Sundays with Schoolhouse Homies: A Chat with My Handyman Daniele

Gettin' handy is one of the things on my bucket list.
It ain't high on the list.
But it's on there.

Aside from girls who can enjoy a good beer and shoot pool, I adore women who can fix stuff. I am not one of those women...yet.

Which is why I rely on this guy so much...

Daniele back in October...putting together my sons' bunk beds

Yesterday... Daniele, putting together my sons' bookshelves.
See, that should be me. That WILL be day.
He keeps an unlit hand rolled cigarette in his mouth while he works.
It never falls.

There are people whom you meet and there's just this instant connection. It's like the representative that you normally use to make a good impression on folks instantly recognizes that this person is a kindred spirit and thus there's no need for them to show up. You're From the very beginning.

Daniele is a fascinating and lovely person. It was his birthday on Tuesday and he brought over ice cream treats to celebrate for my mother and me. Now here's the thing...he's a vegan, so he couldn't have any. I've known him since October and he's constantly doing kind and thoughtful stuff like that. And let me tell you, the fruits that he comes with each time!!!! Incredible! These beauties tasted better than they looked yesterday!

He gets all his fruit from a farmer by his house
So the plan on Tuesday WAS for him to come over and put those shelves together, but when he mentioned it was his birthday we went downstairs and had wine instead. (I LOVE ITALY!) After two glasses a piece neither of us could be bothered with those shelves, so he went home that evening and came back yesterday to finish the job.

While he worked I asked him some questions for the blog. Daniele is Roman and doesn't speak a lick of English, so I translated his answers.

Me: What was your favorite book as a kid?

Daniele: Red Riding Hood. I was equally scared of and attracted to that story, like all kids.

Me: Give me two books that changed your life.

Daniele: Le Profezie di Celestino and Il Sistema di Guarizione della Dieta Senza Muco.

Me: What was your favorite subject in school?

Daniele: Geometry.

Me: What's a place you'd recommend for people visiting Rome?

Daniele: Il giardino delli Aranci al Aventino. There's a beautiful garden with a terrace and if you look through the little hole there you can see all of Rome.

Me: You've been a vegan for years now, and attribute your restored health after being diagnosed with a tumor in your liver to a meat and dairy-free lifestyle. You're Roman, and grew up on these dishes filled with meat and cheese...they're everywhere! How do you find the discipline to stay on your vegan path?

Daniele: (stops hammering) A lot of energy. It takes a lot of mental energy. Last night I cheated and had a cornetto with cream.

Me: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Daniele: India. First because I'm attracted to it. It's a unique place. Second because I had an uncle who passed away recently and it's somewhere he always wanted to go.

Me: Can you gimme an example of your daily diet?


-If there are oranges, I eat oranges, or something juicy. If there's no fruit, then just hot water.
-2 hours later I have a snack. I eat fruit until I feel full.
-Lunch is a small portion of green seasonal veggies like spinach or bieta or cicoria (dandelion leaves) and a small salad or pasta with veggies
-After lunch I eat 5 or 6 almonds
-3 hours later I have a  snack, either freshly squeezed juice or fruit
-Dinner (repeat of lunch)

Me: Is your diet worth it?


Yes, you suffer a lot but the results are worth it. You really have to be attentive to what you eat.

Me: And where do you find all the fresh fruits you bring over?

Daniele: (smiles) From the farmer!

When I asked Daniele about the contradiction between chain smoking and being a vegan, he said a bad word, smiled & said "Nobody's perfect."

If you're in Rome and need a painter (walls/structures) or someone to re-tile your floors, Daniele's your guy. He also said for my friends only he'll do simple assembly of IKEA stuff.

Love him.

On his way out Daniele scribbled down one restaurant recommendation for anyone reading this:

He said the meat and fish dishes at this place are unparalleled.

And told me where to go to feed my vintage fix in Rome...

The guy's just full of good stuff.

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