Say what you will about our current presidential candidates (as long as you don’t say it within my hearing — I am so thoroughly sick of this election that I plan to wear noise-canceling headphones for the next three months), but at least both of them agree on one critical issue facing our country: the need to rebuild our infrastructure.
Both candidates have acknowledged the problem and vowed action to address the problem once they take office. I can’t begin to predict who will win, but whoever it is, I plan to hold her to that promise.
And when the programs finally roll out, I hope the focus will be on more than just dams, bridges, railroads and airports, as critically important as they all are.
I hope there’s something in there for the little guy, too. Those of us who have achieved the American dream of owning a home and are now trying to keep it from falling down around us.
From my perspective, the middle class is crumbling in more ways than one. I seem to have developed a number of infrastructure problems of my own.
Last month alone, I hosted both the plumber and the roofer. While I was dealing with them, I noticed a very large, very dead tree that needs to come down, and another two that probably should join it in the woodpile. (Don’t worry, it’s not Woody. He is still going strong, flaunting the approximately five billion leaves I’ll be raking up this fall. Though he could use a haircut.) So the arborist is up next.
He’ll be followed by the electrician, as the dead bathroom light did not respond to changing the bulb or flicking the circuit breaker, or anything else a homeowner with a healthy fear of electricity might try (which mostly consisted of loudly cursing out the fixture, an ineffective, but satisfying, repair move I learned from my dad).
I seldom water the yard these days, as I’m still trying to conserve. But the last time I did, I noticed that the “drip” system instead featured several geysers at broken points along the pipe. Repairs are needed. However, my sprinkler guy got arrested in a post-earthquake unlicensed repair sting and hasn’t been heard from since. Can anyone recommend a trustworthy replacement?
My handyman/painter is also currently MIA, but if and when he resurfaces (are you are reading this, Roberto? Text me back!), I really, really need him to fix the gate, touch up the paint in the bathroom, replace the hatch to the crawl space and re-stake the trellis that is threatening to fall onto the patio.
Also, if the landscape guy ever calls me back with his estimate, the rotting raised beds need to be rebuilt and the gravel paths desperately demand refurbishing.
And it doesn’t end there.
The computer I am working on is circling the drain. Among other things, it has developed an overheating problem that causes it to shut down at random moments, generally before I have saved the document I’m working on. I’m almost afraid to type this, for fear it will take it as permission to give up the ghost entirely. I really must replace it ASAP.
While I’m shopping for a computer, I will also need to take a detour into the next department to find a new toaster. My current one alternates between barely warming the bread and burning it.
And did you hear that weird grinding sound? The fridge has begun making extremely ominous noises. I’m pretending it’s the ice maker.
All in all, I’m not sure which campaign slogan to go with this month: “My house is already great!” or, “With a little work my house will be great again!”
You decide. I’m too busy focusing on repairs and on getting my kitchen renovation plans shovel-ready so I can start right after the inauguration.
Just as soon as my infrastructure rebuilding grant comes through.
With amazing tomatoes flooding into the farmers market, my go-to summer lunch is the BLT. If my toaster were working, I would probably be making my sandwiches the old-fashioned way. But instead I’ve been grilling my bread, which I’ve discovered is infinitely better.
I don’t usually see any need to mess with a classic, but now that I’ve discovered this yummy salad version, it may be my new standard. I’m grateful to my friend Leigh for suggesting it and the lemony mayonnaise.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Romaine lettuce or salad greens
Thick slices of rustic bread, grilled
Tomatoes, cut in chunks
Salt and pepper
Bacon, cooked crisp
Mix the lemon zest and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the mayonnaise to make the dressing.
Place the lettuce or salad greens in a shallow bowl and toss with about a tablespoon of the dressing. Place the grilled bread (1-2 pieces per serving) on top and spread a little dressing on each slice. Heap the tomatoes on top of the bread, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for a couple minutes to allow the tomato juices to soak into the bread. Crumble the bacon (about 2-3 slices per serving) onto the salad and serve.