Thursday, October 28, 2010

Turn the page

Well, this is interesting. Blogger does not seem to like my new iPad. This is the first post written on my magnificent new toy. I can only write in the HTML window which sort of sux but I guess I'll have to find a app or something.

Anyway, before I rudely interrupted my very important thoughts with my iPad braggy gripes, I was going to tell you all about out my awesome trip. We are, as of this writing, in Cresent City California, driving north in our new truck. We just went through the redwoods today and they we're beautiful and tall, but I guess I've seen tall trees before so I wasn't as impressed as I should have been. Plus it's raining so I am not too pleased.

What has struck me the most are the fees and the no fun zone that is the great state of California. Everywhere along highway 1 no parking signs were posted. Plus this hilarious one in the Sausilito harbor that said "don't disturb the rocks." we totally took a picture. We call this the no fun zone. It's like the whole state in grandma's plastic-coated living room. Oh, and campgrounds cost $35per night to $65 per night. Hotels aren't that much.

Tomorrow we get to Oregon and I cain't wait.

Living in a remount island-bound small town makes a road grip extra fun. I have loved driving the past few days. The 6-cyl Toyota really kicks some ass. The tunes are a bit on the slim side. There is only so many times you can listed to the same 6 CDs, no matter how good they are. (Belle and Sebastian are pretty awesome.)

I'm figuring out this new toy of mine. Any apps I can't life without?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin' in the Blackout

Due to high winds (gusts to 70mph) our hydro power is down. A tree blew into the power line and now the town has to operate on diesel power. BUT this town, in its amazing foresight, does not have enough diesel power to run the whole town. So we get rolling blackouts! Whee. An hour of electricity and hour without all the livelong day.

The radio people said we could be under these blackouts for up to 3 days. The city electric department says blackouts will last for at least 3 days. I'm glad I was awake during semantics in High School. Those are entirely different situations! The communication is amazing. Plus, the electric department is in contract negotiations with the city so they are going to take every bit of time to "prove" how valuable they are.

I have decided that the best way to spend this time is drinking heavily. Nothing says "awesome" more than drinking to the light of the 1 candle you own while it howls outside. I even came up with a themed drink to commemorate this occasion:

Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Pour at least 3 fingers of Bourbon into glass


Look at what an incredible cocktail this is! I call it Muskeg Harpy's RollingBlackOutDrunk. Try it next time you have, nay, get to experience a rolling blackout.

I should have the giggly-cute attitude that everybody else seems to have. I simply can't muster the bonhomie. It is awful, inconvenient, and stupid management by the City. At least I still have a bottle of bourbon at home.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ribs and Cheesecake

Fall is here. I don't go in for that Martha Stewart holiday-themed decorating anything, so fall is weather related not gourd 'n mini pumpkin centerpiece related. Fall is such a crappy time of year that any attempt to make it festive falls so very flat. In other parts of the world, fall is brisk and shiny. A time for rosy-cheeked, scarf wearing shenanigans. In my world, it's 60 mile per hour winds and 4 inches of rain in a day.

Ain't no hay rides at the punkin patch in Sitka.

Because the weather is shit, the light is leaving, and I have time to putter I spend lots of time cooking things that are not healthy. I like lots of butter, bacon, cheese, and pretty much anything with a glycerol group. My inaugural "fall blows" meal was for tDF's birthday. It was ribs, steak fries, coleslaw, and Cheesecake. I would classify this as a healthier version of what I typically make (nothing was fried or wrapped in bacon).

I coaxed the Miller-Lite Weber knock off into smoking a small rack of ribs on our porch in a light drizzle. I managed to get that pinkish smoke ring through the meat, so I was feeling pretty good about myself. The sauce was something in my shiny, new America's Test Kitchen cookbook. It was good but I lost points when I revealed it had corn syrup. (My husband is on an anti-corn syrup kick.) The oven fried steak fries more than made up for the corn syrup, I believe.

A growler of the Baranof Brewing Company's seasonal ale showed up on our doorstep. It has like 12% alcohol so it made the evening a little fuzzy-edged.

We didn't really need dessert after but we plowed ahead. I made a huckleberry compote to have over the dense cheesecake. Consequently, I learned there is a low-fat cheesecake. Of all the things to make low fat, this is possible the worst. Actually, the worst is fat-free half-and-half, but that is not something a person strives to make. Just an abomination you can purchase. Aaaanyway, we ate until we felt like bursting. Everything was yummy and I got excited about food again.

I'm looking forward to a winter full of the ribs and cheesecake diet. There will be a vegetable or three, I'm sure. I think squash needs to be in the rotation, but at $1.37/lb it's pretty expensive. If only the mini corn and gourds were edible.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Using our house for a bank and other 'Murican themes

Five long years of our lives were spent pouring every last penny into our luxury house on the hill. Every evening. Every weekend. Every gov'ment holiday. I even rolled change so we could do things like rent movies. Our goal was to spend $1 once rather than finance that $1 and end up paying $3. Our deb-adverse shuffle paid off when we financed our house last May. We owed about 25% of what it was worth. We celebrated by renting 2 movies and buying sugar-snap peas for our salad.

We live large. Oh yes, we do.

I know I've been thrilling you with our adventures on the high seas, making commercial fishing that much less romantic. This lifestyle shift has sort of taken over our lives. I spend "free" weekends building spreadsheets on income/expenses for commercial fishing. Last week we drank beers and tallied our season's catch (4,865 pounds). See, we're fiends for the fishing. This isn't going to stop and the next logical step is owning our own boat and building a viable business based on commercial fishing.

Unfortunately, commercial boats are more than Toyota Tacomas or Kamik boots. Boat officially stands for Break Out Another Thousand. Buying a boat is like buying a house without any hope of building any equity.

Fortunately, we built our own little equity farm. We can borrow against our house! Whee! refinance to buy something else that doesn't retain value but maybe will make us some money! We are now as American as the debt crisis and apple pie. I am not exactly happy about doing this but borrowing against a house provides better terms than a boat loan. There are fewer strings and hurdles but it still squicks me out. We would be building a debt layer cake.

I immediately had to call my Brother who set me straight. "It's not like you're buying a jet ski and financing a vacation to Disneyland," he told me. I felt at least a little better. We decided it was like starting a small business or trying to finance that ground-breaking indie film (ha). Having the means to buy a decent boat and gear allows us to focus on fishing and not trying to cut corners on boat maintenance to save money.

We're going to the bank and set the paperwork in motion. I know talking about money in America Is Not Done, but you all really need to know what goes into building a life and career in Commercial Fishing. People take out a tremendous debt-load to buy into the industry (at least those who do not inherit permits and boats). People fish because they love the life it affords, not because it's easy or lucrative.

I'll keep you posted. I feel more adult doing this than when I first bought homeowners insurance.