Monday, October 27, 2008

My Experience on the Wrong Side of the Road

I arrived in New Zealand with very little incident, well, except for the fact that I ended up lugging a couple of extremely awkward and heavy boxes of paperwork for Todd's work. That was a lovely extra $280 in luggage fees. I hate that they have started charging so much for bringing any luggage. Soon it will be cheaper to just buy everything you need at your destination.

When I arrived in Auckland at 5:45 in the AM, I waited for my luggage, which had jumped airlines from Delta to Qantas, so I wasn't positive that it would make the entire trip. I continued to wait, slowly starting to freak out because Todd really needed the paperwork I was hauling, oh yeah, and my clothes for the trip. Well, finally my luggage came out in a much less than pristine condition due to being inspected pretty much at every location because of its weight. I was the last one to leave that carousel.

After I got through customs and had my luggage inspected, once again, I went out to the airport lobby to collect my car from Alamo. Alamo exists in New Zealand you ask? No, it doesn't. In fact, nobody has heard of Alamo in New Zealand. So as I am searching the different counters and talking to each car rental company to see if they are an affiliate of Alamo, I don't hear my name being paged over the intercom. I finally find that Eurocar is an affiliate, but my reservation hasn't arrived in their computer. Apparently I shouldn't use travelocity, as I was informed. I finally get a car after having been at the airport for 2 hours trying to sort everything out and go to load my luggage, accidentally nearly putting my luggage in the driver's side of the car, given that it is on the opposite side in New Zealand. Yes, they drive on the opposite side of the road.

Now, imagine my regret to find that in all of my packing I remembered everything except to print off the maps from google maps, my favorite map website. I made sure to obtain a map from the car rental company and set off in my adventure 2 hours later than anticipated to meet up with Todd in Taupo, 3-4 hours south of Auckland. As I pulled out onto the wrong side of the road, it just felt wrong. I will admit that it was a little exhilerating to be justified in doing something that felt just a little wrong. The exhileration soon left me, however, as I found how hard it is to judge spacial distances when I am driving from what I am used to being the passenger side.

Here I am, rushing to get to Taupo, without real directions, turning the wrong direction and going just a little out of my mind. I turn left onto the road, and instead of turning my blinker on, turn the windshield wipers on. I get lost, go to ask questions at a gas station, forget to put the car in park because the gear shift is on the opposite side. I get back into the car, start to pull out, turn on the windshield wipers again, pull onto the road, turn left onto the freeway, turn the blasted windshield wipers on again, get to close to the side of the road, go too fast because 100 km really isn't that fast. It definitely sounds like it should be faster. I change lanes...STUPID WINDSHIELD WIPERS!!! I've had enough, no more turn signals for me. I drive through towns, apparently there are only highways, no freeways. How fast can I speed without getting a ticket? I can't afford another ticket due to the fact that I recently got one while test driving a challenger (Todd will probably frame that ticket. Challengers are his favorite.) I do the conversion in my head. If I can go 10 over without a ticket in the US, does that mean I can go 16 k's over and not get a ticket while I am here? Not sure, not worth it...time sure does fly when you are rushing. I go through a town where there is a building shaped like a dog. What the dirty?! It's a bar. Only one more town and then I am in Taupo.

I drove all the way into Taupo to ask directions and find that I passed the hotel on my way into town, about 10k's away. I turn around, drive back up highway 1, go to turn left. I'm finally there, so the windshield wipers didn't bother me as much this time. Seriously, they should switch them back to the correct side and put the blinker button back where it belongs. I pull up to the hotel where Todd is waiting. "So I take it that you didn't get the minivan I reserved for you at Hertz, did you?" Wait, what? I didn't hear the page...ok, none of the pages at the airport. Now, we don't have a large enough vehicle for all the boxes, but dangit, I'm not dealing with those stupid windshield wipers again.

The moral of this story? Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong...never buy a european car, because the windshield wipers won't be in the right place ....and I drove on the wrong side of the road and lived to tell about it.

More on New Zealand to come. It's a beautiful country full of wonderful, kind people, and best of all it is springtime here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Playing Dress-up

Yesterday we got to play dress-up with the kids, helping them put together the costumes we got them and teaching them to do their makeup. We took some pics of the experience, too, because we are going to miss Halloween due to the New Zealand trip. I have to admit, I am sad that I can't follow through with all the plans I had been thinking of for this weekend, AND because we won't get to carve our pumpkins until November. Maybe we will make turkeys jack-o-lanterns. I WILL get to roast the seeds, though. Anyway, here are a few of some of the fun shots.

Kailey is my very Johnny Depp pirate with skin so pretty that I couldn't get it to look dirty enough.

Jessica is my Tinkerbell, her very being oozes the attitude and looks associated with the Disney fairy.

Austin is a storm trooper. His dream come true...this was the costume I didn't put together.

I apologize that this isn't my best collage. It was thrown together in the midst of a mad rush of packing. And, as always, just click on the picture for it's full size.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Ok, so I have been tagged again by this fourth picture thing. Meagen got me first, then Tamaran joined in. The problem with this is, though, that I don't set my pics up the same way as most people. I have them all in iPhoto according to events and they just keep getting added in. Here is my best attempt at following the rules, though:

This is a picture of the cake that I made Todd for his birthday last year. Notice the theme is even on his t-shirt. Gotta love football season. Go Redskins.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Muy Mucho Fantastico!

I'm headed to New Zealand! Todd's next trip will be to the Land of the Kiwi and you KNOW he wasn't about to leave me behind. Thank Heaven for frequent flier miles. I have to admit, I am pretty blasted stoked. We are going to go to the Hobbit town from Lord of the Rings, plus they have rain forest just outside of the city and the black sand beaches. I won't be getting into the water, though. Not only is it springtime there and only slightly warmer than here, but HELLO, there are fish in that water. I'm sure there will be plenty of fantastic pics, though. Oh, and get this! Because they are 13 hours ahead of us, we will actually leave Tuesday evening and get home Tuesday afternoon. Sigh. Now I just have to wait a couple of weeks till departure.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Final Score 21-3

Snow is here, the air is brisk and pumpkins are out. I currently have five pumkins sitting on hay bales on my front porch ready for carving. The smell of baking pumpkin seeds and banana bread (not together) and wearing sweaters all speak of autumn to me. There is nothing that I enjoy more than a cold day outside and me all snuggled up in my blankets with a pink nose, a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

To celebrate the changing season and Halloween we went to Frightmares at Lagoon on Friday night. Can I tell you how much I love Lagoon on a cold night? I think it must evoke some sort of childhood memory. Growing up we went to Lagoon once a year right before it closed for the winter. We packed a cooler and stayed all day and almost till it closed. It seems like many of the years that we went, we chose a rainy day. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but Lagoon on a cold, brisk day and staying late at night will always seem fantastic to me.

Also, this weekend, Todd and I attended the BYU v NMU football game. Now, I will be the first to say, that I am a fairweather friend of football in general. The closest I have come to football fan-dom was being a trainer during high school and a few flag football games in college (I played in these). So, when I hear that we are sitting at a football game during what is supposed to be a snowstorm, I wasn't very excited. I did take one for the team and bundle up, finding out that I couldn't bring my hot chocolate in with me after I got there, and sat through the entire game. Luckily, there was no snow, BYU won and we sat on the side where most of the wind was blocked. Oh, and did I mention that Todd dyed his hair and eyebrows blue? All those factors made for a pretty OK experience. Now Todd will keep me, and keep hoping that someday we will attend a Redskins football game. For that...hmm...I am thinking he gets to come to Shakespeare. I think I just heard Todd mentally groan.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Haaappy Birffday!

Whenever I hear those two words I am reminded of Gus-Gus from the Disney cartoon of Cinderella. I hear it in my head. He says it with such gusto that I have never seen equaled...until this year.

I know I am getting this post up a bit late, but I finally downloaded some pics onto my computer and as I was looking at them, I was reminded of how excited Jessica and Kailey were on their birthday. This was the first birthday that they had each had their own cake.

I won't claim that these were my finest cakes, in fact, they are extremely basic. All I had to incorporate was a tutu for Jessica and sunflowers for Kailey, and due to changed schedules, I was in a huge rush to make sure they got done. It didn't matter, though. I have never had a cake (or two cakes, rather) be so appreciated in my life...and for those of you who have seen the picture, last year I made a cake that was a replica of a Redskins helmet for Todd. All I got from him was a, "looks nice." Bah Humbug to him.

The sad part of this story is that our weekend was so crazy and mixed up between moving and a split weekend with the kids, that the girls didn't even get to eat their cake. Now what was a girl like me to do when the house was all empty and I was left with two cakes? Sadly, I threw them away...well, after a bite or two.

Anyway, I have posted a few pics of the cakes of the girls' expressions when they saw their cakes. We actually blindfolded them and sat them down before they could see their cakes. We even did it individually so that we could get a picture of each girl's expression. Enjoy!

Oh, and here's a quick hint if you didn't already on the pic for a full-sized version and to actually be able to see the girls' faces.