Thank you for all your comments. I decided that I would buy the non-slouchers, with aspirations to one day get the Doc Marten boots that Angela linked to in her comment. I'm glad there are so many people with me on the non-slouch thing! I also thought it was good advice from Nicole that I use these cheaper boots as a trial run, because never having had boots before I might turn out not be a boot person, only to have wasted $20 on a pair of shoes I never wear. Rather than much more.
I can drive an automatic.
I drove all over Waikanae with my parents and with Nat at the end of the week. And today we took his parents auto out through Island Bay as well. I overturn when I'm turning right, and I have a tendency to veer left when I'm driving, but other than that I'm confident to drive on most roads. It sounds bad doesn't it? But really I've made a lot of progress.
Nat took me out in our car on Friday night in Waikanae. It was not good. I need a lot more auto practise I think. But I think it was also unwise to have my first drive in a manual on a hill in the dark when it was raining.