Christmas cheesecake

Much of this was Christmas dinner. Sol made strawberry cheesecake, there was a lovely pork roast and more cheesecake. The previous day we had lunch with friends, barbecue, blueberry cheesecake and paella with scallops.

At the end, that's timmy singing Jingle bells, except only the lyrics he knows, which is pretty much two words. And "Hey!" So... three words. In the scene just before Jingle bells, Timmy had grabbed mamang's cheesecake, so it was very good of him to share some of it with her :-).

Today we ran out of cheesecake and went to the grocery to buy the makings. Tomorrow, there'll be more cheesecake, but probably no more cheesecake videos.


Timmy dancing

At around 1:34 he's saying "guitar". It took me a while to figure out what he was saying. It became clear one bedtime when he went through his list of musical instruments while pretending to be playing them. Drawing a finger across his hand is "guitar" :-)


One birthday, and another

It was Timmy's birthday last Sunday, 2 Nov. Last year we had his birthday in Manila.

This year, we're in Wellington. It was a merienda birthday, and we had it in the house, which is pretty small, so we didn't invite a lot of people. We were also sufficiently busy having fun that we forgot to take more pictures and videos :-).

There's a video of the important part though.

Sol worked very hard on Saturday and Sunday, cooking and preparing everything. I did what I could to help, but it was trivial compared to how much work she and her mother put into the birthday.

I think all that standing and cooking precipitated the start of her labor, at around 2:30AM on Monday. We called Julius and he, very graciously, drove us to the hospital at 4:30AM. Sol wanted to try for a natural birth, and that's the preference of NZ doctors too, so despite Sol's previous caesarian section with Timmy, we spend 24 hours trying for the natural birth. After everything being tried, and with sol pushing heroically but not enough progress being made, a c-section was finally performed and John Christian was born at 4:48AM on Tuesday, the 4th.

Sol's mother suggests that we should celebrate the birthdays of the two boys together, on the 3rd of November :-).

John Christian making his first appearance

John Christian with Sol

And... resting



Oh, No! Little Einsteins on DVD

After publishing First Amazon Purchase, I realized that Timmy's favorite TV shows are probably available on DVD too. So I searched for "Little Einsteins DVD" on Amazon. Unfortunately, all the DVDs there are Region 1 only. Searching on .co.nz sites finds the same DVDs. I won't buy any yet. He gets a healthy twice daily dose (once in the morning, and once in the afternoon, fortunately, neither conflicts with naptime) of Little Einsteins now, over SkyTV.

He does love that show though, he now says "Oh no!" incessantly, because of it, he sings the theme song when the show is on, and repeats much else that he hears there (Oh, no! it's too high!). We may buy the DVDs at some point. But not soon. Maybe a year or a year and a half after John Christian comes into the world.

First amazon purchase

I ordered a few books and a CD from Amazon today. That's the first Amazon order I've ever made. Likely it won't be the last. For technical books, particularly, not everything is connyveniently available in New Zealand, and even with shipping, Amazon is often still less expensive than buying locally.

The reason I ordered from Amazon is because we borrowed a book from the library that Timmy really likes. It's mainly because of that book (Jo Moon's "Making Letters") that, at 23 months, Timmy has now memorized all of the alphabet. Well, we've shown him lots of letter books, so he's been learning the alphabet for months now. And certainly he learned a lot of the letters from playing with his Laughtop. But "Making Letters" completed the process, and he loves reading it every night.

It was time to return the book to the library, so we needed our own copy.

We also bought other books in the series (Making Numbers and Making Shapes).

Since I was ordering from Amazon already, I went ahead and ordered a Spring book, and sol wanted a CD by Mary-Kathryn. There were several available at Amazon (and in fact, Perfect Gift wasn't in stock), but I didn't want to grab them all. So I selected one, and if Sol likes it, we'll grab the others.


sick today

I was cold and shivering last night, up to around 10AM. I thought I'd let it take its course, and get to the office in the afternoon. I can't though since I've got some mild vertigo.

Last night was probably due to walking up the hill in the cold (it was raining too, but just mild showers and I bought a small umbrella that, surprisingly, didn't break or blow away in the Wellington wind :-). And then, when I got home, well, I have a bug at work that's taken forever to figure out because the test cycle is just so long. So I worked on that til around 2:30AM. It seems to be an alfresco+lucene bug, and my various workarounds are not working. So when I went to bed it was unresolved, and I was cold and exhausted.

Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy myself during the bug hunt, but I still need to solve the problem. I'll probably be working on that around 4 hours a day over the weekend. But not today or tonight. Need to rest up.


Well, don't do that then

Well, don't go there then.

I certainly won't, anyway. Of those who do go anyway, likely only a few will experience this. But they did make the choice to go to the U.S. of Atrocity. I wonder whether they'll learn how bad an idea that was, or just decide it was all a mistake.


Timmy nighttime ritual

We read to timmy at night, before he has his milk and goes to sleep. And we always play his nighttime music. This time, he was excited by the camera and we didn't get to read as much as we usually do since he kept playing to the camera.

The music is from Rita Baloche's, Bless My Little Boy. It's great lullaby music. Some songs have christian themes, others don't. Overall, a great gift to mothers of sons, highly recommended.

Well, if the sons are boys. I don't think it would have the desired effect if the sons are teenagers or older :-).

Timmy slide

One of those days was sunny, and the other, uhhh, haily. On the sunny day (Saturday, I think), we went down to the mall. Along the way we passed by the playground and, among other things, timmy went on the slide.

Timmy icecream

Timmy had ice cream that weekend. With bananas. Bananas are his favorite food, and now ice cream is too.


We had hail and sort-of-snow two weeks ago. I forget which day it was, but it was either the 9th or the 10th of August. I think it was the 10th, Sunday.

Sol, Mamang and Timmy were very excited since it was their first experience with snow. Timmy didn't really know what the big deal was, but he was excited because the rest of us were.


As if I needed another reason

Yet another reason to never visit the United States of Assholes. Sick of cancer, spine fractured, allowed to die in pain because he couldn't stand in line for painkillers. And no one will be punished, because this is policy now, practically, in U.S. immigration..

Shining city upon a hill. A beacon of arrogance, and selfishness. Torturing and killing civilians. And proud of it.


No direct debit

I received quite the shocking bill today. The telco bill for landline and broadband arrived and it was for NZ$285. That's about 3 months of bills plus late charges. I *knew* that I'd set up direct debit with the telco. And when I looked at my bank statements (online), there were payments to the telco for two months, April and May (which were for March and April respectively). No payments in Jun or July though.

I called the telco and they have no record of direct debit authorization though. Now, I have direct debit with the power company, and with the satellite TV company, but not with the telco, apparently. I think they lost my direct debit authorization. I know I've sent it to them. But it's a big company. Things get lost. I don't care too much about it. I've just paid the bill and will now remember to pay the bill every month :-).

In case I forget, I've got a repeating reminder that'll email me of the payment schedule :-).


Vanity Plates

I know what I want my vanity plate to be, when I get a vanity plate (which is likely to be never, but it doesn't hurt to broadcast my intent early).


I think only 6 letters/digits are allowed in New Zealand. If 7 are allowed, then of course, DUM8455 :-).

Heh, I think DUM845 is actually a regular plate number, so if it isn't already taken, maybe I can request it and not pay a premium for the vanity plate.


What esprit de corp? Honor? what's that?

A female soldier is raped, beaten, burned, and shot. The U.S. army calls it suicide.

Where is your honor now? What kind of army would try to hide a crime like this? And if they hide rape and murder of their own, how many rapes and murders are they responsible for EVERY DAY, that will never be prosecuted?

America, a nation of ignorant ostriches, paying taxes through the nose so that its military can brutalize millions. And giving away billions, so that its allies can brutalize *their* millions.


Borrowing through the nose to kill women and children

The United States of Atrocity borrows billions of dollars so that they can kill 78 civilians, many of them women and children. The actual civilian death toll is certainly higher than this, women and children are counted as civilians, any adult or teenage males are probably counted as fighters, regardless of the truth.

Well, maybe the dead are lucky since they weren't tortured.


Credit Card

After 15 years without a credit card (I swore off them since I had so much trouble managing them well, when I had them), I finally got one recently. This time around, I intend to use it only for its intended purposes, i.e.,

  • to create a good credit history (we'll want to buy a house eventually, perhaps 5 years from now, or earlier, if the market tanks and prices become reasonable).

  • to make our checking account more easily managed (costs which can be paid online are to be paid via checking, costs which are paid at stores are paid via credit card, so that checking account balances don't need to be kept higher than some prudent level).

Our cash flow (and need for "stuff", and mutual spending conservatism) is such, so far, that we should not actually need to access any credit lines, so we should be fine with keeping the credit card fully paid every billing period.

On the other hand, as "The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley", we'll be keeping a hard eye on that credit card, and if the cash discipline starts to slip, we're likely to cancel it with extreme prejudice :-).


torturing 10 year olds


they're certainly blazing a trail for the United States of Atrocity to follow. And follow, the americans do.


Off today

I took the day off today because last night and this morning I had some severe chills. The chills wouldn't go away despite being under 2 layers of covers and warm clothes, plus a heater in the room.

I thought it was just from working on code in the unheated living room (the heater cuts off at 8:30PM, and I was up working till around 1:30AM), but after consulting my memories, I'm pretty sure that's not the real reason.

First a diversion, for context.

Now that doesn't really have much to do about anything, except I had to put them somewhere :-).

Back to context, on Saturday (June 28), we went to the early morning market at Porirua's Cobham Court. This was an exploratory trip, so Timmy and my mother-in-law stayed home while sol and I left at 7:15 (15-20 minute walk to the bus stop) to take the 7:45 bus to Porirua.

We had lots of fun, and, with fruit and vegetables at around half to three-quarters the price at the grocery, an opportunity to save quite a bit of money.

Given that we took the bus though, and in future my mother-in-law and timmy will be along, going there won't be so much about savings (although there'll be some of that) as about enjoying the weekend, buying fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, and then maybe taking a tour of the mall stores too.

Which brings me to the fish:

We bought quite a lot of fish there too, and squid, and crabs and shells that were like mussels.

When we got home we feasted on the crabs and shells (except timmy, of course, who isn't allowed for shellfish yet, but he didn't know what he was missing :-). We had crabs and shells left over, so for Monday dinner my mother-in-law reused them in a gata (coconut milk, with vegetables). That was so good I had two (female, both with roe). Apparently, that's what did it for me. I've had a similar (chills) allergic reaction before, but I get it only around every three years or so, so I forget the triggering factor and fall victim again a few years later.

So it was an allergic reaction to the crabs. It almost feels like minor food poisoning (I've had that too, once in a while, from street food I couldn't resist), except the crabs weren't bad since my mother-in-law also had some and she didn't get sick at all.

Sol enjoyed the crabs on the weekend, but she didn't have any last night (Monday) since we had been to the Wellington Hospital for her 21st week ante-natal checkup and she'd been advised (due to Listeria) to stay away crustaceans, shellfish, raw fish. She'll also be staying away from medium-rare steak.

There are more pictures of sol and timmy from the weekend,

And there's my mother-in-law, with the guilty crabs (well, not really, this was the good first batch, it was the Monday batch that got me down :-)


Laptopping, Dancing

We bought Timmy a play laptop since he kept wanting to type on our real laptops.

And some days he's in a dancing mood.


America has no enemies...

except the ones it's making in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the United States of Arrogance wants to have its own way, and it'll kill, torture, rape civilians, women, children and the occasional bad guy) so that it can maintain its imploding standard of living.

Go home, America. And stay there.


Easy composting

That is cool. I'd love to have the Plus edition. It'd be great if it composted diapers too. Timmy generates a lot of those, and we'll have more with the new baby on the way. Unfortunately, I don't see any mention of composting diapers. And even if they could handle diapers, I'm sure they can't take the volume generated by one baby :-).


Timmy singing

Timmy's mother-in-law grandmother, my mother-in-law, sings him "Paper Roses" as a lullaby. She's always sung him just that one song. Now Timmy remembers songs and he prods us what to sing by singing the first part of the song he wants. In his repertoire, "Paper Roses" (actually, la-la-la-la :-), "Row, row, row your boat", "Baa-baa black sheep", and a few others from children's books we've read him.


SkyTV pausing -- maybe fixed

We've had some trouble with video signal pauses with our SkyTV connection. We've had it on three separate days. Strangely, not all channels had the pauses. In particular, free to air NZ channels didn't have the pauses.

So it wasn't the signal transmission from the SkyTV satellite to our rooftop satellite dish. I thought maybe it was some issue with how Sky was pushing the data up to their satellite, from wherever it was coming from (UK and U.S., mostly, I think). That didn't seem right though, since there'd be a major public relations problem if all non-NZ video feeds had pauses.

I still don't know what the problem is. Today though, I applied Windows solution #4: Reboot. It wasn't sufficient to just turn off the decoder settop box. I had to unplug it and plug it back in. That seems to have fixed the pauses though. I guess there's some sort of problem with the decoder starting up sometimes, when we turn it on in the morning, and power-cycling it fixes the sync problem.

I'm very glad about this. My mother-in-law and sol really enjoy the Food channel (we spend the great majority of our TV watching time watching cooking shows there) and sometimes we all get frustrated because a particularly good show with mouth watering food is unwatchable because of 3 second pauses every 3 seconds.

I hope this problem is consistently solved by Windows solution #4 :-).

Carrying Chinese Water, Raping boys

So not only do Americans torture innocent (and a few guilty muslims), they also torture for the Chinese government. Bravo.

Oh, and they sodomized Iraqi boys too, and videotaped the atrocity.

Damn. If the americans ever get their hands on me (given the insane regime there, it could happen, even though I'm completely innocent of all except blogging about American evil), I'm going to die. I'll kill myself before they can torture me.

The FBI knew


An embarrassment of riches

I had a good day today. First I went to the main/central branch of the Wellington City :-).Libraries. I was to have an interview at 2PM, but I went to Wellington with Sol, so I had a few hours to kill at the library.

I hadn't been seated for more than 30 minutes or so when I got a call from yesterday's interview. They couldn't wait til Monday for a decision. I had to make a decision today. I could understand their dilemma. They had another candidate waiting for their decision. If they were to wait til Monday for mine, I might not accept, and the other candidate might no longer be available. I was their preferred candidate, but they couldn't afford to let the second candidate escape unhired if I were not to be available.

I promised to give them my decision before the end of the day.

I then proceeded to read from some java books. I'd done the same the previous day, testing out some new things that were discussed in the books (and which I knew of only theoretically), new to me, anyway, who last worked in java sometime around version 1.1 or very early 1.2. That was good fun. Yesterday I wanted to borrow Java in a Nutshell. Should have grabbed it yesterday. Someone else grabbed it and now I'll have to wait a month for it :-).

The interview at 2PM went very well. It was surprisingly short. And they didn't ask me any technical questions. I think that's a mistake. Employers who are hiring developers should always ask technical questions, and maybe have the developer solve some programming problems. But maybe Catalyst's directors have been around so many developers they can tell who is faking. Likely too, my interviewers were comfortable with the fact that my wife works for Catalyst, is doing very well, and says good things about me.

When the interview ended, I went back to the library to read and play some more. I got a call soon after. Catalyst was offering me a job. The offer was for less money than the first offer, but I accepted anyway. I like how Catalyst does things, my wife enjoys it there, so I'm sure I will too. Sol and I will be able to sample the surrounding restaurants at lunch, and go to work and come home at the same time. It'll be great.

My new job is likely to be mostly Java though. I'm reading up, getting familiar again. I'll also practice some trivial test programs on Tomcat, to see just what that's like. Time to look at Spring too. I don't know what ORM they might be using, but I have a week to learn things ahead of time :-).


I went to an interview with iPredict at Victoria University yesterday. It was a great interview at a small startup. The offer is good, the work is going to be interesting. I'm definitely interested. I'd accept the position immediately, but then I got a call to schedule an interview with Catalyst IT, where sol works. So I'm delaying a decision on iPredict for a few days. If Catalyst makes me an offer, and it's competitive, and they make the decision very quickly, then I'll accept that. But if the offer is off by 10k a year or they don't make an offer by Monday, then I'll accept the iPredict offer.

I hope iPredict is still interested by Monday :-). I think they will be though. The market for PHP-Java developers is tight, and it's hard to find someone who is willing to work with both languages. As it happens, I think that PHP for the frontend and Java for complex logic is the right way to do things. I'm looking forward to working at either iPredict or Catalyst.


Interview tomorrow

I've got an interview with a recruiter tomorrow. The position is an exact fit for my profile, so I'm pretty sure the interview will go well. I sent an application for a senior developer position. My resume is right for that position. I'm going to look at the intermediate developer positions too though. I'm coming off a series of team leader positions and I think I'd prefer the lower level positions though. At least for a year or two. After some decompression (and getting a feel for kiwi management style) I might be ready for team leader positions again.

So I think I'll be looking more at those intermediate positions rather than the one I'm interviewing for :-). I already expressed some of that to the recruiter in a phone call, so he won't be blindsided by it. I *am* open to a senior position too, but it'll depend on who else is on the team (senior support, is there a business analyst leader, etc). I'm OK with handling business analyst type work for short periods, but I don't enjoy it so I don't do well at it beyond a month or so.

I've also applied for 4 other positions (one in C++, the other three being exact matches again), and I'm waiting for a call from sol's company. I'd really prefer to work with sol's company, Catalyst IT Ldt. That'll be my first priority. But since I'm not certain to find a perfect match there (although the odds are pretty good), I'm applying for other jobs too. Everything I've applied for seems to be very interesting. I'll be applying, in the next few weeks, for the less perfect matches :-). There's a lot of work, but of course, not everything is a match (as to skills, technology preferences, or location, since I'm not open to work outside Wellington, or even in parts of Wellington which are not convenient to travel to (e.g., Upper Hutt).

Sol took two weeks to get an offer, although that was through extremely serendipitous happenstance. If I get an offer in two weeks or so I'll be doing pretty well.



I'm not often sad. Usually I'm focused on the wonderful present, or looking forward, moving upward.

and then there's this.

TV and cable too!

Sol and I were sure we didn't want a television. We weren't going to buy one, and we certainly weren't going to have cable. Timmy is entertained by playing with common household items, and I'm entertained watching him and reading online.

My mother-in-law arrived last week though, and a few weeks before that we had to buckle down to getting a TV. We won an auction on a 29" TV on (where else) TradeMe. We also bid on and won a TV cabinet for it.

We definitely weren't going to get cable because the website says installation costs NZ$600. That's almost half a month's rent right there :-).

And then two days ago I got a call from skytv. They have a promo, free installation and 3 months of free premium channels. Since my mother-in-law is here, and *she* won't be entertained by the internet when I find a job, well, we grabbed the deal :-).

We're very happy with the TV and cable now, even though it'll cost $45 a month :-). That's about NZ$140 a month for landline, broadband and cable. But I think we've stabilized our costs now (unless we buy a car, but that's going to be either never or after two paychecks, once I've got a job :-).

There are several cooking channels, there's Discovery, National Geographic and News, and the free NZ channels are much clearer now (for a week we were using the antenna on the roof). We won't be watching much in the way of sports, movies or entertainment news, although Sol will want a tivo when the French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open come around (very soon now). I haven't found a tivo on TradeMe yet though, and I don't have the necessary A/V jacks on either of our laptops to record shows using MythTV. She's thinking she'll be absent a lot for the French Open :-). I hope not.


May 8 2005

Happy Anniversary Sol.

We were rather under-organized for the wedding :-). So we organized a trip to white island, with lechon, beer and a spectacular sunset, but we didn't organize a program (the guests made one up, thanks Cecil), and we didn't think of a photographer or videographer. Fortunately, we got donations of pictures (thanks May, Cecil, Francis) from people who were there :-).

I think I won't send a mass email :-). Those who know about RSS and have subscribed to my feed will see this soon, the rest will see when I post another timmy video I guess :-).

stupidity and society

I have a pretty large sig quote file. But I add to it once in a while.

I recently added:

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.
-- Friedrich von Schiller


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick
-- Krishnamurti

I have a few favorites, but this one just doesn't appear enough in my sigs. I should really add it in there a few hundred times so it'll appear in every other email :-)

Pobrecito mexico tan lejos de Dios y a la vez
tan cerca de los Estados Unidos
Gen. Porfirio Diaz

along with, of course,

GW Bush: Impeach, Prosecute, Convict, Execute


the perfect scrambled eggs

I have got to practice this and get it right, since scrambled eggs is pretty much the only thing I can cook. It might as well be perfect :-).


Well, hello there

Sol went to Pacific Radiology for her first ultrasound. The baby is 10 weeks old and beautiful.



Timmy talks a lot in this video.

A partial list:

Happy Birthday
Butt Then
Haaa (i.e., Hi)
Dud (i.e, Dude)
Theeeey (i.e, There)
pinakbet butter
Momo (i.e., No more)



Timmy has been learning words lately. He's had quite a few words for a long time now, of course, Daddy, Dada, Mommy, Mama, Hug. But his learning is accelerating. We've got a video where he points at a car going by and says "Kah". Some sounds he still has trouble with, e.g., the R in car. And the TH in bath (which comes out "Bah"). He learned flower and tree a few weeks ago, and he's now using "Down" as a command. When he wants to get off his high chair. He's got hello, hi, and goobah already. And "yummy" from a story book we read him. There are a lot more words, but they're not very clear yet. He can even say, e.g., "butterfly" when we say it to him. But he doesn't seem to remember long words between sessions yet. Unless they're nonsense words, in which case he gets stuck on them for a week or more.

He's learning words very fast and, unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to chronicle his verbal progress very much here. I'll try though. And succeed once in a while :-).

Oh yeah. "wow!". he's got that down very well, including the tone of being amazed. Also, copying from me, when i tell him he shouldn't do something "nyonyonyonyo", complete with wagging finger. and "mo mow", complete with wagging hand (that's "no more").



When we arrived, we stayed with friends of friends. They are lovely people and it's a great home, a good place to stop and take a breath. But it's never very comfortable staying with people I've never met before so we were in a rush to get a job and move into our own home.

Sol got a job at Catalyst IT two weeks after we arrived. This was a blessing descended from a long chain of blessings that started with an email post about postgresql. With the help of sol's best friend and her husband, we searched for a house to rent, drove around for three weekend-days looking at homes (thanks Julius!) and finally found the perfect little home from a web advertisement (thanks Arlene!). Our debt to Arlene and Julius are no longer within reach of our ability to repay, and as Jun Yamog says, the best we'll be able to do is pay it forward.

Our home-to-be wasn't going to be ready for another two weeks (it was being renovated) so we stayed on for two more weeks at our homestay, and we spent a heck of a lot of money buying our bedroom suite (Queen Anne bed, base and headboard, along with two bedside tables and a great dresser).

We were able to get the bed into the house two days before we moved in. When we moved in, all we had in the house was the bedroom suite, Timmy's crib, and the oven and dishwasher (which came with the house, although they're a bit old). We'd previously ordered a refrigerator, washing machine and dryer though (brand-new since we intend to stay here for a few years, and bring the whiteware with us when we move). Those arrived the afternoon after we moved in.

TimmyHad to eat on the kitchen countertop

I continued to model my CamiguinAction t-shirts in the empty living roomwhile timmy modeled cuteness
Sol modeled the kitchen's walk-in cupboard

Quite a few snacks later...

Our second purchase from Trade Me (our first was the bedroom suite) was the dining set

On the same trip that another friend, Barry, helped me pick up the dining set, we also picked up a pair of lounging chairs. One is a lazyboy/rocker. The other just rocks, it doesn't recline. We use the second (rocker only) in Timmy's room because it squeaks less than the recliner. Both are in good condition, but less squeaking is important since we rock Timmy to sleep in it.

A week or so after that, we also bought a living room set, one 3 seater, two single seats, and a single rocker (not shown).

We still need a double bed (or two single beds) for the other double room and then I think our furniture buying Trade Me days will be over. Although Sol is still on the lookout for better looking curtains and I'm currently on the lookout for a Linksys NSLU2 :-).


Trademe and carlessness

We've been on Trademe a lot lately. That's New Zealand's dominant auction site (like ebay, but limited only to New Zealand). We've bought a few things, dining table and chairs, coffee table, living room suite, a lazyboy/recliner and its partner rocker (looks the same, but doesn't recline), a bedroom suite (bed, dresser with mirror and two bedside tables). We've been pretty limited in what we've bought though. There are incredible savings to be made by buying on Trademe, but we can't really participate in a lot of those savings since we don't have a car.

For the large items, we're lucky to have made the acquaintance of a kiwi (who is married to a filipina) who has a van he uses for trucking large items. For a fee, we transported the bedroom suite, the dining table and chairs, and the lazyboy pair. He's very nice, but we can only contact him for large pickups since the pickup/delivery fee is substantial (but still much less than the fees for commercial services). The coffee table and living room suite were delivered.

For small things though, we can't really make any savings since generally we'd like to purchase locally, so we could just go over and pick up the items, but since we have no car yet, we can't pick up.

In 6 months or so we might have bought a car already. But by then, likely, we'll have the opposite problem. We'll have too much stuff and will be posting them on trademe and insisting on pickup only :-).

Thanks to Trademe and Barry though (the kiwi with the van), we've got a house that's pretty much complete. We have two single beds to buy yet, for the extra room, for when my mother-in-law visits. We'll ask for Barry's help for those.

A car would be helpful too, for some things that are large but cheap. For instance, we've been here for two months and haven't ironed any clothes yet. We bought an iron, but we haven't got an ironing board yet. It's too large to walk up the mountain with, but too cheap to ask for Barry's help with :-). We've got some very good friends who could help with transporting it, but they've been so nice and helpful we're now reluctant to ask for more help. Sol has a workaround in mind though and if all goes well, we may have an ironing board by next Tuesday or so. And then the house would be complete :-).

There's no TV, no bookshelves, no books. But we don't really need any of those. WE'VE GOT BROADBAND! :-)


house maybe

Today has been a good day. Sol went to a viewing of an apartment for rent yesterday. Today she was offered the apartment by the agent. She hasn't accepted yet because we were scheduled to view another apartment (a few blocks from where we live now) today. We just came from there and are very happy with it. The agent said he'd inform us within the next two days if he was going to offer it to us. I really hope he does. It's perfect, it's in the right area for us, and we REALLY, REALLY want to live there.

Well, we'll know by Thursday. If we don't get it, then we'll fall back on the first house.


first two weeks

We arrived in Wellington, New Zealand on the 10th. It's the 23rd now, so we've been here around two weeks.

Here's a compilation video of timmy at manila international airport (you don't want to miss that part), and walking through the airport at Sydney.

We were very lucky to be put in touch with very good friends of Sol's best friend, they have a four bedroom house and are only using three. So we're on a homestay with them until we can get an apartment of our own.

Here are some views of the house, from the outside and looking out the dining room window into the front garden.

And views of the houses around us.

Sol was trying to take a picture of our room when someone popped his head into the frame.

We have half (a very generous half, since our host family is MUCH larger than ours) of the refrigerator. So we shop often (twice a week, or sometimes more frequently) since we need to refill our provisions when our half of the refrigerator approaches empty, or when we're running low on timmy's milk.

We bring Timmy because we both have to be there, so we don't forget anything, and because we can load up his stroller with heavy items, with me carrying the rest of the items for the ten minute walk uphill and home. He had a yogurt snack the first time we did that.

Timmy is an early riser. Normally I would resent that since I'm certainly not a morning person. However, he always wakes up smiling and makes the mornings lovely.

We were concerned about the milk (or formula) that Timmy would drink in NZ. We tried to get him to drink milk in Manila and the first time that failed (my mother-in-law couldn't stand his protests so she gave in and made him formula). We later gave him fresh milk and formula mixes and he was OK with those. We weren't sure how he'd react to NZ milk though, so we bought a can of formula and we researched brands of formula available in NZ, and what the equivalent of our manila formula was here.

It turns out that there was no problem. He loves the milk here and he drinks it better than he did his formula (he would often leave an ounce or more of formula in the bottle, here he drains the milk to the last drop).

And then he sleeps it off.

We've been here two weeks now. Last Thursday, Sol landed a job with Catalyst IT Limited, a specialist in open source technologies. We've got the first few hurdles, ahhh, hurdled. We're now working on finding the right apartment for us. That's a bit hard because we're not very mobile (with Sol starting work tomorrow, and not having a car or being able to drive here). Fortunately, we have had incredible help from Sol's best friend and her husband. Julius has been driving us all over Wellington in our search for an apartment. It'll probably take another week or two for us to settle on the right place. But luck has been with us so far, so maybe the streak will continue and we'll have a place by this week.