Creative Trades

I had just moved into Tiny House Ontario when my cousin Vernie, who is also a neighbour, called and asked if I could babysit his dog while they went to Maine.  I love dogs so of course this was not a problem for me.  He offered to sweeten the deal which was not necessary at all, I told him, I would take care of the dog without anything.  Still he said he would make me a recycled wood bedside table for Tiny House Ontario.  A pretty good trade; of course I said yes.

Vernie along with being one of the smartest and most interesting people I have ever known, is a carpenter.  Really more than that, he is a comedian and an artist with a capital A.  He probably never had a lot of money to explore his creative side, so he created art out of things that people left behind, way before this recycled art became hype or trend.  I am a huge fan of everything Vernie does.  Really, if I had an unlimited amount of money I would love to have a big space to have an artist’s collective and I would most certainly want Vernie to be a part of this.  Not just for his talent but also for his amazing ability to recall history, family background and make me laugh my head off.  The man knows how to do about everything, except for how to train a dog, that is.

So, a couple of days later he and his wife left, a few times a day I hopped on my trusty little steed, and I went to take care of Andy Capp. When I pulled up on my little bike, there the dog would be, large as life, a muscle bound fool, with his tongue hanging out, happily waiting for me to bring him out for a walk.  It was not really like that, because every time the fool of a dog brought me on a walk (to remember).  Ok, so I am still not telling you the whole truth.  Actually, it was more that he brought me for a drag, all over the place, and often it was right down on the ground where Andy brought me and then he would jump on me a few times for fun too.  I spent the week sore and filthy from the multiple dragging incidents.  Despite the fact that Andy is about half my size he is about 10 times my fitness level and thus he knocked me off my feet into dust, grass, mud.  He pulled me into the ditch face first and also escaped my grasp more than once.

On the second visit before I knew better, I brought him into Vernie’s house and he tore the mattresses and bedding right off the beds.  He peed on my handbag too, that day, just for good measure.  It was a week of tomfoolery and chaos and I was mighty glad to see Vernie arrive home!  I have actually never met a dog as busy as Andy;  it is a good thing that he is such a beautiful animal.  Part Akita with all this gorgeous fur colouring, eyes and confirmation.  A stunning, and stunningly stupid, dog for sure.

Turns out that Andy hurt Vernie’s wife more than once.  She says that they are ‘not friends’ and I am sure that she means it.  She is older than me and he was able to hurt me too.  He does not mean to; despite the pee on my purse, he is not a mean spirited creature at all, but rather just an excited and very strong, goofy puppy.  I suspect that he is not the right dog for retired people.

Anyway, as for the bedside table, Vernie carved the door and built this gorgeous little cabinet.  I asked him to stamp his name on the back of it.  Since I am a huge fan of Vernie, I could not be more thrilled with this fantastically whimsical and creative piece.  Then who would not love to own this gorgeous creation?  Honestly, every time I go up the ladder stairs, I admire it.  I think this lovely little cupboard is totally and absolutely worth the week with Andy Capp.

Still, I have to admit, I will hold my breath for a moment if they ask me this summer to babysit Andy.  Before I agree,  I will of course hope that Andy will have calmed down a little with age; or at least that I got a little smarter and more prepared over the winter.

Categories: Art, Dog, Environmentalism, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario, Trade | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Creative Trades

  1. Reblogged this on Tiny House Ontario and commented:

    This is from last summer but I was reminded recently about how it made people laugh. I thought perhaps some of you might like a giggle today, so I hope it works!

  2. Bonnie Smith

    The night stand: really lovely. I noticed it immediately in other pics and am so glad to know how it came to be with you and the story behind it. (Oh, and LOL about the dog!)

  3. Julie

    Hi Laura – I just found your blog today, and then this story about sitting Andy while we went off to Maine this past summer. You are too funny, and as always very generous – I heard about the adventures in the house, but I didn’t hear about you hitting the ditch (or the ground multiple times!) – he is a crazy dog, but good natured and we all appreciated you looking after Andy Capp while mom and dad went away. I would love to share this dad if you don’t mind – let me know if it is okay. You speak very kindly of him, and I agree whole heartedly about his artistic talents, not to mention his ability to recycle pretty much anything! All the best for a great 2012 in your Tiny House – we will be sure to go check it out next time we are home! Love, Julie

  4. …and how appropriate that his name is Andy Capp. That cartoon is hilarious and he’s always in that brawling circle of dust with his wife. She has blonde hair, Laura. On second thought, I do believe he is just living up to his name. ;^)

  5. I HOWLED reading this article. Seriously…I was picturing the whole thing and while I hate that you got hurt, the mental images of this goofball dog just got the better of me. I had a Newfoundland dog for ten years. Best dog ever but she did to this type of thing to certain people and I’m not sure why. LOL Thanks for the belly chuckle. Perhaps I should be the one staying with Andy Capp.

    When you first mentioned that he didn’t know how to train a dog, I wasn’t exactly expecting to hear more about that as I was interested in the night stand. What a great story Laura. You sure know how to make us giggle. (still giggling…which turns into full on laughing when I picture it again. And you know I’m not mean-spirited…I just can’t help it.)

  6. Sue

    What a delightful read on chilly evening! Your Andy Capp tale is as inspiring as the sunflowers carved into the nightstand. Your cousin is a true artisan and you are a wonderful writer! While I’m at it; your Algonquin Park painting is superb!

  7. Tracey

    Hilarious………..they (the parental units) will have to read this at some point!!

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