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. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

frazzled, variously

So work has seriously kicked off.  I think it's that 'Christmas is coming' mentality setting in - oh fuck, say all of my clients, ever, at once, let's get that stuff sorted before the Christmas holidays! And I proceed to flip the flip out because I am incapable of any setting on my personal toaster between warm bread and JEEBERS TURN OFF THE SMOKE ALARMS. 

(I wrote all of that, took a break, came back and whoa there Nelly I really do know how to torture a metaphor)

So yes, two months until Christmas. We are getting the Chrissy plans sorted. In case you care, we're off down the line for a wedding, a stay with my olds, a six hour car ride with my olds to get back to the 09 (emphasis added OMG), then spending Christmas eve with my wider maternal fam, Christmas day with a visit to P's dad and stepfam, the rest of the day with his Ma, brother and sister in law, then beach with friends for a week, whew. The shut down at our offices continues to the 12th, so there's talk of finding another beach after that with P's mum.

The late spring humidity has arrived with a vengeance and is doing a number on my coiffure.  I think we all know how I feel about that.  I'm taking it personally, is what I'm doing.

Also, my eyes are watering following quotes on replacing those rotten weatherboards.  Turns out one side of the house is, to put it poetically, totally rooted.  I think we knew that in our hearts but were practicing turning a blind eye.  Home ownership and responsibility and whatnot, far out. 

Friday, 17 October 2014


It is with great relief that I announce that time has indeed passed this week in accordance with its usual practice and we have arrived at Friday evening after all.  It felt like we were in danger of missing the goal there, for a bit. 

As you were.

Monday, 13 October 2014


Had the first casual wine on the back deck of the season, this weekend gone.  It was a chardonnay I'd popped in the fridge in anticipation, waking on Saturday morning to a clear sky.  Two friends visited to check out an open home over the back fence* and we ruminated over the marketing material over a glass or two of wine.  I shared sunscreen with my visitors.  Towels were drying on the washing line, flapping in a gentle breeze.  Felt properly summerish and not a moment before time.


P had disappeared for the weekend on his annual migration to the river to 'catch fish' (for which, read: commune with nature in the company of male relations).  He did manage to bring home a fat trout so I think he's assuaged the hunter-gatherer urges for another few months.  Fishing has been a hot topic in our household, of late.  He's organised a charter to catch kingfish or hapuka over the Christmas holidays, as well as a snapper expedition with work.  I will gladly eat the spoils.

I'm planning the next set of work on the house.  I booked a plumber to add some exterior taps (nothing's gonna die on my watch, this year! Filling the watering can in the bathtub got a bit tedious, after a while.  No doubt I've just jinxed the summer into being wet, wet, wet.) I've also planned a quick refresh of the kitchen window.  But the real buzz is getting a builder in to replace weatherboards in anticipation of an exterior paint job.  We're going to leave that to the professionals, I think, but I'll find it satisfying nonetheless.


*It would be so nice if they bought the place but the eau-de-dog permeating the front rooms was powerful.  I know it can be overcome but boy, it affects your first impression!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

what addiction shall we address next?

In a meeting yesterday at someone else's offices, the sun on my back kept getting hotter and hotter.  My blue suit doesn't breathe particularly well and I was increasingly uncomfortable and sweaty, as the minutes ticked by into hours. The sun rose higher.  It was a formal meeting and ripping off my jacket to a sleeveless top would have been inappropriate in the circumstances.  I surreptitiously tried to blow air up onto my face.  When we finally took a break, I raced outside and gulped fresh air as fast as decorum would allow.  I was rapidly followed by another meeting attendee, guiltily lighting a cigarette.

I realised then that cigarettes are almost non-existent in my life, these days.

I've never smoked myself, but I vividly recall the first occasion in 2004 or 2005, after the indoor smoking ban took effect, I went to the Bowler (RIP Bowling Green Tavern, once Dunedin's finest, I partook of your delicious beverages, pashed on your dancefloor, even once managed to gain entry with two bleeding knees*).  That night, the smell in the bar without the mask of cigarette smoke was so horrific I had to go home.  But! the next morning, my hair was fresh. No burn marks in my clothes or on my arms.  Once the Bowler ripped out the old carpet and the smell issue was reduced (wouldn't go so far as to say eliminated), I forgot all about gross secondhand smoke issues after a night out. 

In 2008, I recall having a few colleagues who'd still nip outside for a smoke during work hours.  There were only a few, but you knew where they'd be when they weren't at their desks.

In 2010, P relegated his social smoking to only very special occasions.  It had been pretty infrequent anyway (getting laid > smoking), but he didn't always have a packet stashed in the top drawer of his bedside table anymore. 

Today, I would be pressed to think of a friend who is a smoker in the classic sense anymore.  None of my colleagues leave the office for a cigarette (a coffee, different story). 

Butts on the street are much fewer.

The Quit Me Mutu advertising is prevalent. 

Amazing what changes can be wrought in a decade or so. 

*the result of two (2) separate accidents in one (1) frosty night with (1) unfortunate pair of shoes and no doubt three (3) too many pre-drinks.