Where Have All the Trapper Keeper’s Gone?

     Maybe its the fact that we were more easily entertained at a young age than the kids are today, but it seems as if attention spans are minimal and if it doesn’t plug in, it couldn’t possibly be important enough to claim the attention of our kids. The lack of electronics, I guess, made it an easier time back in the ancient days of the 1980′s and 1990′s. I realized this while taking the kiddos back-to-school shopping.

     Now, keep in mind, there is no way that I would do the clothing portion of the back-to-school ritual, but give me the supply list and I’m golden. While shopping, picking through to find the right colored heavy duty binders it occurred to me, there was not a single Trapper Keeper anywhere to be found. The most magical time before the start up of the new school year was sorting through the dozens of Trapper Keeper patterns to find “the right one”. Don’t get me wrong there were some pretty cool things, like the lunch box that looked and beeped like R2-D2, annoying but still cool. To my dismay, I didn’t find a single scented eraser, or pencil, or even scented markers for that matter. Every kid thinks that going back to school is a drag, and it was things like these that made the dreaded shopping trip for school supplies at least palatable. This brings me back to the what I asked in the opening, where have all the good times gone?

 

Fireglass & Beads

We just received our newest shipment of glass pieces and beads for firepit tables. If you’re looking for a new look for your firepit, come see our new options. They are made by American Fireglass and can also be used indoors with a gas log fireplace. These beads and glass pieces add a really attractive look to your fires!  DCIM100GOPRO

Tornado in Upstate New York

FW_Tough

We extend our sympathies to families affected by deadly tornados that blew through upstate New York.  I was drawn to the story on NBC.com and then zoomed in on their lead photo for the article.  Amid all the destruction is a seemingly undamaged Mira Grand Bahama hot tub.  We’ve had many just like this one on our sales floor so I immediately recognized the model.  It’s truly strange how some things survive  these deadly twisters and some things don’t.  There’s no explaining the force of nature when fully unleashed.  –Max

The End of an Era

     I started here at Eastgate Pools back in 2004, tooling around in a ’93 Mazda 626.  I loved that car until a series of unfortunate axle failures forced me to get something new.  While I received no end of grief for my selection, I bought a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta with 19,000 miles on it.  That was February of 2005.  Nearly 170,000 miles later my Jetta has found a new home and I’ve moved on to a “new to me” 2009 Subaru Forester.  I love the new car, and it is probably a bit more reliable, but that Jetta successfully delivered me to the home of many potential and eventual inground pool buyers.  Now you’ll know to look for something a little different than that old silver Jetta if I’m stopping by.

Water Chemistry Misconceptions

     There is no system that we can put you on to sanitize your pool that requires “no work”. No matter what sanitation program we set you up on, you MUST continue to balance your pH, alkalinity, stabilizer and calcium hardness. This goes for traditional salt systems, simple salt hybrid systems, FROG systems and chlorine tablets.

 

     If you do not keep every other chemical in check, you’re going to run into problems all over the board. If pH is run low for extended periods of time, it becomes corrosive to any metal components on your pool, for instance your pump. Also, when your pH is out of balance, it allows for other items such as copper to fall out of solution and stain your liner. A high pH can cause cloudy water, and a drop in chlorine effectiveness.

 

     If your alkalinity is not balanced, you will have a continuous struggle getting your pH and chlorine to balance out. A low calcium level in your pool can cause pits (holes) in your liner. Where a high calcium level can cause scaling on the liner.

 

     Stabilizer prevents the sun from burning through your chlorine so quickly. If you let it get low, you will not maintain a high enough level of chlorine in your pool. So you will burn through chlorine very fast. On the flip side if stabilizer gets too high you can get into what’s known as chlorine lock. Basically, what chlorine lock is, is when you have chlorine in the water but it is “locked” to where it cannot do anything for the water sanitation.

 

     The best thing to do is come in bi-weekly to get a professional water test done. This way you will have an exact amount and a regiment procedure to keep your pool balanced. Remember, if you work for your pools balance, the pool will work for you.

Independence Day Sale!

Something is stirring in the back offices of Eastgate Pools and Spas. We were all told to be prepared because the big-time sales are coming. With discounted pricing on grills, spas, inground pools and pool toys, we are bound to have something to bring more fun to your 4th of July extravaganzas. We will be here from 10am til 3pm on Friday the 4th to help anyone who needs that last minute pool chemical or porch swing so please come and see us over the holiday and share in the celebration.

Apple Smoked Beef Brisket

The following recipe is for a Kamado Joe ceramic grill but will also work on a Swiss Grill.  On a Swiss Grill, simply dismiss the section on the potatoes, carrots, and onions.

 

Ingredients:

 

5-8 lb. beef brisket

Your favorite marinade (Cajun style recommended for spicy brisket)

Your favorite dry rub

1-cup Apple wood chips

2-3 medium-large sweet potatoes

6-8 small yellow potatoes

2 large sweet white onions

1 small bag of whole, junior-size carrots

¼ cup virgin olive oil

 

The night before cooking, prepare the brisket.  Turn so the fat cap is facing up and trim excess fat, leaving approximately 1/8” of fat.  Once trimmed, score the fat cap in a checkerboard pattern.  Drizzle marinade over both sides of the brisket and rub in. Seal the brisket in plastic wrap or tin foil, then place in the refrigerator over night.  Go to bed and have sweet dreams.

 

On the cooking day, cut onions into moderately large pieces then place in the bottom of a disposable foil pan, approximately 9” x 13”.  Slice sweet potatoes to 1” wide pieces or chunks and quarter yellow potatoes, placing everything on top of the onions.  Mix in carrots, and then pour the olive oil over the entire tray.  Add ¼ cup water.  (Optional:  Mix in a desired amount of whole, stringless green beans near bottom of the tray.  They will cook up country-style—very soft—so if you like your beans crispy or firm, this is not recommended.).

 

Unseal brisket and pat it with a paper towel to remove excess marinade, then sprinkle both sides with your dry rub.  Set the brisket off to the side and let it come to room temperature.

 

Soak 1 cup of apple wood chips in water for ½ hour, then place in then smoker tray. When cooking with the Kamado Joe, place the heat deflector below the main grid and add the grill expander on top.  Prepare your grill by bringing the temperature to approximately 260-265 degrees. (At 265 degrees, plan on 1 hour per pound but keep an eye on the temperature by using a temperature probe.  Smaller, thinner briskets will cook quicker.)  Once the Kamado Joe has stabilized at the desired temperature, put the brisket on the grill expander, fat cap down, making sure the grill’s thermometer probe does not go into the brisket.  Place the tray of mixed potatoes and veggies directly under the brisket on the main grid.  Set the smoker tray on the grid next to the tray then close the lid and relax.

 

Monitor both the brisket and the tray, cooking the brisket to approximately 160-165 degrees and the potato tray for at least three hours.  For a softer texture, leave the tray under the brisket for the entire cooking time.

 

Remove everything then tightly wrap the brisket in tin foil.  Let it set for two hours.   Cover the potato tray in the same fashion.  Remove foil, slice to desired thickness and serve.

 

Important:  It’s all about the temperature so closely monitor the meat’s temperature.  A small temperature variation in the grill will cause it to cook significantly slower or faster.  On a Kamado Joe at 250 degrees, it takes approximately 1 ¼ hour per pound.  At 275 degrees, the brisket will cook much faster at less than 1 hour per pound.  A Swiss Grill uses a more direct heat and will cook faster.

Time to Turn Up the Chlorine

The heat has come and with that comes a necessity for more chlorine. When the sun begins its trek across the summer months your pool will need more chlorine on those weeks of intense UV exposure to the pool. The ultraviolet rays of the sun burn chlorine out of solution at a very fast rate thus requiring more chlorine on a regular basis. For those of you who use salt systems, turn up the cell 10%-20% so that you don’t end up with a moment where no sanitizer is being administered to the system. For customers who use liquid shock and tablets, you will want to open your chlorinators up a notch or two to generate more chlorine flow through the unit and you may want to start shocking the pool a little more frequently. If you shock the pool once every 7-8 days you may want to up the ante and start shocking once every 5 days so the pool doesn’t bloom with algae. Basically, if you have any doubts about the chlorine level in the pool, your safest bet is to test the water for chlorine and if the level is low, shock the pool to keep it from turning green with algae.

I Love the 80′s!

My friends and family can tell you that I am an 80’s FREAK! I love it! Now, I don’t go so far as to dress in those terrible clothes, but I wish I were just a tad bit older during the 80’s, so that I could have enjoyed that decade a little more. I absolutely love 80’s music of all sorts. Hair bands would probably be my favorite genre, but I love them all, even the dreaded pop. The hairstyles absolutely crack me up, and the attached picture is of my older sister and I with her absolutely awful haircut my mom forced upon her. Classic 80’s hair. Hope you all get a kick out of it.

tina

Redlegs Unite!

So, its been a bit of a rocky start for our beloved Reds. They are seemingly having some trouble putting runs on the board and simple errors have been an achilles heel of sorts. Injuries have limited and even benched some of our greatest players and as the season progresses it seems these injuries are beginning to mend.

Aroldis Chapman faced a nasty injury that kept him out for the first few weeks but now that he is back in stride, the “Cuban Missile” has found his proper course. Matt Latos and Joey Votto being on the DL are certainly metaphorical thorns in the side of not just the team, but the city. Latos has been pitching some great games in AAA down in Louisville and hopefully we will see his return soon. Votto’s return is starting to look on the up as well. He began rehab yesterday and we can rest assured that he will make a recovery that gets him on the field close to the All-Star break.

Ultimately, we need to stay united as a team and as a city. We can not let the bad games and injuries get us down. We have a lot of guys who are producing at a very high level. Billy Hamilton gets on base every night and if you put him on first he will be on third 2 pitches later. Mesoraco has been solid with his bat and, as of late, has made some significant defensive plays. Hopefully he can keep this defensive display on the positive end to meet his bat power. If we can stay united as a city the hope is that the team will maintain this same unity.

P.S. – Pete Rose was asked to Manage a Bridgeport, CT baseball team that has no association with Major League Baseball. Is this a step in the direction of forgiveness? We may never know. But, it’s kind of nice to see Mr. Rose in a uniform again.

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