Friday, January 29, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink

We're been under a water boiling order in Celebration since yesterday due to a water break in Kissimmee that has affected a pretty wide span. I didn't even know there was a problem till I read it on the Front Porch, our community intranet, which serves the same function as the backyard fence gossip chains and party lines of old. Tap water is supposed to be boiled before use, although thankfully we're pretty well supplied with Gatorade so it hasn't been a major inconvenience.

It did make for an interesting restaurant experience tonight though. We were kicking around where to go and were pretty much between B. J.'s Brewhouse and Abuleo's, both located in the Loop shopping area. They're pretty much our default selections when we can't decide where to go. Then I got to thinking...what about Bonefish? It's in the same area, although it's part of the strip mall rather than a standalone building like the other two. I always see a lot of people there so I figured it had to be good, or at least decent. I tossed the idea out to hubby, and after reviewing the online menu we decided to give it a try.

The Loop is within the water boiling boundary, so we wondered how that might be affecting things. We quickly discovered it meant no ice, no water and no fountain drinks. My husband ordered wine and we did manage to get a little water (they had some bottles on hand that were quickly running out). The food menu was not affected, so he ordered the mussel appetizer and a mahi dish which I ordered corn chowder with crab and a mahi sandwich.

It was quite interesting to hear the reactions of many of the people around us when they learned of the limitations. Even with the last of the bottled water there was no ice so you had to drink it warm. This was apparently a major life trauma for one party; they demanded to see the manager. I'm not sure what they thought she would do or if they thought they'd do any better at another restaurant since every Loop eatery was in the same boat. I squelched the temptation to ask them if they thought the people in Haiti, many of whom have no water or food, would have any sympathy for their plight. Life is very much a matter of perspective. Your life is pretty freakin' good if your major complaint is having to drink warm bottled water with your upscale seafood meal.

One of the restaurant employees had been sent out for more bottled water and ice, which showed up in time for our meal. Actually, I could have easily restricted myself to drinking the broth from hubby's mussel appetizer, was was truly the nectar of the gods. I have no idea what was in it, but it took all my willpower not to steal his bowl and chug it right down.

As we were finishing it up, I heard the distinct sound of a poot from the table behind us (we were in close quarters). Just as I was thinking, "Was that really a fart?" the unmistakable olifactory evidence proved that it was. "Ugh," I told my hubby, "the next table is providing us with after dinner aromatherapy."

Suddenly Mr. Poot slung his chair back and reclined as though he were at the dinette table in his trailer, putting him nearly in hubby's lap. Now I was doubly fearful of a repeat pooting. Hubby was like, "WTF?" and I said, "Maybe he's flirting with you." That didn't seem to sink into Mr. Poot's head even though he had to be close enough to hear. I tried again: "He has to be subtle about his attraction to you because I don't think he's out of the closet with his family yet." Still nothing. Finally I said, "God help us if his rear end lets out enother emission when he's this close." He immediately lurched forward and stayed out of our space while we ate dessert, thank goodness.

All in all it was a tasty meal despite the water situation and the pooter. I love both Abuelo's and B. J.'s, but it's nice to know we have another restaurant to add into the regular rotation.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Piss on This, or the Story of the Snuggie

One of Duloc Manor's few shortcomings is a huge temperature disparity between the front and back. My husband's office is upstairs in the front of the house, and the sun makes it a veritable oven. Meanwhile, my workspace in the back is like a refrigerator, especially in the summer when he cranks the air conditioner to "Arctic Blast." The cold weather has made my little space rather chilly too, so finally I decided to do something about it.

I'll admit I'm a closet infomercial fan. Mostly I just watch them, but I have been known to buy the occasional item although I wait until they show up in stores. I want a physical place to return something that turns out to be junk, and I also don't like the infomercial call center habit of selling your information to every telemarketer on the planet. That gives them a way around the do-not-call list, since they can claim to be "partners" of a company you did business with. I'm the proud owner of a Magic Bullet and a Swivel Sweeper, both of which I love, so now I started to wonder: might a Snuggie be the answer to my chilly prayers?

For the five people on the planet who have not seen the Snuggie commercial, it's basically a blanket with sleeves that looks pretty much like a backwards robe when you are wearing it. It's not meant for walking around in; rather, you cover up with it when sitting around and the sleeves allow you to use your hands freely. It's long enough to cover your feet, so you have a nice little cocoon. I decided it would be perfect for my long work hours spent on the laptop each day.

I had read plenty of horror stories about phone and internet orders, so I decided to get my Snuggie at Walgreens. Florida has the highest Walgreens-to-citizen ratio. Right now I think we're at one Walgreens for every 2.5 Floridians; you can't go five blocks without running into either a Walgreens, CVS or both. We have one close to Celebration, but hubby and I had some errands to run that were taking us down to the west end of 192, towards 27, so we decided to stop at the Walgreens out there. The internet said that store had Snuggies, but I was personally skeptical. That is the same Walgreens that had me return four times for a prescription, claiming it would be in each day, only to tell me the last time that they had stopped carrying it in the type my doctor had specified. Argggh! Thus I bet my husband a quarter that they would have no Snuggies, despite what the website said.

Alas, I was correct (unless you count kid Snuggies, which they did have). Our next stop was Wal-Mart, which hubby said did not carry anything but pet Snuggies according to their website. I still asked just for the heck of it; the clerk momentarily raised my hopes as she said, "Oh yes!" and proceeded to tell us which aisle to check. Nope...just pet Snuggies.

But my hopes were far from dashed, since there were plenty more Walgreens to try. We stopped at another one on the way home that had also been listed online as having Snuggies. Amazingly, it really did! I selected my warm,. cozy treasure (not much of a choice...all they had was blue) and visions of being snugly wrapped while tapping on my laptop danced in my head.

When we arrived home, I unpacked the Snuggie and tossed it in my place on the couch. Our couch reclines, and the footrest was up so the Snuggie was draped there. First Farquaad had to investigate it; he settled in in temporarily, but soon SheiKra came to chase him off before doing his own preliminary investigation. I didn't think anything of it; I donned the Snuggie and prepared to boot my laptop. Quaad climbed back up, then left, and a realized there was a big wet spot. Weird...had he been playing in the water dish?

Then a terrifying thought struck me. I sniffed the spot and my worst fears were confirmed. Cat piss!!!! You can't miss that distinctive odor. Worse yet, it had leaked through to my jeans, and when I got up I discovered a puddle on the recliner foot rest. I don't know if Quaad or SheiKra decided to mark it or, or maybe one of them just lost bladder control for some bizarre reason (Quaad has been known to pee in fear, but it takes a lot to incite that reaction...usually being hauled to the vet). No matter the reason...the effect was still the same. My poor Snuggie had been christened in a most unappealing manner.

I had read that Snuggies and washers aren't a good mix, so I had been hoping to minimize washings. Alas, I hadn't had the thing out of its box for 10 minutes and already it had to be submerged in soap. Neither of the two potentially guilty parties seemed phased; my money is on Farquaad, but I can't rule out SheiKra entirely. It's strange because both are generally very good about using their litter boxes. Maybe "piss on this" is their comment on informercial goods?

Oh well, as I type this I'm waiting for my poor Snuggie to emerge from the washer, hopefully in halfway decent shape. Hopefully the cats will not decide it's a soft, cushy litter box and christen it yet again once I give it another try.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow?

I'm used to snow in Celebration...of the soapy kind, that is. It happens every night downtown during the Christmas/New Years season. What I am not used to is snow of the real variety, which I thought I left behind forever in Chicago. Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a vicious cold snap that has been bringing overnight temperatures of 28 degrees (global warming, where art thou?), and Fox News is reporting tonight that we're going to get snow this weekend. Yes, snow!

Granted, snow in Florida is just a fleeting thing but it will be very strange to see flurries. It's already odd enough to see people stuffed into winter jackets, with hats pulled down over their ears and hands stuffed into mittens and gloves. Thankfully my husband got us matching jackets at Busch Gardens this fall. They are not northern-thick but they do have a lining, so they're adequate for the freeze when worn along with a sweatshirt or two.

At Duloc Manor we have something called a "heat pump," which doesn't bear too much resemblance to a real furnace. The poor little thing struggles to keep up with the bitterly chilly air. I get more warmth from the cats; all four have been piling into bed overnight, and those feline bodies do throw a lot of heat.

The cold snap is going to be here for a while; if we do indeed have snow, I'll try to grab some photos to post.