Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday, Just because it is on sale.....

$40.00 nails done, $6.00 entrance to play for friends, $120.23 groceries, stock up on cereal with coupons, also steaks for Easter ?  Not sure about Easter yet.  We ate left overs Friday, and  Saturday we pieced anything we could find.  Today I made homemade chili.  I pulled a recipe off the internet.  I am afraid of chili.  It was on of the first dishes I made for Hub's and his fishing buddies when we first married.  I was not an accomplished cook, as my mother was a hamburger helper and Swanson frozen chicken cook.  I did not drain the burger and there was about an inch of grease on the top, everyone got heartburn, it was a disaster.  I was so embarrassed and mortified.  So I just do not do chili.  Pulled recipe off the internet and followed it and it was delicious.  Surprising what following directions will do, and then I did drain the burger.  It also used up 1 can of chicken broth and 6 more cans of beans, and 1 can of tomato paste, one quart of home canned tomatoes!  How can one beat that?

     Hub's wanted a treat after dinner on Sunday so I started sour cream sugar cookies.  This is an ancient recipe from Sweden of my great grandmothers.  They can be rolled or dropped. When I am not in the mood to fuss I drop them and then press them with a fork dipped in cinnamon and sugar with a dash of nutmeg.  They will harden very quickly so these cookies were called dunkers.  They were like rocks in a few days and one dunked them in coffee and they are delicious.  When frosted they stay moist longer.

     I bought 2 cans of Betty Crapper (Crocker) frosting in blue and green on sale after Christmas. $.50 a can what a bargain.  It is nice to have a couple of cans of frosting for quick funeral cakes and such.  Well I pulled out the green for St Patties day as these are for Hub's office, he can help frost them when he gets home from Orchestra practice.  I frosted one cookie with the icing that is very green, a weird shade of very green like really unappetizing  petri dish shade of green.  I tasted the cookie and I really didn't like it so I gave the other 1/2 to the dog.  She immediately took it to the front room to eat it on the only decent rug we have in the house and promptly spit it out green side down.  I then shamed her to eating it which she did begrudgingly.  Now this is a dog that will do a back flip for anything sweet.  Consequently the two cans of frosting are in the garbage and I whipped up some vanilla butter cream with green tint.  Much better taste and look.  Dog gobbled my trial right down.  So dog approved frosting it is. Note to self don't buy that canned colored crap even if it is on sale.  Don't take it even if it is free.

     Paid the house payment on Friday and the rent at the studio.  I have one more payment of $600.00 on Hub's hearing aids and I need at least $1400.00 for studio taxes and then whatever my eye surgery will cost.  I am really looking forward to a time where I don't have some big extra bill taking all my money.  It is
discouraging.  Work, work, work, pay the government and the doctors.

  Out My Window:  Of course it was rainy and crappy yesterday and today was plain awful.  I wanted to go on a bike ride this weekend.  But we are so short of snow pack I will be grateful for the farmers.


    Nels was impatient for Millie to get home this early spring day.  He had made two trips this morning with the babies returning to the apartment once with a larger radio set and two small ones.  The girls were getting bigger and needed more room, he could not trust them to really hold still and not kick and squirm.  When they had first arrived an Brooklyn (New York) Audra had not been quite a year old.  Violet and Ruth were just three and four, he could put Audra in the wagon back sitting on a blanket and the other two sat in a bench seat fastened with straps.  Audra had managed to take a nice radio that was not very large and throw it over the edge of the wagon.  Nels had to completely rebuild it.  He was just grateful it had not had a wood frame as he then would have had to replace the structure at his own cost.  He had to keep a much closer eye on the girls as Audra grew older.  Violet and Ruth would sit. but Audra, well she was Audra.

     On his first trip back in the morning he pulled into the main floor hall, Mrs. Strom had come out and taken the girls into her back apartment.  Nels took his larger set upstairs.  Six flights was no easy climb especially with an large radio set.  The two smaller crystal sets were no problem, but that meant two times up and down the stairs by ten in the morning.  There were at least another three stops to make before lunch and he hurried back down the stairs to the Strom apartment.  Mrs. Strom had the little ones up to the table drinking milk and eating pieces of a Swedish klatche' cake.  She cut Nels a generous piece and set down a hot cup of coffee.  Nels, used to protest at this treatment , but had given up after a few weeks.  Mr. Strom looked forward to this time of the morning.  "You are too good Mrs. Strom." Nels said.  Her reply was to smile and continue to bounce Audra whom she had just picked up from her chair.

     Mr. Strom came in from the store front, and Nels stood up taking his coffee with him.  He crammed the rest of his cake in his mouth and went to relieve Mr. Strom at the butcher counter.  " You couldn't even let him finish, his klatch!" she chided.  "The poor boy just sat down."  Nels tried to give Mr. Strom a quarter hour every  morning to sit and have a break, with coffee and whatever stollen there was for the day.  Strom also enjoyed the babies.   "Mrs. Blumenthal, just walked in", Mr. Strom said in a hushed voice.  Nels smiled and Mrs. Strom rolled her eyes knowingly.

     Mrs. Blumenthal, was a very cranky Jewish widow.  She was well known throughout the neighborhood for her complaining and shrewd business dealings.  Mr. Strom's shop was not kosher and he could never figure out why she had to shop at his place.  She had to have chopped chicken, she had to argue if it was fresh.  Was it the freshest chicken?  She would argue about price, she had to have you weigh it three times.  She counted her money out of a greasy old purse and put it down as it it was her last pence.  She never had a good thing to say no matter how nicely she was greeted.  Shopkeepers went to great lengths to avoid her.  Nels always thought of Mrs. Blumenthal as a game. He would do what ever it took to make her smile.  He was ingratiating and that just seemed to irritate her more.  "How was she feeling?,  was she too hot? was she too cold?  Could he weight the chicken a fourth time?  Nels would always run around the counter and open the door for her as she left.  She would grumble about old chicken, prices, cheats, charlatans , she always had something insulting to say.  What Nels and Mr. Strom did not know is that she bought this chicken for her cat.  She ate kosher chicken from the kosher butcher two blocks over.

     Nels picked up the girls from the back and loaded them back in the wagon, with the promise of play by the churchyard.  Mr. Strom asked him to make two deliveries and  he took off pulling the wagon toward the west of the neighborhood. Brooklyn was dirty, it was dark and smokey even when the sun was shining.  There was no grass and very few trees.  He missed the open sunshine of his childhood farm, someday he would return to a place of open sunshine.  Brooklyn would be their home until he was at least twenty one.  Then things would change.

      Now he had to get two blocks over and pick up a set, then her had to deliver his meat packages.  One of these deliveries was on a third floor, this meant walking two young children and carrying Audra up three flights of stairs.  Nels had devised a system for just such a predicament.  He would walk the two older girls into the building while carrying Audra, then he would set Audra down next to Violet and run Ruth up the first flight where she could still be seen, then come down and do the same with Audra, then repeat it at last with Ruth, this same process continued up all flights, up and down, up and down.  Going down was not such a challenge as he had the two older hold on to the banister and he walked slowly in front carrying Audra.  It only took one split lip for Violet to devise this system.  Never let then out of your sight.  Nels was a typical tall Swede but he was as thin as a whippet.  When he finally settled down in a place of his own he would never walk another set of stairs.

      Bethel Luthern Church, was a large Swedish Luthern Church that served his countrymen and many others in the Brooklyn neighborhood.  It was the church that he and his Siblings went to on Sundays.  It was the church wear Oskar and Dil were learning studying for confirmation. The church had a grave yard and one of the only patches of grass for several blocks.  The funny thing was that a favorite place for the girls to play was the front steps. His lot in life was to see that his sisters did not get hurt on steps and these were concrete much harder than the wooden steps of the tenements he usually climbed. Nels would let them run for 1/2 an hour or so and then load them back in the wagon.

      He would stop at Hansen's market for six bottles of milk and exchange yesterday's bottles.  He would stop at the Jewish market for bread. He bought two loaves everyday and four loaves on Friday.  The Jews made the best bread, hard and full of rye just like at home. Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath and Jews did not work on the Sabbath.

     Nels often wondered if they yelled on the Sabbath.  The Jewish store was always very noisy, they never talked to one another they yelled.  They made huge hand and arm gestures to make an emphasis on what they were saying.  When Nels had taken the girls into the store for the first time the yelling had made Audra cry, Violet and Ruth just stood with eyes full of tears and lips trembling.  A young girl came out and whispered into the old Jewish man's ear as he stood behind the counter yelling and gesturing, he seemed to be able to out yell all of them, he exclaimed something in Yiddish and looked back at a small dark figure in the door, he became silent. His look was guilty almost sheepish.  Nels asked for the bread over Audra's squalls.  Two loaves of the freshest warm bread were wrapped up in paper and when Nels paid the Jew gave him three lumps of sugar with his change.  He made a silent hand movement that the sugar was for the girls.  No yelling just a silent shifting of his eyes and hands.  Nels quickly popped one of the lumps into Audra's mouth and she stopped crying , eyes wide.  Nels said thanks and had the two younger say thank you which they did shyly in Svensk, until he said English and then only Violet whispered thank you around her lump of sugar.  The shop stayed silent as they left.  Immediately after the door banged shut behind them the shouting started again.  Nels did not look straight into the shop but out of the corner of his eye he could see the huge arm and hand gestures again.

     If the bread shop was not busy Nels would often leave the girls in his sight line as he rushed in to buy bread.  Always the owner would hiss a word and the shop as if magic would grow silent.  Three lumps of sugar would appear with his change.  He would say thanks and as he left the noise would start again.  His Mar Mar always said people were not strange they just had their ways and reasons.

     Home again Nels would start the long trek back back up the six flights of stairs.  Some times he would challenge the two younger girls to follow him while they held fast to the handrail.  Violet had only made it four flights, but he knew if he continued making it a game, someday she and Ruth would be racing each other,just like his brothers.  Nels hurried the girls and took off coats and scarves.  He sat them up to bread, butter and a piece of baloney.  Pouring out one of the pints of milk into three cups, while he heated the cold coffee on the stove.  Nels took the remaining milk bottles out of their carrying rack and finally sat down.  He was tired. He watched his sisters as he chewed his bread and drank the hot coffee.  Violet and Ruth were quiet and Audra's head was bobbing as she fought sleep.

     Ar precisely ten minutes to one,  Mrs. Price would bustle into the flat and start clucking.  Mrs. Price did not talk she clucked  like a chicken.  Tuts, cricks, coos, came out of Mrs. Price.  She swiftly picked up Audra  and took her into the bedroom, where she was changed and put down to nap.  Violet and Ruth were tucked into one of the boys beds.  Nels pulled the shade, hoping they would stay down for and hour. The door between the two rooms was slid shut and Mrs. Price was cleaning up the lunch dishes and had put the sad irons on the stove to heat.  The next hour she would quietly listen to her radio serial and iron the children's clothes, do basic housework or perhaps just sit and quietly listen.  Nels would rush out and make his way to the two Jewelry shops within walking distance of his building.  Were there any clocks?  Clocks paid better than the cheap crystal radios and he was usually able to get one a week. Then home to work on what ever was waiting for him from his daily trips.


Have a great and productive day!




1 comment:

  1. I've had a few "on sale" experiences that I've lived to regret! I just give my head a shake and hope I've learned my lesson. Poor doggie - you know it's bad if the dog won't eat it!!