Thursday, 31 January 2008

Please hold

Weird. I am eating an apple that has been imported from the USA, and it is juicy, crunchy and sweet. Last week I bought apples from NZ, that were yellow, floury, and sour. Admittedly it's not apple season for another month or so, but you'd think that if we can get strawberries and vine ripened tomatoes all year round, we should be able to get a humble apple.

Anyhoodle, what a week it's been people, with websites being launched and the phone permanently stapled to my ear. A sample conversation:

Wonderful client: "I can't get into your website."
Guru Helper" "Okay then, what's your full name"
WC "Mr Technologically Challenged"
GH "Dad is that you?" (kidding)
GH "Okay sir, your user name is ZX978465."
WC "seven....twelve.....banana..."
GH "No sir, Z....X...."
WC "Slow down will you, I can't type very fast. Wait, I need to put the phone down."

Goes away for about 1o minutes. I can see about 20 other phone calls lining up.

WC "Okay so that's in. What's my password?"
GH "We don't keep passwords on file sir, your password is one you chose yourself."
WC "How am I supposed to remember that? Hang on I'll try some."

Puts phone down again. I can see, after four hours, that he has tried too many times and locks himself out.

WC "I've locked myself out."
GH "I'll just re-set your password - it is now 34567"

Puts phone down again. I go home for the night and come back in the morning, and then wait two hours for him to finish entering his password.

WC "What's this security image? I can't read that! It's all blurry!"
GH "It's to stop automated spammers, Mr Challenged. It's added security for yourself."
WC "Can you remove it?"
GH *snorts* "No, I'm afraid I can't."
WC "Can you tell me what it says?"
GH "Sir, it's different for everyone. It's just 5 letters that you need to type in a field."
WC "This is ridiculous! I cannot see what they say! Put me through to your CEO! I am going to complain!"
GH "As you wish."

This has been my life for the last 6 days. I have never been abused so much in my life, for something I have not done. It's made me realise that although we call Help numbers and picture a thousand monkeys in a call centre room, it might just be one person trying to do a million things at once.

Of course though, on the way home I got pissed off at the COMPLETE INEPTITUDE of the supermarket check out girl.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

RIP Heath Ledger

One of my favourite actors - for Monster's Ball and Brokeback Mountain. I spent most of my 2 years in Perth constantly on the lookout for him. What a tragedy.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Get a cup of tea for this one

To say that the weekend just been was exhausting would be to gloss over how bone-crushingly tired I ended up yesterday evening, necessitating in a bedtime of 7:30pm, which, with daylight savings still going strong, meant I pulled the curtains to shut out the sun.
As previously mentioned, the weekend was spent in Auckland, and I had quite forgotten how spending money there comes as naturally as breathing. My monthly budget is now completely screwed. But! There is always an upside to spending money, you have heaps of fun doing so.
Friday night saw me fly into Aucks at the speed of ...... 120km/h - the Red Rocket performed beautifully up over the Bombay Hills and delivered me to a beautiful Italian restaurant in St Heliers where my friends and I had a hilarious dinner and much banter was delivered. Sample conversation:
"Dude, when you read the menu, do you just hand it back to the waitress and say 'I'll have it thanks'?"
We headed back to their house and spent a lovely summer's night on the deck swatting mozzies and drinking Sauvignon.
Saturday morning I was enjoying a nice sleep in, when it was GET UP! time at the unholy hour of 8am, as it was birthday present opening time for Sarah. I ran into their room screaming MERRY CHRISTMAS! We all jumped into bed together - 5 of us - and for a moment we all forgot we were nearing 30 and had 2 weddings and 2 kids between us all. Sarah loved the nail polish I got her. I'm a bit obsessed with nail polish at the moment aren't I?
Brunch took us to La Vista in St Heliers, which was super awesome, and Sarah had a birthday brekkie of mince of toast with a fried egg. I was all, hmmm, but when it came out I had plate envy something chronic. Although my french toast with the usual banana bacon maple syrup was so delicious and very very naughty. I highly recommend this cafe if you are ever in St Heliers.
It was a mega hot day so we retired back home to sit on sun loungers with mags, and glasses of bubbly. Cam and I poured Sarah one, and being without strawberries, put a cherry tomato in there. I informed her of this fact about half an hour later.
Cam had organised a surprise lunch for Sarah at a restaurant in Parnell, and here, people, is where the great day came to a crashing great halt around my ears.
We were at a lovely outdoor table munching calamari and sipping beers, and were commenting on how great the service was. We all expressed surprise at this, because this restaurant is not known for its great service. Me being me, outdoes everyone elses gripes with a tale of my own.
"I was here with Mum and Lauren, and we ordered some calamari and wine." (This all said in a voice at approximately 2000 decibels).
"We had a couple of glasses and then Mum had to leave to catch a flight. She paid for the calamari and wine, and left. Lauren and I stayed on and had a couple more wines." Everyone is nodding sagely and going, of course, you and Loz, wine quaffers from way back.
"We decided to head home, and got up to pay for our drinks to the lady owner behind the counter. Imagine our surprise when we see the calamari on the bill. I question this, and say my mother paid for this when she left. The lady disagrees with me, and I am a bit taken aback. I say, well she specifically came back to tell us so, and was dealing with that guy behind the bar. She then says, well he must have pocketed the money because it's not showing on the receipts." Indignant comments are echoing around the table, along the lines of, isn't the customer always right? and, it's not your problem if the staff are dishonest.
"I say to her well I'm not paying for it twice and I'll get my mother to call you if you like to sort it out. She humphs and lets us go. And I haven't been back since till today."
Everyone is nodding and saying good on you, yeah she's nasty etc etc when all of a sudden it happens. A lady at the next table is slowly getting up - leaving half her lunch - and walking quickly into the restaurant. One of our guys goes, oh, that's her, that's the lady. And it was. She was obviously on her day off, enjoying a lunch with friends at her restaurant. And they had all heard everything.
The ironic thing was, I had just been discussing with Sarah that morning that I thought I gossiped too much, and was going to try and stop. Talk about learning the hard way. I felt like absolute shit for a couple of hours and needed a Gloriax to stop stressing out - and am still really pissed at myself. But who knows, she may have needed a wake up call - I certainly wasn't the only one with a bad experience with her - but nobody likes overhearing gossip about themselves.
I perked up when we left the restaurant - 3 interminable hours later - and headed to Lizzie's place for a couple of drinks before the concert. We were able to walk to the concert from there, and got there as Fergie was halfway through her show. Not that we watched it, because we were too busy lining up for beers. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that they had stopped selling booze at 8:30pm (!!!!) and had also run out of water (!!!!!!!!!!). We decided that it was fate that there's no booze, meaning we won't be hungover the next day. So we arming ourselves with disgusting Pepsi we headed back to our seats. Who should we bump into but our future Prime Minister, Mr John Key. He was more than happy to listen to us rave about why we'd vote him in (namely, because we hate Helen Clark) and we watched him about 10 minutes later dancing so badly it was almost cool.
The Police got started, and man they were good. Real musicians if you know what I mean. I especially liked the drummer dude. BUT! And there's always a but. 2 songs into the concert, we're standing on our chairs, bopping away, when I realise that my arm feels a lot lighter. I then realise that my watch is gone. My brand new, Calvin Klein, arm-and-a-leg watch, is no longer on my wrist. I grab Sarah's arm and make I'm-dying, please-help-me faces. She, being Sarah, is very straight up, and says it's either under your seat, at Lizzie's house or never to be seen again.
I am on the verge of losing it entirely, having already had a shitter of an experience, so after wildly looking under our chairs in amongst the jandals and toes and chair legs and bottles, I reach into my bag to get a calming cigarette. What should I find, but my watch.
To say that I had a epiphany would be to understate it. I actually had to sit down. I am not, I repeat NOT, a lucky person. For my watch to have fallen off INTO MY OWN HANDBAG was something I could not comprehend. I babbled to Sarah that I had found God, he must be looking after me, and she's patting me on the back and laughing. I rave that even after I ruin someone's day by gossiping, someone up there still likes me enough so that I don't lose my treasured watch.
After zipping it into a pocket in my bag and tying the bag to my leg I get back into the concert and have a ball.
We headed straight home afterwards, and while everyone else went straight to bed (bloody couples!!!) I sat up on the deck looking at the moon and listening to the crickets, having a frosty cold beer. What a day. Life lessons learned, fun was had, money was spent, music was enjoyed. What more could you want?

Friday, 18 January 2008

Girls girls girls

So this weekend I am pootling up to Auckland (or as we like to call it, Auckalofa) for a myriad of reasons, number one being it's my besties' birthdays on Sat and Mon and I feel the need to celebrate with them; number two being that I have a ticket to the Pol-ees and Fergie Ferg on Saturday; number three being that I haven't been out of Tauranga since before Christmas and I'm feeling the need to leave my comfort zone; number four being that it's a nice 2.5 hour drive and the little Golf is going to get a workout.
So there you have it. I am very much looking forward to a fun weekend of hanging with my oldest friends in the sun singing 80's tunes.

In other news, life at my humble abode has brightened considerably with the arrival of a temporary flatmate. Another bestie has arrived back from the UK and is doing some locum work here and needs a place to stay. She is a better flatmate than Basil, because she empties the dishwasher and gets my washing in, and doesn't eat cicadas in full view of everyone. We have conversations like this:
"Ohmygod I love that nailpolish, where did you get it?"
"I got it sent over from London, it's the latest cool colour!" (Russian Navy by OPI FYI)
"Oh can I please borrow it? You can borrow my ones. Let's pool our nail polishes!"
"Oooh I like that orange one. It looks really good on tanned feet."
"I wore that one to the races this year. It chips really badly though."
"I never get chips, it's because I take silica."
"Silica you say? I tried it but it didn't work...I take a multi."
"I reckon you should try magnesium too if you're going to the gym this year."
"Do you think? Oh my god is that Scarlett Johansson? She is so boring."
"Urgh I hate her. Do you reckon Nicole Richie has had work done?"

and so on. These conversations, involving beauty routines, celebrities, weddings, people we know and boys, last approximately 10 hours, and even Basil escapes outside to find a bloke to have a beer with so we can't paint his claws bright pink. It's the best.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Get out of my dreams....

Well, not much chance of a guy getting into my new car when it's as girly as this!

Yes I am the proud owner of a '99 VW Golf - which is so bright red the side of the house is tinged pink when I'm parked there.

It is in tip-top condition, and purrs like a kitten. Basil must like it too, because his pawprints were all over it this morning.

This is my old car:

A '90 Suzuki Escudo. It was a most reliable vehicle, but really, is it REALLY fitting for a 29 (gasp) year old with a good job and nice home to drive around in a car advertising surf wear with no stereo and squeaky brakes? I think not. Luckily I was able to trade it in, and only felt a small pang of regret as I peeled away from the dealers. Regret that I didn't sell it sooner!

So I have already kitted out the glovebox with all the necessities of travel, tissues, pens and gum, and have even put coinage in a little compartment for toll roads. I have worked out how to use the stezza, which is all in Japanese, and have my favourite CD's on high rotation. The air-con is on freezing and the seat set to laid-back, and I think I would live in there if I could. My friends are all, wow, it's uh......really Bright. And it is! It's a snazzy bit of sunshine to brighten my day, and damned if it isn't the best therapy I've had in a long time. Oh the joy.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

I'm not boasting but....

I have recently moved seats in my office, which is an open plan environment, to a flash corner desk by a window. I know, it's the little things. I tend to spend a fair amount of time staring out of said window.

At the moment, the view is driving me nuts. I can see a huge vista of bright blue sky, trees dancing in the breeze, and scantily dressed mallrats heading into town to perve at the hot surfer backpackers who have turned up for the summer. Feel sorry for me then, as I contemplate making a cup of tea to warm my hands because the air-conditioning is up so high one of my workmates complained to Help that he couldn't get out of his desk because of all the frozen corpses. I just went for a walk around the block to warm up a bit, and upon walking back into reception, I was reminded of walking into the beer cooler rooms with Dad when I was a kid, at the local bottle store. We would have a competition to see who could stand it the longest.

But anyway. It is nice to get home and sit here:

This was my spot at 6:30pm last night. A ciggie, a vodka lime and soda, and a biography of Walt Disney. I could feel the warmth seeping back into me like warm butter.

Tonight I'm zipping home, grabbing my togs and meeting a friend for a swim at the beach. We're then going to grab a bite to eat and watch the sunset. Stink huh?

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Serious cliche

I just joined the Gym.
Hopefully I won't become another one of those, joined-the-gym-in-January, gave-up-the-next-day statistics.

I just had my first interview with spunkrat Craig, at a nice big gym just 2 blocks from work. 2 blocks? Why didn't you join earlier? I hear you say. The answer, mes amies, is because anything that makes me red, sweaty, and my boobs wobble that doesn't involve me and another naked person is on my verboten list. I just hate exercise. Always have, always will. It is simply not in my nature to get up and go somewhere just to crack a bead, as my brother in law would say.

A workmate and I both look at each other all, you're weird, when she says Oh I go for an hour's run to chill out, and I'm all, oh really? I like to support the country's wine industry and drink a bottle or two.

BUT the time has come, the walrus said, to use it or lose it, and my goal is to hit 30 in December and be able to touch my toes for the first time since I was 8. (Hey, I have freakishly short arms - like Matthew McConaughy. Seriously. Have a look next time). I also hope to get rid of some of my bingo wings, but because I am naturally an endomorph (curses!) this will be difficult. Madonna I certainly never will be.

So it's off to the gym 4 times a week, and gorgeous Craig recommends Spin and Circuit classes. I immediately started panicking at the thought of being the one falling off in a heap, bright red and panting like a emphysemic bull on heat, while everyone else is madly pedalling away, all secretly laughing at the rhino in the corner.
Paranoid? You know it. But I have to stop caring what everyone else thinks and just get on with 3 months it'll be me smirking away.

Oh yeah and I bought a new car today. Pics coming soon! In the meantime, here is a scarily close up shot of my feet, encased in my new sandals. I like to call them Boudicea. Don't laugh at my yam toes. They're covered in OPI Candy Apple Red if you're wondering.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

A little bit of a rant

The lack of good service in NZ has been in the spotlight recently, what with this particular episode of Christmas cheer resulting in front page news.
In my fairly decent experience of retail (and when you think about it, every single job there is comes down to retail) I followed the maxim that The Customer Is Always Right. The article I just linked to shows how a retailer can let her arrogance and snobbery get in the way of making just one small customer happy, and therefore alienates an entire community of people who otherwise would never have heard of her.
So today I was most unhappy when I scooted out of work to meet a locksmith at home and get some quotes done. 1pm they said yesterday, and of course we'll call if he can't make it on time.
So it gets to twenty past, and with no sign of him, I ring them. The guy covers the phone with his hand to ask his manager where my guy is, and I hear the manager say "he's probably forgotten all about it." He comes back, and goes "he's been held up at another job."
So I tell him that I only get an hour for lunch, I can't wait all day. He comes back and says he can be there at 2. I say sorry, I have to be back at work at 1:30. And why didn't someone call me to say he'd be late so I didn't have to leave work?
I get one "Sorry", one offer to re-schedule (as if!) and no argument when I don't.
Why is it that tradespeople are so lazy with their time-keeping? It should be an inherent part of their business be on time or to inform you if they'll be late. It was a complete waste of time, petrol, and caused my happy face to be replaced by my frowny face. AND if I get broken into tonight because of my piddly locks on my french doors, it'll be ALL THEIR FAULT.
I feel for my mother, who is about to build a new house, and will be having moments like these every single day with all the hundreds of tradespeople...from tilers to drapers to plumbers to pool men. Shudder.
If you're a tradesperson, let me know your views and prove me wrong.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Gliding along

I have spent the last few days under an aura of acceptance and patience, which is my little project for the coming year. All too often I worry and fuss and judge and get all wound up - "You're like a coiled spring!" my ex would say to me.
So far, it is going well. I'm just cruising along, seeing what happens, taking the joy of out tiny situations.

Like this morning. Basil was doing his morning perve at me in the shower when he discovered a furry black thing hanging off his backside (his tail). He proceeded to gently pat it with one paw for about 5 minutes. I love it when the first thing you do in the morning is laugh.

On Friday, I met up with a friend and we took a bottle of wine and some takeaways down to Pilot Bay, the western side of Mount Maunganui, and watched the sunset. It cost us $20, and was fantastic.

On Saturday, I found the coolest pair of shoes, black leather sandals with gold dome things, all Roman styles, and they were $50, down from $220. I grinned for about half an hour.
At lunchtime I'm going into town to buy the CD of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and tonight, I'm going to sit on my deck by the candlelight and listen to it. Life is good.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

The time capsule post

Welcome back to the new exciting season of Cat-Liking - it's going to be the best year yet and here's a sneak peak of what's on the cards.

Health-wise: Amy has promised that, unlike last year, she will be having a full run of great health. Although waking up on New Years Day with the flu doesn't count. Nor does the fact that she still has it.
She has also solemnly promised to attend a gym this year.....thanks to a generous b'day present from Mum.... a gym membership! Amy wishes to hit 30 minus the Michelin tyres she carries we'll all be getting sporadic updates on her progress, depending on how well it's going.

Love-wise: Amy spent most of 2007 looking for her prince...and didn't find him. She did however kiss a few frogs. Some were more wart-covered than others. This year Amy is going to be all mature about it, and not try to find the man of her dreams at a nightclub in Tauranga at 2 in the morning. If anyone has any better suggestions however at meeting single men in this city of couples and marrieds, she is ALL EARS.

Fun-wise: We'll be doing an overseas posting from Fiji in May, when Amy is off on a family holiday to Treasure Island. Mum has wisely booked an extra seat on the plane JUST IN CASE Amy gets a boyfriend...but at this stage it'll be a Whole Bure To Myself. Which will be quite nice.

House-wise: Watch the progress of the Garden of Veg, and ooh and ahh over a planned new neighbourly fence. Winter season will see the carpeting and curtaining of the lounges and bedrooms.

Other exciting items!: The hair is going to Grow. The constant swearing is going to stop. The handcream is going to be applied and the vitamins taken, instead of gathering dust by the toaster. The teeth will be flossed and the sheets changed every week, and when I get asked to do something, be it dinner with Dad or watching a band with a friend, I will say Yes, because 2008 is going to be a year of being Busy, and Active, and Positive, and most of all, HAPPY.