Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Missus' new kitchen part deux

So, we've been in the torn out kitchen waiting for the contractor to put it all back together again stage for about a week now.  It is sort of like camping, except without the dirt, bugs, and uncomfortable sleeping bags.
The Missus was hoping we'd eat out every night but our waistlines and wallet couldn't handle that plan.  We're doing the dishes outside in this tub.  The green thing is our rinsing device.   Young son is getting the privilege of drying while I wash.
Our kitchen sans cabinets and everything else.  How do you like our trendy micro cooking area?   When the dishwasher was pulled out it was discovered to have been leaking for some time. It is only about 4 years old, too new to need replacement.  A gasket had failed and an Internet search found a place in Fresno that shipped it to us the next day.  Gasket installed and hopefully the leak fixed.
Our eating area plus the family room filled with overflow storage of stuff from the kitchen.  Not much room left for us.
No room in the dining room either!  Who knew we had so much stuff in our kitchen cabinets?
The cabinets waiting to find a new home a couple of rooms away.  Since this picture was taken on Sunday many of the cabinets have found their way to the kitchen.  Progress!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Attention Lowe's Shoppers....

So the other day we bought a gas range for Young Daughter's new house.  We went to the local Lowe's because the people are nice there and that is where we bought our gas range after the great turkey episode two years ago.  They give a military discount which I am more that happy to request each visit (10% off and a 'thanks for your service', how can you not like that!).  On the range buying visit the sales lady told us that they price match on appliances and proceeded to find the same range on sale at Sears for about $50 less which we got taken off the cost of the range.  Then we got the military discount.  And a $30 Lowe's gift card!  Soon they were going to be paying us to take the darn thing away!

Just in case anyone thinks that the experience with the avalanche of price discounts was a fluke, tonight we visited them again to purchase a microwave oven to install over our range in the kitchen remodel that is underway.  I asked the chatty and very well informed young lady if they still do the price matching.  I could almost see her thinking ' did they know about that?' but she owned up to it and did an on-line search and found the model we were interested in on sale at Best Buy.  Score!  So, $20 off of the price and another $17.90 for the military discount.

It just doesn't get any better than this.

Shop at Lowe's, they are nice folks and love to give you a discount!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hollywood visits Grouchland

A couple streets down the hill from Grouch acres are two pretty good size homes for sale, both next to each other.  House #1 had a 'for sale' sign, then an 'in escrow' sign, then no sign at all.  We figured it was sold.  House #2 has a 'for sale' sign so it is still for sale.  A couple weeks ago on our nightly walk past the two houses we saw activity at house #1.  New carpeting was going it, painting was underway in all of the rooms, and activity was in every room.  The guys working on the house had a big box truck from a studio rental company but I thought that someone was using the truck after hours while working on the house.   Next we noticed activity at house #2.  Was it sold also but the sign wasn't yet removed?  Another day we spied an Audi R8 Spyder parked in the driveway of house #2.  I thought the car was a bit upscale for our neighborhood.  In time both houses were fully painted, carpeted, outfitted with furniture, artwork, knickknacks, possessions, lights, cameras....wait a minute!   The houses were being used to shoot a movie or TV show.

The Missus saw that the pool in the back of one of the houses was completely surrounded by screens.  The master bedroom of #1 had a black screen over the entire window.  Was this to prevent someone from seeing in?  We conjectured as to what was being shot there.  I guessed at a reality show with the contestants living in the two houses and competing with each other is some manner.  Then we speculated that maybe something of a more, ahem, 'mature' nature was being filmed.

Tonight on the walk we asked the security guard who was in front of house #1 what was going on.  Unfortunately English was not his first language but he was able to tell us that it was being shot by TNT and that house #2 is used for support for the filming in house #1.   Hopefully the next time was walk by another guard will be on duty and will be able to tell us the title of the upcoming movie.

All of this reminds me of the episode of "Dukes of Hazzard" that was on in the lunch room at work the other day.  The show was supposed to be taking place someplace in the southeast but the scenes were all the area around here.  Some of it was at the Disney ranch on Placerita Canyon road.  Another scene was on a country road not too far from Grouch Estates.  It is fun to see where we live show up in TV 'Firefly' for instance.  Most of it was shot around these parts.

Young Daughter's new house!

Young Daughter has joined the ranks of the home owner!  It has been a long struggle on her part to find the right combination of affordability, location, and livability but she did it.

Read all about it here:

The house is cute and just the right size for her and her family of Missy and the dogs.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Time for another movie review of a not so old but good movie:  "Always".  This is an excellent remake of "A Guy Named Joe" from WW2.  In 'Always' Richard Dreyfuss, John Goodman, and Holly Hunter are part of an air tanker group in the west flying WW2 A-26 Invader twin engine fire bombers (John Goodman has a PBY).  Holly is the sweetheart of the flying circus and has a thing for Richard but he just can't commit to a romantic relationship.  Then he dies in a fiery crash.  End of the movie?  Not quite.  He is assigned as the unseen mentor for a young man who joins the air tanker wing  in Richard's place which Richard is happy to do until he realizes that the guy is getting ready to put the moves on Holly.  Now he's not happy at all.

Great flying scenes in classic warbirds and great, great on screen chemistry between Dreyfuss and Hunter.  This movie was Audrey Hepburn's last film appearance. 

 If you are a sap for romance, cheezy dialog, and flying like me, this is the movie for you but you'll have to find it on Netflix.


Friday, February 7, 2014

"Lego - The Movie"

So, it is the last day of Young Son's winter school break and I sure needed a break after two solid weeks of utter disaster and unpleasantness at work so I took a day off to spend with Young Son before he goes back to the school grind.  I asked him what he'd like to do for the day and he picked seeing the Lego movie that is just out.........let me put that out there one more time: the Lego movie.  Not what I had in mind for a fun day but it was what Young Son wanted to see so I was game for it.

Legos have been big in the Grouch family since forever.  I never heard of them as a kid, we had a brick set called American Bricks that were intended to make houses from.  I used them to build ships, planes, forts, Sci-Fi machines, and the like and to stage massive battles on the living room floor between the brick ships.  I'd use spare plastic bricks thrown at each brick ship to knock pieces off until one of the ships was a floating hulk.   The Grouch kids made Lego sets and promptly took them apart to make other things out of them.  For Young Son, he and I acted out an ongoing series of adventures using Lego figures.  We had Johnny Thunder, the Professor, Bony Fingers (the villain) and the girl whose name escapes me.  It was all very Indiana Jones-ish and lots of fun but really, a feature-length movie about them?

So we saw the movie and let me say that it greatly exceeded my expectations.  I laughed so hard that my eyes watered and I probably disturbed the other 8 people in the theater with us.  Young Son was laughing about as hard as me.  It was a very funny tribute to Legos and a very lunatic story line that held its own.  It was about as inspired as 'Flushed Away' and 'Rango', two of my all time favorite funny animated movies.  It was full of inside jokes, the requisite cultural references, and very clever satire.  I loved it! 

The extreme laughter had the added bonus of completely erasing from my mind and my body the poison of the last couple work weeks. 

Go see it and go with the flow of the movies.  Relax and don't be afraid to laugh until your eyes water.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My own antique road show find!

My TV guilty viewing pleasure is "Antique Road Show" on PBS.  I love the goofy stories that people have regarding the seemingly worthless items that they bring to the show to have appraised only to find out that the item is worth $75,000!   Yep, just saw that last night:   a guy brought a bronze statue of a Chinese warrior that his Dad ran off with from China during WW2 that turned out to be worth a cool $75k.  Not bad for some run of the mill wartime looting.
So, right after viewing TARS, the Missus and I went for a walk in the neighborhood and laying in the bushes at a cul-de-sac was a piece of art!  Well at least it looked like art.  The irrigation sprinklers were running and doing a fine job of watering my find.  I snatched it out of the water and carried it home, dripping all the way. 
The Missus was skeptical that my find was Road Show worthy but I was intrigued as the picture and the matting are both signed and dollar store art usually isn't, so I did some research on line.
The artist, A. Andorka (a Hungarian name by the way) apparently was based in New York City because many of the images of pictures that I found were of scenes of the city.  Others were plants in various poses such as the one I found.  The art has sold from a low of $5 to a high of $200 in recent auctions.  Unfortunately I couldn't find any information on just who A. Andorka was.  The watercolors seemed to stop in the mid 50s. 
So, what is the story on my scraggly piece of found art I wonder?  I suspect that someone moved from the east coast many years ago to the Los Angeles area and brought the art with them.  They grew old and either passed away or divested themselves of their possessions, one of them being this picture.  The morning of the day that I found the picture was trash day.  Perhaps the picture and other things from the now passed on oldsters from New York City were tossed in the trash but this fell out and blew into the bushes for me to find it.
Now what do I do with it?  I'm thinking to thumbtack it in the garage so sometime in the future my kids can toss it in the trash.
Here it is, a bit worse for being watered.
"Twigs of the Sweet-Gum Tree" by A. Andorka
And here I thought at first it said "Twigs of the Sweet Gun Tree".  Now that would have been interesting on the Antique Road Show!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday hike

Folks are always telling to me to go take a hike (although I don't think it is meant in a nice way) so I decided to take a Super Bowl Sunday hike.  The weather was windy and cool, perfect for a sometimes-strenuous walk in the nearby hills.  The Missus declined to go so off I went by myself.
This is a hike that I've blogged about before so if it looks familiar, congratulations, you are a long-time reader of Citizen Grouch!  The hike is a 5 mile loop with a one mile round trip from the parking area to the trail. Most of the walk is on old oil field access roads although some is on skinny, steep trails.  I finished the walk with an average speed of about 2.5 MPH which isn't too bad considering how steep some of the trail was.  
This strange fruit or vegetable was growing wild along the trail.  The animals seemed to enjoy it, there was evidence of half eaten bits everywhere.
Easy walking!
Looking back up the road from where I had come down from the ridge.
Lunch spot!  Right there on the that very log.
Scenic sights along the way
Getting steep!
Love that rugged western look
Now it is getting really steep!
Evidence of the prior oil field era.  Crude oil that leaked out of a pipe over the years and solidified when exposed to the open air.
An oil field artifact


The Missus gets a new kitchen

The Missus decided that my complaints about the cheezy kitchen cabinets and Formica countertops in our house bringing down its value had validity and ordered up a new kitchen from the same guy who did our bathroom remodel.  This guy is an artiste who does very nice work but very, very slowly.  He told the Missus in the early fall that she would be using her new kitchen in time for Thanksgiving.  Not quite. 
He delivered his hand crafted cabinets Thursday and Friday and will order the tile, countertops, and the like sometime this week.  When I asked him when he'd start, he breezily said about two weeks. 
We'll see.
Anyway, here is the Missus surrounded by her new kitchen cabinets.  As you can see, the living room is no longer available for living.
Every house needs a cabinet storage room.
Just enough room for the Missus to sit and fold the laundry.
The dogs are sad that there is no longer room for them next to the Missus.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Old Iron, New Iron

Seen around Glendale last week.  Beautiful old iron....
...and sexy new iron, err, maybe fiberglass?  It's a Tesla for those not in the know.