Sunday, 26 January 2014

things what i drank + enjoyed, recently

I had to go to work on Auckland Anniversary day.  Hence a post in order to whinge, basically.  At least it's warm in the office today, given that there's no aircon?

(I'm sweating my face off, in other words).

Enough whining. 

More wine-ing instead please!  Wines I have slurped this weekend:

- On Friday: P cracked open a bottle of pinot noir we bought at a tasting some seven years ago - oh man, that ages us!  We were the youngest people at the tasting, I promise. I wish I could remember the name so you can take the recc, but after a couple of gins and half a bottle of pinot while wandering after kittens in the garden and then watching Federer/Nadal at the Aussie Open, my recall ain't so good.  Also, I am old.  These things happen.  Bloody delicious, in any case.

- Saturday: Kim Crawford Pansy during the cricket.  Not the tastiest rose in the world, but great name and wonderful for a hot evening.  Serve chilled, but not too cold. 

- Sunday: Morton Estate IQ7 sparkling.  This was delicious and is a steal in NZ supermarkets at the moment, I highly recommend it.  Also, I quite like drinking Morton Estate because they have a vineyard right down the road from my mum and dad.  There is a lovely sign that uses river stones to say 'Morton Estate' on a slight rise as you approach the vineyard.  Some clever clogs pinched the stones from the T in that sign once, and I giggle every time we drive past or pick up a bottle from their cellar door (which in fact is miles away on SH22 near Katikati, where my grandparents used to live. Yes, I can find my way around the North Island by vineyard navigation, sadly).

And yes, I am a terrible boozehound who feels guilty but HOLIDAY WEEKEND I deserve it, right?! (Please validate me.  Please)

Hey, how's that for some lifestyle blogging?  If your lifestyle is wine-soaked, that is.  OH, WAIT, I NEED A PICTURE to support this review:



Thursday, 23 January 2014

the bathroom is the logical place, i suppose

I've got a burning desire to write something...profound.  Shame I haven't got any source material, so light bullshit it is.  And I do mean that literally; read on, dear reader.

I have a beef with Tabitha, Kitten-in-Chief of Mischief, Mayhem and Pooing in the Bathtub.

You may have guessed what the beef is, by now.  Scene: A's bathroom, 6.20am.  Our shower is a head over an old, shallow enamel bathtub, with various chips and cracks.  It has a white rayon shower curtain that is looking a little tatty in places, as I throw it through the washing machine on a semi-regular basis.  I am merrily showering away, when I see the outline of a little furry body on the edge of the bath through the curtain.  How cute! says I.  Tab or Timothy has come to visit while I'm in the bathroom.  They must love me! says I.

I turned the shower off, opened the curtain.  Tabitha immediately leaps into the tub.  Brave kitty, says I.  Timmy jumped in recently and freaked when he discovered the tub was wet.  Timmy required saving.  Tab immediately puts her nose to the base, gives it a lick, squats and hey presto! poohs in the bottom. 

She looked at me like 'yeah? and?'

And that is how, dripping wet and clad only in a towel, I found myself handling faeces before breakfast.


i got my revenge moment...

So, you know how the pretend Microsoft software 'fixers' rang me and I wished I'd told them to go fuck themselves but I didn't I just thought it? 

Well, they called again. 

I drew a deep breath, asked the woman on the phone to stop speaking and said:

"I know this is a scam.  This is the third time you've called me.  Don't call this number again."

I hung up.

I couldn't say it; just couldn't do it.  So easy to type 'go fuck yourself', so difficult to be actually confrontational, even with muppet scam artists.  Sigh.  It was my big chance to be offensive (in person, rather than on the internet of course, I suspect I'm fairly offensive on the internet all the damn time) and I missed it. 

Mind you, there's every chance they could ring again?

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

a day in the life

I am joining a thing.  Look at me, being all join-y and internet-y and what not!  This is a first!

Laura from Navigating the Mothership is hosting a Day in the Life thing and she's specially invited foreigners.  I am foreign to North American types (kia ora! welcome to internet Aotearoa, visitors!  Internet Auckland, specifically) but other than that I am about to flout all Laura's fine print and skip the hardcore photography because, well, I'm lazy and vaguely trying to maintain some anonymity up in here.  Also, Laura says she doesn't mind that I am not a Mom (or a Mum, for that matter), but I'm not sure whether she minds that my cat-obsessed work-a-day life is dull.  If you haven't been to this wee blog before, consider yourself warned. (Also, disclaimer: I am profane, vulgar and excessively parenthetical/wordy.  Annoying, basically). 


So.  Knock yourselves out, guys.  A day in the life of A. 


5.30am: wake up needing to pee.  I'm supposed to get up at 6, so I am furious that my body needs to leave the warm bed cocoon before then.  Drag myself to the toilet, get fright at standing on black toy mouse in the dark.

6am: five more minutes in bed, please. Checking facebook, extremely important stuff.

6.05am: Throw on a dressing gown and go into the dining room to wake and feed the kittens.  The dining room is their current abode until they're big enough to partake of the great outdoors when they're a bit older.  We don't have a laundry or a bathroom big enough to house the litter box sadly, so there'll be no dinner parties for us until the cat-faeces-in-the-dining-space issue has been solved (i.e. once the cat door is in and they're pooping outside).  One of Tabitha's eyes has partially gummed shut in the night due to the cat flu, so I take her carefully in my arms and apply the corner of a moistened piece of toilet paper to soften up the crust.  Poor wee Tab, she must feel like the only time we hold her at the moment is when we're punishing her with eye wipes, eye drops and antibiotics. 

6.10am: Shower.  Hum to myself my wee shower song: "Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Don't wanna get out of the shower! Out of the shower! Out of the shower!' (Have I mentioned I'm kind of a morning person? Yep. Annoying.)

6.15: Get out of the shower in a raging hurry despite song when I spot a spider.  It was a Daddy Long Legs - i.e. completely harmless but rational I am not when it comes to creepy crawlies.  Yell for P to sort out the bathroom wildlife.

6.20am: stand in my underwear in front of the clothes rail (nope, still no wardrobes or indeed any damn cupboards in this godforsaken ancient cottage) bemoaning the lack of things to wear.  Eventually throw on a black skirt and a grey short sleeved top with a little black scottie dog print.  Notice food stain on skirt and think 'must remember to wipe that off'.  Throw on standard work jewellery - watch, wedding rings, white gold band on my right hand and super cheap wee black and brass triangle studs in my (giant, lobular) ears.  Strike a pose for P who dutifully informs me I look very nice.  He's a well-trained liar.

6.25am: Marmite on Vogel's toast and Earl Grey tea.  Breakfast of champions.  Tabitha wants a bite but no such luck, puss.

6.30: P emerges from the bedroom and into the bathroom.  The resounding call of 'I don't wanna!' from him eventually morphs into the gentle refrain of the shower song (he doesn't want to get out, either, apparently).  I start trying to brush my hair, apply make up (minimal at best - concealer, eye liner and a coat of mascara, plus a spritz of Chance by Chanel), pack my bag, empty the litter box, refresh the cats' water etc in a timely manner.  I keep getting interrupted by playful swatting from Timothy, who appears to be developing a foot fetish. 

6.45am: We are running around tidying in a frenzy, as we've just recalled a wardrobe lady is coming to measure up our bedroom.

7.10: P is not fully dressed.  Wardrobe lady is due.  I walked into the bedroom and had to cry "Husband, where ARE your pants?!".  I enjoyed it; not often enough do I get the opportunity to say that.  

7.15: Wardrobe lady arrives.  Timothy promptly tries to eat her skirt.  When diverted from that attack, he demonstrates his very best pouncing skills on the duvet while she works.

7.30: Wardrobe lady finishes, we medicate Tabby and depart for work.  The walk to the central city is about half an hour for me; 40 minutes for P who works down on the waterfront.  We attempt to hold hands but the weather is pretty humid and quickly we give up as it's a bit sweaty.  My colleague S often passes us on his scooter en route and has been merciless to me about how 'cute' we still are, holding hands all these years later  (he smirks).  I don't really care, as when I hold P's hand, I get his full attention.  We discuss the Big Day Out (festival-concert-type-situation) which we're attending on Friday.  I'm quite upset about the clash between Pearl Jam and Snoop Dog.  I have very eclectic 90s taste, apparently.

8am: arrive at work, change into lady-lawyer shoes.  Sigh at state of shoes; I need some new ones as my favourites have lost their heel stops and the patent leather is pretty battered.  Consider whether I can colour the scuffs with a black vivid (marker pen, for the non-NZers) but decide that the damage is too severe.  Quick check of papers online, another cup of tea.  Then work-y stuff.

8.30am: already freezing. I am still wearing winter wardrobe items to work because it's so ridiculously cold in here, despite the relatively temperate summer we're having.  Also because I am too cheap to have purchased new season items.  Throw on a black blazer and shiver at my desk, while gazing out wistfully at the sunshine over the harbour. 

10am: coffee with the girls from work.  'Going for coffee' is a misnomer - I'm off the demonsauce and have a chai latte instead.  Everyone else orders a flat white.  We gossip.  I manage to resist the siren call of the toasted banana bread - must. demonstrate. willpower. as this Christmas weight is not shifting itself. 

12.30pm: lunch at a Japanese restaurant with two friends; sounds nice but I ordered terribly boring food - teriyaki chicken, green tea and a diet coke.  So much for food restraint.  We gossip. Look down as I leave, had completely forgotten the old food stain on my skirt. Am unhygienic, awfully presented person.  Run into another friend recently returned from a stint living in London as I depart the restaurant and promise her a catch up soon.  I trust I'll dress myself in clean clothes for that encounter, but there's no guarantees.

1.30: arrive back to the office to discover voicemail from my mother, claiming she's calling on official business.  Rue the day I gave her my business card and quickly call her back.  She wants to know how the grandcats are and to tell me about the new rock wall she's planning to build with Dad.  Quick convo, then more work. 

4pm ish: an email from P arrives: 'I'm not going to be early tonight.'

5.15pm: Escape the office at this absolutely unheard of hour with not nearly enough billables recorded - because my wee Tabitha needs me!  Power walk home, crushing candy en route.  I nearly walk into a tree because the candy crushing is swallowing my attention.  Hide my face from any sniggering pedestrians or drivers and until the flushed cheeks die down.  I am a notorious tomato-face and it takes a while.

5.45pm: arrive home to wipe wee Tibby's eyes again.  Play with the kittens and graze out of the fridge - nibbling on left over cauliflower from last night's delicious venison meal made by P.  Chores - litter box cleaning, throwing work skirt into the washing basket, cat feeding, ignoring my work emails, halfhearted toilet cleaning in preparation for P's friend P2's visit.  P2 is coming to stay for the BDO as he lives out of town.


7pm: start preparing dinner.  We're having spaghetti bolognese for no other reason than some mince in the fridge is about to expire and I cannot for the life of me be bothered being more original.  I slice onions and garlic carelessly while Tabby twines her wee self around my ankles.  I look mournfully at a delicious, empty bottle of pinot noir we drank earlier in the week that I haven't yet deposited in the recycling.  After the excesses of summer holidays 2013/14, I need a break from the turps and am trying to go booze free three or more nights a week again.  I resist temptation, but probably only because the pinot's gone and all the tonic is flat. 

7.15pm: the landline rings.  I race for it, as the only people who have that number are my mother and sister-in-law.  Sadly, it's a guy claiming to be from Microsoft, having had a report of issues with our computer, could I please confirm its serial number?  Ah, that would be a no.  I get my snootiest lady-lawyer voice on while informing him that I have never given that number to Microsoft and that I've just googled his scam so could he please go fuck himself.  Except I didn't really say that last part, I just wish I had.  I hung up instead.

Continue pootling around preparing dinner.  I've flicked the TV on in the background and am listening to NZ's longest running soap, Shortland Street, in the background.  I used to be an avid Shortie fan, once upon a time, but once I moved in with P he used his power of veto on Shortie in the house.  Similarly, I give side-eye to any of his fishing shows, so I guess it balances out.  However, he's not home tonight and it's kind of soothing, hearing TK have yet another marriage crisis and the nurses deal with yet another emergency.  I am also reading blogs on my phone, while stirring the pot mindlessly. 

7.30:  Duck in and out of the house, snipping some herbs for use in the spagbol.  There is no beef stock left which is irritating, as dinner won't be fab without it.  We need to have another stock making day: I adore the results but by god it makes the house smell vile, so I have mixed feelings about stock production. 

7.45pm: I hear a key in the door - P is much earlier than expected.  The kittens race for the door to greet him (for which, read: try to escape while the front door is open).  I give him a hug, he goes to change and we yell at each other down the corridor, exchanging gossip for the day while I cook.

8pm: we give Tib her medicine (it's a two person job, the wee wriggler), then wash hands before dinner.  We eat on the couch, given the dining room/cat situation.  We're both pretty vacant, work having been reasonably stressful for both of us today, so we mindlessly take in more television.

8.30pm: P commences clean up duty.  I wander in and out of the kitchen, halfheartedly drying a few dishes, but I'm not very helpful really.  I am the chief dishwasher of the house and I am feeling pretty resentful about it today, though I generally don't mind.  P suggests playing the new Arcade Fire album, as we're seeing them at the BDO, but I feel like quiet.  It's unusual for me to have such a long evening available - my departure time from work is usually much later, and I'm revelling in the time and space. 

9pm: start texting my similarly cat-obsessed sister as I play with the kittens.  I've given them access to the heretofore off-limits spare bedroom, where Tabitha has discovered herself in the mirror.  She keeps noticing another cat pouncing on cords in the mirror, then checking behind it to find out where that cat is.  Hilarious.

9.30pm: my quiet mood has taken a turn; I feel groggy and hot.  It's turned into a humid summer night.  Decide to go to bed.  Climb in and get pounced on by Timothy.  I take a picture of Timmy's eerie eyes stalking me from the bottom of my bed to send to sister K.  P's still up and about, so the kittens haven't been banished to their bedroom yet.  Usually, I wind down with an audiobook or a hard copy book, but tonight I feel pretty manky, so it's lights out.

10pm: P climbs in beside me.  I wake from a doze, briefly, to burrow into his side and drape a hot arm around him.  Out like a light. 

[Author's note: I have just reread this and am sure you will be shouting 'what a grandma! and just where is your exercise, woman?!'.  I am also blushing at the shameful amount of television I consume on a weekday and the woeful admissions regarding general adult beverage consumption.  Wow, am I good at turning an exercise in recording my life for posterity into self-flagellation or what?!]

Monday, 20 January 2014

an enthralling retelling of my weekend

It is Monday and what do you know?  It does get better.  Leaving the kittens today was easier as they now have the run of the house and Tabitha's eye no longer gets sealed shut.  She's much better, thanks for asking.  Timothy is now a little sneezy and is also on the antibiotics.

That's basically what I did this weekend, by the by.  Spent quality time with my kittens, introducing them to the great outdoors and snuggling with them in the morning.  I woke up from a doze on Saturday morning to find Timothy asleep in the crook of my arm and Tabitha on my chest, little furry face pressed up against mine. 

[Don't you worry that P has been relegated to the bottom of the pack; he's loving it and is by no means at the bottom of the pecking order.  I mean, he has purchased and is in charge of doling out the cat treats.]

In other non-cat news, we went to the Big Day Out on Friday.  I am really not feeling into a recap or dissection of the day, so in brief: Ladi 6, awesome (J + I agreed, v. sexy), Pearl Jam, nostalgic, Major Lazer, insane + hilarious, Arcade Fire, glittery etc etc etc.  There were a lot of queues which took the shine off a bit, and I felt a wee bit old for it all at points, sad to say.  But then again, I hope I never get over standing under the stars in a press of people, singing my heart out to songs I've loved for years because that bit was truly awesome. 

Given Friday's excesses, most of the weekend was sort of recovery-ish.  We did a spot of gardening, ate brunch (Salta on the Three Lamps end of Ponsonby Road, highly recommended btw.  I mean, the barista complimented my t-shirt! Given I looked like a sack of crap - said t-shirt was a nasty reminder of Christmas weight - I was simultaneously beyond thrilled and a little suspicious of the compliment), hung with my sister watching cricket.  Quite nice, really.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

only slightly puss-ish

Tabitha update: wee Tib still has very gummy eyes and the sneezles, but takes her medicine like a champ and doesn't appear to hold it against us.  Unless she's plotting an elaborate revenge in her spare time, which would not surprise me in the least, having been the victim of a stealth bed-pouncing yesterday evening.  Timothy Terror Cat does not plot elaborate revenge; I believe he acts more on the spur of the moment.  He launched a surprise attack on my naked thigh last night as I was standing in an opportune place.  If you've ever had four little paws of claws dug into your exposed flesh, I'm sure you'll be recoiling with prickly, sharp pain memories.  He is so very lucky he's cute.  He also tried to chew the skirt of the wardrobe installation lady this morning as she breezed past him.  Opportunist, indeed.

Well, that provides a nice segue into  other things what are happening in my life.  Not much, really, but we have had people in to eyeball our bedroom and quote for wardrobe installation.  As a result of those conversations, I'm reconsidering my decision not to purchase some $200-$300 laminate piece of crap from an Ikea order site in NZ. (Diversion: WHY do we not have Ikea here?  I want Swedish meatballs (pref not horsemeatballs, but that's only cos some of my best friends are equine) and Ektorp and Billy and all of the other improbably-named furniture / homewares as well, STAT.) 

Wardrobes seem very expensive and the crappy gib board in our room needs replacing, repainting, the whole shebang, so perhaps this isn't a well-thought out plan.  I should probably reiterate that whole cash thing because I have been hemorrhaging money over the holidays, what with trips and meals and wine and whatnot.  My mortgage is not visibly reducing this summer which I find stressful in the extreme.  P has announced that 2014 is the year for me to take charge of our finances so we can achieve the mortgage-payment goals that I have in mind.  This is all very well and good - we all know how I feel about being in charge of things, I think - but, as I observed at the time, unless and until P renounces the joint credit card there will be no goddamn extra money to apply to our scarily enormous debt. 

Wow, I am boring. 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

this is now a cat blog

When I arrived home last night, Tabitha's left eye had gummed shut with discharge.  The guilt factor shot through the roof; unsticking her eyelid with a little water and a soft cloth all the while apologising to MAH PRESHUS BAYBEE left me stricken.  I booked a vet appointment for this morning and it transpires my poor wee Tib has the cat flu.  She's in the early stages - conjunctivitis and the first sneezes this morning.  I suspect that Timothy will have also been infected by now so I envisage a similar visit for Timothy Terror Cat sometime soon.  In the interim, Tabby needs eye cream and antibiotics administered on the regular.  Woe, leaving her today was twice as hard.

While she was clearly unwell, she wasn't so sick that a three hour rumble with her brother wasn't on the cards last night.  In the interests of fairly blogging the minutiae of my kitties' lives and personalities (I am a good Mummy Blogger), Tabby interrupted the fight only to get nosy when we were in the kitchen or dining room doing something with human food.  She hasn't yet managed to score a taste of this good smelling stuff (steak last night) but she clearly has a feeling that she's into whatever we're eating.  Whereas Tim could care less; he's into whatever electronics we're using.  He's already effectively applied a paw to move the screen on an iphone, discovered the CD eject button on the laptop and the on button for the playstation.  All by accident, of course; I'm not claiming Tim is some kind of genius cat (I mean, he licks his own bum for fun), but he displays an interest in chewing cords that is well beyond his age, I think. 

I really did not predict the depth of my reaction to these two wee kittens.  I am obsessed.  I have conversations PLURAL about the contents of the litter tray, for fuck's sake.  Are my hormones doing a number on me or am I a saddo cat lady with no other conversation?  A little of Column A, a little of Column B perhaps? 

Monday, 13 January 2014

i am a cat lady

So help me jeebers, I'm obsessed with my babies, adopted last week from the SPCA. 

OH MAN, I wish I could post it here but you know what is better than a kitten in my lap picture?  A kitten curled up with my husband picture! Mutual naps were the business and I got out of control with the camera.  These are two from my phone - the 50mm lens on the DSLR took a BEATING over the past few days. 

I teared up leaving them all by themselves this morning ('is this what parents who return to work after parental leave feel?', I sobbed to P, 'But those parents don't leave their babies alone with just water, litter, toys, bedding and biscuits.  Where is our nanny?! I feel so GUILTY'.)

Gosh, I've triggered the guilt again, they're all by THEMSELVES right NOW and the tears are welling.  I am a sentimental mess, but surely I can't be blamed?  I mean, I'm in the heady throes of a new relationship.  That stage where you can't think about anything else, you want to discuss it with everyone you see and your heart bursts out of your chest when you lay eyes on the objet d'amour.  Kittens: all it took to take the sarcastic veneer from my heart, apparently. 

Saturday, 4 January 2014

happy 2014, blog

In a nice change of pace for the New Year, Blogger is being a dick.  Here’s hoping this wasn’t typed futilely in Word and that I managed to effectively copy+paste my first musings for 2014.  This laptop is a dated wee number that I’m going to need to upgrade soon, methinks.  Isn’t it amazing that just when you think, ‘Self, your spending is out of control, this will be the year to knuckle down and rationalise your purchases,’ there is almost immediately a big ticket item to replace?  Wants, needs, first world, I know.
The end of 2013 wasn’t too bad, thanks for asking.  And yours?
Kiwi readers: you MUST visit Stewart Island. You too, international traveller types.  Unless either of you types hate birds, the bush or SI natives at the only pub wearing gumboots and/or you desperately need internet access and shopping, in which case it’s not for you. The island is so remote and untouched it feels like stepping back in time.  We kept reminiscing about things we’d read about pre-/colonial New Zealand; on the island, they could all almost apply.  The best example I can think of is colonists reporting (prior to the major land clearances) that the dawn chorus was almost deafening.  We experienced near constant and varied birdsong.  We saw kaka, Stewart Island robin, weka, saddleback, bellbirds – so many native birds.  So very, very lucky we are. 
The bulk of Rakiura/Steward Island is national park.  While the areas around Halfmoon Bay (the only real settlement, the island’s permanent population is around 500) were pretty heavily logged up until the late 30s, the bush is returning and it is just glorious.  Cold; yes, but we had a few days of brilliant sunshine too.  I think the best experience was the day we took a charter to the Ulva Island bird sanctuary in the morning for a few hours tramping with the wildlife. That afternoon, the charter picked us up for a tour of the whaling base on the Paterson Inlet, followed by fishing near the Muttonbird Islands.  We hauled in about 10 blue cod in the space of 10 minutes, harangued only by albatross, mawkishly threatening to swallow the bait or our catch.  We stopped then, as that was plenty to feed us – two meals, as it turned out – and there was some excellent wildlife watching.  We watched seals fighting, cubs playing, blue penguins swimming.  We heard the call of the Hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin, which we later spotted in the Catlins at the fossilised forest in Curio Bay.)
You may recall that I have said no one should play boardgames with me ever.  Turns out that may also extend to cards.  Poor old Mum, Dad, K and P probably had enough of the gloating or sulking (depending on the hand) by the end of the week.  I think a week was sufficient time in such close quarters with one another; it wasn’t just my poor sportsmanship wearing on the nerves, I think.  The other wee issue with the island is that getting there is balls, basically.  I nearly biffed my cookies in the swell on the way over – the ferry is a wee cat and it’s somewhat sickmaking and scary when the swell is higher than the boat.  The return trip was calm and we sailed through a group of feeding titi; just wonderful. 
In any case, Stewart Island was absolutely magical.  There was no internet, no phone. We walked about three hours a day and slept for 10 hours a night.  We ate and drank tastey treats.  Just the holiday I needed. 
P and I promptly ruined it by heading to the beach to get raucous for New Year’s Eve with a bunch of about 25 friends.  After some isolation, catching up with old friends was just fantastic.  The weather was outstanding and I laughed and laughed and laughed (heading to bed about 1am; we discovered two girlfriends half-asleep on the bed reserved for P and I.  P launched onto the bed, announced his safe word was ‘dolphin’ and cuddle tackled the lot of us.  Hilarious, and not nearly as open-marriage as it sounds, I promise.)
It is lovely to be home, though.  We’ve been back for a couple of days now, floating round the house, half-heartedly attempting the occasional chore.  Just now, an extension lead out the window is allowing me to type on this dinosaur seated at the outdoor table under the umbrella.  P’s on a chair on the deck looking back through the window at the cricket.  There is a hot breeze, pinking my cheeks and creeping around the exposed skin between my t-shirt and the top of my denim shorts.  Auckland can be pretty magic too.