One on one

Posted November 16th, 2009 by Penny Wise

Yippee, have just posted off another load of my Trade Me auctions! That's another $280 easy money in the kitty! The only problem is I still have a lot more to list before I have emptied my 78 litre container! The hardest thing I find about selling so much stuff online is finding the time to do it - there's no getting away from the fact that it is pretty time consuming. Still, it's worth it as it's really going to be helpful for Christmas this year. Have just learned that my brother-in-law and his fiancee won't be with us for Christmas after all this year, as the British Home Office have just told him the residency application he applied for in September will now take six months to process, not three as they told him originally and refuse to give him his passport back. Bah humbug, the rotten lot! While their absence will now mean a greatly reduced alcohol bill for the festive season, we would still of course much rather have them here!

One thing there definitely won't be a shortage of is food. Ali is celebrating his first harvest already! He has grown a lovely crop of radishes and we have been enjoying them as a crunchy addition to our salads. By the end of the week he should be picking his first broccoli. His tomatoes are starting to fruit already, his parsley is going mad and the beetroot, beans and baby cabbages aren't far away. He's going to be busy!

Noel and Ali have just spent a long weekend of huntin' and fishin' and blokes stuff at their favourite place in the world, deep in the back of beyond near Taumaranui. The plan was to bring home some venison for the freezer, so I was slightly horrified when Ali proudly flung open the back of the ute to display two enormous black boars, complete with fearsome tusks. 'We got six!' he said proudly. Oh joy. I haven't had much choice but to get used to eating venison over the years but I honestly don't think I can bring myself to tuck into wild pork. I'll leave that to the hunters!

While those two were busy hunting and gathering in the bush, Liam and I were doing some hunting and gathering of a different kind. After weeks of saving his pocket money we had earmarked this weekend to hit the shops and get him some new clothes. We could put it off no longer, seeing the poor boy was down to no shorts whatsoever. He had worn his last three remaining pairs until they literally fell to bits and he was left with nothing. It was the first time I had been shopping with Liam since he became responsible for buying his own clothes and the difference in him was huge! When I had been the one doing the buying, taking Liam into a clothes shop was like pulling teeth. He would stand there looking bored, sighing dramatically and rolling his eyes. He would refuse point blank to look at anything and would simply shrug non-committally if I asked whether he liked this or that.

Not so this time! Here was a boy on mission - to get cool clothes at the right price. The only problem was, we couldn't find any. Well, we could find heaps of cool clothes, just not at the right price. As we trawled all his favourite surf and skate shops, Liam was horrified to discover that he couldn't find a pair of shorts for under $50 and the t-shirts weren't much better. We've picked up some great bargains in places like Rebel Sports when the sales are on - but there were no sales this weekend. I suggested we compromised and paid more for the 'cool' tops, but just pick up some cheap no-name shorts to go with them. 'Who's going to notice your shorts anyway?' I reasoned. 'No Mum', he insisted. 'My last three pairs of shorts were cheap ones and they fell apart! If I'm buying my stuff I want it to last'. Hmm, I couldn't argue with that logic!

Hours later we had sore feet and were still empty handed. We simply refused to pay such a ridiculous amount of money. Liam was utterly deflated. I told him we had no choice but to keep an eye out for bargains on Trade Me, or do what we had done in the past and shop online overseas in the January sales. We made our way home, thoroughly fed up. We were about 15 minutes from home when we passed a sign just off the main highway 'SURF, SKATE, SNOW - UP TO 90% OFF RETAIL'. We had passed the building a hundred times before but had never gone in. Why? Because we were always going somewhere, on the way to do something else! Today however, we had time to spare. We turned round, and went in. One hour later, a very happy Liam emerged with two pairs of shorts, three t-shirts and a pair of shoes! 'Finally - a shop which has everything I like at the right price!' he grinned. 'I just wish we had gone there from the start, it would have saved us almost a whole day! One thing's for sure - I'm going to do ALL my shopping there from now on!'

I have to agree, this is definitely one for our 'Hidden Gem' directory! I remember Fiona talking about hidden gems once before. They are shops which offer excellent service and value for money in your local area, but not many people know about them. The man in the shop was extremely knowledgeable and helpful and carried a much larger range of stock than we had ever predicted. He really sympathised with what we had been through in the other stores. There are three brands in NZ which are hugely popular with young people at the moment, particularly males - Huffer, Lower and ABC. The stores are all saturated with them. It's fantastic NZ brands are doing so well and I love to support local but nothing on this earth would make me pay $145 for a pair of shorts! If Liam can get a top brand pair from the US for $29, then sorry, that wins hands down. We'll be sticking with our Hidden Gem!

'Well that ended up being a fun shopping day after all!' said Liam happily as we went home for the second time. I agreed wholeheartedly! Even though a big part of the day had been frustrating, it was lovely as a mum to see Liam growing up and making his own decisions. He often chooses completely different clothing than what I would have chosen had I been the one doing the buying! I'm rather biased I know, but I really couldn't wish for a more sweet natured kid. The day had threatened to go a bit pear-shaped at the start. We were just about to set off when he received a text from a couple of friends who wanted him to go and hang out with them. I knew he wanted to go but was torn - he felt as though he should stay to keep me happy. I offered to compromise and take him there to meet up with them at some stage but they told him that he either had to go with them or not at all. He told them to forget it. 'It's alright Mum - I mean, we never get much time to hang out, just you and me. They can get stuffed if they're going to be like that!' I was really proud of him but worried at the same time. I didn't like the thought of him falling out with his friends or being thought of as a 'mummy's boy' for choosing to stay with me but he insisted everything was fine. As it turned out, we ended up meeting with his friends later on anyway and I left them to it for a while but you know what? I asked him if he had fun when I picked him up and he said 'Yeah, it was alright. I had more fun with you though!' Bless him - guess I should enjoy it while it lasts!

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