Monday, July 13, 2009

crush. kill. destroy. STRESS.

extra emphasis on the stress part. so, the friday purchaser's visit went pretty well...we dug one of the contractors we had come through. he was way lowkey. the other lady we had was some kind of home improvement project manager/contractor. her company is called "homegirl renovation" she was super nice but kind of heavy handed on the sell. i think it's like home renos for n00bs or something. basically, the service she offers is she gives you design suggestions and manages the entire project. you pay the trades directly, you pay for all the materials directly, and she just negotiates the contracts and makes sure that everything happens on time and on budget. the price? 20% of project costs. that seems outrageous (to me).

when we were walking through the house with her she was nice but in a kindergarten teacher (read: vaguely patronizing) way. plus, her suggestions were not to my taste. we have very different design aesthetics. she wants ONE GIANT OPEN space (living/dining/kitchen) and i'm not sure how into that i am. i kind of like defined spaces. maybe it's retrograde - who knows. also, a lot of her suggestions were kind of expensive. for example, we have a long hallway as our entryway and she was really hell bent on tearing down that wall and opening up that space. fine, i can see that a lot of people are into doing that. me, not so much. WALLS ANCHOR FURNITURE. i really believe this strongly. otherwise, you have stuff floating around in spatial limbo and you have to be a lot more creative in creating defined spaces. also, taking down a wall would mean that it would expose a part of the floor which would probably end up meaning we would have to replace the hardwood, since it's next to impossible to find a match for a single strip. she also suggested a half wall with lattice work or glass blocks. lame! and she didn't really factor in the work that we could do (ie. sanding and staining the stairs).

the other contractor was super low key and relaxed and we both got a good vibe from him. the electricians were pretty decent (we'll have to wait until we see the quotes) but the good news is we don't have to replace ALL the knob and tube. it looks like just 50% of the house is knob and tube. huzzah! AND we had a roofer in to give us a quote who said that there were some trouble spots but we didn't need a whole new roof just now. HUZZAH! also, our water pressure issues are probably going to need an $800 fix to upgrade the diameter of the intact pipe from a 1/2" to a 3/4" our piping is copper and not the stuff it's not supposed to be, so we came out of the visit feeling pretty good overall.

these warm fuzzies were soon dashed in our meeting with the bank. see, in the time since we had received our original pre-approval, we kind of racked up our lines of credit - paying for random ish and oh, yeah - CAPTAIN SAVE A HOE. we had to re-sign some forms because our bank lady hadn't realized that we had knocked the price down a couple of grand from the post-home inspection haggling. so she had to re-do the forms and get the underwriters to contact the CMHC and get them to sign off on it. except the underwriters were all like, "nuh uh uh, oh no you din't just rack up your line of credits - hooee" and we were like, "C'MAAAAAAN" so we had to take out the money we had saved for our down payment and pay off our l.o.c's with the idea that as soon as we get the stuff signed off on from the bank, we can go ahead and "repay" that money with borrowed coin. if you ask me, that sounds pretty a** backwards and tricksy. i just hope we don't get a nasty surprise when they're all like, "YOINK! JUST KIDDING, NO HOUSE FOR YOU!" and we'd be out lil' ugmo AND our deposit, at which point i'm going to turn into this guy:

just the thought of it makes my bile rise and i'm not a bilious person by nature (though some people would probably beg to differ - and by "some people" i mean "my mom").

we were kind of shook coming from the bank and we were driving around scarborough when we saw all these discount tire places having tire sales. captain save a hoe needed a new back tire (we knew that going in) so we decided to bite the bullet and get a new one, seeing as how we were planning on driving into the states to visit my sister this weekend. so we go. OF COURSE YOU CAN'T JUST GET ONE TIRE. so we bought two new back tires. it wasn't a big deal because our two back tires were winter tires anyway and that's a no no. we're told that it's going to be a 1.5 hour to 2 hour wait. we're like, "what are we going to do?" the dotytron says, "look, let's just go get a bite to eat, walk around, maybe do some grocery shopping, and by the time we're done, we'll come back and grab the car - it's like we're on VACATION!" lol! scarborough vacation! our favorite kind!

we did our grocery shopping at this middle eastern grocery store, arz bakery and fine foods. we discovered the BEST seafood store in all of toronto, where kumomoto oysters are SO CHEAP! and malpeques are almost a buck an oyster!!! we also ate our lunch at this quiet, hushed korean restaurant that served red bean rice and had these crazy little moist towelettes that started off small and round in a dish like altoids. then the server poured hot water on them and they grew like weird sea cucumbers/those sponges that grow type things. it was kind of obscene. at first we didn't know if they were edible or not (they kind of looked like tripe and/or marshmallows). the bi bim bap was first rate as was the kimchi. p.s. WE LOVE SCARBOROUGH.

here are some shots of our scarborough vacation:

this is me in front of an old age home



the dotytron at the seafood store/

twisty cheese at arz.




look at that spread! best looking and tasting korean food i've had in toronto (AYCE bbq places in markham don't count).

then we wandered back to the garage, feeling pretty good and happy that we made the best out of our staycation in the scarbs. we show up and the mechanic is giving us doleful eyes saying, "i tried calling you, you have a problem with your car, your front struts need to be replaced" and all our hard-won goodwill was destroyed like so many shocks on a strut-less car. we were staring down the barrel at an almost $700 repair which is PRECISELY THE THING YOU NEED WHEN THE BANK IS LOOKING ASKANCE AT YOUR SPENDING HABITS.

we came home, broken. the dotytron was pissed, mostly because we had had a mechanic put the car and do a thorough (or so we thought) check before we committed to buying it. how did he manage to miss the leaking grease from our struts? i turned into optimistic resiliency glass-half-full person, which only made the dotytron feel worse because i only get like that when stuff is grim (i sweat the small stuff, not the big stuff.)

we had a fantastic night with the kdubsguelph crew through. we ate, gossiped, got our hair did (my hair is super cute!) did a dry run of the performance for their benefit to squeals of delight and laughter and laid down the background vocals for the cd we're giving out as part of our performance favours. it was fun and a much needed morale boost for our flagging spirits.

the next day i had a bit of a breakdown, stressing about the bank and the car and worrying that we bought a lemon. i totally hormoned out and bawled my eyes out then met up with dr. rei for some kvetching on how weddings make people crazy and how stressful it is with everything seemingly happening at once around these parts (for her and me.) it was nice to see her face and get it out the way you can only get it out with your bestie. i picked up some floral wire for my bouquet, got some bags for our packages for the out of town guests (aka everyone), and bought the dotytron a fake coach carry on luggage to go with our fake burberry carry on luggage. cheap luggage is the best. paying for expensive luggage is some of the dumbest shiz you can do, imo. it’s all made in china anyway! we’ve gotten tonnes of use out of our $20 pieces. you really can’t go wrong with chinatown luggage.


the dotytron was finished work early so we headed out to geneseo a full 3 hours early. we had a lovely relaxing weekend. we LOVE geneseo. we LOVE small town u.s.a. it’s like our happy place. guaranteed good, quiet, relaxing, nap-filled times. i found my boob cutlet things for $20 (they’re like, close to $100 in canada) and we got the dotytron a cheap pair of not-too-garish swim trunks (we only narrowly passed on the american flag ones. just barely). we had dinner at this pizza place that’s run by kids (seriously, the place was OVERrun with kids and also seemed to be managed and staffed by no one over the age of 15) and then checked out the geneseo festival – featuring a cover band who’s name escapes me, who lured us in with a combination back-track/live rendition of c&c music factory’s “everybody dance now.”

the next day we hit brian’s u.s.a. diner for some rib-sticking grub:

the meat lover's skillet and the "belt buster" respectively.



after brian's we checked out the boyd-parker memorial which marks this place where two dudes from the revolutionary war were hijacked by iroquois (who were in cahoots with the brits) and tortured by getting tied to this tree with their intestines and then forced to walk/run around the tree until they fell down dead. totally gross. there's a giant white oak at the memorial which is purported to be actual "torture tree" and a path is marked around it in stones. we may or may not have also videotaped a tasteless reenactment of the torture.



from there it was off to watch the air show, rated as one of the top 10 air shows in the united states. lots of old timey planes and like f-16s and stuff. we also checked out the vintage car show. the dotytron and i are getting married because we're basically the same person. in that, we both like muscle cars like chevettes. and last week, when i went into the bathroom, singing "watch out boy, she'll chew you up/whoaa here she comes/she's a man-eater" he turned to me in mid-tooth brush and said, "get out of my head" and pointed at his head while spewing gobs of toothpaste foam and said, "i was just singing the EXACT SAME PART" also, when we were on our scarborough vacay, we passed this place and we both said, at the same time, "STEAK QUEEN" it's freaky deaky sometimes.

team geneseo came home, napped, played with the kids, had aunt cookie’s subs for dinner. there’s a massive sub culture in the states. (did you see what i did there? i know you did.) i made us a strawberry pie that didn’t fully gel but was tasty nonetheless and then we packed up our bags and went home.


last night we had dodgeball pretty late so i got to come home for dinner before heading out again. the dotytron made pesto and we had cheese tortellini with pesto again. i can house that stuff like nobody's business and to be honest, it's not even that good! i also had a basket of zucchini blossoms on a trajectory to shriveled and slimy so i cut those up and made those zucchini pancakes that T at my work told me about. they were a little too small for stuffing and frying, which regular readers of my blog will know is my preferred treatment. the eggy pancake is T's. i got super lazy and made a GIANT pancake freshened up with a dollop of sour cream.

when we came back from dodgeball we treated ourselves to lemon cake from wegmans. it's GOOOOOOOOD. wegmans can make anything better. love my weggy's. i want shares in weggy's.

tonight for dinner i made one of my old standbys: braised tilapia with chorizo, arugala, and tomatoes over orzo. i made a bit of an improvement based on what i had around. i usually add a splash of white wine as part of the deglazing/braising liquid but we didn't have any so i took a grapefruit, cut it in half and squeezed in the juice. it was awesome! it added a nice note of sweetness to the dish and married the flavours nicely. i'll post the recipe at the end of this epic post.


i also made some blueberry-raspberry muffins because i've been craving hot crusty muffins with melted butter for breakkie lately.


finally, i banged out some raspberry brown butter bars for the work book club meeting tomorrow.

fin.



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braised tilapia with chorizo, arugala, tomatoes
serves 2-4 (depending on how many tilapia fillets you have)

2 links of spanish cured chorizo (dry), sliced into 1/2" slices
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
minced garlic to taste
2 pints of grape/cherry tomatoes
1 clamshell of baby arugala
2-4 tilapia filets
1 grapefruit, juiced
1/2 lb orzo (for 2, or the full lb for 4 people)

- in a large, flat pan with a tight-fitting lid (suitable for having all the fish filets in one layer), sauté the chorizo in olive oil until lightly browned and some of the fat has rendered
- sauté the onions and garlic until softened
- add the 2 pints of tomatoes, put the lid on and simmer at high heat until the tomatoes are started to shrink and release their juices. shake the pan occasionally.
- lay the arugala over the tomato mixture and lay the tilapia filets over the arugala, in one layer if at all possible. season the tops of the filets with salt and pepper.
- pour the grapefruit juice over the filets, cover the pan with the lid and braise on medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
- meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water. when it's al dente, drain, and scoop some of the braising liquid into the orzo and stir.
- serve the fish filets with the sauce and arugala over the orzo.

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