Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The Technological Age

21 years ago, in a sunny classroom in Napier, NZ, my teacher Miss Kwai pinned a whole lot of handwritten letters to the wall. It turned out she had a friend who was a teacher in Kauai, HI, and they were keen to get a penpal system going. When we finished our work, we were to go up to the wall and pick a letter, and we were to become that person's penpal.
I recall I picked a letter on yellow paper, with lots of writing (value for money).
My new penpal was called Britt, and she lived in Hawaii with her brothers and they had a catamaran. I remember being enthralled by the fact that she Lived In Hawaii, which may as well have been Mars to me.
I wrote back telling her about my life, and we became penpals. We swapped photos, and coins, I remember a pamphlet about shaved ice things dimly, and a letter from her beginning "Dear Amy, today my chicken eggs hatched and we now have 6 baby chicks" - too excited for niceties.
The one constant about my childhood and teenage years was this contact with Britt, sometimes lots, sometimes hardly any, but always there. The amazement when she sent me a fax for the first time. I think it was sent to my Mum's work and to me it was like receiving a present from the departed. Then it was phone calls. She called me on my birthday one year and I was so gobsmacked all I could think to tell her was that we found a cockroach in the toaster that morning.
While I grew up in NZ Britt was all over the world, in LA, in France, England, then in Germany for a few years. Emailing became the way to keep in contact, as well as texting.
It all came to a head a couple of years ago, when I had decided to get married, and Britt and I thought it would be great if she could come to the wedding. Unfortunately the wedding didn't come to pass, but Britt had already booked her flights.
So here I was, waiting nervously at our holiday home in Taupo when this gorgeous blonde comes flying out of her rental car and it's like we've always known each other (which in a way, we have). We had a fantastic time travelling around the North Island, learning about each other and becoming friends. She did whiskey shots with my step-dad and loved my roast lamb special, danced with my friends and explored the thermal wonderland of Orakei Korako.
I am so lucky to have this penpal, and great friend, I just wanted to give her a big shout out and say thank you Britt and I hope we never lose contact. X x x

Monday, 25 June 2007

I need a good facial obviously

Whilst out shopping at Noel Leeming's for a DVD player I notice an exceptionally old and frail man enthralled in the highlights of the previous night's All Blacks v Sth Africa test. Not having watched it myself, I enquire as to whether we won or not.
"Did we win the game?"
"Did We Win The Game?"
"Oh yes. Yes we did."
"Marvellous," I say and carry on spending the gross national product of Losotho.
Later on he makes his way up to me and says: "We lost the boat race however." I share my pain with him.
A little old lady then makes a beeline for me and says "Are you hitting on my husband?"

Friday, 22 June 2007


Went to see Miss Potter last night. I adored it. I like bunnies you see, as well as cats, and I have a habit of calling anyone I like "bunny". It was lovely to see all her pictures and it reminded me so much of childhood, all Mrs Tiggywinkle and Jemima Puddleduck. Cute!
It was also nice to see where it was set, I did my Gap Year in the Lakes District in 1997 and haven't been back since, I found it pretty boring as an 18 year old, but am sure I would appreciate it a bit more now.
Windermere was a funny place to spend a year on my own, working at a school there, first time away from home. Mum cried for 2 days before I left. I was a bit bewildered and hadn't really thought what it would be like.
11 months later I had battled bulimia, over-eating, depression and anxiety issues. I really don't think I was prepared to have all of that responsibility. I had no motivation to get out and do things, and tended to just stay at the school in the weekends, whereas all my other Gap friends were taking every opportunity to see everything they could.
Don't get me wrong, I went all over Scotland and England, and did a 6 week trip around Europe, but mostly I felt the whole time that I just wanted to get HOME. I comforted myself with tasteless UK junk food (Walkers Salt and Vinegar crisps, oh yeah) and put on 10 kilos. I have had issues with food ever since.
So while I don't really regret having gone, I do wish I could do it all over again. I often have dreams that I am back there, that I have chosen to go back there, and I'm all, what way!
Anyway I would like to go back eventually, but am sure it will be a surreal experience.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

On my lunch break I.....

Check out gift shops for cool things for the house. Decide I need to get engaged/married/turn 21 again so that I won't have to pay for everything I like myself.

Watched Dr Phil while having a baked bean toasted sandwich. Dr Phil was telling a guy with a giant ego to Get Over Himself! I think, let him have some self-esteem, what's wrong with that? Contemplate emailing Dr Phil but then come back to my senses.

Get called "Deary" by the Sikh dairy owner while getting my chocolate fix. I find this very cute.

Worry about my current chocolate addiction as I'm normally a entree/main kind of girl as opposed to main/dessert. Has the dreaded sweet tooth caught up with me?

Decide I have had enough of winter and put a warmer jacket on.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Spoilt rotten

This weekend was spent back in Hawkes Bay visiting my parents. There's something about going home on a cold winter weekend that just feels good.

We went down to their little place in the country and had a fantastic time. I always feel like a farm girl at heart, even though I cannot climb a fence, so it was lovely to put the wellies on and stride out in the frosty air.
As you can see it was VERY cold, about 7 degrees, so many pots of tea were consumed and the fire was roaring all day. We polished the family silver and played cards, and I made a cassoulet of lamb, sausage and pancetta which turned out pretty good although extremely salty, necessitating in the need for litres of water during the night. Should have soaked the pancetta first.

We celebrated the buying of my first house with Piper-Heidsieck and caviar, which I thought I'd hate (not a huge fan of fish) but it was delicious. Mum put a little dab of it with some creme fraiche on a teaspoon and it was perfect. I think I couldn't really taste it as Ollie the human cat had given me hayfever and I had a blocked nose. I know, allergic to cats, ironic. Is it ironic? I am always scared to use that word.

Yesterday I did jigsaws then laughed myself silly going through all my old photos from school days. Man I had some eyebrows. I would post them here, but I have no idea how, as have no scanner. I put together all my 21st presents and engagement presents that have been lying around for years (yes! I've been engaged before) as haven't had a decent house to put them in..but now I do! Not quite as cute as this, but it'll do.

It's Mum's dream cottage and I love it as much as she does.

Anyway though - back to reality and work in Tauranga. Highlights of the week to come! Builders report - will it pass? LIM report - will I ever understand what this is? Miss Potter at the movies - will I be able to stop myself from eating enormous amounts of popcorn? Stay tuned to find out.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Signed, sealed, delivered....

Hello friends. Yes it's all been confirmed...I am now the owner of a renovated villa?bungalow? built in 1967 for a little old lady. I own a HOUSE! This is a bit of a Big Deal to me. The only other thing I own of any value is my car, which is a piece of shit, so it's all a bit overwhelming.
Anyhoo. Let's do a tour. You may have seen these photos before but hey, it's my blog, I can repeat myself if I want to.

This is the front of the house. I am going to replace the letterbox with something funky, and rip up the driveway and put gravel in. I like the sound of cars coming up a gravel driveway. Note the very cool iceberg roses. I like.

This is the side view. (baby was not included, but I wish it was, because he is very cute and crawls like a lobster). Note lemon tree. I am going to plant feijoas as well, and put either jasmine or wisteria up the pergola.

This is the enormous backyard. The section is 637 square metres, so I am going to have to learn how to use a lawnmower. I am envisaging croquet, petanque and backyard cricket with jugs of Pimms in the summer. I would also like a swing somewhere, or a hammock. However it's 12 degrees today so not top of my list of priorities.

Let's go inside.

My new kitchen. Nice, easy clean wooden floors, and brand new benches and things. I am going to create masterpieces in here.


The lounge. These pics sold me on the place - look at that nice sun and french doors. My family are obsessed with french doors. Why? Who knows. You will be able to find me most days sprawling on a rug with a good book, with the cat stretched out next to me purring, listening to some quality George. Heaven.
I don't have any pictures of the bedrooms but be assured they are very cute and have lovely views of the garden.
Thank you for joining me on this tour....any decorating ideas would be great!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

An Interlude

So while we wait with baited breath for news on the house we interrupt things with a commercial.

I have started reading this book. I am not normally a preachy, spiritual, new-agey kind of person (make that never). But this book is about the power of Positive Thinking, something that, having depression, I battle with. Most of my thoughts go like this: Wow, that would be so fun to do but I'm sure that it will go wrong, or, I am in a really good space right now, what could go wrong here? And the funny thing is, the more I think about what could go wrong, what I most fear does actually come to pass.

I know this isn't news to most people but I have found it enlightening (and I'm only up to Chapter 2).

Here's an example of how things work in my mind. When I met my ex we were very happy, and I would go and see him on the farm, and we were all great. But eventually I started worrying that it wasn't going to work out, and I would stress that he didn't like me as much as I liked him yadayadayada. So my tension spilled over into our relationship....and we started arguing over stupid things. All over nothing.

Now if I had thought positively and let things be what they were, and just enjoyed the moment, it may have worked out. Not that I regret that it didn't because we were definitely not suited anyway!

I am looking forward to continuing with this book, and applying the principles to my mindset. I sound like the converted don't I! But as Mum said - It can't do any harm. I suggest you read it!


Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Have run out of biblical references...

So the wait is on. I haven't slept properly in 4 days. Last night I believe I was awake for 2 hours dithering over whether to put the drying rack on rainy days in the spare room, or the office. Of a house I don't even own yet. YET.
They have accepted our offer, so we are rushing a sale and purchase through, and it should (PLEASE!) all be done by tomorrow evening. Then it's a building report, then we go unconditional, then we settle late July. Time is going veeeeery slooooowly.
A sneak peek at the house:

I won't show any more Just In Case it all turns to custard. But isn't it adorable?

On a completely different note.....oh who am I kidding, it's all about the house. I have nothing more to add as it's filling my days and nights, and everything else is out the window. Cross fingers that I'll be posting more pictures tomorrow.

Friday, 8 June 2007

And the lending begat a sense of anxiety

So am in that wonderful phase of real estate - the "wait and see" bit. We'll wait before we put an offer on...then we'll see if they accept it. In the meantime I am mentally decorating the house in my head. With awesomely expensive things, like this.
I covet that wallpaper. I have decided that my colour scheme will be dark red, pale green, dark dark brown, and cream. Sounds hideous but works well funnily enough. Will post photos of progress anyway. Listen to me - we haven't even put an offer on yet!!

ANYHOO.....what else is on. This weekend I am heading back to Auckland to catch up with the crew. I intend to have a very Auckland weekend of sitting in bars nattering, and shopping (window shopping). NZ has just had the first snowfall of the season down South, so it will be a lovely cozy winter weekend. On the news this morning they showed the farms down South - where Jimmy lives - and all the sheep were covered in snow and looking somewhat sad. Poor things. Now that I think about it I would have been a terrible farmer's wife. All the sheep would be in by the fire and I would be making them hot soup.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

And there was finance, and she saw that it was good.

So today was a very scary appointment with a mortgage broker in Tauranga, who I don't mind naming because they are super good. It was somewhat embarrassing having to list my "assets" - of which there are none - well, a rusty bucket of a stupid car (still hating it), a minor share portfolio, and some jewellery. Also had to hand over 3 months worth of bank statements. This was even more embarrassing. Bars, restaurants, clothes, bars and more bars. I guess later on I'll frame it as a reminder of what my life used to be like before I moved to suburbia and became an average Kiwi saddled with an enormous mortgage. AND I haven't even had kids yet.

So the visit to the coveted house went well - it is just super super adorable. I hope the owners haven't found this blog, because if they have, then the house needs a lot of work and the traffic noise really is appalling. And what were they thinking with that gorgeous landscaped garden and polished rimu floors....I guess the next step is to put an offer on (eeeeeek!).

In the meantime I am still looking at other houses, albeit somewhat half heartedly, so that I shan't be tooooo disappointed if it all falls through. Who am I kidding....I'll be devo'd. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 3 June 2007

The Book of Real Estate, C1v1

Oh hi! This post may look weird because I am writing it from my sister's iBook. I can't quite get the hang of it. She scorns a PC but I am so used to them after 7 years of staring at one that I think they are the way to go.
Anyhoo it's Queen's Birthday weekend this weekend....the last public holiday in NZ for till October. Most people use it as a last ditch attempt to get out and commune with nature before succumbing to the hibernational urge of Winter...but I am doing something quite different.

That's right people....I am Trying to Buy a House. I am boring myself already. I am living, sleeping, eating and breathing Tauranga Real Estate. Having never bought anything more than an insanely expensive fake fur coat, I am finding it all quite hard to take seriously. I have looked at about 8 houses this weekend, all quite varied, some that were an affront to my standard of living recently...(thank you Mum for letting me live in your apartment in Auckland). BUT the time has come to get on with it.

I have done what everyone says not to do and fallen in love with a house before I've even gone through it (3pm tomorrow and I am counting down). It's just perfect - french doors off the lounge, lots of sun, wooden floors, 3 bedroom, off street parking, and within my price range. It also has a lemon tree and a stand of rose bushes under the kitchen window. Could that be more pretty? I am already going through House and Garden and Urbis and thinking of ways to decorate it. So please everyone...wish me luck....that it's as good as it looks in the photos (enough of the hollow laughter) and that absolutely noone else has seen the ad and they want a super quick sale.

As an aside, I will FINALLY be able to get a pet cat. I have had 2 cats in my previous lives, and something always happened (usually a heartbreak) that involved having to move and give the cats away, which was gut-wrenching. (they were called Polly and Rudy if anyone is interested....but that's a whole post in itself). Finally I am going to be settled down and with my own place. I am going to head to the SPCA, slam my wallet on the counter and bark "gimme the oldest, ugliest moggy you've got!" and hopefully a big mangled ginger tom gets carried out. Things for you to think about - possible names for this lucky feline.
This weekend I am housesitting at my sisters (off visiting the grandparents) and they have 2 moggies, Rita and Minnie. I have already bought them 4 lots of flash cat food. Anyhoo point being: the title of my blog will finally have some meaning.

Will post again after I make a decision on this the meantime - would love to hear some funny real estate stories, and possibly some positive far I'm getting a fair amount of Negative Nancys and Nigels!

Oh yeah also. Having viewed my sister and her husband stare blankly at the fridge when it came time for dinner on Friday, (they're up to week 6 of nocturnal interruptions) I have just made 6 dinners of lasagne, beef and red wine casserole and chicken, bacon and mushrooms in a creamy white wine sauce, and put them in the freezer. I draw the line at providing extra breast milk however.

Aims xxxx