It was a different story entirely when we headed over to The Warehouse (New Zealand’s answer to Wal-Mart) to buy a new clothes peg holder; we had to circle the block to find a parking space, which was my first clue that things were going to be busy. To put it bluntly, the store was a madhouse: we joined the continuous line of people streaming into the store (trying to avoid being trampled by those hurrying out the door, purchases in hand), and entered into a world of jostling shoppers, harried-looking clerks, and merchandise in various states of disarray on the shelves and racks after being repeatedly picked over. Thank goodness Frank knew exactly where to look in the store, as it would have been difficult indeed to wander around with that many other people competing for aisle space. I had a brief look at sun hats (I need one for the Heaphy Track, but the style of hat I wanted they only had in the men’s and boy’s sections, and the men’s were too big, and the boy’s too small), and having lost Frank in the process I feared I’d never find him again in the crowd. Mercifully, just as I was going to make a break for it and head back to the car I spotted him at the front near the checkout, so we purchased the peg holder (and a bathrobe and set of pjs for Frank ;-) and escaped the bedlam. Perhaps Boxing Day Sales do bring significant savings, and perhaps they are more bearable in Canada where it is not 30ºC outside on the 26th of December, but either way I’m not motivated to find out.
I made lunch for the three of us (paninis with avocado, tomato, cucumber, and green onion, and watermelon afterward for something sweet), and then I spent the afternoon reading and playing with Tiger before beginning work on compiling a list of train photograph locations. For a Christmas present (I can finally write about this now, as it’s Christmas back home!) I made a calendar using photos of my Mainline Steam trip all across New Zealand, and this afternoon I compiled a list detailing the date, description, and location of all the photos I used for each month’s illustration. This was a lot more work than it sounds; I had to go into iPhoto, locate the date (and more often than not, the time of day) each photo was taken, then using the other photos on each roll, my blog entries, and my New Zealand Railway and Tramway Atlas, extrapolate exactly where and on what rail line each photo was taken. Do that repeatedly for 39 photos, some in obscure locations, and you can understand why it took me the better part of the afternoon!
Around 5pm my mom called my cell and then called right back on the landline here at the house, and spoke to Frank for a little before passing the phone over to Grandma; as such, Grandma had a nice conversation with both Frank and Fay before Fay handed the phone over to me. I think they both really enjoyed talking to Grandma; they don’t socialise very much, and it must be nice to speak to someone whom they have met on multiple occasions and is a significant part of their son’s life (and mine as well). I also heard Frank and Grandma discussing gardening.... that took all of about five seconds to come up in their conversation, te he. I spoke to Grandma, Jack, Mom, Arthur, and Dad in turn, as I sat here on my bed in a t-shirt and capris with the sun streaming in the window, they around the dining room table at home, in the darkness of night as the rain fell outside.
We had pizza for dinner tonight (I choked back the many mushrooms so as not to look rude... ugh), and hokey pokey cookies for dessert; afterward I did the dishes, and then I went and sat outside with Tiger, reading my book, and tried to keep from getting devoured alive by mosquitos. Tomorrow night I am going to cook dinner... as such, I think I’m going to be heading into town tomorrow morning to purchase a few things (I’m thinking a stir fry; I have rice and oil and sauce, all I need are some veggies, and Fay has some sausages I could throw in to the mix). It’s times like this I wish I had a bike, as it would make getting into town a whole lot easier (it’s so flat here in Maraenui bikes are an ideal way of getting around), but then again walking is good for me, provided I wear a hat and sunscreen.
Bedtime for scheming would-be chefs. Merry Christmas to everyone back home, and good night!