Sunday, 7 May 2017

Some Form of Permanently Exhausted Pigeon!

I saw a meme on Facebook the other day, it was funny - as most are. Anyhow this one said, "I'm not an early bird or a night owl - I'm some form of permanently exhausted pigeon!" I can seriously relate this week!

I'll make 50 hours this week - I've milked every day and helped with fencing for five. Why? Because apparently people don't like working for us - especially when the week prior to them randomly not coming back, we give them a pay rise. Maybe he got sick of us giving him eggs and veges from our garden that were surplus to our requirements. Who knows? It's even more degrading when they throw your tools into a swamp area of the paddock before leaving early on the afternoon when they're needed to work on their own for a while. It's just, I dunno. You really do have to wonder some days. All I know is that I'm sick of my family being walked all over and treated like door mats when we do absolutely nothing wrong, it's ridiculous.

Nonetheless, I've been working all week and I'm so tired - hence the title. I start my day to my alarm going off at 4:20am, work starts at 5am. I open the door to the chilly blast of cold, winter air; most mornings as of late it has averaged 5 degrees. It's not warm - thank goodness for heated seats in my car! And when I get to milking I almost freeze to death, okay so that is a figure of speech but it's close to legitimate. Just over four hours later I get home, scoff something down for breakfast and then Mum and I leave to go fencing, we're only there for a few hours before needing to get home again in time for my afternoon milking, but we still get some things done. For me, dragging out wires down quite a steep hill, and stapling on my way back up - it takes a little while.

Milking starts again at 2:30 so I'm driving out the gate at 2:10pm. It's almost 6pm when I get home. It's been a long week, even longer when you add in the cold mornings and some cows that just aren't all that interested in being milked. Seriously, if they were my cows, two of them would have a one way ticket off the farm by now. They're driving me insane with their behaviour, where consoling them or yelling at them does nothing. Honestly, if we could just get them fully milked out then they might not be so uncomfortable for the next milking. But we can't keep the cups on, they're never fully milked out, you almost lose the plot at them and the cycle continues; twice a day. I get tomorrow off, I can't wait.

Our netball games have now started for the season, we're playing right up until September sometime. The first game was Friday just gone, it was an eye opener. Warmup started at 5:30pm, thankfully I finished milking early that night and managed to arrive at the courts just on 5:30. I then hand to hunt down my team to get my uniform, as I hadn't made it to training last week to get said uniform, so even though I arrived there on time, I still missed the bulk of the warm up session. Not great.

Mum said I managed to somehow get the right team, with the dark green uniform colours. We've got a dress to play in, a t-shirt to wear overtop for warmups and then a jacket to wear too. There are also hoodies, but they haven't arrived yet. So guess who didn't take something warm to wear, because she thought she would get her hoodie? Hmm...

 The games are 20 minutes long, with two halves. My team had enough players with me as a sub, so I didn't play the first half. I was put in as WD in the second half, and I felt like I had been thrown to the wolves with no idea how to play! I was just like, hold on, what am I meant to do? Where am I meant to be?! Panic attack alert, lol. I got there though, figured it out rather fast, found my WA from the other team and did my best to stick to her for most of it, trying to stop her catching or passing on the ball. I got a whistle blow for one obstruction - I got too close. Which, as Mum said, is good because it means I'm doing my job.
The ten minutes pass rather quickly on court, we won the game 22:11. It's odd playing on the outside courts - it's smaller than where we've been training so it doesn't take much to get the ball from one end to the other. It's also concrete, so suddenly I was feeling my landings harder than normal, my ankles and knees are going to have to toughen up. The cold didn't help either - concrete is hard but cold concrete is worse.

But suddenly the game is over and we're finished. Shaking hands with the other team, saying "good game" and off we go. We're told not to leave, I'm not sure why. As it turns out, you don't just play one game of netball, you play two or three. I am seriously lacking in my netball information - why has nobody told me this yet?
There are three, maybe even four "rounds". We played in round 1. Then later on in round 3, once all of the score cards had been tallied and the teams were allocated the right sort of team to play against. There are also rankings, I'm not too sure on the specifics, other than knowing we are ranked a "B" team which is quite low. A "Prem" team is higher up, so we won't be playing against them for quite a while from what I've gathered.
In round 3, because our first game score was so high it meant we were playing against a team with a slightly higher ranking than us. I'm not surprised, they were good. I stood out again for the first half, then they thought it was best I didn't play at all - simply because that team were very good and we needed to get a good score in the game. Basically, my being in there probably wouldn't have been a very good idea, and watching from the sidelines I knew I wouldn't stand a chance in - so I wasn't too worried. I was just freezing, because when you don't play you get pretty cold in a light dress! It is a little awkward though, being the only sub.

The game was going well, there was lots of fighting for the ball at one end of the court, with almost all of the players at that end. The ball was getting thrown back and forth, when something happened. Ebony who I think was playing a goal shoot or goal defense (I can't really remember) jumped up and then fell, landing harshly on the concrete. It happened rather quickly, and she's curled up on the ground crying in pain and everyone is trying to help somehow. I thought it was her shoulder that she'd injured because that's what she had seemed to land on. As it turns out, it was her ankle. She jumped, fell, twisted badly on her ankle, carried on falling hitting her shoulder then her head on the ground.
A few of the volunteer firefighters were hanging around the courts, so they came over and carried her off. I had to jump back into WD and we quickly finished the game - there was all of about 15 seconds left to play once we all got back into position. We lost 5:8.

Poor Ebony was a mess and an ambulance was called, it was awful standing and watching everyone trying to help her. She's vomiting from pain or shock or maybe even concussion - I'm not sure, no one was allowed near her ankle though apart from keeping the ice pack on it. I hung around and waited because we're a team and you'd think that when something like that happens, the team sticks together. But I was surprised when three of them just said "cya" and left...It was a while before the ambulance turned up, and then a second one came after that. She was given some sort of thing to breath through while they took her shoes off and played around with her foot - I think it had some sort of liquid pain relief in it, but I've never seen it used before. Then eventually she was wheeled off on the gurney and we got to go home. Someone else must've gotten injured in another game that we hadn't noticed, because the first ambo went back with a stretcher to another girl down there.
Ebony didn't have a broken ankle, but she instead tore a ligament - and she's out for the rest of the season, it's something you can't come back from very easily. I know, because Mum tore two at the same time (there are only three), her ankle has never been the same. Poor Ebony! First game of the season and she's injured, she's a good player too so it's a big loss for us. Thankfully we found another player last week so we've still got one sub at least. Fingers crossed for no more injuries, I'm actually quite terrified of injuring myself - especially after seeing Eb in so much pain. That, and I can't afford to get injured and not be able to work. Netball is a dangerous game!

I worked out that I was there for three and a half hours and I only played for 10 minutes. It's painful when you think about it, especially as I came straight from work which is a physical enough job as it is. I got home about 9:15pm for dinner, then was back at work, zombie eyed at five the next morning. Phew. It's going to be a long season.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Saving A Dog - and other things

You read right, Taylor and I did a good deed last weekend; we saved a dog. More correctly put; rescued a dog. On SH1, in very busy holiday traffic, just out of some traffic lights with many cars leaving the smallish but very busy city we often visit. It was terrifying, but we caught him which was the main thing.
So what happened? Ok, it went a little bit like this. We both had our new glasses to pick up and figured we zoom up north in my little gold, Holden Barina called Annie. We'd take the hour trip north, grab the glasses, grab some lunch and take the hour trip back home in time for him to move his cows on his farm, and in time for me to go do my afternoon milking. Funnily enough, it wasn't as hectic a drive as I thought it was. Typically I wouldn't do the trip if I had to get back to work, but as quite often happens and you have to wonder why...some things just hold you up. You know how sometimes everything happens for a reason, whether you're held up so you miss something. Or you're held up so that you time something else perfectly - I do believe it was the latter on Saturday.

We got to Specsavers and, unbeknown to us, there was some sort of car show happening in that area of town. So finding somewhere to park took us two or three laps around a few blocks, trying to time it right for someone to leave so that we could snap up that car park. Sounds easy, but it was seriously time consuming and exceedingly frustrating! Anyhow we eventually found one, so we rushed in to grab our new fashion statements so that we could get back on the road again to accomplish our next mission. Lunch.
Good old KFC, why not?! Annie cruised her way through the drive through, then took us down to the Town Basin where I'd normally go with Mum and Dad, where you can sit and look out at all the boats in the big river thing. Where you can eat KFC while many people are out doing their well-managed, daily exercise, running along the board walk next to the water. It can sometimes make you feel the need to cover up the windows and eat your very unhealthy meal without feeling guilty. But then other times you can just smile, knowing that you're living your life. If that means eating some very oily chicken in carbohydrate packed burgers while people around you show off their running be it. Who's to say we don't exercise at home anyway? Such judgemental fitness bunnies!

I then had to stop in at Pet Essentials to grab some "duck" strips for the dogs. The treats we cut into little pieces so we can convince our little bundles of joy to do our bidding. Basically to convince them to hop into their kennels when we need them to; the duck is an essential part of this. Tay decided to have a wander around the store and discovered two gorgeous kittens in the back corner, where his eyes lit up at the adorable sight. Taylor loves his kittens, and I'm sure if he could've he would've stuffed the kittens under his shirt and walked out with them! They were pretty cute. So that took a little while. Finally, we were on the road again.

When you leave town you have to go through the last set of traffic lights, we're turning left so don't need to stop - rather just go left and then merge with the other traffic heading straight through. However when I came up to the intersection, instead of a car going through the lights - it was a dog. A dog who was running very fast with some cars hot on his heels!
Thankfully he had the brains to stick to his lane, and thankfully the car following him had the good sense of mind to slow right down and pop on his hazard lights. As did the second car. I was the fourth car so as I was merging I just drove in the middle of the two lanes with my hazard lights on to stop anymore cars getting through, as they wouldn't have known what was going on up ahead.
The three cars ahead of me were good, they slowed right down and managed to group around the dog - at one stage he veered right into the oncoming traffic (I nearly flipped out when he did that!), but for some crazy reason he darted back in front of us all again so the three cars could force him onto the shoulder.

I thought, sweet one of them will stop and grab him. But they all carried on driving!!! Like, what?! I made a very quick decision and quickly pulled in beside him, stuck my arm out my window and grabbed hold of him. He was your average looking work dog, medium size - maybe a huntaway/blue heeler sort of dog. Taylor jumped out and took him from me so I could get out. The poor thing was terrified, I'm glad he stayed next to Annie when I pulled in beside him - I never thought of what I'd do if he got a fright and ran into the traffic again.
Another car with two women pulled in behind us, they said they'd only stopped because they were curious if he was our dog. They were locals so said they'd take him to the SPCA for us, he was registered so it wouldn't take too long to find the owner at least.
The adrenaline rush from the event was ridiculous, the entire thing probably lasted a minute or so before we got hold of him, but it felt like a lifetime before he was off the road!

The next day I joined a few facebook group pages for the town so I could ask on there if anyone knew if he had made it home. Seconds later one of the women we spoke to replied to me. Saying they had posted all over the net trying to find his owner and it didn't take long for them to see the posts, he was home again within a few hours. Just like I had wondered, he had jumped from the back of a UTE - he mustn't have been tied on or somehow untied himself from it. And from where he had jumped off, to where we caught him - he'd run a long way. He was one very lucky pooch with one heck of a story to tell.
You kinda hope he'll always remember the faces of the people who helped him that day. I reached out and he sniffed my hand and stayed by my side of the car. It's such a good feeling that 1. he knew I was trustworthy, 2. he didn't get a scare and bite me! (that thought did flash through my mind as I reached out...) and 3. that he got home.
Facebook is a brilliant means of getting so many furbabies home again, I see posts up every day of a lost pet that somebody finds, or a found pet that somebody recognises and gets hold of the owner. It makes your heart swell just a tad, knowing for one occasion I was part of it :)

Friday, 21 April 2017

Chilling Out

It was only 7 degrees this morning when I arrived at work just prior to 6am; it was freezing! Okay maybe it wasn't freezing, but it was blimmen cold! I had goosebumps on my arms all milking, by the time I left at 8am it was sitting around 14 degrees. Mum and I are home with the heat pump going, and I'm wearing socks and sweatshirt - a very uncommon sight.

This morning I've made hot chocolate muffins, so although it is cold life is still good!

A week or so ago I toddled off to the dentist with serious toothache that I'd put up with for a week before it was getting to be too much. It was odd and seemed to happen overnight, with pain you'd expect if a filling simply fell out. I know there is a filling up there somewhere in the same area, so I didn't rule it out. Typical for me, the dentist couldn't find anything wrong, he couldn't even tell which tooth it was until they used the tool that blows air along my teeth...until I basically jumped through the roof.
He decided to polish down the tip of that tooth (with no numbing!) and then put some filler on top, saying that it should help. Well it hasn't. I can't eat or drink on that side. If anything cold hits it I'm almost doubled over in pain, and I've resorted to no hot drinks either which is rather unfortunate in this chilly weather.

We got to try on our uniforms for netball on Wednesday, they're all green - quite a nice green if I must say. They consist of a dress, that is quite on the short side. As was the discussion, it's netball, where you stretch upwards and jump. What happens to a short dress in that situation?! So I know I'm off to find some shorts of some sort to wear too. Then we also have a t-shirt to wear overtop during warmup, and we've also got a jacket. They say we're not allowed to wear the hoodie's we've bought as extras on game nights because it doesn't have the uniform sponsorship on it. We could wear them, so long as the jacket is over it, however the hoodies are quite thick and the jackets are small, there's no chance you could wear the hoodie underneath!

It's hard to believe the games start in two weeks, May 5th. With only two training nights before then, we still don't have all of the team members showing up and there are only nine people in my team. Our club has two teams and we're never able to practice a full game with 14 players because there are always people missing! The training last week we used two bystanders to fill the court, they both know how to play, one I think is possibly going to be a coach or an umpire. Oh yeah, we have no coach - brilliant, huh?
However the other lady fell and rolled her ankle, so we had to drop the wing defenses on both teams. I had been WD on my actual team prior to the lady getting hurt. Then I swapped to wing attack on the other team.
WD is probably not the best position to play as I hardly get a chance to touch the ball, I'm simply running around trying to stop the opposing WA from getting it. However she is tall and very good at the game so I may as well not be on the court at all! Once I moved over to WA there was no WD trying to stop me, so although I was able to play and catch the ball, it wasn't experiencing the position properly which is quite frustrating.

Also because players aren't always showing up to training we aren't able to train as a proper team so we can't get to know each other properly. How can you work in a team situation if you've never played as a team? It's ridiculous, I know I can't really talk because I've missed two training nights - once I was too sick to leave the house and the other excuse was a flooded road during the cyclone...

I still don't know what position I'm most likely to play, our main Centre player has come back now and I see what they were talking about - she's good, very good. I don't see me ever getting to try C again unless she has to sub out, which is unlikely. Thankfully they don't put me in the goal circle anymore - I'm too short to defend the goal and I'm no good at getting the ball in the net either, so I'll always be WA or WD, unless I'm a permanent sub so I could get any position really.

Wednesday morning I had an argument with a can lid and ended up with a slashed thumb, so during netball I had a big thick plaster on it to prevent any further damage - but it made catching the ball difficult - I feel so small when they throw the ball, anticipating me to catch it. And I drop it. Plasters provide no grip apparently, so the entire game or warmup routine has to stop until I manage to get the ball in the air again...I think I'm doing pretty good, sticking around and staying in the team, even though I'll probably be the one they rely on to pass the ball in a major game. I'll be the one who almost literally hands it to the other team in time for them to win. It takes a lot of trying to stay on the team and keep learning as best I can, without holding my team back too much with my being there either.

Work is going OK, nothing has really changed. Working with Cam and Hamish is taking less time now as I no longer need to help with any calves - calving is almost finished there. However, my other farm is taking longer and longer. Yesterday morning almost took four hours to milk! We're only milking about 430 cows there (12 rows), but there's still another 120 or so left to calve, calving has slowed right down and they'll still be plodding along well into May! Milking 550 cows is going to take a fair while through June when they're all milking at peak production...

We've had a heck of a lot of rain, my boss Cam who's a few minutes down the road recorded 570mm from the 9th March - 16 April. That's almost half a year's worth of rain in 6 weeks...

Maggie's new jersey :)
Puppy snuggles :D

A friendly Monarch butterfly :)
Maggie and Rose, collage as they got older

I got flowers for Easter!

Tay's kitten, Charlie - grease kitty (not monkey lol)
More of Rosie because when she's clean she's so gorgeous!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Playing Nurse

Two weeks ago Taylor went in to one of the local surgical centres for his hernia repair operation. I had the job of picking him up and getting all of the briefing from the nurses there with the post-op care - Nurse Kayger (they used my real name of course) as they called me!
Thankfully Mum and Dad have both had similar surgeries in the past, so I know all about keeping the painkillers up and not letting them lapse, etc., and I also had first hand experience with running around doing things for the said patient, helping them of and on the couch and being a general "lean on" support if they needed it when they walk for the first day or so afterwards. Those abdominal surgeries must hurt (rather them than me!) and you can't easily use your stomach muscles - hence the need to support them when the stand up and sit down again.

It was exhausting, I'll be completely honest. He sorta seemed to flick between my house and his Mum's house for the first couple days. Simply because I was working and no-one could be around 24/7 and he got bored very quickly. The likes of my family would just relax with a book or watch some movies but he's an active/physical hobby person rather than a sit and read a book sort of person, so it was difficult keeping him occupied...
But I would drop him at his Mum's, then go to work. Then a few hours after my afternoon milking finished he would call and ask me to pick him up so he could stay with me, much preferring to hang out with me than at his Mum's for some reason. On the way there or back I'd stop in at his house to feed the kittens - a daily occurrence, which was fine. But with driving back and forth for work, then doing so much extra driving, making sure he was taking the right painkillers at the right time, along with doing life in general was super tiring. Not that I minded, but I do believe I won't be taking up nursing any time soon!
He's had two weeks off now, but this week he has been allowed to drive again and can run after himself which has given me a bit of a much needed break!

We went and saw Beauty and the Beast on Monday as it was my day off. I've never seen the original animated version, or read the book so I didn't really know the story line, however I was determined that we were going to see it, so we went. Hmm. Yep. So uh, if you haven't seen it, and you intend to and don't want a spoiler, perhaps skip this section.
They wouldn't stop singing. And I mean singing. Whenever they had an issue, they'd sing about it. At first it was OK, then after a while I felt myself wanting the lazyboy chair to swallow me whole because I knew Tay would be hating it! Especially when I found it a little awkward and over the top. It was more like a musical than anything, in saying that it was a good movie. But as I was told afterwards..."It's definitely a YOU sort of movie, isn't it?!" It was more of a movie I'd see with Chantelle, and not really one I'd see again. But it was a pleasant film.

Then he was super sweet and bought me a chocolate bunny for Easter - never had a proper bunny before!

There were a fair few dramas to be had for Mum and Dad with fencing this week. When they began to move Kermit, the tractor, from one job to the next a filter or a seal burst, spraying transmission oil all over the road for a short distance. The guy who came to repair the damage to the tractor seemed to think a stick must've gone through it somehow, causing the incident. They tried contacting the council to come clean up the road, but after a couple hours of them not turning up they got in touch with the local police and chief of the local fire brigade. They said it was odd, hearing the fire brigade siren, calling all the volunteers to work, knowing it was coming for them! They closed the road and spread some sort of kitty litter on the road to soak up the oil, rather exciting really, however I just got to see all the photos!
Then on Tuesday when the rain began, Dad somehow managed to bust the leaf springs on the big trailer when he was carting materials to a job. That night an accident was on the main route home, so he took one of the gravel back roads instead. We couldn't understand what was taking him so long (as we can keep an eye on eachothers' whereabouts on the family iPhone link app - for safety reasons). Turns out he got a puncture on one of the ute tyres, so had to change it in the dark, in the rain. Poor him! So many dramas!

As Wednesday was not very pleasant at all, and I was already headed north that morning to take my car for a warranty repair (the plastic surrounds on one of the back door handles had broken), Dad decided it'd be a full day off due to the weather so they could head north too to sort all the repairs that needed dealing with.
I dragged Taylor along for the ride up there, otherwise I'd have been on my own and I went to Specsavers while I was up there for my biannual check up. I've been having a fair amount of difficulty with my eyes lately, getting not very pleasant headaches every day and it's hard to drive some days too. Thank goodness, with the purchase of my car I got a free AA Membership for a couple years meaning my $60 eye exam is free every two years. Yay! As it happens, in the last two years my seriously bad right eye sight is declining rapidly. The optometrist explained how they work in quarters. Two years ago my right eye was a 3.5 figure, now it's a 4.5 figure. If it had changed by about 0.25 I guess it would've been ok but it's changed by a whole 1. Not great - especially as it's not exactly an age deterioration, and I need new glasses again. I guess this is going to be an every two year issue I'll need to deal with!
Now it has gotten to the stage that the right lens is getting too thick, which effects the frames I can use. I'll soon have to start paying an extra fee to get the lens "thinned", then it won't be too heavy for the frame or look ridiculously obvious either. It seems this eye will plaque me for the rest of my existence! Specsavers are great with their two for one deals, meaning I got my new glasses and sunglasses for just $299. Thanks Specsavers! I'm going to start donating my old glasses to the Lions Club, who pass them onto a foundation who get them overseas to less fortunate people who need them, quite a good idea, that.

The final installment of The Fast and the Furious came out yesterday, so we watched that while we were up there. It was great, if anyone needs any encouragement to go see it :)

The weather around home was rather intense yesterday, so I hear. I wasn't home all day so it's the mentions of road closures on facebook that let me know. Nick was great, as he didn't have any work at all yesterday he offered to do my afternoon milking so I didn't have to rush home in time for it. Then this morning I was meant to work with Taylor's boss and milk on that farm. But the other guy who relief milks there, and has been for the last couple weeks while Tay's been off sick, got in touch with me last night saying that he was rained off work (he's in building) and that he could milk this morning if I didn't want to do it. I've never been so happy to hand over work! Especially in this weather! I would've had to start at 4:15am and get the cows in, in the pouring rain. But instead I got a sleep in! As it happens, they seem to think that Cyclone Cook hasn't even really started yet, we're just getting the weather from the outskirts of the storm. It's due to get much, much worse and they might even shut the almighty Harbour Bridge if the winds get too strong.
It's hard not to get complacent when we've had heaps of rain for the last month or so, every week there's a big downpour causing flooding, this has so far seemed rather innocent and placid compared to one a couple weeks ago, it's hard to believe it's meant to get worse.

Last night's training I skipped due to the weather. During the school term our training nights have had to be changed to start at about 8-8:30, finishing at about 10pm because the gym/hall is being used by a dance class and a ballet class at our normal time of 6pm. So I didn't want to be on the road at that time of night, if it was going to be nasty.
However the two weeks prior when I have gone, they've put me in as Centre, it's a great position to play. I find that I can cope with all of the different warm ups - last week warmups were very ball oriented, all about catching/throwing and landing correctly, keeping focused on where the ball is etc. Then we split into our two actual teams so we could learn to work with our own team in a half game. Then we played the proper game with me as our team Centre. There's just so much running around to do as a centre, and it's hard throwing the ball out to begin with, as the wing attack on my team I'm aiming for often loses it to the wing defense from the opposing team, so I'm prepared to run forward and help work the ball up the court, only for the ball to suddenly be working it's way in the opposite direction. It's exhausting, very hot in the gym without airflow in there, but fun nonetheless!

We're getting hoodies too, with our names on them that we get to keep for ourselves. They're $55, but I've always wanted a team jersey. One guess what name I asked to be put on mine?!

My poor chocolate bunny is suffering a major loss of body. He he, oops! Keeping a rabbit's foot is meant to be lucky - isn't it?

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Netball in full swing

Finding the time to write here (or anywhere if I'm honest) is so difficult lately! If I'm not working, I'm running around doing something, somewhere.

Netball was cancelled last night due to the rain which was rather unfortunate as I was really looking forward to going again. We're into proper "training" sessions now, not everyone makes it there each week so you're never really doing the same things, as we have to work with the number of people who show up. Take last week for example - we had nine players come and a young girl who was hanging around put us up to 10. We spent the bulk of our session going over different warm ups and exercises that have been taken from the NZ netball website - exercises that are specifically good for netball. It was really good but my gosh, the muscles that I apparently have, that I have never met before in my life showed up the next day and they hurt! It was rather painful to say the least.

Some were seemingly simple when the woman running it demonstrated them, but when you have to do a form of "plank" for 30 seconds, the idea in your head seems OK...until you're about 10 seconds through and the targeted muscles in your sides start to burn like wildfire. We had to do that three times. Then we did sideways planks for 15 seconds on each side. We're all looking at eachother, wondering who's going to give in and drop first! Everything else was good, all focusing on landings mostly which is rather important as I'm finding that catching the ball in midair is quite common so landing properly is essential.
We then spent about half an hour playing a game with five players on each side, I managed to get the role of Centre which was great! I always thought centre would be quite difficult because you've got to be on the ball the whole time, but at the same time you don't really have a many boundaries - you're allowed on the entire court except for in the goal circles. The only issue is having to be everywhere at once, especially if there are only five players on your team; two of which have to stay in a circle at each end, the other two are limited to their areas so I have to fill the void, it's not easy but I did it. While there was only a small number of us it meant they had time to give me pointers too, everyone would stop and say - "Ok, so in this situation you should do this or go here" etc., etc.
So of course I was really keen to get back into it last night but as we are currently limited to an outdoor court, the weather is playing an important role in the situation.

Sadly Chantelle isn't able to join now, there are a few reasons behind it but I get why it would be better for her to sit it out this year. It just means our set, no excuses, weekly catch up has gone out the window - but oh well.

Work is going OK at the moment, I'd be lying if I said I am loving it, but it'll get better. Just with the autumn calving, we're having to deal with a fair few not too pleasant members of the herd which doesn't make life particularly enjoyable at present. Working with Cam and Hamish again is great, I'm really happy being back there again, back in the saddle working in my favourite place. There are a few difficult cows there, but in general it's fine. I'm also helping get the new cows and calves in at the moment, and feeding the calves there too, so I'm a little bit more involved than just being the typical relief milker. They're breeding to some interesting bulls this year - not only Simmental's and Angus but Belgium Blue's too - they're beautiful calves.

My other farm though, as I say it'll get better in time, they've calved about 350 cows out of 520 odd, so there's still a few to get through but thankfully the first time calving heifers are almost finished. Those young ones are a little too spontaneous with their kicking and I can never quite trust them, they also all look the same too so it's hard looking out for those few who are a little too feisty for me to try cupping on. They're coming along nicely though, given a few weeks of milking and they should feel more at home in the herd.
They all need to find their spot in the pecking order too, so when you add a mob of heifers to a herd of cows who have worked together a couple of years, they're gonna fight a tad. Although in saying that, some of the older cows are driving me insane! Believe you me, if you have to cup on a cow for the seventh or eighth time in one milking - you're gonna get rather annoyed. They don't even have an excuse really, they just stomp their feet and knock the cups off, it's really exhausting milking two or three cows, then having to go back to that specific cow and re-cup her again as she's knocked them off.
It sometimes gets to the point where I just say to whoever I'm milking with, "I'm done trying" and then they can give her a go.

Yesterday afternoon was utterly brilliant (note the sarcasm!!) Where the herd was running late when I arrived, and they're meant to go on the feedpad before milking. As they were running late they'd get their feed after milking instead. Have you ever seen somebody - perhaps a toddler - who normally has their afternoon snack, get told that they have to wait an hour or so longer before they get it? It's not cool aye? I would imagine said toddler would have a bit of a tantrum over that, which is basically what the cows did!
So I waited out on the race and brought up a large group of the herd and pushed them into the shed so I could start milking. I encouraged them into the bails, walked out and pressed the button to start the machines and when I came back the cows were gone. They'd all turned around and run out, back to the feedpad where somebody must've been pushed into the single wire tape and snapped it, allowing them in there. So of course, cows will be cows and they all ran in there, stuffing their faces full of the powdery goodness of palm kernel and whatever else they're being fed.
Funnily enough you know when cows have broken into something, and cows also know they shouldn't be in there which is why they make a big deal out of it. They moo, a LOT and rather loud too. Basically a bit of an "omgosh! Look where I am, I'm eating something I shouldn't be!" and the rest of them moo too, so they all know to run to the place and suddenly half of the herd is on the feed pad eating out of the bins and I just stand there watching in disbelief, all of my hard work is out the window and now I have to work even harder to get them out of there. Thanks cows! They're the best...
Milking them after that was joyful, we were all running rather late so we were annoyed, the cows were angry - even more so having lost their food for a while and the milking was seriously messy. With the lush grass from all the rain we've had, you've gotta keep your eyes peeled for cows that are gonna crap everywhere - because at the moment it goes for miles and comes very suddenly, you've gotta dive outta the way otherwise get a free, green shower. Not fun.

Taylor is finally going in for his surgery to fix his hernia tomorrow, his Mum's dropping him in in the morning and then I have to get over there a few hours later to pick him up before I go back to work. It'll be good once it's fixed and sorted, it's been a long time coming!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Welcoming Autumn

Monday last week I had my first netball trial, the second one is this Thursday night and after then I should have a better idea of what's going to be happening. We started off with a warm up, after which I almost could have died. I'm fit, but I'm not that fit! They had us doing all sorts of maneuvers across the length of the court; jogging, sprinting, fast walk, lunges, squats, running with knees high, running with feet high, and she was constantly changing the movement.
We'd just get used to jogging then suddenly we're sprinting, or fast walking or something! It was mental, I think we spent about ten minutes doing a warm up, I was surprised that they didn't get us to do the typical stretches and whatnot before the warm up (I've always thought you were meant to) but we did them afterwards. I'm glad I wasn't the slowest in the group, I thought if I could almost keep up with Chantelle, I'd be doing well - and I did, most of the time!
Unfortunately I'm one of those people who's face goes nice and red when I get hot from silly doesn't matter if I'm quite fit, which I usually am, when heat can't escape through my feet, it goes to my face instead, rather annoying if I'm honest!!

After the warm up we got into corners and moved onto another warm up/game thing where we were catching, throwing, running, catching then throwing the ball to different people from different corners as we ran through to the opposite corner. It was, straight out, confusing. It didn't help that the first time the ball was thrown to me it hit me square on the face, quite hard. Everyone seemed to get the idea rather quickly (most of the women there had been playing in the team for quite a few years...) but typically I didn't. It's rather awkward being the one who had to be guided through each pass, meaning it had to be slowed down a tad when I went through. I'm rather nervous about the trial on Thursday because they'll likely do it again and I really can't quite remember exactly how it goes...

Once that was finished they put people into places and teams, four of us including myself were stood out for the first game. At first I was thinking, aw man I must be bad! But I've actually never seen a game of netball played before - so I got to watch it and got a bit of an idea instead of being thrown into the deep end!
The second game I was called in for Wing attack (Wing Defense and Attack I had put myself down for), and once my opponent Wing Defense knew I didn't know how to play she was helping me out, as well as one of the umpires. They were telling me where I should be and what I could do which was helpful.
The third game I went into wing defense, which I found not as good as my previous attack role. The girl I was paired with was a really good player, who was flying around the court at high speeds. I had to be blocking her but I just couldn't keep up and kept losing sight of her. So if I get one of those places I really hope to get Attack, it's much easier!
It was good once Chantelle and I left, because one of the coaches came up to us and thanked us for coming and giving it a good go, and asked us to definitely come back for the next trial. We'll get places, for sure. They don't have enough players to turn people away. Last week they only had enough for two teams and two subs each. Where I've read online that in most netball games, players are only allowed on for no more than half the game, so surely that should mean they need 14 players to a team to account for that common rule? It was fun, nonetheless and I'm looking forward to trying it again tomorrow night - if only for a slight physical hiccup that I have at the moment! Will come to this soon...

I had the weekend off, which was great. Tay also had the weekend off so I got to spend it with him - even better. I went out there Friday night after work, then basically stayed til last night when I came home again. We didn't do too much Saturday, apart from stopping in at home for me to grab a few things and going into town for him to get his hair cut - it was weird being in a proper "barber" rather than the usual hairdressing salon that I'm used to being in!
He was going to get his beard trimmed down but didn't. He's said to me, "I'll keep it cut down over summer but I'll be growing it back for winter" - especially for the hunting trip he's going on in June to the South Island. However he hasn't particularly stuck to his word and hasn't really cut it since Christmas! Argh, now it's turning a bit red, obviously he's stoked and is determined to keep growing it to see what happens. Argh, males! lol
That afternoon Nate His Mate came over and we went out to one of the paddocks to test out Taylor's new rifle on some cans and clay birds. He had bought a new one on Friday for when he goes Tahr hunting in June and it needed the scope setting up - what better excuse to go do some shooting? Not really my cup of tea,  but I don't mind watching. I was going to have a go, we were lining up the sights for me (he has a bipod, so got to just lay on the ground and aim it). But when I realised the kickback it had I decided to flag the idea. Having a gun kick back into my bad shoulder would leave me somewhat crippled for a few days with that arm. Even Tay and Nate His Mate were saying it was quite sore - and they're quite used to it, it needs a rubber padding on the butt to fix it.

Nate stayed for dinner and then came back the next morning with another friend of his and our friend Luke, did I mention this weekend was Paradise Duck Shooting weekend?! Yeah, it was. I was going to tag along but I was super tired and managed to get out of it! That and I didn't have any dark, camo clothing which was apparently necessary for the job. So the four guys went out shooting that morning and I got to sleep in til - wait for it - 9am. Them arriving back woke me up, then they did the dishes and made breakfast while I just cruised, it made a nice change!
Taylor and I went out after that as we had an appointment - for a professional thai massage. Yeah, crazy right?! Tay's Dad is a trained massage therapist so he's always wanted to try a Thai massage to see what it's like.
Hmm. They were Thai women, it was difficult figuring what they were saying and the room was heavily perfumed with a very peaceful music playing. They cleaned our feet first (ever had someone else clean your feet!?!?) then got to work. Just as a heads up, if anyone reading this wants to try it. When you book in a full body massage, it is pretty much exactly that...I thought it'd be like, back, shoulders and feet lol
I've got a bad habit of laughing in situations where I probably shouldn't. I was giggling away about the whole thing before she started, laying face down on a table with my face sticking through the hole in the table, staring at a flower of some sorts in a bowl. I do believe it was fake, so it got me wondering if they could possibly have a camera in there watching the expression on my face. From times when her pushing muscles around on my back hurt quite a bit, to when my feet were feeling a bit ticklish! At some stage Tay started snoring! Really!?

Taylors' boss was happy to have Monday off work, so he paid me to stick around and milk for him Monday morning and help Taylor do things during the day, I was already booked in to work there Tuesday anyway so it wasn't a big deal hanging around for an extra day. Working with Tay is pretty cool, doing proper farm work and that makes a nice change in my routine. :)

Today though I got back to normal work, fencing for our neighbour, getting soaked when the rain suddenly arrived. Autumn has definitely arrived - I thought since our summer started late that it would last a fair bit longer but apparently not. It's still hot, don't get me wrong. But a couple weeks ago we had about 50+mm of rain and ever since then we get random bursts of rain whenever the weather man feels to deliver. It's incredible how things have greened up!

One thing that's on our minds at the moment is the new motorway that is being built - connecting Auckland to Northland. Our house isn't effected by the developments, however a big interchange is going to be about 200-250 metres up the road from us, and it means that we'll get all of the through-traffic going past us again. As we're right next to the road - it's not good. The motorway is set to be up and go by 2025, but all the years prior we're going to have to deal with the noise disturbance from the developing. And then the traffic noise from the road itself - I can't imagine long weekends! So what to do? Sound proof the property, planting thick trees to grow around the entire boundary. Installing double glazing etc. And just deal with it. Or set up the place to sell? It'll be worth a fair bit to the right buyer, being right next to the motorway. I dunno it's a scary thought to consider what will happen as this is home to us, what to do? At least we don't have the issue of the house needing to be removed because it sits on the developing land - like many a house around here. Then our decision would be made for us - but the council will only buy for a cheap price. We'll see, we have few years up our sleeves here.

Oh that's right - my slight physical quandary I on Monday my legs basically collapsed from underneath me. I ran to open a gate for Taylor so he could get through with the tractor before the herd blocked the gateway, I was walking up the hill ok and thought I'd better get up there quick smart so started running. Next thing I knew I was bent over in pain, all the muscles in the front of both thighs were on fire! They were hurting so much I could barely move. I did manage to get up there in the end but it was slow going, for the rest of the day I was somewhat stumbling along trying to get everywhere I needed to go. They haven't done it again thank goodness, but silly movements hurt, like today I went to run to grab some tools when it was raining and I still felt it. I think it was simply severe cramp, it just seemed odd that both legs did it but all we could think was that the massage must've pulled some muscles, which makes me a little dubious to go back again. It's never happened before, hopefully doesn't happen again and all I can think is I hope like heck they cope with netball tomorrow! It's going to be a tad difficult, but at least I know what to expect.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Valentine's Day

Yesterday I had my first ever "Valentine's Day", and in all honesty I've not a clue what all the hype is about. It was just another day really. I went out for dinner with Taylor at one of the local pub/restaurant places as they were holding a proper valentine's night. Which perhaps wasn't the best plan.
They had suggested to book ahead, so I had done that a week or so ago. And they showed us to this table out in a separate room set up for the whole valentine's theme, complete with fairy lights and an acoustic singer. It was so loud I could hardly think. However when we went back to the bar to order the food, we realised somebody else took our table while we were ordering! Although there was a much more comfortable seating arrangement in the bar and it was further from this guy who was singing, so at least it wasn't as loud. I think it was just because the speakers were echoing, so you couldn't think a word in your head, let alone string a sentence together to have a conversation in there. So that worked in our favour a bit. But it still wasn't great. Because they were so booked up, it took an hour before one starter came out for us - salt and pepper squid, it was really delicious. But that might've been because we were so hungry. Finally 10 minutes after that, the main meals showed up but the meat was overdone so again, just yeah.
They're a really good place to eat at, but I guess because they were so busy, things went a little slack in the kitchen. I'd imagine they were working hard out, food was constantly flowing out, it was just a shame it took an hour to batter some squid and then deep-fry it. I was so tired, I was just like, "wake me up when it arrives..."

Overall it was a rather mediocre night, it would've been more pleasant staying home and watching a movie. Valentine's is certainly more of an American holiday, isn't it? Very commercialised.

I took Annie in for her first service yesterday, she's done over 1500 k's now, so definitely well run in. I still like her and I'm still definitely getting used to her, it is taking a little while this time. Although she does need a repair already, just some plastic paneling on the back passenger door has come apart - we suspect in the heat, and it can't clip back in for some odd reason. But because the cars are so new, it'll take a bit to order the part. The frustrating thing is that she doesn't have an"over speed alarm", I can be cruising along at 105 and not even realise it, at least if a bell were to sound then I'd know sooner rather than later. It's not that I don't keep an eye on the speedo, I do, but she just likes speeding. It would be handy in those areas where I'm not sure on the speed limit too, but alas she doesn't have the alarm.  Which is rather odd for new cars these days.

Oh so I'm joining a community netball club! I saw it advertised on facebook and suggested it to Chantelle. Last Wednesday was just an info session and tonight are the trials. I'm not too sure what it exactly entails, but at 6 o'clock tonight I guess I'll find out. I've never played netball a day in my life, but I've often wanted to, so they suggested I sign up for a Wing Attack or Wing Defense roll and just go from there.
Trials are tonight and then every Wednesday onwards are training nights - two hour sessions, that should be in the school gym so at least the weather won't bother us. In May the actual games start, so every Friday night I'll be there, although that is outside in another local town so it'll be inconvenient if it's raining! The sport plays until around September-ish, so that'll keep me as a busy little beaver until then. I just figured that I'd rather not have the life where I simply eat, sleep and work and see Taylor. Chantelle and I have been struggling to organise a movie night with Bianca, because it seems every suggested night somebody is busy! So this way Chantelle and I will have compulsory catch ups at least once a week!
Another girl, Maddie, might also be coming. I know her through Taylor as she lives and works with his best friend Luke on one of the farms around here. She's 18 and seems really nice so it'll be good to get to know her a bit more. I just hope that we all get onto the same team after tonight's session.

Playing sport meant buying some decent shoes, so while we were in town yesterday I hunted through Rebel Sport to find a pair.
Did you know the average pair of sneakers start at a whopping $120?
Yes, ok so they're decent shoes from decent brands like New Balance. I bought a pair of them when I was 15 for about $100 and I still use them every day to drive to and from work. Sure, the framing is poking through the material now but they're still very usable, just perhaps not as sports shoes anymore! So at least they last the distance, but sheesh! I went through glancing at all the prices, proper "netball" shoes were sitting about about $240, so we strolled down to the specials/end of lines deals. I finally found a great pair, size 8.5 (perfect fit for me) for $60 - down from $120. So of course I walked out of there with them (in a bag though!) and I've been wearing them around the house to try and wear them in a tad before tonight.

I'm feeling somewhat nervous because I'm not too sure how tonight will go, I know I won't be "perfect" at the game and I've got a heck of a lot to learn, I just hope I'm not too obviously useless at it! Catch the ball Kayger, please don't have butter fingers!! hahaha Please don't run with the ball Kayger, this isn't rugby. Might I also suggest not bouncing the ball either? Yeah, that'd look bad.

Now, to organise myself to go do some stapling on a few new fences on the job we've started up the road, and to encourage myself that I'm being rather well behaved by still having NOT opened the chocolate Tay got me for valentine's day...Dunno how long that will last though...

The weather here is atrocious lately. We've been getting soaring temperatures of over 30 degrees almost daily, and at night the humidity is often unbearable, it's been sitting anywhere between 60-70%. I'm so tired at the moment because I just haven't been able to sleep! Then there's the rain, it'll rain when you least expect it to, and when it does rain it does so in an amount that is more annoying than anything. It just makes everything slippery and then the wind dries it up again. A week or so ago we got 15mm overnight, which was a great dumping. We're lucky though as we don't have any fires like other parts of the country and Aussie do...there was one a bit further up north on Waitangi Day, but that burnt through about 3-4 hectares of scrub, not 300-400 hectares like everywhere else...

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Introducing: Annie

So, as per my last blog most would know that I have a new car now, she's arrived and I brought her home last Tuesday afternoon.
It was a somewhat uneventful trip back, on my own in my new and unfamiliar car. It was odd, but okay. Actually quite terrifying because I didn't want to crash it or ding it or anything like that, as if it was somebody else's car instead of my own. However in saying that I'm slowly getting used to her.

I didn't have a name for a couple days, until Dad came with me into town and said I should call her Goldie (although Laura had already said that one) and then he said she should be Annie because of her colour. I never had anything to do with the Annie musical, all I know was that she had burning red hair and this is similar so Annie she is. (Quite close to Ali but I'm sure I'll get used to this one) and that is that. She has already been introduced to the gravel roads she will soon learn to take in her stride...and a bit of cow poo too sadly. She's gotten rather dusty driving to and from Tay's and to the beach the other night. But she'll get used to it - she can't stay spick and span her whole life can she?

So, a photo. I don't have any interior photos as I haven't taken any and it's raining outside and I really can't be bothered! But this will give you an idea of what she looks like.

She doesn't look that clean anymore, but oh well. I'm still not too sure on the reversing camera, trying to stick to my old ways of relying on mirrors only. Although it is handy when reversing out of parks because you can see a fair bit which is rather handy, but it still makes me nervous reversing her. She stinks like heck, especially the burning engine smell and the dealer told me to 'drive her like I stole her...but remember I'll be paying for the speeding ticket!'
She's a nice car and although one particular person wasn't too impressed with my buying her (not naming names lol) but everyone else thinks she's great. It'll mean I don't have many dollars to my name anymore but at least I won't be concerned about so many car bills.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing - to think about the money I could have saved had I not spent it all on Ali, but that's life and there's no point in thinking about all the past happenings.

Over last weekend I finally got to milk again - with Taylor as his boss was on holiday so I covered three milkings that the other relief milker couldn't do. It was rather odd spending basically four days there, stopping in at home every so often to touch base with Mum and Dad. Taylor is sick at the moment and in a lot of pain (he's just found out the abdominal pain is due to a hernia, which is bad enough the surgery is only a couple weeks after diagnosing it) - going in for an operation this week - so at least my being there meant I could help out a lot. Moving the cows in the afternoon, shifting the break fences in the turnips, opening and shutting gates and opening the baleage so he wasn't having to be on and off the tractor all the time. It was nice being on one farm and doing things other than just turning up and milking - and I got to see most of the farm too as well as seeing my calves and the yearlings too...not that they were all that interested in me. They just wanted food.

Oh yeah, so it's pretty dry up here. I honestly hadn't even noticed, which probably sounds crazy but you just get used to dry summers and droughts that it's just normal. It wasn't until the water shortages were all over the internet and newspapers etc. The council shut down the water supply for either 24 or 48 hours? So local trucking companies couldn't transport water to the locals on tank supply (that's not us, as we buy bore water for our tank - rather than the council chlorinated stuff).
This of course caused a massive outrage, some people will have had no water in their tanks for two weeks at the most, and water trucks are going for all hours of the day. Some people are even stealing water, I'm not even joking. Someone came home to find their tank which had about 7000L left in it, had be siphoned dry. And some scumbag (sorry, it's true) emptied one of the local St. John ambulance station's tank dry too, just the other night. Although the locals banded together to get that one refilled with donations, as well as working out money to pay for security cameras at the station too.

All over facebook on the town pages, everyone is talking about how they're conserving their water. There are the usual putting a brick or jar in the toilet cisterns, while others say they stand in a bucket during their shower and reuse the water for toilets or gardens, or putting a bucket in the sink to catch all the cold water while you're waiting for the hot to come through and then using that elsewhere. Although there are a couple of extreme ones where they reuse washing machine water at least three times. I'm not too sure I could do that - sure maybe reuse it once if the first load wasn't too dirty but otherwise. We always caught the water and used it on the garden, that worked fine.
Last night we welcomed 21mm of rain and the crops next door are greening up already, but the sun and wind over the next couple days will simply dry it out again, it's just a northland battle.

In general things are ticking along - we've got a massive post and rail fencing job that we're working on at present. It was started last Monday/Tuesday and it'll hopefully be finished by the end of this week - weather dependent. It's all very slow work, everything has to be immaculate. Dad's using the laser level to put in the posts, so they're all at the exact same height - no matter what the ground is like (it's mostly flat with a very slight rise in a couple places) there are four rails to do with one on top to cap it. I then have to go along the top rail with the router to round off one edge. It's slow, tedious work but we're getting there. Two sections are complete apart from the gates and they look awesome. It's nice to stand back and see how well you're doing.

We're using screws with all of our post and rails now, rather than nails. That way the rails won't pop off or twist when they get wet and then dry out, like you'd often see. This line in particular goes down the driveway and right to the road, perfectly straight! And it is in a very upmarket town - Matakana. Think rich horsey people, wineries etc., and you'll understand why it has to look the part.

Here is the little lagoon off the beach that I like to swim in. It's all shells in here and the tide was right out, but during high tide the water is quite deep and comes right up to the edge of the white shells. it's nice and calm in here, people jump off from the left hand side of the top photo, about where my shadow is in the bottom one. And usually the bulk of the rocks in the bottom photo are covered and you'd only see the darker tips of them. I've never seen the water so clear here before.
Also in the bottom picture is where the diving/spear fishing happens. Everyone swims out from the lagoon, way out past the rocks. Although I won't be taking part in it, as there are Bronze Whalers that hang around. Taylor's friend lost the spear he was borrowing, he had left it on the ocean floor with fish on it so he could collect some mussels, suddenly the float was a long distance away and when he followed it it was quickly pulled away. A shark took the fish as a free feed, including the spear, rope and buoy - about $350 worth of gear. Oops.

My Dad's sister and her family have been up this way from the Manawatu, and stayed here during their travels for a few days, so we took them out to a couple of our beaches including this one.

Maggie is doing well, however Pippa - not so much. She's possibly got a lung infection and is on antibiotics after her $90 vet visit last Wednesday. She is wheezing a lot, especially when she purrs and her lungs are quite crackly which isn't good. Fingers crossed the medication kicks in soon otherwise it might just get a bit pricey. Maggie is going in to be spayed soon too, these animals all seem to cost a fair bit all at the same time!!

She's quite big now, this picture is about a month old - her ears are still too big for her though!
This is the other day, Pippa wasn't feeling well :) Maggie was cold!

Taylor still hasn't named his kitten, currently called No-Name but he's adorable nonetheless!

Some more pictures of the fencing we're doing...

Pens for the horsey stables....

our awesome post banger can work well under trees :)

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

New Horizons...and Dashboards

Yet again, not much is going on. I haven't had any work for over a week now so it means I'm not doing all that much. It leads to some serious boredom and frustrations one could only imagine. However I'm slowly getting used to it; the quiet life does not suit me.

Yesterday however, was a very big day with a rather big step forward and I guess financially wise - a horrendously big step back. Well not quite, but it's in the process. I sold Ali yesterday. Yup, my beautiful red BMW is gone and I'll never see her again. It's actually quite an emotionally taxing thing for me - selling my car. Same thing happened when I sold my first car and bought Ali, the guilt was ridiculous and that car didn't even have a name!
So trading old Ali in, I wasn't really processing that it was actually happening and it was only when we were driving home after cleaning out all of my things that I felt rather bleh. Poor Ali.
I guess I'd better explain.

We all four of us went north yesterday. One ute needed a service, the other needed a warrant - both at Holden (seeing as we don't trust our local mechanics...) so I took Ali up there as well to see what trade in value I'd get. I was sort of hoping somewhere along the lines of a friendly two thousand dollars. Hmm. Because they just flick cars like her straight to Turners Auctions I was never going to get much for her, however I didn't expect them to say only half of what I intended. One thousand. We were shocked. This was simply because the clear coat is peeling in places on the paint work, thus making the overall appearance, uh, shabby. Even though the dealer agreed she was a great car in brilliant condition for her age, due to it going to Turners they couldn't do more for us.

Interestingly enough, they said the only reason the clear coat was peeling like it was, was because she'd already had a repaint done. I guess it just wasn't done to the usual factory standards which was why it got so bad, so quickly.

I was going to take her home and try sell her privately but we risked the potential of her having more issues, letting randoms test drive her, and the possible comeback the buyer would have if she did break down not long after they bought her. It's a big risk to take, one that we weren't quite sure on. However, eventually Mum (my brilliant Mum) twisted the main guys arm. He offered $1250 for Ali but she convinced him to up it to $1500. Finally he caved! They took her then and there and we no longer had that burden. I know, it's not much. Similar cars are selling on trade me for at least four thousand but they're probably running OK. I guess it's just the risk you take and we chose the easy way out. I felt pretty stink emptying out all of my guff - not that there was much in there as I'm a nice, tidy driver. Then I gave them the key and that was that...sorry Ali.
The night before Nick gave her a good clean off and I polished her, not actually intending on selling her the next afternoon! The great thing was that her rego and warrant were both due within a month and I didn't have to pay for them! So I did a bit of an internal dance at that :D

So now to explain the other thing...I bought a car, well sort of, not quite. I haven't signed on the dotted line but the finance has been approved, I've paid a small amount to them alongside the money from Ali. And the car is due to arrive from an Auckland dealership in the next few days. So it should be ready for me after they do all of the grooming and pre-sale checks etc, I should see it sometime mid next week. And uh - it's brand new. *cough* *splutter* *what the heck am I doing??*

If I'm completely honest I didn't want a new car, I was never planning on getting a new car for quite a long time. I just wanted a nice, second hand car from a dealership that I could trust, and pay not too much for it - maybe get a small loan that I could pay off in a short term. But Mum and Dad had a bit to say about that, as the only cars I could find within my price range weren't overly ideal. They all had high km's on the clock for their age. Most were imports without any NZ owners and just weren't ideal.
For instance there was a bigger hatchback sitting on the Holden forecourt for 20K. It had about 60,000km, covered in scratches and it was two years old. I sat in it, it was nice for sure, but why pay 20K for a car in that condition when a few extra thousand would buy me something brand new with an odometer displaying those beautiful 000,000's?

So my hands were tied and my arm was pulled. I am happy with the outcome, but I'm not looking forward to listening to the opinions of everyone. Not many people were happy with Ali, and I got sick of being labeled the "rich relief milker" simply because I drove a BMW and a fair few people couldn't cope with the jealousy? Is that what it was? I don't know. Honestly, if they were that jealous they could've had her. She wasn't that amazing and I'm certainly not a rich relief milker - that comment really eats at me and it takes a fair bit to not snap the person's head off!

The new car is a Holdon Barina LT, five doors. Bluetooth, reversing camera, heated front seats, leather steering wheel, daytime running lights (because for some reason those are exciting - heaven knows why?), cruise control. It's got all the mod-com's, ability to play CD's (Ali couldn't), radio and off Apple and Samsung phones. I believe it's got a gps ability in there too somewhere as well as being able to play DVD's however only when stationary...such a drawback...I mean.

Quite seriously, the thing that sold it for me was the ability to raise the seat as well as shift it back and forth. I've driven a couple cars and not being able to raise the seat upwards to see over the bonnet was a massive drawback. Ali had that amazing feature and I couldn't have driven her without it (I honestly wouldn't have reached the pedals!!) I took it for a test drive and the dealer, James, who has sold Mum and Dad vehicles previously, actually took me out on a great route so I could experience it properly. In town/city driving through roundabouts, lights, and lane changes. As well as more rural driving, getting up to 100km. It was a great drive, I tested a Ford Focus a while back and this is way, way better. It handles brilliantly on the road, it feels like a big SUV type car, has few blind spots and is rated one of the safest cars on the road. It felt like I'd been driving it for years and when I pulled back into the yard Mum, Dad and Nick said I suited it well.

Oh, so the reason it's coming from Auckland is because the demo car that I was driving, (and hoping to buy simply because a demo car would be a few thousand less) hadn't outdone it's demo car specifications just yet. It had to be a demo car for at least 3 months or for 2000km's. The great thing was that it was already registered, so the ORC's wouldn't apply. But sadly I couldn't have it so they've plucked one from Auckland in the colour I want. What colour is that, do you ask? Well, I guess you'll just have to wait and see! haha!

For the meantime, I am carless. I have had no car in my name for 24 hours and I'm seriously struggling with that fact. My independence has gone for the next week, which is actually quite difficult. Not only do I have no work, I have no car to go anywhere. But I shall survive. It's a tad stressful trying to figure how I'm meant to pay for the car, not only the finance cost but the insurance as well, but it should all come together I'm sure :) 

I've got no idea on a name for this new car. I'm torn - do I name it and risk giving it a personality or what? My car does everything with me, it's hard not to get quite close to it, in a way that it's sort of a friend. Ok, better stop talking before they put me in a straight

Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Year

Hello and welcome to 2017! I'm glad you made it here :)

Unfortunately just prior to the new year, my boss' Mum passed away. I'd only met her once, but she was so nice. It's kinda scary really, back in late November/early December during either docking or crutching, she felt a little off colour. After visiting the doctors they said she had pancreatic cancer, and from what I've heard, it had spread through her entire body giving her only weeks to live. How is that, like I don't know all the details - I've only heard snippets here and there, but how can you go from seemingly healthy, to looking at living only a few more weeks?
Sadly, she went downhill very quickly after the diagnosis and spent Christmas time in hospitals having emergency surgeries and the like and passed away on the 30th December. This was why I milked Christmas Day morning, because Cam couldn't be there.
She wasn't old either, the sad thing is that Cam's wife Jo had to go through losing both of her parents to cancer over many long years. Out of either option I don't know what I'd prefer - something short and quick like Cam's Mum, or false hope drawn out over quite a few years like Jo's parents.
It's awful, around here in my neighbourhood so many people (especially farmers) seem to get to a certain age and suddenly find they're filled with cancer and die shortly thereafter. It sort of makes you curious as to what happened around here once that have caused all the people in that generation to all have the same sentencing?
The funeral is today, it'll be huge. I considered going but at the same time I wasn't too sure, so I didn't go.

On New Years Day Mum, Dad and I drove down to Hamilton rather early in the morning. We've bought a shed off some friends down there, and finally made time to start taking it down. It's an American Barn style shed, not massive but big enough for what we need it for. It's green, white and red - so needs a decent paint job done when we put it back up, but it's in good condition which is the main thing.
So Dad and I got started on the two sides, thankfully the iron has small screws/bolts instead of nails, so I was running along having a blast with the drill, pulling them all out. Once the two sides were off, we jumped up onto the roof. Bad move. We have a mental note to put all of the walls up before re-installing the roof because it was swaying from side to side, rather violently. Not particularly pleasant, that. Shoulda pulled the roof off first...
Anyhow, amidst the swaying shed we managed to chug along slowly and carefully with the roof iron, managing to pull off about a quarter of the roof area - as it took ages. We're writing on the back of each sheet in numerical order, which way is up and where about it came from - which takes a little while. So at least when we eventually come to rebuild the shed here, we should get the sheets in the right places!
Unfortunately it got pretty windy and drizzly after a while, so it was too dangerous to be up there, I know I certainly didn't feel like falling off a shed roof to celebrate my new year! So we packed up and left - apparently the sun came back and the wind died down about half an hour after we left...seriously?
Mum, Dad and Nick are heading back down sometime this weekend to finish it off, they've still to the roof to pull down, the entire back wall (which will be pretty easy, really), what's left of the front wall. The three roller doors - somehow, and hopefully all of the steel framing. The steel is quite light, and with Nick there they should be able to chew through it rather quickly. I've done my dash with it, that's for sure. We'll probably rebuild it next summer, these things take time lol

I spent a couple days with Taylor earlier in the week as he has been on holidays, his friend Mike was also staying at his house so we basically just hung out together for most of the time. Monday was scorching, so that night we went to the beach so they could swim. I'm currently without anything suitable to swim in, so I got to just sorta stand there and watch, about knee deep in the water.
There's a nice little part off the beach where we were, between some massive rocks where the water comes in like a little lake, oddly it's filled with shells there - not sand like the rest of the beach. But it's a lot calmer and nice to have a little swim around in. Quite a lot of people jump off the rocks into it during high tide, although I wouldn't be that keen considering there are rocks in the water in some places. You can fish off the rocks there too, but from Nick's experience you only ever catch rock cod, or you lose your line!
My mission on Monday is to go to Kmart or somewhere and find myself some togs, so at least I can swim with them, rather than standing there looking silly on a scorching hot day. Tay and his friends are all getting into spear fishing, with the actual guns. Although I wouldn't do that exactly, I want to try out snorkeling with them at least. Considering how close I live to so many beaches, the amount of times I actually go to the beach is ridiculous - I need to get out more.

We stopped in to see another friend of Tay's - Luke, before we went to the beach. He works on another local farm and there are wild cats there. They were chatting when I saw an adorable grey tabby kitten with a white bib, watching us. I tried getting close to it, but he ran away. Not five minutes later he was sitting on the wheel of the side-by-side. If you know me, obviously I was like "omgosh! Look!!" They tried to catch it, but it went into the bike. Eventually it came out and ran into one of the cowshed drains, after lifting up a steel lid Taylor managed to catch it. Yes, we took it home - me driving his car, while he held it (he loves his cats, I've never seen anything like it!) and it just sat there purring!
I guess the kitten must be at the right sort of age, not too wild but slightly trusting, he was still a little dubious at Taylors house, but he's getting more and more friendly. So, so cute. Pawpaws, the other cat was livid about the new arrival, hopefully she'll get over herself in time.
I'll do a post in a little while with some pictures - once I've transferred them from my phone. I've got no work at the moment so at least I've got time.

Oh, still on the car hunt, but I've found some really nice ones and I'm looking at a few make/style options. I really like Mazda Axela's, but I've seen some Toyota Corolla's as well, some are signature class with really low k's and they get some great warranties with the purchase, only a couple years old, slightly above my price range but I would say it would be worth the slightly higher price. I'll keep you posted :)