Week three is settling into quiet routine. I have getting estimates on the refinishing of the floors in the living room, dining room and kitchen, and the cleaning of the wall-to-wall carpet in my bedroom and the stairs. I’m having two recovered and restoring my great aunt’s deco sideboard. And I have a handyman coming to give me an estimate on a lot of small jobs such as putting new windows in the basement, lashing the water heater to a solid wall in case of an earthquake, putting up my platter rack, and tightening the toilet bowls to the floor (don’t ask).
After a morning of all these chores, I grabbed a quick lunch and jumped on my bike to search for a USB cable to make my laptop wireless throughout the house. I rode a mile and a half to a Radio Shack in Woodstock only to be told they didn’t have one. The salesman suggested I go to 52nd and Powell to another computer store. That was another two and a half miles away. Well it is a flat run, so what the hell. I rode over there, and got my cable. En route I stopped at a paint store I discovered and looked at paint chips in anticipation of painting my living room, kitchen and dining room, and stopped at a beautiful furniture store that specializes in handmade wood tables, chairs, beds, cabinets and other furnishings in Shaker, Mission and modern styles for the home. The stuff is gorgeous, but I don’t’ think I’m ready to plunk down $3500 for a dining room table. I twas time to head for home.
Then I did a typical Portland thing. I stopped at a Starbucks, ordered an iced coffee (grande), and sat outside in the sunshine like the slacker dude I’ve become and enjoyed my coffee while reading an old Laurie Colwin novel I had some how managed to miss.
All this was a delaying tactic…it was time to face that big box in my garage—THE GRILL.
If a company has the balls to charge $700+ for a propane grill, the damned thing should arrive assembled—or nearly assembled. When my gorgeous green cast iron enamel ware and stainless steel grill arrived in a box the size of Pittsburgh, I found myself putting off its assembly for days. I finally screwed up my courage early this evening. An hour and twenty minutes later, I had only managed two bolts, the other two refused to screw into their assigned holes. The rest of the garage floor was littered with pieces and pieces of the grill.
I had received a reassuring email from my good friend, Rick Rodgers, who knows a thing or two about grills and putting them together. His note said they were relatively easy. When I opened the box my anxiety rose. This thing really has a lot of parts to it, none of them were remotely put together—though I did recognize the front hood of the grill with its temperature guage. There were four bags of nuts, bolts, screws, and other thing I didn’t recognize. There was a mini-wrench for turning those impossible bolts. Other than that, the instructions indicated the only other tools needed were a Philips and standard screw driver. Cool…I had an electric screw driver. Piece of cake. Beau hovered anxiously as I waged a futile battle to get those bolts screwed in. Horrible metal thingies. I finally gave up, pulled down the door to my garage where I could hide the evidence and went into the kitchen for a restorative glass of rose. It was now , and calming down enough to make my dinner was out of the question. I had bicycled passed a small little café that makes pizza last week. I was in now in the mood for some pizza. I locked up the house, turned on the security alarm and bicycled to the pizza café about 10 minutes away. It was a gorgeous summer night—warm, dry, and comfortably in the low to mid-70s. The damn grill was forgotten.
The café is a former coffee shop, very basic, with mismatched chairs and tables, picnic tables outside and a garden in the back. It didn’t look like much, but what the heck. I locked my bike and opted for the garden. Portlanders love their Pinot Noir, but they adore beer. So I ordered a local glass of pilsner and took a look at the menu. They don’t make individual pies for one person, but they do sell slices with a variety of classic toppings. I chose two slices with some basil, and a small . Then my cell rang. It was the company that handles my house security informing me that there might be a break in at my house and did I want the police to investigate? Does this mean I have to go home!!! No, they will call me back if there’s a problem. I hung up. I didn’t give a damn at this point if the entire contents of my house were emptied in my absence. I was going to enjoy my beer and pizza and get the image of that grill out of my head.
I made friends with the chef who offered me a small plate of his homemade picked slices of green tomato, daikon, kirby and red peppers. They were delicious. Business as a coffee café had leveled off, and he decided to make artisanal pizza. Why not? Everyone else is. He had four ovens, all tile lined and out of those ovens came some impressive slices of classic Neopolitan-style pizza with a somewhat thick crust, with blistered edges, a flavorful tomato sauce, good mozzarella, and basil leaves which he tore from his basil plants in the garden just off of the seating area. His crust is simple—flour, water, salt and yeast. No sugar, no olive oil or any other non-essential ingredient. His pizza is excellent.
When I got home, there was no sign of a break-in. Beau was fine, and when I called the security company I was informed that perhaps the sensor had set off the alarm. Need to find out more about that when I call the security company tomorrow. All in all, it was a long and eventful day.
Best of all, I’m getting a measure of bicycling, and I think I’ll be heading downtown soon.