Please indulge me as I get my gripes out of the way and then I can celebrate successes.This long, hot week has been a challenge to us as homeowners. We know things break, get worn out and fall apart but why does it seem to all happen at once?Our next house is going to be smaller, with little yard and no pool.First, the pool cleaner stopped and had to be rebuilt, which our eldest remedied by taking "EGOR" to a pool shop, which did an excellent job. However, he said this was a Band-Aid fix and soon we will need to purchase a new pool cleaner, and they ain't cheap! Then, as I was watering using the sprinkler system, I noticed one head was off and gallons of water was going over the curb and into the gutter. I thought that could be fixed fairly easily but then another head blew up in the air and another huge stream of water took off going many feet into the air. I think this summer, watering is taking a toll on the system. So today, I watered by hand until the sprinkler man can get here. Also, the clothes dryer started making a loud banging sound and we think there may be a loose belt so I ask "What next?" We had better start increasing our emergency funds quick.I am celebrating some good news this past week, however, as the cook stove and the grill are working great. Perhaps I shouldn't say that too loud. Several couples got together and we had a kind of "cook-off" and judging by each of us. Each couple brought a meal for four, then we all tasted and voted. It was fun and we laughed and mentioned what went well for the "contest" and what didn't. My brownies won best dessert and the Greek Salad won best side. I didn't win with my chicken dish but Mike likes it. Carl and Ginny made the winning recipe for great grilled steaks. I think they may share a few steak suggestions soon and then I can publish their recipe.Dee Dee's Greek Salad1 clove garlic-cut in half2 bunches washed and drained and dried Romaine lettuce-cut into small bite-sized pieces3 tomatoes-cut into wedges1 small red onion-chopped fine6 radishes-sliced thinSalt and pepper to taste1 teaspoon oregano1/4 cup olive oil2 tablespoons red wine vinegar The Garnish:Calamata pitted olivesAnchovies1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheeseServes 4-6.• I used a wooden bowl and rubbed it well with the garlic. Then add all the veggies.Mix seasonings together with the oil and vinegar. Add to the vegetables and toss right before serving. Use the garnish on top. Note:Not everyone loves anchovies like I do, so I put some in a bowl for those that wanted to add them to their individual salads.My Chicken with Lemon and HerbsThis recipe is for 2, but can be doubled or tripled as needed.4 Tablespoons butter2 green onions-white part only, cut fine1 tablespoon chopped fresh Tarragon1 Tablespoon chopped fresh FennelJuice of one lemon4 chicken thighsSalt and black pepperlemon slices and herb sprigs to garnishPreheat the grill to moderate heat. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add the onions, herbs, lemon juice and seasoning.Brush the chicken generously with the herb mixture, then grill for 10-12 minutes, basting frequently with the herb mixture.Turn chicken over and baste again and cook for 10 minutes until juices run clear.Serve garnished with sliced lemon and herbs.Note: We use a meat thermometer to be sure the internal temperature of the chicken is as it should be.Dee Dee's BrowniesI have been experimenting with this recipe over the years. Kids and adults seem to like this dessert. I don't use a frosting on them.Use an 8 x 8 square cake pan which has been greased or sprayed with Pam.2 ounces unsweetened chocolate1 stick unsalted butter-cut into pieces2 large eggs1 cup white sugar1 teaspoon vanilla1/2 cup all-purpose flourPinch of salt1/4 cup sour cream2/3 cup chopped walnutsPreheat oven to 325 degrees.Melt the chocolate with the butter in the top of a double boiler, over hot water, until smooth. Cool slightly.Beat the eggs with the sugar in a large bowl until light and fairly fluffy. Slowly beat in the chocolate mixture. Stir in the vanilla. Sift in the flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the salt, sour cream and walnuts.Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean. The center should be slightly cakey. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.This is especially delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.Have a great week in Parker County. Remember to visit your local farmer's market and take advantage of summer produce.Next week, I'll provide another good reason to buy summer corn!The Mikester just came in and surprised me with a long-stemmed rose - he knew this would surely cheer me up after so many things breaking and all the early morning watering. He knows what works.