Portable Air Conditioner

Clematis2

After an exceedingly drizzly and cooler-than-average spring, summer suddenly arrived about a week ago in a whoosh of hot air. Here in southeast Pennsylvania we went from early spring to mid-summer like bada-bing bada-bang and let there be 90 degrees!

When the weather gets warm the thoughts of many people, including Mrs. Working Stiff, turn to air conditioning. Our house has central air of course, but while the first floor will be pretty much whatever temperature we tell the thermostat to maintain, the upstairs is another matter entirely.  A warmer matter.  Our master bedroom is fairly large and has three windows facing roughly north.  That room can really heat up over the course of a long sunny day.  We can feel the AC coming out of the registers, but simply not with enough power to really cool the room.  So, like many homes in the same development as the Chateau Working Stiff, we install a window unit for the summer.  The window unit does a pretty good job of cooling the room down for sleep-time.  Also, I’ve moved it back and forth between our third window and its winter home in the garage enough times now that it really isn’t an ordeal.  (Let’s not sugar-coat it, it’s all relative.  Anyone who has ever installed a window AC unit knows that it isn’t exactly high on the Fun-O-Meter!) read more

Oven Baked Pancake

pancake_1

An old friend reminded me yesterday not to slack off on the Working Stiff blog, and I realized that I have been, though not intentionally. For much of the past few weeks I’ve been doing some concentrated study for two exams that I finally took (and passed!) last Tuesday.  So now my memory is all refreshed on binary numbers vs. hexadecimal, IP address formats, and the various speeds in gigahertz of the most common Wi-Fi transmission configurations.

Now that I’ve passed the exams and I’ll soon be getting a plastic card in the mail that says so, I can begin right away to forget most of that stuff.   Over the last few weeks I did also learn something really useful – how to make this fantastic oven-baked pancake! read more

More Roadside Americana – The White Horse Pike

whitehorse1

Before the Atlantic City Expressway was completed in 1965, linking the Philadelphia metropolitan area at the west end with Atlantic City and the Garden State Parkway in the east, a driver wanting to make such a trip had fewer and slower choices. There were however, (and still are), two much older roads that roughly connect the Camden / Philadelphia area with the Atlantic City area.  The White Horse Pike and The Black Horse Pike are roughly parallel with the White Horse to the north of the AC Expressway and the Black Horse to the south of it.  At the eastern end where they cross the Parkway and start to find their way into Atlantic City they are about four or five miles apart, with the Expressway in between.  In the west, as all three roads approach Camden and Philadelphia, they are farther apart as they merge with various other roads and disappear into the approach to the Delaware River Bridges and other points around the big city. read more

The Big Day is Here!

the big day_1

Yes – Sunday February 7th – at last the big day is here!  Grocery stores have been selling stacks of party trays, tons of chips and salsa, all manner of custom cakes, and cases and cases of beer.   Millions of excited people are eager with anticipation for the events of today.

Yes, here it is finally, dear hundred million fans – the big event is here at last – the new weekly blog post from The Working Stiff!! (Taking deep bow.)

What – you were thinking of something else? How could you be! read more

Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA

Peddlars Village 11152015 020

Today has been a beautiful fall day and a perfect day for a trip about 15 miles up the road to Peddler’s Village.

We first discovered Peddler’s Village, in Lahaska, PA, as a pleasant stopover on our way to or from the historic town of New Hope, which is perhaps 5 miles farther to the east on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, opposite Lambertville, New Jersey.  New Hope is a historic town full of cafes, art galleries, and all sorts of interesting and unusual shops.  Mr. and Mrs. Working Stiff, along with friends and family have many times taken the 30-minute drive there for lunch, dinner, shopping, or just a pleasant stroll with an ice cream cone.  We are overdue for a trip to New Hope along the river and I’ll plan to write about that soon. read more

Cape May Winery

IMG_5321_Fotor

We visited Cape May, New Jersey over the first weekend of October to attend my high school reunion. It was a busy weekend full of visiting both friends and family and as always trying to do a bit of touristy wandering as well.

Though we didn’t make it there this particular weekend, one of our favorite things to do when in the area is to visit the Cape May Winery on Town Bank Road, maybe a half mile west of Seashore Road. It is a beautiful establishment built around a very professional operation that also happens to create some really high quality, delicious wines! It is owned and operated by Toby Craig and his family, who also run Lucky Bones and The Washington Inn, which are two of Cape May’s most popular and successful restaurants. A fine gourmet shop on the Washington Street Mall – “Love The Cook,” is also a Craig family establishment and is a great place to “shop” into whilst strolling the mall.     (Full disclosure that the Craig family and my own family have been friends for years but I wouldn’t rave about their work if they weren’t really good at what they do!) read more

Block Island Dining

Poor People's Pub
Poor People’s Pub

Let’s put our cards on the table here. Mr. and Mrs. Working Stiff are not “foodies” by any stretch. Anyone who knows us knows that. Our tastes are fairly simple and lean towards “pub food” or possibly “comfort food”. By no stretch of the imagination are we candidates for a “chef’s table” sort of restaurant or for ordering the “Chef’s Surprise”!

That being said, we do like to dine out and do so frequently. We do like a quality, well prepared meal, but just simple stuff for the most part. Also, in part because The Working Stiff himself worked for 21 consecutive seasons (dishwasher, pantry help, busboy, waiter, valet parker, cashier), at a seashore resort fine-dining establishment in Cape May, NJ, we are very respectful of all food-service and bar workers. read more

Blue Lizard

Another shameless plug for a travel accessory that we have really used on numerous trips and has proven itself to be worthy of our high esteem.

Mrs. Working Stiff is of Irish descent and has a very fair complexion that she goes to great lengths to protect from potential sun damage. She is always researching the latest technologies to help her enjoy being outside in tropical climes (or Pennsylvania and the Jersey shore in the summer for that matter!) Through her I have learned over the years about special clothing with SPF protection, and a laundry additive that adds some level of SPF protection to otherwise ordinary clothing. I have learned about such things as rash guards and have learned that some beach umbrellas offer SPF protection and some don’t. (I just thought a beach umbrella gave you some shade.) read more

Cool Off Man!

This is a shameless plug, but only because we really use these things and they are fantastic! These Cool Off Towelettes are available in various quantities.  If you buy them in bulk the price really goes down.

ebay 07162015 009

They are a small towelette in a little foil packet, not unlike the ones the BBQ joint gives you with your rack of ribs, except cooler. They are infused with a combination of witch hazel, aloe vera, alcohol, and numerous other ingredients that cause an immediate cooling effect on your skin when you wipe it on. When you are all hot and sweaty after a few hours on the beach, or just from strolling around or doing whatever on a hot day, tear one of these open and wipe it around the back of your neck, behind the ears, crook of your arm, behind the knees – wherever you like. The sensation is similar to wiping down with a cool towel and stays with you for 10 or 20 minutes. It won’t change the weather but it can really help you transition from the beach to the restaurant, or a hot walk in the sun to a cooler ride home in the car. We don’t travel anywhere in hot weather without a few of these handy. read more