Category Archives: Family News


Just to document this for my own use, here is an idea of what 4 weekend’s worth of work (ok not exclusively, but many hours ok?) looks like.

First, a screen grab from the Spaghetti Showdown a few weeks ago, with a good view of the deck, louvers and wall.

This was all washed and stained with Thompson’s Water Seal in the recent past.

This year I washed it with a pressure washer (don’t do this they say, and yes you have to be very careful or you will really take that wood apart), then with a deck wash product.  Finally, the stain.  A big difference in colour, for sure.

Let’s see how long it looks this good for…


P.S. if you haven’t figured out by now, this blog exists solely as a scrapbook for my failing memory.  When I wonder “when did I last stain that damn deck?” it will be right here.

The Vallentyne Work Snarl

I do not speak for all Vallentynes.  That would be foolish, unwise, unfair, unjust and just plain old tiring.  We are a diverse bunch, as far as Scottish Canadians with a lot of red hair in the bloodlines get.  Ok, so we are probably diverse in nature more than appearance, but just follow along here today, ok?  I speak actually for a certain strain of Vallentyne, a unique flavour of Vallentyne.  The kind of Vallentyne I’m talking about today is the Vallentyne that grimaces when they work hard.

It’s probably a genetic thing, a DNA encoded quirk that some of us are lucky enough to have (I said lucky, dammit).  If you have it, you know what I am talking about; it’s there as natural as breathing, as compulsory as a closed-eye sneeze, the reflex to snarl or open and close your jaw as you work hard with your hands.

I decided to not take a selfie to demonstrate this, for obvious reasons.  It’s not pretty.  It can only be described as a silent scream in defiance of the task at hand, without which the work is just not done.  When you see a Vallentyne snarling while scrubbing, shoveling, lifting, scraping, tightening, or just generally getting all up in some job’s face, you know shit is getting real.  It’s going down.  That job doesn’t know what hit it.   It’s not a fair fight, really.  Not every job requires it, but in the right hands it’s a powerful tool.

Tonight as I contemplated writing this, I was working around the house, snarling periodically.  One thing became clear though, it’s not always an advantage.  This fact came to me as I realized that I had to exert a considerable amount of control to close my damn mouth while I scrubbed the toilet.  The added closed-mouth handicap added at least 10 minutes to that job, which made me think that Vallentyne Work Bandanas would be a thing that might be useful to a small, specific bunch of fine, mouth-breathing, hardworking folks.

Yeah, this is me.

You can “Dresser” up, but you can’t take her out

Have you ever just decided that you just finally had it?  You are sitting there, just so fed up with this shit that it’s like bile rising in your throat.  There’s no way you can take it any longer, you are compelled to do something about it.  If you don’t do something, you might even scream your head off?  Yeah.  Nikki apparently had happen that today.  Well, that’s the only explanation I can come up with, anyway.

I’m sitting in the office at home, working away (in case anyone from work reads this, although the chances of that are slim based on my blog stats), when I hear something like the following from way down the hall in the living room.

Nikki: “Yes?  Oh, yes, sure.  It’s quite old.  Yes, the drawers come out.  It needs a little fixing, the leg is a little separated.”

At this point, I’m starting to clue into what is happening, and I start to listen a little more intently.

Nikki:  “…you can come today and have a look.  Oh sure, how about $50?  Sounds good!   See you then.”

At which point I squawked from the office:  IT’S STILL GOT MY CLOTHES IN IT!

Yeah, Nikki sold my dresser today without really informing me that it would happen.  She laughed pretty hard at that point.

Farewell, old boy.
Farewell, old boy.

Aaand it’s gone.  Before I could type 200 words about it.  I’m now living out of a garbage bag, people.