From jet blast to arctic blast

 Rarotonga

Well, I’m back and I had a wonderfully relaxing time. Rarotonga is hilarious. It is a tiny island just 4 hours away from NZ by plane, but 22 hours behind (it’s just over the date line).  In reality though, it’s a lifetime behind. Everything is done on ‘island time’ (which equates to slow motion compared to my normal existance).

It is full of conundrums. I couldn’t clear email on my phone (which meant an enforced holiday), yet the pool bar was a WiFi hotspot. Great – if you happened to pack a waterproof laptop. Clothes are about half the price that they are here, yet food and drink are twice as expensive.

There is one road around the entire island and it takes about 50 minutes to do the loop (if you stick to the 40kph speed limit). We hired a 125cc motorbike for $25 per day. You are supposed to pay $10 to buy a drivers license but no one bothers. You don’t have to wear helmets or shoes and there are no traffic lights. It really is like you see on movies about tropical islands (think The Beach). Unfortunately the roads are really bad so accidents are common. To make things worse, there don’t seem to be any drink driving laws. If you get stopped and they suspect that you have been drinking, you get laughed at and taken home.

There is one part of the road where the speed limit is 30kph. This is the “Jet Blast Area”. It is the part of the road between the airport and the beach, where the jets come in to land. Planes come in twice a day and all the locals rush down to the jet blast area to hang out on the road. It is incredibly strange. All that seems to happen is that you get deafened and blown over at the same time.

On Friday there was a special festival that started off with a parade. We had been sitting at a pizza bar on the beach having a few beers for lunch. We jumped on our bike to head home and found the roads lined with what appeared to be half the population of the island.  Not realising that the parade was right behind us, I wondered what the hell was going on. Not one to miss an opportunity, I started smiling and waving. The crowd went wild and the police held them back so we could get through. I was truly in my element.

Shaun also decided to take advantage of the fact that we knew where every police officer on the island was. He figured it was the perfect opportunity to break the law. Considering the fact that there didn’t seem to be all that many laws, he decided to do 70kph on the bike. Not one of his better ideas. He went to close to a palm tree and got whipped in the ear. He bitched about how much it hurt for the rest of the weekend.

By yesterday I was starting to feel the effects of 4 days of solid eating, drinking and lying around. I decided to go for a run. That was foolish. Sunday is the sabbath which starts with church and ends with the traditional ‘umu’ or feast. The umu is an underground oven that consists of a hole filled with hot stones, food and then palm leaves. The food is slowly smoked over several hours. Several hundreds of these ovens on a small island have the effect of one huge incinerator. It felt like running through a pub at 4am. I’m fairly sure there was no air between the smoke particles. It reminded me of my childhood though. The smell was the same as when I would help dad rake the leaves and burn them.

So all in all I had a magic time. We got back last night and my I am grateful that it’s sunny here, although my toes and fingers haven’t defrosted since I hopped off the plane.

But who cares? I’m off to Tahiti next week.

The Tight Three

Today I have a hangover. Tuesday night drinking may seem wildly inappropriate, but today is really my Friday. Tomorrow I head off for a long awaited tropical island holiday.  We’re going to Rarotonga for a wedding. I’m all packed and the housesitter has been well briefed on how to deal with extreme cat misbehaviour.

Bring. It. On.

The blame for the hangover can be placed squarely on my two best girlfriends. We fall smack bang into the New Zealand female binge drinker stereotype. We go out for a quiet wine and come home several bottles (each) later.  Last night we were exceptionally well behaved and actually ate dinner! The same can’t be said for the last time I got a hangover as a result of a Tight Three drinking excursion.

That last time was actually a bit of an eye opener. Only one of us is currently single. This is a relatively new phenomenon and meant that our usual stay-at-home drinking routine was deviated from in an attempt to actually meet other interesting people. We headed out to a couple of bars.

Holy mother of god! What an experience. I guess I’ve been protected from the dangers of bar trawling since my brother bought his bars. I very rarely go anywhere else.

Two things struck me. The first was that middle aged men on the prowl seem to hang out in packs. (I would say single middle aged men, but unfortunately that doesn’t always seem to be the case.) They can be identified by their uniform of too short jeans and leather jackets.

The second was just how true the concept of beer goggles is.  As the night wore on, the single member of our party started talking to more and more unusual specimens. Her coup de grâce was a guy who said he worked in film. I have no doubt that it was true. I think I recognise him as the guy that played Michael J Fox’s stunt double in Teen Wolf.

The night ended up as all good nights on the booze do. Catching a cab through the McDonalds drive through. I tried to order one MEELYAN dollars worth of chicken mcnuggets. Apparently only we found that funny.

What’s with sober people these days?

Maybe they do fry your brain

I had a couple of issues with microwaves in the weekend.

It started out in the early hours of Saturday morning. I was having a dream about microwaving stuff (that’s about all the detail I can remember) and I woke up wanting a new one. Due to the fact that I’ve been staunch about not spending money gratuitously in the days leading up to our move (at which stage our mortgage payments will double), I had to do a bit of good old female manipulation.

I explained to Shaun that our old microwave, which is white, would look absolutely terrible in our new stainless steel kitchen. As it turns out, that’s all I had to say. His eyes glazed over in that way that mens eyes do when you start talking about kitchen appliances and I knew that I had him.

So we went to the appliance shop and found the microwave of my dreams (literally). Shaun told me to step back and watch a master negotiator at work. I stepped back. The shop assistant approached and Shaun pointed out what we were after and then said to me “Hey, babe, what price did the guy in that other shop say we could have this for?” What the hell? I burned his face with my laser eyes and ignored him. So he tried again.

Shaun: “If you match the price from down the road, we’ll take it.”
The shop guy: “Sure sir, how much was that?”
Shaun: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask my wife.”

I guess he wasn’t aware of just how close he was getting to not having a wife. He KNOWS that I can’t lie convincingly and he KNOWS that I hate haggling over pricing. I am the perfect consumer – I just take the bloody thing no matter how much it costs.

Anyway, I got my microwave and I was happy.

I went home and posted the old one on TradeMe in an attempt to recoup some of the cost. I screwed it up royally. Somehow I managed to list it as being 8mm high. Talk about slim-line! Someone posted a question asking for confirmation of that height. Upon measuring again, I discovered that it was more like 350mm high. Hmmm.

The same person then asked for confirmation of the depth, as it has to fit in a cupboard. Lucky she did… I had that wrong as well. So to cut a long story short (better late than never), she bought it.

I was lucky though – what a debacle!

Perhaps I’ve been standing too close to the microwave! Dad always said they fry your brain.

On the rebound(er)

I was starting to feel a bit lazy so I figured it was time to pick up the exercise a bit.

OK, kidding. What actually happened was that I noticed posters up at the gym for a new class. In the name of science I decided to give it a try. I had a gap in my exercise schedule on Sunday mornings, so yesterday I tried out Power Jump. Yup – it’s as weird as it sounds.

It’s on rebounders (mini-tramps). You spend an hour jumping your guts out to music. I have absolutely no doubt that it looks as ridiculous as it sounds. There are usually very few people at the gym on a Sunday morning (“You don’t say?” I hear you thinking…) but for some reason the bank of exercise bikes around the Power Jump floor was busy yesterday. I guess a pack of women in sports bras jumping in unison is enough to lure even the hardiest man out of bed early.

There was some concern from people close to me when I mentioned that I was going. I admit that I have the odd accident as a result of clumsiness when over excited. Add a very small trampoline surrounded in springs and I guess I can see where the concern was coming from. As it happens, I only got caught in the springs twice and both times disaster was averted. There was one particularly close call when it almost ripped my pants off. I managed to divert attention away from that by flailing my arms in the air and letting out a scream of exhilaration.

So the upshot is that Power Jump has now been added to my weekly regimen, but next time I’ll be wearing shorts.

Working my ass off

Well, if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t worked it right off. Not even half. It’s still very much there. But I seem to have worked my brain off. It’s only working at about quarter capacity as a result of spending the last five million days in front of my computer. I have to think hard before speaking at the moment in case HTML comes out.

OK, that’s not strictly true either, but it’s feeling a bit like it at the moment.

It’s that time of year when everyone is getting really sick of winter. It hasn’t even been a particularly bad winter here in Auckland, but cabin fever is starting to set in. There are days when I feel like some kind of feral cat is just busting to get out of me. I’ve done that thing that I said I wasn’t going to do again… I’ve said yes to more work than is reasonable. I’ve taken on two big projects in the midst of moving house. It means that I work all day, train, go home, eat, quickly do some packing and then work most of the night.

In the weekends I wake up, train, go home, eat, work, pack, work, pack… you get the idea. I intersperse the working and packing with social visits in an effort to keep me sane. On a daily basis I thank the god that I don’t believe in for giving me an understanding husband who takes over the running of the house without complaint so that I can do what I need to do.

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. This time next week I’m going to be lying by the pool in sunny Rarotonga. Then I’m going to come home and frantically do some more packing and working, before heading off to Tahiti. I am one spoiled bitch.

This is usually where I go off on my rant about not actually being spoiled because that would mean that I didn’t appreciate what I have, but that’s just crap. I’m spoiled and that’s the truth of it.

So I guess the working is a means to an end. Life’s not all bad!

Doing a roaring trade

I’ve developed a new addiction, which is good because I didn’t have enough before. To be fair, I actually discovered this one some time ago but was cut off by Shaun. I’ve cunningly reintroduced it into our lives by getting him addicted as well.

I’m talking about TradeMe. It’s our version of eBay. 

I was banned a couple of years back when I got stuck on buying stuff. I had a couple of mishaps. There was the outdoor heater that never worked. And there were the three lawnmowers. That’s when it all went to the dogs.

Now the tables have turned and I’m selling stuff. Any old stuff. It’s brilliant. We are packing up the house for the move and rather than throwing things out, I just sell them! We are getting some new furniture. No need to hire a trailer to get rid of the old stuff. Someone else will come and take it – and pay me for it! Too good to be true!

I’m not the best auctioneer. I posted a chest of drawers up in the weekend. I didn’t know what kind of wood it was made out of and I forgot to say how big it was. Someone bought it anyway. I hope they don’t show up in a small car.

It is conceivable that I am taking it too far and another ban could be on the horizon. I sold some of Shaun’s clothes that I don’t like.  A stroke of genius. Mum writes “Gardening Only” in permanant marker on dad’s clothes. Cunning, but she doesn’t make any money.

(Before you get all up in arms, boy police, I did actually ask him first.)

Actually, I might check it out now. I noticed a couple of really good lawnmowers for sale.

Bitches

Yesterday was a bitch 
It was one of those days when things just sucked. On an individual level, nothing was that big of a deal, but added together, things just started to go nuts.

My car is a bitch
Bloody hell. This one is the worst. I took it in for it’s 60k km service a few weeks back. I always take it to the accredited Subaru place (It’s a Subaru. Obviously.) because Shaun says that’s the best plan and he’s a boy so he knows about cars. They called to say that some gasket needs replacing which will cost around $400 for parts and then there will be labour, so probably around $1k all up. They would need it overnight though, so I said I’d book it in when I could afford to be without it.

So I took it in yesterday morning. They called about an hour later to say that they had found several other problems which would involve doing some machining or something. It was going to cost $4k +gst. What. The. Hell? Shaun said that we won’t be paying that without a second quote. That’s 20% of what the car cost!

The weather is a bitch
Because I had no transport, I decided to run to boxing at lunchtime. It’s only about 1km up the road. Unfortunately the weather was conspiring against me and it poured unbelievably hard all morning. Like, so hard that I would have been wet through before I got to the end of the driveway. That plan was vetoed. Great. My car was a bitch and I couldn’t go and punch out my frustration.

My trainer is a bitch
He is currently training in Vegas for the K-1 World Grand Prix. He emailed me yesterday to see what was going on back here. I told him (in my standard I’m-so-hilarious way, which involved teasing him about something someone said before he left) and things went bad. Apparently if I ever bring up the past again he is going to stop talking to me and training me. Admittedly, I know he gets touchy working up to a fight. I also know that the line between our professional and personal relationship is disasterously blurred, but that is just pathetic. Bitch.

My husband is a bitch
This isn’t strictly true, but it felt like it yesterday. We agreed on the dates to book the car in based on his timetable. It had to be a time when he was able to drive me to work and back for two days. He chose the dates and put them in his diary. It didn’t go down to well with me when he called yesterday morning to say he had made a hair appointment in the afternoon so would be an hour late to collect me. By the time he arrived I had done a 10 hour day at my desk, without a lunchbreak or any exercise. Bi-i-i-i-i-i-i-tch.

I am a bitch
Yup, that’s what it comes down to.
By the end of the day I was SO incredibly angry and stressed that it was almost physical. I was walking through the supermarket and I realised that my fists and my jaw were clenched and I was about to explode. I had to force myself to take deep breaths and just calm the hell down. I very rarely get angry. I had never felt like that before. Well not to that extreme. I was so stressed over such menial things.

My life is amazing. I have a wonderful family, an incredible husband, I’m moving to an amazing new house, I have two tropical holidays coming up in the next month, I’m fit, I’m healthy, I have more friends that I can see in a month, I love my jobs.

Sometimes I just need to stop and think about what’s important.

Living in slow motion

We spent the weekend down country with the in-laws. It’s beautiful down there, but boy do they do things differently. I swear, once you cross the ranges that seperate the country from the city, time slows down. We flew to Wellington and hired a car to drive to the Wairarapa. There are a few sleepy towns to pass through in order to get to Masterton. And sleepy is being euphemistic. They were ghost towns. And it was Friday night!

Saturday dawned one of those cloudless days from my childhood. The only difference was the temperature. I had to stack on every jacket that I owned. City jackets just aren’t designed for the country. Come to think of it, neither are city girls. We were there for a family portrait to celebrate Shaun’s parents 40th wedding anniversary. It went as well as you would expect a logistical exercise involving 8 adults, 5 children, 2 horses and a dog to go.

Then we hit the wine and things got interesting. My sister in law had a few things to get off her chest. Apparently, according to my mother in law, I lay down the law you don’t cross me. I have Shaun where I want him. She also takes issue to the shoes that I wear to work. When I’m carrying her grandchild I’m going to have to get off those 4 inch stillettos. Well, no shit lady!

It was quite weird hearing that stuff. I didn’t realise she felt that way. She called me an idiot when she found out what I paid for my Karen Walker bag, yet she can’t believe that I won’t be sending my kids to private schools. Country snobbery has insane rules that I just can’t keep up with!

I’ve always been grateful for the good relationship that I have with my in laws. Now I’m feeling confused. There’s a lot to be said for that old adage that what you don’t know can’t hurt you.

I wish I didn’t know.

Multi-tasking

I impressed myself last night. It was really something to behold. I did the work of one million men in the space of just three hours. One million. Honest.

My evening started well. I got my hair cut. It was long overdue. I had the most brilliant colourist. She deserves some kudos. She didn’t talk. I LOVE that in a colourist. I can’t be bothered with small talk at the best of times, let alone when it’s with a girl that I have absolutely nothing in common with. She gave the best head massage and she made a killer coffee. Perfect.

I got home at 7:30pm. Shaun is out of town on a conference so it was just me and the cats. I’m staying out with the girls tonight and then we’re heading down country tomorrow so I had stuff to do. I had two web pages to create, an invoice to get out, a print ready file to finalise, chocolates to take to the neighbours to thank them for returning Chico, instructions to write for the house sitter, dinner to organise for the cats, two loads of washing to do, dinner to make, packing to get done and the final of CSI to watch.

All in three hours.

It became a case of working like a tornado during the ads. I’d sit down and the cats would finally settle on me just in time for me to leap up again. The packing was the hardest bit. I won’t be going home again until lunchtime tomorrow so I had to organise three lots of workout gear, clothes for two workdays and stuff to sleep in tonight. There is no doubt that I will have left out at least one crucial item of underwear.

I am truly a machine.