Thursday, November 26, 2009

Enough about Me (memememe!)

Ok. We've been here awhile and i guess that *maybe* others in this family have experiences to share. This is not ALL about me. That said, i still have the power to edit everyone's lives here .
Let's start with the youngest of our clan, Ronin. I say the name Ronin but i still think of him as Eraserhead in my mind, -going back to the weeks before our move and the removal of such an object from the young man's ear. "I don't know how it got in there!" Seriously Ronin? Seriously? Mom was up late at nights thinking it was a big, pink, tumor while we waited for the Specialist appointment. I could have happily choked him while he was sitting on the dental type chair waiting for the Specialist to come in and look at his ear after the interns parting words were, "I think it may be a foreign object." I stared at him with my mother antennae popping up out of me head and casually asked; "If *you* were a "foreign" object in your ear, Ronin, what would you be?" Without missing a beat he replied, "An ERASER!" BINGO and the Bonanza!

Anywho, Ronin is doing amazingly well here on the island. He's certainly come into his own as a socializer in school. I have had the pleasure many a day of having my ass sticking out of a cardboard box and hearing him say, "Hey mom! This is Vomsie/Chris/Maori child whose name i can't pronounce. All the boys are very polite and seem to stay here for extended periods of time. I am not actually sure that "Vomsie" has a proper home as he seems to find ours much more appealing. He has reported that he lives in the vague direction of the Cemetery -somewhat telling I'm sure.

Academically i am not so sure where he is. They seem to teach "coloring" a lot as in, "Ronin, what did you do today at school?" Colored, had tea time (recess) and played Rugby and colored some more. Tis true. I have many pictures of the landscape from him to prove this.

Eraser-er, Ro also just celebrated his 10th year out on the planet. We went to a Comicon Convention of sorts. Video games/ comics/ latest in gadgetry. All very mind numbing for the 5 hours we were there. I was in awe of ppl of a certain age that showed up dressed in their favorite character from video games and comics. Rather disturbing to see a 35 year old chubby woman in torn fish nets and satiny jumpsuit clinging on to the arm of a Zombie but it takes all kinds i guess. Ronin tried his hand at Zorbing. For you that are not in the know, Zorbing, like bungee jumping, originated here. Unlike Bungee jumping you may be able to convince me to get into a giant inflatable plastic ball and roll down a hill or in the water (as Ronin tried.)

Finally, we are back to Ronin's ear. Now instead of putting objects INTO his ears he has decided that he would like to adorn one of them with an earring. Shayla is torn. She's quite decided that this is a lesson for him to learn not an actual objective. In her mind he's gotten it all infected and has left an amazing scar on his lobe because he hasn't clean it properly. He is going to be miserable and regretted his choice all because he's so amazingly lazy in his personal upkeep. In other words the boy is doomed before he even sits in that chair. What to say? Kinda knows the boy... and yet off we go on a Saturday to look for a place to pierce his ear.

We ended up in a drugstore of all places and in the backroom. All 4 of us squished into a cubby with our backs pressed against the wall. Up to this point the boy has been super chatty and animated about getting this done even with Shay's dire warnings of tetanus and death. There was a certain mood shift as the tech came in with the gun. I swear we are a bunch of vultures you know, with our necks straining to see every emotion that fleets across his face as she loads up the gun. It's sick, i know. I snap out of it and become Mom once again and sit by my son and hold his hand and mark the spot for the stab. He was impaled on the count of three and a heavy silence followed as everyone held their breath and waited to see. Unfortunately, Ronin was also holding his breath and i had to remind him to breathe and gently forced his head between his knees when the color did not return to his face. (Let's face it folks, it's a lot easier to hide your shock and pain and fat tear rolling down your cheek too!) We have already had our first earring adventure when last night the back of it came off while him and Shay were cleaning it. Quick! Check inside his ear!! The whole mess came out while locating the back and Chris had to impale the boys new flesh wound *again*, OY! Beauty is pain and although I am reminded constantly why men are not ever going to be any good at giving birth, it's just an ear hole for gosh sake stop whimpering! I am happy to report that there was a certain bounce in his step as he made it way out the door for school this morning scheming of ways to get his class to notice his new adornment without actually having to say something. I give him 10 minutes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

An affair to Remember

I have something to admit to you. It's been eating me up since I moved into the neighborhood. I am having multiple affairs. I haven't told Chris yet as I am pretty sure he won't care. It started at the local grocery looking for a loaf of bread to tie us over when i met, the owner, Ming. She was so very happy to see me you see. She reeled me in with compliments of my dress and pretty hair. I had just showered you see. Her family appeared from behind a curtain and she introduced me to them all and told me she was from China. Her mother clucked around me and swept the floor around me lest i step on any imaginary debris on my exit. Certainly this was unusual for me having shopped at many a convenience store back home to be acknowledged with anything more than a grunt and my change dropped on the counter for me to chase while feeling like i had to apologize for buying gum and interrupting the teenagers social life on the phone. I have been most loyal to Ming for the first couple of weeks but then on my way home from Shayla's school i stopped into another "superette" for milk and there i met Pham and his family. Pham is from Asia as well and was quite chatty about Canada when he found out this is where my accent is from. His family came out from behind another curtain and once again the ritual of petting and cooing commenced about me. He even double bagged my milk to be sure it was safe! I left feeling like a queen with promises to return to Pham and his brood for any more of my grocery needs. What have i done? How can i go back and see Ming knowing that i have been to Pham's? Ahhh, and then i went to *another* superette just a week ago and met Hasim and his mother. From Hasim, who has moved from India 14 years ago, i get treats to tempt me. Ok, well it was a lighter to go with the eggs. I'm not sure what i was to do with the two being that i usually cook my eggs on the stove but no matter. All these mini marts are located within spitting distance from each other. Clearly here they are killing me with guilt and kindness. Each one i vow to return to but how many loaves of bread or milk must i buy to make each one happy? I see that they all know me by name and ask after my children now. I have 4 lighters as well. It's becoming an issue for me as i am pretty sure i am going to get caught one day. My car is pretty easy to spot. I was hoping to break free of this and just go to the local bakery but that has not turned out to be such a great idea. LuChen is a wonderful lady as well and i cannot pass by her shop onto Ming's superette without having to wave and explain that i don't need any baked goods and honestly i am going to Ming's to buy milk. It's a problem here, the extra friendly service wherever you go. Even the cashiers at all the big businesses seem to show some life and interest in you, the customer, when you go to pay as well. It seems that small talk is always expected of you or at least a good ear while they are bending yours. It's a lost art in our country, sadly enough. The friendly and attentive service around here reminds me of years past as a young child stealing quarters from my mothers purse to go and buy a chocolate bar. I wonder though where our good service went to? From a country that is smallish and remote maybe it's a good thing in some ways that they don't have so many outside influences from around the globe. That said i still do miss my cable shows, Timmy's and make-up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Water Conservation and Save the Whales!

Moving into a new house is much like a marriage of the Mail Order Bride variety I find. I think you kinda pick your bride by the way she looks and you imagine the life you will have with her and you pay the “Bride Price” to the Matchmaker/realtor and off you go to the wedding ceremony/lawyers. She looked really lovely when you first laid eyes on her but at closer inspection you notice that she has this wart right in the middle of her forhead. How did you not see that before? Er, and how ‘bout that hair growing right out of the middle of that wart, ew! Really, how were you to know about the ingrown toenails? Did you even think to take off her shoes before you bought her? Then there is that strange smell coming off of her after you have said your “I do’s”/taking on the mortgage. Was she really doused in that much perfume/carpet freshener? But there you are standing with your bride, holding hands… oh wait! Her hand is not in yours it’s in your wallet and there it firmly remains.

The first concern for us was the carpet downstairs. We stood in the empty room and tried to envision our furniture there and where is would go. The place had been vacated a scant 24 hrs before our arrival when the smell of cat pee hit us. What’s this? I say wrinkling my nose. Perhaps it’s the smell of Jungle Rot, after all we are surrounded by it. Ah, no. Upon closer inspection we find the badly stained carpet has taken on life of it’s own and is shifting under our feet like a giant animal. Ok, that must go! Sure enough there were areas that were so badly marked by their pet that the subfloor was rotting. Actually there is no subfloor. Building codes (and I use that term very loosely) are different here. Just kinda picture a giant Mobile home with no insulation and wires and piples dangling under your “bride”. They are not too concerned with winter freeze apparently although it does get bloody chilly in here at night. Shayla asked me the first morning while wearing 3 layers of clothes and her toque if we really meant to buy a house with no heating or did we not know this like it was something else that the Matchmaker failed to mention to us about our betrothed. I explained that no house in NZ has central heating and that’s why we find those nifty little space heaters wherever we stay. In fact, we did buy one and Ronin had draped himself across it that morning trying to get warm. Clearly we will be needing more of these though. (kah-ching!)

So, ok. We need new flooring in the basement and some space heaters, not bad though, right? Er well the bride did not have a dowery that came with a washing machine AND the dishwasher cacked apparently days before we bought her . Ya, so everyone leaves me to go to school/work that morning and I am dying to have a shower. I have been soo envolved with the unpacking and organizing that personal hygene has taken a back slide for 2 days. So I am in that frame of mind of “If I don’t have a hot shower and clean myself up I may go mad and run thru the jungle scratching my itchy scalp to bloody shreads.” Really, I almost felt like I had spent a week in the bush in a tent camping.

I have my own bathroom here. Such a princess that I am and I head there with my retrieved toiletries from my suitcase and turn on the shower, load up my toothbrush, and wait for the water to turn warm.. and wait, and wait. Standing there naked and cold I start to fiddle with the one control knob. Cold water is streaming out. Turn it the opposite direction, colder water. Put it in the middle –hot water. Boiling hot water. Grrr! Inching throttle of water back and forth trying to find happy medium. Maybe, if I got in there I could read the tap and figure it out. Now searing hot water is pouring on me and I am shrunk to the side of the shower dancing to keep my feet from burning , trying to adjust the tempreture. The water is rising from the drain and forming a pool 3 inches high. I finally give up. Collect my belongings and drip over to the kid’s bathroom who have a tub and shower head. Ok, well I get the temp just right, organize my cleaning supplies and hop in. Try pulling the lever to activate the shower and Whoa! It pops off in my hands. I fiddle with this muttering “come on, come on… get back on there you bitch!” Throw knob on floor and get out (again) and Shiver my way downstairs to Chris’s place. Now I know this shower must work as he took one before he left this morning. Turn it on water comes out (check!) adjust temp to warm (check) throw all my toiletries in there on the floor, no shelves. Get in and have 3 streams of water drip on my head. Come ON!! Seriously? WTF did these ppl do for showering around here??! While waiting for the Chinese Torture device to soak my head I reach for my loaded toothbrush and find out that the paste is missing. Somewhere in my travels from room to room sits a gob of toothpaste on the cat pee carpet. I am pissed. What more can be wrong with this place?

Turns out that the toilets are not the best either. Everyone is so water conscious that these low water things are only good for swirling the TP around the bowl and creating paper patterns if they don’t have enough suction. Our thinking is that there may be a clog in one of the re-read about my shower. We have dumped a half a bottle of liquid plumber down there and now we wait and see.

It's been days and $$ since I last wrote about my water issues people. Things are really looking up! We now have running hot water in all the showers and have replaced the pull on the kid's shower with an attractive set of pliers *much* easier to work now. The toilets are on on going issue and we are spending some time looking into the mechanics of how these animals work. Like most house construction around here there seems to be little rhyme or reason for how things are put together. Our blushing bride is in much need of some plastic surgery to update her look and I am getting brochures of paint and paper to see her right.