Lovely Bones


My partner, T, and I are renting this fabulous house in fabulous Wellington with fabulous views of one of the bays. In fact, it’s so fabulous, that we had an entire conversation about it when chatting with one of T’s work mates (Kiwi lingo. Right there. Beware, more is to follow.) about its aforementioned fabulousness. It went something like this.

The scene: A small conference room in an unidentified building on an unidentified street in downtown Wellington (otherwise known as the CBD). T and I eat our sandwiches while T’s unidentified colleague eats his unidentifiable casserole.

Unidentified Colleague (“UC”): So, how’s the house?

T and J: (simultaneously, ad lib) The views are fabulous. Stunning. Yeah, really stunning.

UC: So it’s a great house, then?

T: Yeah. Great. Perfect.

UC: Good as. Must be nice and warm, too.

J: (hesitating) Well …

T: There are some, uh, heating issues.

UC: I thought there was a heat pump?

J: Well, yes, there is, but it’s downstairs. In the kitchen. So …

UC: Ah. So, not too warm upstairs, then.

J: Uh, no. Not too warm.

T: We found all of those wool blankets, though. That’s good.

J: Oh, yes. The wool blankets. Very good. And I have all of my sweaters. And gloves, and hats and things … And the view really is fabulous.

T: That’s right. A fabulous view.

J: Well, when the windows aren’t all fogged up. (laughing)

UC: Condensation problem, then? No ventilation system in the house?

T: (clears throat) No. It’s an older place. Character —

J: –And with fabulous views.

UC: Yes. You’ve mentioned the views. Well, at least you can enjoy Welly’s famed water pressure with unlimited hot showers. That will warm you right up.

J: Well …

T: What J means is, we’ve discovered the house is, uh, a bit quirky. You can take a shower in the morning, but if you then do any laundry, you can’t take another hot shower until the next day.

UC: Oh. Uh … (uncomfortable silence. UC eats some of his unidentifiable casserole)

J: But it really is a great house. The views … Oh! And the kitchen is great. Big.

T: (jumping in excitedly) Yeah, the kitchen is fabulous. Really big. Easy for two people to get around in and make dinner together.

UC: Well there’s a bright spot. Did it come with all of the whiteware? Is the fridge small or one of those large ones?

T: It’s a big one. Lot’s of storage space.

J: Well …

UC: I sense a problem with the fridge …

T: (clears throat) It, uh, seems to freeze everything. Regardless of whether you have it in the freezer compartment or not.

J: But the landlord is supposed to be getting us a new one. Uh … soon …

UC: Anything else?

J: (shoots T a questioning look) Well …

UC: Of course there is (mutters under breath)

J: It’s not a big deal. We just … uh, well … there’s no phone line at the moment, and no internet, and it’s quite a hike from the road up to the house, but other than that, it’s a great place.

UC: Yeah. Sounds cracking.

J: Oh, there’s nothing structurally wrong, nothing like that. (turns to T) But there is that beam that seems to be cracking, isn’t there?

T: (pained expression–cross between constipation and mortification) She’s American. She’s not used to the lingo yet. Or the subtlety of our sarcasm.

J: Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?

T: Nothing, honey, just that cracking doesn’t mean that something’s broken. It means good. Like, “I had a cracking good time at the seminar.”

J: But you hated that seminar.

T: Yes, but that’s not the point. It means–oh, never mind. Just trust me.

J: I’m just trying to figure out what all of this stuff means. Just because I’m American doesn’t mean–

UC: (interrupting) But the views are sweet as. That counts for a lot.

J: Oh!! I know this one!! (self-satisfied smile) Yes, the views are most excellent, thank you.

UC: Right …

T: Well, it is confusing, UC. I can’t always understand what Georgians are saying. For instance, they have a phrase along the lines of “rode hard and put up wet.” (chuckles at the memory. J joins in.)

UC: (choking on his unidentifiable casserole.) Excuse me??

T: (expression of understanding about how that phrase may come across to a Kiwi) No! Not like that! It doesn’t mean that!

J: Doesn’t mean what?? It’s about a horse being ridden hard and then put away without being brushed. You know, he looks rough. Sometimes people look rough–like they’ve been ridden hard … and … um … not brushed before being put away … you know, put up wet. Like a horse …

(uncomfortable pause)

T: Back to the house, the views are great. Really fabulous.

J: Yes, fabulous views. And most importantly, it’s ours.

T: (squeezing J’s hand sweetly) At least until September.

End scene.

UPDATE: We now have a working phone, internet, dehumidifier, a fridge that cools and freezes appropriately, and have worked out an ideal shower/laundry schedule. Plus, you get a mini-workout just walking to the front door. A health and fitness bonus! And yes, the views are still fabulous. 🙂

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