Monday, September 10, 2007

Turning 53

Here's what happens when you turn 53. You realize you have to do something about that one ear getting older before you drive everyone nuts asking "What'd you say? You take a job that involves 12 hour shifts and you wonder why, on the day after your 3rd work day in a row, that you sleep in for several hours on the next day off. You realize that early retirement is only 6-1/2 years away and that you, along with many others in your baby boomer generation, will never be able to retire because your group is too big, has too much money, and somehow and some way all your money will be sucked right out of your wallet. You realize that you're feeling way too young for AARP but some of those membership benefits start to look good. You start to wonder when some major health disaster will befall you or your loved ones -- as you start to realize that others in your age group are either dropping like flies -- or as it begins to seem everyone has some type of cancer or something.

Here's what doesn't happen when you turn 53. You don't feel any older than when you were 18. You can still ride your bicycle 95% of what you could when you rode much more often 20 years ago. You don't feel any less horny. You may have more employment opportunities as employers realize that workers older than 40 or so have a better work ethic than many younger workers. So, the way I look at it, I think I still have a good 20 years to hope, dream, change, look for new opportunities. And I often pray that I can be a blessing to those around me.

KitchenAid Facts and Opinions

KitchenAid Facts and Opinions It took five years on on-again off-again finances to save up money for my gas stove but I finally did it and with Linda's help, we really went all out (at least all-out for us). We got a freestanding gas cooktoop/oven and a microwave/vent hood/convection oven. Both are KitchenAid Architect II series. We suffered a little bit of anxiety and consternation to find the cooktop/oven ranked at the bottom of the Consumer Reports list, but the good news is that the things CR ranked low seem to be non-issues, as long as the reliability is as good as it should be for spending that much money.The touchscreen menus are great. The automated cooking time and sensor cooking seem to be reliable and accurate. Both cooktop/oven and microwave/vent hood/convection oven appear to be smart (not just offering a bunch of options, but options that seem to work). This is somewhat surprising because we live at just about 5000 ft. elevation which is the cutoff point for high altitude cooking. I have not yet made any high altitude adjustments for cooking time but the stuff we have made so far came out perfect. The microwave oven adjusts itself to really cook at settings other than 100% -- i.e. 40% power is really 40% not just high power 40% of the time. This will make a difference cooking some things like oatmeal and eggs, but once you get used to it, it's a good advancement in overall cooking controllability. You know those rotisserie chickens they sell at the grocery store? The gas/convection oven on the freestanding cooktop/oven can cook them as good or better, without injecting them with anything with just the touch of a couple menu buttons. The microwave -- say you want to cook two baked potatoes -- just select the menu item, select two, and hit start. Perfect baked potatoes without even guessing at or entering a time.Our initial impressions of the units are very favorable. If you are purchasing kitchen appliances, definitely take a look at KitchenAid Architect II