So, I have now shared with you the horrors of my trip to New Zealand and the process drained me to the point I could no longer type. Well, not really. I just had a lot of that stuff called life getting all up in my face and so I figured I should probably focus on that instead.
Sir Smiley promised to pop me some yummy pop corn but then got wrapped up in making himself a wallet from leather he bought (to replace the one he lost…) and is right now pounding divots into the belt he also just made himself.
I digress. I started to ponder the fact that since my trip I have only shared the horrors. I am putting a black mark on New Zealand’s name! It must be redeemed! So, I wanted to briefly share with you some of the joys of our trip. I will start with scuba diving. Yes, I did puke all over myself and damage the car getting there. But none of that was the fault of Dive Tutukaka…our dive company. They did a fantastic job, despite the weather and the experience was fantastic. We saw nudibranchs, scorpion fish, moray eels….and a bazillion fish. We swam into a cave, and even drove the boat into the larges marine cave in the world. Here were some pics of our adventures that day:
This more than made up for the vomit. I will share more joyous fun later. But Sir Smiley has adjusted his new leather belt so I will leave you now to eat homemade popcorn. Yum!
So yesterday I gave you the backstory leading up to my epic adventure that was New Zealand *
I have two disclaimers.
First, New Zealand is amazing. Nothing more I can say because the country is too beautiful for words, the people are nice and considerate and full of common sense (Which was soooo refreshing), and the food was fantastic! I absolutely love New Zealand! The problem was that New Zealand did not love me.
Second, these posts are not for the squeamish. In our Bible Study, Sir Smiley made a rule that we could not talk about bodily secretion. Mainly because there were a bunch of mothers in our group which ultimately led to conversations of poop, breast feeding, and periods. I break this rule here…frequently.
And so this epic saga begins. I will be going through my vacation a few days at a time… twice. First, I will be focusing on the insane and horrifying things that tainted so many parts of our vacation…and then later I will be elaborating on the amazing and awe inspiring moments of our journey. This trip needed a good dose of Prozac because the high points were euphoric and low points were truly mortifying.
Possible names and slogans for our vacation:
Adapt, Overcome, Conquer
Roll with it. No regrets.
When life gives you lemons…make L&P (a popular New Zealand drink)
Our flight out of LAX was pleasantly uneventful. After we landed in Fiji we had our first set of dilemmas. Yes, I said set. We had a three hour layover in Fiji. There were two lines to join when we left the plane, one for reboarding another flight and one to leave the airport. Not wanting to risk running late after going through customs twice, we opted to reboard. This sent us into the airport where we checked in for our next flight…only to find out it had been delayed a couple more hours. So no we had five hours to kill instead of three and the airport was the size of a small food court…only with less to do. So we looked for an exit to go exploring out on the island. But there weren’t any. Once we were in airport we were stuck there. Almost all the staff left and those that were there just shrugged and sent you elsewhere. Fed up we finally went downstairs past the one store in the airport and found a small set of cushioned and long benches we could stretch out on so I took a nice long nap.
A few hours later we decided to get something to eat, at the one small and sketchy “cafe” they had in the airport (and I use that term very loosely). This is when Sir Smiley discovered his wallet was missing. His driver’s license, credit cards, police commission card, ems cards…all gone. Thankfully his passport was stored in a money belt so we still had that but now everything else was MIA. The irony here being that I always lose stuff and he never does…but I was the one who managed to keep track of my wallet the entire trip (thankfully, as we would have had no money otherwise). We tried to call the card companies to cancel the cards…only to discover that none of the phones in this insane airport worked. By this point we were cursing the hell pit that had become Fiji to us (it does redeem itself…more on that later).
We finally board our plane and head off to Auckland. We land at about 3pm instead of 1pm and then sit for thirty more minutes as the stairs to disembark did not fit our plane. After much shoving and ramming and shaking, they finally gave up and went to fetch a new set. So now it’s 3:30 and we head off to rent our car…now in the middle of rush hour in one of probably three countries in the world that think driving on the left and sitting on the right is the way to do it. Sir Smiley can’t drive now…as he doesn’t have his license. So I’m driving on about four hours of sleep in the past forty hours, through rush hour, trying to get to our campsite that closes at 8 and is at least three hours away. By the time we finally escape the city we realize there is no way we’re making it to our campsite before it closes so we get some food and head off to find a hotel. Only, everything is booked. No vacancy, after no vacancy, after no vacancy sign. Finally at about 9:30 we pull into a hotel without a no vacancy sign. Nope, they’re packed. She then informs us that the local mine laid a bunch of people off and for some reason that caused people to flood the hotels. So nothing is open. She pulls out a phone book and someone in the neighboring town takes pity on us and gives us a room.
Pretty much how I felt when we finally got to our room..
Thus ends day one.
Day two begins bright and early as we pack up and head off for our dive, a dive they had been threatening to cancel due to weather but thankfully we were still on for that day. Sir Smiley is an excellent driver and a terrible navigator, I cannot focus worth beans at this point, and when we pass our turn I have to make a u-turn on the wrong side of the road (in my mind anyway). In the process, I get too close to a fence post and two bolts sticking out gouge the whole left side of the car adding a decal that would ultimately cost us $2k. This may or may not have led to some marital strife…something along the lines of “You need to be more careful!” “Well, if you hadn’t lost your wallet you would be driving not me!” “You gouged the whole side of the car!” “Why didn’t you tell me to turn when we were supposed to!” “This will cost us the entire deductible!” “Anything you say right now, I’m thinking a million times worse in my head! I feel terrible!” Followed by uncontrollable sobbing.
How the accident looked in my head…
We have three minutes to get to the dive center so I slowly drive us there through my tears and then sit in the car crying while Sir Smiley checks us in. I finally compose myself, quickly down my breakfast of a muffin and apple juice and immediately hop on the boat. The staff were friendly and helpful, and gave us a quick warning that the boat ride may be a bit choppy. Neither Sir Smiley nor I were concerned as sea sickness was never an issue for us (*insert ominous music here). We go to the top of the boat for a better view and thus begins our boat ride out to the Poor Knights Islands. A little rough apparently means at least 6-7 foot waves that we were fighting the entire way there. I was doing great until the last ten minutes of the trip when I suddenly started to feel funny. One of the staff members runs downstairs to get me a barf bag just in case…but alas he was too late. I started spewing everywhere. Sir Smiley has been a paramedic for ten years and has never seen such and epic barf. It ended up on:
- the boat floor
- the bench I was sitting on
- Sir Smiley’s arms and legs
- my entire front of my shirt, my pants, my sandals, my watch, my arms…even my face and hair.
Sir Smiley shoves some barf bags at me. Paper thin bags that were neatly folded shut. I was spewing so much I couldn’t yell at him to open them, and since I couldn’t get them open with all the puke already on me, I tried to cup one like a bowl up to my face which served more as a sprinkler effect…spraying all my vomit right back at my face. The staff just stared at me frozen in horror. They very obviously had never seen anything like it and had no idea how to help, Meanwhile we are still going over these huge swells but I’m so busy puking that I’m no longer holding on. Sir Smiley is holding me still so I don’t fly off the boat, but over a particularly large swell he slips on all my puke on the floor and scrapes the whole side of his back on the bench.
A fairly accurate depiction really…
It finally ends and I feel much better and now smell strongly of apple juice. We make it to the islands and are sheltered from the waves. I sit and try to recover while Sir Smiley snags my shirt and pants (I had my suit on) and did a bit of laundry off the back of the boat and then hangs it up to dry. We get suited up and go diving successfully. Around this time we discover it’s not just a bit of rain, but a tropic storm cyclone named Lusi. Upon arriving back we discover that the roads are lined with emergency response vehicles, emergency generators, etc. in preparation for this storm. So again, we end up looking for a hotel room back in Auckland instead of camping on the beach in the middle of a cyclone.
Thus ends Day 2.
Chasing Lusi to be continued tomorrow.;
It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything. Apparently, running the preschool program at your church, training for triathlons, leading a Bible Study, leading Cubbies, joining the PTO board and running a house with three kids ages 2, 4, and 6 leaves a person with very little free time. Go figure.
To avoid exploding from all life’s stresses and to celebrate our tenth anniversary, Sir Smiley and I went to New Zealand for ten days (including travel). It was a roller coaster ride of amazing moments. Moments both amazing in how wonderful it was and how horrifying. This blog post gained it’s title from two very important things. First is Murphy, the ever infamous. His law wreaks havoc on all without mercy. On our vacation, Murphy’s law met with Cyclone Lusi and the result is our epic vacation.
For this series of posts, I will be covering the havoc that these two wrought on our vacation. But to start off, we need a little backstory to set the stage. A few little fun facts that also will serve as foreshadowing for what is to come.
Sir Smiley does not lose things. He is meticulous to such a degree it boggles my mind. He honestly cannot leave the house unless he has followed a specific order of objectives. He must carefully assemble his hardware (gun, phone, pocket knife, wallet, etc.) into his pockets. He has to put on his shoes and tie them. He always double checks the entire house and then quickly downs a glass of water. It doesn’t matter if we’re late to see the Pope. He will not skip any of these steps. He has a routine when he goes to work or comes home from work. When he showers. When he eats. There is ALWAYS a specific routine he follows and he NEVER deviates. As a result, he rarely loses things. I am a scatterbrain who will often be searching for the glasses on top of her head. I inherited my dad’s organizational skills (sorry Dad, but we both know it’s true). The running joke is if I can’t find something, to check the couch cushions and we always find it. So me? Yeah, I lose stuff constantly…but he never loses things (disclaimer: unless I moved them).
I do not damage cars. When I first started driving, I rear ended someone and totaled both cars, months after getting my license. The experience terrified me and gave me a healthy respect for the power of the vehicle I was driving. I don’t scrape, bonk, curb, or in any way collide with other objects. Sir Smiley has a big dent on the side of his car from hitting a post while backing up, but my van looks fantastic (I take that back, there is a scratch on the back bumper from when I didn’t pull in far enough and when of the kiddos closed the garage door before I had time to move it).
I have a stomach of steel. I. do. not. puke. Ever. Our family was sick with some kind of nasty stomach bug we kept passing around for six weeks. Everyone one else was puking up a storm. Me? Nothing. The last time I puked was literally ten years ago, when I first got married. Not once since then.
Tropical Cyclone Lusi. She’s a lovely storm that first hit a small island named Vanuatu and left three dead and six missing…then worked it’s way to Fiji and New Zealand. By the time it reached New Zealand it had lessened to only about 50-60 mph gusts with rain thrown in. New Zealand has been experiencing the worst draught ever in 70 years and everyday had been sunny and warm. Until we visited.
I have been having issues with my period ever since I had my third kiddo. Issues like, having my period for three out of four weeks. For the last two years they have been slowly running the gamut of new medications and such to get the bleeding under control. The most recent was having a Mirena IUD put in. It often will reduce your period to nothing, but in my case it only lessened the bleeding a bit. I was still having my period three out of four weeks…but it was noticeably lighter. So back in I went and they had me try some antibiotics and scheduled a follow up in May to see if that had helped. It hadn’t.
So now you have the background of my epic adventure in New Zealand. I loved New Zealand…but as you’ll see tomorrow, New Zealand did not love me.
Dare I say it? My child is….strong willed. Well, that’s putting it mildly. Any time I ask him to do ANYTHING, it is an epic battle of wills that feels like it may to the death….most likely his. He once was so angry that he wasn’t allowed to crawl under the pew and grab the feet of the people behind us in church that even though he was dragged out into an empty classroom with the door closed, my hubby could still hear him. My hubby was on stage with worship band playing the keyboard at the time…with an ear piece in his ear. Let’s just say I didn’t feel close to God that Sunday.
So here we are at dinner. Everyone is doing fine and I cooked. I made chicken and potatoes and veggies and everything. I sit the girls down and tell them the potatoes are French fries and we’re ready to roll. Then I grab King Toot and, of course, he is unhappy. Of course, because I asked him to do something. Never mind that he’s been begging for food for an hour. I dared to tell him we were going to sit at the table and eat. That’s when he started his high pitched shriek. It could break glass….it does break ear drums. Now, these are a few things we have learned through trial and a massive amount of error. If I ever give in, even once, and just let him scream and ignore it….it eggs him on. He will only escalate more, and more, and more, and more. He has followed me around and pushed on the back of my knees to make me fall. He has thrown things at me, hit me, etc. If I immediately address it right then, he’ll stop. The best punishment for him is isolation. We stick him in his crib and call it “a break” and tell him we’ll check on him in a few minutes to see if he’s ready to come out. If he stands up and says sorry, he has admitted defeat and we’re good to go. He has to say sorry…not just a cease in crying is enough. Trust me, I’ve tried. I mean, I’ve TRIED! But he MUST admit defeat or this battle is not done. It’s like the white surrender flag that he waves to admit that he lost this round.
It’s exhausting. Dinner tonight I spent taking a bite, trying to have a conversation with my (at that moment) sweet girls, and then jumping up to offer him a choice between saying sorry and joining us or staying in his crib. He would just stare at me and scream louder! He was not distressed….he was pissed! I had to do this no less than 10 times. He finally said sorry, I told him what I always do…that I forgive him and I love him no matter what but that it’s not an excuse to act that way. Then he proceeded to lick the ketchup up and eat nothing else and then say “done.”. By that point I was too tired to care and let him down.
It’s in these moments I always truly doubt myself. I see all these articles my friends post that all basically say the same thing. They have lovely titles, like peaceful parenting, or enjoy motherhood, or loving your kids. They all recommend something along the lines of: ‘there’s no need for conflict! Let them express their frustration, offer them choices, redirect, get on their level, and as long as you talk it out respectfully to them they will respect you.’ I feel a failure because my house is so often riddled with conflict.
But then I remind myself. I taught for several years. I did those things. I know them well in fact. I use them with my daughters with great success. But they made things worse with my son. So, so, so, so much worse. This is the first big meltdown in two days (plenty of small ones, but those only required going in once or twice). It used to be seven epic meltdowns a day…minimum. He is getting better and I am calmer in dealing with him. It comes down to this: parenting is an art…not a science. There is no magic formula that will magically transform every child. For some, if they were to use the tactics I just mentioned they would have a very different response. Parenting is an art because the materials you have been given differ. Some kids are like soft clay (like Urpling) which require gentle molding…anything harsher will crush them beyond repair. Some are like my son…titanium…and must be melted at a million trillion degrees before they will bend even a little. So I just take a deep breath, dress for battle, and remind my son at the end of each day how much I love him no matter what. Because at the end of the day, I know he will grow up to be a strong leader so I just need to give him the foundation to be a good one.
It’s a new year and already I’ve had a few fun moments. Like trying to explain our evening prayer and then glancing at Urpling who has a deep look of concentration…looks at me…and then says, “Look what I can do!” and proceeds to stick her entire fist in her mouth. Or going in to the girls’ room to fix their night light and having Sasquatch announce as she’s shielding her eyes from the sudden light, “The light in our room is brighter than the sun!”
I spent a good amount of time looking through old pictures. So as a walk through the previous year as we move on to a new one, here are my favorites:
Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane!