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Posts tagged ‘mountain road’

Blobs of flobber

Two years ago, when Husband and I first saw Turanga Road listed on Trademe, we knew without even seeing the house it was where we wanted to live.

I sincerely hope I come across as enthusiastic rather than calculating when I say we treated the application process much like an interview. We launched a full-scale charm jihad against our potential landlords.

At least: we turned up on time; fully clothed (which we considered a basic pre-requisite but apparently NOT NECESSARILY); we were fragrantly aromatic with base notes of fresh skin cells and top notes of soap. I wore a pair of walking boots to visually support my claim that I was a robust, rugged, outdoor type, ready to machete a blazing trail through the bush at the slightest provocation.

We didn’t massage the truth, so much as shine a rose tinted, warm fuzzy light on it – but even had we lied, we would at least have MADE THE EFFORT to come up with compelling, vaguely plausible lies.

While we were viewing the house, The Competition turned up. Grimly, I considered sneaking out and telling them they had the wrong place, or pretending to be a neighbour and smashing in their windscreen with a dead possum.

But when I saw them, I realised these measures were unnecessary. The man looked like someone had conducted chemical experiments on his head; the exploding tufts of facial hair would most accurately be described as ‘green’. His partner was so obese she could not get out of the car. Great blobs of flobber blotted up against the windscreen. (The real mystery was how she got in there in the first place – there must have been heavy machinery involved.)

Two years ago, I thought that couple was an aberration.

Not any more.

True love: definition

I love my landlords. I mean it: I love them. So many things about them: the way they say my name, how they know what I’m thinking without having to speak, the way they run laughing through cornfields with sunlight playing on their hair. You might say Darren and Ingrid COMPLETE ME on a real estate level.

But seriously, it’s just about impossible not to love a man with the names of his children tattooed down his legs, or a woman whose sense of fairness is so highly developed she gave me a gift voucher to cover any gas that might have leaked. Go on, give it a go: try hating them – or start smaller; try simply being indifferent to them.



However, when I offered to list and show the house to prospective tenants, I was unaware how MUCH I love Darren and Ingrid. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t go to that much trouble for Husband, who I indeed love, a lot.

But I suppose there’s only one of him, and two of them.

Within two minutes of listing the house, I got the first enquiry. Then, for the next two days I walked around with a telephone clamped to my ear, getting used to conversations like this:-

Enquirer: Hello?

Me: Hi.

Enquirer: Yes, I’m calling about the house. On Trademe. The pictures look GORGEOUS-

Me: Well, it’s lovely at the moment, but not so much in winter. I won’t lie to you: it’s DANK. You need at least two dehumidifiers going full time. Sometimes it rains for an ENTIRE WEEK straight-

Enquirer: Have many people called about it?

Me: Yes, loads.

Enquirer: I’ve always wanted to live in the bush.

Me: But, you know, there are limitations living in a place like this. The house is pretty high maintenance. You have to clean the water filter on the tank once a month, and if you take runoff from the roof, you have to clear dead possums and shoes out of the gutters-

Enquirer: That’s no problem, I used to be a plasterer.

Me: Um. Ok. So, what do you do now?

Enquirer: Oh, we- me and my wife- work in the city-

Me: You realise this place is pretty isolated? It’s four kilometres up a dead end road and the last bit is gravel. If you’re commuting, the entry point to the motorway is snarled up from about seven in the morning-

Enquirer: We’re used to commuting. We live on Queen Street, takes us at least QUARTER OF AN HOUR to drive to work.

Me: Can you believe it? So, would it just be you and your wife?

Enquirer: Oh no, we have five kids, my parents, a dog, four cats, a kitten and a hyena.

Me: Really, I’m not sure this house is for you. It was designed and built for a couple. There’s only two bedrooms and no garden-

Enquirer: No, no, it looks PERFECT. When can I see it?

Me: I suppose that depends on how long it will take you to travel from your distant planet.

Destiny’s grand design

We woke up to blazing sunshine yesterday, so decided to venture out to Riverhead with the mountain bikes.

“It’s going to rain, though,” predicted Andrew gloomily.

I ignored him, because:

a) Husband is a pessimist who often asserts things with no basis in reality or the NZ Met service; and
b) we’ve been together nearly 12 years (look, it would be virtually IMPOSSIBLE to pay attention to EVERYTHING that comes out of the man’s mouth) (although barf always gets my attention)

While I organised coffee to go, snacks, finances and dog balls, Andrew loaded the bikes on the back of the car.

As we trundled down the drive, tiny pricks of rain settled almost imperceptibly on the windscreen. Along Mountain Road it started drizzling in earnest, intensifying to rain with a definite spatter effect up Candia Road. By the time we reached Swanson, it looked like a blizzard outside.

We pulled up outside The Station Café and made a dash for it across the carpark; me with a couple of old magazines clamped to my head, Andrew using the dog to shield himself from the driving rain. Sitting miserably moist and lightly steaming over a couple of coffees, we agreed there was no point biking.

Driving home, the rain eased up, the sun sullenly emerged from behind the bank of clouds and, by the time we pulled into our drive, the elements were entirely agreeable. So we could have gone biking after all.

Evidently, the cosmos had other plans for Husband and me.

These plans being investigating the leaking differential on the Hilux, and lying on the sofa reading respectively.

Depressing that destiny’s plans for us are so pedestrian.


In the litany of injury, Jed’s cracked dew claw went nearly unnoticed.

A couple of weeks ago, Jed and I were walking the Pipeline Track off Mountain Road. Jed skidded after his tennis ball and somersaulted into a rock, finishing up with a yelp. He appeared to limp a couple of paces, so I checked his foot.

There was no damage to the pad; when I palpated his paw, he just licked my face; so I investigated between his toes where he likes to store burrs even though they irritate the sensitive skin. There was no evidence of injury. Whatever the problem was, it didn’t stop Jed firing himself down the track after his ball, or impede his lifelong mission to nibble every blade of grass ON THE PLANET.

Afterwards, I was towelling mud off him and he flinched when I rubbed his foreleg. Looking closer, I saw his dew claw had splintered. Apart from slurping at it every now and then, it didn’t seem to bother him much, so I wasn’t concerned. Husband suggested taping up the claw; perhaps we should have done. But I just figured it would, um, grow out.

On New Year’s Day, we were woken by a high-pitched whine. Jed was obviously distressed; he paced around the bedroom, flung himself on the floor, rose again immediately, whined at the door. It was so long after the dew claw incident it never occurred to us that was the problem – until I noticed it sticking out at right angles. Although the claw was still attached, it was sheared right back to the bone; he must have caught it on something (maybe his teeth).

This is the dog who, after leaping off a six foot high sandbank and landing on his head, barely broke stride in his mission to retrieve his tennis ball. However, this time Jed was in a great deal of pain. He couldn’t get comfortable. A couple of times he attempted to lick his dew claw, but it was too tender. He yelped every time an air molecule brushed up against it. We tried to make him sit to assess the damage, but he retreated under the dining room table and refused to come out.

I have no problem with pain and can take it in my stride – so long as it’s not mine. My POINT is, I don’t get precious about my dog barfing, cutting himself, or peeing blood; but I felt sick at the sight of the gruesome angle of Jed’s claw and his obvious distress.

Husband was all for lopping the claw with our cheap, crappy, largely broken pair of dog clippers. In his defence, this is the same man who punched a hole through his lower lip with his tooth and wanted to put a couple of stitches in. Himself. I had to flush the sewing kit down the loo to deter him. If Andrew’s arm fell off, he would no doubt attempt to staple it back on if the hospital was more than 5 minutes drive away. Also assuming he could find the stapler – or fish it out of the U-bend.

All I’m saying is: Husband would not visit any sadism on his dog that he wouldn’t turn on himself and call masochism.

While The Butcher of Waitakere was distracted trying to locate the dog clippers, I called various local vet clinics. I wasn’t expecting much joy, since the entire country was closed from 1-5 January. However, one of the automatic voicemail systems supplied the telephone number of an out of hours clinic at 348 Rosebank Road (09-8207273).

“Well, a broken dew claw is not really considered an emergency,” said the nurse on the phone. “But it is incredibly painful for the animal. The emergency consultation fee is $125.”

“Hey, this website says the vet just rips it out with a pair of pliers,” said Andrew. “I have a pair of pliers downst-”

“No!” I said, grittily.

Of course Husband was just as concerned about his dog as I. In fact, the Swanson clinic was open the following morning, but Andrew opted to bring Jed to the out of hours clinic. But I have a feeling The Butcher of Waitakere is going to stick – at least if I have anything to do with it.

The vet advised putting Jed under general anaesthetic. He said a local involved an injection right by the claw which would be too painful – although I think he was referring to the possibility of Jed chomping on him.

“Did the vet give you an estimate?” asked the nurse. I was so anxious about our puppy I barely even heard the DONG! When I replied in the negative, she scrawled ‘No estimate provided’ across the consent form; evidently, I wouldn’t have noticed even had she beaten me savagely with the warning bell’s clapper.

When we returned to collect him two hours later, despite being groggy, Jed dragged me into the waiting room. I knew he was ok when we thought we might have to ask the vet to surgically remove Jed’s nose from a border collie’s butt.


That was the total of the itemised bill including five different types of drug: sedatives, anaesthetic and painkillers.

But even though I feel totally suckered, whenever I see Jed bounding after a tennis ball I can’t help feeling it was worth it.

I know, I know.

I AM a sucker.

Viewers are advised to use discretion

Warning: some viewers may find the following footage disturbing.

Below are some videos we took after our daily walk this afternoon, of Jed with his favourite toy: ‘Ball’.

There are some things you should know, before these clips make you doubt our devotion to our dog.

Firstly, if you think I am tormenting my dog, well, I treat Husband a LOT worse. Which might only make you want to alert Amnesty International immediately after placing the call to Animal Welfare. However, it’s not as if either of them aren’t equipped with weapons. Husband has a modicum of wit at his disposal, and Jed’s teeth are extremely sharp.

Secondly, as you will hear in the videos, Jed is quite a chatty little fellow. He likes to ‘speak’ to us when he is excited about something or just wants to vent about the state of the world today. It does not denote agitation; that would be a distinctive whine and hiding.

Thirdly, this is the third iteration of Ball. We purchase them at vast expense from Animates on Lincoln Road, whenever Jed a) fails to retrieve them from the sea, b) throws them out the car window, and potentially c) drops them down a storm drain.

Fourthly, Jed dropped Ball down a storm drain yesterday. Ferndown Track ends beside a property at the head of Grassmere Road. Jed likes to taunt the two resident dogs from beyond the safety of their driveway gate, so just before the end of the track, I put him in a sit/stay. While I wrestled my bike over the barrier, Jed spat out Ball and it rolled into the gutter beside the track, and thence into the storm drain/pipe beneath the track.

While Jed sat and complained loudly about the absence of Ball, Husband and I traced the end of the pipe down the hill. It was a good twenty feet long. On hands and knees, you could just about make out Ball bobbing in a puddle of slimy mud about eight feet beyond reach. Since the pipe was only about eighteen inches diameter, sending Jed in after it would likely have resulted in both Ball and Puppy wedged up the pipe.

So we cycled back home where Husband collected the car, drove all the way back down Mountain Road, up Grassmere Road, and fished Ball out of the storm drain with a broom.

The things we do for that dog.

And don’t get me going on green tripe.

The Shorts of Shame

Yesterday, Husband took Jed for a run up Mountain Road.

Those of you who enjoy/abhor long acquaintance with Husband will know the run was merely an excuse dressed up as ‘exercise’, an excuse to don the Shorts of Shame a.k.a the Shorts of Terror (depending on whether I wake up in a Docudrama or a Thriller. One way or another, the result is pretty negative.)

You might ask what these shorts have done to earn their own honorary title(s)? Well, from a proactive perspective, not much. BUT by the very act of being worn by Husband, the shorts are guilty of inhumane, indecent, horrifying, sartorially psychopathic crimes against innocent bystanders. Women and children, and me.

When I pointed out that the Shorts of Terror were not even fashionable IN THE EIGHTIES, Husband said: “But they have a built-in jock strap.”

Ladis and Gentlemen: welcome to the House of Horror.

There is little point to this post, mainly because – firstly – I like to be consistent.

Secondly, I just wanted to share

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:-


Every second day or so and depending on atmospheric conditions, Husband and I go for a walk or cycle. Over a quick mid-day snack, we consult our map of the Waitakere Ranges and choose a trail within a 20km radius.

One of the best so far is just a little up the way from us. It is a bush walk called the Goodfellow Track, which takes about an hour via Fairy Falls.

Today we needed to go into Henderson for provisions (me) and mooch around Bunnings (Husband), so we decided to do the Goodfellow Track on our way. It was a beautiful – if blood curdling – day.

“Where’s my hat?” I said to Husband.

“What hat?”

“Well, any hat; although preferably woolly or fleecy and featuring ear flaps and insulation. Ooh- and a bobble.”

Husband was unreasonably unhelpful – possibly because I was describing an imaginary hat, but still. Anyway, I struck out on Goodfellow Track without headgear.

“My head is cold,” I grumbled.

“Well, walk faster,” said Husband.

About 20 minutes along the trail – I FOUND A HAT! We crossed a stream and there, lying to one side of the track, was a lovely, warm, woolly hat in exactly my size. Well, it wasn’t that lovely at the time, because it was soaked in mud; and obviously not that warm for the same reason. But it was indeed woolly and as for size, well a head’s a head. It’ll fit, even if I have to chop holes for my ears (which admittedly might defeat the purpose).

“Look!” I exclaimed, pointing.


“A hat! Lovely, warm and woolly in exactly my size – perfect!”

“Isn’t it a bit . . . nasty?”

“Not at all, it’ll clean up great after I pick out the leaves and pine needles and the mud and – oh, are those dead spiders? – Just a moment while I give it a little rinse in the stream.”

Me at the top of the Goodfellow Track. Auckland City in the background to the East

I fear I have a kauri tree fetish. Sorry to subject you to it, but they really are the most astonishing trees. Husband took a photo of me standing next to it to give an impression of scale. Unfortunately, after five days of farm food in Oamaru, my waistline looks about equivalent in diameter to that of the tree – so that one’s staying on the hard drive

Part of Fairy Falls – it extends further up through the bush, but I couldn’t fit it all in the photo. We usually have a quick dip, but it’s getting a bit cryogenic

What’s wrong with this photo?

Freshly painted house

A very brief window of tidiness opened up today, and I seized the opportunity to take a few pics of our freshly painted house featuring Husband’s recently installed lights.

The kitchen from the balcony


Dining area at the end of the living room


The living room. Our furniture looks much bigger here than it did in Dubai


My office off the bedroom

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