Tuesday, January 1, 2019

BOOM Boom boom NEW YEARS EVE boom Boom BOOM

Home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area, FL


We have been living the ‘winters’ in the condo now since May 2013, but this year was the first year we were actually ‘at the condo’ for New Year’s Eve.  What a SURPRISE we were in for.  It all started around noon…a few booms here and few booms there.  By 6 pm, the booms had increased 5 fold.  By 10 pm, they were every minute…by 11 pm they were every 15 seconds…by 11:50 it was constant.  THANK GOODNESS poor little Skruffy is loosing her hearing, they did not affect her at all.  By 1 am, it was over, other an occasional one.   And these booms and bangs were all over…close by…with a short duration of calm when the helicopter flew overhead for about 5 minutes.  Around 12:15 the fire trucks went out in force…don’t know what that was about.

Ryobi Drain Auger

Since the day after Christmas, we have been fighting with a slow draining sink.  The culprit, putting Asparagus ends in the garbage disposal Christmas Day, along with a daily fill of Coffee Grounds from out French Press.  This is the THIRD time in our six and a half years here that we have had problems with this sink drain.  The previous two times it was onion peelings…which we stopped after talking to the guy who cleared it last time (at a price of $250 B-T-W)  This stoppage was more of a slowness.  Run water for 30 seconds and it starts backing up the sink drains.  Drain cleaners helped a bit…got it a 45 second limit, but I finally broke down and bought this nifty Drain Auger (snake).  Runs on 110 volt –OR- battery pack.  Since we don’t have much need for these type of tools, no need to buy battery pack, which is separate from the $129 plus tax price tag.  It goes out 25 feet, which is 3 feet beyond the connection to the main line…so perfect for our needs. 

Sink Drain

Here is a look under our double sink.  The big Black item to the right is the garbage disposal I put in a few years ago (replacing one already there).  There is a white drain coming out the side of the disposal, and above it a grey line where the dishwasher line empties into the disposal.  To plunge the drain, I have to plug up that line to the dishwasher, turn on the disposal, then plunge the left sink…not an easy trick.  However, this did not work at all.

Sink Drain

After getting the drain auger, I took off the trap drain pipe (the smaller arrows), then the pipe line coming out of the wall (the big arrow).  This allowed the drain auger snake line to enter the system.  As it does, it immediately heads down, then to the right.  This electric auger handled these two turns very easy.  The trick is not knowing how far you are with the line.  I estimate that I went about 20’ the first time, put things together, and it did not do the trick.  Did it the second time using all the line…I now know there is a knuckle in the line near the end showing you that it is all out.  That did the trick.  Just to be sure, I will be putting a heavy-duty Drain-o down the line the next two nights.  Glad to report that I ran the water for 2 1/2 minutes this morning, and it drained just right.  Oh, the auger brought out a bit of Asparagus, and some coffee grounds.  YUCK.  At least now we are equipped to do our own drains from now on…and I hope it is not a yearly thing! 

Mr. Coffee Maker

The first thing I did yesterday was go to Walmart and get this 5 cup programmable coffee maker, $17, so we don’t have to mess with the French Press coffee grounds each day.  LOVE the French Press…makes GREAT coffee…but it is difficult to clean without getting grounds down the disposal.  Would rather drink Mr. Coffee than clean out the drain all the time.  (Google - drains coffee grounds - and you will see that coffee grounds are BAD for drain pipes…”Coffee grounds are among the biggest drain clogging offenders”…who would have known, and WHY did the guy tell us about onions and not coffee grounds?)

Tim Allen Grunt

For those fans of Home Improvement, you KNOW what I am doing … pulling a Tim Taylor Grunt.


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas in Florida – With Marcia’s Side of the Family

Home in Holiday / Tarpon Springs area, FL

Marcia's side of the family -- Brother Skevos cutting venison

When you get a bunch of Greeks together, there is going to be food.  Here is Marcia’s youngest brother, Skevos, cutting up some freshly smoked venison from a deer that the oldest brother Ted shot just a few weeks prior not far from where they live in Brooksville.  The gathering was at Skevos and his wife LInda’s house, and in the background you can see a spiral-cut ham, and behind him and outside of the picture was shrimp, Greek Salad, Dolmathes (grape leaves wrapped around a meat/rice mixture), Pastitsio (Greek baked pasta dish with ground meat and b├ęchamel sauce) along with some desserts like Karydopita (Greek Walnut Cake).  I did not really look over the desserts…not on our diet, neither was the Pastitsio or Dolmathes, although we both had one Dolmathes each.

Marcia's side of the family  

Most of our activities were in the backyard…which here in Florida you can typically depend upon a 70 degree day on Christmas Eve…which is exactly what we got.  A bit warmer when the sun broke through the cloudy skies…no wind. 

Marcia's side of the family - Marcia's sister Marion and brother Skevos

Pictured left is Marcia’s younger and only sister Marion.  To her left is Nephew Stephen, son of Skevos and Linda…that is Skevos to far right.

Marcia's side of the family - Marcia and sister-in-law Linda

Pictured right is Marcia (with her new walker which she LOVES..she walks much better with it) getting a hello kiss from Skevos’s wife Linda.  


Marcia's side of the family - niece Suzie and child       Marcia's side of the family - brother Skevos and Grandchild

Above is their daughter Suzie with her third and youngest child, and that is Grandpa Skevos to the right.  This was a HUGE surprise because Suzie, husband and kids live near Houston…they left around 4 pm yesterday, drove all night just to surprise them Christmas Eve morning with numerous knocks and door bell pushes.  All they told their kids (the oldest is around 12 years old) was that they were going for a drive…now days with cell phones you can’t depend on everyone keeping a secret!  Skevos is Marcia’s younger brother.  All of these brothers and sister are from her Father’s side of the family…she has another brother from her Mom’s side of the family whom we have had pictures of many times, and that is Dean and his wife Caryl.

Marcia's side of the family - brother Ted and Marcia

Pictured left is Marcia getting a hello kiss from her older (yet younger than her) brother Ted.  In the background is her middle brother Mike, who attends the same church we do, and who watches over our mail and Condo when we are gone.

Marcia's side of the family

Sitting at the table above, lady with long hair is Linda’s sister Suzie who lives about a block away from Skevos and Linda, Ted’s wife Carol, Skevos’s son Stephen (standing) and sister Marion (back to the camera).  In the background left is brother Mike, brother Ted, and Mike’s wife Sandy.  Sitting in background is Ted’s two sons (Randy left and John right) with Skevos’s son-in-law (Suzie’s husband who drove all night coming from Houston) sitting in the middle.

Marcia's side of the family   Marcia's side of the family
Marcia's side of the family

Upper left is some of the grand-nieces.  Interesting fact, the one in black shot her first deer with her first shot at the age of 12, and the next year shot another deer with her first shot bow hunting.  Her dad John had three girls, and she is the only one interested in hunting.  Upper right is brother Mike, Skevos and sister Marion (I don’t know why I got so many shots of Marion’s backside).  The bottom picture above is Ted with wife Carol, and Marcia talking to Linda’s sister Suzie (Linda named her daughter after her sister…a common Greek thing to name children after parents or relatives).   Between them in the background is Mike’s daughter Aly.  She has two boys and another child on the way if all goes well.

Logun and cousin

Pictured left is Aly’s son Logun (Mike and Sandy’s grandson) walking with one of his many cousins.  Logun is autistic, a smart young guy who use to be out of control, but is in much better control now.  He LOVES his hand-held games, and most of the time is very polite.  He always asks about Skruffy, and loves it when Bubba is over at Mike and Sandy’s house where Logun lives with his mother and grandparents.  His brother Braxton has a job at a movie theater, and had to work until 8:30 last night.  And with that, it wraps up another Christmas Eve with Marcia’s family…too numerous to show all, but we had a great day.

Angle from neighbor Mary      Angle on display

Which brings us to Christmas Day.  I can remember the excitement my kids felt waking up and seeing MORE presents under the tree than were there when they went to bed.  Stephanie, my middle child, swore that she heard “Santa and the Reindeers” in the middle of the night…perhaps inspired by a “HO HO HO” and the ringing of a few bells by her daddy.  Today, around 3 pm, we finally decided to open up the gifts given to us by my sister Sandy and by our neighbor Mary.  How surprised we were when we opened this beautiful Angel Snow Globe, which is now on display on the middle of our bottom shelve.  It lights up, and has a small fan moving the snow around. 

Christmas from Sis 

Sis sent us some gifts for the dogs, some Atkins Treats for us, and two coffee mugs with Dave Marcia written all over both of them.

Personalized Couples Coffee Cups

Of course, I had to call her up to give her a bad time that now we will never know whose coffee cup is whose…and, of course, how Bubba will end up with most of the treats since we really have to be careful what Skruffy has due to her diabetes.

Doggie Poop Bags

And the big kicker…that since she only sent us 5 doggie liter bags, it must mean she wants us to have a “short stay” this spring/summer when we go out to visit again….Yep, we get the picture.

Lamb Dinner

Then it was time for our Christmas Dinner.  Boneless Leg of Lamb, Greek Potatoes, and Asparagus.  We do our lamb in a crock pot…and it turns out great every time.  First, you stick garlic cloves into various parts of it, then put olive oil on the lamb, which comes tied together in a string cooking net (we typically get ours at Sams, but other places have it too).  Then Marcia puts her spices on it…Ground Mustard, freshly ground Pepper, small amount of Mint, Onion Powder and Oregano, topped off with some Italian spices she puts together.  It then goes into the crock pot on top of 3 or 4 slices of lemon (with the peel), (we also use a crock pot cooking bag which makes clean up easier), and then put 3-4 lemon slices on top,  set to high for 45 minutes (no preheating).  After that, I stick a meat thermometer in it to get an idea as to where it is…today it was 110.  I then set to warm, and tested again in a hour.  Two hours later it was at 140-145.  I took it out and let it sit while the Asparagus cooks.     Fifteen minutes later cut it, and it was ready to serve.  (Marcia started the Greek Potatoes at 1, 1/2 hour at 325, hour at 225, then just let them stay warm until serving.)  Now we like our lamb as we do our beef, medium rare.  If you want medium, take it out when it hits 155.  If you want it dry and cooked more, well, that is up to you…just leave it in for a day of two if you wish.  ­čśĆ


Merry Christmas Y’all

ps: As for gifts to each other, we typically buy things we have needed or wanted.  The drawer dishwasher and the lift recliner fit that bill this years for us...