I’m contemplating getting another cat (insert swift kick in the butt here). Why, you ask? I have no single idea. Could be dementia or possibly I’m just slow. Ach. When you sign up to volunteer the powers that be sense you might be the sort with a little extra empathy to sprinkle about. I need another feline like I need a third eye, but when they take the extra step and post a picture of an old cat with big sad cat eyes staring beseechingly at you what’s a girl to do? Boo, the Queen of Cats, naturally voted no. I caught her stuffing the ballet box with furry little mice. Last I looked she hasn’t made a mortgage payment so I believe I still have some say in the matter.
Speaking of houses and mortgages, which actually we were not but will now, owning a house is like having your blood siphoned daily. A weensy teensy drop at a time the life source is bled from your frail body. Saturday I was having a great day. The upstairs toilet was working again, always a plus. We can’t flush it often because it seems we’re locked in the midst of an extreme drought here in California even the deluge we got this weekend isn’t likely to break. The house was sparkling clean, and two beautiful bacon wrapped filets were waiting to be consumed in the outside refrigerator for date night. From the living room window, the mail person could be seen pulling up to our mailbox. Opening the box she deposited her daily booty of ads, bills, and magazines. Needing a bit of fresh air, I offered to walk up the hill and retrieve it usually a job left to my other half. Rick is far more enthusiastic about the mail then I am. No one writes anymore, they email or text. Mail is usually somebody wanting money, and I don’t find myself racing up to retrieve the good news on any given day.
Sure enough a nice stack of invoices. One bill in particular bearing the propane company logo caught my eye. I posted a check written to them several weeks ago that would have cleared the national debt. When we bought this house the previous owner said her heating bills barely totaled $100 a month even in the coldest of winters. That being said she must have been burning the furniture or living in a anorak to have achieved such success. Of course, this would be the same woman who said when I mentioned the porch railing was looking a bit rough (it is now sloughing off huge pieces of wood with the slightest hint of a breeze) told me it was as solid as the gold standard. All that was needed to complete the picture on that day in the real estate office was me with a large hook speared through my upper lip.
Deciding to wait to open the envelope until I’d gotten the good news from PG&E, always a giver, I wasn’t prepared for how much joy the propane company was waiting to dole out. $493.00 for six weeks worth of propane. I would have hit the roof but I was afraid it might collapse and need reshingling. Deciding to call and inquire about the size of the bill, I was told this was fairly normal for a 1,500 square foot home in this area…..this year. It was explained the price of propane has skyrocketed with the stiff winter in the midwest and eastern side of the country. Must be like insurance, it only goes up when you actually need it. Help.
Next in the pile was a bill for a credit card for several items of clothing I’d ordered on-line before the holidays. A $17 turtleneck, which I received and kept,and a $65.00 dress, back ordered at the time of the original order arriving two months after the fact. The dress was truly nothing like the picture portrayed it to be. Aside from that the seamstress allowed room to store an additional human should the need arise. Using the return label and paperwork provided, I returned it. This bill was for the return of the dress which it seems cost me $28 and change. Really? So I paid $28 for a dress I will never wear two sizes too big and $493.00 to keep from becoming a human popcicle? The gods, I fear, are angry. It’s a good thing those steaks were waiting for me or I might have turned on the propane and stuck my head in the oven. Oh wait, I can’t afford the gas or the cost of a funeral.
Deciding I’d had enough and was going to fight back, I dialed the customer service number on the back of the clothing company bill. After working my way through the phone system maze and providing the requested information, I was asked to hold and promptly disconnected. After four tries and a possible stroke, I connected with a human being. It seems I paid more to have the dress shipped the first time since it was back ordered and didn’t ship with the shirt, and the same amount to ship it back. Fourteen and change up and fourteen and change back. I could have shipped a safe with a rhinoceros in it carrying a ball of lead for less. Not forgetting points toward her customer service representative of the month nomination, she offered to drop the $2.10 charge for bank fees. Wow, now I can book that trip to Corfu I’ve been sitting on the fence about.
Help me with the logic here, if you would. I paid more to have an item shipped because they advertised it but didn’t have it in stock. Stay with me here. In addition, I paid fourteen dollars to ship an item that weighed about as much as a letter sized legal document in about the same sized envelope probably costing around $4.00 at the post office to mail. Rather than being the correct fit, as suggested in their on-line size chart, it was easily two sizes too large and not much to look at. Adding all this up I am then responsible for paying another $14 to return the dress, and still have no dress to wear on date night. Is it just me? You can be honest.
I’ve been deferring to heirloom recipes lately. Comfort food, if you will. This is one of my favorites, rich in cinnamon and apples. Yum.
Apple Cinnamon Cake
1 cup canola oil
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl beat 2 cups sugar, oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla until well blended.
In separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat into sugar mixture until well blended. Fold in apples.
Spray 13″ x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half the batter over the bottom.
Mix together cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle evenly over top of batter. Carefully spread remaining half of batter over top of cinnamon.
Bake 40 50 mins. or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve with whipped topping and a sprinkling of cinnamon.