Cinderella Slippers!

I’m not a big basketball fan, but this time of year it’s easy to become one. It also seems that every year it is a foregone conclusion going into the tournament that there is one team that cannot be beaten and will win it all. With that said though it normally seems that there are teams that is determined to upset the apple cart. Other times the team of destiny has it’s luck cut short by injury, remember Kenyon Martin? Long story short there are not many times of year where sport gets more interesting than in the end of March.

Off-Season Fun

Over my many years in the pool business, I have answered the question many times as to what I do during the slower fall and winter months. The answer is always the same, and that is I prepare for the next season. Whether ordering product, checking incoming orders, preparing pricing or training with my coworkers to stay up to date with product knowledge, there is always plenty to do. But I must say, this off season has been strange and sometimes very frustrating due to a situation that received very little news coverage, at least very little in comparison to the great affect it had on the USA’s economy.
The “situation” as I referred to it, was the 9-month long battle of wills carried out by west coast dockworkers and the west coast port owners. Production slowdowns, lockouts, and all around animosity seemed to be all the rage. Meanwhile, containers of agricultural products spoiled, ships had to anchor at sea for weeks as they couldn’t be unloaded, and the American economy took a giant hit. I won’t even attempt to point fingers at one side or the other or suggest whether the Federal Government timed their involvement properly, I will just say as a small business person, it sure did stink to get caught in someone else’s fight. Shipments that normally take 4 weeks took two to three times longer, greatly increased freight rates, and very few solid answers from shippers were all regular occurrences this off season. I for one welcome spring not only for the better weather, but also for the end of an off season that felt like I was just along for a ride I could not control. Here’s to the new 5-year contract and hopefully 5 upcoming off seasons without all of these shipping worries!

March Madness is HERE!!!

I know it doesn’t look like it outside, but March Madness is here!! This by far, to me, is the greatest sports month of the year!! The Reds are in spring training, NASCAR has started again, free agent signings for our beloved Bengals!! But the best thing is College basketballnatl-champs-60-61 and the run to the Final Four!! I take off work for the first weekend of the tournament because I don’t want to miss the great shots, great players, buzzer beaters and of course the Cinderella teams that make a run!! I am a HUGE Bearcat fan, and while not much is expected from them in the tourney, nothing would be sweeter than seeing them survive and advance!! For all of the Cincinnati, Xavier, Kentucky fans out there you have to agree with me that this is the best time of the year right?

Home and Garden Show

The first several years I worked for Eastgate Pools & Spas we were always a fixture at the Home and Garden Show here in Cincinnati. While you likely have noticed we haven’t been there in recent years I think it is important to understand why. We decided we could do more for our customers here by working with our manufacturers and not spending the extra money on booth space. It is just that simple. I think if you attend the show and stop in here you’ll see that our focus is clearly on offering the best values in the Cincinnati market across all of our product categories. There are plenty of expensive options out there and there are plenty of low priced options out there, but the key is providing value and I really believe we provide that for our customers more than any other retailer. I encourage you all to do some comparison shopping and I think you’ll agree.

Hard Water Problem?

This water that I’m talking about isn’t coming out of the tap at my house, it’s the hard water that is covering each and every place to fish. Normally by this time of year Lake Isabella has stocked the trout, and my son and I have had the chance to pull one or more Lake Isabellafish out, but not as of yet this year. I know my son is chomping at the bit to get out this season as evidenced by the fact that when I got home last night he had his tackle box in his room going through what he thought would be the best baits to use to catch the previously mentioned trout. I know that soon enough it will be time to wet a line, but that time is not getting here quickly enough.

Spring has sprung

It’s that time EastTentof year again, if you can believe it.  Even now there is still a small amount of snow left to melt, we have started to put up our tents with close out and demo outdoor patio furniture.  Just to name a few vendors under the tents: Telescope Casual, Tropic Garden, Berlin Gardens, and Agio. If it’s a demo that means we only have the one left so these sets will not last forever.

How tubs can be useful for all species

hottubbing_cow_1425746008225_14591782_ver1.0_640_480
Indiana farmer uses hot tub to save baby bovine found in pile of snow

http://www.wcpo.com/news/state/state-indiana/indiana-farmer-uses-hot-tub-to-save-baby-bovine-found-in-pile-of-snow

Safety Covers

Been thinking about a safety cover for the in-ground pool…?

Here’s a good reason to have one. This is a picture of our pool lot. Somewhere under that snow is an in-ground pool. PoolLot Now, imagine this is your home and your backyard. It just looks like a yard covered in snow, eh?

We could stand everyone that works here on top of this pool’s cover and they would be safe. –Max

Like meatloaf? Try this one.

I’ve never been a gourmet griller but when we started carrying the Kamado Joe ceramic grills, I was our first customer. I’ve always liked southern-style barbeque and this was my opportunity to get better on a grill and to satisfy my taste buds at the same time. Not to turn this into an ad for Kamado Joe, but I’ll admit that I am now fully hooked on this grill. I’ve done ribs that rival any of the famous steak houses, 8 lb. briskets, 7 lb. Boston Butt Pork roasts, stews, and of course regular steaks, chops, and chicken breasts. But I found a recipe for meatloaf and upon study I thought I could make it even better. The resulting? Moist, spicy, smoky, and very tasty meatloaf that I will make again. Soon. Don’t have a ceramic grill? We can help on that one too but you can also do this on a regular grill. Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 20 minutes—tops.
Cooking time—2 hrs or less.20150207_164510

Ingredients:

2.5 lb ground beef
1 lb sausage. Don’t do spicy. You won’t need it.
1 lb. ground veal.
5 TBS finely chopped sweet onion
2 TBS powdered barbeque seasoning.
3 TBS Hein 57
2 eggs.
6 oz. of chunk cheddar cheese, cut into pieces about the size of peas or beans
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 package of thin sliced bacon. And don’t you dare use that turkey stuff!

Mix everything in a large bowl, except for the bacon. Make sure the seasoning is not all clumped together. Form it into two evenly sized loaves, then place in a throw-away tin pan or meatloaf pan. Layer the bacon over the loaves, letting the pieces overlap about 1/3 of the way. One package covers both loaves with no leftover. (The bacon does not go under the loaves.)

Light lump charcoal and when the coals are ready add the heat deflector. Slowly bring the Kamado Joe temperature to 350-375. Remember, it is easier to get it hotter than to try and cool it off.

Cook at 350-375 degrees for about two hours or until you reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove and let stand for about 15 minutes then remove from the foil pans.

Eat, enjoy, and repeat. –Max

Hang In There

Hang in There. Warmer Weather is Just Around the Corner…

Almost forty years ago I was in Central America and picked up a copy of the Central American version of Time magazine. There was a blurb in the back titled “If winter comes, can spring training be far behind?”

I’ve always remembered this because it is true. Spring training is just around the corner and that means that warm weather is too. I say bring it on. I’m tired of this crappy winter weather. –Max

Football Fan

I am a football fan. I admit I am a Bengals fan, but moreover I am a football fan. If football is on TV, I am watching it: high school, college, or pro. I will watch college basketball, but not with the same intent as I follow football. You see the same fade to darkness every year. The twilight starting with the college bowls picking teams, followed by the award winners being announced. Once the twilight has faded to late evening the fun begins in earnest, the same way it does on Fourth of July. The NFL playoff picture begins to clarify, college bowl season runs it’s course of over 30 games in under 2 weeks. After those 2 weeks, once the teams have been determined, the NFL playoffs lead up to the crowning of the champion of the game that cannot be named. But once the crown has been laid upon the champion’s head all must go dormant for 5 months. Maybe this is why I am such a fan of football, it is like the seasonal cycle here in Cincinnati where all of the plants are silenced for roughly 5 months to only then re-emerge.

Alas, pitchers and catchers report next month. On to baseball! –Chris

Festivus

It’s that time of year once again for my favorite holiday. I believe that the main focus points of Festivus are the same as all of us keep to ourselves during this holiday season; Airing of grievances, the things that drive us nuts are aloud to be Festivus_pole_lotsaid instead of withheld. Feats of strength, granted this normally ends when the younger males in the family get above 25 years of age, but there is normally another generation waiting in the wings. The Festivus pole, a galvanized steel pole in a bucket of concrete, this never really goes bad and should never need to be replaced. I understand there is no real historical nor religious backgrounds for this holiday, but hey if it is good enough for Frank Costanza I’m aboard.
Chris

So is it ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?

I know that some people are offended when someone wishes them happy holidays. As for me, I don’t care. I personally prefer Merry Christmas but it boils down to this:

I appreciate any and all sentiments meant to wish me well in this holiday season. I cannot envision ever getting ticked off at someone that is simply wishing me well. I will not take it as a personal affront to my Christianity as I am sure it is not being intended that way.

So no matter what you choose to celebrate, here’s to it being safe, filled with friends and family, and merry happiness.

Happy holidays!
Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukah!
Happy Kwanzaa!

Seasonal Products

As everyone is aware, Eastgate Pools & Spas is largely a seasonal business.
Well, we are into the new season and we have products for
the now as well. groupfamily3If you are cold, how about a hot tub? Soaking
your sore body in a steaming hot tub will warm you up.

Are you cold inside the house? How about an Infinity or EdenPURE™ infrared room heater? infinityheateredenpureheater
They produce even and efficient heat and will keep
you warm while saving you money.

Is all the staying warm inside boring the heck out of you? Then come in and check out our billiard department.
cascadeWhether you need a billiard table to entertain the family and guests, or you already have a billiard table and are looking for new accessories,
come and check us out. Customers come from all over Cincinnati just to
look for the billiard accessory they couldn’t find elsewhere.

GEOCACHING

GEOCACHING- A MODERN TWIST ON SCAVENGER HUNTING

Geocaching is an outdoor activity, in which participants use a GPS device
and other navigating techniques to hide and seek containers, called
“geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world. Basically, you download a
geocaching app, I use my smartphone, and it will locate caches that are
near you. Then, you drive closer to them, get out and start walking, using
the GPS to direct you where to go. Unfortunately you usually don’t really
know exactly what you’re looking for. Some are very large and you get to
take things out of the cache and replace it with something of yours. Some
are very tiny (called micros) and may or may not even have paper inside
for you to sign in that you have located it. You also log it into the app
that you found it, and then you put the cache back exactly where you found
it for the next person.

This is an exciting (to me) activity for me to kill some time and get
outdoors for a little while. My seven year old also loves it! We keep a
backpack in my car full of different supplies such as Ziploc baggies,
pens, and small toys or collectibles. I have also found two trackables.
With these you go online and put in the tracking number to see where it
was started and how it got to your location. It’s pretty neat, I encourage
you all that are capable to give it a try. Keep calm and cache on!

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