Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It’s never been about the travelling.

Which is a round about way of saying,  we could have seen much more of Salzburg,  but chose not to.   I did have this idea that we might go up on the funicular,  but Travelling Companion can only go so far,  and then has to find a place to sit.  To be honest,  I’m not quite sure how she manages to go as far as she does,  since the pain from her knees is constant.    But hey,  women and their threshold for pain is something that most men can’t comprehend.  I’m sure I’ll get comments about that one.

The trip to Salzburg was really a shopping excursion combined with a “weekend getaway”.   Gawd that’s a corny term,  but that’s what it was.

Besides,  two out of three ain’t bad.  We did the funiculars in both Prague and Ljubljana.   We’ll have to settle for that.


Not much happening in these parts.  T.C. had to head out first thing again on Monday for parts north.   Seems some “Grandes Fromages” were coming in on the corporate jet and were getting a bit of a tour.  There again,  her knees were killing her after a couple hours,  but she never lets on.   So she was stuck in a hotel once again Monday night.  I got to stay home.  Yay me.

Anyhoodle,  Monday morning as we were making our little journey down in the lift,  I happened to notice that she was missing a button on her jacket. 

Now,  let me just say this about that.   Over the last,  oh I don’t know,  twenty years of so,  T.C. has probably spent enough on clothes to pay off the national debt of at least one small country.  Possibly two.   And I’m OK with that.  This kind of thing sort of comes with the territory.  

There used to be a time when I’d just about pass out when she would tell me how much she had spent,  but then I learned not to ask,  and she learned not to tell.  And really,  it used to take me a couple years as a Caretaker to earn what she’d get as a bonus so,  I’m not really complaining here.  It’s all relative.

The thing is,  when you spend that much on a jacket say,  shouldn’t the buttons stay on?   Why then do they provide you with a spare?  Hm?   Bit of a “catch-22” there I’d say.  What’s so hard about sewing on a button in such a way that the thread doesn’t start to unravel?


I mean,  if *I* can do it?  Please.


So,  my “big job” for today,  was to somehow try and find the spare,  and sew that sucker on.  

Damned if I didn’t do it!



It was actually in there.   Honest!

The trick is, when you first acquire said expensive jacket,  to take the stupid extra button,  and put it in with the extra buttons.   Oh,  and then of course make sure you include the cookie tin with all the extra buttons in the shipment to a foreign country.  That part is just as critical. 

I think I’d be hard pressed to try and explain to our daughter back home just where to find the extra buttons.  I’d sooner go to the fabric shop and look for a set of similar buttons.   But have you ever done that?  I have,  and I don’t exactly recommend it.   Sometimes those fabric shop ladies are just dim.

Of course,  now that there’s no more spares,  it’s a good idea to take off the first two and sew them back on again.  Oh ya baby.  Fun stuff. 

You may roll your eyes at this point.  It’s OK.


The other “big job”,  was to either take said suit to the cleaners,  or to wash it if that were at all possible.  Never hurts to buy stuff that can in fact be put into a washing machine.  Just have to pick the correct setting if, in fact there is one. 


Yup,  that would be it.   It’s in German.  Trust me.


Isn’t this exciting stuff?   I can barely stay in my seat.

Going to the cleaners over here is,  I’m sure,  where that expression,  “getting taken to the cleaners” came from.  A pair of trousers is like,  eight Euros.  I’m not kidding.  So a jacket and pants?  Twenty, maybe?  I’m sure I’ll never know.


Speaking of awesome.  What,  you don’t think my buttons sewing skills are awesome?


I saw this trailer on the way back home this morning.  Had to take a picture.



I swear I’ve seen some of the best looking trailers EVER,  in Europe.  Seriously.  There was a place up in the Netherlands,  where they had a showroom of utility trailers.  I wandered around that place for a while with my mouth open.    I’ve been really tempted to buy a nice trailer and ship it home.  Of course,  at that price point,  I could probably have a trailer custom built,  and then I’d also know for sure that the hitch would fit a North American ball.  See, there’s the sneaky part.    European hitch balls are 50 mm.  That’s an ISO standard.   Big whoop.  A two inch ball in North America is really 50.8 mm.  So…the bottom line?  Forget it.   I’d have to change the entire tongue. 


Such “first world problems”!    At least I’m not the owner of this thing.



My butt puckers ever so slightly when I see something like this.  And I don’t even ride.  But a bike on its side is just WRONG.   That’s all I got.


I’ve been looking at some of the pictures of Hurricane Sandi and the havoc that she has wrought.  *phew* Happy to be here in boring old Vienna.  Thank you. 

Good luck to all those affected.


Keep your powder dry,  and thanks for looking in.



Monday, October 29, 2012

My bed will always be better.

I realise this is right up there in the “first world problem” department,  but no matter how comfortable hotel room beds claim to be,  there’s still nothing like sliding into your own bed after getting back home from a trip.  The big assed pillows don’t hurt one bit either. 

So,  what did we think of Salzburg?   Well,  pretty much what we’ve always thought of Salzburg,  since going this weekend was the third time we’ve been to Salzburg in just about as many years.  The first trip was with Nephew Boy back in May of 2011 I think it was,  and then we briefly stopped in on the way through to Spittal an der Drau back in August.   So,  if we’re willing to go back a third time?  I guess then it must have been OK.

There were a couple “hidden agendas”.  First of all,  ever since the new train service called “Westbahn” came into being a little over a year ago,  I’ve been intrigued with the idea of just jumping on a train and being in Salzburg in three hours.  The ‘kids’ took the train when we went there back in August and said it was just fine,  so that made it even more attractive.  The other thing too is,  you can buy your tickets on line,  or you can just get on the train and go.  They’ll come around and sell you your ticket when you’re underway.  Easy peasy.

The other hidden agenda was,  when our most recent visitors were here,  they had come through Salzburg,  and had stopped into a place where locally made fabric could be had.  This was the objective for Saturday,  and was the main reason why we chose to travel on the Friday,  so that we’d have most of the day on Saturday for shopping and general wandering about.   We would have had to leave way too early on the Saturday morning in order to hit the shops at a decent hour.  That wasn’t going to happen.


The view from our hotel room.




Looking across the Salzach river up to Mönchsberg.   Does it look a wee bit cold?  Well.  Friday afternoon wasn’t too terribly bad,  but when the temperature dropped on Saturday and the wind picked up and the rain started,  I was sure glad I wore my heavy winter coat.

I’m going to spare you all the dozens of photos that I took,  and simply put in a link to the ones I’ve uploaded to the book of face.

The first obstacle to over come however,  was to simply   walk to the hotel.  There was some doubt about the direction of travel,  and since Travelling Companion absolutely, positively does not wish to back track in any way shape or form,  there were a couple hints of mutiny along the way.   It was a good thing I could spot the sign for the hotel from Mirabel Platz,  or we might have ended up taking a cab for the final 200 metres.

For that matter,  I figured I’d have a mutiny on my hands before we had even left the train station.  Just walking to the entrance was a bit of a hike.


Ya,  just follow the crowd.  It’s down there somewhere.  Along with the rest of Salzburg,  and hopefully our hotel.


I think I’m going to post this now,  so I can make sure that ‘book of face’ link works.  They’ve changed something from the last time I was able to post a link to photos,  and that doesn’t always work for some of us more technically challenged dweebs.  

Oh,  and yes,  we only took the one small suitcase between us.    It can be done.  I’m not kidding.


For those of you on the east coast.  Stock up and batten down.  Hopefully you still even have internet over the next little while. 

Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

What to take?

This is one of the reason why I’m just as happy to travel by car if at all possible.  Think you might need a pair of boots?  Throw them in the trunk.  Packing a lunch?  No problem.

Just the same,  and in spite of taking the car being ever so slightly cheaper for reasons I choose not to explain here,  we’re still taking the train.  I suppose I should admit as well that parking in Salzburg truly sucks.  That’s also a minor consideration.

A preview.



Travelling Companion pitched the idea that we will only need one suitcase.  We’ll see how that goes.  

It’s a fabulous fall day here in Wienerland.   Really.  It’s mid afternoon,  I just came back from a little jaunt only wearing a light jacket and I was completely comfortable.  No idea what the actual temperature is,  that’s why I have that “weather widget”  thingy over there on the right side.

The only reason that I mention the weather is,  it’s supposed to get cold.  Possibly down to the freezing mark in Salzburg.  Snow above 300 metres elevation.   Well now,  ain’t that just fine and dandy.


One thing I’m NOT taking with me to Salzburg,  is the extra hair I had hanging out over my ears.  I’m not sure why it decides to grow right there,  and not many places else on my head?  I’m sure I could do a fine job of trimming it up myself,  but the glasses tend to get in the way.


The hair lady wasn’t quite ready for me when I went in, but that’s no big deal.  She’s by herself these days,  since her last helper had a bit of a breakdown. 

And I’m not talking about the “Foggy Mountain”  kind either.


Apparently I’m only one or two crazy thoughts away from some sort of mental health issues myself,  judging by how I could possibly jump from “mental breakdown” to “Foggy Mountain” in one tiny leap.

Was I saying something?


Anyway,  she finished up with the lady who was ahead of me (lots of hairspray.  Gah!)  and I discovered that she does get a few clients who only speak English,  so she gets more practise than just having to try and communicate with Travelling Companion.  She and I tend to stick to German though, since I sense that speaking English is a bit of a challenge for her.  I don’t mind.  Once in a while I might be missing a word here or there,  but I can usually figure out a way around such trivialities.

So as I’m putting my coat on to leave,  we talk about weekend plans,  and she tells me she’s going to Nice.  That’s pronounced the same way you would call the daughter of one of your siblings.  That is to say,  “niece”.  It’s usually nice in Nice.   But I see the forecast calls for rain later on the weekend.   But like,  22°C with rain.  Better than snow.


Then,  as I’m coming in the front door,  I briefly stop to chat with one of our neighbours from the other side of the building,  and he and his wife are going to Amsterdam for the weekend.   Variable clouds and 9°C for Saturday. 

But no snow.

Maybe it’ll be “magical” with snow in Salzburg!  Oh goodie.


Somehow I lost that lovin’ feeling towards snow right around the time when it became necessary to shovel it.  That was a long time ago. 


And so the mind once again wanders.



Not sure when we’ll be heading out tomorrow.  I’m also not too sure if I’ll be taking this computer,  but I’ll quite likely take the SLR.  I’m sure there’ll be pictures.


Have a fine weekend. 

Keep it between the ditches,  and thanks for lookin’ in.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back in my stretchy trousers.

It’s a curious thing,  but I’ve noticed over the last few years that all of my blue jeans have begun to shrink up to the point where I can barely get them on any more.  I just don’t understand it.  We don’t even have a dryer.

So,  a couple Christmases ago,  Travelling Companion very mercifully gave me a pair of jeans that just happened to have some bits of elastic in the waist band.  Hazzah!

I almost wrote “waste” band,  and I suppose that would have been some sort of Freudian slip,  but let’s not get too carried away.

It’s a crying shame really,  since most of the jeans folded up neatly and sitting in my wardrobe are still fairly new,  in addition to which,  were PAID FOR by my previous employer.   Giggidy!

And what that also means is,  I’m really hard pressed to go out and shell out anything much more than about a buck ninety-five for “everyday” trousers,  which is why I was a little mortified to find out just how much T.C. had paid for my Christmas “stretchy jeans”.  This was when we had to go back to the store where she bought them for a slightly different size.   It was the length that was a problem,  not the girth.   I know what you’re thinking.

When I saw the price,  I fortunately didn’t poop a little, but that was only because I had at that very moment clenched my butt instead.   Eep.


In terms of some sort of “days worn vrs. dollar cost average”,  or some such malarkey,  they’ve actually turned out to be a pretty good deal.  Unless I’m wearing shorts (also stretchy) these are the trousers of choice.   The thing is though, when I take them off at night,  and they can just about stand up by themselves?   It might be time for a wash.

Then of course, it takes a couple days for them to dry out.  That’s the “no dryer program”.   Ever tried sucking it in for two days?  Going out in my housecoat would quite likely be frowned upon by most anyone whom I encounter I’m sure,  not to mention the effects of a cool breeze wafting up around my nether regions.  


I’ve seen my share of weirdness out there in the big city.  I’d prefer not to be one of that particular crowd.  Call me prudish.  Whatever.  Besides, I draw the line at thermal underwear.


That’s pretty much the extent of the excitement for today.  Just about as boring as last night’s meal.   It was all fine and dandy,  because we were both hungry (always helps)  but it was missing something.   Damn, I wish I could cook.

I keep trying.  The beer was good.



Oh,  in other “exciting news”,  the city has put in a bike stand outside our front door. 



I don’t even know when they could have done this,  since it wasn’t there as late as yesterday afternoon. Having this rack is a good thing,  since everyone in the building who rides on a regular basis has to try and affix their bikes to the sign posts.  Doesn’t always work out for the best.  Sometimes they sort of slump over,  which means even more space is taken up on the sidewalk.  This doesn’t mean I’m going to start riding the bike any time soon.   Been there.  Done that.  It’s too busy out there.   And where would I be riding to again?


I’ll need to pack it up soon and head off to fetch Travelling Companion.  She’s made one of her quarterly doctor’s appointment for later this afternoon,  which of course means that Muggins here is chauffeur for the day. 


I almost forgot to mention!  For the first time in many months,  I can finally see all “followers”  over there on the side of the blog!   I guess the Mother Ship must have landed,  and whatever was wrong has been fixed.  For the longest time I only had some sort of error message in German.  I wasn’t going to mess with it, not that I didn’t try. 

Thanks to all of you for showing up.  Much appreciated.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why I’ll never be much of a traveller.

I originally started off with some drivel about picking hotels,  and how I didn’t much like it,  but in fairly short order I realised that I had blathered on about this once before.  Let’s not go there.

I’m looking forward to our little jaunt on the weekend.  Really.  But there are parts of the process that I’m still not keen on.   Plus,  as much as I’m sure she’ll enjoy herself,  I sometimes feel like it would be far less painful to just drag Travelling Companion behind a tractor at the end of a length of chain.   The knee pain is somewhat cumulative.  There might be a certain amount of sitting around,  which would be more or less what I’m doing at this very moment. 

So let’s see now.  Travel by train three hours (sitting) to then wander around Salzburg until I can see by the colour of her cheeks that T.C. has had enough,  to then continue sitting.  Sounds like a plan.

I even went over to the train station today to kind of scope out the situation with Westbahn,  but the 12:35 train had left,  and I didn’t feel like hanging around for a hour to check out the next one. 

See,  this is one of my issues with travelling,  especially when it comes to public transportation.  I need to have an idea ahead of time what is expected.   Try as I might,  I couldn’t find anything remotely like an office,  since I had just one question about ordering tickets online,  and that was,  how do I actually get the tickets?   Tickets can be purchased on the train,  but there was something to do with a Miles and More reward thingy on the website.  I guess I won’t be getting any of those miles.   Probably was all of about five.

Anyway,  that’s a rather long-winded way of explaining just how I ended up with a picture of this guy:


It’s not immediately clear just what’s going on there, but if you look closely,  you’ll see that he’s carrying the legs of a mannequin in his backpack.

Now I don’t know about you,  or how you would go about carrying the legs of a mannequin,  but speaking for myself,  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have them sticking out like that. 

You could pokes somebody’s eye out. 


I suppose if I had approached him and asked if I might take a picture of him and his plastic legs,  I could have got a better picture.  Then again,  he might have said “no”.  It’s a little dicey taking pictures at airports and train stations,  since technically it is private property.  Don’t fool yourself,  the public may come and go,  but the space being occupied is definitely not public. 


Moving on..


I got a little chuckle this morning when I checked for the mail. 

I suppose I should give a little background information here,  or the whole thing will make very little sense. 

Once upon a time,  back in the 70s I believe it was,  there was a show on Canadian Television (probably CBC judging by just how lame it was)  called King of Kensington.   And yes,  if you click on that Wiki link,  it indeed was CBC.  Kensington Market,  is an area in Toronto.   You can go to the article there to read to your hearts content.   It’s now a “National Historic Site of Canada”.   Really?  OK,  better not upset any of the Toronto folks.   I’m sure it’s just wonderful.

There’s something not quite right with the embed code,  so you’ll have to go to the YouTube link to watch the intro to the show.  It’s only about a minute.   I’ll wait right here.


So what happened was,  back in the spring when one of my sisters-in-law was here for a visit,  on at least one occasion, she thought she’d accompany me down the street for a little walk.  It’s the usual walk that I do most every morning,  and for her it was certainly nothing,  since she’s a walker.  In bold letters.  AND,  she’s my age,  which is even more troubling for me. 

It just so happened that there were at least four or five people who were,  at that precise moment, on their way to work,  or whatever,  to whom I would normally say “Guten Morgen” .  Well, Grüß Gott would have been more like it,  as that is the custom in these parts,  but let’s not split hairs.

These people are all strangers really,  but still people that I may or may not see most every day.  It just appeared as if I knew every fifth person on the street. 

So after greeting one of the owners of the cafe,  the lady from next door, the paper boy, and being warmly greeted at the bakery,  my sister-in-law said,  “It’s like you’re King of Schottenfeldgasse”,   knowing full well that I’d get the reference.

So this was on the outside of the card she sent:




I’m chuckling again just looking at it. 


She very kindly wrote me a nice little note for my birthday,  but on the other side of the card was something else I thought I’d like to share. 

When you read this,  and this would be no different than picking the card off the rack in the store and reading it,  I think you’ll begin to nod your head in agreement. 

Click on the pic:




I have to say I’m perfectly happy to take any birthday greetings as they come along.  The important part being having actually made it another year,  but I did appreciate the little “guide”.   Food for thought. 

And thankfully,  nobody sent me a note on “College ruled binder paper”.  *phew*.


Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.


Thanks for looking in.




Monday, October 22, 2012

The weekends go by.

When it comes to weekends,  I tend to suck ever so slightly in the update department.   I’m reasonably certain this situation is not going to improve much at all once we return to the home land. 

Not only will there be a host of items on an ever growing list of things to sort out at the house,  and I don’t even want to begin to write the list down since it would just be too overwhelming, but it’s come to my attention that it’s not just our place I’ll be working on.  


Last night Travelling Companion was on the phone with one of her sisters back home,  and the word is,  several individuals are waiting for “Bob’s Cabinet Shop” to re-open.  Of course,  it’s never actually been called “Bob’s Cabinet Shop”,  but I have managed to churn out a few ‘boxes’ of various shapes and sizes over the years. 

Now don’t misunderstand.   It’s not as though there’s going to be a hoard of zombie-like cabinet deprived relations and friends clamouring outside the walls of my garage or anything.  Some have had to go ahead and hire elsewhere,  much to their displeasure and the detriment of their bank account.  There have been some shocking numbers quoted,  and not by me.  I can’t reveal the details, since it’s not MY bank account being effected,  but wowsers,  if I even charged half that amount,  I’m sure that would be more than enough.


The weekend was kind of a drag.  You can see by the lack of definition in that shy there,  that it was just sort of “bleah”.   Foggy in the morning Saturday,  and foggy and misty/damp/crappy all day yesterday.




Travelling Companion agreed to do some volunteer work Saturday morning,  and I offered to go along and help, but the offer was declined,  so I just drove here there and picked her up.

I never mind being told what not to do,  especially when it comes to work,  but it wouldn’t have been an imposition at all.   This couple hours of volunteer time had to do with putting together some shelves in a place over in Favoriten,  where a lady has been operating a place for refugees for a few decades now. 

If you’re not in the least familiar with the geography of Vienna by now,  suffice to say Favoriten is one of the districts.  If you’re inside the city,  it’s easier to refer to a district when describing a location or address.  If you’re outside the city, you might refer to Vienna as a whole.  Something like that.

Anyhoodle,  the whole enterprise was only a couple hours long, and the report is they had a few too many people,  so I certainly wasn’t need.  Since Travelling Companion’s knees are pretty much shot,  she was really in some serious pain by the time they were done.  I know she feels strongly about community involvement and leading by example,  but the days of standing for even a couple hours are a thing of the past I’m afraid.

I lucked out by ending up with an awesome T-shirt,  so I was happy.


Before you ask,  it’s a play on words.  “Unbrechbar” is German for unbreakable.  The lady’s last name is “Bock”.  Get it?


I much prefer black T-shirts over any other colour to be honest,  and the only other T-shirt I have from a volunteer gig was from when we painted an orphanage back in 2002 in Puerto Rico.  Even though it was ‘free’,  we all earned those shirts,  since it was stifling hot by about 10:00 a.m. and we worked well into the afternoon.   It’s one thing to lounge by the pool in a Caribbean country with a smart drink in hand,  but when you’re slapping paint on concrete walls,  it gets to be hot work.  Oh, and that shirt is white. 


There has been one other volunteering adventure for Travelling Companion,  but that was in Barcelona,  Spain a couple years ago.  They had some sort of pow-wow with the top team from all over Europe,  and just so that their heads wouldn’t get too big or anything after a week of very important meetings,  everyone had to dress up in white suits and paint something.  

That was my interpretation anyway. 


These people are “office types”.  I’ve never understood this. 

I mean, as a Caretaker,  I’ve done a certain amount of painting,  but when it came right down to it,  even WE would just hire painters since they,  A) Knew what they were doing and,  B) Were a helluva sight faster than any of us could ever be.   And neater.  Mostly.

I mean, considering how that person is kneeling down in front of Travelling Companion there who, by the way,  is holding a small can of paint with a loaded brush,  I can certainly understand the costumes.  I think I’d want something on my head too.


All else is pretty quiet here.  We’ll be heading out Friday morning some time for a little jaunt over to Salzburg once again.  Just thought we’d take a little trip on the weekend.  We booked our hotel already,  so we’re kind of committed at this point.   Hopefully we won’t need umbrellas.

I might yak a bit about that as the time approaches.


Keep those sticks on the ice,  and thanks for stopping by.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Just my luck.

Just happened to wander off into some of the more remote areas of the internet last night….

Here’s one for you to chew on.


4:12 p.m. EDT, March 31, 2010

(Hey,  I didn’t say the story was recent!)

BROOKLYN -- Two female teachers from James Madison High School in Brooklyn are being charged with misconduct after allegedly being caught naked together in a classroom.   (teehee)
French teacher Cindy Mauro, 34, and Spanish teacher, Alini Brito, 30, were discovered by a school janitor who caught the "undressed" instructors allegedly sharing a kiss in the empty classroom at James Madison High School during a Nov. 20 assembly.


Wait.  “Janitor”?  What the hell?

OK,  the rest is just a bunch of bla-bla,  but I stuck it in here anyway,  you can skip down to the end and not miss a thing…

Officials say the women, both tenured teachers, were immediately removed from the classroom following the incident and sent to Department of Education disciplinary chambers.    (??)
When the incident occurred, a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Education confirmed the teachers were reassigned, but fell short of releasing details of the alleged tryst.
"The school is investigating an incident of employee misconduct while the school was having an event in the assembly," school officials said in a statement.
"The two teachers, who are tenured, have been reassigned, pending the outcome of the investigation."
DOE officials say the allegations have been proven to be valid and teachers will likely face disciplinary action.




Oh,  and I’m not talking about what these two were up to.  *pfft* Who cares?   No no,   I’m referring to the fact that I worked as a Caretaker (OK,  “Janitor” if that works for you)  for 22 years,  and never ONCE did I walk in on two nekked female teachers!  Dammit!   I used to *hear* about some *things*,  but it was never at MY school.  I guess I just didn’t pick a racy enough school.  Is there such a thing?


And you’ll have to take my word for it,  these two weren’t bad looking either.  Of course,  all the female teachers I know are absolute foxes.   I mean,  stunners,  the whole lot.  (thought I’d better put that in there,  since I’m pretty sure a hand full of them just might read this…I ain’t no fool.)




Oh and,  note what they were teachers of?  Languages.  Hello?  Starting to put it together why I studied French, German,  a year of Spanish,  and then a dash of Russian?   OK fine,  the Russian teacher was a guy,  but still.   There was that,  and a rather overwhelmingly delightful high ratio of female students vrs. little ole me.  I mean,  there might have been one or two other guys in a class full of females,  but they were usually total dorks.

Ah yes,  studyin’ “languages”.  (wink wink)    Yessiree.

If they had only had Co-Ed gym,  I’m sure I would have excelled.  “Yes dammit,  I can do 50 chin-ups!”

What’s wrong with these administrators?


Just one other thing.  On the one hand I’ve been trying to sift through some of the detritus to try and get a little more information on this whole nekked teacher story,  and it would appear that at least one of these wayward individual has by now got the sack.  I’m not sure how I feel about that,  since I’m pretty sure that the “Janitor” can’t be trusted. 

Believe me when I tell you this,  there was a “code”, or at least there was amongst the folks where I worked,  that what you saw, never left the building (or more often the room).  Kind of like that Vegas thing. It was much more advantageous to have a piece of information or to know of an “event”,  than to ever get all self righteous and start blabbing it all over the media.  Just saying.    Either way,  the guy’s an idiot.  Whatever they were doing,  just keep it under wraps.  Never hurts to know *stuff*.   So what,  you had to “tell on them”?   Are you a child?


Oh,  and one more thing.  That whole “schmoopiness” in public?  I’m not keen.  I don’t really care about your proclivities,  but keep yer freakin’ hands, lips or any other part of you, to yourself.  “Hand holding”,  meh.  Maybe.  But other than that,  get a room!


Well,  thank you for letting me go off on that little tangent.  I find I need to do that once in a while. 



Yesterday’s five o’clock program was a bit of a bust (wait,  is that some sort of nekked teacher pun?  Yet another missed opportunity.)  as we didn’t really get home until right around eight o’clock.

You know that expression,  “not the brightest bulb in the pack”?  Somehow I think there’s someone out there who’s not even lit up,  let alone not that bright.  

Throughout the entire trip home,  Travelling Companion was fussing over her Crackberry,  and then trying to place calls to a couple very smart fellers,  and then no sooner had we come in the door,  when she realised she’d have to go back and sort something out first hand.  Of course,  that meant Muggins here was in for the long haul.  So back we went. 

Funny thing was,  I wasn’t really terribly hungry until we were on the way home again,  so it wasn’t that much of a hardship in the tummy department.  That’s one of the more important departments too,  I might add.

The five o’clock program should work,  even though it’s still kinda nuts out there at that time of the day,  and the trip home does take considerably longer.   It’s just that,  if one of the minions buggers something up,  and one of the other minions who is supposed to sort it out bolts out the door,  never to be found again for the rest of the day,  that can sort of put a ‘crimp on things’.  

I think that’s the expression.  I’d just as soon use the “Caretaking Vernacular” and say “F**k things up”,  but there might be teachers reading.  Or others whose sensibilities shouldn’t be trifled with.


Travelling Companion is considerably more patient than I,  since I’m sure I would have been like Mr. Dithers ramming my foot up the arse of one of these Dagwoods.



But then again that,  in a nutshell is the reason why she is the executive,  and I’m well….not.


…and I still never managed to walk in on two nekked teachers!  Dammit.  I’m going to try and get over it,  but it won’t be easy.

It’s like… coming to the end,  and realising you’ve got nothing to show for all your troubles.   Sad, really.



It’s a fairly normal Friday here in Wienerland.  The weather has been holding up.  I’ve done my usual chores.  Bla bla bla.



Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another driving day.

Not that that’s any big deal or anything,  but at the last minute this morning,  Travelling Companion asked if I wouldn’t mind driving her to work,  and then picking her up at 5:00.   Seems she wants to cart a few things out of her office and Muggins here will be pressed into service.  Just part of the deal. 

Oh,  and you read that right.  FIVE.  As in, several hours before she normally packs it in for the night.  Admittedly,  with the traffic being the way it normally is between say,  the hours of five and seven,  it really makes very little sense to head out most nights before 6:30 p.m. or so. Unless you don’t mind sitting in the car.

I recall that was my usual ploy once upon a time when I would try to get home from Toronto to Burlington.  If I could possibly keep from dying of hunger,  I’d just wait until the traffic died down later in the evening.  Considering I had to be on the QEW the next morning before 6:30 a.m. to “beat the traffic”,  getting home at eight or nine at night made for a pitifully short period of time to actually be there.   Oh,  and from what I’ve heard from hapless Toronto bound commuters in the last few years,  6:30 a.m. is “late” when it comes to getting a jump on the morning traffic.   So glad I gave up that routine so very long ago.

This was way back in time before I ever became a Caretaker.  See, for anyone who just tuned in,  you may have thought that I just made up that title?   Nope.  Not that there are any great stories to tell about being a Caretaker or anything,  but the absolute best part of the job for nearly the whole time that I did it was,  I was always no more than about 10-15 minutes from home!  Oh man!  There were even times when that was by bike,  and by that I mean bicycle.   Of course,  I really had no clue what kind of a bike I really should have had for even such a short commute,  so it was no wonder that going to and fro on a bike wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience. It never would have occurred to me that we would one day move to the Netherlands,  where I would finally get an education on just what kind and size of bike is needed to be comfortable.   I think I would enjoy that short commute much more these days on “New and Shiny”.

I’m not even sure if this is going to work,  but I’m going to paste in a link to a picture I took back in 2009 of New and Shiny,  since any first hand pictures I have are on a back up drive.   That picture (assuming the link works) is from when I took the bike in for its first service appointment.  I think I got the first one or two services done for free,  and than a certain percentage off a couple more.  We moved to Vienna before I ever went back for the later instalments.  Seeing as it’s a Gazelle,  I don’t think it’s going to start getting all wonky any time soon.

Some folks buy souvenirs,  we bought his and hers bikes.  Functional, and full of memories.


I got a little bit of a late start this morning for my normal jaunt,  which of course means that the main drag is already starting to get a little nuts.  I did manage to get the car back and tucked into the parking garage before it got too chaotic,  but I was surprised at how quickly everything got totally busy. 


The thing that always gets me too is,  the shoppers and passers-by are,  for the most part,  totally oblivious to a lot of the stuff going on around them.   Nary a soul gave these installers a second glance.


I must have a good imagination or something,  but I’m never too keen on hanging around underneath overhead devices of any kind.  I just have this vision of something suddenly “letting go”,  and I’m not just talking about somebody’s bowels.

That’s a heck of a thought to leave you with,  but that’s what I’m going to do.


That’ll be it for today’s missive.


Keep it between the ditches.


Thanks as always,  for stopping by.




Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It did clear up in time.


Ran upstairs last night at some point after six I suppose it was, to catch a last glimpse of the sunset.  This was the first time it was that light out for the entire day.

As the days get ever shorter,  it’ll seem like the sun will be going down in the middle of the afternoon.  I try not to dwell on it.

The whole “clearing up” thing was timely,  as T.C. was scheduled to fly back from Geneva at 8:10 p.m.,  arriving in Wienerland at 9:45.   Seems like an odd time to be going anywhere really,  but the airport was busy.  Lots of folks travelling in the evening it seems.  She could have stayed one more day, but that would have only meant heading back in the morning.   She said it was raining there as they were boarding,  but they flew out of it.   This is always good.   There was at least one time that comes to mind when she was coming back from Serbia,  and no planes were coming any where near Vienna,  as we were getting pounded.  Thankfully our phones were still working.  I still find it kind of mind boggling that she can call from another country and say, “OK,  we’re getting ready to board”.  (Older guy talking here.)  So hard to do even twenty years ago.  So much for the “good old days”.


She’s back to the salt mines today, since she wanted to be back in time for their “staff meeting”.  No idea what that really involves or who might need to attend,  but for me it means I don’t have to make her a lunch.  Yes kids,  I make her a lunch every day.  Just part of the program.  Besides,  if I didn’t,  I’m not sure what the heck she’d eat,  there’s nothing around there, and they don’t have a cafeteria. 


As you have by now surmised,  there is sweet bugger all going on here today,  which has never been much of a reason not to report on it though. 

One thing I’m sure I’ve mentioned (and this tends to happen when well into the fourth year of blogging) is that one of the local shops for which I have a “Vorteils Karte”  (advantage card….whatever)  tends to send mail from time to time in addition to all the other mass mailings that gets plonked into our mailbox.   Well,  it would seem that I’ll need to gear up for a bit of a “big shop”  at some point over the next few days.


In light of an upcoming birthday,  they very kindly send along a little blurb offering 10% anything in the store.  

Awesome.  I can dig it.




But wait.  Good thing I didn’t jump on that right away,  since there were a couple more things in the mail again this morning.




Coupons and stuff…


See,  Travelling Companion likes to have at least one cup of coffee every day at work,  and she uses the "Tassimo" system.  I suppose it’s a “system”,  I’m not sure what else to call it.   She quite enjoys it.  It’s her only vice,  and not much of a one.   Click on that link and you can see what I’m talking about.   We just have an ordinary drip coffee maker here.  It’ll get the heave when we leave. 

For the Tassimo,  you have to buy these little ‘hockey pucks’.  Well,  you know what I mean.

The thing is,  them thar suckers is expensive,  at least I consider them to be.  It (apparently) makes for a wonderful cup of coffee and all, which means the whole Tassimo program will be continuing for some time.  So any time I can get 25% off,  I’m in.   Plus of course,  I’ll use the 10% off coupon as well.   Bazinga!

Now I just have to figure out what else to load up on.   I can really only bring home what I can carry in two bags and no,  I won’t be reporting on this later.  It’s groceries.  Who cares?


Exciting stuff,  I know.   Hopefully Travelling Companion will be able to put in a “normal” day today,  since it would be kind of nice to actually sit down to a meal for the first time in a several days.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for lookin’.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good-bye, Norman Bates.

What’s that expression?  ‘Like rat’s from a sinking ship’?



Now,  I’m certainly no political junkie,  since I find that the more I read about the goings on at either Queen’s Park or Ottawa,  the grumpier I get.  I’m already pretty grumpy.  No assistance required.

Oh,  and I didn’t coin the moniker, “Norman Bates” either,  but there is a similarity.



And truth be told,  years ago when he first got elected (not Norman….Dalton)  I actually thought maybe things were going to work out.  But then I started to feel like poor Janet.



OK fine,  I’m getting carried away here.


I only wonder though, what’s the deal?  Unless a politician resigns as a result of a serious medical issue,  I tend to look on any sudden resignation with just a touch of suspicion.  The icing on the cake,  is that Mr. McGuinty has prorogued the legislature at Queen’s Park.

For those of you unfamiliar with the way things go on in my home province of Ontario, (Canada,  hello?)  the seat of parliament for the province is in Toronto,  otherwise known as the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.   We tend to just refer to it as Queen's Park for short.   You can sniff out some of the details by clicking on those links.  Fill yer boots.


I’m sure it will all come out eventually,  but there were a couple issues that have been gnawing away at the opposition in recent weeks, (well,  months?)  and with everything being put on hold,  we don’t get to find out any more juicy tidbits for quite some time.   Gee, that’s convenient.

Our Federal Fearless Fool   er,  Leader,  The Right Honourable (*pfft!*)  Stephen Harper did something similar a few years back.  Well,  actually three times.  The example of 2008 is most notable.   The thing is,  to “prorogue” parliament is something that can be done in the normal course of events, but is heaps different than a “recess”,  which is just a break in the proceedings.  Parliament normally takes a recess over the summer months,  or during that very long period over Christmas and beyond when nobody shows up at the legislature to do a darned thing.   To “prorogue” means to start fresh,  but without having to get everyone re-elected.  I think I got that right.  That’s my blindingly simplistic take on it anyway.  Pretty handy though, huh?


Of course,  there’s been an ongoing snit between our Provincial government and a whole bunch of public sector workers,  so now that the legislature has been prorogued,  we’re not going to find any answers to a couple questions that have been floating around lately,  like,  “How does a government take away the bargaining rights of an employee group and get away with it?”   I think there’s a law suit in the wings,  if I’m not mistaken.  So that’s put on hold too?

It’s easy peasy to make an escape goat of a highly visible employee group when the opposition is rooting around in other areas where you just might have wasted a ton of taxpayer's dough.

And before you start to get up on your high horse,  it’s a slippery slope.   It’s pretty far fetched to think that things would regress to a situation where all Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys., (interesting list of duties and obligations of teachers from the last century.  Recommended reading.) But, it was these kinds of conditions placed on that particular group,  way back when, that started the whole union movement in the first place.   If you treat people like cr*p,  eventually something’s gotta give.


It’s going to get interesting,  to say the least.

Feel free to talk amongst yourself.




There was a question yesterday from Janna (or it might have been Mike,  but I doubt it) from waaaay over on the other side of the planet, about the term “tickety-boo” that I used.  

Oh dear.

My lovely wife (um, Travelling Companion) used to take exception to that phrase,  and that was mostly because (as best as I recall) I had used it in a mocking kind of way once upon a time,  since it was a phrase that was overused by a boss that I had many, many years ago.  I try not to utter those words aloud if I can help it.  For my own good.


In terms of its meaning, I suppose it’s up there with “peachy keen”  or some such superlative,  indicating when things are going well,  or just,  I don’t know,  “tickety-boo”?   I think there’s some sort of onomatopoeic quality of that expression as well,  in a similar way that a well running model “T” would sound.  

Say it,  tickety-boo,  tickety-boo,  tickety-boo.   See?

There’s even an Urban Dictionary Definition, if you want to be fussy.  


I don’t remember at what point Travelling Companion would have met this former boss,  but she didn’t particularly care for the guy. Unfortunately for me, I had to tolerate him.  

This was back in the days when I worked for an outfit called “Mother’s Restaurants”.  




They’re no longer around as a corporate entity,  and were partly a victim of overindulgence and high interest rates of the late 80s.    I got out before they collapsed.  I think it was one fine day when our pay suddenly came from a different bank,  that I realised something was not quite right.  That’s another story.

Long before I ever jumped ship however (I think we have a theme going here) there was a period of time there,  when this former boss decided to buy a little house about two blocks away from one of the restaurants where I was the “First Assistant Manager”.   Big whoop.  Just meant I had to do the schedules is all.  

Anyway,  Mother’s was known for having these specials on the first three days of the work week.  Monday night was “Father’s night”.  (Eight slice three item pizza for $3.49! Can you believe it?)  Tuesday night was “Kid’s night”,  and I don’t for the life of me remember what Wednesday night was.  Something to do with spaghetti?   Doesn’t matter.  On Tuesday nights we had one of those large popcorn makers that was like a big glass box from which you’d scoop out your buttered popcorn.  The kids who came in with their parents were quite welcome to go and help themselves,  and for the most part,  did a reasonable job of scooping up a small bag full of popcorn.    Some would end up on the floor.  That’s what brooms are for.   No biggie.

Except,  my dear beloved former boss, (who shall remain nameless,  and to this day has no idea how much I hated the guy)  would stagger in most evenings to “check up on things”.  I didn’t really give a rat’s tiny behind,  and he could check up on me all he wanted to.   The only thing was,  he’d usually be quite inebriated at the time.    When I say “stagger”?   Um ya, not kidding.

Well, here’s the thing.  He and his wife had had a bit of a nasty divorce (hence the move on his part)  and I just figured there wasn’t too much I could do about the whole situation.  I never met her to congratulate her on her decision either, by the way.

The even more aggravating thing about him showing up three sheets to the wind was,  I didn’t really particularly care for him getting all mouthy with the kids who were helping themselves to the popcorn in the lobby.   I mean,  if anybody’s kid or kids started to act up on my watch, I had no problems dealing with it.   A manager can indeed kick you and your annoying little spawn out of a restaurant.  But the whole idea was,  it was “Kid’s Night”.  So they make a little mess?   Big deal.  There was no running around,  or any other breach of protocol.   Not my protocol anyway.   No telling what the drunk guy was thinking. This went on for a while.  Not too much I could do about it. 

It just so happened though,  that New Year’s Eve was a bit of a big deal when it came to all the Mother’s Restaurants.   First of all,  just about everyone worked.  Even our day manager,  who otherwise was notorious for skating on out of there before the dinner hour.   You’d have all your delivery cars on the road,  and would have perhaps rented four or five more cars from the local car rental outlet.  Good luck if you didn’t get those cars reserved in plenty of time too.  

The whole place would just be hopping on into the wee hours.    Stores would be calling each other with their sales figures on an hourly basis,  as well as letting each other know when one or more of the big bosses would be stopping by for a visit.  It was a New Year’s Eve tradition. This wasn’t the local drunk supervisor dude,  but rather someone like Grey Sisson,  who was one of three owners of the whole kit and caboodle.

So,  in spite of it being crazy busy,  but since there are indeed enough people to do the job,  even the lowly assistant managers got to sit down with the guy and shoot the breeze for a bit.   And so the question was asked,  just how were things going in terms of having the supervisor living a couple blocks away?  That seemed like a bit of an odd question.  I think I might have said something?   I also think it was a fishing expedition,  as there had been some other rumblings that had made their way to Head Office.   So what I may have said was more of a confirmation than anything else.  I don’t recall what I said, but *to the best of my recollection*,  I don’t think it was positive.  I know,  I’m a rat-fink.  But he asked,  I didn’t volunteer. 

Oh, and by the way, if you want your minions to say good things about you, don’t show up drunk.   Simple,  really.


Well, not too surprisingly,  it was only a few months later that a huge inventory discovery was made at a restaurant in which drunk supervisor dude was the major shareholder.   He was out.  See,  if you say you have,  oh I don’t know,  $3000 of inventory on hand at the end of a month,  and an inspection reveals that you’ve only got about a couple hundred bucks worth of cheese?   That’s never good.   I think the term under the Criminal Code of Canada is something like,  “Conspiracy to commit fraud”?    Something like that.   I guess you could call it “fudging the figures” or “cooking the books”.   Same difference.  He quit.   Or he was told to.

I think we all did a little dance.


So ya,  I try not to say “tickety-boo”  too often, or out loud for that matter,  since it was one of drunk supervisor dude’s pet sayings.    We just leave that one alone.


Speaking of alone…

Travelling Companion will be coming back from Switzerland tonight at 9:45.   Supposedly there was some dinner or other that she was invited to attend,  but she’s not staying the extra day.  She’s ‘hobbed’ with those ‘knobs’ quite enough.   She never was much of a one for the political brown nosing kind of thing,  and has no desire to hang around with “the boys”.  


Hopefully the weather is just a wee bit better between now and her arrival.  It has rained all night here,  and at times the wind has been quite gusty as well.  Doesn’t exactly make for the best flying conditions.  Along with “tickety-boo”,  it’s something else I try not to mention.


Keep your powder dry.


Thanks for looking in.



Monday, October 15, 2012

As the seasons change.


We enjoyed our meal at the little pizza joint a few blocks away on Saturday night.  Thought I’d mention that,  since enquiring minds surely want to know.

The only complaint I could ever have is, and this applies to any and all pizzas that get served around here,  they don’t cut it!  I swear I’m going to bring along my own pizza cutter one of these times.  A person gets a little weary of sawing away at a pizza after a while.  I’m just saying.

Anyhoodle,  when Travelling Companion and I came back from taking her associate back to her hotel,  we couldn’t help but notice that there were two or three work type vans in the underground parking,  which is certainly never the situation on a Saturday night.  Well, they were switching out the contents of the ice cream parlour,  and by Sunday morning,  a new troop were in there setting up some sort of a clothing store.  This is nothing new. It happens every year,  but it usually happens without us noticing it,  until a couple days have passed,  and we realise something has changed.



So that’s it for the ice cream.   Not that I ever have any.  I sometimes have “issues” with ice cream.  It could be just the temperature,  but if I eat it on its own,  I’ll quite often have some….discomfort.  


Has anyone been following the goings on in New Mexico? 

It’s a bit of a big deal here in Wienerland.  There have been several blurbs in the local rag.

I missed the one where they had to postpone.  They made a big deal out of that too.  Anything that’s a “big deal”, tends to interest readers.

For those of you who like to exercise your German reading skills,  I’ve set these to their original size.  Be warned.

This was from a few days back.



This morning there was a two page spread.




I was able to watch the live (well nearly live,  there was a twenty second delay,  in case something went horribly wrong) internet feed,  although I wasn’t able to watch the whole thing.   It took the guy over two hours to ascend to the height at which the balloon would no longer climb, and I had things to attend to,  like bathroom breaks and eating my dinner.   Not at the same time.  Just so you know.

I’ll say this though.  He really did accelerate when he jumped off that platform!   No air (or damned little) meant he really got up to speed in a hurry.  I wasn’t able to figure it out at the time,  but he did indeed break the sound barrier. 

I’m pretty sure I could have watched without the old guy who was talking to him the whole time though.  Now don’t get all cranky on me,  I’m talking about old Joe,  who did the jump back in 1960.  I have the greatest of respect for the guy.   The thing is though,  he’s in his eighties.  He was just annoying.  I’m sure I’ll be that annoying when I’m in my eighties, (or quite possibly already am) but I would think that I could keep said annoyance limited to those who are near and dear to me.  Total strangers can be spared.  I’ll quite likely be especially annoying to my children.  They deserve no less.

Oh,  and then there was the announcer.  Not sure where they dug him up.  There are times when silence can be truly golden.


If I’m talking about guys jumping into thin air, you’ve quite likely fathomed by now that there is nothing all that spectacular coming up in the way of events here on the home front.

I’ll have to head out before 2:00 p.m. sometime to fetch Travelling Companion from her office at three.  She flies out tonight for Switzerland to do the dog and pony show for the “grands fromages”.    The thing is,  they’re up at seven.   And no,  I don’t mean,  getting out of bed at seven.   I mean,  they’re doing their presentation at seven.  What kind of cruel twisted world???


She worked all day yesterday making sure everything was just tickety-boo,  and then she and the local “grand fromage”  are going over the whole thing at this very moment.



Oh,  and for any of you half baked critics of my French (and I’ll admit it’s not the best)  you can read a handy little article here that points out the times when it is indeed appropriate to put the adjective in front of the noun. 

Normally,  all grammar mistakes are intentional,  but only in English.


So it’s off to the airport again.   Fun fun.


Keep it between the ditches,  and thanks for lookin’ in.



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Not the Saturday I planned.

And it’s not like I had any plans,  per se.  I suppose it’s really no surprise that Travelling Companion had to work today.   She almost has her financial ducks in a row for her rendition of the Profit Plan that she has to present on Tuesday in Switzerland.   The Company that Cannot Be Named has an Ivory Tower there.  It’s not one of the really big ones,  such as they have back in the homeland,  but it’s the “go to” place for these sorts of things on the Europe end of things.



I suppose it could be worse.   I could be this guy:



The good news is,  it’s not overly warm out,  so at least he or she isn’t sweltering inside that costume.   I do sometimes feel somewhat empathetic for anyone who has to take on that kind of job in hot weather.  I probably would have to avert my eyes a lot in a place like Disneyland.   It’s hot there most of the time,  isn’t it?

I’m not even so sure having little kids run up and hug you is a good or bad thing.  As long as they don’t smash into you in the nether regions,  I suppose it would be OK.

I guess I lived a slightly sheltered life as a young person with part time jobs,  although I do definitely recall working Saturdays for a lumber yard in town, (yes, everyone seems to have a website!) and we would just dread having to go out into the yard for the first time on a cold wintry morning to try and pry off a couple dozen two by fours from the pile.   Man,  that was fun!    I never could seem to get warm.   If my hands weren’t freezing,  my feet were freezing.  Or both. 

Oh ya,  good times.   Every Saturday man.  Every Saturday,  rain or shine.

So fine,  maybe I did have a couple crappy jobs earlier on,  but I may very well have drawn the line at putting on a goofy suit. Well, it could be a  “Goofy suit”,  if it were Disney related.

Suddenly this possible conversation pops into my head:

“You putting on the goofy suit?”

“No,  I thought I’d be Mickey today.”




OK,  time to stop.  

My “job” for today,  other than having to drive back out of town with the car to pick up Travelling Companion (yes I was a good lad and offered to drive her to work)   was to find a half decent restaurant for this evening.   Mind you,  for most places where you need a reservation,  you won’t get one for that night.  Hm.

We didn’t want fancy or too expensive,  as we are really only eating out as some sort of act of solidarity,  since one of T.C.’s fledgling associates is staying in town to help out with all the financial bla-bla.   It sucks to be hanging around by oneself,  so we’ll go to dinner.

There’s a pizza joint a couple blocks from here that we went to a couple years ago that Daughter Number Two and her hubby found,  and they had good eats.   We’ll go there.

I already took a stroll by there this morning to check out the menu and have a little chat with one of the fellows who was just opening up.  This place is that much under the tourist radar that it doesn’t even show up on  Tripadvisor, although thankfully someone has added it to Google Maps  My impression is that mostly locals chow down there during the week,  since the fellow I spoke to didn’t seem to think I needed reservations for tonight.  OK then.

We’ll see how that goes.


Hopefully your weekend turns out as you had planned.


Keep that stick on the ice,  and thanks for stopping ‘round.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Just a Thursday.


And anytime when the day passes,  and this space remains empty, there’s a very good chance that I’ve been here and there. 
This morning Travelling Companion and I had to go to the M.A. 35 (that’s the immigration office,  for those of you who misplaced your notes.  Keep up!)   to drop off the forms for the renewal of her “Aufenthaltsgenehmingung”. 

OK fine,  that’s not fair,  you needn’t know what that is,  it’s her Residence Permit.   I think somehow her work visa was already renewed for a period of time,  but I’m not entirely sure, nor do I really give a rat’s tiny behind.   We’ll then go back together in a few weeks to pick up our new cards.  Seems to me Lawyer Dude said I’d be good until March. 


So here’s the slightly “sad” part.  I no longer need the navigation system (GPS to you North American types)  in order to first get there,  and then to take Travelling Companion to work.   This is perhaps another sign that it’s time to move?  Of course,  me telling the cab drivers the best way to get us home from the airport is really kind of old news,  and if I had used that as a benchmark,  we should have left a couple years ago.

Oh,  and by the way,  there was a question put forth the other day from some high mucky-muck from the Ivory Tower of the Company that Cannot be Named,  asking if T.C. would consider staying “Another 18 to 24 months”.   The silence on her end of the phone was deafening.


Below, you will see (I hope) an image of a type of plastic box from IKEA.   I stole that image from the net,  since the ones I picked up from IKEA are still in the trunk of the car.


You can probably guess,  in light of yesterdays little missive concerning bedding,  just exactly why we suddenly need more storage?  I bought four.  I thought there were even bigger ones,  which meant I would have bought only two,  but that wasn’t to be.  If you’ve never been to an IKEA (and they’re all the same no matter where you are in the world) let me just tell you that,  certain things start to get mighty heavy and hard on the finger tips after the first few hundred metres winding your way through the entire freakin’ store in order to get to the cash!  

Somehow every time I go there,  I have this uncontrollable sensation that I’m a lemming about to jump off a cliff.   Just following along,  trying not to fall down,  waiting for the merciful end.

The reason they’re still in the car is quite simple,  and it doesn’t just have to do with the discomfort to my fingertips.  Since I have to actually venture out onto Mariahilfer to get from the garage to our front door,  all the while squinting into the sun,  trying to avoid tripping over all the shoppers,  I just figured I’d wait until later tonight.   I’ll have to go out again to fetch T.C. anyway,  and by then that little trip won’t be quite such a challenge.

She might even help.


One of the little routines that I do indulge in,  and this one really goes back many,  many years and has nothing much to do with living here in Vienna and having to break up the boredom from time to time,* is to sit and leaf through all the different flyers that either arrive at our door or get planked into our mailbox.   Once in a very long while there’s something in there that jumps out at me,  and I make sure to try and take advantage of either a savings or a find.

*Did you like that subordinate clause?  Wasn’t it awesome?


Anyhoodle,  case in point:



Yes yes,  I know,  it’s only shaving cream.  But YOU can probably find it at Shoppers, Walgreens or any number of other places, and probably get several different “flavours”.   I like to mix it up once in a while.  Or at least I used to.

Not here!  No sir.  I gave up looking for this stuff years ago.  It was only by virtue of seeing it in a flyer from Zielpunkt that I was even aware of its existence.  AND it was on sale.  Only €1,79.   I probably would have paid even more,  since the stuff I’m using now,  and have been for several years,  sucks.    I don’t know.  I just don’t like it.  I know what I like.  I like *that* stuff.

And it was right around the freakin’ corner all along!  Geez!  I’ll probably end up shipping one tin home with me.  I can accept that.

If I find Miracle Whip in the first week of the New Year,  I swear I’m gonna hit somebody.   As it is now,  I’d have to drive to Germany, to some shopping centre just outside Nuremberg, and hope to find it.  I can’t see how that’ll happen.  Drive almost six hours for Miracle Whip?  Right.

That was the place where we found it a year ago last May when Nephew Boy was here.  Remember the trip to Bonn?   As we were coming home,  we realised that the next day was going to be a holiday, *ulp* so we stopped for some groceries on the way.  It was a lucky find.  I’d never find that store again if my life depended on it.

Oh,  and did you know that Miracle Whip was presented in 1933 at the Chicago World's Fair?    That’s right kids.  Bob knows sh*t.  And you know why?  Because I thought I’d be super smart and track it down “on the line”.  Oh lookee,  it’s available in Germany.   Well Hell’s Bells,  I already know that.  *Gah*  So much for the “internet search”.

And no,  don’t even suggest mayonnaise.  It tends to make me gag.  Not sure why,  maybe I had some once and it was starting to turn?  We’ll never know. 



Now I just wait for the call from T.C.

Cue the Jeopardy tune.  Although…I’d probably have to play it over and over again a few times.  I think once will do.



Keep those thinking caps on.

I just hope Merv's estate doesn’t expect to get paid for that one.


Thanks for stopping by.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Being a bad influence.

Well,  not “bad” like in a smokin’, drinkin’ or shootin’ drugs kind of way,  but perhaps just an “influence”.

See,  for any of you who might have ever gone across the pond to Europe,  you may have encountered a somewhat different way of putting sheets and blankets on a bed.    And even then, it would depend on where you slept,  and I’ll briefly mention the hotel situation later.

Here’s the thing. For many years, I have been known to immediately take hold of the blanket and sheet on my side of the bed at the slightest indication that my sleeping partner was about to make any kind of move.  This was a “learned skill” (that eventually can be done on a subconscious level) that was necessary to avoid waking up a little later on,  shivering in the cold with nary a blanket in sight.  It happens, believe me.

For my part,  I can ease under the covers,  lie there virtually motionless for the entire night,  wake up in the morning,  make one or two minor adjustments to the bedding,  and the bed is made.   This may very well be, because as a child our blankets were so flippin’ heavy,  I could barely move anyway?  It’s a theory.

I’m all alone when it comes to this notion of being able to lie virtually motionless throughout the night,  with the added skill set needed to quickly defend every inch of blanket whenever the need arises.  

Well actually no, I do hear that my son-in-law has a similar ability,  as he too has been known to suddenly clutch at the bed covers when faced with the impending threat of having them ripped off so fast he might end up with burn marks.   There’s some sort of genetic predisposition going on there between Travelling Companion and Daughter Number Two methinks?  Yet another theory.

So,  you can imagine my delight when we first arrived in Europe and was introduced to the idea of each of us having our very own set of coverings, (hazzah!) which then meant that I no longer needed to defend myself against the cold.   It was truly a bedding miracle! 

If you haven’t experienced this European way of making the bed,  you are indeed missing out on something remarkable.  I just want to say that.

There are a couple things going on here.   First of all,  there’s the “duvet”,  which is slipped into its own envelope-like sheet arrangement.  That’s the part that gets washed.   It’s a sheet.  It just happens to be a big envelope.

Each person gets their own,  so it can be lighter or heavier,  depending on ones own preference.  Additionally,  they can be switched to heavier ones for the winter months.  This was particularly useful when we lived in the Netherlands,  where the house we rented had damned little heat upstairs,  and we needed some serious covering up to keep warm at night. 

The second thing that’s going on,  involves these honkin’ big pillows.   Oh doggies!   They be nice.



Here’s what I’m talking about:

Click on that sucker.


That is only a double bed,  and the duvets and their covers are 180 cm,  so they’re meant for anything up to the size of a king.   That’s why there’s some overlap.   Note the big pillows.

The pillows and duvets can be had in either foam or feathers,  and they’re all equally comfortable. 

So for example,  when Daughter Number One was over here a couple years ago,  she was smitten with the big pillow program,  so when T.C. and I went home for Christmas two years ago,  I managed to scrunch up two pillows,  fit them into a suitcase, (there was some plastic bags and packaging tape involved) and we took them home for her.    They do take up a lot of room.  Even when scrunched up.  She’s a happy sleeper.


Well,  of the two of our most recent visitors,  only Rudy had ever been over here before,  and he probably never really gave his pillows or bedding a second thought,  so I’d imagine that whatever he had in his hotel room to crash on at the end of the day was perfectly fine.  

But just hold on there.  For Margaret,  this was her first time coming to Europe,  and I would dare say that,  even if you were to stay in a hotel,  instead of at “Chez Caretaker”,  you might not get the full “honkin’ big pillow” treatment.   Most hotels we’ve stayed in have pitifully small pillows,  and we usually have to go to the cupboard and get down the additional pillows that one hopes are stored there.  One hopes.


Of course,  you know that our visitors have already left the country, right? 



I’m not sure how else to say this,  but for Margaret I think there was some sort of “bedding overload”?   She was not only so smitten with the pillow program but the whole bedding arrangement was playing on her mind to the point where she just HAD to go shopping on Saturday.   I’d say it was “keeping her up at night”,  but it was actually the opposite.


So….. here we have,  sitting in our front hallway, the results.




I haven’t bothered to poke my head into either of these two huge bags,  but I understand there are duvet covers,  pillows,  the whole works.   She might get them next year some time?   They flew economy,  and already had one bag each,  both of which were full.  

We (meaning “I”) have to figure out where we’ll keep these bags until the day comes when our stuff gets shipped to North America.   She was willing to wait.   I think I understand.

Of course,  I’m not sure I could wait that long.


I suppose we’ll know at some point in the next couple months just when Margaret will get to use her new pillows.

That’s a bit of a hint,  but that’s all I’ll say.  Can’t divulge anything about “The Company…”


Keep those skates sharp.


Thanks for poppin’ ‘round.