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l'enfer du North Island

  different values of must Friday, 29 January 2010 link

So. As briefly alluded to, we've moved house. It was a long, stressful process, but it now seems to be all over except the shouting. So how well did it all go?

As these things go, fairly smoothly. There were the expected hiccups. I got a bit too involved in the packing, and forgot to leave some basic cutlery out until the last minute (always have at least one fork). The forecast was for rain. And on the morning of the move, we got a call saying they'd be delayed two hours. That's not going to be a problem, is it?

As it turned out, it wasn't. At 10:45, we got a call that they'd be there at 11 after all. So when they arrived I was still cleaning the fridge. The movers had a quick look around, and then merrily hove to with the moving. Nice blokes, even if one of them was wearing a home detention electronic tag. This was followed at 11:30 by a phone call notifying us that the sale of our house had gone through and that we were thus officially homeless. Excellent. From our chat with the estate agent the night before, we knew that the new owners weren't moving in until the next day, so that wouldn't be a problem.

Except that twenty minutes later, a fully-loaded station wagon pulled down the drive. As it came, I distinctly saw the passenger doing a double-take at the moving truck in the driveway, and lipread what I can only tactfully describe as mild obscenity. I popped out and had a polite chat. To their credit, they were extremely nice about the whole thing. It turned out that they were actually both keen cyclists, and the bloke was heavily tattooed, so with a bit of luck the neighbours might not even notice the change. I finally convinced them to leave by giving them a set of shelves, and we got on with the move.

Around 1:30pm we got confirmation that we own the new place. Handily, this came just as they were closing the doors on the moving truck. So we popped into J'ville and picked up the keys. My word, the security precautions these places take. None whatsover, as it turns out. We went in, asked the receptionist for the keys, and she gave them to us.

The rest of it went pretty smoothly. The movers seemed quite surprised that we'd actually labelled the boxes of stuff, so they could tell where stuff went by simply reading the labels. From their reactions, this is less common than I would expect. Anyway, thanks to my obsessive packing and labelling - together with a remarkably unWellingtonian ease of access at both ends - the move was over by quarter past four. Thank god. We even had time to do a bit of unpacking so the girls' beds were in order before they arrived home.

In the days since, we've mainly been frantically unpacking. To be honest, it's more or less done. We need to spend a bit of time going through the shed, and sorting out a filing cabinet, but that's about it. Result. Here's to not having to bloody well do it again for another few years.

And we now own our own bush section, full of precipitous drops and slippery steps. And a stream.

In other news, Australia's censorship debate once again wanders into batshit insane territory. This time, the censors are demanding bigger breasts in porn. Well, they're treating all porn where the actresses have A-cup breasts as potentially pedophilic. I think this is evidence that some conservative politicians in Australia are seeing patterns that no-one else is; and quite why they're seeing those patterns is left as an exercise for the reader.

  yes Monday, 25 January 2010 link

We survived the move.

We are now firmly ensconced in Johnsonville. The pretentious may weep for us. I stand on my back lawn, look out at the bush slope, hear the stream gurgling at the bottom of the garden, and breathe out.

  insert standard 80s hair metal reference Sunday, 17 January 2010 link

It's Sunday. We move house on Wednesday. You can draw your own conclusions about what we've been up to recently. I've become mildly obsessed with packing; I am, increasingly, made nervous by the simple presence of Stuff That Is Not In A Box Yet. I've been careful to pack stuff in increasing frequency of use. Now the only things left are our minimum set of clothes, food, and cooking implements. But soon I can scratch my itch: with three days to go, I can start merrily boxing up plates, mugs, tins of tomatoes and sacks of rice. Soon, all bets are off, and then I can get some serious work done. The problem is, we started early (during Christmas) so as not to have a huge bolus of packing right at the last minute. But there's some stuff that you simply can't pack until the last minute, and starting early has just drawn this out and stretched the stress and strain until I'm sitting here unable to look around the living room without automatically measuring each item by eye and deciding the type of box required and what I can pad it out with. By 11am Wednesday everything will be packed, and that will be good. And then we get to the new house, and have the immense fun of unpacking all the blasted stuff and deciding where to stick it.

I checked on a map today. As far as I can figure it, we're actually moving 1.8km as the crow flies (that's 1.1 miles for our friends still in old money). There's a rather large hill in the way, which means that the shortest practical distance is more like 3k, but that's the situation on a map.

In the meantime: anyone got any suggestions for keeping a curious two-year old out of half-packed boxes?

  live-action tetris Monday, 11 January 2010 link

A few months ago I made the observation that you never know how much stuff you've got until you have to hide it. As part of the process of selling a house, you do what the estate agents refer to as "depersonalisation" - hiding your own posessions to make the house look more generic, so prospective buyers can imagine themselves in there. You move your stuff to cupboards, you take down your kids' pictures from the fridge, you try to make the place look as tidy and large as possible. But it's still your home: your furniture is in place, your bed is there, your kids' toys are still in their room.

In preparation for our imminent move, we've been packing everything. This isn't depersonalisation, this is deportation. If you can pick it up, into a box it goes. I started over Christmas, and we're most of the way there. By now we're about down to the stage of having packed pretty much everything that we don't use day to day, plus a few things that we do ("Hey, didn't we have oven trays?"). I spent a couple of hours over the weekend taking pictures and mirrors down. Then I went through and carefully pulled the picture hooks off the walls. As I pulled the hooks out, they left small holes from the nails. Occasionally there were rust spots where the hook had touched the wall, or bits of paint knocked off from the wall as pictures had been bumped.

And now the house looks much emptier. It echoes more. Just taking down all the pictures has profoundly affected how the place feels. Before, it was our house, but with a lot of our stuff sitting in boxes the garage: now it's a house that we haven't quite moved all our stuff out of. The replacement of a few paintings with blank expanses of wall, some tiny holes, some rust marks: removing our pictures has somehow removed us from the picture.

In a week and a half we'll be gone. Soon we'll only be scratches and holes.

  intermittant summer Wednesday, 6 January 2010 link

Happy new year to all.

Resolution this year: survive.

I spent the Christmas holidays wavering between packing and administering medical treatment, not least to myself. A variety of virii and bacterial illnesses beset most of the family. I was, understandably, a total wuss about it all. So: not exactly a relaxing getaway, but a change was as good as a rest.

The other day, riding home up the Ngauranga Gorge, I came across a group of skinks basking on the sun-warmed concrete footpath. As I got about two metres away, they leapt up and darted off into the vegetation. This gave a beautiful "bow wave" effect, as the panic about my arrival propagated through the group.

I've found something about walking at night. I've recently acquired a few hoodies. When I'm walking around, listening to stuff on my iPod, I've found that having the hood up helps muffle external noise, so making it easier to hear the iPod. But I've noticed that at night, when I'm wearing the hood up, people avoid eye contact and stride confidently past. I keep wanting to stop them and say, "Hey, I'm actually listening to National Radio." But I can't, because that would be creepy. Humanity, eh?

Tonight, as Heather and I were about to start singing her lullaby, Maggie tried to count us in. "1, 2, 3, 4..." - she's got music in her blood.

Two weeks today until we move. I'd estimate we're about 50% packed. 14 more days to eat an entire pantry's worth of tinned goods. It's going to be fun on the run in to the final day.

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unspoilt by progress

calm, peaceful, sweary

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