December 24

Merry Christmas 2013!


MD and I along with our entire family wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  We hope you and yours have a terrific holiday season.
We’ve started our off this Christmas Eve in not the best of circumstances.   As many of you know, MD and I have been traveling all over creation over the past year in our new careers as appliance salespeople.  As a consequence, we haven’t seen the inside of our house a lot, so we’ve really been looking forward to some down time this Christmas.
We ran to Michigan to visit my aged folks (that’s when I discovered my 85 yo father was on a statin and had my meltdown over it) then we were home for one day before we had to go to Dallas for an early Christmas with the grandkids there.  On our one day home, we discovered the floors were buckling in our dining room.  We called a water-damage-repair company and discovered that we had sprung a leak while we were away.  And that several walls were soaked and would have to come down and a big area of flooring (the dining room, entryway and a hallway) would have to be replaced.  This we discovered on our one day home.
When we returned from Dallas, the whole water-damaged area was enclosed in plastic, walls were torn out, hardwood flooring removed and giant, obnoxiously loud fans were running 24/7.  Even worse, they had completely sealed off the place where our little coffee station and our liquor cabinet reside.  So I couldn’t make espresso (upon which I live) and, even worse, was bereft of Jameson.  We wanted to turn around and go back to Dallas.  I hadn’t imagined the scope of the damage before we left.
MD has been itching to start getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner, but all the plastic everywhere has held her up. Since people in California are so mold conscious, we had to wait for an environmental engineer to test the air quality in the plastic-enclosed area before the repairs could proceed.  We got the okay late yesterday, and a bunch, but not all, of the plastic came down today.  So the distaff was in full Christmas preparation mode, and I got dragooned into helping.
We traditionally have Christmas Eve dinner with whichever kids and grandkids are near.  MD loves to decorate and set a spectacular table.  The fact that our dining room is a war zone right now and torn all to heck hasn’t stopped her.  It takes more than a major water-damage disaster to quench her Christmas cheer.  The workers had moved our dining room table along with a tone of other stuff into the library, so that’s where dinner was served.  As you can see below, the cramped accommodations didn’t deter my bride, who managed to set a nice table in pretty close quarters.  The dinner went off without a hitch, and everyone loved being in with all the books.  There was talk of dining in the library more often.
I’ll leave you with one other piece of Christmas.  The video below is MD’s choral group doing the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah.  The music was recording during a live performance, but the video shows the sights of Santa Barbara. I sometimes forget how beautiful it is here.  Hope you enjoy the music and the scenery.
And once again, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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  1. Merry Christmas, enjoy some rest and have a wonderful time with friends and family. Just had my annual, I won’t bore you with the details but I consider the numbers your gift to me. Thanks, and best wishes!

      1. Great! But while Handel’s Messiah is one of the most majestic, stirring and fun to sing musical pieces of all time I REALLY thought that you and MD, you two people of science, were Atheists…interesting.
        Very cute video.
        Another Version: Check out The Roches ( 3 sisters singing group) singing the same piece live, a cappella in 1982:

        1. Why do people of science have to be atheists? And why would atheists refuse to listen to beautiful music? Or refuse to perform it?
          Thanks for the video.
          And Happy New Year!

          1. Science is about proof, not lack of proof. And I didn’t say that Atheists ‘refuse to listen to beautiful music or refuse to perform it’; as evidenced by my own actions and the fact that I am an Atheist.
            I am always surprised that people of science are not Atheists, can’t help it! It is a curiosity to me.
            Peace and Love:)

          2. I don’t think science is about proof. Science is about discovery, and seeking. If you know science at all, you know “proof” is not sustainable. What is settled in one century is very often upended in the next. In fact, when science rests on its “proofs” (if science can be an entity), is when it gets into great trouble, the seeking stops, the discovery recedes and people take statins. 🙂
            Seeking and discovery characterize people of religious faith.

  2. I feel for you all on the water damage! Had a somewhat similar incident happen in my basement last summer. Entire basement ceiling removed and extensive remediation work done… Never a fun time. Great to see the Christmas cheer went on in spite of it!

  3. You would have thought your dad would have called you before taking a statin. I hope he’s taking coq10 with it!!! We had to fuss with my dad to start doing that.

  4. Merry Christmas to you and the Fam! Sorry to hear about your not-so-jolly-poly. Being cut off from your espresso — that’s lousy — about as bad as coming home from your travels to find your boiler is muerte and a cold shower awaits. You should think about giving yourself a new contractor for Christmas. (Am I mistaken or do those handsome bookshelves have a little lip underneath each shelf? Probably catches the book as you’re trying to retrieve it — nice look to compliment the beautiful table setting, but still, must be frustrating. LOL Amigo.)

    1. I wish we had our old contractor. And, you’ll really LOL over this, it was the frigging ice maker MD loathes so much that leaked. We’ve had nothing but trouble with it. And not just because it doesn’t make the little cubes we were promised. This isn’t the first leak. The other time it leaked out into the butlers pantry where we could see it, so we got it dealt with quickly and with a minimum of hassle. I guess the house has settled or something because this one went the other way, and for a long time. Fortunately, our old contractor left a couple of holes in the subfloor, so a lot of the water went under the house. Had he not done that – and I don’t know if the holes were left there purposely or due to incompetence – the damage would have been totally disastrous. As it is, we’ve got to get the entire hallway and dining room re-skim coated because the sheetrock was soaked up to about two feet. The new guy doesn’t think he can match what’s there or blend it it, so the plan is to redo both areas in toto. It’s going to be a nightmare. Believe me, the muerte boiler and lack of hot water were nothing compared to this. And you are correcto. The handsome bookshelves still have the little lip, and I still get pissed every time I hang a book on one.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours, my friend. Look forward to getting together on some massive green area this year. Tell Ryannan I’m glad to see she’s posting again.

      1. I was going to include the ice maker in my last comment but decided I was going too far afield. Apparently not.
        Should be able to nicely feather-in that type of plaster with the same skim-coat technique that we used — that’s one of the selling points of that product and process. Or are you saying that particular product/brand/color is no longer available? Also could try to faux paint in the discoloration (or new seam if it isn’t a perfect match) — I’ve seen that done well on other types of plaster which truly aren’t amenable to repair.

        1. Thanks for the info. I haven’t a clue if the skim coat color is still available. I think we have a bunch of it left. Don’t know if it goes bad or not. I’ll know more when I actually talk to the painter/plasterer. Right now, I’m just getting feedback from the GC, who is doubtless unfamiliar with this kind of work. Plus, since some of the baseboard and trim were involved, we’re going to get into the whole oil-based paint situation again. And no Otis to beat them into submission. I guess I’ll have to play that role.

          1. Much of my house has oil-based paint, and it has been a chore. I don’t know if you can get it in California, but here in Maine Benjamin Moore has a water-based paint called “Advance Waterborne Interior Alkyd.” I used that formula earlier this year and it worked beautifully:
            They also carry an oil-based paint called Satin Impervo Alkyd Low Lustre (this is the name of the satin).
            Good luck.

          2. I meant to say it’s been a chore trying to find oil-based paint anymore, which I very much prefer over the latex paints. The oil-based paints are more durable and I think the sheen is richer.

          3. Correct on all counts. The oil-based paint we used in our remodel 10 years ago looks the same today. Extremely durable and maintains its high sheen.

          4. Thanks for the ideas. Back when we originally did the remodel, oil-based paint was available in CA, but that was almost ten years ago. I hope we can still get it.

          5. Uh, mebbe a quick drive over to Wyoming or Montana or somewhere NOT California? Bring back a trunk-full of paint cans?
            Sorry you’ve been having a less-than-optimal xmas-house… I just discovered that my (two-days before xmas) septic pumper, who charged me $900 — “the same as in 2008” — kinda went over-and-above the two companies my neighbors used this past month — who charged them $300 and $265.
            There’s a great book called “The Remodeller’s Combat Guide” that provides great info and guidance about how to protect yourself from getting scammed! Alas, would that I had read it again more recently than the 1980s!

  5. We turned our dining room into a library a few years ago. We drilled a hole in the center of the round dining room table and installed an outlet in the floor, so we could put a lamp in the middle of the table. Guess what? We now eat in there more than we ever did! Merry Christmas to you and your family, too!

  6. Merry Christmas! Don’t worry about the Jameson’s. I’ll have an extra one for you!
    Did you mean to post a picture of your makeshift dining room in the library? Would love to see it.
    Here’s to a happy and healthy (healthful?) New Year!

  7. I found the picture. There’s a very thin line after that paragraph, and if you move your mouse just right, the cursor turns into a hand. Double-click, and voila!
    I’d definitely consider eating in the library more often. So intimate and cozy.

    1. Weird. What browser are you using?
      It was intimate. What with the feral grandchildren running too and fro, it became a little too intimate at times.
      Thanks for keeping the Jameson on tap for me.
      Merry Christmas!

      1. I’m using IE10. I tried it both with compatibility view turned on and off. No difference.
        BTW, I meant to add that I’m so sorry to hear about the water damage. Good contractors are hard to find. From the looks of your library, I’m it’s obvious you have a beautiful home. Best of luck in restoring your home to its rightful beauty.

        1. Strange. I tried it on Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and it worked on all of them.
          Restoring the home will take a while. Thanks.

  8. What a beautiful song and video to start Christmas morning. Thank you for sharing the joy. Even though there were challenges, it sounds like your Christmas Eve celebration was a beautiful event. Thank you for all your pearls of wisdom all year long. I appreciate you. I am wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas Day and happiness and joy in 2014.

  9. Merry Christmas to both of you, too! Sorry about the damage but hope the repairs go well and quickly….
    (The library looked like a lovely dining area!!)

    1. Yep. You must be new to the blog. Here’s a piece I wrote four years ago when we kicked off our appliance sales careers and another when we did our launch tour with Heston Blumenthal.
      Also, here is the website of the company, which is now worldwide with our units sold in 25 different countries. On the website, you can find multiple videos of yours truly and bride (along with a bunch of famous chefs) demonstrating sous vide cooking.
      Merry Christmas!

      1. And oh oh oh!!! These are the best-of-the-best cooking machines ever!! My late husband bought me the Supreme when it first came out and, a year later, the Demi when it came out! I use the Demi at least once a week (ooooh, grass-fed sirloin: AMAZING!).
        I actually bought a(n Iwatani professional) torch to put the sear on — and almost never use it — the meat that comes out is SOOOO perfectly tender and delicious that I don’t even bother — I just start cutting! (I live alone, no one sees me!) (I DO use the torch when I have company! {wink})
        I tip my metaphorical hat to Mike and Mary Dan at least one or two meals a week!

        1. Thanks very much for the testimonial. I’m really glad you’re enjoying the machines. We have two and use them all the time. We almost never cook any other way.

  10. Happy Christmas from England Mike and MD !
    Thank you for resuming your blogs Mike. I ordered the Paleo Manifesto after your last blog – it’s not arrived yet but am greatly looking forward to it.
    Hope everything is restored soon to your house…but I love your library 🙂

  11. Merry Christmas!
    Beautiful video.
    Love your blog.
    Have a wonderful year. I know you will.
    I know you had a cool Yule and will have a Frantic First

  12. I love the Hallelujah chorus too, but my favorite is “And the Glory of the Lord.”
    I turned my dining room into a work space/conservatory with my drafting table and plants hung all over the place. A library? The whole condo is a library.
    I sincerely hope your holidays and new year get better!

  13. Interesting. Who is “MD” and why does a doctor (or former doctor) have such a strong attraction to caffeine and alcohol and not like Statins?
    They are all powerful drugs.

    1. MD, aka Mary Dan Eades, M.D., is my wife of long duration. They are all powerful drugs, but the ones I indulge in, unlike statins, are beneficial. The scientific literature is crawling with articles about the multitude of health benefits coffee brings. The same cannot be said of statins. Alcohol can be problematic, but not for me. Although I love it and write about it all the time, I seldom overindulge.

  14. Love the Hallelujah video; thanks for sharing it. Also, there is nothing quite like the taste, ritual, and health benefits of coffee. My day cannot and does not begin without it.

    1. MD will be glad to hear you liked the video. And I’m with you on the coffee. Nothing like it to start the day and keep it going. MD and I won a Nespresso in a give away event, and I have been hooked since. Had the folks at Nespresso only known how much coffee the two of us would be ordering, they would have brought a machine to our house for free long ago.

  15. Dear Mike and MD, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thinking of you both and hope that the renovation moves along quickly in 2014. XO, Ann

  16. Hope your Christmas was merry indeed.
    Thank you for the gift of your blog and for that spectacular video!
    Many years ago now your book, Protein Power got me started on my low carb way of life. For the past year, I have been doing strict Paleo and have never felt better.
    Blessings to you and your family in 2014.
    I hope your dad is doing okay now!

    1. I’m glad to learn that you’ve done so well. Dad is doing about the same. Went to his doc the other day and had his LDL checked a month after going off the statin. His LDL was 84! I haven’t been able to see his admission labs, but I’ll bet his LDL was close to 84 when they put him on a Statin in such knee jerk fashion.
      Merry Christmas back and a Happy New Year.

  17. Mike, let’s think statistically. Since this kind of situation happens very rarely, you can think of most of your following Christmases as being very enjoyable, the same way most of the past Christmases were enjoyable as well.
    It’s the spirit of Christmas that counts. Situations like these come and go 🙂
    Hope you have a fabulous New Year’s Party!

    1. Uh, thinking statistically the way you are is called the Gambler’s Fallacy. Just because the Roulette Wheel has hit red three times in a row doesn’t mean a black hit is due. Each spin of the wheel has exactly the same odds irrespective of what happened before. Same, I suppose, with leaks. The only thing that has ever leaked in this house is the ice maker, which will be replaced and plumbed with copper. So I hope the problem will be solved.
      We’re planning a small New Year’s Eve party due to the circumstances. I’ll try to post photos.
      Happy New Year to you!

  18. Merry Christmas to you and MD. I sympathize with you strongly, since we experienced a fire 2 years ago which forced us completely out of the house for 8 months (our retarded contractor!). We went to a hotel and then into an apartment, fortunately covered by insurance.
    Glad you survived the experience and had a lovely Christmas dinner. I was wondering about MD’s choral performance (surprised expressions of Christmas devotion are still legal on the Left Coast). Thanks for posting it. Have a Happy New Year.

    1. We survived it in good cheer, and are gearing up for another New Year’s Eve dinner in the same library.
      Happy New Year to you, too!

  19. What a fabulous video – thank you so much for posting it! I loved the music, and thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone enjoy playing with the words 😀
    I hope your damp problem is all sorted out now, and you get to enjoy some peace in the New Year!

  20. Happy New Year! I hope your repairs are accomplished soon.
    I am out visiting family in Santa Barbara. I can sympathize with your contractor issues as we have a house in Carpinteria that has had to have repairs frequently. Unfortunately, I don’t have a contractor to recommend.
    I have to take the atheist to task. If there is a God, and you don’t believe in him, it is kind of like not taking the airline with fewer crashes ;-)… but I wax cynical.
    Now if I could just find some full fat Greek yogurt in this town…

  21. My analogy was not right. I should have left out the “if there is a God” and just left it at “not believing in God is like not taking the airline with fewer crashes”. Unfortunately, I realized that after I hit submit. 🙂

    1. Respectfully Al,
      Going through life hedging your bets (and paying attention to facts and statistics) is fine when dealing with actualities such as airplane accidents but it just makes no logical sense to put out cookies and milk for Santa.

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