Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Week in Retrospect

All in all, this was not my favorite week, but as weeks go... it could have been far worse.

First, my coffeemaker died; I think this one lasted 2 years. I made the decision not to replace it, but instead to drag my 30-year-old Chemex off the top shelf in the pantry, remembering how good the coffee made in it tasted. Naturally, I had none of the large, thick square Chemex filters anymore, but thought I could use up the 2 boxes of unbleached #4 cone filters I have on hand.

Wrong! Want to guess how many times the filters split and dumped all the coffee grounds into the coffee? (Nearly every time, even when using 2 filters!) I checked all the grocery stores within a 30 mile radius... no Chemex filters, but then I didn't really expect to find any, knowing the word 'gourmet' doesn't exist in this area.

Online, a box of 100 Chemex square filters runs from $7 to $9... about twice what I have been paying for unbleached filters. Well, I could live with that, for good coffee... but then the shipping charges were added. Every single place that carries them charged more for shipping than they charged for the filters. Somewhere along the years in transit, I lost the wooden 'handles' for my Chemex, and only have a cloth 'cozy' which isn't guaranteed not to slip when pouring coffee, so I added a new set of wooden 'handles' to my order. That doubled my product cost, but only added 50¢ to the shipping.

Hopefully the package will arrive Monday, and I can have coffee without a mouthful of grounds again. Now I just need to root around the boxes in the barn and find my old Stanley stainless steel thermos so I can keep freshly-made coffee hot.

The next thing that happened was an inability to access the internet. My calls to Comcast resulted in a menu that kept taking me back to 'start', over and over, but never to a live person. It took 2-3 hours attempting to reach a real person before I finally got one. Let me tell you, 2-3 hours of communication frustration coupled with a coffee cup full of grounds did not turn me into a Happy Camper!

Once I finally reached a Comcast Tech and we fiddled around a bit trying a few things, the problem turned out to be a dead wireless router. Sigh. I've had it about 2 years, just like the coffeemaker. The cable from the Comcast box reaches my Mac laptop so I had internet access as soon as I switched to the cable. However, I have no back-up router, so my sister's old PC and my Mac cannot both be online at the same time.

There are some slick wireless routers on the market now which I would love to have... but most of them don't have the right technology for my sister's old PC, and it took some searching to find one. It should ship today, and by mid-week all should be right in this tiny 'computer corner'.

The third crappy thing has been running nearly 2 weeks... the worst flea infestation I have had in 30 years. My 2 cats are banished to the outside for now, and I have sprayed, vacuumed, and washed all clothing, throw rugs and bedding every day until I am sick of it. Turns out the flea stuff I put on the cats is good for adult fleas but does not interrupt the egg cycle. I finally have some good premise spray coming, and some flea treatment for my babies... both will kill eggs, larvae and adults so I should have some relief soon... assuming what my sister does for her dogs and cat is also effective.

After getting all my 'replacement' product orders placed online, I went down to the next town to help a wine-maker friend pit plums. Bushels and bushels of plums. It will take us probably 2 more days to pit them all, and she hopes by next year to have a proper commercial plum/peach pitter. The plums are too large to go through the tube in my cherry pitter, although we tried with the smaller plums!

I brought home all the pits from yesterday's pitting, and started them fermenting. I'm playing around with making real fruit vinegars, which I understand are exquisite in taste... and very expensive to buy in the US if you can find them. Most fruit vinegars are really just fruit-flavored vinegar made from distilled vinegar (acetic acid and water) with added fruit juice; I've made, used and sold many of those myself, and while they are tasty, they are not the real thing. There's not enough flesh on these pits to make more than maybe a pint, so my goal is merely to learn the process now.

Also, I am now back on my food protocol. Actually I wasn't off it very far, but over the 3 weeks I ate many things not on my list... like pizza, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Jamaican real ginger-ales brewed with pineapple juice and a bit of honey (but at least not instant 'fake brews' with HFCS), and I sampled several 'no-no' dishes at a pot-luck picnic. I've now lost close to 25 pounds, which is nice; but more importantly, I am feeling better and have more energy. Still have a long way to go, even though I don't expect to ever again have all the energy and stamina I had at 50, or 60.

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