Day 10 on adventures with Johnny and Eddie. I’ve recently decided that rather than moving into a retirement home in old age, my mom should move into a hostel. The reason: unsuspecting people willing to let her talk their ear off for hours on end. She loves them. Thus far, we’ve stayed in a mix of houses/condos and hostels. And I have to say, while the houses are nice, my mom really “comes out of her shell” in the hostels.
We’re currently residing in one of my favorite places in New Zealand: The Hopewell Lodge in the Marlborough Sounds. It’s a long journey along two hours of winding roads, some unsealed, but upon arrival, it instantly becomes worth it. Guests are greeted with tea and cookies, enjoyed sitting under umbrella tables right by the water. We’re living off the land tonight after grabbing oysters, clams and mussels from the beach. Tomorrow, we’ll do some sea kayaking and then try our hand at catching some fish for dinner. I stayed here with my friend, Heather, back in April. This is when the possibility of me becoming a fisherwoman first became a glimmering hope. Five fish caught in five minutes. Take that deadliest catch.
Anyway, we spent some time preparing for dinner in the common area. My mom started chatting with a german couple who said 8 of the 11 guests in residence are German. Now, Germans are ALL over New Zealand. If I put in any amount of effort, I could probably be fluent at this point. That’s the mass we’re talking about here. But as with many Europeans, most speak almost perfect English. However, Johnny obviously didn’t get the bilingual memo.
Next person that enters into the common room.
Mom: HELLO….I’M….JONALYN….THIS…IS…ED…MY HUSBAND….HOW….ARE….YOU? (the periods represents ridiculously long pauses and the capitals are extreme enunciation and high volume.
Me and dad: (trying our best not to laugh our arses off, but quite unsuccessfully.)
German Gent: (In perfect English.) Hi, I’m X. Nice to meet you.
This might be one of those “had to be there moments,” but I swear I almost wet my pants. Anyway, so far so good with the trip. We started in Riverton (northwest of Invercargill.) Thankfully, we stayed in a rented house instead of the Tweed Street palace. In 20/20 hindsight, it may have been better to forgo the house tour and head out to the rental. Or at the very least, head to the posh section of town, point to a house and pretend it was my humble abode. Better yet, find one undergoing construction, “oh, yes, mom and dad. We’re having an additional wing added on and that’s why we can’t stop.” Oh, 20/20 hindsight, how amazing you are. After Riverton, we went to the spectacular Milford Sound. I decided to get a little rustic and had us stay a night at Gunn’s Camp about an hour outside of Milford. My second wrong move of the trip. In my little fantasy world prior to my parents arriving, I envisioned us camping at various points during our trip. This fantasy became such a reality in my head that I even procured three sleeping bags, a tent and various camping accessories. Upon arrival to Gunn’s camp, this fantasy quickly died a fiery death. Mom was mortified by the bare bones cabins. In her defense, we did not grow up as campers, but really, it’s in the middle of a national park, I’m quite certain that a Ritz Carlton would be a bit out of place. Apparently not in Mom’s world.
Mom: Jee-sus, Kerryn. This looks like some backwoods shack straight out of my grandmother’s era.
One great thing for her is the mileage she will get out of the story of staying in “that horrid Gunn’s shithole.” No doubt that will give her at least a year, possibly two, of fodder with her friends.
After a few days in a Queenstown haven, we then went up to Fox Glacier where housing options are fairly limited. We ended up at the Ivory Tower Hostel. As hostels go, it’s fairly typical. I took one for the team and stayed in a dorm, while mom and dad stayed in their own double room. After we settled in, I went over for a little visit.
Me: knock, knock.
Dad: Oh, look. We have a tv and dvd player.
Mom: I feel like Indiana Jones in he-ah.
Me: Mom, how exactly would this be close to Indiana Jones? You’re staying a private room with a double bed, heater and television.
After another brief stop up the west coast, we headed to Abel Tasman. My dreams of camping dashed, we ended up renting a house in Kaiteriteri. On our first full day there, we took a boat along the coast of Abel Tasman National Park and then landed at Bark’s bay for a short hike down the coast to Anchorage Bay. Along the way, it was filled with beautiful views of the water, clean scents of the surrounding trees and yes, complaints from my mother:
Mom: I’m thirsty, I need some water. Kerryn, stop drinking all the water.
Mom: These tree stumps just come up from nowhere.
Mom: Slow down.
Etc. Hopefully you’re getting the idea. Warning: the next verbal exchange is said in jest. Both parties were laughing at something prior and continued to laugh during and after conversation exchange. Do not judge. I am not a bad person even if my mom occasionally drives me to the brink of sanity.
Mom: Ed, slow down. You need to wait for me.
Me: Mom, did you know you’re quite bossy?
Mom: No, I’m not. I’m just the alpha dog.
Me: No, in dog terms I’d say you’re more of the shih tzu that everyone wants to drop kick to keep from yapping.
And that now brings us to the Hopewell Lodge. The next installment of “shit my mom says” will be coming soon I’m sure.