Saturday, June 30, 2012

But there’s a breeze…

Not that that helps.   It’s kind of like when you open the door of a convection oven.  You do get a ‘breeze’.

I’m not sure what my thinking is when it comes to this habit,  but I like to have fresh air blowing through the place for as long as I can stand it.  Usually my “cut-off” is around 25.  

I mean, there was that “breeze” after all.

Took a while to get it cooled down from this:


Fine.  I’m an idiot.


We’re down to a much more sensible 23°C in here,  even though my trusty thermometer outside on the post is still showing 35°C,  and it’s now coming up on 9:00 p.m.

Just to save you the arithmetic,  35°C is 95°F.   Mind you, for anyone living in St. Louis Missouri,   where it was a record 109°F  (41°F) yesterday,  (holy cats!) I’m sure 95 would seem just peachy.   Or maybe not.

Which is why I need to stop this right now,  since I’m beginning to preach to the choir.  It’s hotter in other places.  AND,  at least our electricity is still flowing


Pretty much a normal boring Saturday.  I made sure to get out there and run the shopping errands before it got too stinkin’ hot.   I was the only one in at the butchers when they opened at 8:00.  Travelling Companion had a hair appointment at 10:00.   That kind of stuff.

Oh,  and I have a little story she heard from the Hair Lady,  but it’ll have to wait.


I made potato salad,  T.C. made the bean salad and I threw some chicken on the Weber.  Bada-bing.

Turns out we’ll have plenty for tomorrow,  so that’s a bonus.  Getting tired of coming up with stuff.

Just getting tired of eating.  Stupid thing is though,  we still get hungry. 


Sure hope everyone is keeping comfortable,  whatever that takes.


Thanks for looking in.




Friday, June 29, 2012

Was the Shuster a shyster?

Um, no. 

Better yet,  at least he wasn’t from Shrewsbury or Worcestershire. 


The first order of business this morning though was to head off to the airport to pick up Travelling Companion.  She called at one point from Cluj,  right around the time that she was supposed to be boarding to just mention that the plane wasn’t quite there yet,  but then in the next breath she could see it taxiing up to the gate.   It’s a bit of a small airport apparently,  where the runway is also the taxi way,  even though it’s supposedly an “international” airport. 

That may also be the reason why they use somewhat smaller aircraft as well.   At least Tarom.



It’s an ATR 42-500,  which seems to be a common work horse commuter plane used by several airlines here in Europe.  

Figured you needed to know that.


Information about the flight was somewhat sparse though. 

flight status cropped

So I just head for the airport and hope for the best.   She didn’t get in until almost 10:30,  which meant muggins here stood around for awhile.

You may recall that they’ve made some changes at the airport,  as they’ve now opened a whole new terminal.

Of course,  I headed off in the direction that I’m used to,  but quickly discovered that that wasn’t going to work.  Kind of blocked off. 


New entrance.


This is where we came out when we came back from Birmingham a few weeks back,  although we were so pooched that I really wasn’t sure where the heck we were.  We were supposed to be met by a driver,  and I sure didn’t see anyone,  so we just came out and took one of the cabs lined up there.  It was just one of those times when I just wanted to get home to my own bed,  and neither of us had the patience to go wandering off trying to find their little cubby hole.   I found it this morning, but there was no point going over and giving them a blast about dropping the ball.  I just won’t use them again. 


So once you get inside,  it’s the same only different.  Flights are listed.   People are hanging around.


The most noticeable difference that became annoyingly obvious in fairly short order was,  there was no bloody place to sit down!



At least in the other terminal,  you could grab one of the very few places to sit.   I mentioned to T.C. when she came through that I’d be sitting at one of the cafes for future pick-ups.   Methinks she has to head off to Serbia in a couple weeks.  I’ll be doing another airport run,  and subsequent pick-up.   It’s my job.




Of course,  as soon as we got in the door,  there was a call that she had to join,  which is then a good time for me to get the heck out of here,  since these conference calls are enough to drive me right around the bend.  It wouldn’t be so bad maybe if I could hear what was going on at the other end?  Or maybe it would,  I’m not sure. 


So it was off to fetch the shoes.

I plopped down the remainder of the monies owing and the young lad went to retrieve them.  Before he did that though,  he gave them a little buffing.



I should explain the “monies owing”  thing.  I mentioned that it was €13,  and in a similar fashion to dry cleaning here in Europe,  you PAY UP FRONT.   Kind of makes sense I suppose,  since then if you don’t come back for your shoes,  it’s not going to really matter to the shop.   The ever so slight wrinkle yesterday was,  he couldn’t quite come up with my change,  so a compromise was reached whereby I’d just bring in three Euros when I got the shoes. 

The buffing only did so much.  They’re still rather old shoes,  but at least now they have new heels.   Good for another few years.  One hopes they will be put up for storage in the not too distant future,  but that future isn’t exactly all that easy to predict at this point.




I’m sure you really needed to see the bottoms of a random pair of shoes.  Good thing I put that water mark on there!   Wouldn’t want anyone ripping off my wonderful pictures!



Oh, I almost forgot.   I was going to pass on the little story about the pricey shoes.

A few years back,  and this would have been some time before we moved to Europe,  Travelling Companion was out shopping with two of her nieces,   whose Mom (T.C.’s younger sister)  is somewhat,  shall we say,  frugal?   It seems that it’s rubbed off on her two girls.  So,  just keep that in mind.

Anyway,  they had picked up whatever it was they had intended to get,  and T.C. wanted to stop by a shoe store to look around.   The younger of the two nieces,  who was probably about 9 or 10 at the time,  picks up one pair and says,  “Oh,  these aren’t too bad.   Look,  they’re only $13.50”.    Her older sister looks over and sees the price and says,  “*Pfft* Um NO,  they’re $135.00!” 

She might have called her younger sister a name at that point,  but we’ll leave that up to your imagination.

Horrified, the younger of the two puts down the shoes as if they were radioactive and says to T.C. “You can’t spend $135 on shoes!”.


At which point T.C. very calmly explained to her that,  as an adult,  there was no worries about one’s feet getting bigger,  and there was a very good chance that the shoes in question would last maybe a couple decades.   So,  good value really.

The younger niece was still having problems with that line of thinking,  and T.C. couldn’t find anything she really liked that day either,  so no shoes were purchased.  Probably for the best.

Later on,  as this story was being related to me,  T.C. said,  “It’s a darned good thing I didn’t show her the ones that I actually kind of liked,  since they were $300!  I think she would have fainted.”

I’m not sure,  but I don’t think T.C. has gone shoe shopping with those two nieces for a while.


Well,  I’ve used up my quota of letters.

I’ll therefore bid you a fine weekend.


Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, June 28, 2012

So THAT’S why my feet hurt.

And no,  I won’t be showing any pictures of my feet.  Even though they don’t quite match. 

Seriously.  Not sure what sort of mutation happened there,  but one fine day as I was perched on The Throne and happened to take a fresh look at those appendages,  I though,  “Hey,  one of these things is not like the other.”




Feel free to sing along.

I’m so easily distracted.  Gawd.


Where was I? 



Well,  I TRY to take a glance at myself in the mornings before heading into the big world out there,  even though I might not be the shabbiest one on the street.  *By a long shot.*  It’s a matter of personal preference I suppose.  This morning I even shaved.  


I mean,  after the Hair Lady tidied things up yesterday in the rest of the hair department,  it seemed like the reasonable thing to do.   Along with that of course,  it never hurts to check on any other wayward hairs that *ahem* might be growing in places where they’re really not appreciated.  Nose.  Ears. 

You know. 

And if you’re too young to know?   You will.  Just you wait. Trust me.

Hair Lady even took a couple minutes and trimmed my eyebrows,  so we’re good to go in that department.  Here I thought I had them under control,  but they weren’t to her liking apparently.  Maybe I have to rethink my standards when it comes to eyebrow trimming?  I never took the course or anything,  so maybe I’m missing something.



Saw these guys putting up something out on the main drag.   Talk about having the ultimate tool for working on the house.


I try not to stand and gawk covetously,  but it ain’t easy.


On the way back,  about half way I suppose, I started to notice that something wasn’t quite right.  Just a minor annoyance,  and nothing that was serious enough such that I wanted to hail a cab or anything.  It wasn’t until I got in the elevator and was stationary,  that I finally decided to look down to see just what the heck was going on,  when I realised I was wearing the wrong footwear!  Oh geez!  So now I need to check my feet too?

Did anybody notice?

Probably not.  Sad to say,  I probably could have gone barefoot,  and nobody would have batted and eye.  Well,  until I started limping of course.  But even then,  maybe not.  It’s that big city thing. 

Oh man,  the things I see.


We have these el-cheapo flip-flop type of things that are for the express purpose of going out on the terrace.  Sometimes I might venture out barefoot,  but there’s always that one little stone that reminds me how that’s not always such a bright idea.   The ones I bought a few weeks back are really surprisingly comfortable.  So much so that a person just might forget that they have them on their feet.  That is, until they’ve walked about a kilometre of course.   That’s when the tops of the feet start to get abraded?  Ouch!

No calluses up there to speak of.   Certainly hope not anyway.  That would be just wrong.


See, the ones on the left?  The comfy but, “go no farther than 20 meters”  variety.   Whereas the ones on the right get strapped down.  

Simple stuff really. 

Kind of like cinching up your seat belt when there’s turbulence.   It does help to be strapped in.  The same applies for the tootsies too.


I see folks walking in those ‘between the toes absolutely flat’ kind of flip-flops,  and I’m just awe struck.  I can’t even conceive of how it’s possible to walk any farther than from the showers back out to the locker room in those things.   Besides,  I can’t abide by anything between my toes.  

We don’t even own any,  since I consider them to be pretty much an abomination.


And those socks with individual toes?? 

toe socks


How should I put this?  ‘Water boarding’ or making me wear those.  Those would be reasonable choices for ways to torture me.

The whacky colours don’t help either.


Now,  speaking of shoes….

Don’t you love these segues?


The other day,  Travelling Companion was lamenting the condition of a pair of shoes she’s had for a while,  and was wondering whether or not she should part with them.   When I say "a while”,  that basically means that she can no longer remember when she bought them. 



There were two things to consider however:   They are comfortable and,  they still would have a few more miles on them (well,  kilometres if you prefer) if they only had new heels.   Many folks don’t realise that good shoes can in fact be repaired.


See,  the soles are pretty good.  It’s the heels that are shot. 



So I took them to a Schuster this morning.  He promised to heal those heels.   €13.   A heck of a sight cheaper than new shoes.  I think those puppies were pricey.  I’ll have a “pricey puppy” shoe story for you tomorrow.  I promise.


I’m starting to get a little long winded here,  so when I pick up the shoes with the new heels on them,  I’ll post an “after” shot.

Meanwhile,  the night pic I took the other day of the outside screen was really pretty pitiful,  so I went up last night and took one with the Nikon.  Big difference.  Someone said we’d be seeing more of that place.  Good prediction.


This was during the game between Spain and Portugal.  Not that it matters.



There we go.  Heaps better.  Click on that sucker.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for coming ‘round.




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Renovations.

Here’s something that I first noticed a few nights ago,  and I’m pretty sure I stood there with my mouth open for maybe a couple minutes?  Thankfully we don’t have a lot of flying bugs.

You may recall the renovations that were going on down the street?

Well,  they’re done. 

I went up just now and took a photo,  and unfortunately there’s still a certain amount of cr*p out in front of the “Friseur”.



Click on that one and you’ll see the white patch up at the top.  It’s not something that really snags your attention during the daylight hours.  Hey,  I even did some editing in Picasa.  Oh my. 


You’ll also notice too that,  even though that work is done,  there’s a massive project going on in the building next door that takes up the entire block around the corner.  That’s where the crane is located.  It’s in the courtyard.  I have pictures of it somewhere.  Doesn’t matter.   You’ve seen it.

According to our Hair Lady,  it used to be a factory of some sort,  had been sitting empty for the longest time,  and is now being converted to condos.   So even though her shop front is no longer hidden under the scaffolding,  when I went in there yesterday morning to make an appointment,  there were workers going in and out of her salon.  I guess she’s a very patient lady.  My head would explode.

Mind you,  the construction aspect is a good thing, while admitted just ever so slightly annoying from time to time.  I think there are a many city planners in parts of North America who could learn a few things about mitigating urban sprawl,  but I’m not going to get up on that particular soap box.  Not right now anyway.  Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.


So like I said,  I’m up on our terrace getting a little air,  sort of letting my eye wander across the vast expanse of rooftops, and I happen to notice movement at the newly renovated “Dachgeschoß”.   *Roof top apartment*  or Penthouse.


Seemed a bit odd.


Well, the fairly unnoticeable white patch on the side of the building was there as a screen for a projection TV!

Holy cats!  I thought that was awesome.  They were watching one of the soccer matches.   An outdoor, patio/man cave!   Resourceful.  Creative.  Well,  *awesome* really.  I’m running out of superlatives. 


Now,  speaking of things that might go unnoticed upon first glance,  I happened upon this fellow this morning as I was out and about.



Any ideas?   Any IT geeks out there might be able to guess.  

Ever heard of fibre optics?   (Well,  “Optical Fiber”  if you’re south of the 49th)   Those are two different links by the way.  Gobs of reading if you’re brave.   There’s even an Alexander Graham Bell connection in there.  Not kidding.


This chap was either fixing a break,  or splicing in a branch feed.  Not sure which,  and I didn’t ask.



He was pleasant enough to not tell me to go ‘take a hike’,  so I didn’t annoy him too much. 

Without getting too elaborate,  his splicer works in a fairly similar fashion to the type of film splicer we used to use back in the olden days.  A little more complicated.  OK fine,  HEAPS more complicated.  It’s called a Fusion Splicer,  and that puppy there is probably worth about 15 large.  Seriously.   It welds the strands of fibre together after the technician has stripped the colour coding and cleaned up the ends with alcohol,  and then the connection is tested to see if everything is OK.   There’s no way of telling with the naked eye.

Usually these guys work out of the back of a van,  but maybe the location was such that it wouldn’t have been a good idea.  Fun for me though. 

Like Rosana Danna used to say,  “It’s always something”.


I realise you didn’t NEED to learn anything today,  but I try to do my part.


Thanks for moving those eyes back and forth. 



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our little absences.


Saw this on the side of a car this morning.


Best to be alert when out and about it seems?


Anyway,  this was on the way back from the airport,  where I dropped off Travelling Companion for her flight to Romania.   She’ll be there for the rest of the week.  Fun times.  Another one of those financial hokus pokus thingies.  (Balance sheet review)


As usual, the traffic is pretty predictable.  My view is mostly like this:



Nice blue sky though.  Must admit.


But then it sometimes improves.



And I know what you’re thinking.  I’m talking about the lack of cars,  not the young lady on the bike.

Interestingly enough though, since we’re doing a little “traffic study” here,  (you believe that, right?) even though I was in the car (hello!) and she was on the bike,  we were kind of keeping pace with one another. 

I didn’t mind.


What? Oh!

I mean,  back to the traffic study…


I did pass her a couple times.  Really.  I didn’t just hang back there and watch her pedal although,  it did cross my mind.  Had I done that, I think somebody behind me might have got upset.  Best not to upset the natives.   They do get restless.


So you can see that,  it’s just as fast by bike,  or just as slow by car,  to come up the main drag.   This is the only “drag” when it comes to being in the midst of all the hub-bub.  There’s just a lot going on.  But hey,  we decided we’d live right in Vienna,  and that’s the name of that tune.

Using public transport mitigates the delays when it comes to getting around,  but you know how I feel about sitting in a box with other people.  Especially smelly ones.

There were a couple places that we looked at, that were “out there”,  and certainly more peaceful,  or at least less congested,  but why move to Vienna if you’re then going to live out in the burbs?  Even though I’ll admit that I’m no “City Boy”,  it wasn’t going to be forever,  although T.C. is having some difficulties extricating herself from her job here.  It seems the folks at the Company that Cannot be Named are beginning to realise that,   with 10 ledgers within her realm, her business is “complicated”.   Nice of them to finally figure that out.   Oh, and let’s not forget, she deals in seven currencies.   So,  the hunt is on for a replacement.  It’s a challenge.


I don’t want to sound like a whining Willie here,  but we just found out that the relocation folks (the *smart* ones in Texas,  but that’s all I can say)  are asking if they should put the wheels in motion to renew my Residence Permit for another year?  (See,  mine expires before T.C.’s) 


Are you kidding me?   C’mon!   I think I’m just going to stamp my feet,  hold my breath and refuse to go to the immigration office.   I won’t go!  Can’t make me!  There.  That should do it.

My permit is up on the forth of October.  I just figured we would be “done” by then.   The movers would have come and gone,  I would have gathered up all the sh*t like appliances and extension cords and other items that are of no use to us in the Americas and given it all away to some charity or other,  and we’d be outta here!   Now I’m not so sure.  Geez.

It’s been four years.  Bob wants to go home.


As things develop I may be able to supply more snippets,  as long as I keep within the “rules of blogging”.    It’s a very strict set of rules by the way,  and basically spells out how I can only talk about “me”.   Nothing about the Company that Cannot be Named (and no,  it’s not the CIA)  nor too much about T.C.  and GOD FORBID,  no pictures of her either!   Danger Will Robinson!

It ain’t easy.  Trust me.


Keep those sticks on the ice.  


Thanks for coming by.



Monday, June 25, 2012

It’s Monday and I got nothin’.


Did NOTHING this weekend,  except the usual looking for food kind of shopping.  Well you know.  We ate, slept and took bathroom breaks,  but that was the extent of it.

I’ve been getting a little better at not being a complete dope when it comes to making sure the larder is well stocked.  That’s about all I have going for me.   Travelling Companion did the Chicken Risotto recipe last night,  so that was a nice break.  Plus,  it’s good for left overs the next day.  That’s a bonus.  This is one of those rare occasions when having a microwave would actually be a good thing.  We have learned to live without one though. 

Hm, I’ve heard about people ‘blogging about nothing’….


Oh,  *thinks* funny little thing!   Heard back from our last guest Ljuba, the other day.  She got her sock!

Yes,  she left a sock behind and I mailed it to her.  I was kind of ruminating on the idea for a day or two,  since it did seem like a bit of silly idea,  and while I was trying to figure out if I wanted to do such a silly thing,  a belated birthday card arrived for her here from a sister in Toronto.   So aha!   I had a “hidden agenda”!   I could forward the card and just include the sock,  and then it wouldn’t seem like I was being quite so extravagant/eccentric/whacko.

Pick one. 

I mean,  what kind of an idiot mails a sock??  I think the postage (actually,  I KNOW…) was more than the stupid sock was worth,  but of course,  that card arrived and it was all good,  because then there was a “plan”.

Should have opened the card too I hear,  since there was cash in there.   Yes I know.  Not something I would ever do.  Putting the cash in the mail I mean.  Now that’s silly.

Opening someone’s mail?   Well probably not.  I’ve even left mail on the counter for Travelling Companion to open,  much to her bewilderment,  since she figures I’d just open it.  Why?
Used to drive the kids nuts when the mail would arrive and I would leave it sitting.  “Aren’t you gonna open the mail??”    Nope.  Just looking at it,  I knew it could wait.  Bills.  Cr*p.  More bills.  Really. It could wait.



I wanted to mention something about this thing called “Google Plus”.   Or I guess it’s simply “Google +”.  Whatever.

I see where people keep adding me to their circles?   I certainly beg your indifference,  but in a similar fashion to “game requests”  or stuff like that on Facebook,  I just don’t do that.  Sorry.  Maybe I should be more “with it”,  but I find it just becomes a never ending spiral of keeping up with notifications et cetera,  and to quote a rather off colour comedian of a few years back,  “Homey don’t play dat.”

Glad I got that off my chest.

So carry on. 

Hope everyone’s weekend was just peachy keen.   There has been some crazy-assed weather in a few different spots,  so I certainly hope there are no drowned rats out there.  Those are “rats” in the strictly metaphorical sense.  Take it easy.


Thanks for moving your eyes back and forth.



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Keeping a low profile.






No plans.   Today started off kind of miserable, as we woke up to rain, so last nights rainbow was rather fitting.  I didn’t realise at first that it was a double.  Hence the series of photos. 


By “low profile”  I’m actually referring to the notion that we’ve been pretty gul derned lucky in these here parts,  weather wise.  Without getting constant snippets of news on the TOOB,  (‘cause we don’t get TV)  it’s sometimes necessary to seek out the news.

Apparently they’re still cleaning up in other parts of Austria as the result of some crazy assed* weather they’ve been having.   I had no clue.


*That’s a highly technical metrological term,  by the way.



Of course,  when it comes to telling just about anyone in North America about this sort of thing,  I’m pretty much “preaching to the choir”,   since weather cr*p is pretty much part of daily life there.  Sorry to trouble you.  I’m just saying,  we’ve been lucky.  Just pointing it out is all to try and balance out any of those times when I whine and snivel.

There were a few gruesome pictures on the web,  and since websites do get changed from time to time,  I’m just going to pilfer a couple pics to demonstrate.


It’s one thing when there’s a sea of mud running outside your house:


But it’s quite another when it comes in uninvited:



Like I said.  We’re having just a fine day here.  Sun’s out.  No need to man the buckets.   Life’s good.


Enjoy your weekend.


Thanks for peeking in.




Friday, June 22, 2012

Where’s Eggenburg?

Actually,  I think I muttered something else,  but I probably shouldn’t repeat it.

And no,  that’s not like some sort of “Where’s Waldo” thing,  it’s just that Eggenburg is the village that Travelling Companion was headed towards last night when she called me for the second time to say the road that she usually takes was closed.  She had been given some instructions that she could head through Eggenburg,  and then down through Maissau and then back onto the highway.  Well, the term “highway”  is being generous,  since it does go through all the little towns along the way.  And THAT is where the speed traps are. 

And you know,  I’m quite content to not be the chauffeur when it comes to these meetings and such at the second office and all,  since there’s a whole bunch of evaporated time that I have to fill if I do that gig.  Just the same,  it’s moments such as this when I’d really and truly just as soon be at the wheel,  since taking a detour through a couple back country villages doesn’t phase me in the least.  We’re somewhat at cross purposes really,  since I’m the Dude who speaks the lingo,  and T.C. is the one who needs to go places.  Just one of those little life cluster f…messed up things.

Oh,  there I am using that bad language again.


Anyway,  it turns out it wasn’t construction as I had originally thought.  I think I jumped to that conclusion since there is a by-pass that they’re working on,  so somehow I had this visualisation that popped into my head.  No, it was some sort of horrendous accident that made it prudent to close the road.

Now this is what I have to say about that.   It doesn’t surprise me.   It’s a two lane road,  with passing lanes every so often,  but for some reason*,  there are those who can’t seem to wait the extra three or four minutes to get to the next passing lane.  I’m not aware of the details in this particular instance,  but I’d hazard a guess that there was some frontal contact involved.  Quite likely when someone was passing when they shouldn’t have. 

*As near as I can figure,  the “reason” is the way a person’s IQ plummets at that precise moment when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.  And if you’re completely bored at this point,   which is understandable,  you’re perfectly welcome to see an example of this phenomenon here.  It actually has more to do with a perceived personality change one undergoes at the wheel,  but the concept is similar.  Have fun.

Almost forgot.  Last nights sunset.  Complete with the Vienna State symbol.


Sorry to jump around.  It’s getting late in the day.  Suffice to say T.C. finally ended up at home some time after 9:00 pm.   This working has to stop I say!


I suppose in light of this afternoon’s activities,  I should really have called this “Getting Home”,  since she was once again faced with some sort of difficulty within a couple blocks of our front door.  SO CLOSE.


In keeping with the way these things go,  the phone rings,  and I’m asked if I ‘can see anything?’   Which means I ultimately have to go down to street level,  mobile phone in hand,  trying to figure out just what the heck the problem is.   Well, the street was closed.   That explains it.




Bike riders could get through. 







Looks like a pretty easy gig for the cops.


I didn’t take a video since I took the Nikon down with me,  but suffice to say,  this was today’s obstacle for Travelling Companion. 

Some sort of demonstration against Iran (OK,  I can dig it)  but then they were playing Reggae music.   Right.

I guess I’m just not developed enough culturally or something,  since I didn’t think there was any relationship whatsoever between Iran and Reggae.  And if that’s the point,  then I’m missing it.


Yessir.  Life in the big city.

In case I don’t check in,  have a fine weekend.


Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

So we did break a record.

Quite a difference this morning when I poked my head outside.

Just a warning.  Today’s pictorial offerings will all get sized to their original (huge) format if you click on them.  So don’t get upset at me if you’re still using some tin foil outside your window trying to leech off your neighbours wireless. 



If the sun isn’t pounding in to the kitchen and living room,  that can make all the difference.

Oh,  and that’s a new crane they put up yesterday.  One day is all it takes.  I was tempted to take pictures,  but seriously?  I have enough stinkin’ crane pictures. 



Anyway,  I’m not going to go on too much about the weather.  It’s still a warm day,  but just pleasantly warm,  not brutally hot.  Much preferred.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m quite happy and grateful that we have “Klima-Anlage”,  (air conditioning)  but would just as soon not have to use it.  It’s not about the cost either.  Our energy bills aren’t that outrageous.  As a matter of fact,  after the first year,  Wien Energie  gave us a fairly hefty refund,  as they had over estimated what we would use on a monthly basis.  This past year it didn’t work out that way,  as we ended up owing about €160.   No biggie.  At least they don’t presume to charge interest on that,  so if they figure they want to do some sort of estimate,  then that’s OK.

I always have to chuckle a little when I go to some of these Austrian websites,  like the one I linked to above.  The German version is usually quite elaborate.  Then you click on the “English” icon,  and it’s pitifully sparse.  Just no “Englische Sprachkenntnisse”.   Look that one up.  So they claim to have an English version,  but most times it’s not a mirror image of the German site.

Anyway, what was I saying,  something about the air conditioning?   Well,  since each of the rooms can be cooled all by themselves,  all that really is happening is that the air is getting dried out and cooled down,  but you’re eventually just breathing your own re-circulated air.  I like to crack a window,  but it doesn’t always do the trick.   So if it has hopefully cooled down in the night,  then at least the place can be aired out in the morning.   Gets mighty stale otherwise.

Much ado about nothing.


Which is pretty much the theme for today I’m afraid.

Travelling Companion called last night after she had left her office to say she was on her way over to Gmünd,  where it had rained for most of the day,  and that she was following someone from work,  as one of the roads had been closed.  Apparently this was pointed out to her by her navigation system when she was on her way up there,  but there were no alternate routes given,  so she thought it best to rely on local knowledge.  She did mention when she thought she might head out for home,   but it was at one of those precise moments when the signal was lost.   She always calls when she’s either underway or getting close,  so no worries.

Meanwhile I dropped off the prescription at the tiny little “Apotheke”  down the street a ways,  and I’ll stop by tomorrow morning to pick it up.  I could go into the humongous Kaiserkrone around the corner from our front door,  but I gave up on that a long time ago.  First of all,  the place is always mobbed,  with every Greta, Gertrude and Gabi lined up to sort out all their little aches and pains,  and then I belly up to the counter only to discover that they have to order whatever I need anyway,  and so I STILL have to go back the next day.   AND stand in line again.  Gah!

Sadly,  it took me a few visits to figure that one out. 


Oh,  speaking of figuring things out.   Remember how I was in a bit of a snit a few months back because Google Maps was using the wrong name for that town I mentioned just now?




Someone at the big Mother Ship at Google thought it was OK to stick Gmunden in two different places.   Or they just didn’t do their proper homework.

Anyway,  apparently they fixed it.   There was a note a while back in my Gmail account (which I don’t check too darned often it turns out)  saying something to that effect.  

Who knew??  There was a response from the Mother Ship!  Glory be!  I feel honoured.

Well OK,  maybe not.


I suppose though that an actual human would have had to do some sort of “clicking on buttons” in order to affect such a change,  so I guess that counts for something.  



Hope you all have a fine day.


Keep those sweat bands handy.

Thanks for stopping by.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Not a day to be ‘out’.

Looked out at the thermometer at around 7:00 a.m. and it was already showing 29°C.   Not sure what that is in Fahrenheit,  but it’s pretty toasty,  that’s for sure.  I like room temperature to be something like 22°,  so you can take it from there.   By this afternoon the temperature is up there in the mid thirties.  I think I’d just as soon not know.

It’s a “double hump” day,  by the way.  Of course it’s Wednesday, like that’s a big deal,  but it’s also the Summer Solstice.

solstice global (without title)   

*Harumph* We’re not on there.  We’re at 48.2088° N, 16.3726° E which is,  wait a minute,  farther north than Toronto?  Well that’s a new one on me. 

Of course,  that also means that from now on,  the days will be getting shorter and shorter,  until once again I’ll be grumbling about having 15 minutes of daylight.  I'll try not to grumble,  but I can’t promise.

So you would think that I’d be very clever and stay bottled up here in our somewhat comfortable apartment.  I mean,  I did the usual “out and about” this morning,  even though it was already by then just slightly north of pleasant but no,  I had to go out this afternoon.


In keeping with what is by now a tradition,  Travelling Companion left it too late to get in to see her Doc,  which meant that Muggins here had to go and pick up a prescription for some diabetic thing ma jiggies.

Two things.   First of all,  I was quite happy not to be dressed like this:


Snapped that yesterday afternoon on the way home through the car window.  It was just as hot out.  I can’t see why anyone would dress like a ninja in this heat.

And,  although it was quite comfortable at the doctor’s office,  I still had to wait to pick up the prescription.  I spend a lot of my time waiting it seems.  This too shall eventually come to pass I suppose.  No grumbling.  Really.



Just looooove  waiting.  yessir.  I live to wait. 

Travelling Companion left this morning for her other office up in Schrems,  which then means Bob takes public transport.  Admittedly the subway stations are reasonably cool,  being that they are underground and all,  but for the reverse trip I decided not to hoof it all the way back to Südtiroler Platz,  but instead jumped on the streetcar. (that link is a little map there if you’re at all curious)

Just a little warm.  Not stinky,  thankfully,  since it wasn’t crowded.  This in spite of it going part way around the Ring.   Then it was a matter of switching to the subway at Volkstheater.   As I went down,  so did the temperature.


I just discovered that there’s a much better picture in that Wiki link above.   That page is in German.  Sorry ‘bout that.

I actually wasn’t too sure where I was going to end up on the return trip, but I knew the “bim”  as they’re called here (streetcar) was heading in a favourable direction.  And I would be sitting down.

It’s kind of neat in a way to know a city well enough to just think, “Well,  I’m going to head in that direction and figure out the rest later.”  

The ticket system is such that,  as long as you have one,  and it has been validated,  all is well.   You’re not allowed to cross back over your own route,  and you can’t really get off and dally about and then get back on again.  I’ve never been stopped by any of the roving officials,  but I know that all I would have to do is try getting on once without a validated ticket and I’d be stopped for sure.  It’s like removing that spare can of fuel from your vehicle to make room?  That’s the day when all the gas stations are closed,  and you run out.  Or you’re just a nervous wreck the whole time.


Thought I’d take a stab at getting a picture of the Grand Hotel,  since T.C. is always looking to see if anyone important is coming or going there.  Not much happening today. 



That’s about all I have on offer for today I’m afraid.


I saw this place yesterday.  


Pretty much sums it up.


Thanks for coming ‘round.




Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Almost feels like Puerto Rico.

Almost.  Having that pool available would be nice right about now though.  

It’s rather unfortunate that our stay in Cabo Rojo was,  for me at least,  in the “pre-digital age”.   It certainly wasn’t pre-digital by a long shot,  but muggins here is a tad slow when it comes to getting the latest technology.   So what that means is,  I may very well have a few photos lying in a shoe box somewhere,  right next to their negatives,  but I don’t have them right here.

So you’ll just have to take my word for it. 

Anyway.  Yup.  We’re having a heat wave! 

It doesn’t really bother me. 

Once upon a time it sure used to,  since I worked in an environment that wasn’t air conditioned in any way shape or form. 

I actually *liked* my job.  Honestly.  The only exception to that was during the two months of the summer.  We called it, “summer clean-up”.   It sucked.  Really.

It was the price you paid for having a pretty sweet gig for the rest of the year.  For the most part anyway.  Let’s not forget the dreaded Christmas Concerts or school plays.  


Oh,  and then of course there was that last week of June,  just before the kids get out of school?  They’re going nuts,  it’s hot,  it’s humid,  and the teachers are just about ready to collapse.  Bring on the “field days”,  popsicles and water bottles!   Fun fun.  Not if you’re cleaning it up of course.

Truth be told,  I used to take that week off.

Hey, I ain’t that dumb.

Had no desire to be there.  I knew there was “summer clean-up” to deal with come the first week of July.  No pangs of guilt here.  Sorry.   It was a simple matter of getting everyone “geared up”  for what was about to take place in July,  leave instructions if need be,  and get the hell outta there.

See you in September.

And on that note (waka waka)  you’re welcome to enjoy this musical interlude…(click the link,  and maybe turn up the volume a tad)  I think it’s a slow tango if you feel like dancing.  Grab your partner!

See you....

Of course,  you don’t have to believe me that you can dance a slow tango to that tune.  That’s your prerogative,  and I’m no expert.  Of that, we can be certain.

However,  if you’d like,  you’re certainly welcome to listen to this rendition of “Por una Cabeza”,  sung by Carlo Gardel.  (which absolutely makes me swoon,  by the way)

Then,  if I may suggest,  tap out the rhythm with your trusty maracas that you keep for just such an occasion.

Doesn’t everyone?



You know,   these things…



Anyway,  then keeping that tapping part in mind,  go back to the first song.  It’s a tango.  Case closed.

*Oh wait.  On edit,  I could be persuaded that you may choose to dance the “Cha-cha”.   No argument here. 


Not everyone appreciated my particular rendition of that one during those final weeks of June.  I think that was probably because the intent was to get the academic staff out of the building for the summer.  Some of them just wouldn’t leave.  Or there would be statements like,  “Oh, I’ll need to come back in sometime later in July!”   My usual response was,  “No you don’t”.  

Best to keep the doors locked.


Now,  speaking of working when people are underfoot…..(like how I did that?)  Travelling Companion and I had a little annoyance this morning on the way to the parking garage.


See what these guys are doing here?




Sure glad that’s not MY bike.  I also imagine that the folks trying to get into “McFit” (and why McDonalds hasn’t come after that lot is a mystery) this morning were really overjoyed.  At least a person doesn’t shower on the way to working out in the morning.  That’s some consolation I suppose.

It was that kind of a mess at the entrance to the parking garage when T.C. and I needed to get to the car. They had tidied up that part by the time I came back.  


Welcome to the crappiest parking garage in Vienna!



Not only do we not have assigned parking spaces for the monthly suckers, (yup,  that’s us!)  but they’ve even taken up four spots with their construction downstairs.



I could phone up and bitch to the parking people,  but it’s beyond their control since the whole building is owned by C & A. 

It’s probably best that I don’t volunteer what I think “C & A”  stands for.  I don’t want to put that kind of language on the blog.

I was sure glad I hadn’t showered.  Of course,  T.C. was dressed for work.  Always pleasant to wade through dust and dirt in your good clothes.


Enough to make a person spit! 

Especially if you’re faced with that kind of thing first thing in the morning.

You watch,  they’ll be crashing and banging at that site well on into the fall and beyond.  Good times!  I’m so excited!





Sure hope the air is cleaner wherever you are today.


Thanks for stopping ‘round.



Monday, June 18, 2012

Lack of enthusiasm…

Maybe it’s a Monday thing?

Even though Travelling Companion and I did next to nothing yesterday, it’s still a more enjoyable experience than sending her off to the salt mines on a Monday morning. 

It doesn’t help much that it’s gotten stinkin’ hot in the city either.  Supposed to get hotter as the week progresses.  I finally gave in when the inside temperature hit 29°C.   There was a breeze,  but it was just a lot of hot air.  Didn’t seem to be doing it for me so it was time for some air conditioning.


I did make a point of taking a picture of last night’s dinner,  but then I lost all ambition when it came to doing anything about it.

This is the deal where I get the butcher to cut me off a couple steaks from a tenderloin?  A *little* pricey (we won’t say)  but oh so good.   I plop them into a sealable container first thing in the morning with a little Worcestershire Sauce and Denninger’s Steak Spice.   Seems to do the trick.




That’s exciting. 


Hm.  I think that’s about it.  We did do some back and forth in the planning department in terms of upcoming visitors.   Daughter number two comes in July.  Daughter number one in August/September.   She may have a bit of an entourage,  but they’ll arrive in shifts.

Then we heard from Travelling Companion’s older brother,  who is now making plans to come over with his wife in August as well.   There may be some overlap there,  but we can handle it.   We had the seven,  or was it six?  The band.  Remember?   Mind you,  that lot didn’t mind sleeping on the floor.   It’s a little different when you’re past the half century mark.   The curious thing is,  the wife of the older brother was good friends with T.C. when they were in high school.  Funny how that worked out.   They got married back in the dark ages.  You know,  when our hair (when some of us had some)  was long.  We might have had moustaches,  beards.


Kind of like this guy?

crazy chainsaw bastard

I’ve only inserted this to break the monotony.

I wonder why I thought it prudent to wear a watch?  Could have maybe used some safety equipment? 



Enjoy the rest of your day.


Thanks for coming by.



Saturday, June 16, 2012

A proper breakfast.

It turned out to be a bit of a hot one today.  They were calling for 32°C,  and I’m pretty sure we made it.  By about three or so, we finally gave in and I turned on the air conditioning.  *so happy to have it* 

Can’t imagine how badly that would suck if we didn’t have air in this place.  As it was it was up to 28 in here before we had had enough.  I don’t know why we sometimes think we can just “handle it”,  or that it’s somehow mysteriously going to get cool all of a sudden?  Never happens.  We start to swelter,  and then we have this *epiphany*,  and realise that just maybe we should turn on the air conditioning.  Oy.  Sharp as tacks I tell ya.

Travelling Companion wasn’t quite up to doing any shopping today. 

I was crestfallen.


Damn,  how do I get that “sarcastic font” to work again? 


And yes,  we did have a proper breakfast.  Now I’ll admit,  that depends on your definition of “proper”,  since most mornings during the week,  I’m OK with a little container of yogurt,  or maybe a couple pieces of toast,  but on the weekends we like to have eggs.  Like that’s “proper”.   The thing is,  I’ve tried to get fried eggs “easy over”  on occasion when we’re at some sort of eating establishment,  but it just never seems to work out. 

Last Sunday morning,  when we were having breakfast at the Mytton and Mermaid,  I thought maybe I was going to get lucky when we were treated to table service (as opposed to the usual buffet style offerings of powdered scrambled eggs and well,  stuff that’s been sitting out too long),  especially since the young lad seemed to be writing down an awful lot of instructions when I asked for my “over easy” eggs.  Apparently he was taking notes for something else,  since my eggs arrived “sunny side up”.  They weren’t entirely snotty,  so I just ate the damned things and didn’t complain.   Besides,  I had seen the eggs being delivered the previous afternoon,  so at least they were fresh.

I should have taken a picture this morning since,  as I normally do, I was able to cook three eggs for me and two for T.C.,  all of which were “over easy”,  with no broken yolks,  nor were they cooked to oblivion.  Why can I do this and people who make their living cooking stuff can’t seem to do it? 

And no,  I don’t want a job as a cook either.  Did enough of that cr*p back in the days of working in restaurants.  No thanks.

This is just another reason why,  when it comes right down to it,  I’d rather stay home.  Do my own cooking, thanks.

At least breakfast was included at the Mytton and Mermaid.  (no idea why they see fit to use the “y”,  it’s pronounced “mitten”,  like those woolly things you shove on your hands)

The previous place we stayed at in Birmingham charged an extra six quid for breakfast.  Each.  And well, it wasn’t anything spectacular.   The staff were pleasant in each of the two places,  so at least that’s some consolation.  I mean,  if you’re going to rip me off,  I suppose it’s a lot better if you’re nice to me.



Now,  speaking of cooking,  and since I have damned little else,  I’ll “entertain” you with a mindless minute of meatballs. 




What is the thought process that prompts a person to take a recording of browning meatballs?   Really.  We should do a study.

Or maybe we shouldn’t.


Had some ageing veggies in the fridge,  so I figured it was as good a time as any to have a pasta night. 

You’re probably wondering now,  “Wait a minute there Bob,  if T.C.  has some blood sugar issues,  should you be stuffing pasta into her?”

Well,  let me ‘splain.

Yes,  I realise that pasta is more or less a no-no due to the high amount of carbs.  I’m ignoring those with Celiac Disease here I realise,  but just let me finish.  Sorry.  Besides,  that’s a different kettle of fish.

The thing is,  and this applies to cooking ALL pasta,  DON’T COOK IT TO DEATH!   That’s all.   It should be cooked “Al dente”,  which basically means taking it off just at that moment when you think it’s really not quite cooked.

And here’s why.  If your pasta is cooked “Al dente”  (no relation to Al Bossence by the way) it then takes that much longer for your system to digest it,  therefore mitigating the whollop from the carbs (sugar).   No spike in carb intake,  no spike in numbers.  Something like that,  but it seems to have worked so far.  I’m a little fuzzy on the details,  and I don’t really “know” about these things,  I just go by what the doctor says.  Only click that link if your German is top notch. 

That doesn’t mean you get to have pasta every single day.  That would be bad…for both of us.  The carbs would go directly to my midsection,  and Travelling Companion would be getting a stern talking to at her next “consultation”.   You know,  when they take your blood,  and can then tell what kind of mischief you’ve been up to?  That kind of “consultation”.

Here’s more mindless drivel:


Just in case there was some doubt as to the outcome.  Didn’t plan it,  but there ended up being 30 meatballs,  none of which rolled out the door.  Which meant 15 went in the freezer for one of those times when I’m too damned lazy to cook up some new ones.

Yup. Just a meatball makin’ machine.



They’re in there.  Trust me.  Along with half the contents of the veggie drawer.  Hey,  I’m not about to toss out veggies just because they’re eyeing their pension plan.  C’mon.




Oh wait.   Forgot the beer.



There ya go.  That’ll put you to sleep.  Well,  it’s working on me anyway.


Hope your day was just slightly more exciting.

Oh,  and you’ll note that there was not one reference to “retarded people”.  Well,  except for yours truly of course. 


Thanks for coming by.