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In the weeks leading up to the move, everything that could go wrong went wrong.

Well, ok, maybe not EVERYTHING. I suppose Husband could have succumbed to a critical mid-life crisis and left me for a pole-dancing accountant. But strictly speaking, that’s more deviant than ‘wrong’. So I stand by my original statement, as long as I don’t have to defend the position or address any pointed questions about it.

Three weeks ago, we were driving down Opanuku Road when we heard a strange noise coming from the back of the Hilux Surf.

At first we ignored it, because it was virtually indistinguishable from all the other strange noises coming from the general vicinity of the car. However, within a short space of time/distance, an expensive ‘CLONK!’ could be clearly heard – and felt – reverberating joyfully above the cacophony of mechanical acoustics.

After we pulled over, I tramped back up the road in my three inch heels in search of mobile reception. Then we all – my parents, Husband, Jed and I – milled disconsolately around the deceased car until rescued by Flame Haired Titan.

While the Surf flirted with the scrap heap, the parents magnanimously gave up custody of the MR2 during the last week of their holiday. Yet the 2-seat MR2 was not ideal for salvaging packing boxes, nor even transporting two humans equipped with 35kg dog. I was also anxiously conscious that the Surf was scheduled to relocate us and a trailer to South Island in less than 10 days.

Andrew discovered that, by disabling the rear differential, he could operate the Surf in modified four wheel drive. We coaxed the car to a garage; later that day, someone called to inform us that – as suspected – the rear differential was poked; he could replace it with a second hand part for $1000; and he had just got a limousine in for an emergency service so could we collect the Surf because there wasn’t room to store it – oh and he closed in 10 minutes, so before then.

Andrew decided to do the job himself. When he extracted the differential with a lot of swearing, two of the teeth on the cog were completely snaggled, shards of metal in the surrounding oil.

He managed to source a second hand rear differential for $275 on Trademe (when we turned up to collect it, there were about seven Hilux Surfs parked outside this dude’s house; according to his business card, he was a ‘South Auckland Toyota Surf Parts Consultant’).

Then Andrew spent two mornings rolling around under the car covered in grease and oil. I maintained a continuous supply of coffee and occasionally handed him a spanner. There was a tense moment when he removed a section of engine to facilitate the fitting of the 55kg diff, then couldn’t figure out how to get the complex and rather-crucial looking piece back in. With my assistance (I inadvertently hit him with it) he eventually manoeuvred it into place.

That crisis narrowly averted, I received the proof of About Time from my editor, who required a response within a week. For Smart/Casual, this stage of the production process was a soul-sucking, energy-sapping, time-consuming, will-to-live diminishing, hive-scratching, panic-attack inducing suckfest unrivalled in relentless tedium.

Proofing About Time was no different, except for the added frisson of packing crockery between adverbs. Also finalising the moving company, booking the ferry, changing address, cleaning the house, selling items, cancelling accounts, and setting up electricity at the new place. When I called Telecom to request a new landline, there was already a request pending for that address; this took another half a day to sort out.

Three days before we were due to move, the radio reported a fire had broken out 200m from our new house. People evacuated the area, the main power lines between North and South Island were shut down, and helicopters equipped with monsoon buckets were brought in.

For a while, we weren’t sure whether we even had a house to move into.

Comments on: "Monsoon bucket of suck" (10)

  1. MarkJ said:


    (I’ve always wanted to do that) 🙂

  2. Cian said:

    OMG the thoughts of Husband leaving you for a pole-dancing accountant. Can you imagine the embarrassment of that – leaving you for an accountant? That would just be the worst possible thing, well that and your new house falling into the sea, after you have unpacked.

    Actually thinking about it further – a pole-dancing accountant is not as bad. What if he told you it was a plain old boring accountant versus a pole-dancing accountant. How could the plain accountant have more to offer than you? At least the latter would have some talent and I can see most guys being interesting in a talent like that, unless she is wearing frumpy clothing at the same time.

    Doesn’t husband sound like a proper man-man with all that car-fixing stuff – your post is rather full of testosterone! I would be rather proud of him. So there I am reading and I get to the part “With my assistance” and I started laughing thinking what help could you possible have been (apart from the supplier of coffee – which I know if important). Since we haven’t actually met, feel free to throw stuff at me for that unfair remark – of course your assistance would be very welcome and useful. I know I should not be so mean. But then it continued that you hit him with a piece of it – I was thrilled not to have my image of you shattered. So proud of you. Oh and it made me laugh even more. I am sure that our neighbours are not impressed. I am sure that I heard someone scream – Shut up and go to Bed you to%%er.

    Sounds like you have had a rather busy busy couple of weeks. I assume that you are there now??? Anyway wishing you the best in your new Home!

    p.s. I am not what a man-man is…

  3. Cian said:

    It is late here, so ignore the spelling, grammatical and typographical mistakes above. I did proof read it, but I suck at that and see so many mistakes.

  4. Cian said:

    This one is the worst.

    p.s. I am not sure what a man-man is…

  5. Well, you’ve got internet access, so I assume you’re living somewhere. Possibly dossing in an internet cafe. I look forward to the next instalment.

    And I too am rather – stricken with the idea of the pole-dancing accountant. I don’t think I’ve ever met an accountant I’d rate above “homely”, but surely such creatures must exist. Handsome, square-jawed accountants with athletic bodies and rippling pecs. I think I may need to wash out my brain now.

  6. deadlyjelly said:

    MarkJ – I’m so pleased to have facilitated the fulfilling of your lifelong ambition 😀


  7. deadlyjelly said:

    Cian – no, a pole-dancing accountant would be worse, because that would cast aspersions on my pole-dancing abilities.

    I don’t know why you’re concerned about worrying the neighbours; by the sound of things, you have grounds to complain about the screaming.


  8. deadlyjelly said:

    Vet – I used to work for an accountancy firm. I think the creatures you refer to only exist in the mythical land of Fisc. That said, we did meet an extremely attractive accountant aberration the other day. Not sure whether she pole-dances, but she looked pretty limber.


  9. God, now I’m trapped here, catching up on all I was avoiding. I’m not sure this is good for me … all this hilarity and wit in one sitting.

  10. deadlyjelly said:

    Hahaha – terrific to hear from you! I’ve been missing your glorious photography as well. I’ll pay your blog a visit soon. Hey – did you get your puppy?


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