Thursday, October 15, 2009

bonjour! it's me! did you miss me?

inquiring minds and raging egomaniacs want to know!

i know - you want to see lil' ugmo. BADLY. i want to show it to you. BADLY. but the perfectionist in me is protesting until the haus that love built is done. which means somehow getting down to the states to haul up the stuff i've gotten sent to my incredibly accommodating and forgiving sister and outlaw bro's house. this seems to be impossible. each time we try to get down there or try to get someone to come back up - something happens. i want lil' ugmo to look all pretty and polished before i give the photographic house tour. so you'll have to bear with me while i go about my usual banal business. in other words, blog posts will feature my musings on: stuff i hate, strange situations i've found myself in, encounters with the arcane, movie reviews, book reviews, and excitement of excitements, a restaurant review of a NEW FRIED CHICKEN PLACE.

i'm not going to blow my load right now, but i'll give you a teaser. the large gravy there IS A BUCKET OF GRAVY. seriously dudes. like, 2 cups of the most unctuous, golden, sunny, blessed by chicken fat gravy you've ever seen!

on to other things: like how much your collective lives (all 10 of you) have been a shadow of their former glory in my absence. how can you love me if i don't go away? tbh (to be honest) (aka the doytron's new favorite contraction) we didn't have access to the interwebs for a while (an excruciating 4 days). it kills us to be cut off from the interwebs. to the point where we got seriously b****y when our neighbour we like, after we had mentioned our separation from the nurturing teat that is the information superhighway, forgot and asked if we had seen our street on google street view. "THANKS A LOT, NEIGHBOUR," we hissed, "THANKS FOR RUBBING IT IN." lol! there was stuff going on on GOOGLE! and we were MISSING IT! we basically took turns tag-teaming our internet service provider and leaving increasingly desperate and forlorn messages until it got hooked up.

but then, injustices of injustices, it was ONLY HOOKED UP ON THE DOTYTRON'S COMPUTER. hopefully by the time i get home tonight, i'll be good to go. let's try and put this unpleasant time behind us.

okay! let's do some catching up shall we? i'll start with the easy bits. the food. this is the first meal i cooked at lil' ugmo (october 5th - pasta with spinach, chickpeas, chorizo). i'm telling you, i love my takeout as much as the next iron-stomached lagerfeld, but one gets damned tired of eating takeout and fast food. to the point where my body was CRAVING a home cooked meal. i was so dulled by the fast food grease, meat, salt, and starch assault on my tastebuds that picking where to get takeout (usually the most titillating and buzzy of exercises) became an exercise in apathetic drudgery.

october 6th, braised boneless lamb leg with anchovies, rosemary, lemon zest, on top of whole wheat couscous, and butter and ginger-pear jam glazed carrots.

my oven came with ZERO racks, thereby rendering it unpossible to do any baking/dessert making/oven using (it's electric, so you can't even jerry-rig something together) - since we'd been deprived the succor of dessert for so long, i made a stove-top one. the ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE PUDDING (i'll post the recipe next time). so good! we let the pudding skin form because this pudding is so devilishly rich and deep and dark.

october 7th. this is a toasted sub sandwich, my attempt at an aunt cookies, pressed in a panini pan, an attempt to put something palatable together with only 2 slices of capicollo and 2 slices of mortadella between us. it ended up being really good! especially after the panini kiss. mayonnaise is a miracle spread. so we had mayo, sliced tomato, sliced onion, shredded lettuce, 2 slices of cold cuts each and provolone all meltimified.

friday for dinner we had the rehearsal dinner for SOMEONE'S (my bffffff's) wedding. we ate at this restaurant in hamilton called la luna. it's lebanese food. this ain't your yonge and dundas schwarma, folks. so much food! the best hummous, kebabs, whatnot i've ever had! dr. rei says it's the best fattoush ever, but i disagree. to me, a fattoush is a mostly bread (pita) salad à la panzanella. with some other stuff to moisten (tomatoes, etc.) this fattoush was a mostly lettuce salad with some pita chip croutons. tasty, but not the typical. it was delicious. i'll save the story of the big nuptials for another day.

this is the new chicken restaurant we discovered in our neighbourhood - chick'n'joy. look at that grub!!! just look at it!!!!! we got the dinner for 2: 9 pieces of chicken (mixed), battered in a batter reminiscent of the colonel's secret blend of herbs and spices. it wasn't the crunchy crust of popeye's or the colonel's extra tasty crispy recipe. this featured instead juicy chicken wrapped in a seasoned thin coating that clung to the skin. you had to maw the skin a bit, it didn't shatter beneath the pressure of your teeth. very, very good. the deal comes with the salad of your choosing (choices are: potato, mac, coleslaw, and bean). we got the mac salad, which again, was like a slightly gussied up kfc's - macaroni cooked into utter submission, mixed with mayo and sweet relish, topped with paprika, as comforting and familiar as any picnic of my youth. you get a whole box of fries, with lots and lots of those over-fried, "crispy bits" i love, the ones that reside and cling stubbornly to the fryer basket through a few dunks in oil until a sharp jerk and tap against the fryer edge sends them tumbling into your (lucky) meal. they made a perfect foil for the aforementioned VAT of gravy - so good!

sunday was the wedding (details to follow)

monday was thanksgiving at the oulaw parents' house. it was a small group - just immediate family - it was nice. we were exhausted from being up too late the night before and putting together the semi-finishing touches on lil' ugmo and slumped there in our pajamas, yammed some food, did our laundry (1st year university, holla!) and hit the sack.

on tuesday i made that spicy beef and kimchi udon for our friend S who came to visit, the first visitor who's seen lil' ugmo in its' most finished, fit for company, state. i didn't take a pic because i left the camera at the outlaw's.

the chick'n'joy gravy made an appearance on our wednesday, october 14th meal. i was craving a hot turkey sandwich with a power that no man could tear asunder. so we cobbled together leftovers from mommma d's thanksgiving dinner - stuffing on the whole wheat ace bakery sliced bread, topped with turkey, a slop of gravy and served with hot, buttered, peas. oh my heavens. i love an open-faced hot turkey sandwich like whoa. i like any and all iterations of diner food and hope that the true diners still remaining are kept alive by reverential devotees like myself.

last night was dodgeball aka takeout night. so we went to the detroit eatery on the danforth - another classic, divey, diner. we each had banquet burgers, mine with fries'n'gravy, and the dotytron's with o-rings. that burger was real meat, my friends. a little lacking in salt, no mayo, and no lettuce. but boy was it EXACTLY what we wanted. we briefly considered burger shop quality meats as an option and then ix-nayed in favour of this place. so good! AND they get diner cred for having liver'n'onions AND hot turkey sandwiches on the menu. see that glob of rapidly congealing gravy on that there plate? see how it's a brown that doesn't exist in nature? that gravy is from a powder and that is EXACTLY what you want (but you want the turkey to be roasted). it's an internal contradiction.

i'm going to take you chronologically through THE MOVE so that you can see how the miracle of the monday-after-the-move meal above (the spinach, chorizo and chickpea pasta), prepared on the monday after THE MOVE, was able to be.

the move - prologue
picture me, deciding that we would do an hour of packing each day, whilst working full time, whilst shacked up with an over-worked and over-whelmed first time teacher, whilst slanging stuff on craigslist and trying to sort out the insanity of life, whilst making a million trips to home depot, the house, ikea, canadian tire; slowly letting the proscribed hour whittle down to a half hour of packing each day, to a minute each day, to a passing thought that we should be packing each day.

my enabler? the dotytron, of course. "dude, we've got a s**tf**k load of work to do," i'd say, in my stronger moments. "no way! we're doing pretty good" he'd tell me, the picture of laid back cool.

then, suddenly, the night before the big move is upon us. my brother comes over, making good on his previous offer to help us do carloads. he takes one look at the place, and says: "YOU CALL THIS BEING PACKED!" and instantly project manages the situation: "look, you're over-packing stuff in awkward boxes. i'll take carloads, and you pack and then unpack at the house while we bring you more carloads."

allow me to insert that my brother, s-dawg is AWESOME. he's a natural leader. he maintains calm, knows exactly what has to be done, and can tell people to do it in a way that i can manage in my professional life, but in my personal life quickly devolves into what you're going to see here.

s-dawg left with the first carload and as soon as he was out the door, i called the dotytron on his cell phone and left a message that was equal parts hysterical tears and equal parts me shouting into the receiver: "DUDE. WE ARE SO F**KED. WE ARE SO F**KED. WE'VE GOT NOTHING PACKED. NOTHING! WE'RE MOVING TOMORROW. TOMORROW!!! WE ARE SO F**KED. GET HOME RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW. IS IT FAIR THAT I'VE PACKED UP THIS WHOLE HOUSE BY MYSELF? GET HOME NOW! YOU'VE DONE NOTHINGGGGGGGG!!!" and with that final "nothingggggg" echoing in the dotytron's message box, i slammed the phone down and started throwing things into boxes.

the whole "i've done everything and you've done nothing" little chestnut is something i pull out on occasion. is it true? pretty much. i did do all of the packing, essentially boxing up our entire kitchen while the dotytron in the same amount of time, lovingly dusted off his computer monitor, wrapped up cables with all the care of the death rituals for a pharaoh entering his tomb, and otherwise fastidiously packed up his computer set up. i would say that it's a fair accusation about, 30% of the time. unfair in the sense that yes, i do do more, but it's only because i go into what the dotytron calls my "monster mode" of just doing more in it's not fair of me to complain about not getting help strategically, when most of the time i'd take control of the stuff regardless - frequently TURNING DOWN help when offered.

ANYWAY, thanks to my brother, we got like, 6 carloads done (including a milk crate that held 8 bricks that i insisted on bringing and that nearly made my brother disown me) (for the record, the bricks are part of my patented raccoon green bin insinuation thwarting strategy). i was able to put the kitchen together reasonably well, the house was packed, and we were able to sleep.

the move, during? (i don't know what between the prologue and epilogue is called)
moving day dawns, with the previous day's rain vanquished it was awesome. we were in and out in under 2 hours. it helped that we a) were moving a 2 minute drive away (note: always move within a 2 km radius - it's so much easier!!!) and that our friends are amazing. i also went into monster mode and hauled our mattress to the street, from the basement, by myself. it was crazy and made me bleed but i felt like a true buckshot shorty after.

the saturday of the move, we too dr. rei out for dinner as hanbo was celebrating the impending end of his bachelor hood in niagara. we took her to lehore tikka house. me, the dotytron, and dr. rei - the infamous M-R-I team for the last time (now it's M-R-I-H). during that dinner, as i was recounting how i had wigged out on him the night before, the dotytron looks up from his meal, shakes his head in a forlorn fashion, and then says, "i can't believe how much of my life i'm going to spend in the shadow of your anger." LOL!!!!!!!! isn't that the best??? awwww, that guy is amazing.

i took all last week off and the dotytron had a tonne of time off serendipitously so we went to work and got our place pretty much set up. i'd say we're about 95% there in terms of details (painting doors, trim, the stairs, etc.) not counting biggies like overhauling and gutting the kitchen, roof, etc.

there are some people who don't mind when they still have boxes left over from the move, or just put extra stuff in the basement forever. WE ARE NOT THOSE PEOPLE. every moment that our lives aren't settled, labeled, catalogued is abject misery. it's nice being in. now that all the "stuff we have to do to make it livable" is done (cockroach treatment, new furnace, new electrical, new baseboards, new insulation, new ceiling, new painting) we can kind of do it at our own pace (the dotytron's pace: relaxed; mine: monster mode).

the move, epilogue
so we're staring down the barrel at being done. we've put up most of our stuff, our living room and bedroom are the MOST done, barring some cute prints on the walls. our closets were installed and the walls in the closets cleaned up by a new contractor. we organized our books by colour in the living room. not the rainbow technique that makes me barf when i see it design-land, but blocks of colour. it looks pretty cute!

our table lamps in the living room have been getting us mad daps. the colour scheme in that room is grey, purple, shots of lemon. the citron wall in the bedroom looks AMAZING with our new bedroom set in there. effing effing amazing. our new mattress has arrived and we're in memory foam bliss. our new couch has arrived and we're in terror-of-spilling paranoia.

all the drapes save the dotytron's (fabric on backorder) have been painstakingly made by me. the cats are out of solitary and have the run of the place. the kitchen has been made habitable. the basement is as good as it's going to get. all we're missing is our dining room table and chairs and otherwise, we're living in a haus, kids. the haus that love and (thousands upon thousands of dollars and sweat equity) built.

still to come:
- wrangling with the old contractor
- wrangling with the old owner
- the wedding of my bfffffffffff be resumed at a later date.


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