Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two more sleeps!

And that too could be a previous blog post title.  I’m never really sure.

Plus,  it’s a funny thing what one tends to find acceptable as “family vocabulary”,  since I would think twice about using the number of “sleeps”  to count down to an event with a total stranger.  Try this out and see if this works for you:  “Nasa has confirmed that their new rocket will launch in two more sleeps”.   See?  There’s something just wrong about that.

So when Travelling Companion said those two words last night before she crashed at about 9:30,  it didn’t sound strange to me at all.  This is a person who has more than just a couple letters behind her name,  yet has also been known to use another bit of family jargon,  which is “bake to hork”.

OK,  so now you’re really confused.

I guess I have to explain that one.  But if I do,  and if I read it somewhere in some scientific journal (as if),  I’m going to be really pissed,  and I’m going to want to track down whoever blabbed.  So keep it to yourselves.

See,  many years ago,  when I worked afternoons,  I transferred to a school that was even closer to our house than where I been working up until then.  During my entire time as a Caretaker,  I had always tried to have a commute to work that was never any longer than about 10 minutes.   Twenty minutes MAXIMUM,  and that only happened because we moved across town.  As soon as I could,  I transferred to a closer school.   Hey, there’s something to be said for “seniority”.

I think it was some sort of overreaction to my previous experience in the restaurant business where,  within the span of one year,  I put 100,000 km on a company car.  That’s a lot of driving.  Didn’t want to do it no more.


All transfers are done towards the latter part of May,  on into June.   What that means is,  one typically finds oneself in a new school just in time for the dreaded “summer clean up”.   *ugh*

“Summer clean up” is just about the worst part of the job.  It’s hot.  It’s humid (this is Southern Ontario remember)  and there’s gobs of work to do.   There were very few air conditioned schools in the system, and in most cases,  the stupid air conditioning was shut off in the summer anyway.  That’s a whole other story.


It so happened that the fellow I was going to be working with,  and who is still working as a Head Caretaker for the Board,  is originally from the Azores.   That link will take you to a wiki article,  just in case your geography is a tad weak.

The thing was though,  this fellow had only made it to about grade three in the Azores,  so you can well imagine that,  not only was his written Portuguese not that great,  but his English was even worse.   I didn’t realise it then,  but there would be many times later when I’d have to “translate”.   And we were ALL speaking English.

I seem to recall, just after being transferred, that I worked with him for a few days,  at which point he was taking some vacation time,  and then he was coming back in after a couple weeks.   So there I sat, all by my lonesome,  in our tiny little office next to the boiler room on the first Monday that I’d be working there by myself,  knocking back coffee number two,  and trying to come to grips with the situation, when I happened to notice on the calendar over the desk,  that he has written down our “vacation schedule”.   You can well imagine that I’m using the term “written” in the most broad sense.  Here’s why:

I could decipher where,  for his vacation time, he had put in the word “off”.  “Off”  is pretty easy.  But then on the following Monday,  he had written in “Bake to hork”.    Sound it out a few times.  I did.  And after about four tries,  I realised it said,  “Back to work”!   Eureka!

So there you go.  Our immediate family has been using “Bake to hork”  ever since.   If we’re with strangers or those who are not ‘in the know’,  we get looked at like we’re a bunch of complete idiots,  but we don’t really care.

There’s a segue in there,  since the thing he used to do before getting a job as a Caretaker was cut hair.  He would regale me with these stories of how many heads of hair he used to cut,  back when he first came to Canada.  As best as I can recall,  and as best as I could figure out, (it’s that “translating” thing?)  it got to the point where he was physically no longer able to comfortably hold the required hair cutting equipment for all those hours.   It’s possible it was carpel tunnel syndrome, but I’ll never know,  since that wasn’t part of his English lexicon.  

Um ya,  there were times when I had no friggin clue what he was talking about.

So,  that brings me to one of this morning’s chores:   It was time for Bob’s pre-Christmas hair cut.   The pre-Christmas hair cut turns out to be no different than any other haircut,  but it just has a nice ring to it.


It’s always good to have pictorial evidence.  I had no clue what I was taking a picture of,  since I would need to put on my glasses to actually check.  I was just pointing and hoping.

Both Travelling Companion and I have been going to "Frau Gabi” since arriving here in Wienerland,  Not only is her salon within a city block of our front door, but she also has a passable grasp of English.   She and I always speak German when I’m there,  but the English comes in handy for T.C.  

I don’t know how we got on the subject,  but she was telling me a story about a hair dresser (or perhaps more accurately,  it was a “Barber”) whose name she wasn’t about to divulge,  in the sixth district,  the bulk of whose customers go to him so they can all have a drink!  

Oh,  I remember. It was because I was telling her about my Dad taking me to his brother-in-law (my Uncle Merrill) to get my hair cut when I was a kid.  It was only twenty-five cents!   I remember that part,  but I also remember him being drunk most of the time.  Actually no,  it was all the time.  Not my Dad,  he hardly touched a drop.  I mean my Uncle Merrill.   And this was during the daytime, well before the sun had ever come over the yardarm.

And man, did he stink!  And I remember one time how he managed to cut me.  Bled like a stuck pig too.  Funny the things we don’t ever forget.

So….  drinking and cutting hair?  I know from personal experience that it’s not a good combination.  “Frau Gabi”  went on to say how all his customers (men, presumably) would come out of the place looking like their hair had been cut by a drunk.  Pretty much the way my hair looked for roughly the first ten years of my life.   Not a pretty sight,  believe me. 

And no, there will be no pictorial evidence.  I hope there are no old photos lying around.  Gawd help me.


Oh,  and the “two more sleeps”?   What?  You thought I forgot?  We’ll be picking up daughter number one and her main man at the airport Saturday morning.   Hehee!


Almost forgot to mention,  and this was a pleasant surprise,  “Frau Gabi”  likes to give out little Christmas presents in the days leading up to Christmas.

I got me some hand cream. 



Because I mean,  I really need hand cream.  Admittedly there might have been a time when I’d slather on some hand cream, back in the day,  but it’s been a while. 

Don’t worry,  I was very gracious in accepting my hand cream.  I’m not that much of an ingrate after all.

Does your hairdresser/barber give out a Christmas present?

I didn’t think so.


So just remember,  be careful with sharp objects,  or better yet,  no cutting hair while drunk.


Thanks for stopping by.




  1. your stories are always so interesting..the travelling from one story to another is amazing..your brain must be very active!!..thanks for the laugh this morning..back to hork I go!!

  2. You had us laughing at the NASA example. Too funny. We use "sleeps" too. I remember once saying it at the office at work and I had one guy that had never heard anyone say that before. After that he started using it the phase with his little boy.

    I was a hairdresser and cut hair out of my home. I was known to have a glass of wine along with the customer on occassion and with certain customers they got a little plate of homemade goodies to take home at Christmas time.

    Enjoy your visit with your daugher and her significant other.

    Kevin and Ruth

  3. D'Oh! It's "BAKE to hork"! Not "Back"
    Gah! I knew this would happen.

  4. could always be worse you had us rolling here with today's blog....
    When Rick was little and had to go to the dentist the local town dentist was always drunk....cost 1.00 to pull a tooth...but you never had to pay double when the drunk pulled the WRONG like I say it could always be worse....

  5. Love your post. we use sleeps too, just might incorporate 'bake to hork'.

  6. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary. I like the word yardarm.
    I use to go to a hairdresser that served the usual beverages but she also would make me a cocktail. I was one happy customer!


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.