First and foremost, this is a public service announcement. From me to you. NEVER purchase a Kidde smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector. I feel the need to share this information with you, because I hear Home Depot advertising these psychotic, possessed alarms on the radio on a regular basis. And I know better. Do not question me, just trust me.
The smoke detectors in this house and I have a very rocky relationship. A little more than a year ago, shortly after we moved in, I was home alone and rudely woken in the middle of the night by every smoke detector in the house going off. This includes the damn Kidde carbon monoxide detector, which helpfully shouted “Fire! Fire!” and “Warning: Carbon Monoxide!” repeatedly. (Did you know fire alarms could talk? Because until that day, I did not.) I will spare you the gory details, but long story short, it took a 3 AM visit from the fire department and new batteries in every detector to finally shut off the alarms. We had to get a replacement for the malfunctioning Kidde detector. And I was left permanently traumatized with a paralyzing fear of all smoke detectors and anything that goes “beep” (including my mother’s dryer).
So, you can imagine how happy I was at 4 AM last night when, as I was enjoying a dreamless sleep, a very loud BEEP invaded my subconscious. I made the mistake of opening my eyes, and was greeted once again by every smoke detector in the house. Luckily Nathan was home from work this time, and the smoke detectors went off after about a minute. Being a veteran of malfunctioning smoke detectors, I knew our best course of action was to do what worked last time, which was the battery replacement. Hence a 4 AM Walmart run for 9 volt batteries. We got the batteries replaced and were asleep by 5 AM. And that was that. Or SHOULD have been that.
So you can imagine how even more pleased I was when tonight, now that I am home alone for the weekend, one of the smoke detectors upstairs beeped loudly three times. No windows open, no food cooking, nothing – I was just downstairs watching TV. I could not believe this was happening to me again. I briefly considered running to my mom & dad’s house for the weekend and leaving the house to fend for itself. But then that would mean that I let the smoke detectors win.
I couldn’t call the fire department for advice because for some reason they do not make their non-emergency line public. If someone knows the number, please share! I certainly was not calling 911. Luckily, we have a good family friend who is a fire fighter, and luckily he was home when I called. Apparently something that can happen commonly with smoke detectors is the membrane in them gets dirty, or blocked by something like a dust or creepy crawly spider, and that will set them off.
So, Nathan’s friend Chris came over with his girlfriend to help. He took down all three smoke alarms (one beeping in protest) and cleaned them out with the air compressor (loud beeping protests from all). We thought we had identified two of the three as possible culprits, so I told him to only put one back up, and I took the batteries out of the other two. Just as I am thinking how smart I am, both disconnected, battery-less smoke alarms start going off at random intervals. And oddly enough, beeping noises then seemed to start coming from the holes in the ceiling. And just to top off the sundae with a cherry, the one smoke alarm we had hooked back up decided to beep some more too. WHY!?!?!?!?
So, all the smoke detectors went back up. All three got reset, of course with lots of loud beeping and shouts of “FIRE! FIRE!” from the evil talking Kidde downstairs. I am sure my neighbors were just loving me, as it was after midnight. (It serves them right. It’s called payback, people.) Finally, all was quiet. Chris, his girlfriend, and I were congratulating ourselves on a job well done. And as they went to walk out the door, we heard a faint, but familiar “Beep!” from upstairs.
I give up.
Clearly these smoke detectors are possessed. I don’t know how, but they know when I am home alone. And why do they only go off in the middle of the night? They win. I have no other strategies up my sleeve besides beating all three smoke detectors with a baseball bat, but based on tonight I am not even sure that would work. So, since it is now 1 AM, I am going to watch TV in the hopes that I will relax enough at some point to fall asleep, and that all will stay quiet.
And if I hear one more beep? I am out of here, and this house is on its own!
I might have mentioned that with Nathan home this summer, I had to get creative with my cooking and learn some new recipes. Before his injury, I only cooked dinner for both of us twice a week, he cooked on Monday nights, and the other four nights a week I got eat whatever junk I wanted. Suddenly there were two of us at home seven nights a week, and my limited repertoire of recipes got really old, really fast. I want to share some of the delicious, homemade recipes that we have tried recently.
I am particularly proud of a dinner that I made last week. I found this recipe from for spaghetti with sautéed chicken and grape tomatoes on Pinterest. Due to lack of ingredients in my house, not caring about the calorie count, and frankly sheer laziness when it comes to cooking, I didn’t follow this recipe very well. But that is exactly why I am so proud! I took the general concept, changed it to suit my ingredients and cooking abilities, and it still turned out great! We both loved it, it was super easy, and super filling – the three keys too a successful meal in my house!
I hate working with raw meat and am way too lazy to sauté chicken like the recipe says, so I used the pre-done frozen grilled chicken strips from Costco. I also used regular spaghetti, because that is what I have (and also because pigs will fly before I purchase low carb pasta). I also substituted minced garlic and garlic powder for garlic cloves, regular olive oil for extra virgin, and lemon pepper instead of regular black pepper. Then I decided to sauté the tomatoes with all the seasonings that were supposed to go on the chicken (basil, oregano, salt, and pepper) in addition to the garlic.
And I ended up with this beautiful bowl of deliciousness:
Of course, there are plenty of unhealthy dessert type things you can make from scratch as well. And you can bet we dabbled in that! Nathan decided to conquer homemade desserts for my birthday, and it was a major success! First, he made me a homemade Funfetti cake.
I can't tell you how he made it, but I can tell you that it was sugary deliciousness. So much so that you need a glass of milk to eat it. But on your birthday, you deserve to indulge.
The other birthday surprise that he made me was just as yummy and delicious. Not to mention super duper awesome.
Yes folks, that is butterbeer! In mugs straight from Hogwarts (Thank you, Erika)! If you do not know what butterbeer is, you need to brush up on your Harry Potter knowledge. Suffice to say that it is sugar, cream soda, and more sugar. Yum, yum, and more yum!
As of today, Nathan is officially in a shoe and back to work, so it’s back to cooking just a few nights a week. However, I really hope we can keep this pattern up (although maybe more on the healthy side and less on the sugar coma dessert side). We are both at a place where we need to get back into shape and get rid of a few extra pounds, and I think cooking more meals from scratch is going to help us get there. So bring on the recipes, Pinterest!
I have been majorly obsessed with the Olympics the last couple weeks. Maybe because it only happens once every four years. Maybe because it’s the one time that track & field gets some well deserved attention. Or perhaps it just has to do with all the good looking male swimmers walking around. Suffice to say, I love the Olympics!
I love how every four years, the Olympics brings us new athletes to cheer for. Last time, I got hooked on beach volleyball and cheering for Kerri Walsh & Misty May-Treanor. This time around, I have become a gigantic Missy Franklin fan. I totally admire how much she has accomplished and how mature she seems for being only 17. Plus, she seems really genuine in comparison to a lot of other world-class athletes. She even made me hate that stupid “Call Me Maybe” song a tiny bit less with this video:
(But only a little less. The original version of that song really needs to go away, pronto.)
Another thing I love is Michael Phelps’ medals record. People really need to stop hating on the guy. They give him all this grief for not training as hard this time around. If I won eight golds in one Olympics, I think I would find it very hard to get motivated too. How can you top that? As Nathan pointed out, an easy day for Michael Phelps is probably way more than any of us would ever attempt on a hard day of working out. It is so impressive that he has accomplished that much, and I for one am very glad he was able to end on a high note and get some individual golds.
I also have discovered a few new sports that could potentially spark my interest. Say what you want, but I love any sport with a potential for a crash. I don’t want people to get hurt, I just enjoy the excitement and unpredictability. Take bike racing – totally boring . . . until someone wrecks, and they go down like dominoes! So you can imagine my joy when I discovered the individual canoe race through rapids. Where they have to navigate swirling waters and go through gates! Although nobody actually tipped a canoe (at least not when I was watching). So, good for them.
Anywhoo, as much as I love the Olympics, I seriously hate NBC’s coverage. For starters, they really need to re-evaluate their definition of “prime time”. I don’t know what prime time is in other parts of this country, but in my house, bed time is 10 pm. So I kind of have a hard time understanding how NBC can consider “prime time” to be from 8 pm to midnight. And even at 8 pm, they spend two hours showing us prelims and diving, saving anything remotely interesting to air after 11 pm. At which point I am asleep.
Another problem I have with NBC is Brian Williams. I realize that this may seem like a very specific problem. That’s because it is. Brian Williams managed to bump himself up to number two on my most-hated news anchors list on the very first day of the Olympics (George Stephanopoulos is firmly situated at number one, in case you were wondering). Call me old fashioned, but I don’t own a smart phone (yet) and I like to be surprised when I watch sports on TV. Between that and this new idea of prime time, I am on about a 24 hour delay with the Olympics and avoiding all media and Internet (including People magazine website, which is seriously damaging my celebrity gossip knowledge. Figures that stupid Kristen Stewart would break Robert Pattinson’s heart during the Olympics when I can’t read about it). So I do not appreciate that while I am making all these sacrifices, I turn on the Olympics coverage, in the middle of which Brian Williams comes on live from London posing as part of the Olympic coverage team but is really there to do his dumb old evening news, and without warning announces that Michael Phelps has been crushed in the 400 IM. He then justifies it by stating that the news has already rocketed around the world so he isn’t really spoiling anything. HELLO BRIAN WILLIAMS? THE NEWS HAD NOT ROCKETED INTO MY HOUSE YET. I don’t watch the news, but if I ever start, it won’t be his.
My last problem (well, the last for now, anyway) with NBC is their choice of commentators. Could someone please explain to me what Shaun White and Apollo Ohno have to do with the summer Olympics? Not that I don’t love watching Apollo Ohno, but seriously. Dara Torres or Michael Johnson would make a lot more sense. I am not thrilled with John McEnroe as a commentator either, but at least he played a summer Olympic sport. But the greatest offender of all is the alien robot posing as a human named Ryan Seacrest. I say alien robot, because there really is no other explanation how one person could possibly work so many jobs and still have time to breathe. Seriously, would you be that surprised if he was a robot sent here to take over the world? First Fox, than E!, the Weekend Top 40, NBC. Next up, ESPN, Facebook, and planet Earth. Even if he does turn out to be human, I find it rather unbelievable that he ever participated in a sport in his life. Therefore, I do not see any reason he can be considered a credible commentator. I hated his interview with the Phelps family; I would much rather see a former Olympic athlete who knows the right questions to ask doing interviews like these. If he ever shows up on Monday night football, I may have to boycott it.
But I guess in the end, NBC wins. Because they are still playing stuff late at night and using useless commentators, and yet I am still watching. Because I love the Olympics as much as ever, and probably always will. Go Team USA!