Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mr. Fenton's Shenanigans

Pam's note: I can relate to this. 

When Frank and I were first married, we would do our weekly grocery shopping at 1am, which was right after Minneapolis bar time. Sometimes we were SUI: shopping under the influence.

(Yes, mom, we took the last bus from work at the downtown Marriott to the Uptown Lund's, then took a taxi home from the store. Our SUI never had a chance of a DUI.)

While shopping in the nearly empty store, we'd play hide and seek among the stacks of boxes in the aisles, which were being stocked on the shelves at that hour. 

The manager made the rounds each night, asking shoppers if they were finding everything all right. One time I was having a hard time finding Frank's hiding spot, so when the manager asked if I was finding everything, I jokingly said, 
"I can't find my husband..."
"Ahh," the manager replied. "Aisle 6."
♥ ♥ ♥

This is why women should not take men shopping against their will.

After Mr. and Mrs. Fenton retired, Mrs. Fenton insisted her husband accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart.

Unfortunately, Mr. Fenton was like most men--he found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out.

Equally unfortunately, Mrs. Fenton was like most women--she loved to browse. One day Mrs. Fenton received the following letter from her local Wal-Mart.

Dear Mrs. Fenton,

Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and may be forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Fenton are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.

2 . July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, "Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away."

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.

6. September 14: Moved a "CAUTION - WET FLOOR" sign to a carpeted area.

7. September 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.

8. September 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"

9. October 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. November 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. December 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.

12. December 6: In the auto department, he practiced his "Madonna look" by using different sizes of funnels.

13. December 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled "PICK ME! PICK ME!"

14. December 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed "OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!"

And last, but not least

15. December 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, "Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!"


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wow. Lost and Found via the Internet

One day I was poking around the internet and decided again to Google the names of some people I have lost touch with over the years. I do that every so often to see who shows up. You never know.

On this particular search through my list of names, I found a guy who could possibly be Nilo, one of my host brothers from the 4-H exchange trip I took to Spain in 1987, so I emailed him with a link to my Adventures blog. I asked if he might be a member of my host family, and mentioned a couple of details I remember about him.

I put the matter out of my head because I was busy with moving and two road trips down to southern California. Que sera', sera'.

About a month or two after sending out that email to Nilo in Spain, I got this reply with pictures.
It's my "other family!"

The reply is bittersweet, though. When I was in Spain my host sister, Ana, and I did everything together - we were the same age and had a lot of common interests. In the middle of Nilo's letter he simply says that she died in 1996 (approx age 29.) I cried and cried over Ana, partly because I felt so bad for her and her family, and partly because I was disappointed I wouldn't get to reunite with her again. That sad news aside, it looks like everyone is doing very well.

I have translated the letter here: (and am VERY surprised I can still read Spanish this well; I haven't really used it since '87.)

We are glad to know you are well. We have looked at many of your photos of your family.
You were in Valladolid and Matadeon (Spain) in 1987? You were 19 years old.
We now live in Leon from July to October and in Matadeon from November to June.
Javier lives in Madrid. Nilo (Jr.) in Leon, although he travels world wide. Ana Maria died in 1996.
We think of you often and continue to be your "Second Family."
Looking forward to more things from your life.
We wish the best to you and your family,
Nilo (father) Chiqui, Javier, and Nilo (son)

PS: You might notice I added a page translation gadget near the top of this page.

"TRADUZCA ESTA PÁGINA" is Spanish for "Translate this page" and the instructions tell you how to read this page in Spanish. I did that to make it easier for my "other family" to read this in Spanish. If you' like to read it in another language, the widget has other language options as well.

I hope the translated page is readable and any grammatical errors are hilariously funny instead of confusing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Roasted Potatoes with Chicken

We don't make this often enough. It was discovered in one of Frank's cookbooks on roasting, and was mentioned as a simple recipe to serve to company. It IS extremely simple to make, but since you turn your oven to 500 degrees, you have to have faith in the recipe the first time you try it. 

I recommend trying it for the first time on a lazy weekend. Not that you'll need the extra time, but so you can learn to trust the instructions in this recipe. After that, you'll be amazed at how incredibly delicious this is. 

And you'll want to invite your friends over just to make this for them.
Note about turning your oven to 500F: unless your oven is clean, you may want to turn on a fan or open a window. The crud in the oven will burn and smoke. This is the note in the roasting book, not a horror story from our kitchen. Really.


Approx 3 lbs chicken, quartered, skin on
8 medium potatoes, any type, cleaned and quartered - we like the waxy Yukon Golds best for this recipe
2-3 yellow onions, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 parsnip, cleaned and sliced (you can omit this if you can't find it in the store, but it adds a fresh sweetness to the potatoes)
Fresh garlic, minced (You decide how much you like. We like a LOT, like maybe a whole bulb.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 500F. Oil a large baking pan and arrange the chicken in the pan. Tuck in any wing tips, if necessary.

Roast 10 minutes. Drizzle olive oil over the cut vegetables and toss to coat.

Remove chicken from the pan, add vegetables, arrange the chicken on top, season the whole thing to taste, and roast for about 30-40 more minutes.

Serve with salad. Makes fantastic leftovers.
You'll just wish you used more potatoes, trust me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

View of the carriage house

Here's the view from the sunny kitchen windows to the carriage house and back yard. No garage, but the carriage house stores the lawn mower, grill, and misc outdoor kind of stuff.

In the foreground is the kitchen island.

...and lots of unpacked, un-put-away clutter...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Original Kitchen Sink

We are renting this charming little bungalow.

The owner was wise to restore it and keep as many of the original fixtures as possible and this sink is one of them (or so we're told...)

The sunny windows beyond the sink face the south so it's probably going to be hot in the summer, but they're lovely.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Walk in closet with a window

The master bedroom has a walk in closet, albeit tiny, which is it from a window. The bedroom is only about 12' x 12', so it's not very big, but it fits the bed and a couple of dressers, so it's good.

I'm kind of glad it's not so big that it can accumulate clutter.

(Yes, it came with the curtains you see on the windows. They match our bedding perfectly.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We call it "The Exercise House"

This long hallway bisects the house. Bedrooms on the left, dining room and kitchen on the right. The dining room and kitchen connect to each other, so the dog and cats (and crazy humans) can case each other in circles from kitchen through the hall, into the dining room, back into the kitchen, down the hall to the living room, through the dining room, back into the hall and into the kitchen...

You get the idea. It tires me out just describing the melee to you.

The animals have not realized there is no traction on hardwood floors, as opposed to running on carpet. They're like furry cartoons who spin their legs in place before they finally take off. Pretty darn funny.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Purple Bathroom!

DSCN8328, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

The bathroom in our new house is purple. It still has the original tub, which Rachel loves to sit in. Here she is playing with Violet the cat. Frank has a picture of Rachel taking a nap in the tub,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happiness is... matching socks and deodorant

Do you remember what life was like last time you moved? Boxes everywhere and chaos at home until you got settled and put everything away...

This move is like that, x3. With only a couple weeks to find a new place and pack and move, we did whatever we had to do to get it done in the limited time allowed. Pam even had to go out of town for a long weekend during the move. It was tough but it's half done now. The old place is nearly empty (after one last small load tonight) and the new place has boxes and piles stacked in every room and down the long hallway.

Pam will be going out of town again for a whole week, starting Saturday, and Frank and Rachel will have to figure some things out on their own... or live with the mess until mom comes home.

Regardless, Pam has decided today is a good day: she's wearing matching socks and was able to find some of Frank's deodorant to use until hers shows up again.

Stay tuned for pictures!

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's the little things...

We're in the process of moving our of our horrible condo and into a bigger home.

The new place has a traditional, full-size dining room. Yes, I realize there are no pictures of the house included here. I've been too busy to take any, but I PROMISE you there will be pictures. Lots of them.


The new place is much bigger than the condo but the littlest things are making the biggest change.

Last weekend Frank pulled our big old dining room table out of storage and set it up at the house. On Wednesday, I picked up Chinese take-out on my way home for work and met Frank and Rachel at the house for dinner. We sat around the table, not only eating, but telling funny stories about Caesar and the cats, giggled about something-or-other, and laughed at Frank's funny noises.

Last night, still busy with moving, Frank and Rachel picked up burritos from our favorite Mexican dive (now just a couple blocks from home!), and we sat around the big table and giggled about this-n-that, had a contest to see who could make the funniest noise, and then laughed so hard we choked on our drinks.

Today I realized this was the first time in about a year when we could all sit around our own table for dinner. Yes, there are just three of us, but our awful condo is so small that we can't even sit around our tiny little table for dinner. Isn't that sad? We ate dinner in front of the tv in the living room for a year because there was no other place we could sit and be in the same room together.

It's just a little thing to be able to have family dinner together around a table, but amid the boxes and moving mess, the new place already feels like we've finally come home.