25 September 2014

Same Country, Different Flat

September 22: Monday was our last day at our first homestay. We did laundry first thing since we knew our new homestay wouldn't have the room, really. Afterwards, we began packing everything up around the house and organising stuff for packing later. We went to school after lunch and studied for quite a while, though I also worked on my train article for the day. Still on track! (Get it?) That evening, we had a chicken dinner with the homestay, her mother-in-law, and the other student and then watched Bates Motel in the evening. Not too remarkable.

September 23: Move out day! Everything got arranged with Sam in advance so we moved out as soon as we could. After breakfast, we began final packing and loading up the car. And boy was the car full! It was packed to the brim for a three block move. Getting the luggage up two flights of stairs was a bit harder work. Once we got everything in, we went to Hornby to do some shopping. We grabbed lunch at Wendy's (US-style one) then we checked out a bunch of stores for cheap towels and whatnot then went to Pak 'n' Save to pick up some grub. Sam called us about halfway through shopping to let us know that he had locked himself out! So we hustled back to let him and his two kids into the house. We returned to Susie, our previous homestay, to drop off the keys and thank her for housing us for a month. We pretty much spent the rest of the night chatting with Sam about everything, though his kids also jumped in and out of the convo quite frequently.

September 24: Today was a work day with a trip to the Uni after lunch for a good five hours of studying/research. It went a bit too long, to be honest. I was very glad for it to be over. I wanted to play a game after dinner (Fish. Big fish. Mmmm) but we ended up getting distracted and delayed and time passed too quickly. Honestly, not our most productive day ever.

September 25: Today was an organising day. We woke up and began rearranging all of Sam's games. He left early and said we could, so we did. The living area has a bunch more room now and the games are much more visible. All good things. It took me hours afterwards, though, to write my train article. The things just didn't want to get written. I dread tomorrow's article, too, since it is quite possibly the most convoluted one in the entire book. Eccles became Olympia but then appeared again elsewhere. Meanwhile, Hayes spur and Union Mill are somewhere here too. Yeah, I'm lost. The rest of the afternoon was spent with me trying really hard to read a book in French (mixed results) and then reading another book decidedly not in French (better results). We got back to the flat and had dinner (more fish but garlic bread this time) and then we played our first game in New Zealand (yeah, it's been a busy month): Santiago de Cuba. It was a bit random and quite fast, but overall it was pretty fun. I don't see a lot of replay value to it, though.

Random Visualisations:
Gonna go on a list of New Zealand things that are also done by Brits. Such as...

  • Inverted Commas – This is a term used to refer to the fact that Brits only use single apostrophes when typing. To note this during speech, instead of saying "Quote" they say 'Inverted Commas'. Yeah, quite a mouthful, I know.
  • No Zs – The Brits and Kiwis hate them. Zs are even called "Zee" when spoken, they are called "Zed". And since we're in New Zealand, that NZ initials are everywhere. And in every case, it is pronounced "Zed". So, ANZed is our bank. Weird. Most of the time, "z" becomes an "s" in writing, as well. So we "socialise" rather than "socialize".
  • Our – "Armour" not "armor". Remember that! Our country is full of 'ours' not "yours".

22 September 2014

The Failings of the Parliamentary System

19 September: Friday was a remarkably droll day. Kara and I woke up then went to the uni where we...researched. I finally found some fun primary source documents, though they are not really adequate to directly quote from for my thesis because they aren't in the original languages (French, Latin, German, blah). I also mostly finished editing section one of my book, which was a big accomplishment. My book has five major sections and this is tied for second longest (i.e., I have to sections shorter than it). This section also had some of the longest articles with the most sources; many of my later long articles are based more on map analysis than quoted sources. Really, that was about it.

20 September: Things started picking up pace on Saturday. We checked out two apartments, neither especially close.

.:.sigh.:. Sire Java, update. Why do these apps always updated while I'm typing? Seriously!

The first apartment showed significant signs of earthquake damage and the owners admitted that it had been cleared so no repairs were made. The second place was much nicer. Both were near malls, which is good, and the first was on the major bus route to the uni, which is better. Between viewings, we checked out a KFC—a real one, not a mall one—and I baffled them completely when I asked for a mashed potatoes without gravy. Yeah, they really like their gravy here and they looked at me like I was absolutely nutters. But in my defence, even if I liked gravy, I prefer to get maybe 20% gravy, 80% potatoes. They like to reverse those numbers. After the second showing, we went to a massive used book sale at the larger of the two horse race tracks here (yeah, there's two). The rest of the evening was spent watching Bates Motel.

21 September: Sunday proved just as successful. We met a gamer guy who has an apartment with a room to rent, so we're switching houses on Tuesday. The guy has a very large collection and is really laid back, so it will be a bit of a switch from our current homestay situation. After setting that all up, we went to the uni and watched my supervisor, Chris, give a lecture on the Canterbury Roll, a fifteenth century medieval scroll that shows the lineage of the Lancastrian kings back to Noah...more or less. And just before the lecture, we got a text telling us that apartment one, from Saturday, was ours if we wanted it. So we got that too. But we can't move in until mid-October so we'll still be at Sam's flat for three weeks or so. That pretty much ended the weekend with a resounding .:.SIGH.:. But a good .:.SIGH.:. at least.

Facts of Interestingnessnessness:
  • Christchurch no longer has an elected body representing it locally. After the earthquakes in 2010-2011, the national government made static the government in the city, a status that has not changed in three years. Thus, Christchurch is only represented democratically in the national parliament.
  • The national government also lacks any checks and balances. Thirty years ago, the upper house of parliament was abolished since most of its powers had been removed. The executive branch is headed by Queen Elizabeth II, but she has no actual power. The judicial branch is elected entirely by the unicameral parliament, with top-level appeals sent to London.
  • Parliament is run by the National Party now, a sort of branch of the UK's Conservative Party. They control over 50% of the legislature. The Labour Party controls around 25% but has been declining in importance over the years. The Green, ACT, New Zealand First, Internet-Mana, Conservative, and Māori Parties all fill in the two major parties when coalitions are needed.

18 September 2014

And Other Names for Bell Peppers

16 September: On Tuesday I met with my own personal librarian, Dave. Okay, so he's not mine, but he is specifically tasked with working with history majors and the like, so he's sort of mine. Anyway, it was kind of fun. We chatted about a whole slew of random things since the library really isn't that difficult to navigate. Kara was researching during this time, and I joined her after. We're settling in quite well to our office space, though I'm still a bit lost regarding what I should be doing. Kara's project's straight forward, but I'm just drifting until I figure out what I should be researching. We have proposals due at the end of February and these things are a bit dense, so that's my current goal. After that, it's not so hard.

Oh look. Acrobat Reader wants to update. Sure. Why not? Feel free to interrupt me anytime, Adobe.

Anywho, when we got home, our homestay lady chewed us out a bit for using the heater during the daytime. Now mind you, it was about 50˚ inside the house in the morning and it was windy and raining outside. Most importantly, we were still there. She was not. We're paying a bunch of money each week to stay here and she gets mad at us for wanting the temperature to be comfortable. Welcome to New Zealand, people, where everyone prefers antarctic weather. Things have been quite tense ever since, especially since we had to go and get our own dinner too, since she decided to leave us a message on her answering machine rather than calling one of our cell phones. Because that makes sense. Tuesday ended badly.

17 September: Wednesday became our first day of practiced avoidance. We slept in until everybody left, then watched the finale of Hell on Wheels. Afterwards, we went to a lecture by a history MA student who was focusing on prison reform in colonial India. It was quite interesting.

Oh Acrobat Pro, you want to update now too? Sure, no problem. I'm just trying to write here!

The rest of the afternoon we stayed in our offices. I wrote an abstract for an application to speak at the ANZAMEMS conference in Brisbane next summer. Either way I'm going, so the issue now is am I speaking. The whole conference is a week long and kind of a big deal in the Southern Hemisphere. In the evening, we had some Chinese chicken thing, which was okay except I had to filter out the mushrooms and capsicum (see below). Then we finished season one of Bates Motel, which was fun.

Ambrose enjoying some brushing.

Cherry blossoms after a very windy afternoon.
18 September: Thursday was a strict work day. We went to the school right after lunch and worked for about four hours straight. I finished my application after some rewrites suggested by my supervisor, and then moved on to researching again. At the very end of the time, I finally discovered some good material for research, but I ran out of time so it'll have to wait until Friday. The good news was that I finished the first major section of my Santa Cruz Trains book! That's right, makin' progress baby! Kara just finished editing the last page so tomorrow is going to be an intensive editing day. We also have a house to visit, if everything goes right.

There is one major Mexican food chain in New Zealand, and it is really new. It's called Pepe's Mexican Grill and they are more FreshMex than traditional. We tried them and were not overly impressed. A lot of rice (with lime!) and the beans were simple pinto rather than refried. For the cheese, they put this sour cream/spice/cheese sauce on rather than shredded cheese. Overall, we determined that not only have I been making tastier Mexican food, but I can make it for about a third of the price. Yeah, we're totally opening up a Mexican restaurant here when we're done with our degrees. We'll call it PhD Taqueria.

Intersting Facts:
  • Bell peppers are extremely common ingredients here in food. The people literally stick them in every food item. Yet the Kiwis do not call them bell peppers; indeed, apparently most of the non-American, non-Canadian, and non-British English-speaking populations don't call them that. To the rest of the world, bell peppers are called "capsicum" which is its scientific name. And now you know!

15 September 2014

Starchy Clothes

Still no photos. I know, I'm ruining this blog. Ugh. I stink. Not literally; these clothes just got cleaned. Though they are a bit starchy. Hmm. See observations below.

13 September: Checked out a place in the late morning. It was fairly nice but expensive and too far to walk to the Uni. It was close to the racetrack, though, which means gambling was an annual option. Still, we decided to pass because of the first two reasons. Not the third. We love gambling on horse races. See Derek & Kara's Adventures in San Diego, 2007 ed. After that, we watched La Nana, a Spanish-language film about a maid that didn't want another maid to move in. It was one of those funny but not laugh-of-loud funny kind of drama-comedies. Like Royal Tennenbaums except good. Lots of writing the rest of the day. I feel like I am repeating that statement a lot. I also knocked out my back, which wasn't cool but did result in an awkwardly silly laughing/crying fit that wouldn't stop even after I collapsed on the bed.

14 September: We got to see another movie en Español today called En el Nombre de la Hija, which was about a girl who fought a class war against her grandparents and cousins after he parents ditched her for a month to do something that wasn't satisfactorily explained. Oh yeah, this was part of a Latino film festival held at the Uni, so that's why everything is en Español. Next time, I'll write in Esperanto for those of you who are trilingual. More writing afterwards, though I finally got ahead and Kara finally finished editing, so double win! Back still hurt all day, though.

15 September: Yeah, the back thing is getting old, and it still hurts. We checked out yet another apartment today that was farther away from the Uni but right next to the mall, so frozen yogurt would be close. So would a bunch of other stores, actually. And the railroad freight yard, but that's not a perk. We came back and didn't work on my book. Instead we watched Hell on Wheels and then did our actual factual homework, which consists of reading books for three years and trying to figure out what we get out of that besides degrees. Postgraduate work is confusing, I tell you what. My back still hurts. Wait, I said that already. THE END!


  • New Zealanders seem to be confused about clothes dryers. I mean, some people own them, but they don't use them. Most homes have washing machines and clothes lines. Did I mention it rains here? Frequently? And it's also windy. Like REALLY windy. So, yeah, kind confused about the whole dryer thing, which brings me to...
  • New Zealand is windy. Not like hurricane-force windy, but still pretty windy. The winds come from four directions and three of those are freezing. Easterlies come from the ocean, which is thousands of miles of cold. Southerlies come from the Antarctic. 'Nuff said. Westerlies come from the Southern Alps, which are most always snow covered. Only the Northerlies are marginally warm, which means we haven't had any of that type yet.

12 September 2014

It's Ain't All Tea and Crumpets in Kiwiland

Wow. I'm already neglecting my blog duties. I wanted to do this every three days and I think I've accomplished that once so far. Well, whatever. I'm also going to make these posts shorter because less is happening now that we've been here for two weeks. No pictures either, because I suck. So here's the news in brief:

8 September: Monday started the week off on a down note as our early morning viewing of a nearby apartment was an utter disappointment. We're coming to expect that now, though. High prices and low quality don't go together well. After giving up on that place (which had two terrified cats in a bedroom. Poor things!) we went to the public library and signed up for cards. They are a bit more strict here about those things, but we got them all the same. They have good resources here and even the school recommends using the public libraries for some types of material. The rest of the day was spent writing for my book and getting my initial thesis proposal done.

9 September: We didn't have much planned for Tuesday until the afternoon so the morning was spent writing and researching, like most of my free time these days. At 2:30, we visited an apartment north of the Uni. It was quite honestly the nicest one we've seen yet, but its lack of features, its old Victorian adornments, and its single-paned glass still didn't quite work for us. It also was on the absolute top end of our price range. We agonised over it for the next three days, but finally decided to try for something better. Despite its positive features, it still was just an old log cabin compared to the stuff available even on the lower end in the United States.

10 September: So, yeah, we got a car today. It is a 1996 Subaru Legacy Grand Wagon. It's certainly not a pretty car and we got loads of random junk with it that the girl couldn't take with her, but it works well enough. I got the opportunity to drive first and, let me tell you, driving on the left side of the road is a strange journey. So many things are switched around. Fortunately, the gas and brake pedals do not get switched in the process. After we dropped her off at her place far out in the countryside, Kara decided that we had to visit Niko pronto. The only problem: we were almost out of petrol. It took us most of the way to the Cattery to find a petrol station but we finally found one. Petrol prices: $106 to fill up. Yeah. Take that California gas prices! Oh, and the exchange rate hardly makes it any better. We visited Niko and he mostly ignored. He appears to like to eat grass. Dumb cat. We stopped back at the homestay to have lunch then went out again to visit an apartment. Kara had to drive this time and, boy, was that a journey...DOWN THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! Yeah, she botched it, but she got better later on. I wouldn't let her switch drivers, though. The apartment was another Victorian shanty and we moved on to greener pastures. On the way back, we got insurance for the car (which is not required here) and then stopped by the Pak 'n' Save for some food. A stop at Wendy's for ice cream also was nice.

11 September: On Thursday we went to the library for our postgraduate orientation. This is an unessential seminar that helps us get acquainted with some of the resources on campus. It wasn't overly interesting but we did discover that we have specific librarians for our subjects. Mine was the guy that told us about it, so I attacked him with a few questions during our Morning Tea. Afterwards, we checked out the small Postgraduate Village on the outskirts of campus and met an interesting sociology honours students named Brian with whom we discussed economics, government policies, and other random things. He was definitely an adult student but he was quite interesting and had a lot of information. We went to the History building after that to get the keys to our desk and we met the head administrative assistant, Judy. Kara got on with her very well. At our desks, I discovered that my key only locked the bottom drawers. Yeah, that's not going to get fixed any time soon but I don't really care. I'm not planning on using the drawers that much. The rest of the day was spent working on my book and reading for my program.

12 September: Today was a bit of a blur, to be honest. We met a lot of people. And I mean A LOT. At least for us. We went to what was called the Postgrad Morning Tea which is held once a month. The first thing we noticed was that at least 2/3 of the students were international. Even the two people we chatted with at the end with perfect New Zealand accents were technically Canadian (with Kiwi parents, though) and Guatemalan. As we expected, most people already know other people, so we are starting fresh. Unfortunately, the Arts are poorly represented in the Postgrad circles with Engineering majors far outpacing everyone else. After Tea, we went and actually studied on site for a while at our desks in the Locke building. We were planning to go to a house showing at 3:00 but Kara got a call an hour earlier with them calling it off, so we decided to scamper home for lunch. It was a bit of a drag, but it gave us time to watch an episode of Hell on Wheels and for me to write another article for my book. Still on track! Oh yeah!


  • Everything is about tea here even though nobody drinks tea. Breakfast is called Morning Tea while dinner is called Evening Tea. A late lunch is called Afternoon Tea. But when they say "tea" they mean "food". Yeah, it's mostly about the food.

07 September 2014

On Beaches, and How They All Look the Same

Our batch of non-fried refried beans
4 September: On Thursday, we had another off day where there was nothing in particular planned. Kara wanted to check out the local Salvation Army thrift store, so we ventured down to Riccarton Road, the main drive through the area, and visited not only the thrift store, but a few books stores, a game store, and the New World grocery store. I've been working on my Santa Cruz Trains book every day since last Sunday and its getting pretty intense. Kara edited most of the material I had so far—the first three chapters—and then I corrected the edits. We also cooked our first batch of refried beans for burritos. It took eight hours, but they came out very tasty in the end. Perhaps a bit too spicy, but that's not a problem for me. It ended up being quite a long day despite the relaxation.

5 September: Friday was yet another day of wondering 10 miles to preview two apartments for rent. This time, the first house was near where the second was on Wednesday. It was a long hike and the house was terribly unimpressive despite a small stream with ducks immediately adjacent to it. It literally looked like nothing had been repaired since the earthquake. The garage was even leaning sideways! That evening, we marched another five miles there and back to a home even further away than the first house on Wednesday. It was the best we'd seen yet, which isn't saying much. But it was a zoo with people checking it out and we discovered on Sunday that we didn't get it anyway. So our search continues.

Friday morning, our homestay host returned right in the a.m. It was a bit earlier than we were expecting since she was flying in from Invercargill, a city at the very bottom of the South Island. When we weren't marching around the city, I was working on my book, starting one of the most headache-prone sections, Santa Cruz Union Depot & Freight Yard. Progress was fitful and unfulfilling.
Kara lounging on Sunny Saturday on a beanbag beside Ambrose the cat (also lounging)

6 September: Saturday was another mostly relaxation day, though I took it as a work day. The depot article became the bane of my existence this day and I worked on it for hours, neglecting my Medieval studies and Kara in the process. It wasn't a fun day. In the evening, at least, we went to a special presentation at the Uni put on by the FemSoc (pronounced "fem-sock"and meaning Feminist Society). A panel of nine local politicians and party activists were on board to discuss feminist issues and their party's perspectives. New Zealand has a national parliamentary election coming up in two weeks so the politicians are taking every opportunity they can. I did feel sorry for the guy from the Concervative Party because he was neither a politician nor a woman nor young and none of his politics matched those of the eight women who sat there beside him. I think he felt left out but when he stated his position on homosexuality, well, let's just say things were just barely saved from becoming a riot.

Containers near the city center, marking places where
buildings are at risk of falling into the road. Four stories of
containers don't seem any safer to me, honestly.

7 September: Sunday saw our first adventure on the metro transit system in Christchurch. It wasn't terrible, which is good, though the bus fares aren't overly cheap. We visited the local racetrack where a weekly market is held. It's pretty much a swap meet/flea market kind of thing but it was fun checking it out and we'll probably go back. There's no entrance fee, which is extra nice. From there, we hopped on the bus and headed to New Brighton...no, not the one in Santa Cruz and definitely not OLD Brighton in England. This one does bare some resemblance to Manhattan Beach, though. The main street and pedestrian mall was rather run down, unfortunately. Part of it was caused by the earthquake but part was just a lack of care, with graffiti on walls and other visible problems with the commercial district. The beach itself was beautiful, though, and we discovered that we're actually at the bottom end of a large bay which looks remarkably like Monterey Bay. Very strange. A short concrete pier jutted out into the ocean so naturally we had to go to the end. Not much more to see from there than from the beach, but we did watch some sorry surfers try to catch non-existent waves. That was fun. Our trip back let us pick up some more food from Pak 'n Save, so we're stocked up for the next few days. Lastly, I finally finished the article I'd been struggling with all week, and this one gets to go to reviewers afterwards because I still need some fact checking. Ugh. The trials of being a historian.

A panoramic view of Christchurch Bay.

Observations & Interesting Facts:

  • New Zealand has at least eight major political parties. The two big ones are the National and Labour Parties. National is in control of the government right now and is slightly right while Labour is slightly left. Also on the left are the Green and Mana-Internet Parties. On the right, the Conservative and ACT Parties represent traditional morality and hard-line capitalism respectively. There are also two parties that are relatively neutral, focusing on specific issues: those are the Māori Party (native-focused) and the New Zealand First Party (nativist-focused).
  • The term "Zealandia" refers to items specifically unique to New Zealand.
  • L&P (Lemon & Paeroa) is a Zealandia soda manufactured by Coca-Cola that tastes like a hard lemon candy in soda form. Quite tasty actually.
  • "Afghans" are not just peoples and blankets, they are also a type of cookie! This Zealandia treasure is a crunched up frosted flakes mixed with chocolate with a soft chocolate center and a walnut on top.
  • All New Zealand paper money has a drawing of an indigenous bird on the reverse and some of the coins do too.

04 September 2014

Housing Problems Down Under

31 August: The last day of August and our homestay host abandoned us to a sports tournament in Dunedin (pronounced done-EE-din). We didn't mind. Pretty much since we got here, our one goal has been to find affordable and adequate housing. Little did we know, those two things don't go hand-in-hand. The earthquake devastated the city in February 2011 and housing is at a premium. Sunday, though, was our day off. Our host hung around until around 3:00 as we searched online for places for rent. I've also been working every day on writing my book, Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It hasn't been an entirely fun endeavor since we have so little free time, so Sunday was a good day to start since nothing was planned. Still, despite a full free day, we hardly got to watch TV or relax. Business as usual.

This is the History building at University of Christchurch. Kinda concrete blocky but its nice enough inside.
1 September: On Monday, I finally got to meet my PhD supervisor, Dr. Chris Jones. He is a remarkably nice Welsh man who has lived in Christchurch for nine years. I'm apparently his seventh postgraduate student he's supervising, which puts him quite a bit over the limit, but he doesn't seem to mind much. We met and went down to the "Shillings Club", a ritzy bar and restaurant on campus mostly patronized by lecturers and professors. There is a reason for that: the cheapest meal on the menu is around $22 (roughly $19 US). Did I say things are expensive in New Zealand? Still, he gave me my first assignment: write a topic question that you will be answering for your thesis. Now those not familiar with the British system may find this assignment a bit strange. In the US, thesis statements are defended, but in the UK system (and, by extension, the NZ), topic questions are answered, though a thesis is still required in the actual essay. I got used to it back in Swansea over the years, but it still was a bit of a shock that even 100,000 word thesis papers have these rather crude topic questions. But I digress... Kara and I also got the keycode pin for access to our very own office cubical-type things. Okay, they're desks separated by cubical walls, but close enough. We have access to other rooms in the Locke building (the one in the picture at right), as well, though they aren't nearly as interesting.

Chris and I chatted for two hours and then Kara and I went to the local real estate office to inquire about renting. Once again we were let down. The demand is so high that realtors aren't really working with renters. They simply don't have to. Thus our housing search continued.

On a more positive note, the homestay host's
cat, Ambrose, has befriended us since she left,
even sneaking into our room one night to
make noise. He follows us around, meowing,
all the time, but he also purrs incessantly.
2 September: Tuesday ushered in a whole new day of housing disappointment, mostly while Kara met with her advisor. The Accommodations Department person that met with me was quite nice but not overly sympathetic or helpful. Apparently if you have a cat, they aren't willing to help you. Go figure. Honestly, bringing Niko along was a precondition for coming to New Zealand, but we are suffering for it both financially and housing-wise. The rest of Tuesday went relatively smoothly with even a little time to ourselves.

3 September: Ah, apartment viewing day. If you really want to get disappointed, try getting your hopes up first, walking three miles, and then being entirely let down. Then, on top of that, you have to walk all the way back those three miles depressed. Yeah, we did that twice on Wednesday. It was a 10-mile day, give or take a mile. On the plus side, I'm already losing the calories (or should I say kilojules) that I gained in Arizona. Pretty soon, I'll be onto my post-Tech Museum excess weight and back down to a manageable level.

To be honest, though, Wednesday really showed us what we're up against. Somebody last week told us that we can either set our demands and wait for them to be fulfilled or settle for less. The first apartment we visited was in the slightly seedier side of west Christchurch. It had rather sad qualities to it including a crappy oven, small refrigerator, minimal counter space in the kitchen, old washing machine, small bedrooms, unkempt garden, and single-panned windows. They were repainting the house, but they really should have been rebuilding it. The kitchen was down a hallway from the living room and that was the only room that was truly livable in the house. It looked too close to our place in Swansea for comfort, so we walked out.

At last, Hokey-Pokey is an ice cream flavor! We finally
know what it's all about. That's a load off my mind.
After a trip to the university on the way back to pick up some books, we ventured to our second apartment viewing to be equally unenthused. Though in a nice neighborhood, the interior of the house was perhaps the strangest layout we've ever seen. You know the term "bathroom"? Yeah, it's literal here. "Toilet"? Yup, that's its own room as well. No sink either. Oh, and just in case you want to take a shower, that's in another room, which it shares with the ancient washing machine. In the kitchen, a crappy oven sits beside what can only be described as a beer fridge serving as the main fridge. No freezer in sight. It did include a dishwasher, but at the expense of counter and cabinet space since it stuck out nearly 8 inches, blocking access to both. Once again, the owner was painting rather than remodeling. It seems to be an unfortunate trend here. But in this case, the painting was haphazard and poorly implemented since mold was collecting on high windowsills and most other windows were surrounded by old  crackling paint that was not on the agenda to repaint. Again, we were unimpressed and severely disappointed since the description for this place made it sound so reasonable.

On the plus side, we finally were able to watch TV after returning from our long, sad trek back. Always a silver lining...even around sharknadoes.