Sunday, 30 November 2014

end of spring 2014

I was in Christchurch last week, alternatively squinting as the sun beat down on me through the windows of various meeting rooms or pushing back my hair as the wind blew a gale when I managed to escape outside.  It's been a disappointing spring, really.  Gusty, drizzly, grey.  I shouldn't complain - in the two years since we returned to New Zealand, the seasons have outdone themselves.  Aucklanders grow to expect six weeks of rain during spring, standard so there's nothing new with what we've been experiencing to date. It's just that springtime elsewhere seems to have bright days (notable exception: London, Spring 2012, miseryfest). 

In the past two weeks, the humidity has finally arrived.  Sensing it was going to take even more of a beating than usual, my GHDs promptly gave up the ghost and are lying abandoned on a shelf in the bathroom.  I've been using horrific amounts of hairspray and plastering my bob back into a weird little pony tail.  It's gross.  GHD's are GD expensive, the bastards, and have a life of about two years.  I've been through three sets now which is an obscene amount of money on a hair implement.  My vanity knows no bounds.

We had patches of sunshine at the beach this weekend, though the wind was still there.  We escaped to the Coromandel for a night, though I'm not sure it qualified as relaxing.  The last half hour of the drive left me contemplating whether I would, for the first time in my life, actually require P to pull over.  The alternative being that I threw up in the door handle, as did a poor British woman on our tour in Rajasthan.  I managed to keep it together, but spent some time afterwards laying prone either on the beach or on the window seat of the bach in Whangamata, letting the heaves settle.  There's sand in my cardigan but it was worth it. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

house faffing

We're having a bunch of rotten weatherboards replaced on the Purple Palace's exterior, a move  preparatory to having it painted.  Purple no more.  We'll likely go with a grey with white trim and a black-ish front door which is terribly boring and predictable, isn't it?  Well, I am terribly boring and predictable and only occasionally am bothered by that fact.  Still, there'll be a little purple nostaglia I think, when the first coat goes on, hiding the lavender glory (mauve magnificence?).

The builders are also replacing the small window in our bedroom and the front door, the current one having a crack so large I can see daylight through it.  I think they've sourced replacements via TradeMe (NZ's answer to Ebay or Gumtree or something).  A mysterious door is sitting outside the house and I hope they haven't spent too much on it because it's got ugly missized panels.  We asked for a door with a window, to let light into the hall.  It's all a bit mickey mouse (although, we are paying GST on this one at least, unlike another guy who quoted as a cash job and told me that you can roll a turd in glitter, but it's still a turd.  Amazing.)

I went home from work sick yesterday and holed up in the spare bedroom.  The builder has hired his son as a labourer over son's university holidays.  They were blasting George FM and the son was educating his dad on the finer points regarding electronica.  Dad didn't have much to contribute, but it seemed like good family bonding, to me. Tabitha sat on the bed with me, unperturbed by the noise.  We had a nap.  Good family bonding, too. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

the state of my kitchen

Sunmaid has done a really, really clever thing and packaged up their prunes into individual servings.  Usually I am completely against individual packets because it's so wasteful, but I can house prunes and any open bag is fair game.  I know the consequences but I do it anyway because OMG delicious, delicious prunes.  Come to think of it, I don't object to individual packaging of raisins either, on much the same basis.  OH GOD and apricots?  The really leathery dried ones (as opposed to the plump Turkish jobs which are good but not on the same plane)? YES PLEASE ALL AT ONCE.

So, dried fruit.  I have an extremely healthy digestive tract, thanks for asking. 

This comes to mind because I was scouring the pantry last night before dinner was ready (in fact, before I'd started to prepare it).  I found the prunes stashed away at the back, hiding from me.  Normally, I have a mental inventory of tasty shit living at my house so nothing can hide, but last week, we had a cleaner. 

This is the first time we've had a cleaner that wasn't end-of-tenancy obligated, I think.  She came in on the weekend and I just did not know it was possible to get our kitchen that clean (and with eco-friendly products, no less.  I use the bleach because I'm bad but I actually did not think eco-friendly products could remove half the crud they did).  She even cleaned the pantry which was amazing.  She was lovely too - professional and friendly.

I felt guilty though, never you fear.  My cheap heart berated me for paying someone to do what I ought to be capable of achieving for myself.  My half-baked social conscience felt every single drop of privilege oozing from my pores.  My shame at the state of my scummy old cottage knew no bounds!

However, finding the prunes was like Christmas.  Between the stashed snacks and the oven-I-could-lick,-it's-so-clean,-what-a-shame-two-of-the-electric-rings-don't-work, I think we might spring for the cleaner to come back again every so often. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

colonial hangovers

Last night, in my dreams, I attended a very intimate Mariah Carey gig with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.  Let me tell you right now, my dreams suggest that Mariah's voice has really gone off the boil, but don't tell her that because it does not end well if you do.  Kanye will not lift a finger to help.

It was a disturbed night of sleep.  Kimye and Mariah, Tabitha sleeping between P and I and wriggling, P swatting Cokies who demanded 2am biscuits and the usual onslaught of Guy Fawke's fireworks. 

I have always, always, been afraid of fireworks.  I thought Dad would shoot himself with the double happies when I was small.  Catherine Wheels? Def lose an eye.  At a Christmas party for a part time job I once held, a colleague lit the fireworks with a small handheld blowtorch (he's is still a friend some 10 years on, I'm proud to say, despite his antics).  It could have ended much worse, though the scratches on our co-worker's brand new car (as in, just picked up from the dealership) were awful.  I still love a sparkler, I suppose, but I hate what fireworks do to animals and I think the injury rates are too high to justify the enjoyment. 

Gosh, I hear some saying, what a boring old fart she is.  Or worse: she's supporting a PC nanny state! (The co-opting of 'PC' as an insult and/or a categorical denial of any institutional societal issues really grinds my gears, if that wasn't obvious.)  Get this: if you feel that way, you'll probably be even more riled about another objection to celebrating Guy Fawke's - how bizarre is it that we burn an effigy of a man who tried to blow up a parliament that's not even our own about 400 or so years ago?! So much to unpack there, amirite?

In any case, I think fireworks'll be for public displays only soon, in the land of the long white cloud.