So I’m back at the bottom of the world.
At 7:30 am yesterday morning I walked into a house smelling like death because the refrigerator had stopped working at some point over the time I was gone. I thought I’d done a good job cleaning everything out but I forgot to toss the eggs and there were a few carrots and what was either a cucumber or a zucchini which had pretty much turned into nasty smelling soup in the vegetable bin. And my miso past had swollen up and exploded all over and that didn’t exactly smell nice. And everything in the freezer smelled awful as well. Plus, all of it was covered in mold. I didn’t even know mold could grow on an eggshell, but it can.
So everything in the fridge, including the Brita water pitcher, got tossed out. And I spent a good two hours scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing. Then the repairman came over and took the fridge apart and said it was the motor and rather than spend tons of money to get it fixed we just need to get a new fridge.
It was an amazing return home.
Tom posted on this Facebook page called Whenuapai Families (the ‘wh’ is pronounded ‘ffff’) which is the NZ airforce families page. Everyone on their is always asking for something, or is giving stuff away or selling it for cheap. Tom asked if anyone had a fridge, and VOILA! a new (to us) and free fridge was offered. And the office which handles supporting family members of deployed air force employees is going to have someone drop it off and tow the dead one away. ‘Til then a friend lent me a tiny little bar fridge which is good for holding my milk, eggs, butter and a few veggies. Just got to shop day-by-day ’til the fridge gets here.
I slept really well on the plane for the first time in my entire life so I was pretty well rested yesterday. I attribute my good sleep to a Christmas gift from my brother which is a new-fangled travel pillow called the TRTL.
It velcros around your neck kind of like a scarf and inside is something that supports your head and it’s just really darn comfortable. It’s waaaaay better than those donut pillows. I highly recommend buying one for your travels.
So…my trip. I don’t want to go on about it too much but it was pretty darn good.
My liver needs some recovery time though.
Two of my best friends had babies over the year I’ve been gone and it was so awesome getting to meet them.
That’s me and Bruno hanging out in my friend’s bed watching Below Deck (absolutely addicting reality trash TV, I highly recommend it as well).
We hung out a lot in that bed in the mornings as it was huge and comfy and below freezing temperatures outside which just made me want to do nothing but cuddle with adorably chubby little babies and watch intelligent and stimulating television.
And then there is little Miss Waylynn who is about four months younger than Bruno and not nearly as interactive yet but just so sweet and beautiful….
It was so crazy coming home and seeing that my friends have created new little people. And next year when I go back home they’ll be over a year old and running around all over the place and saying their first words. It makes me a bit sad that I won’t be there to watch them grow but I’m so glad I got to meet them!
The best part of it all was that Grace brought Bruno up to meet my parents one afternoon before we went clothes shopping at the outlet malls. And then on the last evening I was home a bunch of my friends, including Waylynn’s parents, came up to drink some wine and just hang out so my parents got to meet that gorgeous girl as well. Plus, they met her parents who they’d heard a ton about for years but never seen before.
It made me oh so very happy to have my friends hanging out with my parents.
On Christmas Eve day my mom and I took some screwdrivers and headed out to Brushy Creek Park where we destroyed nature by chipping away at the riverbank looking for fossils. And we found a TON. Mostly shells, but shells from the Cretaceous Period which means they’re millions of years old and this makes them cool.
The small cliffs along the river were just full of them. My mom wasn’t sure of the legality of us using screwdrivers (which you actually didn’t REALLY need since those fossils are all over the place but I found it really satisfying to get a whole big chunk of rock to fall away so I used it a bit over-zealously) so any time joggers or wanderers got close we slid the screwdrivers up our sleeve and looked totally normal and innocent standing off the paved path in the shrubbery doing nothing. I kept chipping away at rocks and the sound was echoing quite a bit until my mom, with a laugh in her voice said, “Stop chipping like that, you’re being too obvious! Just wedge the screwdriver in and push up, it’s quieter!”
All in all it was a fun little outing and we did not get arrested which was nice.
I ate sushi a few times and it was delicious. I ate a giant pork rib on New Year’s Eve. It tasted really good but my insides were not happy for a few days.
Back to vegetarianism again.
Driving on the other side of the road again came back to me naturally though I was surprised to discover that Americans, or maybe just Texans, drive a whole lot faster than people do in New Zealand. It actually made me a bit nervous. I felt like people were absolutely streaking past me on the freeway while I was puttering along in my parents’ little Toyota Tacoma. I’m not a slow driver by any means, but man, Texans sure are speedy.
And that poor truck. It survived another month with me without suffering tooooo much damage though the handle on the passenger-side door did snap and the door could no longer be opened from the outside. However, it was freezing cold temperatures for many days in a row so I attribute the breakage to that. Plus, it snapped when my friend was trying to get into the truck so really if it is anyone’s fault, it’s his.
That little gray truck is tough, and has survived for years with minimal maintenance. Despite the fact that when I was using it pre-move, after I sold my car, I wasn’t too gentle with it. Once I side-swiped a concrete pillar in a parking garage which put a small dent into the driver-side door but mainly just scraped away a bunch of paint. So I went to Auto Zone and bought a grey paint marker and tried to color it in but despite what the dude at Auto Zone said, it did NOT match the grey of the truck and it just ended up looking like a child had scribbled on the side of the door which looked a whole lot worse than just having some paint scraped away. But despite it all, that truck stays strong and I’m sure it will still be around next year for my and Tom’s driving pleasure.
I could go on and on about the trip. It really was a great time but I’ve got to go wash the giant spider web in the driveway that used to be the Prius and buy a few things at the grocery store.
It’s a really balmy and beautiful day here and I’ve got a few months of a lovely NZ summer stretched in front of me which makes me happy.
Just wish Tom, that cute little bugger, would hurry up and come home so I can lather him up in sunscreen and take him to the beach with me.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.
Let’s make it a good year.