Tuesday, January 11, 2011

bang, crash, slam

"Oh the noise, oh the noise, oh the noise, noise, noise, NOISE,
That's the ONE thing he HATED, the noise, noise, noise, noise!" 
-Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I had pictured New Zealand as being, kind of, like, quiet. Really quiet. Peaceful. Serene. But this was a huge mistake. To start with, I neglected to consider the noisemaking capability we'd be importing with us from our homeland in the form of two little American girls. Bernadette is in a stage where the absolute most entertaining activity she can come up with is screeching and squealing as loudly and happily and frequently as possible. Maria, meanwhile, has hunkered down in a year-long phase in which the absolute most entertaining activity that she can come up with is imitating Bernadette. At present, that means participating in the noise. And yes, for those of you who are second-guessing yourself, Maria is the elder daughter. We had thought that the younger child would be the mimic, but that turned out to be another mistaken assumption that has been disproven Down Under. 

Given their current passions and pasttimes, buying the girls a harmonica and a plastic (recorder?) for Christmas was an ill-considered decision that I have deeply regretted ever since. But this past week has been, by far, our most cacophonous yet and it actually has very little to do with either child or her new present. 

On Friday night, the house across the street had a party that raged on until 6 am. Now, it's far from unusual for music to blast on our street until 2 am on the weekends, but this was the especially egregious kind of party whose throbbing bass and shrieking voices seeped insidiously through earplugs until dawn. 

Saturday witnessed the outbreak of a street fight in the busy road in front of our bedroom window, with participants flinging each other in front of oncoming traffic and shouting angry obscenities. Apparently the decibel at which one can deliver an insult adds to its menacing quality. Remember that if you're ever in a street fight.

Then, early on Sunday afternoon someone drove through the church doors. Deliberately. When the glass  repair man arrived, he took in the sight and simply said,  "Why?" We have no idea, but we wonder the same.  My little Handmaids were the ones who discovered, reported and cleaned the mess. I'm very impressed. Some of them can be glimpsed in the photo below.

And then on Monday (yesterday) construction - or rather, demolition - began in our home. There's a large hallway in the center of the house - almost every door in the house opens into it (3 bedrooms, 2 closets, the garage, the dining room, the living room and an unused, sealed-off door to the office - an amazing feat, really). The parish offices are located on the other side of that wall. It will be reconstructed in a new and improved location this week to make space for a meeting room in the office area. The process will be loud. Very, very loud. It will even be louder than all the other noise we've had this week put together. Thus, we are currently and gratefully transplanted to another home for the week.



The house we're in at present is blissfully quiet. No traffic, no mall, no streetfights. Until my offspring arrived in this home, it appears that the most disruptive sound would have been the twice daily "meow" of the housecats at mealtimes (only, since these are Kiwi cats, they of course say miaow). The neighborhood is peacefully bordered by a quiet beach to one side and the greenest, tallest, most rolling hills imaginable on the other. It reminds me of....New Zealand. The New Zealand I had imagined prior to May 27, 2010.

We're enjoying relaxing in the very private, enclosed grassy garden, walking in the very sedate, manicured upscale neighborhood, sleeping in the undisturbed luxurious stillness, and -as of this afternoon - reconnecting fondly with our dear Little Buddy, who made a triumphant return to us with all his "memories" intact. Happy Happy, Joy Joy.

It's almost time for Richard and I to get serious about planning our upcoming term. (On a side note, I just learned that the entire 2011 school year will be reconstructed across this nation to accomodate the Rugby World Cup. Love it.) Until February 5, when classes commence, we've been doing strictly "fun" activities with whatever youth are around - many are travelling, camping and attending "camps". We had a surprise farewell pool party for Justin, who graduated Lighthouse and embarked on a missionary year with NET in Australia. We've had some movie nights, a double date with the newest courting couple in Lighthouse, some bonfires on the beach. Our family camping and Wellington trips sort of disintegrated in the face of reality - Bernadette's erupting incisors and my growing inability to sit or sleep comfortably put a damper on attempting either of these feats.

Hopefully Little Buddy hangs in with us and there are no further disruptions in the flow of the blog! In conclusion, just one of the photos Richard caught of the Christmas sunrise. He says the clouds in the middle formed an unmistakable angel. I think it looks like the Holy Spirit (but he was the eyewitness, not me). Either way, very cool.

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