Sausage by the square with pork-a-ritas.

Up in the morning, pretty early. wash some dishes which have accumulated over the last week,,,,,,,,,  or two. Save time, water and all forms of energy by waiting and not washing right after use.  Not only that, by the time I get to them the cats have pretty well cleaned them. A sort of a prewash.

Today I am going to get a lot done. I have broken things by the score to be repaired of pitched, cleaning and painting work, Phone calls to make ,,,,should have done several days ago, paper work (which bill to pay) try to understand my weekly mail, insurable, political, taxable, medical, tyrannical, unintelligible mail. I wear google out, asking for explanations.

I remember when the utility bill came on a post card. My dad would carry it down to the drug store and pay out of a change purse. Now one gets an eight-page summery with a costly listing of things, no one has ever heard of. Instead of cash they smugly ask for your bank account number.  But we have light bulbs which hardly use any energy and will last for 35 years,,,,,, ,and so are cheap, unless you happen to break one or seventeen. I am supposed to throw out my refrigerator and buy a new one just to save energy.  It takes me six months of energy just cleaning it much less moving it. Doing nothing seems a lot more efficient to me. As long as it cools the kitchen on hot days, it’s staying.

Thursday 9:15 Mass at the local church. After that, time to get busy with my chore list ,,,,,,,,,,,,,, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, there is this other thing which has been bothering me. I have never made breakfast sausage!!

A bit of a detour and off to the meat store to buy a “pork But”. That doesn’t sound very nice to me. Why not pork back end, part beyond the center, derriere, breech, fanny? But, but doesn’t sound right. I didn’t like it much when they called me “Rear-end” in school!

People talk about delicious tenderloin, marvelous ribs, mouthwatering hams. You just can’t say that in the same sentence with BUT.

This is going to be easy and instructions say only four hours for two pounds. What are they doing? Apparently haven’t heard of my skills. I up the ante buying ten pounds and intend to do the job in two hours.

At home I have my mother’s super-efficient meat grinder, capable of grinding up large portions of meat and so I was told, small children if I were to get too close. For some reason, mother stopped using it in 1958. It may have had to do with the invention of super markets as opposed to butcher shops.

I may have to treat myself with a small taste of the grain just for a starter. 

If I had my cordless driver, I could have used the hole saw to cut out pretty round burger like chunks.

Starting in, using my quality butcher knives and superior butchery skills, I carve off a small piece of my prize. Even with my awesome sharpening skills, this is going to be a little rough.  This is going to require getting out the more intimating tools. After a quick discussion with Mr. Jameson, Cleaver in hand I chase this greasy monster around the kitchen counter. Occasionally hitting it and on more occasions hitting the counter. That got the cat’s attention. If I hadn’t loaned out my cordless driver, I could have screwed it to the table. The pork but that is.

Did you know this wonderful cut of meat, the bu-tay has a bone? Yes, the size of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s hand and when you finally get it out, it looks like a toy flying saucer. Wonder if I could paint it for a Christmas present.

Now it is time for grinding. A wee touch.  After my previous dusting, boiling, steaming, using a pint of rust remover, my bright and shiny, Alexanderwerk #8 hand grinder is waiting and ready to go. I clamp this beauty to the table and can’t wait to get started. Just a pinch of the nectar before starting.

In goes the meat, I turn the handle, out comes the ,,,,,,,,, WOOOOAAAAAA! This turns a little hard.

Now I know why my mother could swat us so hard from the front seat of the car while adjusting her bobby pins and reading the obituary to my dad.

This is going to be even more interesting than I figured. This needs a serious pull from ol Jamie.

 If I just had my cordless drill and I attached it to the handle thing-a-ma-bob,,, no, I would have just turned myself around. Well back at it.  I feel like I am turning the giant wheel that makes a river boat move up the river,,,, against the current.

“ol’ man pig but, that ol’ man pig but, he don’t say nuttin but he must know sumptin, cuz he jus keeps breakin my arm, he don’t plant tators and my sasuage is gona be rotten, an the rest of my day is soon forgotten” .

I’m exhausted and I only have ground enough for a smoky link,,,,,,  without the skin,,,,  or the smoke.

Thanks to the preservative I regained some strength even though eye sight got worse.

I pushed on and by some miracle came to the end of my ten pounds of that miserable lousy pork piece and had a small celebration ,,,,,,,,, or two,,,,,,, or

Da next part of dis operation pheeeeeeeeeeeeeew I am so tired. Dhe text pert a desperation is spiceseses. Throw in stuff and mash it all round till it gets mashed all round an da wittle spices go round an round an da music goes roun an roun.

Time for a spit down.!

Hour and ten-minute nap and I am ready as a rabbit.

Now for the spices,,,,,,,,, Oh, did that.    Flattened all the ground meat out on sheet pans and put it in the freezer. Let it chill and get stiff, while I’m getting a little stiff, making it easier to cut in small squares.

I mark it when it starts to get firm or stiff from freezing. Mark it deep so when I take it out completely frozen, it will break apart in even squares, as I have marked it or at least dats da plan.

Believe it’s gona be ness-sis-sis-ary to extend dat nap.  Good night!!


Amish Soffit job and a flat tire!!!!

June, 2020 a true story           

The Riordan Chronicles.

So, the night before the Amish were to arrive, I was working on my tractor. I use it for keeping the weeds and woods down so at least I can find my house. I also use it to carry heavy things which seems constant.  One of the too heavy things,,,,is me! My point, tractor is important.

Worked on it a good part of the day discovering what parts I would need, and at six thirty came in looking like a grease monkey of the fifties. Back then, fixing the problem was more important than dazzling the customer with your Amante shoes and baby blue shop smock.

I knew I had to do a lot of washing even before I got near the shower.

NO WATER ?!?!?!?!?!?”

That’s when I came in to find I had no water. I have a well and all the answers come quick.  Hard work,,,,,,,,,,,, at the end of a day I had only intended to spend time scrubbing and scraping in a warm shower.  Even a cold one would have been glorious.

The alternative now. No shower, scrounge some water from the only receptacle in the house which has water all the time. Wash my hands. Make a bed on the kitchen floor with a bag of pasta for a pillow and worry about it in the morning.  Eating was out of the question. I was so filthy my cats wouldn’t accept treats from me.

I tried very hard not to listen to that miserable little voice that says, “you know you need to go and check the well NOW!”

No, I don’t want to do that. I’m tired, it will be dark soon in a few hours at least, I’m old, there could be wild animals down the hill to the well, by the way there are a lot of weeds down there. The owner didn’t cut them. Thorns, sticks, salamanders, did I say thorns?


Off I went, taking the long way around to the well, at least another three hundred feet.

Yanked open the door that has been opened as recently as 2003. Not that long ago at my age. Lifted the door covering the pump and as I expected the pump was running but like a human on a treadmill, going nowhere.

The problem was obvious or at least, my theory was probably right on. When it comes to repair. If it is going to take a great deal of hard work, that is most likely the problem.

Being the think ahead person I am, I checked the well house for the spare. Found the box,,,, empty ,,, with a date of 2003.  Oh Yah, I must have saved a lot of money by not getting another spare back then.

Spent a few minutes kicking things, which should help but not when you are wearing a pair of Crocks from the 1995 era. And are worn to the Playtex glove thickness.

I did have a few other water pumps on the shelves in the well house and with a little TLC and about fifteen miracles one might just get me by.

Back up to the shop (garage) for tools and fittings. Things I would normally carry with the tractor. For starters, a couple of thirty-six-inch pipe wrenches weigh up pretty quick. Even faster when you thought this was the end of your work day.

Back down to the well dragging buckets of ,,,,,  stuff.

To shorten it up, even though it wasn’t short, thanks to my vast knowledge, super skills, amazing abilities, or at least most of the fifteen miracles, by 9:30 pm I had water. Not that bad, except for that little voice saying,” I told you so

Up early next morning still squeaky from last night’s extended shower and detailing and back to experience more water. How great it is. Thank you, Boss, for that push.

The Amish showed up about 7am and ,,,,,,,,,,,,, Oh,,,,, I hired the Amish to repair or replace the soffit in my house. In case you don’t know what, the soffit is and even if you do, and even if you don’t care what the soffit is, you’re going to find out. The soffit is the part of the house or roof that hangs out from the house. Unlike those that just hang out at the local Pub, it has purpose.

Years ago, the soffit was made out of wood, quite strong and other than paint in forty-eight years, needs little attention. Now it is made out of rigid vinyl, about as thick as the vinyl on the seats of a fifty-six ford.

As I am the guy who built the house, I suppose I need to take the credit for some of the issue with it. Somehow the starlings found a way to get in and found it so accommodating. They ran an article in the Star-ling news and decided to hold a convention there every season after. In the beginning it was about as popular and quiet as a St. Patrick’s parade in 1960 Belfast.

Soon they were requiring much larger sweets and the weight of so many guests were causing the floor or to most humans, ceiling,,,,,,,,, well the vinyl was falling out.

When the Amish started taking down what was left of the soffit, pterodactyl nests came with it.

Trying to imagine what was going on up there,,,, this must have been a starling brothel. There was enough hay up there to over flow the back of a pickup truck. I considered buying a cow just to recycle.

So, I had made a lunch for the Amish which they seemed to really appreciate. If they had seen me the night before when I was without water, they may have opted for a trip to Mc Donald’s.

First day went very well. Some places need a thirty-foot ladder and one of the reasons I turned the job over to them.

The second day they showed up about 7:35, hustle, ladders up banging, pounding, I’m preparing food for at least the twelve apostles after a serious fast but there are only four of these guys and their driver who doesn’t eat. Only smokes and sleeps.

About 8:45, Jonis comes to me, “Bill, I have to leave. I just got a c all; My son just broke his arm in two places”.

Jonis and the driver are off and about 9:45, one of the other men comes to me. “Bill, Minion just fell off the ladder and he thinks he broke his foot. He is in a lot of pain.”

Dressed in a raged t-shirt, trusty crocks and what is left of a pair of shorts that can only be called comfortable, I grab my keys.

Menyon is suffering a lot and they want to go home. Calling 911 just won’t do.

They insist on taking down their ladders, putting away their tools, all the while Minion is sitting there moaning. Besides his foot, he fell on a four by four post and broke it clean off with his ,,,,, back of his pants.

Revved up my trusty van and we were off. A few miles west of us27, on us 12 we hear something hit the side of my van. Shortly thereafter we here, thump, thump, thump.

“I have a blowout.”

Called AAA, recording telling me I can go to AAA !@#$%^&.com something or I can wait to talk with a service person. I am the ninth person in line and the phone call is being recorded and if I would rather and I should and ,,,,,,,,,, I hung up and called Roger and Hellen.

“Have a blow out on US12, side of the road a few miles west of 27, west’ is your sandwich hand, not your coffee hand, got a guy here with a broken foot needs to go to the hospital quick.”

Hellen answered, “OK, we will be right there.”

Two of the Amish who weren’t hurt went walking, looking for a store to get something to drink.

45 minutes later I call back to Hellen. “Well be right there I just left Staples and need to stop at the shelter.” 

“This guy is suffering; he needs to go to the hospital”

“Were you serious about that? I thought you were just pulling my leg, like usual”.

“Please, just get here.”

Another half hour goes by and I call Hellen back,

“Roger had to stop at the Springs gas station and get something to eat. His sugar is low.”

By now I am running out of ideas. Two of the Amish have gone looking for a store and I haven’t seen them, or don’t see them in my mirror. AAA hasn’t got to number nine yet, Menyon is moaning and my brain refuses to give me, even a hopeless idea.

Eventually Roger and Hellen arrive, the Amish return with drinks, smelling of cigarettes and we move on to the next phase of a routine Riordan day.

Hellen takes Minion and the other two Amish men leaving Roger to administer comfort to me. As they disappear into the sunset,,,,  well over the hill, too early for sunset, AAA calls back. We exchange information, me receiving more than I give, advice about getting on AAA@#$ and someone will get back to me.

Another hour and a quarter go by, me trying to stare a hole in Rogers potato chip bag and Hellen returns.

The Amish have been delivered to various parts of the country, grab the car keys, lock it and Roger and I jump in Hellen’s car. At home I call a place located half way between me and where my car is broke down.

“Sure, I can take care of it. Might be about a half hour. Can you bring me the keys?”

Hellen drove me to Artesian wells garage, dropped off the keys and as we were leaving my house to take the keys, AAA called back,

“We have someone in the area. Now what is your problem and where are you located?”

Would it have done any good to express myself to a person who was hired to do just exactly what he is doing? By now it has been three and a half hours since I first called AAA. There only advice was to wait or if it is an emergency call 911. Would a paramedic have come out with a new tire for me? Would the fire department have brought me an ice-cold case of beer? Would the police come with an orchestra to lull me back into sanity? I thought car insurance was supposed to solve these problems. I think that is why I have been paying for road aid for sixty-five years. The only thing they insured, “I was in trouble and don’t call us ____ _ _ _ _  _ _ _  _” ! M y cats are going to hear about this!

Artesian wells took care of the problem.

An old used tire, a tow job and $90 later I am on the road.

The Amish were not back for several days because it was haying time and apparently that takes precedence. They did eventually come back and finish the job. They did nothing about clean up, leaving that to me. I was hoping to find at least a dozen eggs in all the nests but either the fledglings had all left or the eggs couldn’t stand the drop.

All in all, would I hire them back? Probably, if for no other reason, they seem naively honest and I mean only that our world today expects one to be dishonest.

Jonas’s son is in a cast and doing well. Minion must be off his foot for eight weeks but Jonas said they will put some kind if wild leaf on it and expects it to heal much faster.

For me, more fuel for the “Riordan Chronicles”

So, I am driving/riding off to the Doctor with Hellen and Roger.

So, I am driving/riding off to the Doctor with Hellen and Roger.

I recently purchased a new ,,,,,, slightly used vehicle which I may be able to drive someday.

After driving it home from Atwater Ohio, some 208 miles away, and fifty or so miles locally, a few warning lights came on. Why don’t they have warning lights that Say, “DON’T BUY THIS CAR”?

The repair place tells me it is just a few small things and he will have it repaired,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, in time. Probably in time for me to buy antique license plates!

It seems that ,,,,,,,,,,,, (Nothing like absolutes when you are talking cars, time and money) It seems like one of the warning lights, points to a cooling component. They, the repair people, are not sure which one and each component requires disassembling a large portion of the car and all in different locations. No two for the price of one on this job. I have not lost any cooling fluid although I have noticed what I thought was the smell of coolant. Not uncommon to have smells in my vehicles.

In two similar Brands and models, a little more vintage, I have had coolant problems but this being newer and a different design I was quickly reminded I have no idea, what I am talking about.

“We will tear it apart and call you when we find out what the problem is and wait for your decision.”

This of course, after they have me at bay, with parts scattered all over the place and a large bill ran up. My choices are reasonable. Pay to have it fixed or scrap it.

Somewhere in the past, law schools decided to step up their enrolment. Not sure if standards ,,,,,,,,, won’t go there. Anyway, I remember when Lawyers, Attorneys, Advocates, Counselors, legal eagles, Solicitors, Barristers or whatever name they go by, were hard to find. Not a single one in the book,,,,, when we used phone books. Pretty soon they became more popular than the Pubs, bars, and saloons. As the legal helpers increased, the friendly ale houses decreased. Maybe that had something to do with attorneys becoming judges and needing more work.

Well, soon the judges were giving the Imbibers a place to stay with free rent but not a lot of access to the brew. Consequently, less friendly consumption of fire water, less need for saloons and less need for legal help, less law counseling peoples.

That’s when Attorney’s started becoming gloved auto mechanics and continued on with the same extortionate rates.

There are repairs and there are repairs.

I ride along to Ann Arbor and Rogers doctor because Roger has asked me to. I’m glad to go and as for me, it is like hearing about yet another repair job. Tubes, leaks, bad temperatures, taking things apart to get to other parts, noises which shouldn’t be there, expensive repair people. It’s all the same.

One other job I seem to have with Helen and Roger is GPS advisor. Grand Parents Syndrome. No one under 35 is left out of the ring. “They will learn in a few years” “They sure didn’t get that from their parents” “why,, when I was their age” “it’s your fault, the way you treat them” “It’s because of your ancestors”.  Some might call my suggestions, Heckling but I do my best to keep it even between both parties.

Both Helen and Roger are very familiar with Ann Arbor streets and locations of various places. I for one, see no other reason to go to Ann Arbor other than the Salvation Army and White Castle hamburgers.

Getting in the general vicinity of Ann Arbor is pretty much a straight shot. Well, not straight but a lot of curves going somewhere east of where we started.

Once there or almost there they, Helen and Roger go into Lewis and Clark mode.

“That’s the way I go”

“No, this way is closer”

“The way you are going there are too many kids on bicycles”

“Oh no, a detour”

” See, I told you but you wouldn’t listen”

“OK smarty pants, your way is now a dead end.”

“Well then try a different way”

“Isn’t that an intelligent statement”

“Be careful don’t run over those kids”

“I have the right-a-way!”

“Not when they are halfway across the street”

“I could have made it”

“The light was red”

“That’s the jelly on your glasses”

The city of Ann Arbor has done their best to buy up all the construction barrels and construction signs in the eastern part of the US. Every street you turn down, has a detour sign and one begins to feel like they are driving around in a corn maze while not driving into a giant construction hole or mashing a dozen or so half unconscious inhabitants.

Helen is driving great. She is rolling along, dodging this and that taking every opportunity to get closer to her destination, maneuvering around and over every obstacle, keeping the blood flowing. Rogers and mine!! I feel like a BB in one of those hand puzzles.

Try as we could, to make suggestions, Helen would have already decided on her next move almost before we could get a word out. As it was, all we could do is get out a few terrified squeaks.

Did I mention there were noises? Construction noises, bus noises, student noises, heart pumping noises, police car noises,,,,,.

 “Ops! Helen”, Me calling from somewhere near the floor.

“I think you need to stop.” “What”? “Sirens, I think you need to stop” “Why” “COPS!!!! I think he is going for his gun!!! STOP!”

Helen pulls over in what really doesn’t seem like a stopping spot’

“Could you please roll your window down”


The officer does the circle thing with his finger.

Helen does a bit of fumbling and the window goes down. 

“Officer, I’m trying to get my husband to the hospital. Can you give me directions?”

The officer although not appearing rough or rude just kind-of stands there like she has driven the car on his foot and he hasn’t the heart to tell her about all the pain he is in.

“Mam, do you know what barricades are for?” 

“Well I didn’t really notice”

“There might have been a bridge out and you would have driven right off the end”

 “Well I’m not stupid. I don’t think”

“Do you know what detour means?”

 “I,,,, I”

 “Do you know what one-way means?”

 “Was I going”

 “Do you realize you are driving on the sidewalk?” 

“Really, I didn’t see any students on ,,,,?”

 “Do you know you don’t have any headlights? Can I have your license and registration please?”

He goes back to his car and Roger and I start discussing things like the closest ATM and between the two of us, can we raise enough for bail? Will I be driving him from now on as it is obvious, she will never have a license again and furthermore, how in the world would we ever get out of where ever we are?

After an extended period of time, the officer comes back.

“I am just giving you a warning this time,”

Hellen interrupts with “Because of all the detours and”.

Roger stabs her in the ribs and the officer starts again.

“I am only giving you a warning this time” and goes through the same speech as before, Roger and I, hoping she can keep it zipped, long enough to get him to leave, or for the sun to come up.

Helen, playing nice cop, nice outlaw, tries to schmooze him with “Can you tell me how to get to the hospital?”

Like putting a maraschino cherry on a chocolate Sunday, he comes back with,

“I wrote the directions on your registration. It is out of date and no good anyway.”

As he walked away, looking a bit drained, Hellen started up the car. Moving cat like, down the sidewalk, on this one-way street, in the wrong direction, toward a small opening in the barricades,,,,,, another alarm horn.

 Brakes on and here comes our friendly officer again, looking even a little less happy than before.

This time he too is driving on the sidewalk and on the passenger side of the car.

Without any urging Roger puts down his window. A little more meaningful the Officer says

“Put your headlights on”

Hellen fiddles around on the dash and Roger says to the officer,

“I just seen the dash lights come on”.

From the officer, by now, not even looking and lost in some kind of report writing, hollers “go ahead and don’t go down any streets with barricades. They are there for a reason.”

Once again Hellen is off and as we slowly pass out of our construction corral and turn the corner Helen is expostulating about his attitude and how he treated her like a child and of course she knew and it wasn’t like she would drive off a bridge in Ann-Arbor.

Roger said, “Those headlights have been out for a long time, when are you going to get them fixed?”

“If you wouldn’t have made your appointment this early, there wouldn’t have been a problem”.

“You made the appointment two months ago!”

“Yes, I may have, but the days were longer than! Come to think of it, I made the appointment for last month and we missed it because you had to stop for a diet coke and chips, causing us to be late”

“That’s not true, we would have made it but you seen a sale sign in a shoe store”.

At the hospital Helen pulls into the valet parking area getting out and turning over the keys of the eyeless coach to me. I watch them cross to the entrance, still going on about some situation which will change color and size many times before the story is through.

Since the virus, I am not allowed to go in with Roger. I miss seeing the blood letters sticking him several times looking for a vein, only so I can make jokes later. I miss telling silly stories to the doctor about Roger. I miss, sitting there with him, redesigning the waiting rooms as well as the personalities of the staff. I miss getting the extra chance to get a chuckle out of Roger.

Sitting here in my assigned spot, I watch the sagacious pair disappear through the door. I think of an elderly cat and an equally senior dog, playfully tearing away at each other, never leaving a scratch or removing a hair.

WJR III   Friday September 4 2020