblestoned patio connects the two homes. The other is a large 1/1. There is enclosed workshop, and shed for lawn equipment, and 2 car carport on 5 1/3 acres. $385,000.

There is also a huge pole barn that houses his giant motor home, pontoon boat with workshop there as well.

They were overjoyed when they found out my wife and I had bought my dad’s place.

We will hold our breath to see who or what gets into his place. I guess I could just burn tires or fly a islam flag to scare off potential buyers.

It’s funny. My home, and my neighbor’s are the only ones in the hood that are exactly across the street from each other. Neither of us can come or go without the other seeing.

One cannot simply go to my neighbor’s and ‘visit’ as his gate is electronic and only opened by remote. UPS, the water delivery guys, FEDEX, and everyone has to wait at the gate, honk their horn, maybe call if they have a number to get in.

Me on the other hand, my drive is wide open. Anyone can come down the drive, or in the exit, as the entire front of the property on the road is not fenced.

I will have to change this situation if my new neighbors turn out to be undesirables.

July 4th

It’s upon us again.

For myself, over the years even when I was a  kid, the 4th was one of those rare occasions when Dad actually bar-b-qued the burgers and dogs. Ahhh, I can smell the lighter fluid now. I can see the flames breach the confines of the high backed charcoal grill.

Lesson #1: Too much lighter fluid, bad.

The folk’s good friends would come over with their brood, and we’d tear ass around the yard, taking our turn at the old fashioned ice cream freezer, each doing twenty revolutions of the crank.

Burned burgers, and charred dogs, potato salad, very very soft ice cream, folks smelled like Coors Banquet beer as back in the sixties, one could only purchase that stuff in Colorado, Oklahoma, and a select few other states.

Lesson #2: bar-b-que sauce on raw burgers is a recipe for 1/8 inch thick charring on both sides of burgers.

At day’s end after it got dark, we were all treated to the street where some of the neighbors may or may not be shooting fireworks.

Lesson #3: there is always a neighborhood asshole that calls the cops. We had two.

Over the years, everything changes and my expectations of the 4th does as well. I know for a fact that when I lived in town, that I was going to have to deal with folks up and down the street shooting off fireworks. I didn’t like it, but there was nothing I could do, and I did not want to be the asshole to call the cops. There are plenty of assholes out there for that.

I have a box of fireworks that my brother left with me a few years ago. My boys and I went through it and burned all the smoke grenades, and silent stuff. Not much left now except for some bottle rockets (large and small), few packs of firecrackers, and other noise related stuff. I would pay anyone’s asking price for a box of M60s.

Up until recently, I always ran the bbq pit on the 4th. As the kids grew up and went away, my wife and I found less and less reason to bbq for just the two of us, unless it was a steak that we split between us.

I did have a tradition that I still keep, and that is making queso dip. It just wasn’t an official ‘holiday’ without it. I used to actually fry homemade tortilla chips too. Man, pulling freshly fried chips, sprinkled with salt and paprika, dipping them into fresh queso was very addicting. I would frequently make pico de gallo at the same time. It just don’t get no better.

A bowl of melted queso, then a couple of large spoonfuls of pico in the same bowl, would cause me to retire to a quiet area, with a bag of On The Border Chips, where no one will bother me whilst I bask in flavorville. I make it clear that if anyone attempts to join me, they will likely draw back a stump.

The pico de gallo takes a lot of planning and diligence; planning for the ingredients, and diligence for standing at your cutting board chopping the onion, tomato, serrano peppers, cilantro. Be careful with the serrano peppers. You will get the residual capsaicin on your fingers, and it does not go away. If you forget and go off and take a leak or rub your eye, you’re gonna burn, believe me I know what I’m talking about.

This year, looks like I’ll be spending the 4th alone, as my wife (at this time) is not scheduled to return from her bout with cataract surgeries, and r/a doctor visit until the weekend after.

I find myself very tempted to buy an official meat smoker; the kind with the woodbox off to the side. One of the local stores has them on sale for $200. I know it’s not the heavy duty one made from oil field drill collar pipe, but I was thinking it might work fine for an occasional brisket. Who doesn’t like a brisket that’s been sitting in a smoker for 14 hours?

I am pondering also to mix together a pound of ground buffalo, with a pound of ground beef, and grill some buffalo burgers on the Weber.

I am looking into buying some wings to maybe also bbq some hot wings. They keep a long time even after they’re cooked.

I already have two packages of chicken breasts (one boneless, one bone in) soaking in Italian dressing and lemon pepper. These are both in the deep freeze, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Dogs and brats are also lurking in the deep freeze.

The Hillshire Farm sausages freeze well, and heat up fast for snacks as well, while the good stuff is cooking.

Something I tried not long ago, as I was too askeert in the past for fear of the burn…something the locals call jalapeño poppers.

You take whole, fresh jalapeños, cut off the stem, half it, and scrape out all the seeds and capsaicin, until only green is left. Then fill the halves with cream cheese, wrap it back together with a slice of thick sliced bacon and a toothpick. Put it on a hot grill, and cook until the bacon is done. Wash it down with a cold beer…good stuff that won’t burn you a second time…know what I mean?

Have a  happy and safe 4th, whatever you eat, wherever you go.