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Posts tagged ‘henderson’

Canine hypochondria

Jed is generally pretty hardy – not that he has much choice. He is used to being slung down the stairs, getting his ears slammed in the car door and being dropped on his head.

We might redress our rugged approach to dog rearing if Jed himself didn’t regularly head butt trees, slide along gravel on his face, and pass clothes pegs and entire Meccano sets out his rectum.

Recently, Jed has been testing the outer limits of his existence – along with the tensile strength of our nerves. About three days before Christmas, we accompanied our neighbours Big Al and Action Man, their daughter, Luscious, and their dog, Smurfy, to Bethell’s Beach. Jed loves the sea, to the extent that he will insist on swallowing gallons of the stuff. His digestive system is evidently an industrial machine, capable of processing a vast range of objects (see above). However, it appears to simply collect seawater, compress it, then fire it explosively out his arse.

After two hours tearing up and down the beach, Jed had an impressive case of projectile diarrhoea. This being pretty standard, we took him back to the creek and encouraged him to drink more freshwater.

Halfway home, he boked all over the car. We were thankful he wasn’t standing between us in the two front seats. On the other hand, we wouldn’t have minded had he adopted his favourite position with his head out the back window.

We pulled over to bail out the boot, which was awash with water, driftwood, seaweed, sand and small crustaceans

Thankfully Jed suffered no further ill effects from the drink, but the following day he was out biking with Husband and grazed the pad on his paw. Andrew called from the beginning of the Sharpe Track, and I embarked on an emergency rescue mission – i.e. I drove down the road and picked them up. Jed’s paw was fine after we sprayed some antibiotic on it.

But all this was just prelude to the real Eddie the Eagle stuntage. On Christmas Day, in order to embrace the traditions of our adoptive land, we decided to follow the rest of the country to the beach.

Jed usually mounts the Hilux Surf via the back door. Since the back seats have been up since my parents arrived, Jed now leaps into his diminished boot space via the tailgate. We give him a good run-up to the car, putting him in a sit/stay a few metres away, then cheering him into the boot.

Perhaps he got carried away by the crowd fervour, because this time he took off from about two metres away.

His front paws hit the target, but he wrapped his hind quarters around the tailgate, giving himself an atomic wedgie. The men gave a collective wince. As Jed’s front paws slid off the tailgate, the look of bewilderment in his eyes clearly said, “I had no concept life could be this cruel”.

We didn’t realise he had hurt himself until we arrived at the beach, when we found he had weed blood all over the boot.

You will be glad to hear that he was just badly bruised; bloody wee is apparently a common response to a bang in the balls (I wouldn’t know; I read it somewhere). Jed’s little dickie is now back to normal.

I wish I could say the same about our car boot, but despite detaching the carpeting and water-blasting, Vanishing and extensively airing it, it still gives off an aroma that is less than fresh.

Then on New Year’s Day, we had to bring Jed to the out of hours vet clinic for an emergency operation.

Stunt Double Ball

I was halfway down the road with dog and walking boots in the car, when I realized we had forgotten something. By ‘we’, I don’t usually hold Jed accountable for household items. However, in this instance I am referring to Ball, which is primarily Jed’s responsibility.

Ball’s habitual residence is clamped in Jed’s jaws. Where Jed goes, Ball precedes him by the skin of his teeth – except when Jed is applying his gob to Other Business – in order of priority and often chronology: eating, licking his balls, nibbling his butt, and slurping on Husband’s face.

Since I was going to Westcity Henderson before taking Jed for a walk, I procured a stunt-double: a tennis ball for $1.67.

Stunt-Double Ball is now Jed’s favourite new toy.

His favourite application of his favourite new toy – apart from immersing it in mud, but really you could say that about anything – is nudging it with his nose, then pouncing on it before it escapes beneath the sofa.

Unfortunately, he needs some more practice at this; equally unfortunately, the gap beneath the sofa is about half a millimeter taller than the diameter of a tennis ball, which in a near perfect confluence of misfortunes, is not conducive to retrieval of Stunt-Double Ball. Not that Jed doesn’t try; and I can’t tell you how entertaining it is when he jams his head under the sofa, tail sweeping wildly, and scrabbles away on the floor with all paws.

So amongst my numerous duties around the house, I am also apparently in charge of extracting Stunt-Double Ball. Otherwise, Jed mopes and/or sulks.

Me: Hey, Puppy DUPPY! Where’s Stunt-Double Ball?

Jed: <Casting doleful eyes towards the sofa. Launches vicious yet heartbreakingly futile attack on sofa>

Me: Is it under there, HMM? Have you lost your Stunt-Double Ball under the sofa? Let’s have a look, shall we? <stretching flat out on the floor>

Me: Oh, there it is. THERE it is. Right – at – the – back. How did you manage that Fluppy Puppy? <getting to feet> I’m going to need some sort of . . . long . . . thing to handle this.

Me: <walking to kitchen> Now, Jedster, pay attention. HERE is where my species is superior to yours. Not to be mean – and I’m not talking about opposable thumbs – although I suppose that’s ANOTHER area wherein my species is superior to yours. But specifically, I am referring to-

Me: <brandishes fly-swat at dog> TOOLS!

Jed: <trots expectantly after me as I return to the sofa>

Me: <adopting prostrate position on floor again> You see? I take my fly-swat – or Ultimate Extraction Device – and . . .

Jed: <jumps on my head>

Me: <muffled> Ok, you’ve made your point.

Dairy free

This afternoon I cycled into Henderson to pick up a litre of milk for Husband. I was motivated by love, devotion – and guilt (I forgot to buy milk during the weekly shop).

It was only when I arrived in Henderson/Misty Valley that I realised I had left my wallet behind.

To put this in perspective: I had just cycled 8km, my knickers had disappeared up my arse, I was splattered with sweaty mud, and I had an acute case of Helmet Head. Had I been driving, I would probably have returned home to collect my wallet; or – more likely – rummaged around the ashtray, delved into the seat joins, and turned out the glovebox until I scraped together $3 worth of 5c pieces.

However, there was no way I was about to CYCLE home and back again. I just don’t love Husband that much. Is this wrong? It might  have been his birthday, but it was hardly as if a litre of milk was his present. He got a Playstation III and a pair of spiffy sunglasses. All things considered, I felt that cycling into Henderson ONCE was an operatic response to the call of duty.

In the superette (similar to a newsagent store) at Parrs Cross Road, I explained the situation to the shop assistant. Perhaps I overdid the forehead slapping, because she refused to consider gifting or loaning me a litre of milk, or opening a credit account, because she only worked there and all the above were against store policy.

Since there were no cows in the vicinity, I decided to try the second dairy on Henderson Valley Road.

By this stage, I was completely mortified. What, you thought that emotion didn’t feature in my range? Not at all; I’m Irish, so have an innate patriotic ability for mortification especially of the flesh.

However, I focussed on the journey home: 8km of it involving 400ft climb, and the joy and hope dying in Husband’s eyes as he slowly realises I have returned empty handed and dairy free. I was therefore compelled to enter the other superette.

This time, I had my story better prepared. I didn’t go into details about the sweaty mud, because that was largely self-evident. But I told the store manager about my great journey; how it was Husband’s birthday and he couldn’t have his muesli that morning and had to drink black coffee; how terrible that made me feel; how – if they only found it in their hearts to donate a litre of milk – I would return on Wednesday to pay and thereafter shop at their store with a fierce loyalty and regularity until I died.

God, I love New Zealand. As I cycled home, litre of milk digging comfortingly into the small of my back, I only regretted not scoring a refreshing bottle of sportaid as well


Husband and I cycled into Henderson today. At the junction where Candia Road intersects Henderson Valley Road, there was an army of police.

I have a long and varied history with The Fuzz. Ever since they fingered me as a teenager for cycling the wrong way up a one-way street in Limerick with no lights on, they have given me involuntary palpitations.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression; I am not (that much of) a criminal. I’m far too middle class for anything other than white collar crime, which I don’t have the job for; or master jewellery heists, for which I don’t have the guile or cunning.

We were not detained/apprehended/interrogated/cavity searched/force-fed doughnuts on the way into town. I guess there’s a limit to how much damage one can wreak while drunk in charge of a bicycle – not that we were. Also, it was evident there was little to no contraband or dead bodies concealed in my basket – not that there was.

On the way back, one of the policemen held up a hand and said, “Excuse me, madam. Your tyres are bald.”

What I would have said, had I not an ingrained terror of men who fondle truncheons – not to mention equipped with a quicker wit – would have been: “Not as bald as your momma, Porkie.”

What I did say, or more accurately squeak, was: “My tyres are terrifigreat!”.

I would have stopped to demonstrate the tread depth, except that I was pedalling too hard

Lower limb equivalent of a coma

Because Friday was gorgeous, I took the bike to Fairy Falls. Cycling down Turanga Road is always fun; then I cut across a section of bush to Mountain Road.

In the 500m from the bottom of Mountain Road to the Fairy Falls carpark, I figured out why it is called Mountain Road. I’d never noticed the gradient in the car. I’m pretty sure I broke the law of gravity several times.

After my walk, I wasn’t sure the brakes on my bike could handle the descent, so decided it was safer to carry on up Mountain Road. Over the course of the next six kilometers, I blatantly disregarded several biological laws as well as flouting more laws of physics. By the time I reached Scenic Drive, I was exploding sweat and could only wheeze. I still can’t feel my legs. They are in the lower limb equivalent of a coma.

Fairy Falls

Yesterday, New Zealand experienced ‘the worst storm in 10 years’. Newspapers issued dire warnings of power cuts and rogue winds. After battening down the house and storing outdoor furniture, I repaired to the In-Laws. As I drove to Mt Wellie, the traffic lights in Henderson pegged out.

The electricity is still down at the house, but that’s hardly anomalous Captain. We normally lose internet connectivity and/or power if the wind goes above breeze level

Auckland on better days, for example Friday

Kung Fu Panda

Our hero is Po, a panda who lives, breathes and eats kung-fu. Well, he doesn’t eat it, but he devours pretty much everything else in his path.

In addition to food, Po dreams of becoming the Dragon Warrior. Due to being in the right place at the right time, Po wins the coveted appointment. For most of the film it appears to be a nominal position, but when Tai Lung escapes from prison, Po has to defeat him.

I hope I’m not issuing a major spoiler here by revealing that Po does indeed defeat the evil Tai Lung, largely by virtue of his ability to absorb fatal body blows with his body fat.

Then Po’s father turns out to be a goose. Actually, this is revealed right at the start, but had it comprised the denouement, it would have made for a better film. The writers rather squandered that plot twist.

Number of problems. First, this is a chow socky movie, yet not one of the characters – not even once – said ‘ha so, glasshoppa’. Second, nobody dies honourably. Not only that, nobody even dies dishonourably. Granted, this is a children’s movie and it is difficult to kill off cartoon characters due to their elasticity and the problems inherent in realistically rendering blood/gore/brain matter. All I’m saying is that maybe kung fu was not the ideal subject matter for this movie.

Here’s another issue: I still can’t figure out what the moral/message is. At this stage, good triumphing over evil is more an established principle than a message per se. Since it is a children’s movie (see above), there’s evidently a message somewhere. The only thing I came away with was: if you eat lots of cookies, you can do kung fu. Which doesn’t seem to be a particularly healthy message.

Whereas it is encouraging that popular media is championing a rotund hero instead of jamming size 00 models down our throats, did Po have to be quite so FAT? I mean, we’re not talking about a vaguely cuddly panda here. Po qualifies as clinically obese. You could hear his animated arteries groaning over the soundtrack.

It seems likely that Kung Fu Panda is trying to expound belief in one’s dreams and the subsequent realisation thereof. In other words, a standard variation on the mantra of an over-privileged society blblablah. Assuming this to be the case and just for a change, I for one would applaud a protagonist striving to attain a realistic goal. For example, in Po’s case, eating 500 wantons in under a minute, or being able to see his hind paws one day.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should reveal that The Bro felt the movie depended too much on pratfalls.

On the plus side the film, heavily influenced by classical Chinese art, is quite gorgeous to look at. The action scenes were beautifully choreographed and awesome to watch. If you’re interested, it is worth checking out the official movie website, which includes trailers and clips from the movie

Husband shaped hole in the universe

Husband left me on Friday.

Sorry to be so megalodramatic. It’s just a three week business trip to Dubai, but I am surprised how aimless I feel. I got a bit soggy at the airport. If the floor hadn’t been dirty, I would have thrown my arms about Husband’s legs and begged him to stay.

If this all sounds pathetically codependent – hey, I’m not about to argue. In my defence, Husband and I have lived and worked together every day for the last six months. He comes grocery shopping with me and entices me into Mitre 10. Joint decisions include whether to put on another jumper. We schedule summit meetings on what to cook for dinner. So is it surprising that my universe features a great, big, silent Husband-shaped hole? Or that I’m a bit chilly?

I haven’t yet resorted to sniffing his clothes, but I have a fleece top on emergency standby. It harbours three weeks of Husband’s skin cells.

(On second thought I might put that in the wash.)

The only way I can fully express myself is via the medium of dance, which is what I did at Fairy Falls yesterday. I think this covers how I feel about my husband, whilst also conveying my longing, anguish and despair:-

Happy birthday to me

Husband claimed that, due to the time difference, my birthday didn’t start until 11:00am yesterday, but he gave me my presents anyway. He took me shopping on Monday and I chose the new book by Marian Keyes and ‘On Chesil Beach’ by Ian Mcewan. In honour of my great and ancient age, I also picked out a knitting book, some needles and balls of wool. These gifts came with a signed guarantee that Husband would wear anything I produced. Foolishly, he failed to insert a subclause that they had the requisite number of holes and were within striking distance of two sizes.

If you are looking for a husband, do try and choose one who gets anxious that you don’t have enough presents. In fact, Husband was so concerned about the scarcity of giftage – despite my protesting that he’d got me more than enough of just what I wanted – he drove into town the day before to bolster the birthday offering with two DVDs, and a bottle holder and mudguards for my bicycle.

After the gift ceremony, the sun came out. Husband affixed my bottle holder and front mudguard and we went cycling. I’ve never been concerned about the skidmarks administered by the back tyre, but the mud and small twigs splatting onto my glasses was always distracting – especially when trying to negotiate a bank or predatory bush. The new front mudguard effectively abbreviated the mud, and is high enough that trees don’t get stuck in it (that much).

We returned home to find my bridesmaid dress in the post from Róis. Over the last week, she has engaged in some alarmingly un-Róisín-like pre-wedding stress over whether she should get my dress in size 10 or 12. The outlet’s size guide on the Net indicated that size 10 was perfect around the bust and hips, but no matter how much I sucked or how tight I pulled, my waist resolutely refused to conform to 68cm. Róis and I had several emergency phone calls about the issue, and eventually I instructed her to get the size 12 on the grudging hypothesis that it could be taken in if necessary. Róis evidently knew I was conflicted about it, because she got the size 10 – and it fits. Perfectly. Well, it had to on my birthday, didn’t it? Lucky it arrived when it did.

My second family all called and the Outlaws in South Island Skyped and sang me Happy Birthday with party hats on. I was so touched I would have cried except I was laughing too hard.

Later that evening, Husband and I went for dinner at The Hangar. We cooked our food on stone slabs heated to 400˚ and didn’t singe ourselves once. Then Husband took me to see The Incredible Hulk (I would like to hastily point out that it was at my request; Husband is not that romantic on his own initiative). It wasn’t the best movie ever but it was fun.

Turning 36 was pretty cool

Balls the Subway franchise can be proud of

Although we signed the rental papers in early February, until recently we were still living with The Outlaws. The female component of our landlords, Ingrid, was sympathetic to our request to paint the house, so we intended to do so while waiting for our shipment.

At this stage, I was having second thoughts about the whole painting proposal. The yellow and pink had grown on me – admittedly, in similar manner to mould or fungus – but I had adjusted to the colour scheme. However, Husband was adamant.

“I’m not living in a yellow and pink house,” he announced.

“But Husband, we’re only renting; we have no idea how long we’ll live there. And have you any idea what paint costs? Well no, me neither; but we should probably look into it. And it’s a huge job – how long will it take?”

“Eh, few days. Hey! – do you think we should get a spray gun?”

Ingrid donated NZ$ 750 towards paint, which eliminated one argument. The Bro and the dog came to help the first day of painting. Kayla was of limited assistance – in fact, six weeks later we’re still picking dog hair out of the paint. The Bro was impressed with the laundry chute extending from the top of the house to the washing machine in the garage.

“There’s an access door on the floor below as well,” I said.

“Hey – is Husband in the garage?” The Bro stuck his head in the chute opening and breathed: “I’m watching you!”, accompanied by several variations of evil laugh.

It was pretty funny – but not half as much as when his retro Top Gun style limited edition Ray Bans flew off his head and straight down the chute.

For the rest of the day, The Bro rollered the ceilings. When he wasn’t splattering the carpet, he dripped paint in his eyes:

“Ow! Dammit!”

“If you did it properly, there wouldn’t be drips,” I said; then, after a pause: “Did you just roll your eyes at me?”


“Not much wrong with them then, is there? . . . See? Perfect working condition.”

At the time I was on crutches – oh, the crutches? Right, yes. I pulled a calf muscle playing squash with The Bro. My mother had warned me about him:- “Niamh, that boy is too young for you!” and I could hear her mouth pursing down the phone.

“Mum, I’m playing squash with him, not DATING him,” I said. “And by the way, you do know I’m married to his BROTHER?”

“You know what I mean,” she said darkly. “He’s half your age-“

“He’s 26!”

“I thought he was 17?”


“Still. He’ll run the arse off you. It’ll come to no good.”

I think she put a maternal hex on me, because the next time I played The Bro I pulled a muscle one game in. It was severe enough to make me think, “Oh, shite” at full mental volume – when I wasn’t thinking: “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! OW! OW! OW! DID I SAY OOOOOWWWWW!”

The Bro felt sufficiently guilty to get me an ice pack and compression bandage, and lectured me at length about RICE and how my leg wasn’t above my head in that position and how talking was liable to impair recovery. Unfortunately, he didn’t feel guilty enough to provide on-call margharita.

Three days later I still couldn’t put weight on my left leg, and was getting by with a grunt-powered hop. This was fine for short distances eg from the sofa to the TV or the living room to the fridge. However, it was impossible to perform an effective headless chicken routine on one leg. I leased a pair of crutches for a week since Husband was completely unsupportive.

“Come on – what’s keeping you?” he’d say, five paces ahead.


“Oh, yes. Can’t you go any faster?”

“Why don’t you come over here and I’ll show you another use for a crutch.”

So, that’s how I came to be crippled. As lunchtime approached, I was sent to hunt and gather for The Painting Men. Spotting a Subway outlet halfway to Henderson, I figured that would take care of half the lunch menu. I ordered Husband a 6” Meatball Marinara Sub.

“Excuse me,” I said as the attendant put away his ladle. “Would you mind adding another meatball?”

“That will cost $1.50.”

“You what? For one ball?”

“If you want more meatballs, there’s an additional charge.”

“I see. Let me make sure I understand: the number of meatballs per 6” Meatball Sub is four, is it?”

“Er, I suppose so.”

“Not three meatballs?”

“Um, no.”

“Not five meatballs?”

“No,” he said, more confident now he was on firmer ground. “If you want more meatballs, there is an additional charge-”

“Yes, I got it. Ok, I won’t take the additional meatballs, but can you remove those two half meatballs and replace them with big balls please?”


“Well, if I understand you correctly, a 6” Meatball Sub should feature 4 meatballs. Presently there are two full meatballs and two half balls, which adds up to three meatballs. I want my fourth meatball.”


“Please remove those tragically pathetic excuses for meatballs, and show me balls the Subway franchise can be proud of.”

It’s been a while since I patronised Subway, and I can’t say I was impressed with the service – or the produce.

“You know, I’m not sure those can technically be called ‘meatballs’,” I said, as the attendant slapped another meatball in the sandwich (at least he couldn’t spit in it since I was watching). “Really, they’re better described as large pieces of mince. Does Subway have a complaints procedure?”

Afterwards, I spent three hours driving around Henderson trying to hunt down some booze. When I first arrived, I was under the impression you could buy alcohol everywhere here: grocery shops, doctor’s waiting rooms, school canteens, the local AA centre. Free bottle of wine with every packet of peanuts purchased! Beer vending machines on every street corner!

Apparently, not so much. Eventually, I stumbled across King Dick’s Liquor up a shady alley. After all that effort – and time – The Men were disgusted when I arrived back with a six-pack of Steinlager Light. The Bro threatened to go on strike. It took all my diplomatic skill, three lowfat turkey Subs and half my sushi to persuade him to stay

The bare necessities: kettle and wireless modem

Husband is still putting in a full working day and more for ADT and has only four hours free from 12pm-4pm. It took 40 minutes to drive to Turanga Road from The Outlaws’, which left about two and a half hours for working on the house.

We weren’t getting anywhere so, after accepting delivery of a newly purchased sofa bed, we moved in. Our seats are paint cans, and we have a box as a table. At least we have the bare necessities (these being a kettle and wireless modem, in case you were wondering).

Husband tries to talk up the experience: “Hey Niamhie, isn’t this a bit like camping? Don’t you find it exciting having to improvise? Isn’t it like a big adventure?” And I’m all: “Oh, just fuck off.”

Mind you, there was a sense of achievement when I put together a five course Valentine’s dinner with a saucepan and plastic knife (in this instance, coffee and an After Eight = two separate courses – but hey! Cut me a break)

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