Sunday, June 5, 2011


So I said we were looking for a new place to rent, and then we found one.  R is very happy because it's in the country.  I am slightly less thrilled to be moving to the country, because I've lived in the country before and I know it's full of cows and grass flies.

However, it's a larger house (three bedrooms, with a small section of its own) for less money.  It's only three years old and has a nice big kitchen, a separate laundry, a fireplace (with a wet-back), and a bath.  I'm very excited about the bath.  

A couple of years back, I wrote on another website about how my electric heater had broken down and how miserable it is to live in an older New Zealand home (i.e.: early than 1970s) in winter.  We don't have insulation, and it's not required by law in older houses.  It doesn't snow where I am, but NZ is still home to penguin colonies and such like, so it's not exactly tropical.  My house is cold enough (even with the heater) that the olive oil goes white and gluggy just sitting in my kitchen cupboard.  A couple of foreign friends were very surprised to hear that we don't have insulation.  Still more friends were just interested in the penguins.  If it helps, I've held a penguin before.  R has also held a penguin before, only it got all upset and shit on him.  R doesn't like penguins now.

But anyway, the new house not only has insulation (and a fire), it also has double glazing!  This makes me doubly excited about the potential power bills.  R is such a Kiwi that he didn't know what double glazing was when I pointed it out... because he's never seen it before.

Still, he has made promises to now do a lot of manly, country things - like mow lawns and chop firewood... which might be nice, because it might stop him from doing the vacuuming while I'm out, because then I just feel guilty about not doing the vacuuming.  I will also be stuck in an isolated country house a lot, so I might end up online a bit more... or just start talking to the cows... or write a book about someone stuck in a house who goes stir crazy and tries to murder everybody (except everyone's already read The Shining anyway, so there's probably only so far I can go with that plot).  If worst comes to worst, I guess I can chop firewood.

My mother has also seen the new house once (today) and already found fifty things wrong with it.  She's good like that.  My dad says "she's just trying to be helpful".  I don't believe him.  Instead, R and I celebrated a hard day's packing by sitting down to watch Star Wars Episodes 1-3... and I sat there for hours and loudly jumped on everything that was wrong with those movies.  I figure shit has to roll downhill.  And Hayden Christensen is apparently downhill.


  1. You feel guilty if somebody else does the vacuuming? Even if he lives in the the house too, and (presumably) generates some of the vacuumables?


    Hmm... I think you would feel very uncomfortable here in Singapore, where it's considered pretty normal to employ a foreign maid from a poor neighbouring country to do such things. On Monday I had professional cleaners in and was thick-skinned enough to ask the ladies to wash drinking glasses and crockery. Well, they were hired for two hours and after about 75 minutes they had run out of things to do. I mean, I couldn't say something like, "Hey, look, I've bought two hours of your time... we've still got 45 minutes to go. Do you want to learn how to do cheerleader moves?" etc etc...


    Eduardo Q

  2. Oh yes, I could never handle a maid. If I ever hired a maid, I'd insist on cleaning the whole house myself before they got there. I wouldn't want to inconvenience someone else with my mess.

    I dunno what that is - perhaps it's the overarching sense of egalitarianism that permeates NZ culture. Even extraordinarily wealthy people here would rarely have a maid. I think a lot of countries hold onto specific ideals and ways of being. Like the US still insists on believing that hard work will make you a success (i.e. the American Dream). NZ insists on believing that everyone should be treated equally and that no one should ever dare to act like they're better than anyone else. We don't do "class" and abhor arrogance. I think it comes out of the British class-system, which a lot of people tried to escape from and set up their own private holdings that were more or less equal to their neighbors. It actually embarrassing to think that you have more money than someone else.

    Funny thing is, it's probably part of the reason why we have such high levels of depression. You daren't ever celebrate yourself and your achievements. But it's also why we have relatively low levels of racism (I say "relatively") and tend to treat famous people like they're just everyday people. We're really bad at kissing ass but altogether pretty fair.

    Hell, I don't even like the idea of hotel maids (even though I know they're really there to look after the hotel's property, not just tidy up after me)! Where possible, R and I tend to stay in serviced apartments when we travel. That way there's no maid.

    Either that, or I leave the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door when we go out. They should really make a "Please don't clean up my room" sign...