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A Busy Summer

I'm sure folks are tired of me saying how busy we have been, especially given the lack of real jobs. But honestly things are just full on. I don't know how we could work and do all we have done to the house. We finally finished it, or rather declared it finished.

John had finished building the floor just before his mom arrived, but we hadn't had it sanded and polished. It seemed whenever Thomas was available we had company. But we finally got our schedules in sync and Thomas did a fabulous job on the floor. We ordered some Macrocarpa skirting boards and rimu architrave's and finally got the entire room finished! It is lovely and spacious. We also finally got the last of the architrave's put up in the kitchen, and it also looks magnificent.

We sold the shed and have moved most of the stuff down into a storage unit, and the view out our kitchen window is no longer a steel wall!

The last thing to do before putting the house on the market was to send the cats away. A friend in Seattle, Terry, had agreed to take them for a few months, to make life easier for us selling the house and travelling back home. I'm not sure he fully appreciated the task he was taking on, but we are forever in his debt. The big issue was keeping the cats inside. They have always been indoor cats and just don't have the defensive skills to be out. Even though it shouldn't be this way, traffic on our road can move very quickly. There are also a few vicious dogs and cats in the neighbourhood, and we just didn't want to risk the cats getting out. It seems the idea of indoor only cats is not common here, and trying to get people to close doors and not let them out (or leave interior doors open) to not trap them, was going to be difficult. It also would make keeping the place clean much easier, and allow us some freedom to travel.

Our timing wasn't great. My sister was visiting, and John and I had planned to do the 425 km Nelson to Christchurch bike ride. The cats were booked on a dawn flight the morning of the ride. It was very emotional sending them away, and I was quite distressed until we heard from Terry that they had arrived safely.

Cindy's visit was short but busy. Given her love of water sports, I planned a trip up to Abel Tasman. We took a water taxi up to the middle of the park, and walked back to Anchorage, where we stayed the night. The next day, we did a sea kayak trip, before taking a water taxi back.

Nelson to Christchurch was interesting. We've had lots of rain recently, very UN-February-like weather. The forecast wasn't great, and it started pouring a few hours before the midnight start. We finally showed some intelligence, and decided to take the fendered touring bike rather than our race bike. In our usual style, we rode self-supported. Cindy was driving the van down to Christchurch, but leaving in the morning, and taking a different route. So we didn't have to ride back, and we could do more stuff were her down there. Ross and Marian were the only other folks without a PSV. Unfortunately Ross hit something in the road, and they both went down hard. We had been to-ing and fro-ing with them, and they were behind us when this happened.

It poured for most of the event, and got cooler as the ride went on, but we were stubborn and finished. I do wish more folks rode this as a social ride rather than a race, and that fewer used PSV's and such. This is one thing I am really looking forward to on our return to the US - social rides!

Once we all made it to Christchurch, we decided to go up to Kaikoura for a whale watch. As someone who is prone to seasickness, this was not my thing, but as tour guide, you do the touristy things. We did see several whales, and lots of dolphins and seals. John took heaps of photos, but whales and dolphins are camera shy. My recommendation if you do ones of these trips is to leave the camera behind, and just watch and enjoy, and then buy photos at the shop. You won't catch a dolphin in mid air, and you won't get the whale tail upright!

Cindy flew out of Christchurch, and we drove back to Nelson. We finished cleaning up and getting the house ready for the first open home, and then headed off on our long awaited south island bike tour.