Tuesday, 26 January 2010

In swings the tide....you walk into my life....

Late last year, Richard and I were heading out the door for our deliciously long holiday break. Nineteen days of pure fun, involving beaches, fishing, babies and bubbles, all our favourite things.

If you didn't already know, I am a planner, and an organiser, and a list-maker. Rich gives me assholes about not doing anything if it's not on my clipboard. I don't HAVE a clipboard - yet. I do however have a laptop and a pen and paper, and when I go into task-mode, you do not want to argue with me, or delay, or decide to watch football results or go to the toilet for a long time.

So on the morning of the 23rd of December 2009, we have packed the car, using every available inch of space. The cat is in his cage, already letting us know his displeasure every 10 seconds. There are fresh sheets on the bed. The furniture is polished, the dishwasher clean and empty, ditto the fridge. I have vacuumed. Rich finishes mopping, backing towards the front door as we go. At the last square metre of floor, he tips the mopping water outside in the garden, and throws the bucket into the laundry, landing neatly in the tub. We close the door, and are happy in the knowledge that when we return, AT LEAST WE HAVE A CLEAN HOUSE TO COME BACK TO.

This is what I'm like to live with.

We high-five, and set off on the 2.5 hour drive to Tauranga, with a stop in Pokeno to drop Basil at a cattery. No holiday for him.

I don't remember much about the trip, other than that we were super excited, and relieved to be finally on holiday after a super shit year. When I say it was Super Shit, I'm not exaggerating. We had to leave our home in Tauranga and move to hell-hole Auckland because I lost my job. We had to endure living in a tiny home, that had no insulation, for one of the coldest winters on record. Our landlord, who lives next door, enjoyed smoking cigarettes outside our bedroom window late at night, or liked fixing his Porsche at 8 at night when the noise of the exhaust made the house shake, and filled the lounge and kitchen with fumes. We paid $450 a WEEK for this. Rent in Tauranga is half this. My new job SUCKED. (I can say this now, because I have resigned). Richard had 2 jobs, which also SUCKED, and he left one, and was made redundant from another. Into this equation also goes 40 minute trips to see friends who live 5 km away (fucking, fucking Auckland traffic), $11 glasses of wine, $80 taxi rides, $10 for one hour's parking. All the while, my house in Tauranga was being tenanted by people who didn't think to open windows, meaning the dampness caused my fresh paint job to peel.

Our trip away on holiday was to be an escape. Yes we had to still deal with the fact that Rich had lost his job, and would need to job hunt when we got back. I had to make a decision on whether I wanted to stay in my role, that was literally bringing me to tears most weeks. But for now, it was all about Eddie Vedder's soundtrack to Into the Wild, and getting used to being in jandals again, and trying to avoid camping equipment to come loose from its precarious position and whack us in the back of the head on the Karangahake Gorge. It's a beautiful, sunny day, and traffic is minimal. All in all, we're in the best mood we've been in for ages.

We're nearly at Richard's parents, who live in Papamoa, near the beach. Rich says, let's go to the beach! I say, nah. I need to go to the loo. (Once we start driving, we don't stop for anything. God I'm awful). He says, please. I want to see the surf! I say, nooooooo. I really need to go to the loo. Let's go later. He says, PLEASE. This is Richard putting his foot down. FINE, I say, and swing towards the camp ground in Papamoa. There are kids running around in togs, parents in towels and caps and sand all over the place. I feel out of place in my city clothes. We find a park, near a public loo. I use it, grumbling all the time about DISGUSTING germs and FOUL smells and other affronts to my personal hygeine. He says, let's go down to the beach. I say, I can see it from here. Plus, all the Christmas presents are in the car. What if the car gets nicked? There are TEENAGERS hanging around, no doubt up to no good. You go. I'll wait here.

But he doesn't hear me because he's already strode purposefully on. I sigh, and follow, picking amongst the sand and stones in my lily-white, soft feet. I stare at people in their togs, all brown and warm, and feel totally out of place in my office-glow. For some reason, I notice Rich is walking very strangely. He has his hand jammed deep in his pocket. I stop walking, feeling very shaky all of a sudden. He turns around.

"FOR GOD'S SAKE WOULD YOU HURRY UP! I HAVE A RING THAT'S BURNING A HOLE IN MY POCKET HERE!"

He goes a bit further along the dunes and sits down. I sit beside him, already leaking tears.

He says lots of nice things, and I nod and wipe away tears. He asks a question, I say yes, and we hug. It all feels very surreal. We both stare out to sea, trying to figure out What Just Happened.

On the way back, I want to say, OMG! We just got engaged! to people that are around. Instead, we get in the car. Anika Moa's "In Swings the Tide" is on the stereo, fittingly. We get back to Richard's parents. She cries buckets. It's been a long time coming, and now that it's here, she can finally buy a new hat, and plan for a longed-for grandchild. Richard and I are a little bit uneasy. Rich sits on the couch, looking a bit stunned. I am not quite sure what to do. Eventually, we come up with a solution.

A frosty beer. Works every time.

We relax, and hug, and admire the ring, and call my family and friends. Richard had called my parents the day before to ask permission, so they are not that surprised, but still very happy. My friends scream, and cry, and promise many celebratory drinks when we see them.

We go to bed happy, with 18 days of celebrating ahead of us. It made for the best holiday we've ever had, and it turns out that after The Year of Tears and Awful Times is giving way to So Far, the Best. Year. Ever., with our wedding coming up in August, and a new job (Richard starts mid-February) but best of all, a move back to Tauranga, into our old home, with my beautiful garden and carpeted floors and insulated roof. Who would have thought. Maybe it was what we needed all along.

Happy Days!


15 comments:

CaliValleyGirl said...

Oh yay! I love this story...I totally get the feeling of wanting to tell everyone that you just got engaged. When my man proposed we were on the top of a peak of a local hike...and all the way down, I wanted to wave my left hand into every fellow hiker's face who we encountered...but I didn't...but I sooooo wanted to...lols. Big congrats and I am sooo happy for you guys!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, awh! X gretch

Anonymous said...

Yaaaaaaay!!! So awesome Aims - and beautiful pic of you and Rich. See you tomorrow night xxx

Anonymous said...

Amy! I have met you once - had a rip-roaring day with you at the Kelt races and have, since then, kept up with some of your adventures on Facebook (what would we do without it?!)
This story brought tears to my eyes - beautifully written and a beautiful story! I wish you and Rich all the best.
Margaux. x

Elizabeth said...

Gorgeous Amy!!!

See you Thursday xxx

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Aims, you made me cry!

I think your new jobs needs to involve writing- you are so, so clever.

Lots of Love, Penxox.

Jen on the Edge said...

What a great story!

I am so excited for you both and can't wait to hear about the wedding plans.

Aims said...

Thank you all - it was good to write actually! I have been so busy at work that I'd forgotten the big picture!

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Nancy said...

Congratulations and that's quite a ring! He's a keeper!

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