Noodle Nut

I am a self-proclaimed noodle nut, I just love a good pasta dish and it has been that way my entire life. My favorite is fresh angel hair with homemade pesto sauce and either grilled shrimp or parmesan-crusted chicken breast. My favorite restaurant, The Noodle Cafe in Wilmette sadly closed while I was in Arizona this winter. However I got a chance at my favorite meal when Kuochun and I took a trip to Evanston Wednesday night to deliver the jewelry for the caravan. Kuochun's procedure was the next day and he had to fast after midnight so he wanted a good meal beforehand.

Kuochun and I worked in the IT department for a professional liability insurance company in downtown Evanston, this is where we met. I started with the company in 1992 and he came along in 1996. He lived in Chinatown and later moved to Mundelein, I was in Vernon Hills. Right from the start he was such a good friend. It was wonderful to have an ally with all of the office politics swirling around us.

Several of the other department members would go out for lunch at a different restaurant every day. They had their routine - Thai Sook Dee one day, Chinese another and Dave's Italian Kitchen yet another. I never went for lunch with the group but did go to Dave's a few times. Several years ago he moved to a smaller location in north Evanston and renamed the restaurant Dave's New Kitchen. Kuochun and I met up there when we both happened to be in the area sometime before the pandemic and loved it. I suggested we try it again since we would be nearby. We observed a couple finishing up their meal but there was no one else in the dining room. However the phone consistently rang with carryout orders. I ordered the pesto pasta with shrimp. Dave makes his pesto with walnuts which to me is just as good as with pine nuts. The shrimp was great, perfectly done. However by the time I got towards the bottom of the bowl, there was a lot of oil which was unappealing. Next time I will try something else, they also offer calzones which I like a lot. We were running short on time but were never rushed. We took an amaretto chocolate mousse to go, the combination sounded wonderful. I really wanted to love it, the amaretto flavor was great but the consistency was kind of like Cool Whip which did not seem right.

Dave let us know that he had just opened his dining room back up after the pandemic on June 1 and we told him about our past experience at his original location nearly 30 years ago. I noticed that he changed the restaurant's name back to Dave's Italian Kitchen. Dave's is truly a hidden gem in Evanston and although my results were a little hit or miss it would not deter me and Kuochun really enjoyed his salmon with vegetables.

On our way to the estate house, Kuochun wanted to drive past our old building. Our company moved to Deerfield while we both were still employed there but the building still looks the same. One thing I thought was interesting was the street number is 1007 which is my birthday. It is amazing to think how both of our lives changed due to this company although the experience within our department was not good. My former company was downsizing and gave me 9 months notice and I landed this job well before time was up. I was happy at my former company and had a great boss, I never would have left otherwise. Kuochun had just finished up his master's degree and his job was posted at DePaul. I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason and our paths were destined to cross.

The Evanston estate house is just beautiful - a 1913 Prairie style home which was nicely restored and felt like a fortress inside. I am not much for a front porch, I prefer privacy but I loved the front porch of this home. Featured was wonderful antique Mission style furniture and we found homes for all of it! The air conditioning broke down Saturday which put a damper on sales. At first the HVAC company said they could not come until Tuesday when the sale would be over but thankfully they were able to squeeze this job into their schedule and fixed it by opening on Sunday.

As mentioned, Kuochun had his procedure on Thursday. The surgery center was convenient, a one-level building right on River Road in Des Plaines. We entered in one door and when the patients are ready to go home, they are escorted out another door where their drivers are waiting for them. The doctor came out to see me afterwards and said things could not have gone more beautifully, he had no trouble getting to the area and making the corrections. He made a "game time decision" not to insert a catheter but it turned out Kuochun needed one. We ended up going to the ER at midnight because Kuochun's blood was clotting and he could not urinate. Luckily he did not have to be admitted to the hospital but we did not get home until 3:30 AM. A different type of catheter was inserted which allowed saline irrigation. The catheter was very uncomfortable so we ended up at the first doctor's office at 10:00 AM because he could get in to see them first. The nurse was very bubbly, friendly and competent but she did not want to change the catheter. She tried to make it more comfortable for Kuochun but we are now in a waiting period to go to the second doctor's office Monday morning for catheter removal. The good news is the irrigation seemed to do the trick and there have been no blood clots since.

Mother is supposed to be on a program of physical therapy for her knee three times per week in Arlington Heights but she had so many other appointments this past week she could only make it once. They tacked those sessions on to the end which will complete her therapy the second week of July. Then she can go back to complete her breathing rehab in Rolling Meadows. We went to see her primary doctor and she did not like the way Mother's leg looked, it was hot, red and swollen. Then she noticed that there was still a staple at the bottom of her incision. She made a quick call over to the orthopedist's office and they confirmed that they forgot to take it out. She removed it and gave Mother antibiotics and we had a follow up visit on Saturday morning. One thing I have learned through these experiences is to use common sense and do not fully trust the medical professionals to do the right thing 100% of the time.

Between Kuochun and Mother there have been so many appointments but the hope is that things will settle down and start to get better. If things go well with Kuochun, then he needs to go to cardiac rehab which he was not able to do while wearing a catheter. The good news is he can drive himself!

Somehow this week I was able to polish and price a bunch of rings I found. The rings are all very pretty with various colors of stones and different styles. They are shown in the lower right corner of this case photo. This case went to our Northbrook sale. I also polished and tagged my existing ring inventory and added some more of these new rings to complete another tray for Evanston. I evaluated the pricing on the existing rings and was able to lower the prices on many of them. The rings were a big hit at both locations!

I have a handle on estate sale paperwork as well and will continue to complete one package every evening. There are still lots of medical appointments next week (I even need to take Vivi to her annual checkup!) but I am hoping to complete the general jewelry organization and clear out one side of the garage again for Kuochun's car which has been out too long.

The first step of this process will be to send the entire reasonably priced vintage costume jewelry collection - my items as well as consignment - to our Buffalo Grove sale next weekend. Our Buffalo Grove client did not have many small items to sell but has nice furniture and a great guitar collection among other things so we agreed to join forces and have a combined sale of sorts. I will also scan through the pop-up sale space and pull items to sell at the sale. The items will all be discounted along with the household so they potentially will be sold at their lowest prices ever. Mother is literally trying to work her way through 300 pounds of jewelry which did not make it into our recent Oak Park sale and we will display as much as we can of it in Buffalo Grove.

We also have another sale in Northbrook next weekend and I am going to put together a case of final clearance 75% off sterling silver jewelry to send there. I have so many beautiful pieces but am willing to let go of some I have had for a while or got a great deal on so I can pass the savings along. Then for the week after I will prepare more rings for sale - I still have the rings pictured above which have been polished but just need pricing. They are perfect for summer!

That is it for this week, see you next time with hopefully great news to report about Kuochun.