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Where's the Border's Outlet store?

Books down here are quite expensive. Our local version of Walmart, The Warehouse, had a rack of books marked "priced to clear" that were marked at $15 and higher. That's not what I consider "priced to clear." So, when I discovered that Borders had opened an outlet store downtown with books from $5 to $8 I was super excited. I had to walk by it everyday on my way to the bus stop which was like a crackhead walking past the crack dealer everyday. I just couldn't say no. Then one day about a month after it opened, it was gone. I walked by to see the store empty and a cleaning crew vacuuming the carpets.

Shannon and I both agreed this was odd. Why have an outlet store open for only a month? We figured it was because they had a large back stock of items which had now sold and we were back to spending $15+ a book for "clearance" books.

Monday, after I got off work, we went to see Shrek 4. If you haven't seen it, you seriously have to! The Carpenters, Enya, plus "And then my donkey fell down your waffle hole." I haven't laughed that hard in a while. Anyway, after the movie we were walking down Queen Street to our bus stop when what did I spy? Yep, the Borders outlet store.

I asked the woman behind the counter if they were going to be staying at this location and she said they only had a one month lease and then they'd move on. She knew the store would move to another location but she didn't know where.

So, if I want to continue getting my fix of $5 books I have to play Where's Waldo with the Borders outlet! I haven't had to work this hard for a bargain in ages! Books are my crack, though, so I'll be trolling the streets downtown looking for the dealer.

OTC but only at the pharmacy

I caught a cold the other day. Not that big a deal except finding medications down here isn't as easy as it is in the US. First of all, everything is different. There's no Nyquil or Sudafed or any of the other medicines I know. They have equivalents down here but I actually have to work to find out what they are. So, I go the medicine aisle in the grocery store where I work and don't see what I'm looking for. I see the Sudafedish ones and the Tylenol Cold types. But there's no Nyquil type stuff or really much of anything else. Turns out that you can't buy most kinds of medications at the grocery store. You have to go the pharmacy. This stuff isn't prescription. It's just not available anywhere but at the pharmacy.

Having grown up in the Walmart culture where everything under the sun is available at a one-stop shop, this baffles me. Why would you only allow certain meds to be sold at the pharmacy but not the grocery store? I don't really know except maybe they can charge more for them. It's expensive to buy OTC stuff down here. Once you get at least a two year visa, you can get on the national healthcare and prescriptions are very cheap. But until then, we have to pay top dollar for the OTC stuff.

My cold is better but I sure do miss my Nyquil. That stuff'll kill any bug.

Mini VW bus FTW!

The other day I was on the bus riding to work when I saw the cutest VW bus. I wasn't able to take a very good picture on my phone so I'm posting this just so you can get an idea of the size of the thing:

The van is seriously not more than six feet long and five feet tall. It's the tiniest VW bus I've ever seen! It belongs to a magic shop here in Auckland. Maybe it's a Harry Potter van and is bigger on the inside? :)

Catching up

I had intended to post in here on a regular basis but since it's been three months between posts, that plan's not really working out.

Winter has descended on us down here which means lots of rain. It hasn't been particularly cold just wet, wet, and more wet. It's really weird too because it can be clear blue sky one minute and then grey and raining the next. I now take my umbrella with me every time I leave the house because you just never know.

A few weeks ago, we decided we were going to get out and hike no matter how bad the weather. We got up early and hopped the bus for Mangere Mountain. This is just one of many volcanoes here but it had been used in a lot of Xena/Hercules filming so I really wanted to check it out.
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Mokos, Mission Bay, and Mt. Eden oh my!

Last Friday after I posted my last entry, Shannon and I hopped a bus over to another neighborhood called New Market. The Rialto theater is hosting a documentary film festival and we had tickets for one of the movies called Kiri Wai Inner Skin. It's about a westerner exploring the significance of the Maori tattoo called a Moko. The Maori (pronounced mawri) are the indigenous people here in NZ. It was a really good movie and Shannon and I decided that we might like to get a small moko tattooed on our ankle or something like that. We'll see though.
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My first two weeks in Auckland

I had intended to post a lot more frequently about getting acclimated to life here in Auckland but I had no idea how much I'd be working. In the last eleven days, I've worked about 75 hours. My store is perpetually shorthanded so we sometimes have to work 15 hour days. And let me tell you that is just brutal! 6am to 9pm is harsh.
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Auckland at last

When we finally got through immigration, customs, and biosecurity in the Auckland airport, we found Brendon waiting for us on the other side. Brendon and Dillie were Shannon's flatmates when she was going to grad school here in 2008. Once we found out for sure that we were coming back, they began looking for a house large enough for the four of us to share. So now here we were finally back and eager to get started on our life here.

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Getting to New Zealand

I meant to make blog posts during the whole moving process but it just didn't work out. So instead I'll post the condensed version.
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The post about my father

Today would have been my father's 62nd birthday. If he had not chosen to shoot himself back in September that is. Yesterday marks three months since he did that. I have spent the last three months trying to figure out how I feel about it. It's not been easy for me because my feelings for him were never easy. He was an easy man to like but a hard man to love. He never had any problems making acquaintances but true, lasting friendships were often beyond him. He spent his entire life running from the scared, hurt child he had once been.

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It only took a month

With a trip to the FedEx facility in Austin today, Shannon and I replaced all the electronics that were stolen from our car last month. Shannon purchased a new camera, a fancy-dancy thing I have no idea how to operate, a couple of weeks ago just in time for our anniversary trip to The Gathering Storm signing and RenFest.

I located a Garmin Nuvi on craigslist that was just like my old one for $40. We had attempted to get it a week previous but the guy selling it had to bail on us so we picked it up last Sunday on our way home from RenFest. Turns out, it's a year newer than the one that was stolen! We decided to name this one Verin just like the one that was taken. You WoT fans will like that, lol.

Also on craigslist Shannon found an mp3 player just like her old one only with 10gb more space. The guy selling it was shipping out to Korea so he mailed it to her via FedEx. Well true to our history with FedEx, they wouldn't deliver it to my parents address because there is a gate onto the property and therefore no way to get someone to sign for it. Today we went into town to see my aunt and uncle and go by the FedEx depot to pick it up. She's sitting next to me right now happily loading all her music on it. Well, at least as much as Vista will let her. Turns out Vista is a bitch. Did anyone else know this? :D

Now if only we could replace all the little things like my grandpa's 40-year-sober AA medallion. Oh well. Not much we can do about that.