Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow....

     I have a million things left to do before 8am, when I must open the Post Office for a few hours...and then home to our Christmas Eve Feast (which is not quite yet finished)...but I had to jump on here and tell you about the mail run today.


We had snow, like the rest of New England. We got about 9 inches, topped off with a lovely crust of ice.

A White Christmas!!!

But, back to the ice...
Chris has plowed, sanded, shoveled, back-hoed the places the plow wouldn't reach, and sanded some more. it's really as good as it's going to get. It's just too cold for the ice to melt. What are you gonna do? 
I'd stay home.  But the Post Office has this rule about always getting the mail through...and they don't care if the boat ramp is covered with 3 solid inches of ice. So, off I go.

I knew the roads were slippery. I'd already fallen the day before, so I was gingerly picking my way across our driveway, etc. (think: the snow equivalent of gun-shy). I made arrangements with (read: bribed) The Big Guy to swap out the mail for me. At the designated hour, I picked him up, and drove to the Town Dock, where the mailboat comes in. 
It was, naturally, dead-low-tide. 
That ramp was straight vertical.
And covered in ice.  *(Chris had thrown sand down it. I knew it wouldn't help me one bit, except to embed in my skin when I slid down the length of the ramp...)
But Paul wasn't at the dock- he was holding the boat back a ways. He hollered out, "I can't pull up to the float- there's ice on the water, and it will get sucked into my exhaust."
Now I don't know what that means, but the end result is that he won't pull to the float.
Um, so am I supposed to swim to ya?

No, he said, he'll have to go over to the other dock. I had to think about this one. Other dock? This is the only dock that's had any ...attention...since the snowstorm. There's the ferry pier, but it's dead-low-tide, and about 20 feet from the water to the pier. Nobody's aim is that good!
And there's David's wharf, the buy car where we sell lobsters. I looked over there. Nobody's been down since it snowed. Nothing is shoveled. The ramp there is also in a vertical position.
But there goes Paul, headed over. 
Uh, ok.
I drove over to the wharf. There are 482 stairs from the road to the wharf. And there were footprints, so somebody had been down. While I thought about who I could get to tend my life while I recuperated from the countless injuries I was about to encounter, I realized the truck was sliding on ice. That whole side of the island sort of...slants...towards the harbor. That did it for me!
I jumped out of the truck as fast as I could. It only slid a few inches, but that was enough to scare the pants offa me!
By this time, The Big Guy has lost ALL patience with this whole situation; Paul's reluctance to dock, my inadequate ice-driving skills, and the fact that there were 15 boxes and 3 mail bags waiting to be delivered. 
Up 482 stairs. 
He went down those stairs 3 at a time. When he got to the ramp, he took 2 steps, and had to drop the outgoing mail bag to keep from sliding into the water. Paul said, no-no, I'll come up with some of this stuff...and made it 3 steps before he was sliding back down. 
I would have been laughing, if I wasn't so busy chewing my fingernails. We've already had 2 guys overboard in the harbor; I was sure I was watching the next two.
I decided that reinforcements were in order. The ramp was un-passable. We'd have to dump all the mail there on the dock, pick it up with a skiff, bring it to the Town float, wait for the tide to come in some, and get the mail up the ramp then. 
I made a couple of phone calls, to get somebody to run a skiff over to the Big Guy and all the mail...but, news travels fast 'round here (most of the houses are clustered around the harbor; some people could watch our antics from their living rooms), and neither guy answered their phones.....
And so...
Paul dumped the mail, and left.
The Big Guy stomped back up the 482 stairs, in a VERY festive mood.
We drove back over to the Town dock. He got in his skiff, and put-putted over to the wharf. Took him 3 trips to get all the mail across the harbor. I slid down the ramp on my butt, and helped him unload the skiff.  I grabbed the lightest of the mail bags, and fell on the ramp 3 times before I quit. "Waiting for the tide," I said. "I'm done. " And I went up the ramp leaning over the rail, so my feet barely touched the floor, praying the rail wouldn't pick that moment, with me 12 feet off the ground, to break off...
The Big Guy was fighting a mail bag up when Davie drove up. Davie helped him get the rest of the boxes up, and I loaded them. 
And I tell you, if it weren't for those two guys being there this afternoon, I would have had no other choice but to have yelled to Paul- take it back with you, and send it on the ferry tomorrow! 

Can you just see me getting in a skiff???? 

I leave you with this solemn vow: 
I will have a hoist and boom at the ferry pier, so help me God.
And you know I will not stop, not BUDGE, until it is installed.


But, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Tomorrow is the feast that I wait all year for. It's all my favorite dishes, all in one day!
I will likely not be blogging until after the festivities, to let the annual Pepto Bismol -fest run it's course, but I have lots of news, some knitting (I won't be able to show a lot, my gifts are not given out yet!!), and a couple of funny stories (including the 'man overboard in the harbor' one), but here's a preview:

smoked clams
hot crab dip
bacon wrapped scallops
shrimp cocktail with super spicy horseradish sauce
cold lobster salad

Lobster Fra Diavolo with angel hair pasta
Baked Stuffed Lobsters, with scallops and shrimp
Stuffed Shrimp
Stuffed clams
clam fritters
mussels steamed in garlic and white wine
crab cakes

and if you aren't moaning on the couch:
pecan pie
cherry pie
toll house pie
biscottis
The Frosted cookies
stained glass windows
amaretto and kahlua truffles
pizzeles


I LOVE CHRISTMAS EVE!

And that's why, Christmas Day, we make two things:
 -a giant anitpasto platter, with salad, olives, vinegar peppers, portabella mushrooms, hot peppers, roasted peppers, cold cuts, parm cheese, smoked gouda, beets, and pickles. (Those last two are at thing Two's insistence.)
- and phyllo triangles filled with a sauteed mushroom mixture. (Actually a Weight Watchers recipe!! We love these, an they're fairly easy to do. I don't have a recipe, but I'll show you what to do next week.)

Merry Christmas, everybody!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Overheard...

Thing Two learned a joke. (From whence he learned this joke is a mystery, as he is rarely out of my sight...except for school.)


"What's invisible and smells like rabbit?"


"Bunny farts."


He mooned his father the other day, too.

Awesome.

**I have been informed that my husband, Father of said child, provided the joke. Punishments all around!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You've Got to Be Kidding.

This isn't funny anymore.

     We have had one storm after another for the past few weeks. Just when it seems the wind dies down, it picks back up again. The ferry cancelled Wednesday because of the weather (that's the 4th trip cancelled due to wind since October, for those of us counting). We had scheduled no school Wednesday and Thursday so we could all go off to Christmas and grocery shop (we build these days right into the school calendar so that there doesn't end up being only one or two kids at school for 2 days).
Well, that's OK; we're used to having to punt when it comes to weather ruling our lives. 
We re-grouped, decided to have school Wednesday, and take off Thursday-Friday instead. (We have a policy in place with the ferry service- if the ferry cancels Wednesday, there is a scheduled make up trip Friday. It was a long time coming, getting that policy in place, and we are very happy to have it.)
And all would have been right with the world...except that the boat ended up being pulled out of service to work on the pen at Swan's Island (due to some technical details that I don't fully understand. They needed the boat. Awesome.)
So, no trips Thursday, Friday, or Saturday either!
Ok...re-group again.
We decided to have school Thursday-Fri-Sat, the Xmas party Saturday night, and take off the following (this coming) Wed-Thursday.
Um, no.
We have our lovely art teacher, whom we all adore, Anne Claude Cotty, scheduled to visit those days. We cannot cancel art with Ms. Cotty!!
We re-grouped again.
After much haggling and debate, a bottle of wine, some tears, and a lot of swearing (hmm, who would that have been?) we settled on just having school every day but the first (original) Wednesday. Whoever really needs to go off the 17-18th, will just take the hit on the missed school days. It worked for the teachers who would have been the ones to really get tanked; parents have the option of pulling our kids out of school, the teachers are obligated to be there. They are leaving the island for Christmas, and didn't need to shop before then.
whew.

Then I sat down with phone and a calendar to figure out how to get mail to and from The Rock on those days....and minutes later...

... the ferry called to say they'd be able to run us a couple of trips...Thursday and Friday.
Oh. My. God.

Re-group, again. By this time, even I don't want to take calls from me!
 We decided to just leave the school schedule alone. 
(Seriously, I couldn't take any more, and I had only just begun to coordinate mail runs!)

The mail, I said, can come on the Thursday ferry. I'll juggle the mail schedule to use the Friday make-up trip to run mail Friday. And My Hero Paul will run for me Saturday.

And all was right with the world!

Nate brought the incoming mail on Wednesday night.
Thursday's mail went on and off the big ferry, hallelujah.

Aaaaaaand then it blew again, and the Friday boat cancelled. (yup, that's 5. Mother Nature? You'd already set a record by trip #3. Now KNOCK IT OFF.)
How am I not on Prozac?

Chris and Emmie ran mail Friday-both on and off (thank you guys...you're awesome!), plus picked up the stranded islanders who couldn't get home.

Paul Joy did the regular mail run Saturday.

Poor Chris; he ran his boat across Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
And we had to get Lewis to do an emergency run Saturday night;  Kay suffered a small stroke (she will be fine after a bit). Scary stuff.

Oh yeah,
     The Big Guy left today on the ferry to go after his dragging gear. (What? the ferry ran?)
He's going scallop dragging.
Trip fishing.
I'm going to be left here on the Rock all winter, alone, and outnumbered by my kids.
Awesome.

(This isn't the first time. Last time I was still nursing thing Two. The boat sank that year. And I couldn't drink wine because of the nursing. Good Times. That's a story for another day!!!)





Saturday, December 13, 2008

Random good things

     Thing One came home from school the other day, so excited she could barely get the words out. They had carved rocks into shapes and she made a fox and Mrs. Finn had to help her and Thing Two already lost his and look isn't it awesome.....

wow.
     Apparently she is all about carving soapstone. I love the look of it, and want a small piece for myself. (If I ever tried to wear this around my neck I'd find some bizarre way to maim myself. I'd like to make the newspaper for some other reason than "Woman bends over to pick up pencil and breaks own nose with chunk of soapstone tied round neck. She later died of injuries sustained when shards of her broken nose entered her brain. She was found on the toilet/in the shower. Story at 11." No, thanks.

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They also made pottery this week. (I wish I went to school with them!!)
I didn't get the same feedback with the pottery. My fingers were crossed that she'd be some amazing talent at the wheel, as her Mother is a huge pottery fan. I still hold out hope.


     Thing Two had some excitement this week as well. He was thrilled to receive mail- his own mail- addressed to HIM. 

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All the way from Australia!!

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Great job with the handwriting Miles! 

Thing Two loves three things in life (besides me): the moon, stars, and trains. Not necessarily in that order. He was at the Post Office having lunch when this came. He walked around with it the rest of the day. He may very well be sleeping with it right now!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Henry the houseguest

     We have a new pet. His name is Henry. He came with his own passport, and he has travelled extensively. He's an elf.


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A christmas Elf. A snitch.
He's here to watch...observe...narc.
He will collect info sans illegal wiretaps, to report to Santa on christmas Eve. 
And he plays dirty.
He's rather antagonistic. Every night he hides himself in a different spot. He leaves a little note, rating the kids on their behavior the previous day. (The first day he arrived, they got a thumbs-down. They were mortified.)

     The Big Guy thinks it's totally creepy that this little doll/elf creeps around the house at night when we're asleep, touching things.
I think he's having flashbacks, memories of the horror movie  "Puppet master". Yeah, I had trouble putting my feet to the floor for a long time after that one, too.

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OK, now I'm a little freaked out, too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Oh, That?"

"That's an R-VEEEEE."


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"But don't you go fallin' in love with it now, 'cause we're takin' it with us when we leave here next month."

I can only hope.
I never know what I'm going to come home to find. This moved across the street from me when I wasn't looking. 
Awesome.

Just waiting for Leo or Steve to come out in the short bathrobe, and the hose, "Shitter wuz full!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Feast

A few shots of Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And there's more!

My birthday extravaganza continues!

I jumped in the shower, and came out to find this sitting on the kitchen table.

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(I ran back into the bathroom and tried it again, but there were no more bottles the second time.)

Thank You, Barbara...I may have to cough let you win the next time we play cards.

I'm running out of hiding places for my chocolate stash. It's getting bigger than the yarn stash!

Hehe, winter is looking up!

Salud!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh, the Pressure!

     Ooops, I thought I posted this the other day. Dates are a little bit off. I think the power went out in the middle of this post. 
Let me explain. 
     It all started on Tuesday, 2 short fun-filled days before Thanksgiving. The wind picked up, and just kept on picking up. It blew for 2 days. Did you know that if hurricane-force winds blow after November 1st, they are not classified as hurricanes? No, they're 'winter storms'. They can rip your roof off, but they aren't hurricanes. Awesome. 
     So in the midst of stuffing mushrooms and baking pies, the power went out. And stayed out. We dug out my new BFF, Genny.
  I lurve her
Genny would be short for generator. 
She saved me! She finished the mushrooms! She baked 4 pies! She ran the dishwasher! She let me shower!!!!
She's my hero. And, YES, SHE'S FEMALE! (Nothing male could get that much housework done.) 
     The power came back on Wednesday afternoon, only to go off again a short time later. We ran Genny to do the necessary stuff, and played board games by kerosene .(That oil gives me a huge headache. Or it could be the low-light. And I could not knit, it was too dim for me to see. More awesomeness! Mother Nature and I are no longer on speaking terms. Interrupting knitting!)
     Power was restored late Wednesday night, and the turkey was in the oven by 8am Thanksgiving morning. We crossed our fingers that the power would hold; there wasn't enough gas to run Genny for 6 hours to cook a turkey. It held, the turkey cooked, and all was right with the world.

     Okay, that seemingly innocent -looking Christmas Tree widget on the sidebar is giving me fits. I was very excited about it at first, being so festive and all...but...now it's just mocking me. I'm beginning to hear it in my sleep. 
It sounds like the Mother and the teacher in the movie "A Christmas Story"...
taunting......."You'll shoot your eye out, you'll shoot your eye out,"
except it's  "You'll never make it, you'll never make it".
'It" of course, is the long list of items I plan to make for gifts.
AND THE TREE IS PROBABLY RIGHT, WHICH IS WHY I FEEL LIKE SETTING IT ON FIRE.



I once watched this for 24 straight uninterrupted hours in a fleabag motel one Christmas. TBS had a marathon. We had literally JUST moved onto the island, and had to go DownEast one more time, to get the boat. He was driving the boat down the coast, and we had to wait for the weather to clear. We'd sold our house, had nowhere to stay. Ah, the days before kids...we hung out in pj's all that day and watched this movie over and over again  while It snowed. And we ate at the only place open on Christmas Day, a Chinese restaurant. We did not have the duck.
Hmm, I have a vague memory of an almost life-threatening car accident that trip, resulting on a flat tire. And the spare was for a Chevy; we had a Ford. Significance? Chevy's have 4 lug nuts, Ford's have 5. They are not interchangeable. And what better time to find that out than Christmas Eve in a sleety snowstorm in the pitch-black darkness that is nighttime in DownEast Maine? We never did figure out why we had that spare tire, or where ours got off to. 

Adding to the pressure of the Holidays is this:

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It's just not right. This was in my mailbox yesterday, November 24th. (Sorry- told you the dates are off.)

She has sent bribery in the form of Birthday gifts to ease the sting, however.
And this girl knows how to get to my soul!
Check this out!

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There are little pilgrim-y craft kits for the kids (to keep them occupied while I eat chocolate, of course), gingerbread coffee (!!!) and gingerbread mix, ohmygod chocolate covered espresso beans (these are already gone), and near and dear to my heart- a giant bag of M&M's.
I hid the M&M's, and for the life of me, I can't remember where. My house is very small, so they will turn up soon, surely. I just hope I find them and not the kids!
Thank you Stacie!!!!!

When I saw your handwriting on the unmistakably shaped envelope containing your Xmas card, I polished off the rest of the espresso beans. Thanks to the overload of sugar and caffeine (my other two BFF's), I was able to laugh and proudly, prominently display The First Christmas Card Of The Season. I may have called you an un-Christian name. Possibly. cough.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's December 5th

It's SCHMOO'S Day!


Happy Birthday Big Ragu!!
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I love this picture of him. Stephen's birthday party.

But Dude, how can you be hitting this milestone birthday when I'm older than you, and I'm still 29??

It's a conununundrum.....


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Awwwwww. Thing Two LOVES Carmine. (Pretty sure he thought he was about to be dropped to his death in this picture...I guess when you're three feet tall, a two foot drop looks scary...))

ps. non-family-type readers...this is my cousin,  Carmine.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Funny Stuff

Borrowed this from ladeb:

Very funny stuff!

I just want to thank all of you for your educational e-mails over the past year. I am totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery.

I no longer open a public bathroom door without using a paper towel or have them put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.
I can't use the remote in a hotel room because I don't know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels.
I can't sit down on the hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.
I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking ones nose (although cell phone usage may be taking the number one spot).
Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans fats I have consumed over the years.
I can't touch any woman's purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public bathroom.
I MUST SEND MY SPECIAL THANKS to whoever sent me the one about poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.
ALSO, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.
I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.
I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 thatBill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.
I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, andSt. Theresa's Novena has granted my every wish.
I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.
I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.
THANKS TO YOU I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.
BECAUSE OF YOUR CONCERN, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.
I no longer can buy gasoline without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.
I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put 'Under God' on their cans.
I no longer use Saran Wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.
AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face... disfiguring me for life.
I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.
I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.
I no longer receive packages from UPS or Fed Ex since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.
I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.
I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica , Uganda , Singapore , and Uzbekistan ...
I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.
THANKS TO YOU I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.
AND THANKS TO YOUR GREAT ADVICE I can't ever pick up $5.00 dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.
I can no longer drive my car because I can't buy gas from certain gas companies!
I can't do any gardening because I'm afraid I'll get bitten by the brown recluse and my hand will fall off.
If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician. (Or so I was told in a forwarded e-mail.)
Oh, by the way.....
A German scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse.
Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late.