Well my after birthday week has been brimming with surprises, some good, some not so much. Saturday was a mixed bag of catastrophes and unwanted news. My daughter called to say my son-in-law had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital. Definitely not good news as he’s an insulin reliant diabetic. Being the town crier for our family I alerted the interested parties as to the goings on and held down the fort here to see where this bend in the road was going to take us. After stabilizing him, it was determined that he had a blockage that would require one, possibly two stents to be inserted. This is not unfamiliar territory for me as I’ve had three nail-biting experiences with my other half resulting in three stents showing up on his x-rays these days. The good news is these procedures are considered somewhat commonplace and certainly far less invasive than solutions taken in the past.
Swallowing that unwanted pill, I busied myself around the house to keep my mind occupied. Rick was outside in the garage closing up for night and raking in our rather rakish cat. Gathering the cat in his arms and pushing the garage door opener the cat, believing the world was closing in on her, flew out of his arms and under the closing door causing it to once again go back up. Turning to chase the cat he slipped in a puddle of water and I ran out to find him floundering on his back like a turtle unable to right itself. This only humorous because of the fact there were no broken bones or hospital personnel involved in the incident. Good news as well for my son-in-law who had two stents inserted Sunday and is going home today. Reset alarm button and move forward.
The dust seeming to have settled slightly after another tornado touching down in my life , we went ahead and kept our appointment with the realtor to go house hunting yesterday. For me this whole experience has taken on a sort of “Holy Grail” kind of feel. Is there really a house for us, or is it simply going to continue to remain elusive like my sanity?
After yesterday I further whittled down the problems we are experiencing finding a house that suits us. Number one, we are definitely struggling with having a thirst for champagne and finding only beer in the fridge. Also my other half and I have decidedly different tastes, so while I am wandering around mouthing “this is it” behind the realtor’s back, he miming and pointing to reasons why it is not. Lastly, when we do find a house within our pocketbook’s dimensions it is in need of a lot of out-of-pocket expenditure to make it livable. Sigh.
The first house on the agenda yesterday was in a beautiful gated community on a lake in Nevada County. I liked it. It was clean, small (sort of baby bear perfect), with a pretty yard and clean decks. It needed eaves around the roof and some exterior work, but all in all and nice home. A drawback was the master bedroom which was the only dark room in the house, but I’m so desperate at this point that I’ll poke a huge hole in the roof if necessary to allow added light.
Second on our list was a much larger house high on a hill with two long, steep flights of steps taking you up to the front door. Oxygen masks and pick axes were provided on the lower deck. Trying to imagine scaling these steps in inclement weather with an armload of groceries did not paint the ideal picture for me. There was a garage down below but it had no access to the house itself. Inside what must have been a gorgeous house when new was what remained after the devastation. Obvious signs of rug rats remained with colorful plastic toys, most broken, decorating the yard, and child oriented wall paper in what was left in two of what once were bedrooms. All doors had been removed from closets and crayon reminders of children past were evident everywhere. The realtor for the seller said she had received a low ball offer from a buyer but was hoping she could get more. Really? I’m amazed she got any offer whatsoever. Run, do not look back, save yourself.
The third house in the same development was occupied and a short sale situation. I hate that because the owners are usually not leaving their properties voluntarily and to them prospective buyers are about as welcome as a Hatfield to a McCoy. The realtor on the sellers side was present but spent little time with us, rather stood on the porch texting on his cell phone. On entering the house we understood why he chose to remain outside. Good Lord. A pleasant young woman standing in the kitchen (the only clean room in the house we were to find) was being guarded by a low to the ground sentry in the form of a black and tan dachshund. After sniffing us and finding us acceptable to enter his territory, he devoted his attention to a stuffed skunk he was carrying around performing acts on the poor glass eyed creature most probably considered illegal in at least 38 states. Embarrassed, the owner said the stuffed animal was the pint-sized Romeo’s girlfriend, apparently the canine equivalent of a blow up doll.
Three bedrooms toward the back were all equally piled with laundry, both clean and dirty. Wads of wet towels lined the bathroom floors and the door wouldn’t shut. In all, trash and general chaos reigned supreme reminiscent of debris remaining in the path of a violent storm. In the fourth bedroom, we opened the door to be greeted by a pleasant breeze wafting in via a huge jagged hole in the window, and, giving new meaning to the term “deep pile carpet”, numerous deposits from the wee sentry dotted what once was probably a neutral colored carpet.
To carry on with theme of recent storm devastation, the backyard had a downed tree strewn half way across its width as well as a large palm tree rooted directly in the center of the yard. Amazingly, the realtor suggested with a perfectly straight face this would be the perfect setting for those summer luau’s.
Soooooo, the quest continues. So close, yet so far away. While gone I allowed these absolutely sumptuous lamb shanks to simmer in my crockpot all day. You have to try these. Just yummy.
Lastly, on the political front the election is finely settled for good or for bad depending on your perspective, and, is it me or has Donald Trump been sniffing too much hair spray? He needs to take a breath thus necessitating firmly closing his lips. I’m just saying.
Savory Italian Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks
2 large lamb shanks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion, quartered
8 green beans, trimmed and halved
1 zucchini, sliced thin
10 mushrooms, sliced thin
2 large carrots, julienned
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup prepared au jus
1 tsp. beef bouillon crystals
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup hot water
1 cup red wine
1 15 1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. parsley flakes
In large skillet heat olive oil until shimmering. Liberally salt and pepper shanks and brown on all sides.
Spray 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place browned shanks in bottom of pan. Place vegetables on top.
Mix all remaining ingredients together in large mixing bowl and pour over top of meat and vegetables.
Cook on low for 8-9 hours. Serve over fluffy mashed potatoes or with rice.