Thursday, August 27, 2015

Slow Grow

With fall on the horizon, I'm noticing that not only are the leaves showing signs of changing color, but the lawn seems to be growing more slowly, not that I'm complaining because this is a welcome development. With all that's going on in our lives, I have been a bit negligent about my lawn duties. Then again, what else is new? The nice thing about this time of year is that even though I think weeks have gone by without a mowing, the grass has not grown out of control... at least not bad enough to earn the scorn of my Mentor. Well, maybe a little.

I know one thing, when I finally get around to cutting the grass, I'm going to have to raise the suspension to it's highest level, because we are definitely entering jungle-like territory.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to tommilorenzo for the pic.

School Matters

For all it's worth, we are getting our act together in terms of school a bit earlier this year. Not by much, but at this stage in my life, I'll take what I can get. The reality is, I am not even sure why I wait so long. We go at a pretty good clip throughout the year and could easily manage this in June, but somehow I feel like we could use those last few summer months to get a little more schooling in to placate the powers that be. Kind of dumb but not completely without merit.

Even our assessor, DE, commented that we were early this year, but looking at the calendar, I can see that the clock is ticking. I had to pull up our curriculums this past week and summarize what we'd done for the year, and it's not nothing. We do a fair amount of work, it's amazing what you can get done when you slowly do a little each day. It sure adds up. Now I have to summarize it, get it to DE for his annual interview with the kids, and then get all the paperwork in to the state. It's a bit of a scramble but we've been here before, not that it makes it any easier. We'll see how this one goes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Julia for the pic.

FM Fatigue

Sorry for my absence, it's been a busy week with the market, the coming school year and closing out the previous school year.

Either way, just wanted to mention that last week was a bit brutal in terms of the market, not to mention disappointing. First off, the summer has been mild in terms of the heat, and as I mentioned, I figured with August coming to an end, we were past the worst of the heat. That is, of course, until last week, when the temperatures spiked and hit their high point on the day of the market. I shouldn't complain because we lucked out in that we didn't hit with a thunder storm, which was in the forecast, but it was hot.

We had prepared for a busy day, which meant plenty of falafels and fresh vegetables, and the market ended up being really slow. Not horribly slow, but much slower than we had anticipated, and now we have all these leftovers. The falafels are not a problem, but the veggies have a finite life. The tomatoes and cucumbers might survive a week, but the lettuce lasts about a day or two, at the most, and we can only eat so much salad before getting sick of it. Kind of a bummer, but not the end of the world. Life goes on and you have to just deal with it, right?

It is at times like these, however, that I sometimes wonder if the market is worth it. The time, effort, and cost can make me question it all. Then again, how else are we going to make the big bucks to support our fabulously opulent lifestyles? Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go cook some falafels.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to sasha noir for the pic.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spoke Too Soon

Last week I was foolishly smug in thinking that summer was on the downward slide and the worst of the heat was behind us, when lo and behold, we are getting socked with hot weather. Talk about miserable, it's made somewhat worse by my eagerness and misguided anticipation for it to be over. The past few days have been scorching, and of course it seemed to peak on market day, but what else is new?

I'm not sure what to expect from here on in, but suffice it to say that I won't be making predictions any time soon.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Leonardo Vasconcelos for the pic.

At Your Service

Last weekend I worked my first catering gig and I have to say, it was somewhat enjoyable. Sure, it was hard work and you're on your feet all day, but it's an interesting group of people and the money is not half-bad. Plus, you get to eat, and the food is killer. Interestingly enough, I actually knew one of the other workers, and another person actually lives in my town. Crazy.

I have a couple of friends who do catering work and they are always telling me it was a good way to make extra money. These past few weeks have been slow on the income front because poster-boy work has dried up until the fall semester and standardized patient work comes around once in a blue moon. We are making money at the farmer's market, but I don't see any of that, and if anything, I am paying out to prepare for it. Add in costs for the kid's activities, and it's a constant financial bleed on someone who can ill afford it.

Realizing that I was going to have to do something to maintain our fabulously opulent lifestyles, I contacted one of the catering companies and they said they were indeed looking for people. In fact, they had a gig within a week or so, so I had to get ready. First thing was to get some clothes, which I accomplished thanks to the Listen Center. Then, last weekend I worked my first catering gig. It was a wedding way out in the country, and I have to say, it wasn't too bad. I was a little nervous as I always am with new experiences, but the people were cool, and it was reminiscent of doing the market - hard work and a lot of standing and preparing food, but very doable.

I ended up working from about 4:00 until 10:00, and it was raining, too boot, but all in all it went fine. In fact, I would like to do more, but we'll see how that one goes. It was interesting also because I am not a big fan of weddings, but working at one wasn't bad because you avoid all the small talk at the table. In fact, you don't really have to talk to anyone other than they people you're working with. Fine with me.

It was late when we departed, and I got a little lost going home because it was dark as I was leaving and it sure looks different going the other way, but I managed to get home. Plus, I got to take home some killer leftovers, so it's a double win.

As I mentioned, I'd like to do more gigs, but for now, I'm happy I just survived my first one. 

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Eric Felton for the pic.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Shifting Falafel Gears

I said earlier that we had changed the way we make falafels this year, but didn't really explain how, and it deserves a mention. We used to reserve our weekends for making falafels and then cruise into the market, but now we've shifted to making them the day before. The beauty of doing it this way is that after the market is done, we can pretty much forget about falafels until the next week, which is nice. It therefore frees up our weekends to do fun stuff together, or at the very least, not think about cooking falafels, which is good enough for me.

The downside is that we're cutting it close to the zero hour. If anything were to go wrong or if we couldn't manage to make the falafels, then we're out of luck and can't do the market. It also gives us no cushion for finding the ingredients, some of which do not have a finite shelf life and need to be bought right before preparation. We had to weigh the risks with the benefits, and on the whole, it works out better this way.

Life isn't always easy when you live on the edge like we do, but then again, we live for danger.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Aditya Mopur for the pic.

Pet Care, Inc.

I'm not sure how exactly this transpired (not that I'm complaining), but we, or rather N, has become the go-to guy for pet care for many of our friends. Many of them are happy to pay him for his efforts, and it's been good for him in that he can develop a sense of responsibility and earn some cash, as well. In the past we've done pet care for our neighbors and they're always really nice about giving N some money for the same reasons I mentioned. They are being good people because that's what they are. They watch our cats while we're away and refuse to take any money, but always pay N for his time.

We've also done cat care for our friends up the road, and they usually pay us. I feel bad taking their money, but explained to them that it's nice for the kids to have a job and make money, and they agree with us and seem fine with paying him. Recently they've upped the ante by having chickens, which increases the work load, but again, they're agreeable to paying N for his time, so it works out. Our other friends are going away for a couple of weeks and guess what they have; you got it, chickens. These are our good friends and in the past we've watched their cats for free, but since chickens are involved, they want to pay N for his time, which I think is fine. Finally, our other neighbor is going away and they need someone to feed/watch their cats and do some house-sitting. Say no more, you can call on N for all your pet care needs.

I think N likes having a job, especially since his sister is gainfully employed in various endeavors, some of which pay pretty well. Plus, it's nice to help out our friends and neighbors in their time of need, and if they're willing to compensate him for his time, all the better.

It adds on to our already busy schedules, but that's what happens when you're chasing down the American Dream.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Clint Pearcy for the pic.