Run Those Pipes!

Warming-the-ceiling-soffit-with-my-blow-dryer

Previously published in The Wave.

Happy Birthday Matt!! On my husband’s birthday, which also happens to be New Years Day, we get a text from our tenants, “So strange, our water isn’t working.” “What?!!? Turn on all the faucets – hot and cold!” I went into red alert mode, grabbed a blow dryer and extension cord and ran upstairs. I tried to find access to the pipes but there were no major lines exposed. My husband spent the next hour or so trying to figure out where their pipes were in our ceiling and where they ended in the basement.

We had no choice but to open up a few holes in the ceiling. If the pipe burst, it would be far more expensive than patching up sheetrock. A few holes turned into a few large sections of  drywall removed in our bedroom and kitchen. I poured the wine – it was New Year’s day after all. We taped a blow dryer to the ceiling where the pipes ran from the upstair apartment and hoped for the best. A few hours later, the water started running!  Our ceiling wouldn’t come crashing down over our bed while we were sleeping and our understanding tenants could shower before work the next day! Crisis mode over but we needed to fix the issue for good.

Opening-the-sheerock-above-the-bed,-eek!

The frozen pipes were  located near the roof where the first floor extends. Meaning, there was no second floor protection above those pipes. If your water pipes are 6 inches from the exterior and it’s below freezing for a few days, insulation or not, they will freeze. Over the next few days Matt and our handyman friend Chris moved the pipes, added insulation and set up an electric water pipe heat cable for safe measure. This is a mechanism that coils around  water pipes and heats them when plugged in. To use this, we put air vents in the ceiling so we have easy access to the area, if we needed to plug the cable in incase of another issue.

An interesting thing I Iearned through all this is in some cases hot water freezes before cold. I couldn’t understand why our tenants hot water took longer to thaw than the cold. I did some research, this phenomenon is called the Mpemba effect, named after a Tanzanian student  in 1960 who observed in his cooking class that a hot ice cream mix freezes faster than a cold mix! There’s conflicting research in the scientific world about why this happens and the Mpemba affect is still being debated.

I know a few other friends in Rockaway that had their pipes freeze up. Word to the wise, if we get another bomb cyclone, keep all your faucets dribbling, the moving water will prevent freezing pipes!

Chris's-head-in-the-ceiling

grams of the week – jan 8

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!

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The Bomb Cyclone is the theme of this weeks grams of the week. Here’s Cookie using her new Cat Cave Bed which I got her for Christmas. It’s made from sheep’s wool, so warm!

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My friends Dave and Anna made some good old comfort food the day after the storm, thx u! There’s nothing like homemade pizza (drooooolllll).

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My parents took me to Bungalow Bar  for a prebirthday lunch (thats right!!!!!). Before I walked in, I spotted this frozen bike and had to snap a pic. Despite the cold outside, inside Bungalow Bar is warm and toasty because they have a wood burning stove. The food was great as always. I had the portabella burger with a side salad (I reluctantly subbed for fries). And we ordered the spinach artichoke dip to start which is seriously legit.

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Being stuck inside because its freezing outside means plenty of time to cook. I made this spice cumin dressing which is a spin-off of this recipe. I’ll have to get this on the blog but generally the dressing is: 1 part white vinegar, 1 part red vinegar, 1 juiced lemon. The rest, extra virgin olive oil. I use and love Colavita. Wisk the oil in slowly. 2 garlic cloves loosely chopped. 1 teaspoon cumin. Salt-and-pepper and oregano. 2 tablespoons mustard.

 

tagged in instagram, winter

I met Fran Drescher, twice.

I'm-beside-myself!
I’m beside myself!

Previously published in The Wave.

She’s fabulous from head to toe. She’s hilarious, caring, successful, inspiring and everything in between. And she’s from Queens. I want to be just like her. My father-in-law Jerry gifted me Fran Drescher’s 1996 autobiography Enter Whining. It reminded me of my two extremely fortunate encounters with the flashy girl from Flushing.

My friend Katie Honan and I were out to lunch in the city at [undisclosed location]. We heard whispers that Fran Drescher was scheduled to have lunch there. Wild luck! We were already seated and needed to wait for her arrival but had know idea what time she would appear. We kept ordering course after course. I think it took us 45 minutes to finish our espresso and sambuca. It was getting really awkward with our waiter by this point. Just as we were about to lose hope, she walked in. Fran looked so fine. She was wearing a satin purple and black floral sweetheart dress that fit perfectly. Her hair was straight and to my surprise her makeup was understated. She was glowing and smiling ear to ear. We stood up and approached her. It seemed like a blur. I don’t remember exactly what we said but I remember Katie taking the lead and being smooth, closing with “Can we take a picture together?” Fran responded “Come here girls.” and we took the picture that cemented the moment forever in time! We spent way to much money on lunch but it was worth every cent to meet my idol.

The second meeting with Fran Drescher was very different. It was 2013, only a year  after my first encounter.  My friend Jen Carlson, Editorial Director of the now defunct Gothamist (so messed up!) asked if I wanted to interview Fran Drescher. She knew how much I idolized the Queen of Queens (an incredibly kind jester!). This was a once in a lifetime opportunity!  (Twice in  lifetime?) I had to say yes, but an interview?!? I was beyond nervous.

After beating uterine cancer in 2000 and undergoing a hysterectomy, Fran Drescher founded Cancer Schmancer, a charity that is focused on the preventative aspects of cancer awareness.   Fran was holding a promotional event for the charity at the bar SEN NYC.  My job was to get information on her favorite New York (hopefully Jewish related) restaurants, food joints or bagel shops. I needed very “New York-y” content. I remember that day at work, I didn’t design a thing. I wrote out my questions and researched Fran all day. Then I  rewrote my questions and made several trips to the bathroom so I could pace back and forth and freak out in private.

I had a plus one so I brought my photographer friend Susanne. We had 10 minutes for the interview. I needed a drink at the bar to calm my nerves. Then it came time. I introduced myself and I’m sure she could tell I was starstruck. We continued chatting and I calmed slightly. It was hard to get a word in!  Fran was so passionate about her charity Cancer Schmancer. She began talking about removing carcinogens from our homes. “Be very careful when you brush your teeth girls”, Fran Drescher cautioned us! “Why?” “Because normal toothpaste is full of carcinogens!”  She listed several common items that might be of concern: cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, household cleaners and your couch! The clock was ticking, I tried to get some answers to my list of questions but in the end it wasn’t enough for a good NYC foodie article. We did get photos with the Queen of Queens! Fran was so adorable. “Let’s take a few and make sure we all look fabulous” she said. It was a dream come true experience to meet Fran Drescher… twice!

Now if I can only meet Dolly Parton, Billy Joel, Lil Bub and Pope Francis (in no particular order),  I can die a happy woman.

tagged in memories

Cats & Coffee

Pickle-enjoying-a-cup!

Pickle havin’ a cup! Photo by Alex Tween

Previously published in The Wave.

We will truly never understand the mysterious minds of cats. Among the many enigmas of feline behavior is their apparent love of coffee. I first noticed this when my friend Alex started texting me pictures of his adorable football-shaped kitty Pickle (also known as Mrs. Tween) trying to get her big furry head into a paper coffee cup! Polliwog, the kitten I bottle fed and fostered and my cat Fivey have also licked the cup a few times. But are cats and coffee a  thing? I consulted the dark corners of the Catnet and came across a multitude of corroboratory anecdotes.

cat and coffee

But why, catlings, why? I’ve come up with a few theories of my own.

  • Cats have about fourteen times as many olfactory sensory glands than humans do. Have you ever seen your cat smell something, then open its mouth to a strange halfway position? When you see this, your cat is using a special organ dedicated to smelling call the vomeronasal organ (Jacobson’s organ). According to cathealth.com, “Odors are inhaled to the tongue, the lip is slightly curled, and the tongue is rubbed on the roof of the mouth. Then the mouth, nose, and vomeronasal organ in some way allows the animal to sense the essence of the flavor and scent in a way that we do not have the capacity to experience.” Maybe cats are attracted to coffee for the same reason we are. Because of it’s wonderful aroma and taste.
  • Cats have a “bitter tooth”. A study published in the journal PLOS One found that cats have 12 different receptors in their tongues for bitter taste. Seven being highly active. Coffee is bitter– simple as that right? Actually, the reason cats can taste bitterness is for their protection. Felines are hard-wired to know that  poisonous plants, snakes and frogs for example taste bitter. Infact, coffee in large amounts is harmful and could even be fatal to your cat! A few curious licks of coffee is fine though. I would recommend getting an adorable picture of your cat slurping your coffee for Instagram and then take it away!  Sometime we all want things that aren’t good for us.
  • Cats like coffee because they’re weird and do strange things.

It gets more unusual! Coffee isn’t the only human delight cats like. Besides the obvious meat/fish/chicken it’s known that cats like to eat bread of all types, olives, popcorn, watermelon and ice cream. Veterinarians believe these odd food choices are appealing to cats for different reasons. Cats are attracted to food not only because of  aroma but because of the shapes and textures. Your cat may be eating watermelon not for it’s sweet taste (they have minimal sweet taste buds) but for watermelons water content (your cat is thirsty). My cat Fiver loves popcorn! This makes sense because corn meal is a common ingredient in dry cat food. That said, I wouldn’t’ start giving your cat ice cream or any of these foods! It’s best for them to stick to their natural carnivorous diet.

Poliwog-wanting-pasta

Poliwog  Wanting Pasta

 

tagged in cats, coffee