Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 16 2014


Wow! – 7.5 months in New Zealand.  Time sure flies. We seem to have settled into our routine.  The NZ version of suburbia as a live aboard.

Josh is very busy with school.  The IB(International Baccalaureate)  program is pretty intense.  I think for the most part he enjoys it.  He has a tutor for Physics as he has never been exposed to physics before and all his classmates have had at least on year.  He is keeping up, so it is all good.  Socially, phwew!  Busy boy.  He has a very diverse and nice group of friends and they are constantly up to something.  No girlfriend (that we know of) but you never know when that will change.  Not sure where he would find time for one.  He has picked up two new sports – waterpolo and rugby.  I certainly have no clue about the rules for either and frankly watching hurts my stomach.  In water polo I worry that some punk from the other team will drown him and rugby – OMG they hit hard – and no pads.  Can you hear him now?  “C’mon Mom – really?”  As long as he enjoys it – right?  Hopefully I won’t have a stroke worrying about him……He has lost 5kgs and rearranged the rest – looking pretty buff.  Is it wrong for Mom to notice?  How impressed am I that he is up at 0515 three days a week to bike to the gym!!
Waterpolo team
After rugby












Takapuna Grammar School - kinda like Hogwarts.
 
Dennis is not working. He has applied for a job – will interview when things at the office are back under control from the un forecasted cyclonic force winds last week.  The job is with the Department of Conservation working in the Islands doing re provisioning and ensuring biosecurity is enforced.  Right up his alley.  Keep your fingers crossed.  He is busy though - doing maintenance on the boat, working his still and keeping Josh and I fed (which is a full time job itself with Josh). He just completed installation of a new hot water heater.  Seems US and NZ plumbing fittings are very different.  Not sure I understand it all, but it gives him a pain.  Next is chasing down and fixing the water leak on the engine.  AARRGGHHH sounds like more plumbing!!!


So yeah – last week’s storm.  Pretty crazy.  15K+ miles under our keel and the most wind we have seen has been right here at the dock.  Dennis slept through the whole thing!  Hard to believe I know, but hey he turns off the worry button when we are tied to a dock.  Frankly for me and Josh it was too noisy – we had to be up in the morning, so ear plugs were not an option.  Also we were heeling like crazy.  So around 0245 we were up – adding lines, securing things on the deck and taking the bikes off the side of the boat.  Dennis’ bike got a little munched – hoping it is fixable.  Mine was okay, but we put it on deck anyway.  After securing Evergreen, Josh and I walked down the dock to check on Don Quixote (friends from Mexico/Seattle area).  Wow it looked like an earthquake the way the dock was undulating.  Josh figures the height of the wave was at least a foot.  DQ suffered some damage to her solar panels, but fortunately was being blown into the dock – so all secure there.  The major damage occurred to the Ferry ramp and Marina office building.  The ferry loading ramp blew away, bounced off the office roof and landed in the water between shore and the dock.  I think Josh and I just missed it.  I bet it would have been cool to see.  Anyway the office has a huge hole in the roof and the ferry ramp is toast.  Ferry service started back today from their slip in the marina.  Will be interesting tonight to see the backing in process.  The office has been moved to the building next door, which also required closing of the lounge, necessitating a new study place for Josh.  Not sure when the lounge will be available, but in the meantime DQ has let us set Josh up in their boat.  They don’t live aboard anymore and the slip is very close to the gate.  Just set it up yesterday – so far, so good.  They say it was the worst storm in 35 years – gust to 170 kph (so like 100 mph).  The severity wasn’t not forecasted until late Tuesday night, so most people were caught unaware.  The original forecast was nothing to get excited about, hence no one was concerned.


 
May have to enlarge, but this is the before 
see the blue roof thing, that is what blew away
 
After - blue thing is in the water between
 the rocks and the dock


 
 
I am working at a private surgical hospital as their Quality Manager.  It is very nice, very laid back.  Soooo not what I am used to.  Funny when a good thing stresses you out.   I really like it and the people I work with.  NZ has a very different health care delivery system.  This hospital only does surgery - day stay and inpatients.  No ER, no in house pharmacy or lab, no ICU (a small intermediate care unit but nothing more specialized), no blood bank.  It is generally a nice calm and controlled environment.  Many things are the same as the US as far as healthcare initiatives (surgical care improvement project, who check list, VTE prevention, CLABSI project) and just as many things are totally alien (very little in the way of lawsuits, laid back to the point of needing cpr, attitude about things, no joint commission).  So I have lots to learn and get used to.  My commute is about an hour.  Ferry to the city, bus and then a 1.1km walk.  It is pretty nice.  I enjoy the time to wake up or regroup.  Driving is horrendous and takes the same amount of time.  So I am doing my thing for the environment and staying sane – works for all.

New Zealand itself also has its good points and not so good points.  But, for the most part I think the good outweighs the bad.  With only 4.5 million people it is not crowded – 1.5 million of them live in the Auckland area, so doesn’t take long to get away from it all (on single lane windy roads).  However it means not a lot of competition in the economy – a seller’s market.  Things like clothes, housing, shoes, housewares, electronics are outrageously expensive.  More than importing to an island can account for.  I think really that is my biggest issue.  In Hawaii we paid 10-20% more for things because of shipping – here it’s more like 110% more.  Sad when it is less expensive to buy and ship from the US.  The rest though is pretty good.  Josh is in a good school in a safe area.  It is obscenely beautiful.  The people are friendly and don’t get their knickers in a twist about much (except maybe the All Blacks –rugby team).  The laid back thing has its good and bad points as well, but…… nothing is perfect and here is pretty darn good.

Dennis and I have also made some good friends and are much more social as a couple than we were in CA.  So, also nice.  We went to a school fundraiser dance last month – What a hoot.  Great music, relatively inexpensive alcohol and free food.  Good company and dancing.  What is not to like!  Oh yeah and raised money for school sports programs.

On the downside I have been unable to work cycling into my life.  I just can’t see me getting up and out the door by 0400 to ride by myself in the dark.  The roads here are really not conducive to riding – it is all stop and go with traffic.  How crazy is it that there is a beautiful bike lane right up to the intersection, then it disappears and there is nowhere to go except into the traffic?!  So I have re boxed my bike and put her in storage at a friend’s house.  Can’t bring myself to sell her yet – maybe in the summer.  In the meantime I am looking for a used mountain bike.  There are some good places to drive to for mountain biking and once I have one, it is something Dennis and I can do together.
Thanks to all for the birthday wishes on facebook etc.  I had a great weekend - Rugby, Godzilla, friends, cake and in NZ I don't have to share with Dennis - Father's Day is in September!!
 
Not much else to report on these days… Work, eat, sleep – repeat.  Back to looking forward to the weekend.

Josh Birthday
Josh School Picture