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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Moderately Busy Day

Sometimes I slack off a couple of days even when I have work to do.  Yeah, busy as I seem to be, I can ebnd up just cooking and watching science/nature DVDs...

But I got back to work today.  The tulip/hyacinth cages have a time deadline for planting the bulbs before the ground freezes, so I started with those.  I made 6 more before my hand started cramping up.  I need 27 cages and I have 20 built now.  Tomorrow should finish the remaining 7.

So after that, I started making spaghetti sauce.  Nothing too fancy.  I use 2 cans of 28 oz crushed tomato, a 1/2 minced green bell pepper, 1 minced jalapeno pepper, 1/2 minced onion, 1/4 of red wine, a tsp of sugar, a tbls of dried italian seasoning, a handful of sliced button mushrooms, and a doz pre-cooked meatballs I get frozen from the meat store.  I just let it simmer slowly for an hour, scraping the bottom with a spatula every 5 minutes.  It's good enough for me; not like I have an Italian grandmother to answer to...  LOL!  I have Tupperware containers just the right size for one meal, and spoon the mixture evenly for freezing.  But I like a LOT of tomato sauce on my pasta, so my Tupperware size might not be yours...  BTW, I spoon the 1" meatballs out first and cut them in half.  I like a bit with most forkfuls rather than large meatballs at once.  Sometimes I use 3 hot italian sausages, cooked separately, then added to the sauce.

While that was going on (and with the repeating timer set to 5 minutes to remind me to stir the sauce), I took care of some internet order problems. 

First, I had ordered a replacement cat tree sisal post for the one that Ayla finally broke using it as a launch pad to the top of the tall bookcases.  I thought all those posts were the same, but this one had a 3' bolt that stuck down into the hut below, and surely some cat would have been injured.  Since it was advertised as "sort-bolt", I asked them to send me a free return shipping label.

Second, I had ordered a new crock pot with a removable stoneware insert for easy cleaning.  I thought I was ordering the same size as my 40 year old 1-piece Rival crockpot.  But as soon as I opened the box I was shocked at how large it was.  I contacted about a return, and the response was to over me $28.11 for the $49.99 item (as it was a 3rd party sale). 

Well, I checked the 3rd party seller's return policy and it stated it followed Amazon.con return policies.  Which were (for unused, withing 30 days, and in entirely original packing) 100% refund.  After a 2nd email to, I received a statement of not only 100% refund, but a free return shipping label.  Bless their hearts...

So while the spaghetti sauce was simmering between stirrings, I reboxed the crockpot in the original retail box in the original shipping box. 

Third, I had bought a set of Wusthof-Trident kitchen knives a few years ago from a place going out of business.  While using a knife I seldom use, a piece of the handle just fell right off!  It was like a piece of knapped flint struck off from a core.  I emailed them about it and they replied saying to pack up the knife and broken piece and send it to them packed very carefully.

I did that today, and oh boy did I "package" it carefully!  I found a thin box large enough, cut cardboard pieces from other boxes to fit, got my roll of duct tape, and raided my stash of bubble wrap.  I wrapped the blade in bubble wrap.  I set the knife on one piece of cardboard 3" larger than the knife and poked holes in the cardboard at the narrow parts of the knife handle and ran twist-ties through the holes the attach it to the cardboard.  Then I wrapped a larger piece of cardboard around the 1st piece and duct-taped it in all directions.  I put the broken-off piece in a plastic sandwich bag (labeled, of course) and duct-taped IT to the cardboard.  Then I wrapped the whole thing in more bubble wrap.  Then I slipped a copy of their email to me authorizing a return (with my name, address, phone number, and email address) into the box and stuffed what little space was left with packing (leftover from packing the crockpot).

The outside of the box is thoroughly "shipping-taped".  If that isn't well-packed, then "well-packed" isn't possible.  It may take them 15 minutes of work just to get at the knife inside.  No one will ever accuse ME of shipping a dangerous product.  :)

I sure wish I had thought to take pictures!!!

And THEN, I had received an order of 8 trays of (24 5.5oz cans per tray) Wellness canned cat food from a couple days ago ago and was unpacking it.  I discovered I was one tray missing!  So I called them  The person I talked to (Patrick) didn't hesitate to immediately order a replacement.  But he asked about my cats, then mentioned his, and we talked for 45 minutes.  They are either not busy and "Customer Service" or they are extremely friendly.

He has 4 male cats (all former strays who get along great) and he names them after minor mythology gods in various languages (1 each Persian, Briton, Greek, and Egyptian).  He said he uses minor mythology names "because there are too many Zeuses and Thors".  I was impressed!  And he asked for my blog URL, so I might have a new reader.

But the timing was ironic.  I had to tell him that I had just posted (in complete error) about receiving a goodie box from and it turning out to be a different company (Purr8Packs).  He laughed and said things like that happen but I should correct the past posts to give credit to the Purr*Packs company (which was next on my To Do List), but it sure made me think higher of for not hoping for undo credit.

He said he would make sure to look at older posts to get a good idea of what my blog was like.  Is that understanding, or what?

Loaded up the SUV with accumulated cardboard boxes for the recycling center.  Too many for my small recycling barrel that only gets picked up every 2 weeks.  The free space in the basement is nice.

The spaghetti dinner was great.   And now I have 5 more containers of sauce freezing for future use.  I don't like to bother making sauce one meal at a time. 

So tomorrow, I go off with the car packed with 2 boxes for UPS, the back full of empty boxes for recycling,  4 bags of plastic shopping bags to be stuffed into the shopping bag recycle box there (my county recycling center does not accept "film plastic" (shopping bags).  On the way home, I'll do my bi-weekly grocery shopping at Safeway (for the good produce) and the local meat market.

But today was a pretty productive day.

Hope you had a good day too!


Megan said...

Well, that does sound like a productive day and it's always good to receive good customer service, even if you have to prod Amazon to deliver it!

We batch cook some favourite meals here too. The last batch of beef stroganoff was enough to feed 22 people. It came right up to the lip of the electric frypan! We also do various curries, bolognese sauce and the like. At this time of the year, we're busy buying mangoes in bulk, peeling them and cutting them so that my husband can eat mangoes through the coming year.

Hope tomorrow is another good one.

Sydney, Australia

Millie said...

You might try adding pork spare ribs to your sauce next time. Up here they're called country ribs or some such. You can just throw them in the sauce and let them cook until the bones fall off and then pick out the bones (and skim the fat that rises to the top of the sauce) or you could brown them first. Either way, great for eating and freezing. We add the ribs to the sauce WITH meatballs.

Ramblingon said...

That sounds darned good to me, Mark!