Monday, November 30, 2009

You must get this CD!

We don't ordinarily endorse CD's on this blog, especially ones we have never heard. But you must get this one. Why? In 2008, our daughter, Marcelline Harrisonfields, designed the cover. Fabulous, huh? We're sure the music by International Flamenco Guitarist Juanito Pascual is good too. You can learn more and preview the music by clicking here.

Mom's YouTube hit reaches 5,000

Here's a nice comment we got today about Mom's rendition of "My Heart Ever Faithful".
wurlic300 writes:
What a nice, nice rendition of this. Not hurried and you can understand every word -- how rare!
Thanks for sharing this with us.

Way to go, Mom! Susan Boyle has nothing on you!

Try THIS on your wet saw, Bucko!

Ruben snugs a 16x16 tile tightly around a protrusion into the master bath project at Rock Crest in Tucson. Soon an oyster grout line will finish it perfectly. Rueben arrived at the job site at 7:15 this morning, shaking Stan out of his new mummy bag. Enrico (the other guy) opened a Tucson Dunkin' Donuts this morning at 4 a.m., getting the coffee and donuts ready for the bleary-eyed morning crowd. He won't get here until 1 p.m. to do the shower setup. He'll do his best work then. Stay tuned, it will be a long day, but Stan wants to be home for Christmas.
Update: Enrico's pickup broke down. Had a wet saw in it. He's having it repaired, will come here and start over tomorrow. Tough luck for a hardworking guy. Seems like it is always something.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Red Guard

Ruben seals the joints between the cement boards while Enrico takes a measure for the 12/12 shower tile, at the start of Day 3 of the master bath retile job. Fussy, fussy, Enrico scraped off the paint overspray that was revealed when the carpet was removed on the floor. He says the thinset won't bond well to cement anywhere there's even a light paint coat on it. A little care 10 years ago would have saved some work today. It will be a short day today; Ruben will be here early tomorrow with Enrico to follow. Stan got his work done early this morning; three mile run, paint the bath, haircut, rehang the mirror, two loads of laundry, bed made. Now he will watch the football game and listen to the satisfying sounds coming from the project area. Go Vikings. Coming home soon.


The black and brown wallpaper in the small bathroom has disappeared behind three coats of Kilz shellac. Anybody want to pick a color? We're ready.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cement board screwed tight

There's lots of detail in the shower: a glass block window to the tub area, a window with ledge to the outdoors, a niche, and the shower entry, to say nothing of the shower head and faucet arrangement. These complications led to an afternoon of details, but it is all set to go tomorrow, when tiles will go on this sturdy gray half-inch wonder board. The interior shower layout is a simple bond pattern of 12x12 tiles. There's enough going on in there without adding a bunch of geegaws and ornamentation. The floor will feature a border of matching 6x6 tiles, surrounding a mat of 2x2 tiles sloping into the drain.
It should all come together tomorrow. The men are heading home to south Tucson for a few hours rest and plan to at least drive by a church tomorrow morning.

No turkey soup for these guys

Saturday night supper at Dieting Stan's ordinarily might be a cup of turkey soup with green beans and spinach. Not tonight. With special guests on hand Stan pulled out all the stops, took a drive down the road to "Priced Right Pizza" and brought home a Goliath Pepperoni Sausage and Black Olive. Enrico wasn't too thrilled about the black olives, picking out a couple dozen and parking them plateside. Not so Ruben. The fellas are now back at work, setting up the master bath for a Sunday tile set.

And you can scrub your toes at the same time!

The brand new chisel drill made quick work of the latrine floor, flipping the tiles off the old concrete slab like flapjacks on a hot, greasy griddle.
First, in one move, Enrico yanked and hoisted the toilet in one piece into the bathtub all by himself, which may not have been the brightest move today, but he explained that the vibrating jack hammer chisel has jiggled his brain around so much by now that he is not always thinking clearly.
(Don't worry about the toilet base scratching the tub. The old carpet that once covered the bathroom floor is providing protection. The toilet keeps dripping long after it has been lifted, so putting it in the tub saves on cleaning up elsewhere.)

Sink hole

The good news is that the counter tile was set on a cement slab. That means we can clean that slab and reuse it, obviating our plans to cut a new cement board base. Enrico and Reuben pulled the sinks and finished the slab, while Stan ran to Home Depot for an attachment to Enrico's brand new hammer drill. The new chisel is locked and loaded, below, as Enrico takes his final slices at the shower base.

Meanwhile, in the half bath

The lovely black and brown geometric wallpaper is as tight as a tick in the little half bath. So Stan is applying a couple of coats of shellac with a big floppy roller to get things back to ground zero. The pink tile in the half bath will exit as well, when Enrico can spare a moment.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Goodbye Ol' Pink

Enrico and Ruben showed up at 6 p.m. tonight to demo the famous pink-tiled master bath here at Rock Crest in Tucson. This peaceful neighborhood is all buttoned up, the stars are out, but the stillness is broken periodically by pounding and clanging coming from the Rolfsrud compound. The men have already put in full shifts at their day jobs, but they're banging away now with energy, jawing in Spanish and calling Stan, "Boss." By the time the Vikings take the field Sunday, we hope to be closing in on a really great tile job. We'll keep you abreast of the progress. These guys have plenty of experience and a "can do" spirit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Somewhere, near Forada

Photo by Lorlee. Maple Lake, near Forada, Minnesota.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's a Desert Broom, says Virg

Agronomist Brother Virg writes from his Florida jungle, in response to our question about the plant we have out back.
Virg writes:
Desert Broom
"This is considered an unwanted weed at Saddlebrooke.  You can call the maintenance crew to have them come and eradicate it.  It spreads easily and is invasive, ergo HOA's willingness to come and clear them out.  They cannot get them out by the roots so they chop them off and dump a bunch of green herbicide on top of the stumps.  Just don't expect prompt response. 
Thanks, Virg. We were hoping you might come out and snuff it. It's not all bad news, though. According to the link you provided, it has medicinal value. Chewing its leaves can help with a toothache.

In the eye of the beholder

Stan's friend Kathy Skadsberg sent him this photo today. She said it happened totally by accident, but when she took this picture of a draft horse in Sauk Centre, she noticed this detail. That's her, with her granddaughter. Her granddaughter is a cutie, here's another picture of the straw-haired lass.

Workout pal stirs Army memories

He wheels up on his golf cart and grabs an exercise machine for a quick morning workout. At 86, Paul is a fit workout companion for Stan on a now-and-then basis.
"I get up when I feel like it," he explains. "And I come down here when I am ready." Unlike most of the other gym rats, Paul doesn't ever reserve or schedule any equipment. He's had a lifetime of committment and he's done with all that. Except marriage, of course, that continues after 67 years.
He's a member of the greatest generation, and he reminds Stan of his Brigade Commander at Ft. Hood, Texas, the late Col. Paul F. Roberts. The exact same tall, grandfatherly appearance and gentle manner.
Stan's workout buddy was a colonel in the Army too, but first he was a private in the Marines and helped unload supplies at Guadalcanal. He remembers being hungry a lot in those days, and for some reason the Army shipped them a huge supply of olives. Black olives. He ate tons of them, and to this day still loves them.
Later he was drafted into the Korean War, but this time, thanks to R.O.T.C., served as an officer, rising to Lt. Colonel. He knew of fellow officer Paul Roberts, who gained some renown in a 1950 setback near Pusan.
Eventually, Roberts was put in charge of the sleepy 13th Support Brigade at Ft. Hood. That's where draftee Stan served under his command in the headquarters public relations office throughout 1971. Buck Sgt. Stan did his best to put a shine on the Colonel's activities, and was kept close at hand for 16 months in the garrison, exiting service on the same orders as the old Colonel, who had spent more time in grade than any other Colonel in the Army. Stan and Specialist Robert C. Morecock produced a radio report of the Roberts retirement ceremony and promotion to general that brought tears to the old man's eyes.
Stan never did know for sure if the old man had held him out of Vietnam. Thirty-eight years later, when Stan first saw the Roberts look-a-like in the fitness center, he remembered the man he had photographed and wrote up so many times long ago. This Paul had also left the Army, but without much fanfare, and became a college dean at the University of Cornell in New York.
Now he's a retired gentleman, and a regular at the fitness center. But don't count on him being there every day. He just shows up when it good and well pleases.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dallas taxonimist responds

Stan writes:
My request for the identification of a fuzzy desert plant found in our Tucson back yard (see below) resulted in this uninvited bouquet (see above) from Minnesota transplant Lorlee Bartos. The Dallas plant lover took good-natured exception to my offering her a dandelion/bouganvillea mystery challenge.
"I see your Tucson dandelion," Lorlee wrote. "And I raise you one Minnesota thistle."
Now I am no plant expert, but it was immediately clear that Lorlee had sent me a photo of
Salsola tragus L., common to pastures and fields throughout the Midwest, particularly so near Lake Andrew, Alexandria, MN.
Dad incorrectly referred to this plant as Russian thistle. It competed for dominance in our 10 acre pasture with the milder milkweed. We pulled the milkweeds manually, year after year, our hands soiled by a gooey, milky substance. But with their nasty, spiny needles, we left the "stickers" alone. So did the cows and soon the thistles would thrive, bloom and then be slashed by sharecropper Joe Hiebel, hired to drive through the pasture with a floppy sickle bar behind his Allis Chalmers. This haphazard trimming resulted in a brown residue of dead thistle plants, their dried spikes hidden like land mines beneath the new grass, and now nastier than ever to a barefoot boy charged with bringing reluctant cows home for milking.
So thank you, my dear Lorlee, for presenting me with this lovely memory of dancing gingerly through the morning mist, taking pains to avoid exactly what you have so graciously emailed me today.
I guess I started it.
By the way, Lorlee has no idea of the genus, species, name or nothing of our fuzzy backyard plant. We await guidance from others.

oops. just got two comments, accidentally rejected them. commenters, please resend. editor.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lorlee, this is for you

We leave it to Dallas horticulturist Lorlee Bartos to identify this fine floral addenda to the backyard. The morning's sun brightened the soft seeds of this unidentified plant. Not unlike fine dandelion furr, the plant molts and spreads its seeds wherever the wind may carry it, including a nearby pond, where it floats, scum-like, until a willing volunteer scoops it away. What is this beautiful, pillowy native plant, my dear advisor?

Friday, November 20, 2009

No name dish delights

C'mon over, Leno said. Carolyn has a new dish she's trying out and we'd like to have you for dinner.
After three weeks cooking for myself at the winter house in Tucson, Leno didn't have to ask twice. At 6 p.m. tonight I eagerly crossed the street and there it was: cocktails, then chicken under a cranberry sauce, baked.
It was wonderful, and went well with Carolyn's accompaniments and the dinner table conversation. We had time to eat, but just barely, with so much to talk about. This easy-going, interesting couple is current on just about everything and have a point of view that is most appealing.
Carolyn got the dish recipe from her golf league pals, so we can't name it Chicken Carolyn or anything like that. Her cart mates raved about it, and now so do I.
Meanwhile, household manager, Mickey Masolini, (right) was in attendance near the table and very well behaved. That was quite remarkable, considering that his Daddy Leno, once a no-nonsense high school principal, has softened beyond all recognition, and now sweetly indulges his dear pet in its every wish and desire.

Mister Measure

What he does, all day long, is measure. His company is based in Detroit and today he came, exactly as scheduled, to Rock Crest, Tucson, to measure for new carpet. He went tap, tap, tapping from room to room, very focused on his precise work, entering strings of data into the laptop velcroed snugly to his left forearm. His work is guaranteed.

His leather tape holster was worn and torn from the quick-draw motion he makes each time he needs new numbers to put into the black box.
The company doesn't lay tile, carpet, linoleum, anything. They measure. So workers rarely see the results of any of their work.
When all the measurements of the Rock Crest floors were finally known, he briefed the customer, showing off what looked like a perfect etch-a-sketch of the floors spread on his computer screen.
So how many total square feet are there, the customer wondered? He doesn't know. What? No. The computer won't tell him. That information will come from the carpet vendor and they'll be calling in two business days, he promised, and they will know exactly how much carpet it will take to cover the floors. That's a different number, of course, than the total square feet of the floors.
Apparently the company has had enough of customers wondering why the measuring guy's square feet total doesn't equal the amount of square feet of material it takes to cover it, so they blacked out that part of the program.
The project took about a half hour. Then he holstered his tape, adjusted his badge and left with a jaunty wave, riding on to the next house to measure the floors yet again.
At the end of the day, he will go home and upload the day's contents of his laptop onto a high speed line to headquarters. In turn, they will download tomorrow's schedule into his box. And so it goes, as the big wheel turns.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

You can have any color you want, if . . .

You are looking at the entire exterior color palatte for Homeowners Association No. 1, Saddlebrooke, Tucson, AZ. Today we invited Architecture and Landscaping Committee (ALC) members Marc and Signie to drop by and make a recommendation for repainting our house. We always thought that ALC stood for American Lutheran Church. Turns out, the difference is that the Saddlebrooke ALC has more commandments. For example, Thou shalt not paint anything without a signed, fee paid permission slip.
The volunteer committee is charged with protecting the community from awfulness. It is not easy work and requires diligent members and, of course, we're grateful for their service in what must often be a thankless task.
Today, after taking into consideration the color of our roof, the neighborhood and their own personal preferences, Marc and Signie made a recommendation.
Will it be Oyster, Apache Tan, or Sahara? Sandal, Baked Potato or Wooded Acre? Sandcastle, Bone, Shady or Sand Dollar? Graham Cracker, Birchwood, Bungalow or Pigeon Gray?
We've got their recommendation, now to consult with the family committee. Painter is coming Dec. 28. The excitement builds.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Adam and Kim have a baby on the way!

Adam and Kim (Adam is Stan's nephew) Jerdee are expecting a new addition around May 21, 2010.

They write in their blog: "Our first checkup went well. We were entertained when the baby was moving around a lot during the ultrasound; the heartrate was about 162 bpm. We will pass along more details in January when we learn more."
Congratulations to you two! We're all very, very happy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What A Country!

Coyote Golf Cars, Oracle Boulevard, Catalina, Arizona.

Postscript to 911 call

The treadmill gang at the fitness center was still buzzing this morning over yesterday's emergency. (See below) Since then, pack leader Beverly has resolved to always use her safety clip (the magnetic dead man switch that immediately shuts down the machine when it is tugged in a fall) and has preached the gospel and converted others who seemed unaware of this feature.
But soon the seniors went on to other topics, other 911 calls they remember. Mildred had a doozy to report, an event unheard of even in this desert outpost. Saturday she called 911 after a very special surprise: a rattlesnake in her kitchen.
I'm grateful to hear these back-and-forth stories, perched upon my XT20 Sports Art trainer. Yesterday was a bit much, but overall, these surprisingly spry gray-haired athletes keep my 30 minutes interesting.
Sometime I'll tell you about Bonnie's boyfriends. She wants to drop the one who never takes her anyplace nice.

Monday, November 16, 2009

White tub, brown walls, right?

Life was simpler before I married Kathleen.
Back then, way back then, there was a color, and it was called "white." I knew it wasn't a color, actually, but the absence of color and it was very clear to me what it was when I saw it. Oh, if it was a bit dirty or tannish, it was called "Off White." But white was white, yes sir, it was all very clear and simple.
Not so much anymore.
Kathleen is choosing tile for the Tucson master bath. She's in Minneapolis. I'm in Tucson. The room is basically a blank slate for her, with one exception. The bath tub. We're not changing the bathtub. Everything else is changeable.
Saturday she called and asked me to find out what color the white bathtub is.
I didn't take the bait. Oh no, I know better now. Thirty-years of nodding and encouraging while she chooses colors has taught me valuable lessons: One of them? There are some things that I simply cannot and will never know. I have come to accept this, so Saturday I did not stupidly say, "Whaddaya mean? It's white, you know, WHITE!" No sir, not me, that was the old Stan.
So today the new Stan trotted off to Home Depot, to the Behr paint department and didn't buy a thing. He went to the color swatch department and picked out 18 whites. Meanwhile, Kathleen did the same thing in Minneapolis. Stan took his swatches to the bath tub and, in a process of elimination, believes he identified the exact bathtub color. (Drum roll) It is W-F-400, Swan Wing... Right there between China Cup (W-D-100) and Nude (W-F-210).

Shortly, Kathleen answered the phone. She had the matching chip in collection and now it's all good.
I did weasel a bit, of course, just in case, for later.
"It's hard to line up those colors," I whined, "because the tub is so glossy and the chips are flat. And it is hard not to be distracted by the marbly waves in the white." This sensitivity to light and texture was bound to impress, I figured, and give some elbowroom for later alibis, just in case.
She's out choosing tile tonight, and it will be right, of that I am certain, but I won't be calling her choice brown or beige. For me, there's just no such thing anymore.

Two down at the fitness center

We rolled five paramedics to the association fitness center this morning. Two seniors went down, but everybody went home.
I was just passing the 22-minute mark on my 30-minute routine on the XT20 Sports Art combination rower and bicycle. As I have been doing for two weeks, I strapped my feet into the pedals at 7:30 a.m. and was vigorously rowing my way across the peaceful waters of Lake Andrews, when I heard a shriek.
Stunned, I twisted sideways, looking backwards, toward the sound. There, in the space between her treadmill and the wall, lay Helen, about 65 years old, in a fetal position, the rubber blades of the treadmill going flap, flap, flap against her back, her brown sweatshirt being tugged under the still-live machine as she yelled out.
I jerked my feet from the XT20 pedal straps. But before I could get to the moving treadmill, Jill, the super-athletic yoga meister and gym coach, was already there, cradling Helen away from the moving belt. It fell to me to stop the treadmill and yank it away from them. I was assisted in this endeavor by Harold, 76, portly, who had jumped from his treadmill to lend a hand.
We succeeded in dragging the now-stilled treadmill a foot or so. I found her glasses. They were fine. Helen wanted her glasses, but I could see the bridge of her nose was bleeding slightly after her fall.
By now, Naomi was on the hall telephone, talking to 911. Jill asked for towels, wet ones, and an ice pak from the office fridge. We supplied both and it began to appear that things were normalizing.
The 911 operator was full of questions, or course. The phone was too far away, so I stood midway and, using my best big boy voice, relayed questions and answers between Naomi and Jill, trying not to insert my opinions.
"Is she conscious?" "Is she conscious!"
"Yes!" "Yes!"
"Is she alert?" "Is she alert!"
"Yes!" "Yes!"
"Is there bleeding?"
And so on. And so on.
Just as we were getting to the part about nausea, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Harold go down. He had been standing there, leaning on the treadmill, when he lost it. Down he went, at my feet, in a limp, sideways roll. I cradled his unconscious head in my hands. Jill was there now, leaving Helen in the care of a bystander, she took Harold's pulse, a weak one.
Just as I was contemplating rolling Harold over and wondering if I was really going to have to do CPR and how the hell that was going to work, Harold came to. "I'm alright," he kept saying. Of course he wasn't. By now we had a pillow under his head, but soon he was on his knees trying to get up. I got him a folding chair and we tried to keep his head as low as possible. He'd been exercising, stopped, moved the treadmill, and once he wasn't needed anymore, fainted. He was in good humor, if not great shape.
About now, the paramedics arrived.
As a one-year veteran of the association fitness center, may I say with certainty that never have there been five more muscular, trim, youthful men in the fitness center all at one time. The Golder hook and ladder idled outside, as the blue-clad medics, with black boxes and aquamarine gloves, streamed in. May I say with certainty that there has never been a more welcome sight in the fitness center.
Our patients are fine. Both went home after being thoroughly tested, questioned and examined. The medics eventually huddled, fist-pumped and left us to our labors, reloading their empty stretcher, driving away to write their reports. Mounted again on my XTR20 Sports Art trainer, I observed the room getting back to normal, gratefully watching Helen, a bit bruised in the face, walk out with her ride home.
Harold was combing his gray hair in the locker room, saying that he had fainted once before, in the sauna. We talked about how everybody is susceptible to blood loss to the head when sudden movements are made.

I wasn't sure how much time to re-log to restart my training routine. It was five to eight. Jill the jock laughed. Don't worry, she said. You got a good work out today.
"Think about all that adrenalin."
Everybody went home safe, so did I, taking the usual sunny run-walk up steep Howland's Highway and down the hill, reflecting on the morning's events and trying to remember procedures that Kathleen and I learned when we took that CPR course.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time to mauve on?

There are eager workers aplenty these days. This has endangered the pretty-in-pink tile in the master bath in Tucson. Above, Enrico busily estimates the time it would take to put in a tile floor, redo the shower and counter and make some other adjustments to this dated, mauve setting. Enrico was very competitive. You may see him again on this blog.

Good morning from Tucson

Steve and Virg have worked hard over the years to bring the backyard bougainvilleas to full flower. Stan, ordinarily a January visitor to Arizona, has never seen them in this glorious state until now. The rest of the morning will be spent seeking word on the Minnesota Vikings, or better yet, a tv channel or sports bar. Research on the possibilities will begin after Enrico the tile man leaves. He's scheduled to give his best Sabbath estimate of a proposed project in the master bedroom.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Pump Boys

Brothers Zak and Devon from Aqua Man in Tucson are here on Rock Crest this fine Saturday morning to replace the water pump on our back yard water feature. The pump dumps water over some rocks, down a stream and into a pool then draws it back again, and again. It was installed back in '98 or sometime like that and the old pump just got tired. Zak is the eldest, and he's the one who gives the orders and knows what to do next. Devon, the younger, is the willing helper, learning from his big brother. He is trusted to cut the power to the pump.
But we know all about how that works.
Zak says he loves his job. Why are they working on Saturday? It's busy, he said. Very busy.
We like hearing that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flash 3:55 p.m. Doris is Done!!

I will make golf after all. Pulled Doris off when her breast popped out. Now she will steep and rest under an aluminum foil tent while Leno and I finish the round he started alone.

Nosy neighbors. . . 3:40 p.m.

My pal Leno claims he can smell the turkey from across the street and he just walked in to mention that. Does it smell good?

Yes!, Gourmetish! he exclaimed. And I think he means it. Here he is getting that nose close to Doris. He spotted Steve's onion right away. It's a part of the essence wafting over Rock Crest on this windy day. That, and Steve's Italian dressing that I spooned on, since all we have here are used paint brushes and I decided not to improvise -- after the dental floss loss. Now Leno is heading out to the course and will play a few holes. I threw my clubs on the back of his cart. He'll come back and pick me up at 4 p.m. Doris is supposed to be ready by then. I will toss her into a pan and cover her, then go with Leno IF the temp button on her breast has popped.
Won't be time to stop and take photos too, so standby for final photos after golf sometime.

Bulletin 3:36 p.m.

My sweetie just called to remind me that it is my sister's birthday today! Sorry this is late, Becky, it is Friday the 13th and I guess I am just unlucky.
Catch Becky on the Jerdee blog below, or better yet, enjoy her AbbeyStyle blog everyday. It is a wonderful, relaxed, classy spot that's inspirational and clever at the same time. I love it, and my sister too, of course!
Happy Birthday, Becky. Wish you could drop by for a turkey sandwich!

Your Brother Stan
(Now back to the turkey.)

Doris: 3:15 p.m., post baste

Doris: 2:10 p.m.

The turkey (on the right) continues to spin at about 375 degrees with the lid down. Still juicy on the surface, we'll begin basting her soon. Some tearing around her neck, we won't worry about it.

Turkey update 1:20

Doris went on at 1 p.m. 
I preheated the grill with the lid down, it got to 500 degrees, too hot. It cooled while I locked Doris into the drive and settled both ends of the spit. It started turning and was in pretty good balance, but I adjusted the weight a smidge just to refine it.
Doris started flopping around when the wing came down. It just wasn't trussed right with that dental floss. An emergency call to the neighbor Leno and a dash across the street procured real string.
When I got back, the temperature had climbed to 500 degrees and Doris was sweating like a pig.
I pulled Doris off the spit and brought her inside to retruss her wings.
She's back on the spit now, turning and humming. I turned off one of the three burners to try to keep the temp around 375. The others are on low. Time to monitor.
Doris is about 11 pounds so she should take three hours to get ready -- that's about 4 p.m., and that's about a half an hour past the tee time we had set up for the afternoon. Oh well.
There's a pop-out on her breast that will signal internal doneness. It's the red dot in the photo below.
Doris continues to spin. Now to figure out some basting routine.

Turkey adventure

Stan writes from Tucson:
There's a built-in gas grill here in the backyard. It works great for burgers, etc., but it could use a little maintenance, so every now and then during the past week I have been cleaning and rebuilding it. It's over 10 years old, but things age well in the desert so even though it has been outside all that time it still operational.
During the course of taking it apart, I found a spit assembly in the base. That hasn't been used for at least 5 years. Will it work now?
I cleaned the crud off of it and plugged it in. A cranky sound came out of the black box. We're in business. We need a test. Earlier this week I bought a $5 turkey from Wal-mart. A 12-pound loss leader. It wasn't a Butterball, (They were more like $11), but I reasoned that a turkey chick doesn't know if it is going to grow up to be a Butterball or not, so I went for the less expensive bird. It has been thawing all week.

It is now 12:30 Mountain Time here in Tucson. I have never grilled a turkey in my life, but I am prepared to put my $5 at risk. You can be the judge as to how I do today.

I have gotten this far. I pulled the giblets and gizzard out of the turkey, along with the gravy bag, thereby avoiding an ordinary neophyte error that ends up on America's Funniest Videos and such. I read on the internet that you have to heat the bird indirectly. I don't have a pan, so I made an aluminum and stone pan to help redirect the heat and catch the drippings. Then I took a picture of it. (See photo, below)

The bird got a shower in the sink. We'll call her Doris. Then I took the sharpened end of the spit and placed it in Doris' backside, then through an onion Steve left behind in the fridge, and then out through her neck. Time to truss it up to keep in balanced. There is a weight on the spit that can be adjusted to balance the load, but it is important to tied down the legs and wings to keep them from flopping around.

There is no string in this house.

I looked everywhere, even on packages. I considered using the shoelaces from Steve's old sneakers, but thought better of it. A ha! Dental floss. We're good to go.

So I will smear some oil all over Doris, tie her up, adjust the fire and load the spit. I will let you know how this goes. Stay tuned.