Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Well?! that's a deep subject. Actually, around the compound that particular subject is shallow yet 'full' of controversy. Still it is a worthy subject and is a never ending conversation piece in the household!

Anyone who is aware of the problem here knows that Chinese food is a scarce commodity on the peninsula. Now there are Chinese food joints both in Soldotna (personally, I have tasted dog food that is more palatable) and two in Kenai. One is less than ok, and the other is actually as far as I am concerned, the only one I have found since moving here that is simply to die for! Here in lies the issue. She is closed for the winter because she went back to Korea to see family and should be back to open in spring when she returns. But there is talk that she is wanting to sell the building since her and her husband are ready to hang it up with the business after so many years. Of course, this funnels down to one sad fact....I am devastated! The next best Chinese is a 4 hour drive to Anchorage.

There is one Chinese restaurant which I have not mentioned in my honest yet partisan 'Chinese food review' (mind you there are many people here who swear by, say, the yuck palace in Soldotna, but then they may have never really tasted real Chinese food to differentiate the difference!) . There is a restaurant just outside of Soldotna, which we have only eaten at twice. Once, the first time, we were mixed. "This was ok...that not so much....but the other was really good....". Man, I am here to tell you they are really friggin expensive! Not yet sure why, but it is one of those, 'when you are really wanting to support the weak economy', dinner nights out. Being in the generous mood that I was Friday night, I decided that Maryann and I would splurge and go out for overpriced Chinese. The actual night out was fun, however the dinner was... it was interesting! Still very much overpriced, and I believe more so since the last time, and the food was a mixed bag. More so than the last visit. In any event there were plenty of leftovers, and what is more fun than leftover overpriced Chinese food, for lunch the next day?! Especially when it is sub-zero out and lunch is in front of a warm toasty fire!

But Chinese food is not the point of this chronicle, but rather what followed during lunch the next day. I was hungry, and actually looking forward to the Chinese leftovers, after all it was better than no Chinese at all! Maryann had let the dogs outside and I sat down to eat. After a few minutes, I got up and let the guys back in and returned to sit down to my leftovers. I notice that Seska brought in her bone from outside. No big. But it dawned on me during a bit of almond chicken, that she had her bones inside, and to my knowing which was pretty good, she had not taken any out. After realizing that it was no bone, not a shrew, and no toy....I repulsed. It was no other than a frigid Mr. Hanky...a frozen turd! Her little poop-pop put an end to my meal. What started out as a somewhat surreal evening in an overpriced chophouse..... We'll leave it at that!

What does this have to do with our well? 'Well'....nothing! But in regards to our well, it is still after almost 3 years a hot topic of controversy. For those not familiar, let me give you a quick crash course on our well water. Here on the peninsula, it is not uncommon for wells to have high levels of iron, arsenic, and other natural occurring minerals that can foul up the water. Alot is in part to the fact that we are surrounded by volcano's and volcanic matter. Our water was crap when we moved in. How the previous owner lived with it is an ongoing question that will probably never be truly answered. For the record, we have tested for arsenic twice and have none, thank God. The iron on the other hand is huge.

We thought we had it licked in the first months of re-initiating the system failures that we had bought into, by replacing the debunked softener with an expensive unit which supposedly would work so much better. And it did. For the past 28 months it has kicked some serious ass with our iron laden water. But a few weeks back after the softener regenerating one night, we woke to seriously brown and bad smelling water. Now first thing I thought was that the softener wasn't working properly. So we called out the technician from the company that sold it to us.

Now I don't want to speak bad of any company by mentioning their name, so I wont say who it was. When Culligan...huh...sent out their guy, new since the original installation, I felt like I was being taunted over the fence rail. The long and short of it is that for 28 months it has worked and given clear water. The stink is a little more active in the summer but we knew from day one the only way to get rid of the sulfur smell is with a $3000.00 filter and we decided to live with the smell 3 months out of the year. I have smelled a whole lot worse than ours, water wise, here on the peninsula. But the bottom line is for 28 months we have had clear usable water, and now, we are being Culligan, the same company who sold us the original unit...that with our iron content, we should have never been sold the unit we have and they are now trying to sell us a new set-up that will run us about $3700.00 dollars, not including the original $2000.00 we have already paid on the unit we have now. His reason for this conclusion: "Greg, your iron is off the charts!" But there is no clear answer to why the water has been ok for 28 months and now it is touch and go from week to week. One week it is clear, the next mucky. But we cant really say why of course, we just need a new softener/filter system listed at $5800. which we will give you for $3700. since you already unjustly paid $2000. for one that wont do the trick...even though it has done the trick for 28 months.... and that will do the job.

Mind you, dude is willing to swing us a deal. Actually, in his defense, he gave us at no charge a newly bedded tank....or at least he states it is new... You see, I just am having a real funny feeling about this guy. The alarm bells are ringing folks! And I could go on about the escapades, the numerous service calls he has made in the past 3 Our iron content is the same as it was from day one, and now it is this huge dramatic revelation, that we have an "iron content off the charts"! Well, news Holmes....damned near everyone does around here! Personally I want a second opinion before we invest another red cent. Honestly, it is hard for anyone to make a whole lot of sense as to what the problem really is. The water table could be fluctuating....the lake was higher this year by 15 inches so the water table may have risen above its usual level which may or may not have anything to do with it. Even the well drilling company cant 'guarantee' better water, but can drill a deeper well and test as they go, giving us their opinion as to what depth is clean water as they drill. But they still cannot guarantee anything better. The only real praise we were given by the drilling company is that since the folks near us do have clean water at 140 feet, then we should be able to tap into the same aquifer hence, clean water. Right now our well is at 43 feet. Hence....crap!

So the choices are: Re-drill at a cost of aprox $5000.00. Or go with Culligan, who I really feel shaky about with this guys frigging answers and solutions....which don't always hold water...pardon the pun. That will cost us an additional $3700.00 plus of course the already $2000.00 we paid for the existing unit which they will take on trade in. Hmmm . $5000. for a new well which will more than likely yield good, clean, non stinky water....... A $5700. investment for equipment....after I feel I am being screwed...which will clean the water and stink but will not take care of the well if say, in a couple of years it dries out because it is so shallow. A new clean source vs. bandaging the dank hole we have, with a company which has already tested my trust in them.

'Well', I gotta tell you. It is making for a really 'deep' subject these days.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things. Most especially that my internal 'bull crap detector' is in good working order. ..."your iron is off the charts". Give me a break!

And for all medicinal purposes, the reverse osmosis system that we installed at the kitchen sink, independently of Culligan and any of their equipment, delivers intensely clean, clear and tasteless drinking water( as water should have no taste) 100% of the time. It's the rest of the house which is in question these days.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What was I thinking?

The other day I commented to Maryann that I was going to start writing my memoirs. She laughed at me! Why for, I know not. The point I was making was that I am forgetting things the older I get....don't worry, I haven't forgotten you...yet. Anyways, it just made good sense to me at the time I made the comment. I don't know, maybe I'll put it on hold! In the meantime.

Halloween went off with no incidents. No smashing pumpkins, no tricksters....actually no treaters either! Trust me when I tell you, nobody wants to come out Northroad to trick or treat. And why should they when they can all go into Kenai or Soldotna?! Interesting. When Maryann and I went into Soldotna, Hallowed Eve, to have dinner with none other than Sarah Palin. That's right, Sarah Palin for dinner. We passed the Boys & Girls Club in Kenai, and they were holding their anual Halloween tradition cleverly named, 'Trunk Or Treat'. Volunteering parents line the side of the street and parking lot with their vehicles and open their trunks and tailgates and hand out candy to the gathering masses of little ghouls, goblins and vampirette's. I guess part of the logic is that houses are spread out so far between each, the cold and snow that traditionally plauges Halloween Eve as well as the fact that is a safe session of fun. Ironically, against all reputation of didn't snow on Halloween.

So getting back to Sarah Palin. For those who haven't yet figured it out, it was our friend who is in fact a pretty spitting image of Sarah, who dressed up as Sarah to go out to the Duck for the Halloween bash. Hardy ha ha, eah! That was the extent of our Hallowed eve. A fun time out to dinner with a few friends and a nice evening at home in front of the fire. The next night, John and Jennifer came over and the four of us had a cool carving party. Enclosed are some pics of the outcome of our creativeness.
In relation to winter.... it's here,man! This morning we woke up to -10 below. For about the past few weeks, almost since we got back, we haven't really seen a day over 28 degrees, with the past week dipping into teens and single digits. It started snowing earlier in the week, so we are trully in business now with the winter weather. And after spending 2 weeks in sultry, sweaty,'s a damned welcomed sight!

I spent the later half of the summer really pumping out production pottery, and by the time we went on vacation, I had a huge inventory, racks full, of pottery ready to be glazed and high fired upon return. At which point we returned and I have had my kiln running weekly since. With one more high fire glaze load left to go, all in anticipation for the string of shows I have, am, and will be continuing to do til Christmas. Four weekends definitely, with one possible weekend gig on the rail, pending the extent of inventory when we get to that point. With last weekend being my first of the series and this weekend being at Soldotna High, sales have been excellent! It has been a hoot, as just as much as the money, I really do enjoy the scene, the smiles, and the satisfaction of knowing that a little piece of me has gone out to so many families and people. It is a real satisfactory feeling really. Maryann has been my definitive 'right hand' so far, as it is alot of work setting up, breaking down at the end of the weekend, and being there for those times that my tables are mobbed. Thanks to you my sweetest!

Now you see, I had a funny story to tell and I have forgotten what it was! And sure as toot I will remember when I sign off and crawl into bed. I guess that may be some fauder for the next post. With sunrise at about 9:15AM and sunset at 4:30PM, we are continuing to lose about 5 minutes of sunlight a day. And so we bid you goodnight, and leave you with the anticipation of the coming literary development....of my memoirs....if I dont forget first! (snicker) You never know! I always have said a book is in the future, and my mind hasn't changed on that. Our love to all.