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September, 2007:

The fershlugginer bathroom light

We have one of those circular fluorescent bathroom lights in our main bathroom (right now our only bathroom upstairs, as we are re-tiling the master bath) When the light started strobing, I thought– no problem, I’ll just replace the bulb. And that’s when I ran into problems.

I tried to unscrew the glass part of the light– but it didn’t want to come off– but the metal plate underneath seemed to unscrew– so I thought– maybe the whole piece comes off. Well it did, but it wasn’t supposed to . So now I’ve got the light hanging from its wire and its electric.

There’s no electric box up top– just wires coming from the ceiling. And the plaster is crumbling, and not so solid. And it turned out that the collar that holds the light into the thing it’s screwed into isn’t installed properly (all the screws are lying in the light fixture, not a good sign) And meanwhile, there is a ground wire (I think that may or may not have been plugged into something, but it isn’t now, and it’s an open wire.

So I take an electrical collar and tape up that wire. I re-install the collar correctly, so there is some support. I tighten the collar so it’s in the right place, I line up the holes to attach the plate to the collar and… nothing. I could not line up the holes. For like an hour I tried to put it together, cursing like a sailor the entire time. At one point I saw the hole, but I lost the screw!

I was so frustrated. I went to the hardware store to buy a new fixture, but bought a new bulb and a couple of screws with nuts to put the screws in first, and then line it all up. I managed to do it on one side and attached the light more or less securely.

I changed the bulb, and the spring clamp of the bulb broke as I was putting it back in, so I had to electrical tape it in place.

And the light works, although I must have bought a cheaper circular fixture, as the light is not very good– so I still need to replace the bulb.

I think we’ll hold off for a bit, and then bring in a REAL electrician to put a box in the ceiling and replace the light fixture to something a little nicer– and maybe with a fan!

When things happen like that, and I end up spending an hour frustrated by what should be a simple task, and something that any moron should be able to do– it’s when I think my parents might have been right-

When I was a kid, my parents also used to say “Your no good with your hands– work with your head, and hire people to work with their hands.” Of course, I became a clown in rebellion– but there are moments when I wish I’d become an electrician or a plumber. Now I seriously think I’m no good with my hands partially because my parents told me that– although that’s not the only reason.
I am not particularly good– partially because I don’t have the experience, and partially because I don’t have the chops. If I became an electrician or a plumber, I’d have to work twice as hard as everybody else to get it right. And figuring numbers in my head, or solving complicated logic problems, or talking to people— that stuff is for me, easy.

Yonkers Riverfest and X20

We went and partook of an annual event at Yonkers– the Yonkers Riverfest— five stages of musicians, lots of people, street food, crafts etc. And it’s all free to attend!

Considering the scale of the thing, it was kind of podunk. While they had huge amounts of bands, and a fair amount of people– (The local newspaper estimated 20-30,000 people) the organization seemed haphazard, there were no directions as to what was going on and where anything was happening. They were accepting performers and crafts vendors up until nearly the very end of the performance.

We got there relatively late 6:15, and the parking was a bit of a problem, but my parking kharma kicked in, and we ended up getting a street spot about a block from the festival. We walked around for a bit, sampling some of the music stages, and looking at the street food– there were lots of empty tables where vendors either left or were never brought in.

The music was fine, we saw a little bit of a jazz/funk band, a blues band, and at the end of the night, just a bit of the headlining act Blood, Sweat and Tears (but featuring one of the guys from Three Dog Night)

We were hungry and nearly ate at the Big Bird booth (it’s a soul food place on Nepperhan Ave which we drive by a lot but never ventured in) But we decided instead to try our luck at X20, the Peter X. Kelley restaurant right on the waterfront. (Peter won the Iron Chef title recently, beating out Bobby Flay– his restaurant in Yonkers had been five years in the making, and he recently opened it) We weren’t sure if they would serve us (I had shorts, we weren’t dressed up) but we were not the worst dressed people there. The restaurant tables were all full or reserved, but they serve a full menu in the Dylan Lounge, their bar. We got there at just the right time, and picked up a seat at their extra tall communal table. The bar was beautifully appointed, with some great views of the George Washington Bridge.

It was expensive but worth it– and we were happy we went to the bar. We ended up getting four appetizers — the ravioli with short ribs, foie gras, and truffle butter (incredibly rich and decadent), the chilled pea soup with sashimi scallop submerged (we had the scallop served on the side, and I ate it, as S doesn’t eat fish– the pea soup was great and served in a bowl of ice, so that it stayed cold, and the raw scallop was delicious), the roasted cauliflower with brown butter and panco (very good, although the butter wasn’t quite brown enough), and the tuna/mango/lychee salad– also good, and served beautifully, but not very much tuna (and not served over lettuce, so how is that a salad?) We also had two desserts, a delicious cheese plate (a spoonful of epoises, and le petit basque– two very nice cheeses, and a creme brulee which was served with a bitter chocolate cake over a hard-caramel pedestal– also served beautifully.

The service was a little uneven– we didn’t get our roll until the dessert menu, they tried to take away the soup before we were finished, but other empty dishes languished, and the desserts (and bill) took forever (although the appetizers, and our neighbors entrees seemed to come right out) The plates were all beautiful (they even had a tiny bowl for the one scallop)

Sitting at the communal table was kind of fun– we ended up chatting a little with our seatmates, and talking about other restaurants in the area.

All in all, it was a great date night, and not bad from a price perspective (it ended up costing us $66 + tip) — the entrees were in the $25-30 range, and we had a much wider selection of food. They also have a sashimi/sushi bar that looked great to just kind of hang out at.

Their website is http://www.xaviars.com/yonkers/

We took some photographs, and here they are….