Friday, September 22, 2006

Box of Rain

The above is our mailbox. It looks like a little green house. It has been planted on this rail for a very long time. But it also sticks out a bit into the driveway. Every time we back out, which we must, there is a fear of hitting it. I can't believe it's still there.

So the other night I'm sitting home while Kimberly was working an evening shift with the babies. TV on, me on the couch, somewhere nearby is a bowl of ice cream and other treats. I am wearing what we call "3rd ways", comfy sweats, old sweater...

The phone rings and it is a message for Kimberly concerning a lot of addresses and phones numbers, which I scrawl on a nearby scrap of paper.

About an hour later, I get to thinking that I may go sleepy-bye before she comes home and I want to be sure she sees her message. So I go for a bigger piece of paper and a neater note. When I return, I cannot find the original scrap...anywhere.

I searched for 45 minutes, going into rooms I haven't been in for days. I dig into trash cans, even the one outside in the garage. I check my pockets 5 separate times.

No note.

I try to reconstruct the message, but the phone numbers...the phone numbers..the addresses. So I go on another scrap hunt. Finally, I get the brilliant idea to jump in the car and drive to what I think is the address and see it that is the shop in question.

I know I could have used the phone book but that would have been too easy.

I ease into the car still wearing my slippers and slowly back out until I hear the bump.

Long story short....I hit the mailbox. It collapsed like the Thai Government.

I hopped out and examined the damage. The car was fine, but the little house was in many pieces in the garden. It looked like it had a recent visit from the big bad wolf. But New Zealand has no wolves, only dumb drivers.

I picked up the pieces and brought them in so I could put it all back together a la Humpty Dumpty.

I have only a hammer and not a lot of nails. There are a jigsaw puzzle's worth of pieces. After 15 minutes of fumbling around, Humpty went into the Dumpty.

I decide it is time to just buy a new mailbox. I needed to get it the following day so the postie would have a place to put our mail. They don't have those little trucks here, but ride on bicycles with saddlebags.

At the hardware store were about 15 kinds of boxes, most looked like little houses, some like big houses. I bought a moderate, track home, probably a 2-bedroom.

Having very few tools, including no drill, I thought about attaching it with liquid nails and finally settled in on 4 brackets. But the screws were too long and ended up sticking through the inside of the box. This could cause a nasty cut when retrieving mail. So I installed wall to wall carpet in the little mail house.

The way the whole job finished up, If I bought the biggest box, Josh could live in it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

If You Give Me Weeds, Whites, and Wine

When I was a boy, lo these many years ago, my dad always wanted me to help pull weeds out of our humble garden. As anyone will tell anyone, I was a lazy child and waste removal was where I made my bones.

I didn't like bending over, getting dirty, or touching potential bug homes. I would leave to take breaks every 10 overall poor worker.

I even developed a supposed allergy to pollen so I could be released from the job. This allergy farce born out of lethargy remains today and I still nurture it when necessary, which is often.

Well, now we have a New Zealand home with gardens all around. There are flowers and weeds and trees and we don't know what. Funny thing is, I don't mind pulling up strange stuff out here. The ground is richer and the evil plants come right out. There are very few bugs. And now, they're OUR bugs and weeds, dammit! But the old back sure does suffer.

(Hint,hint..Vicodin for Hanukkah)

So I went down to the local grocery parking lot, as any true American would. I expected to find scores of illegals hanging around in their straw hats, looking for work tending my landscape needs. All I would have to do is pull up and ask for two workers. I would pay them about 5 bucks an hour and I could sit back on the couch for some serious TV viewing.

But it does not work that way, sir.

There are no Mexican guest workers here. There are no Mexican restaurants here. We don't even have those clean cut guys at intersections with signs about working for food and God blessing us. We don't even have intersections. You people back in the States have no idea how lucky you are to have that so called "immigrant" problem. Or that "homeless" situation.

Out here, they have a phrase...DIY it yourself.

Why wasn't I told???

After days and days of dirty work, Kimberly and I decided we needed help from a pro. Again, here, you pay $20/hr. for ONE person.

Plus, they have this thing called "tea", which is like a short siesta, without the sleeping. It happens around 11 AM...EVERY DAY.

The whole population of the country stops and rushes to sit down with a cup of tea (with milk??) or coffee. They need a baked thing too, which is usually a scone. A scone is a biscuit. And a biscuit is a cookie. A cookie is also called a cookie. The language barrier here is absolutely Insane!

Speaking of cookies, Kimberly is becoming actually famous for the cookies, as you might imagine. They are very "dear" to make at about a buck apiece. She had been making them with Macadamia nuts and we must be a long way from the country of Macadamia because they sure are expensive.

But, they are actually even better cookies than before. It might be the butter.

Anyway, we usually need to suppy the tea, which could even be pizza from the one Pizza Hut here in Nelson.

Soooo... we have hired Gurlie (Gorley) as our gardener. She is from Denmark and has been here 40 years. She is an expert on local plants and will be here one day a week to kneel next to us and help pull and prune. She says it culd take a year to get control of the place.

That's a lot of biscuits.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Our House is a Very, Very, Very Fine House

They say that when your ship comes in
The first man takes the sails
The second takes the afterdeck
The third the planks and rails.
Well, our ship finally came in and we suffered very little damage. A couple sculptures were cracked and the desktop computer needed some minor repair.
The truck with the container pulled into the driveway and 3 guys took 1 1/2 hours to unload everything.
Kimberly had to call her sister Cindy to give her the good news.

Be careful not to touch the walls, there's a brand new coat of paint. The furniture is placed. Pictures are hung. We still need window coverings, but the place looks a lot more like the home we have been waiting for.
At the end of the day, we have a kitchen, dining room, lounge, master bedroom, guest bedroom, office, 2 baths. Looks pretty good, if we must say.
Jobs have been happening also in the past week. Kimberly did not take the flying gig because she was offered work at the Special Care Baby Unit(SCBU) right at the hospital.
She also has the folks in Pain Management very interested.
Myself, I have been working as a sub in the local schools. The kids are still monkeys in pants all the way over here. Go figure. Today I worked at the Prep School. Kids were arguing over a pencil...I don't want to sit next to him...he's fat...paper airplanes.
I also have an internet research job that I got thanks to a recommendation from my newly married brother, Barry. And for that, I thank him, because it is fun and easy.
Plus I get to know alot that is happening before the rest of the world.
I think We knew Steve Irwin was dead 15 minutes before anyone else, except maybe the stingray.
We want to acknowledge Rosa M. Zack M. and Tom D. for getting on Skype. We can talk to them anytime now. Let's all jump on this while it is free.
The flowers in the vase are orchids from our yard. There is so much growing out there, we don't know what it is, but there will be constant maintenance.
If you throw down a toothpick, by the time you bend over to pick it up, there is moss growing.
The weather has taken a nice upturn as we are heading into spring. The temps are going up and everything seems to be sprouting flower buds.
By the way, since we have all our kitchen and baking tools, flour and sugar, guess who made guess whats?