Saturday, November 19, 2016

Week Ending 20 November 2016

Monday was certainly eventful. We were awoken just after midnight by an earthquake that went on for ever. Thankfully it didn't develop into a strong jolting quake but things just kept rolling and wobbling, rolling and wobbling. Turns out it was a 7.8 quake centered just over an hour's drive away and it has caused major damage in other parts of the country. Even though things were fine where we are getting back to sleep was a bit of an issue what with adrenaline and aftershocks. I feel like enough is enough Mother Nature. I've felt more earthquakes in the past six years than anyone should feel in a lifetime.

About half an hour after the quake Mr 18 announced he was going out. Some friends of his who live several suburbs away were pretty upset by the quake so he thought he'd go over and help take their minds off things. But because he'd had a beer earlier that night he couldn't legally drive, so he ended up biking there and back! He's good in a crisis, likes to help and is obviously a good friend. Of course I was a little worried about his safety - "He's biking! At 2am! With earthquakes!" -  which also contributed to my lack of sleep.

Given the interrupted sleep I figured Miss 15 and I wouldn't do much on Monday. Once day broke I was busy with phone calls and emails from friends and family checking we were okay. Thanks to my online friends for checking in - it really wasn't as bad where we are as media reports may have led you to believe. Turns out Miss 15 was busy on Facebook Messenger doing much the same as me. And then she got called in to work for a couple of hours since another coach couldn't make it. Got the call at 9:15 and the class started at 9:30, plus she was still in her pyjamas and the gym is about 10 minutes drive away. Amazingly she was only a couple of  minutes late.

Ironically Dh and I had a meeting later that morning regarding the re-repairs to our house following the 2010/2011 quakes. The first repairs weren't properly done. Work will start at the end of February and we'll have to be out of the house for four weeks. So my task over the next few weeks will be trying to find alternative accommodation - and trying to decide on colour schemes since several rooms will be repainted. Sadly, I have no talent for interior decorating.

In the afternoon Miss 15 and I  reverted to our familiar routine of game playing, reading and taking quizzes on the road code. We also watched an episode from a documentary series on our marine environment. Of course, we were especially interested in the segments that related to birds. In the evening Miss 15, Dh and Mr 18 watched an episode or two of a political satire show they enjoy. I was busy doing yoga, trying to get back into the habit of practicing every day.

On Tuesday morning Mr 18 kindly drove Miss 15 out of town so that she could go birding with our birding group. Although there were fewer birds around than expected I know she loved getting out in the field again. The birds may have been scared off by all the helicopter activity. A tourist town north of here has been totally cut off by the quake - no road or rail access at all. So critical supplies were being choppered in and people with medical needs were being choppered out and the helicopters were landing not too far from the wetland they were birding at. She was home for a couple of hours in the afternoon. The time was filled with - surprise, surprise - reading, game playing and studying the road code. Then it was off to the gym for five and a half hours - coaching first, then training with a brief break in between. Sadly, the day ended on a sour note with issues related to the gym - a reminder of all that I dislike about her involvement in the sport.

Wednesday morning Miss 15 went to the mall to choose some of her birthday gifts. Not very exciting and no element of surprise but it was the sort of stuff she really needed to choose herself. The middle of the day was filled with more reading, game playing and driver's education before she headed back to the gym for another five and a half hours of coaching and training. The other excitement of the day was receiving the photos we ordered of Miss 15 at Nationals. Photos don't really capture what's involved in trampolining or what she can do - you really need video for that and I'm really looking forward to the video compilation being available since I've not yet had the chance to see her routine. But I'm grateful for some good photos. Last years were terrible and we didn't order a single one.

While I was at the physio on Thursday morning the kids went to the supermarket and took care of the weekly shop for me. I hate shopping and Miss 15 loves it, so a win, win situation. Apart from our usual routine we also read a story version of Henry V in the afternoon. Sadly neither my favourite Leon Garfield's Shakespeare Stories nor Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare include this play. I wasn't really impressed with either of the books we found at the library but they served their purpose of quickly refreshing our memories of the play. Miss 15 only had a short session at the gym today and was home just after 7pm which gave us plenty of time to watch Kenneth Branagh's version of Henry V.  Mr 18 spent a chunk of the day organizing camping equipment. He is Quarter Master at his old Scout group and the triennial national jamboree is next month so organizing the equipment for that is keeping him busy.

Friday was a big day as Miss 15 that was had a birthday and became Miss 16. First order of the day was obtaining her driving licence. What better way to turn 16 than standing in a queue for an hour! The actual test only took her 10 minutes and she aced it. Once we got home she Skyped Miss 21 in England, opened the gift Miss 21 had sent her and spent ages chatting. Then we made a ridiculously delicious raspberry fudge brownie for her birthday cake and made time for a quick initial driving lesson before she headed to the gym for two hours of coaching and then three hours of training.

Saturday was a birding day for Miss 16 - the annual summer wader count at a nearby lake. The count is part of a nationwide effort monitoring wading birds. She also managed to fit in plenty of driving practise, plus there was a little trampolining  - a short practice for her squad's prizegiving display. Mr 18 was also out for most of the day. He did a short extra shift at work starting at 4 am (the perils of bakery employment) and then went out of town to volunteer at a Scouting event. The day also featured a brief visit from my parents plus Mr 24 joined us for dinner.

Two events dominated Sunday. It was end-of-year prizegiving  and displays at the gym. Miss 16 and her friend won the prize for junior synchronized trampoline pair of the year. And then there were several short driving lessons. I've found with all my kids little and often is best when they first get behind the wheel. I'll also confess that teaching driving is probably my least favourite parenting role . Even though she is doing fine I'm looking forward to the day when I can hang up my driving instructor's hat for good!

Linking with the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


  1. Oooh, I'm with you about driving instruction! Unfortunately I'm just at the starting gate instead of the finish line. :)

    That photo of Miss 15 upside down in the air is awesome!!!

    Good luck finding a temporary home. I'm glad the quake wasn't bad for you. That town that's been cut off will be in my prayers.

  2. My sons took trampoline lessons for our first two years of homeschooling and we were told my middle son had it in him to do it competitively. I was thankful when he decided he just liked it for fun- I would have encouraged him and supported him but it made me a wreck to watch him flying up in the air like that. The pictures of your daughter are just beautiful!!

    1. Funnily enough I don't worry about her injuring herself (even though she did badly break her arm at training a few years ago). Some kids I just hate to watch because the travel so much in the air and don't seem to be in control of their routines that they always look in danger of coming off the tramp.

  3. Wow! What an eventful week! And I love this: ""He's biking! At 2am! With earthquakes!"

  4. Happy Birthday to Miss 16! I've seen tampolining on tv so can place the photos to the live event -- those are great shots! Lovely to have them :-)

    For driving in NZ, what age do they need to be for the actual license? Where we live they can be aged 15yrs + 6mos for the behind-the-wheel learner's permit, then they can take the actual 'independent' driver's exam as of their 16th birthday ...

    Exciting to have the home repairs scheduled at last although having to move out for four weeks is a bit of a bear!

    1. The drivers license here is now a 3 tiered system. At age 16 you have to pass a theory test and can then get behind the wheel so long as there is a supervisor beside you. After 6 months you take a practical test and then have a restricted license. This means you can drive unsupervised except between the hours of 10pm and 5am and (with a few exceptions like your own children) you cannot have passengers in the car. Then after 18 months (reduced to 12 if you take defensive driving course) you take a final practical test and earn a full license.