Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What the heck is that?

I woke up early this morning to check emails and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a mouse. I wish.  It was not a mouse but a huge creepy Weta bug.  I  F-R-E-A-K-E-D out.  My giant man child Morgan (6'1") wouldn't go near it.  I had to catch it and release it since our resident vegetarian, Ewan, pointed out that it is protected and we cannot kill it.  We probably could have grilled it and had it
 for lunch with leftovers.
The Weta bug is revered in NZ and they are , in fact, protected. They do bite, though I didn't know that when I was catching it.  Other than leaving a stinging bite, they are harmless. You won't die or need to go to the ER if you get bitten by one.  Good to know.
You see, our delightful house in NZ does not have air conditioning and since it was hot last night (84 F), I had left our windows open.  Of course the Kiwis don't put screens in their windows (that would be wimpy) so our new house guest just waltzed right in unmolested.
If anyone can find regulations on State Department housing and air conditioning / screened windows, please forward it to me. I will be eternally grateful.  I can learn to love pink walls and tile floors but there is no way I am going to let my kids melt at night or snuggle up to Wetas, no matter how "privileged" we are to live in New Zealand.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

House a home?

It is no secret that I was less than thrilled with my new home in NZ. I was happy with NZ, don't get me wrong, but my house was "quirky."  I'm not going to get into the details. I am tired of hearing myself complain, so I'm sure my friends and family are tired of it as well.

I had heard that homesickness really starts to set in at 6 months into a tour, and especially during the holidays. Check and check. On top of those two triggers, we surprisingly sold our home in Costa Rica just before New Year. I was supposed to be happy, but I wanted to cry. Now I was completely and truly "homeless."  This pink and green fiasco was my only home. I was not gonna go into a decline and feel sorry for myself.

We need a party, I decided. In my former life as a publisher's wife, I had many parties. Adrian and I would invite all the "cool kids" to our parties and shun the pompous hoitie-toities.  We had a blast.  But, having a big New Year's party would require everyone coming to our house. Ugh. I just couldn't see it.

Having given up hope of ever wanting to entertain people here, I turned our dining room into a sewing room and the main living room has been transformed into the kids' room. So the only area left was the kitchen/family room with its tiny stove and ridiculous dwarf couches. 

I did have that rockin' fake fireplace, though, so there was still hope. Adrian, ever the diplomat (even before the new job) reminded me that people don't care at New Year. As long as there is food and alcohol, they will be happy.  So, it was decided. We were going to have people over. Lots of people, and each of them would be bringing children.  So, we began inviting the cool kids.

I cleaned and hastily hung up the pictures I had been "meaning to get to" since the movers came 3 months ago. My new friend Peggy helped me decorate and I cooked all day. People came, people laughed, kids played and everyone had a great time. After all the children were fed, we rolled out the Pièce de résistance - our CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN.  Mmmmmm.  Nobody, I mean NOBODY can resist the chocolate fountain. One of our guests, who is allergic to chocolate, even tried it. It is heaven. Our cute little guest Misa was covered in chocolate within 2 minutes. Luckily, I had the foresight to put the fountain outside so the house did not suffer. In the end, nobody wanted to leave and I saw in the new year for the first time in years. My house was now my home.

This weekend I completed the transition by fixing all of the little annoyances that have plagued me since moving in. I hung up my favorite artwork, cleaned out closets that were still filled with boxes unopened, and lovingly placed family photos. My southwestern styled couches are now covered with IKEA covers and I choose to believe my pink walls are beige. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. My rugs are covering hard tile floors and the combination of white tile, pink walls and green Persian carpet doesn't seem too ridiculous. In fact, it looks "eclectic." I like it, it is my home, and I love it.

Before                              After
And, the additoin of my faux fireplace

Still working on these :)

Choosing to love my new home was a conscious decision.  It had to be done.