27 June 2013

Moving to Wellington!!!

So first I was intending to write a post about a week or so ago, because I went to Wellington for 5 days and that was quite fun. My bag got lost on the way up because one of my flights was cancelled and I was put on a difference flight. It was OK though because they couriered it to me later, which meant I didn't have to bother dragging my bag up a big hill. The weather was extreme, it sounded like the house would blow down on us and there were fallen trees everywhere. I stayed with my brother and he acted the gentleman and let me have his bed (even bought clean sheets!). It was freezing cold for most of my stay and because I'm poor now (and had no space in my little carry-on case) the only shopping I did while there was for a hat, because I was so cold. I found a nice one too. It's sort of purple - pretty much the same colour as my new car (but we'll get to that soon). So I checked out Te Papa so that I would have plenty to say at my job interview, and after about 4 hours I was still only half way through and completely exhausted. The next day was my job interview and I was there bright and early, only it turns out that Te Papa doesn't actually open until 10 am, so I had to hang around in the cafe until I could actually go in and wait. Then my interviewer finally arrives and it is not who I was expecting, because the two people that were supposed to interview me were away or sick. So I was interviewed by these two guys and they were both nice, and I was a bit nervous but not too bad. There were a few times where I thought I had talked too much and lost track of the question but later on one of them told me that I had interviewed really well so I guess it was OK. Then I was allowed to ask some questions and then it was all over. The next couple of days were meant to be all about finding somewhere to live but in Welly places go real fast, so nobody was much interested in talking to someone that wasn't moving up for another week. I did decide not to go flatting with people though, but instead to get my own place and hopefully find a flatmate quickly. Only finding a place that will allow dogs is incredibly difficult, and for most places you have to hand in an application and they do credit checks and reference checks - how extreme is that!

Anyway, after I got back from Welly I was going to write all about it, but I hadn't heard about the job yet and I was so anxious. My interview was on the Thursday and I hoped to hear back on the Friday evening, but they are strict about checking references so they said I would get a call on Monday. All of Monday I kept my phone with me and waited and got more and more worried. By the end of Monday I decided to call the next morning, and I got through to someone about lunchtime. She was very sorry that I had been left waiting and said they were having a problem with their servers so email references hadn't come through yet, but she would let me know as soon as possible. I spent the rest of the day and the next morning trying to get hold of someone in Invercargill to be an extra reference for me, for just in case. Luckily I finally got hold of someone (who I made costumes for), because when I called back I was told that the human resources department might not accept a written reference alone. So my having found someone for them to speak to on the phone probably cinched the deal. Plus my ringing them so much to find out showed them that I really wanted the job. So I start Monday! There is two weeks training, for which we get paid, then I guess the school holidays are starting and there will be lots of work to go around. After that I don't know but I reckon if I do a good job and want plenty of work I will get enough to get by. Which is all I need, as I also need time to finish writing my thesis and work on my publishing diploma assignments.

So this week, even though for most the week I didn't know for sure what was happening, I managed to buy myself my very first car. It is pale purple and it is manual so I had to get used to gears again. It smells a bit funny but I put air fresheners in it and after I drive it to Wellington I'm sure it will just smell like me and the dog instead of whatever else it smelt like. I'm going to give it a name, because apparently a first car should have a name. I don't know what though. I might by sticker things for it too, like you see sometimes, to go over the outside of the car - something girly like flowers or stars or butterflies. Then it will be really mine. I wonder if I can get sparkly ones? For now it has red and white building tape on it, because there were a couple of loose bits that Dad glued down and riveted on, and the tape has to hold it until the glue dries properly. It needed new wiper blades too and they are bright blue. Plus I learnt how to check oil and water and other important things. So now it is ready to go, and packed to the brim, and we are about to go on a 3 day road trip to start our new life in Wellington. I hope the weather is nice for the drive and that there are lots of nice scenic views to take photos of.

The last big step is to find somewhere to live. That's going to be hard. I have a couple of places lined up to look at and am waiting to hear from some other people. I think that, while the dog thing is a problem, I can balance it out with having good references, having a certificate for dog obedience, and being a doctor (I know I'm not quite one yet, but near enough right?). Plus I am boring and don't intend to have crazy parties. Then I intend to find a flatmate that loves dogs and can fit in with me and my way of living. I'm probably going to be a bit poor for awhile, but I've been a student for long enough to know how to deal with that. I will have to find furniture, and possible even a fridge or washing machine, but once all of that is sorted it should all be good. Poor Cher will have to learn how to entertain herself while I am at work, but hopefully she'll cope and not get depressed. She has been too spoilt.

I think that's quite enough writing for now so I'll leave it at that till I'm settled in and can update people about my new life.

10 June 2013

Interviews and possums

The last week was a bit of a bust when it came to work. I just couldn't focus, writing a thesis can be terribly depressing when you have a supervisor that seems to doubt everything you say. So instead of work I took the dog for walks and stopped being lazy about her obedience training, made a dress, knitted a hat, watched movies, read a book and baked giant cookies. Plus I got an interview for a job at Te Papa, as a tour guide. So I'm going to Welly for a few days, because after my PhD troubles I told myself I would never take a job without checking out the place and the people first. This job would perhaps not be much of a career move, in that it is only casual, part-time work that doesn't require all my tertiary qualifications; however this job would get me to Wellington and into Te Papa, where I can start getting to know people, making contacts, and trying to convince somebody to give me the type of job that I want. There is a press at Te Papa where they publish non-fiction books - if I am there, on site, perhaps I will be more likely to work my way into an editorial job there? Plus I've been back from Ireland for 6 months now and I think I've had about enough of Invercargill, it might be time for a change again.

The biggest challenge about moving to a new city now would be getting to know a new place, and finding dog-friendly places for Cher. We will need a new run to go on - I will probably miss the Waihopai walkway, where there is so much space and for the most part I can let Cher run without a leash. On the upside, perhaps I will find a good dog park. And most cities have some kind of large park or botanic garden, it will just be a case of finding our way around. Queen's Park is so good for dog-walking though, and I have never been told off for having Cher off of her leash (although I did get a talking too at Sandy point the other day, which is what encouraged me to start training her again). Over the last three days in our daily walks through Queen's Park Cher met a new animal - a possum!

At first I thought it was just a bit odd, to find a possum on the ground during the day time. There was Cher, barking like it was some sort of threat, and this possum just slowly uncurled and looked at us, then eventually climbed up the tree some way. We went on our way and I thought no more on it, but the next day Cher found the possum again, in the same place! This time the possum didn't even bother to try climb the tree, so as I dragged Cher away I wondered if maybe it was old or sick or hurt. Turns out it must have been. Today on our walk Cher ran ahead to the tree, to look for the possum, but this time it wasn't there. We kept walking and after awhile Cher wandered off and disappeared - when I noticed I started to call her, and going back to obedience training is paying off, so she came running, only she had something in her mouth. She is always picking up sticks but this seemed to be something sort of floppy. She caught up to me and yes, she had a dead possum in her mouth. She was very pleased with herself and not too impressed about having to drop it, but luckily Cher has a one track mind so as soon as you point her toward the path she's happy enough to continue with our walk, and forgets whatever I have made her drop.

02 June 2013

The trouble with dogs

A couple of days ago I was taking the dog for a long run because the weather had finally cleared. We had a good run and were nearly at the hospital to visit my sister, when I realised that I didn't have the dog's leash anymore. You think I would have learnt by now to keep a better hold on it, but I can't seem to keep from disappearing into daydreams while I bike along. Unfortunately, Cher is far from being a sniffer dog and is not help in finding things at all. So we turned around and started slowly making our way back while I looked out for the leash. Eventually I gave up and turned back toward the hospital, but my slow backtrack had given Cher time to get into mischief. I don't know where she went and what she did but she came back all covered in mud. Now, it's not unusual for her to run through the mud and splatter her legs and stomach, but this time she managed to get mud all over her back. We continued on our way and I found a half of a broken leash further down the track - that combined with the drawstring of my track-pants provided a makeshift leash, as I couldn't very well bring a dog into the hospital with no leash. Of course, with her being all muddy I probably should have left her outside, but I couldn't trust a drawstring to hold her so I had no choice. However, as we left the estuary and continued to the hospital, I noticed that we hadn't left the estuary smell behind. So I was not only bringing a dirty dog into the hospital; I was bringing a dirty, stinky dog into the hospital. Luckily, I didn't come across any nurses on my way in. Cher was tired and seemed to feel quite sorry for herself so she settled down quickly enough:

Now you might think that the trouble with dogs is the stinky mud they like to get into. But with Cher, that's just the beginning. This was only the second time that she has gotten so smelly, but there was just no avoiding the need to give her a proper wash. Bathtubs have gone out of fashion, which is not really ideal when you have a dog that needs a bath. So I began by tying her leash to the shower handrail, but she's not a stupid dog so she knew what was happening - as soon as I turned on the water she managed to slip out of her collar and go running through the house, spreading water and stink everywhere. To get her back into the bathroom I had to pick her up, then I had to keep a tight grip on the scruff of her neck to get her to stay still. I wet her down, lathered her and tried to scrub away all the dirt, all the while holding her in something like a headlock. As we finished with the lathering and starting rinsing, she went from struggling to struggling and whining. Only it wasn't normal, quiet whining. By the end of it I wouldn't have been surprised if somebody had called the police because it sounded like someone was being murdered. So I gave up and began to towel her down, and she continued to whine and cry. By the time it was all over, the bathroom was flooded, the living room carpet was all wet, she'd gone through about three towels, I was soaked and Cher was hiding under the washing rack. What a pathetic dog I have, she loves to swim but is terrified of having a shower. After all that drama we were both exhausted: