I'm not thinking about Sears this

morning.  In fact, I'm going to try to get it out of my head until December 20th.  Wish me luck.

Today I'm jumping back on the Christmas prep train.  I think I have four more presents to buy but they're not big ones.  It's all minor stuff.  No biggie.  I've also started menu planning.  I'm thinking about maybe making more sand tarts.  I ate a few because of that-which-will-not-be-named and now I need more.  There's something about sand tarts.  The texture, the little bit of sweetness, the pecans, the butter, I don't know.  I think I need more.  Well, the buttons on my jeans think otherwise but I think need more.

The recipe I use for the sand tarts is from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Cookbook, it's under the recipes submitted by stars who have performed.  This one is from Don Williams.  Every time I make them I get one of his songs stuck in my head.  It's usually this one.

I've always liked that song.  I guess it came out around 2nd or 3rd grade because that's when I remember hearing it a lot.  The cool thing is now that I opened my Christmas present early, which was an Echo, I was able to tell Alexa to play it while I was scooping the cookies out.  Then I told her to play it again.  Maybe I'll make another batch and play Tulsa Time this go around.  I really like that one too.  Speaking of the HLSR cookbook, I use a banana bread recipe submitted by Jim Nabors and there are quite a few bananas that need to be used.  The only thing is, I'm not really feeling banana bread right now.  Oh, weird.  Don Williams and Jim Nabors both died this year.  Oh, crazy, but so did Mel Tillis and he's in the cookbook too.  It's not a good year for the past HLSR performers/cookbook contributors.

So as I prep for Christmas and everything coming up, I'm trying to stay stocked up on everything I might need.  We have more cold weather coming this weekend with rain added to the mix.  Yuck.  Give me chilly, fine, I can handle it better.  Don't give me wet and cold.  I can't handle it.  I don't know how much more my plants can either.  I didn't bring them in when it snowed.

I didn't know if they'd make it but the rosemary and chives seem to be thriving.

I started a pot of potato soup yesterday that I'm finishing today.  Those chives will be good with that.

The basil though, I wouldn't exactly say it's thriving

Dead, maybe?  I guess I'll have to plant more in the spring.  That sucks too because it was doing so well.  My bougainvillea look pretty bad too.  Oh well, it was a good year.  My best year yet with both.  Maybe next year will be even better.  And also, maybe next year if there's snow, I'll think about bringing what I can into the garage... except for the rosemary and chives.

Now.  Is there anything that can go on the Christmas menu planning that calls for rosemary or chives?  Time to get back in the zone.

yesterday started off shaky and by

shaky, I mean I totally flipped.  It all started with Sears and that call I was waiting for.  I decided to call the 800 number again.  They needed a reminder that I was still here.  I lost my cool.  I told the phone rep what I thought about her, what I thought about Sears and everything in between.  It's way too much to type.  It had nothing to do with the repair techs, it was all about the Sears way of doing business.  To me, if someone had an appointment and the appliance wasn't fixed, the techs need to be paid overtime and the job needs to be finished.  Long story short, Sears doesn't think the same way I do.  By 10:00 I was asking myself three questions:

1.  Is 10:00 too early to start drinking?
2.  Is it drinking alone if I drink while the exterminator is here?
3.  Is drinking alone really all that bad if nobody finds out?

To answer the questions:

1.  If you wake up early, 10:00 could honestly be lunchtime so...
2.  No but he might think you're a lush.
3.  You'd have to ask someone who likes to blab about drinking alone.

I didn't drink alone but the sand tarts were ready and a had a few of those.  Hey, a girl's got to keep her energy up if she's going to be calling everyone up and giving them a piece of her mind.

I wish I could repeat everything I said.  There's just so much.  It all ended with me telling the lady on my second call (to complain formally) something along the lines of "I know you don't care and you're only telling me what you're supposed to tell anyone who complains.  I know this won't go any further than right here.  I don't care if you've pulled the phone away from your ear or muted the call while you're talking to the person next to you about how crazy I am.  I'm your customer and right now and I'm not happy at all.  All I can do is let everyone around me know not to be a sucker by calling Sears.  Thanks for your help, which was actually no help at all."  (End call with a hard push of the screen because slamming the receiver down isn't an option.)

There was just way too much.  I think I need another sand tart.  I let them know that I know that their repairmen are salesmen and their goal is to get me to sign up for a warranty.  I will take advantage of that warranty.  I will get my money's worth... assuming anyone ever shows up to fix stuff.  By the way, my washer stalled again yesterday.

The first lady had set me up with my callback appointment for the 18th. (DON'T get me started.)  She had it scheduled for yesterday and then she said it wasn't available.  "So two minutes ago it was available and now I have to wait 5 days?  This is ridiculous."  She apologized and I didn't want to hear it.  I told her to stop and just put me down for the 18th because things were about to get ugly.  She told me I could go online to check for sooner dates.  I went online and guess which date was available.  December 13th, you ask?  Yes.  December 13th.  I rescheduled.  Now ask me if they showed up.  Go on.  Ask.  (Even though you probably already know where I'm going with this.)

No.  They didn't show up. 

First clue they wouldn't show up?  What I underlined in red.  Second clue?  Green.  Oh, and guess what happens if they don't make your appointment for the scheduled time?  It's like it never happened.  "Oh, so I guess since nobody made the appointment today, they'll be here tomorrow?"  Nope.  Doesn't work that way.  That's bad business if you ask me.

I called later to find out how late I should wait and was told the tech was already off the clock.  I started a chat online and complained and finally got a link and email address to send a formal complaint.  Oh, I also got a $30 gift certificate.  I also might have said that if this is the way Sears does business, it's no wonder so many stores are closing.

Whatever.  I emailed a complaint.  I'm not expecting much, if anything. 

So now I'm back where I started except now I have an appointment for the 20th.  He told me I was put on a priority list.  They say that means that if anyone cancels between now and then that my appointment will be bumped up.  I think what it really means is "somebody needs to show up".  Assuming somebody comes, that will be perfect because Cosme should be here... in case I still need time to cool down.  Of course, then they'll need to order a part and then it'll be another 2 weeks before it's fixed.  Maybe I'll have a dishwasher by February.  Let's not forget the reason I called Sears to begin with (other than the fact that's where I bought the dishwasher), they could be here in two days versus the local appliance place which was a week.

I can't keep talking about it.  It's totally getting me worked up and honestly, this post might be all over the place but I'm not going back to double check.

I have a large Coke from McDonalds and I'm going to try to chill for a minute... before I unload my glorified drying rack.

I was starting to feel like

Even Steven yesterday.

I woke up making up and singing songs as I went about how awesome the day was going to be.  I was getting my dishwasher back. (WOOHOO!)  That's what I was looking forward to.  Cosme left and I started my blog post.  He called a few minutes later, not far from the house on 288 with a blowout. (whah whah... or however you'd spell the typical gameshow sound effect as "you just lost")  I drove down the road to shine my headlights to help out.  We came home.  When Firestone opened at 7:00, we called and checked on the tire availability and dropped the car off.  The dishwasher repairman knocked on the door at 8:00 (or close to it). (WOOHOO!)  After they got it up and going, they said I actually only needed one of the parts I ordered so I'd get a refund check in the mail.  (WOOHOO!)  Cosme had a coat in the garage and after the repairmen left, I headed over to the cleaners to drop it off.  I told him they do have same day service but I wasn't sure what the cutoff time was and it was already after 9:00.  I guess the cutoff time is 10:00 because they said the coat would be ready at 5:00.  (WOOHOO!)  Once I got home, I started my pecan pie squares and and Cosme got a call from Firestone.  They said his front two tires have a couple of bad spots and need replacing.  (whah whah...)  They didn't have the tires in stock so they needed to be ordered.  He's taking a few days off for Christmas so they'll hold the tires for him and hopefully nothing will happen between now and then and he can drop the car off next week and not have to miss another day of work.  (WOOHOO?) I pulled the pecan pie squares out of the oven and we went to get the car.  At this point, it would've been a waste for Cosme to drive into work because it was already after his lunchtime and by the time he got in and got going, it would have been close to quittin' time.  (whah whah... or WOOHOO!, depending on how you look at it)  We went to pick up bbq for lunch and came home to eat.  After eating, the guys showed up to mow (WOOHOO!) and we sat letting our lunch digest, trying to stay awake.  I got up to cut the pecan pie squares and put them on their platters.  I loaded the dishwasher, doing a mental happy dance if that's a thing.  This is more like it, no more glorified drying rack.

I hit start.  (whah whah...)  Same thing.  Nothing.  Every button would function and light up EXCEPT for the START button.  I called Sears back and they sent messages to the repairmen to call me back.  A couple of hours later I called Sears back to see what time I should expect a return phone call.  She messaged them again.  I got frustrated and started messing with buttons.  Even Steven showed up and the start button lit up.  I closed the dishwasher and it started.  (WOOHOO!)  I know it's not fixed but it still deserves a WOOHOO! since it at least got that load done.  Knowing they were coming to fix it yesterday, I wasn't going easy on the dishes.  I was taking advantage of the fact I was about to have a dishwasher again.  I'm hoping I'll hear back from them this morning.  Maybe it was that part they didn't think I needed that I might actually need.  Maybe that's the answer.  Maybe they haven't sent it back already and maybe they can come today to get it running.  I'm totally hoping for another WOOHOO! here, even if that means not getting a refund in the mail.  (whah whah...)

So, I still have empty space on the platters and need to fill them up.

That means today I need to bake more.  (whah whah...)  I've had two sticks of butter sitting out from when I made the raspberry bars, originally planning to make another batch.  Now I needed something else.  I thought about sand tarts.  I pulled out the recipe and it calls for two sticks of softened butter.  (WOOHOO!)

That's what I'm about to do.  I want to hurry and make the sand tarts because the exterminator is coming today and I want to get those out of the way.  There's also a birthday lunch today that I rescheduled things to other times/days for.  I didn't know if I'd be able to at first so I already have a present going in case I can't make it.  This means that I'm covered just in case anyone wants to come fix my dishwasher today.  (WOOHOO?)

i've always had a wild

imagination.  Well, maybe it's a mix of having a wild imagination and thinking the worst.  When I was little and Jaws came out, I was terrified of water beds.  Whenever I'd have to sleep on someone's waterbed, I'd balance on the padded edge.  My theory was that Jaws was in the mattress.  It was always stuff like that and that is why I'm so thankful today that we didn't have Elf on the Shelf.

I'm sure I'd be totally messed up if I had thought this guy was getting up and doing stuff around the house in the middle of the night.  I can't even imagine how 5-year-old Melanie would've handled it.  Three words come to mind: terrified, terrorized, traumatized.  My imagination couldn't have handled it, I'm pretty sure.

Enough of that.

I made a batch of cinnamon and sugar coated almonds yesterday.

Then I made myself a little sick from eating too many.  The dishwasher repairman should be here this morning.  Once it's fixed I'll make the pecan pie squares I didn't get around to making yesterday.

I made a trip to Walmart and saw these bandaids.

I picked some up since Eric is allergic.  I'm curious to see how how his skin reacts to these.

Now I need to follow Cosme over to Firestone so he doesn't have to wait there for his tire to be replaced.  Oh, he had a blowout on 288 this morning, still within the city limits.  Oh, and he's waiting on me so he can get it fixed and then drive to work.

every time I go into city hall

I see this sign on the door.

I don't really LOL when I see it but it makes me smile with a "hmmph".  Whatever that is.  I guess it just amuses me for some reason.  I'm sure if you go into city buildings of bigger towns, the signs read "firearms prohibited".  I like the way my town specifies.

The dogs have been spending a lot of time in the cage with all the cold weather.  This is how they were snuggling on Saturday.

And this is how the cats were snuggling on Sunday.

I was on my way to the store yesterday and I was taking a back road.  I started thinking about how horrible house fires are.  On my way back from the store, on that same road and in the same spot where I thought about how horrible house fires are, someone's travel trailer was engulfed in flames.

The trailer on fire was in front of the long trailer.  I did wait until I got into the back of the neighborhood before I took the picture.  I didn't want to be that person.

You see how my brain works?  I'm already a natural worrier.  When things like that pop into my head and then happen, it makes me worry more.  I should be drinking more.

I've got a lot of baking to do so I can wrap it and give as gifts, well, and keep a little for us too.  I'm trying to keep it simple until Tuesday, or at least tonight.  The dishwasher parts came and will be installed in the morning.  Until then I'm having to wash everything by hand but I'm definitely not worrying about taking up any counter space with drying rack.

I've got two big drying racks that can roll up and be tucked away without taking up any of my work space.  How's that for looking on the bright side?  Another bright side?  My refrigerator is making noises and my washer is acting up periodically.  Thank goodness for appliance warranties.  Right?

I finished two batches of Raspberry Shortbread Bars and they are divided on the platters.

Now I just need to figure out something else to put on there.  Sweeties is a regular cookie recipe on the rotation but they're seriously a pain to make.  Well, they're a pain when the dishwasher is out of order.  There's the bowl for mixing, I think a bowl and sifter, the mixer paddle, something to scrape the edges of the bowl, 2 cookie sheets, a cookie scoop, 2 cookie racks for cooling, a bowl for icing, a whisk for the icing... definitely not making sweeties.  I think I might do Pecan Pie Squares.  Yeah, that's something I feel like snacking on.

Remember that cardinal that was trying to get in the front door way back?

He's never gone away and I think my garland is just making him want to stay longer.  It's like he went from an Econo Lodge to The Ritz-Carlton.  If he asks me for restaurant recommendations or to book a massage, I'll direct him to the cats or dogs.  Problem solved.  And if I do hear the bird talking to me, it's because the worrying and dishwasher made me start drinking more... or not enough.

when I heard that Cosme's work group

was going out for drinks yesterday, I decided I'd drop him off in the morning mainly so that we wouldn't have to leave his car in the parking lot overnight.  Once I heard about the weather forecast, I also wanted to do it because I had no plans of driving to Houston at 6:00 in the morning with ice and/or snow on the road.  And if it was icy, how long would his car have to sit there?

We all met at the bar and then went for dinner in Katy.  Right after we got home, the news reports were showing snow in Katy.  That's when I went on snow patrol.  I was having flashbacks of the night the hurricane hit but it was so much better with zero stress.  It was awesome.  I went to bed when the radar showed the snow area backing off from us.  I figured I wouldn't see any.  Then I woke up.  I peeked out the blinds and saw white and figured it was frost.  I put my glasses on and looked out the door.


You'd think I like the stuff.  I don't.  It's cold.  It's wet.  It's messy.  I don't like any of that but it's different and we rarely see it so it's cool.  I plugged in the Christmas lights and ran outside to get the full white Christmas effect.

Then I knew the dogs had to see it.  I couldn't wait to see their reaction.

They didn't like it too much.  They went to the bathroom and Archer sniffed around and they were ready to come back in.

We all fell back asleep and once the sun came up, Cosme and I went out to the front.

Down the street.

After throwing a couple of snowballs, we decided the dogs needed to be in on it.  We all went back out.

 They checked it out a little more and did a little bit of playing.

Then Maggie decided she's glad she lives on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Archer's inner Yankee came out.

Photographing a black dog in snow is hard.

Somebody liked the snow.

So while Maggie was always the water dog, Archer is the snow dog.

We tried to get Maggie to come out and play some more.

"No, I'm good.  Y'all go ahead."

It was exciting and now it's melting and going away and that makes me even happier.

i'm not saying my dog

is a genius or anything but, well, yeah, I basically am.  Yes, they're both smart but Archer did something I think is kind of cool.  I have plastic chairs stacked up against the wall.  Lately he's been sitting on the stack.  Yesterday we had rain and wind all day.  There was one chair pulled off the stack and laying on its side next to the grill cart.  This morning I stood it up right and left to take Cosme to work so that 1) he'll have a designated driver after work and 2) we won't have to leave his car in the parking lot overnight. 

I just got home and I heard noises on the patio.  Archer was moving that chair and then I realized he must have put it there yesterday to block the wind.  I mean why else would he?  (Don't try to think of other answers.  He definitely put it there because he's a genius and he's trying to build a shelter.)

I think he was trying to get it back on its side and angled to block more wind because I clearly screwed up their shield.

I really need to get them a dog house.  I bet Archer could help me set it up.

i don't really understand how UPS

can tell me a package is out for delivery all day and when I wake up the next morning to check the status, that package isn't going to be delivered for two more days.  How can a package that was checked in a few blocks down the road not make it here for two more days?  I don't get it.  I understand everyone's busy but the package that was scheduled to be delivered today arrived yesterday.  Seems like a ball's being dropped somewhere.  Maybe it was this driver who had my package out for delivery yesterday.

I was driving behind him on Monday morning and he stuck his hand out his door and threw garbage out while driving 60mph down 35.  He was jerking around on the road a little and I wondered what was wrong.  I pulled up beside him and he was on his phone.  I was going to call UPS and complain but then I thought no, I'll let him take himself down. 

Oh well.  I'm just glad the other package came early and was delivered yesterday.  I have my hair appointment this morning and I'd rather not leave packages out on the porch.

As for my hair appointment today, I'm adding more blonde.  I went with a different shade of blonde last time, more like Lauren's shade.  I only did a little because I wanted to check it out first.  Since then I saw a picture on Pinterest of a girl with blonde streaks in the front and that's what I want.

I'm not saying I'm going full blown 1985 Duran Duran.

I'm just adding more blonde... to my bangs.

Scrolling through my pictures to find those, I saw several pictures of the coffee cakes I'm supposed to make today.  The coffee cakes that I don't have all the ingredients for that need HOURS to make. 

Walmart, here I come.  Somebody crank that radio up.  I've got some Duran Duran to listen to.

I had to go to Kroger on Friday

to use a coupon that was about to expire.  I noticed they were having a sale on some dessert things I'd seen but never bought.  I changed that.

First there was this.

A dessert in a mug.  You add three TBS of water and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute, 10 seconds and you have a cake.  There's no frosting but the confetti cake didn't really need it.  The strawberry shortcake could stand to have some whipped cream on top and I haven't tried the blueberry muffin yet.  Maybe this morning.  I mean the box does say sunrise on it.  I counted on their website and they have 18 flavors for the Perfect Size for 1.

Here's the confetti cake.  I thought it was fine the way it was but a little frosting never hurt anything.

It is a Duncan Hines product and they do sell tubs of frosting alongside their boxes of cake mix.  I might have to pick one up next time.

Here's the other thing I bought.
They have eight flavors/variations but I chose lemon.  It even comes with its own pan for you to bake it in... and frosting.

See?  Just pop it out and let it cool a little before using their lemon frosting.

And now for the frosting.



You mean to tell me Duncan Hines, who sells tubs of frosting, couldn't put ready-to-spread frosting in the box with this 6-inch cake?  By the way, it was on sale for either 1.49 or 1.99 when you buy four other products.  A regular cake mix that would give me TWO 8-inch cakes, one 9x13 or 24 cupcakes is cheaper.  This was a disappointment.  I know though, it's my fault for not reading the fine print aka directions and just assuming the Lemon Bliss Frosting packet was a packet of frosting and NOT a  Lemon Bliss Frosting MIX.  Long story short, I'd used my last two TBS of softened butter in the cake mix and didn't have the four TBS softened that I needed for the frosting.  I added extra water and just made an icing with it instead.

I won't complain about the taste because it was good but whatever.  I probably won't buy it again.

Speaking of losing weight, the road construction around Houston is a nightmare right now.  We were going to Eric's so I was looking on an app to check out where exactly 288 was closed and stumbled upon this.

Apparently there's a Krispy Kreme in Pearland.  I had no idea.  It's like one of those happy surprises where you put your coat on for the first time since last winter and there's money in the pocket... much different from when your packet of Lemon Bliss Frosting is only a MIX for Lemon Bliss Frosting.

my research was right and the

dishwasher needs a new circuit board and control panel.  No biggie, just $437.  I am serious about the price, totally sarcastic about the "no biggie".  That's more than half the price the dishwasher was new!  I ended up paying half, along with, even though I said I'd never do it, buying an appliance warranty... but I have my reasons.  They offer a home warranty but I've fallen for that once before and I won't do it again.  I only signed up for the appliance warranty and we're under contract for a year and it applies to any of our appliances no matter how old or where they were purchased.  The service call will only be $75 instead of $99 and anything they can't fix for under $500 will be replaced with something equal or better.  It kicks in December 30, except for the dishwasher that I get a discount on.  So you know what this means?  It means December 31, 2018 all the appliances will crap out on us.

In the meantime, I stopped at Carl's Jr. to pick up breakfast.  I need to go to the grocery store but didn't want to wait until then and plus, I really didn't want to dirty any dishes.  I told Cosme I thought I'd stop there and get something.  I added that I wonder if they'll get it right.  (They have ALWAYS messed up our orders.)  We laughed.

I ordered a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit but I was also eyeing some grilled cheese breakfast sandwich.  The sausage didn't sound good and I didn't see it with bacon so I went with the biscuit.

She asked if I wanted the combo and I said sure.  I pulled up to the window, paid, drove home and came inside and put my stuff down.  I went over to wash my hands and came back to dig in.

I pulled out two sandwiches.  I opened the first and it was a biscuit with sausage and egg.  I could only hope the next one was right.  It was.  I have zero interest in a biscuit with sausage and egg but at least my correct order was in the bag.  Oh well, looks like a couple of dogs will get treats this morning.

An unwanted free sandwich doesn't balance out the $200 dishwasher repair but it's something.  It's not like I'm going to take it back and it's not like somebody else would eat a sandwich I've had in my possession for the last 20 minutes that's now cold.  You know what would've been cool though?  If they'd messed up and that extra sandwich was the grilled cheese breakfast sandwich.  Not that I can say I would've enjoyed it but a free sample would've worked.

as I sit here and wait on the dishwasher

repairman, I'm trying to think of other ways I can throw money out at Christmas.  Seems like we just got this dishwasher a few years ago.  Oh yeah, we did.  2013.  Note to self: don't get another Maytag.  I like how now that it's broken and I research what could possibly be wrong, I see all the write ups on how Maytag control panels are crap.  Funny how the Amana installed with the house in 2003 lasted 10 years.

The dishwasher started acting up on Thanksgiving.  We were sitting around in the living room and I looked at Paige and asked if the dishwasher just started.  It did.  Then it did it again.  Then I decided something was trying to tell me to do the dishes.  I loaded it and hit start.  Later that evening it started beeping.  A couple of days ago it wouldn't start.  I finally got it going after cutting the power off and back on (the answer to everything) and pressing other buttons but I don't have time for that everyday.  Yesterday I got it started three hours after it was loaded.  I called the Sears repairman.

So yeah, It seems like I'm trying to find ways to spend money on everything other than where it needs to be spent.  Then I saw this. 

This is a thing.

A dog DNA test.  Seriously?

Seriously.  And it's even on sale.  Oh, FYI, the top of the ad reads "0% reindeer, 89% golden retriever".  Okay, so that part is kind of cute.

I guess this is the perfect gift for the dog lover who has everything.

I don't know but just to put it out there before anyone tries to read into this, I don't need one.

That's $179 I'll put towards the dishwasher repair.

It's not all bad news around here though.  Kroger has a coupon to get 4 times the fuel points when you buy gift cards.  I bought some gift cards.  Cosme saved $1/gallon when he filled up and there's more where that came from.

I need to go back today and buy more. 

Oh!  I wonder if I can pay for my Sears repair with a Sears gift card?  I wish I knew how much it was going to be.  I'd head over to Kroger right now.  I'm sure I could be back before he got here in that 8-12 window.  Oops, I guess it'd be better if I got the dishes unloaded before he gets here.
Now let's just hope it's a fast and easy fix... with a non Maytag part.