Posted by: Valerie | September 14, 2011

The Carpenter’s Apprentice – and future plans

The carpenter's apprentice having a jolly time

It has never an ambition of mine but it seems to be the way things are going right now. The Carpenter himself has recently turned  78 so needs a sprightly (it’s all relative, don’t you know?)  Apprentice to hold ladders, pass screws, find the next bit of 2 x 2. Not much fun at all but we desperately need the shelving Joe is putting up in the garage.

Moving in isn’t over yet. After a week with no extra company, we had two guys here installing a new window in the family room. This did NOT go well as the replacement window is slightly too large for the opening, meaning that the guys have had to chisel away at the edges to gain an extra half inch or so. Therefore the expensive oak window sill we ordered is slightly too small… All this is happening in my office as it is part of the family room so I am trying to field work phone calls while they are banging and sanding. Enough, enough!  In the end the window saga took four days longer than estimated with three guys working full time. Can’t you just imagine the dollar signs drifting away on the breeze? Honestly we are haemorrhaging money.

Wrote that a week or so ago and then got mired down in other chores including my work – and helping build cheap bookcases in the process of which I so nearly said bye-bye to the planet. Cheap bookcases, as probably everyone already knows, do not necessarily go together as they should and the Carpenter was up a few steps trying to bang the thing straight from above while the Apprentice was instructed to push the edifice tight to the wall. This process required the use of a heavy hammer which, in the middle  of a hefty wallop,  spun out of Joe’s hand and missed my head by a millimetre. My toes too thankfully.

I am once again a refugee from my office as the last piece of work to happen before we go for our long-anticipated European jaunt is in progress. We have carpet cleaners in our downstairs family room which is also my partially my office, forcing me to sit here on the couch tap-tapping away on my laptop.

We did a mini- trip to Ottawa to see the family and do some shopping recently. We had not seen our wee grandson since the beginning of May so of course we were impressed and amazed at the changes. I will avoid doing the drooly grandma bit and simply state that Deklin is smarter, more beautiful, more fun, more exhausting than ever. He is talking a blue streak and will no doubt be acing it in school where he is enrolled in Music and French. He just turned two.

Deklin getting excited about a dump truck!

I don’t think you want to know what shopping in Ikea on a Saturday afternoon was like. If you are as foolish as we were, you already know! Prior to our visit I insisted that Joe have a real energy boost so I took him to the all-vegetarian Green Door restaurant. I haven’t been there since I left Ottawa but it used to a regular spot to meet friends and eat fabulous food. Sadly there was no-one there that I recognised but the food was as delish as ever. Ever expensive though. As it is sold by weight, it is easy to heap rather too much on the plate and practically pass out when you are asked to pay for it. However the quality of the food revives one right away. Joe was most impressed and even had a sugar-free dessert.

Joe is already fantasizing about all the Hungarian food he is going to be gorging on next week. I am trying to think of ways to avoid it without being rude when we are staying with his relatives. They are so hospitable and have probably been baking for a week already in advance of our coming. I do hope they haven’t slaughtered anything in our honour! Last time we visited his favourite niece a pot of chicken soup was placed on the table and as honoured guest, I was offered the chicken feet that were sticking up from the pot! I demurred and the host happily devoured them.

After about a week of Hungarian food I decided that we needed some fibre in our diet so we searched the local supermarket and found something that looked like muesli. Our hosts thought this was absolutely hilarious and invited the neighbours in to watch us eat breakfast.  This is true!

The reverse was also true when the same relatives came to visit us in Canada. They found our food equally strange. I had roasted a chicken for dinner one night and was about to get rid of the congealed fat from the roasting tin. I couldn’t understand why Bosike was jumping up and down and waving her hands in the air. Turns out they wanted me to keep the chicken fat so that they could eat it for breakfast!  I made some excuse to avoid watching them slurping it up.

The carpet cleaners are done, time for a quick trip into town for some odds and ends. Tomorrow I am going to have my hair and tootsies done. Joe cannot understand this. His haircuts cost $15. Mine do not – and neither does my pedicure.

This will be the last posting till we get back unless I find that wifi is more prevalent that I expect. Hotels will have it, I am sure, but most of the relatives are still in the dark ages and don’t have computers. I will keep a journal however!

Back October 11th.



  1. Have a fantastic time in Hungary. My brother has tales like yours, mostly to do with bacon fat! I think they thought he was too skinny. :o) Take care and safe travels.

    • Thanks, Sarah, we will!

  2. Well I hope it is a damned sight cheaper than England. I have to say that afer 2 weeks of English breakfasts I had to go on a fat free diet for 3 days–i was nauseous from the fatty food but that bacon is undeniably the best in teh world and the sausages not far behind!! Carry a bag of Muesli with you and eat in private!!

    • Good idea about the muesli although I think eating it in private might be taken as a great insult!

  3. In haste–sorry about the spelling mistakes.

  4. I am out of hibernation but have misplaced your new number. Please email me with it or call and I will call you back if not here.

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