Wednesday, December 19, 2007

reading the fine print

Between the car and my flickering, fading cell phone, I'm spending a lot of time reading customer contracts.

Try this, on my cell phone:

Our Right To Suspend Or Terminate Services
We can, without notice, suspend or terminate any Service at any time for any reason, including, but not limited to: (a) late payment; (b) exceeding an Account Spending Limit (“ASL”); (c) harassing/threatening our employees or agents; (d) providing false information; (e) interfering with our operations; (f) using/suspicion of using Services in any manner restricted by or inconsistent with the Agreement; (g) breaching the Agreement, including our Policies; (h) providing false, inaccurate, dated or unverifiable identification or credit information, or becoming insolvent or bankrupt; (i) modifying a Device from its manufacturer specifications; or (j) if we believe the action protects our interests, any customer’s interests or our network.

Translation? Tick us off in any way, and we will take revenge. Remind me not to graffiti any cell towers, hm?

Or try this, on the insurance assessment of our poor car:
car is not driveable, suggesting tow to nearest facility for repair.

Well, now, that seems sensible. But it made the tow guy laugh: you could absolutely drive this car! They're just setting you up for more fees. I thought this over. Or maybe there's a lawyer eyeing the potential liability of telling me that I could drive? The tow guy nodded, wisely.

But you've got me. The car rental guy wrote me a contract for $29.97 per day. The insurance guy says they are paying $30 per day. Who is right? Frankly, I have a contract that says I'm only paying $29.97/day, and I'm sticking with that. But oh, that fine print...

The Fine Print Dinner

At the end of a long day full of haggling, this is a fast, cheap meal that only barely meets nutritional standards. Translation: kids love it.

6 potatoes, cubed
1 broccoli crown/3 handfuls broccoli spears
1 cup pitted green olives
5 cloves garlic
olive oil as needed
1 package cold cuts (we use Empire's chicken/turkey bologna, since it's dairy/corn/wheat free), sliced into strips/cubes/small anatomically correct dwarves. You choose.
1 handful parsley, chopped up
vinaigrette dressing, very well shaken (our favorite is here)

Toss potato cubes into water and boil. Shortly before the 'taters are ready, toss in the broccoli. When broccoli turns bright green, drain potatoes and broccoli - but reserve a little potato water, perhaps 3 Tb. Dump potatoes, broccoli and water into a big bowl.

Meanwhile, saute the garlic in a little oil, and then add bologna. Sizzle together a bit - you want the bologna (or lunch meat of choice) to brown a bit. Add some coarse black pepper. (You don't need much in the way of spices, since your dressing is providing that for you.) Dump into potato-broccoli mix, and don't forget to scrape the pan for the nice brown-y bits!

Stir gently to combine (potatoes will collapse under rough handling at this point), and add remaining ingredients.

Tip: tossing potatoes with dressing while they are hot really, truly lets the dressing's flavor saturate the potatoes. By keeping the potato water, you are making the potato salad more saucy and less oily.

Optional: replace bologna with sausage. Add an onion (sauteed). Replace green olives with kalamata - really, there's lots of wiggle room here. Just remember the recipe math: starch (potaotes) plus crisp veg (broccoli) plus salt (olives) plus flavor bridge (dressing). So, you could try fresh zucchini or summer squash instead of broccoli, or green beans. You could add some fennel seeds to the garlic-bologna mix, you could, you could, you could... and if it works, let me know!


Auntie A said...

Mmm, recipe sounds yummy. Must try that one.

Have you dug out from the snow? We got our big blizzard on Sunday, but it's actually raining now so the huge piles are melting.

Sorry to hear about your car :(


mama o' the matrices said...

we did dig out from the snow, but then it snowed again. We redug, and now it's dripping today!

Who knows what's next...