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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Everything in the freeze must go! Duck Confit

The packers are coming in two days.  We sold our house much sooner than expected.  We have frantically been trying to eat our way through the freezer, we have done a pretty good job.  However, I still had two duck legs and some duck fat waiting for me.  I don't really know that many people who would appreciate my duck fat... So I decided to make some duck confit.

I went outside and got some herbs, bay right outside the door.

And some salt, some brown sugar, pepper and rubbed the legs, wrapped them and put them in the refrigerator.  

Today, I cooked the duck in the fat at 190 for seven hours.  When the meat was tender, I let it cool.  Tomorrow, I will pan fry them in some of the duck fat till crispy.  And then, this is the very sad part, I will throw the duck fat out. 

We had a few people over to say good bye.  I offered condiments, anyone interested in anything in my refrigerator.  Really, I must have at least four types of mustards, anchovies, thai pastes, raspberry preserves, loganberry jam.  I have some really good stuff.  No one took anything.

We keep track of the states that we have visited.  I have a beautiful state map and we outline all of the visited states in brown.  The ones that have left the nest try to get more states than us.

When we leave in a few weeks, we plan on driving from San Antonio to Oklahoma City, a long day but it is better to get out of Texas.  Make a clean break.  I am sadder than I ever have been with this move than any other moves.  We have been here so long that I have deep roots.  We must flee the state or Emily and I will grab the controls and make Tom turn around.  

We have been to Oklahoma City.  This time we will be traveling with our Labrador.  She thinks that a car trip ends in camping.  This should be interesting, this car trip will end in hotels.   The next day, we will head to St. Louis MO, a new state, with a brief stop in Pittsburg Kansas, because we can.  Then, on to Chicago.  In the morning, we will head in the wrong direction to Racine Wisconsin for breakfast (getting another state!).  Turn around and head to Michigan and family and then onward to PA.

Will we own the house?  Who knows, it is a slow process at best.  Our lending company has lost every paper that we faxed to them, which is a little disconcerting.  I have high hopes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Moving Along

My husband is retiring from the USAF.  He started looking for jobs working with medical residents some time ago.  He enjoys teaching and medical education, it has been one of his favorite jobs.  He looked in VT, Boston, Phili, DC, Richmond and Pittsburgh.  I was hoping for Phili.  I went to school in Phili, grew up in the Poconos.  We have family in Pa and NJ. 

Pittsburgh called him early in his search.  He went out and really like the people and the program.  It helps that I have two sons in Pittsburgh who graduated from Pitt.  They really speak highly of the city.  Part of me thinks that he was just looking for a way to balance the equation, find someone to watch football with...  we find ourselves bound for Pittsburgh.

Tom and I are at an interesting point in our lives.  We don't care about school districts, we don't really need a house that is move in ready.  This is a good thing.   We looked at homes in Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, Regent Square and Highland Park.  There aren't many homes available.  People are moving into the city and homes sell quickly and at a high price.

I flew to Pittsburgh and looked at homes at Christmas break.  Then we went out for Spring break and looked at some more.  The boys would go and look at some houses for us.  Matt generally didn't like anything that he saw.  When this house came on the market,

he was prepared to tell me that he didn't like the neighborhood.  He went, he parked, he went up and down the street, up the alley.  He drove around, the neighborhood passed.  Tom can walk to work, I can walk to a grocery store.  He met with the realtor and looked at the house.  There are some issues.  I'm not sure that I can have chickens in the back yard but no one is as concerned about that as I am. 

The owner put in a new interior door and made the downstairs into an apartment.  Then she put in doors on the second and third floors.  Not with permits, so the house is being sold as a single family home.  With locked entries on each floor, kitchens on each floor, etc.  Not really a single family home.

The beautiful stair case

has been divided by a wall to cut off the first floor apt.  It is in need of a good job.  The stained glass window on the stair landing is broken.

And will need to be repaired.

The front downstairs living room needs work.  There is hardwood under the carpet.  There are built ins on one side of the fire place and not the other. 

But there are pocket doors leading to the dining room
The dining room was a bedroom, so there is an added odd closet and a full bath.  Not many people can say that they have a full bath in their dining room!!!!

The kitchen has issues.  Oh lots of issues.  There is an addition off the kitchen space, that is being used as the main kitchen.

This is the downstairs, everything needing work.  But worst is in the basement.

There is a beam that has splitting boards.  It holds the house up.  This is an ISSUE  a structural engineer issue.

And we will go no further until it is investigated.