#EmailFromMyBrother - Playing Catch up 19th of January

This was sent to me on the 19th of January

Hi Fay,

How's it going?  I read that you're embarking on a weight loss programme involving diet and exercise for a new slimmer 2013 you.  I too must lose some weight as now I'm riding the lawnmower instead of pushing it around I'm finding myself silhouetting like Laurel and Hardy.  That is I used to have the shadow of Stan Laurel but am beginning to have the shadow of Oliver Hardy.  What am I going to do about it?  Have another beer and think it over, that's what.

Last weekend we all went to Auckland.  That is Juliette, Eva, Sam, me and the in-laws all went to Auckland on Sunday lunchtime, stayed the night and came back on the Monday afternoon.  The reason was Juliette had an eye appointment at quarter to nine on the Monday morning in Auckland and what started as a planned day trip ended up as a mini-break for all of us.  It's a long way to Auckland so what was the eye appointment about?  Well basically Juliette has a medical condition called "being blind as a bat" so she's going one step beyond corrective laser surgery and instead is going to have her eyes sliced open and lenses inserted right into the jelly in the hopes that they correct her vision.  She's a bit wary about the procedure for some weird reason especially as the kick off for the while whole dice-and-slice operation is to correct another problem that the little plastic lenses cause.  Apparently in a healthy non-plastic lense modified eye when there's a slight pressure build up eyeball fluid can seep out of the front and be wiped away by blinking and/or vigorous buffing with a strip of chamois leather.    However if you slot a plastic lense in there this stops this process and the pressure builds up behind the lense until the eyeball eventually pops like a microwaved grape.  So to keep the flow you have to create another way for the gunk to come out and science's solution is to go right on ahead and jab permanent drain holes in the sides of each eyeball so that the fluid can leak out when it needs to.  It's supposed to hurt like a son-of-a-bitch when they drill it too but I don't know what the problem is.  Who among us can possibly have a problem with someone holding your eyelids open and cutting a permanent gutter hole in your eye like it was a finger hole in a bowling ball?  Not me.

Anyway Juliette has in her quest to find out if she wants to have the procedure done gone to two extreme sources.  The first source is the "for" source.  It's the actual doctors website who wants the business where Youtube clip after Youtube clip of happy, successful, care free, glasses free people emote on the benefits of the surgery saying positive things like they can see further than the Hubble Telescope and after the surgery angels sang hallelujah every time they blinked.  The other source is the "against" source.  It's a website called OhMyGodI'mNowF*ckingBlind.com where the message board is full of people saying they had their eyes drilled and the doctor who did it used a sharpened ice lolly stick and goddamit if it wasn't a Magnum Gold ice lolly stick when every fool knows you've got to use a Magnum Classic for that type of procedure.  What do I think?  Well I think I'll have another beer and think it over, that's what.  Not my eyes is it.

During the mini-break we went to two attractions in Auckland.  The first was Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium.  Don't pick Kelly Tarlton's Antartic Adventure on the satnav option like I did, this takes you to a suburban address in Auckland which probably was some address registered purely for tax reasons only.  This could have been a great practical joke on Eva (yes, no.12 has the penguins, no.14 is home to the sharks, but let's not dilly dally, time to head to the hotel) but unfortunately grandparents don't go in for that kind of sh*t and we had to go to the real aquarium. 

The real aquarium was okay, but they seem to have expanded the gift shop since the last time we went back on our Honeymoon five years ago (It was seven years ago, eight in April - Juliette).  I remarked in a loud and obnoxious voice while perusing the tat on offer in the gift shop that if ever there was a zombie apocalypse you do not want to be caught in a gift shop.  Pens, pencil sharpeners, paper weights, stuffed toys, themed plastic grabbers, T-shirts, jigsaw puzzles ... nothing would be useful if a wall of zombies crashed through the door.  The thing is, if there wasn't a zombie apocalypse I still wouldn't want the crap that was stocked on a gift shop shelf.  (And if there was a Zombie Apocalypse attraction the gift shop would still stock the same generic crap that would be of no use during an actual zombie apocalypse because that is the nature of gift shops.  Full of crap.)

The second place we went to was Butterfly Creek.  This was a butterfly greenhouse on an industrial estate next to Auckland airport which kind of made me think there was a bit of false advertising with the name.  Butterfly? Yes.  Creek?  No.  Butterfly Trading Unit 12c more like.  The one thing that stuck in my memory was the fact that the place had crocodiles too because butterflies and crocodiles go hand in hand obviously and the guy who fed the crocodiles while doing a talk to the audience also drove the Butterfly Creek kiddies train for us and was later seen cleaning the Butterfly Creek toilets.  Earlier I'd seen pictures of the same guy in display pictures of Kenya or where ever he'd swiped the crocodiles from actually dart gunning crocs, strapping them up to the skids of a helicopter and thumbs upping to the camera as he took off.  I reckon if that dude took a day off than Butterfly Creek did not open.  I did not see him working in the gift shop though which was good, because after you've seen a man feed a chicken to a massive rearing crocodile you'd lose all respect if you later saw him shilling butterfly shaped plastic paper weights in a gift shop that did not stock one useful thing if ever there was a Crocodile Apocalypse.

We're away next week so I'll have to miss your weekly e-mail again. We're off to the beach again - enjoy your snow...

Take care,
Love Mark xxx

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