Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day

Who is this ‘Valentine’ person telling everyone to buy flowers one day of the year? A friend of mine did way better than flowers this year. Shayne carved ‘his and her’ initials in a love heart on a tree in his backyard. He then took a photo of his artwork, had it developed and put it in a lovely frame for his girlfriend. On the back of the frame he wrote down the latitude and longitude of the tree’s location. This made finding the tree part of the magic. Using her mobile phone GPS (it is called ‘Geocache’), she can go and find the tree, which will lead her straight to Shayne’s place. His heart is hers. Now she can sit at work and type the numbers into Google Maps and see their tree whenever she wants to. How cool is that?  This girl has to feel special.

Making your special person feel special is not about buying flowers on Valentine’s Day, we all know that. It almost seems disgraceful that we need to be reminded to do something special for the ones we love. I dislike the commercialisation of such things. However, had I received flowers, I would have been jumping up and down with joy!

With no special person in my life there was not even a hint of anything resembling romance for me this Valentine’s Day. No such luck.

I was big on saying, “Oh it’s all so commercial.” waving it off as something I did not need. What I didn’t realise was that I was failing myself big time by not allowing anyone the opportunity to tell me what I meant to them.

So, to my friend Shayne, you have now set a precedent. You best start thinking about the many years ahead with your lady and never forget to make sure she knows just how much she means to you. Of course it cuts both ways. This lady might be feeling, ‘What can I do to top that?’

I have no suggestions for her, but I did read in a magazine recently that you can buy a man anything that a 10-year-old boy likes.  Don’t you just love that? The article was written by a man. He justifies his article with the theory that receiving childish presents make men feel young again.

My friend Shayne is still young and off enjoying his romantic journey. Meanwhile, I am trying to recapture my youth and I don’t see that as working. Sure I want to feel young again. I want to be wooed again and have someone make me feel like I am the only other person on the planet.

Someone asked me this week, “Do you feel like you need to do everything?” I like to give things my full consideration, so I am still pondering on this one. I guess I do like to do everything, but not all the washing up.

At times I feel like I will not have enough of my lifetime left to do the things I still want to do. These things are nothing special. I don’t have a wish list or a bucket list. I don’t need to climb a mountain or see the sunset over a beach inFiji. I have my sunset here each day. I do, however, have my own personal challenges, which are my mountains to climb anytime I wish to do so. All I have to do is take that first step to what is waiting just around the corner.

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2012

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It’s called living

It’s called living

Yet another roller coaster has pulled up to give me a whirl around. I had noticed a small white spot on my lip. It was as white as if someone had painted it on there. It had been on my lip for months. I had tried to peel it off without reward. Thanks to my lipstick lessons, I was noticing it everyday. I don’t visit my doctor too often, but I had added a note on my wonderful iPhone.

The week started with a day off and doctors appointment, which is never a good way to start a week. Whatever else I had to talk to the doctor about faded incomparably when he looked at my lip. “Oh dear” I heard him say. “Oh God!” I heard myself say.  Next the doctor asks, “How long has that been there?” … hmm … “A few months now.” I answer. I was in to see a skin specialist by Friday that week. Remarkable I know.

My doctor told me that any white growth on a lip is often skin cancer. I commenced a history of cancer 15 months ago with a pimple on my eyebrow.

The skin specialist, a lovely man, sat down in front of me and pulled a face by twisting up his lips and said, “Do this.” I looked at him and said, “I don’t think I can pull a face like that.”  Then he pulled my lip down to see the spot better. He tried to pick it off as well. I thought ‘Aha! I was on the right track with that then!’ His suggestion was to use a scalpel and cut it out … now. Only a small needle in the lip to numb the area and off it comes. “Okay.” I say.  “Let’s do it.”

Oh my God! That doctor should be a car salesman. The mentioned small needle in the lip was not small. It was huge and very, very painful. The nurse suggested he was a bit mean. A bit mean? Had I been able to speak, he would have had one hell of a blasting.  My lip was swelling. Yeah, he knew what he was doing. I couldn’t speak. Memories of my ex-husband with all his jokes about sewing my lips together come flooding back and I worry, had he used his settlement money to pay this doctor to do this to me?

So I close my eyes and enhance my calm. I am silently chanting to myself, ‘Enhance your calm Mary. Enhance your calm. Enhance your bloody calm … Do it! Do it NOW!’ Suddenly, I feel so much better. Nothing like a bit of internal yelling at yourself to pull it all together.

The white spot was removed from my lip. It then got stuck on the doctor’s finger and the nurse helped to get “it” into a test tube. Next the doctor tells me he is not going to stitch the lip but, as they do bleed … a lot, he will cauterize it. I was staring at what very much looked like a soldering iron heading straight for my lip. My internal voice demanded, “Shut your eyes Mary!” I could not block my nose though and that has to be the worst smell ever. The smell of burning flesh.

Right, all done. I was allowed to go and confront the bill for all the pleasure and pain. Being alone, as I am, I had to drive myself home, make dinner and clean up – Oh no, I no longer have to do those last 2 things. I either eat out or don’t eat and hire cleaners these days. Oh good I am better off. I only had to drive home. Yep I could do that. You see, people think I don’t have anyone to look after me, but it turns out I look after myself really well. I got home and went to bed. I read a book while my lip was numb with the expectation that by the time the lip’s feeling returns to normal, I’ll be asleep and there isn’t much that wakes me up.

I could have felt sorry for myself, but why bother? My life is what it is and it is called living. There is no point wishing it was any other way and, as I know, it can all change tomorrow. Who knows what is just around that next corner.

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2012

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Cut off dates

Cut off dates

I missed the cut off date for wishing anyone a Merry Christmas and then I missed the New Year cut off date as well. I was on an airplane coming home from my holiday on New Years Eve.

I enjoyed reading the cards and newsletters I received both by mail and email on my return from my interstate holiday.

We all need to know that someone cares about us. It is not the words printed on the card. The happy, happy joy stuff, it is that someone knows you do still exist.

All we need is the air that we breathe and someone to care about us. That’s it. That song with those words, has nailed it. Yet, as a society, what I see is less and less people who genuinely give a toss.

Personally, I believe that we are all becoming more and more disconnected from one another. I cannot help but say that what I see is a selfishness of such magnitude that it astounds me. I want to close my eyes, put on my rose-coloured glasses and simply ignore it.

I had noticed it as I sat in airports, travelled on trains, buses and in taxis. Big cities, full of hundreds of thousands of people, can be lonely places. I saw the youth sitting in a group on trains but not talking. They were all texting. What is that about?

I do not fully understand the need to go on Facebook and say “I made a cake today”. I do not fully understand Facebook. Is this just a generational thing?  … Am I getting old? OMG!

My daughter sent me a text message which had the words ‘Not ATM’ in it. After considering she was going to an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine for those of you who don’t know what the common abbreviation means!) or that she was at an ATM, which made no sense. I had to text back and ask what does ATM mean? The response I received was ‘not “at the moment”’.  Hmmm.  It was not a good time at the moment. Okay, so now I know that.

I must be on a huge generational learning curve. I live close to the CBD (by the way that means Central Business District). It’s great because I can walk to work, but I drive a mile to park and walk about 300 metres. I have a pretty good idea now of exactly how far 300 metres is after my interstate holiday.  Do you remember me telling you about my adventures using a GPS and it telling me to turn in 300 metres? Was I glad to get home? Oh yes! I was so grateful to hit Tassie soil. I was so happy to see less concrete, less people, less shops and hear less noise. I love my home.

About four years ago, when I was still a married person, our son gave us a GPS for Christmas. It looked great on the car dash and we felt pleased to have one.  We were up there with modern technology. However, we lived in a rural area and the town had just had its first set of traffic lights installed. We saw this as something terrible. We could handle the highway and the town’s main street so the GPS was never used. When I moved to the big city of Launceston, I took the GPS as I suspected it could be a useful item. Due to feeling like I was in a coma for the first 12 months of being in Launceston, it was much easier to look at the street directory.

Sometimes, I wonder where my life is going and I notice how quickly it is all going. It is rushing by me year after year, at a faster pace than the one before.

I see Christmas as a time to reflect and New Year as a time to plan. I think about the many Christmases I experienced as a child, growing up and then Christmases when my own children were young. So now I have the opportunity to tell Christmas tales about my kids.

I remember one Christmas in particular when my daughter was around four years old, with her brother who was 19 months younger and she was diligently going through the Christmas presents under the tree at 3am. “Yes this one is for me. Here you open that one.” She was saying to her brother. Of course we could hear none of this. She came into our room and went ‘tap, tap’ on my shoulder. Showing me her cousin’s Christmas gift she asked, “I already have this, why did Santa give me another one?” I then realised what she was doing. Walking out to the Christmas tree, I see that every present is unwrapped. Her brother was sitting there quietly amid the mess. She had seen hers and her brother’s names on everything. We had to find more Christmas paper and rewrap all the gifts for their cousins. Some were so ‘open’, it seemed a lot like second hand gift giving that year. Games had been played.

So now it’s time to think of a plan. First, I have some cards to write in return and phone calls to make to thank the many friends that remain in my life for remembering that I do still exist, even though at times I am not one hundred percent sure myself …

After enjoying the calls and catch ups, reading the newsletters and hearing the stories of others, it really motivates me to think about what I want to do.

I feel a bit like I have missed the cut off date for my life. I ask myself, ’what do you want Mary?’ I honestly don’t know the answer, so I up the ante and ask myself, ’If you were told that you had two years to live, what would you do?’ Still, I am not sure. So I rephrase my question to myself, ’If you did have two years to live, would you still do what you are doing now?’ Hmmm, now I have an honest answer. ’No, I would not.’ So now what am I going to do?

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2012

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Things I will never do again

Things I will never do again

Smoke cigarettes, drink bourbon and eat Caramello Koalas. I guess I have indulged in all three to attain some kind of pain relief. Most people take a holiday, so I will try that this year.

Unfortunately I have to take the Caramello Koalas on holiday with me, attached as they are to my waistline. No doubt I will have trouble getting them to leave. Like an unwanted guest.

How many things in life go according to the plan? I have had a wonderful life so far and I know I have been blessed.  None of those blessings came from any plan. My holiday plans went a bit wobbly as did the six other holidays I have had in my adult lifetime. I’m yet to work out whether I am not big on holidays or just not big on planning? Hmm … something to think about there, into my minds wardrobe that thought goes.

I travelled interstate and hired a car for the first few days. On the last day of having the hire car, I locked the keys in the boot of the hire car. I am a member of my State’s Roadside Assistance organisation. However, because it was a hire car, the associated RAC group interstate, would not help me. The hire car company could arrange to put spare keys in a taxi for me, from about 100 kilometres away. I would be paying for the taxi. Somehow that did not seem the best option. I put my thinking cap on, which took me a while to find as I was in my holiday lost mind mode. I was with my son who seemed to be taking it all in his stride. I had taught him well to go with the flow, this much I was pleased with.

Together, my son and I choose to contact a locksmith. Being so close to Christmas all the locksmiths were busy. I was not the only one with a missing thinking cap. We had no other choice but to wait. The locksmith said he would be about an hour and a half and would phone me when he was on his way. My son and I decided to go off in search of some food and drink. Just as we sat down to eat, the locksmith phoned. We picked up our lunches and run back to the car as the locksmith was then only five minutes away. Oh Joy. The extra compulsory ‘mother and son’ time was indeed worth the cost of the locksmith as we ate our lunch on the bonnet of the hire car saying “A day to remember hey”.

The next morning, still feeling somewhat shattered, other things had also happened yesterday, as they do. I pick myself up, take a deep, deep breath and prepare to start a new day.

I think that going on holiday is just living my life at another location for that particular moment. I was looking forward to the mental rest that comes with ‘being on holiday’. I felt exhausted and knew I needed to recharge before I had a mental melt down.  I say I was in lost mind mode but really I had locked my whole brain away somewhere for the duration of the holiday, on purpose.

As a child, we mostly went on an annual family holiday from Brisbane to Sydney to be with family there. I only remember taking one other holiday as a child, my memory is looking at a big very old tent. A storm started in the night and my mother started fretting, she did not like storms. When dad wasn’t home, mum would put us under the kitchen table when there was lightning and thunder. Yeah, yeah, weird I know. So in a tent, she was unravelling at top speed. Dad’s decision was that we were simply going to pack up and go home. It was dark. I lost my doll that night and I never forgot that I lost my doll.

Because of my dire need to rest on this holiday, I do.

I would like to think that everyday can be a holiday for me as I am usually a happy-go-lucky person. It does not matter so much to me where I am. What matters to me is that I am happy. Regardless of where I am. Being on holiday or being at home is much the same to me. I am more likely to lock the keys in the boot if using someone else’s car. In my wonderful car the boot does not lock without the central locking, which requires the keys. It’s a clever car and it knows me well. These things happen to me regardless of where I am, so I am as relaxed about living at my son’s as I am at home.

As for the latest in GPS – if I hear the word ‘recalculating’ anytime soon after this ‘driving in the big city’ holiday, I will scream. I am not good at judging distances and the voice tells me turn right in 500 metres as I go sailing past that turn. I am sure I started to hear a sigh (or perhaps that was me sighing), as the voice says “recalculating” for the eighteenth time. The first time was funny, then it became annoying. It took some sweat and tears to get to my destinations. After returning the hire care I used my son’s car, it had a GPS as well. One day on my own I wanted to go a short distance to shop. I love to shop. I spent half the day finding my way back to his place. So much for a quick trip out! When I left for my short distance shopping centre venture, I loved my sons GPS. He had programmed it all up. It got me to the shopping centre quickly and without drama and then all I had to do was press the ‘home’ button – too easy. If only I had trusted it. It took a long time to speak. I figured it was warming up. I had started driving and was at a pivoting moment of decision making. ‘Oh, which motorway was it?’ The machine was not speaking, the cars were all around me and before long I found myself committed to one motorway. Then I realised I had taken the wrong one. I got off the motorway and that’s when the real fun began. The turning and weaving – I wished I had never left the house!

In no time at all, I was in such a mess that I had to lean forward to hear the voice and found myself talking to it, “What? Which way?!” I was meant to take the car out the next day as well, but after my most recent experience, it was a better choice to ask for a lift, particularly when I felt myself sweating just at the very thought of the GPS. So I asked nicely and sure enough my son was happy to drop me off and pick me up again. I don’t visit often so it is all doable.

When on holiday, I always seem to buy more than my suitcase can carry so I post stuff home on day 3. I am away for 18 days. Imagine the post office box at home.

During this holiday there were moments when the voice in my head said, ‘I won’t be doing this again’, which made me think about the shortlist I have on ‘won’t be doing this again ‘  I will never smoke cigarettes, drink bourbon or eat Caramello Koalas.

I am sure I will be able to go on holidays again, even use a GPS. I know I cannot add locking keys in boot of a car to my ‘things I will never do again’ list as it is highly likely that I will do that again.

A week after I return home, my friends Michele and Wayne arrive in Tassie and hired a car. Travelling around a few days later, we chat on the telephone about how their trip is going. In another few days, I get a telephone call blaming me. Michele has locked the keys to their hire car in the boot! A few days after the phone call from Michele, my son sends me a text to say he had friends staying at his place who had just locked their keys in a hire car boot! We swap stories and he says we have started a craze.

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2012

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My Girl

My Girl

The year my darling daughter was born I was turning 27, on the day. Oh yes, the nurses were all excited. It was my birthday and I would have my firstborn child on this day. My husband had gone and purchased a new car and wanted me to look out the window – look I have parked it there, have a look. Yeah sure, lovely, now get over here and hold my hand as I am in pain. He and the nurses stayed at the window discussing the car and how lucky I was. ‘Hello! What is wrong with these people?’ was all I could think. I had gone to the hospital about 3am and it was now about 11am.

I was two weeks past the due date and over the whole huge stomach. My husband had been so anxious about getting me to the hospital he had done test runs to work out the shortest route for months. In the last two weeks he had taken to sleeping fully dressed to save time. When I woke him up to suggest maybe I should go to the hospital his reply was, “Thank God”, and away he went into his action plan. Almost forgetting me. When we got to the hospital they said there was no need to panic. I panicked about being sent back home, I cried, “I can’t do this anymore, please let me stay.” So they did.

By 11 am we were all bored and now we had the distraction of this new car to look at. My husband had managed to duck out at 9am and to occupy himself he traded our car for another one. How nice for him. He wanted me to be pleased; he thought he was doing a good thing. “Really? You really thought that?” I asked him, while thinking, ‘Oh God please, please help me here.’

Eventually I was put on a drip to speed up the labour – by now the doctor and nurses would have been thrilled to see me go home. I wasn’t going anywhere and this was not going on for a further two weeks, either.

After I was put on a drip I got to lie on my back for hours. I had monitors all over me and everyone, including me, could watch the pain grow in strength. What a treat, hey? Just what everyone wants. My husband was completely fascinated with this wonderful piece of machinery. “Look, look the needle is going up.” he said. “Hum yes, I see it and actually I can feel it, I have the pain, remember that.” I replied. Like the stupid morons we both were, we asked: “Where will the needle go to on this scale as the birth progresses?” Why would anyone answer that question? The nurses must just love people like us. “Oh, to here.” the nurse pointed – which of course was so far away from where we were I insisted they take it all off me. I was going home now. I had changed my mind.

After that the fun stopped. Each time my husband saw the needle rise he wanted to mention it. Each time he looked like he was going to mention it I glared my now convincing don’t you dare glare. Each wave of pain I got I wanted to kill him. After 16 hours of being in the hospital, about four of which I was on my back and could not move. It was decided, by everyone, that something had to be done. I had a private doctor; in fact he was so private we had barely seen him in the sixteen hours. My husband went looking for him and found the doctor eating his dinner. It was 6pm. My husband insisted he do something to help me as this was getting ridiculous. After his dinner, the doctor dropped in to have a look and discovered, apparently for the first time, that the baby could not move. She was stuck and we would need to do a caesarean. My body frame is small and the baby was in a transverse lie position; she was lying across my stomach and could not turn around as there was not enough space. Really, the doctor should have known this already. I had not changed my body shape in the previous nine months, nor the last sixteen hours of this day. He should have known. I had skipped reading the section about caesarean births as the doctor had given me every indication that all was good and there was no need to worry.

Right now, after hours on this dreadful machine on my back, I was not going to worry and I announced: “You can pull her out of my throat for all I care; just do something.”

She was born at 8pm that night. My husband went as green as the gown they put him in as he slid under the table. I watched as they left him there and kept working on me. I was a complete and utter mess and nothing had gone to plan except we had our beautiful daughter and I can confirm now that she is the most determined person I know. I am sure thinking back on that time how she enjoyed every moment of listening to us while she was saying, “I am stuck you idiots and I cannot get out of here.”

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2012

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The Kingswood

The Kingswood

Somehow, and there is no point in even checking why, my mind of memories takes me to a time I was sitting in Peter’s Holden Kingswood in the front bucket seat on the passenger side. Peter was my boyfriend at the time. We were driving up the coast road, north of Brisbane to the Noosa area for a day at the beach. I was a teenager and in the back seat were our friends Fred and Linda. We did a lot together at the time and enjoyed each other’s company. Peter, Linda and I were smokers.  I was sticking to the seats; it was a hot day and the car did not have air conditioning. The windows were down. I was lighting a cigarette and somehow (once again; who can explain some things that happen?) I set my face on fire. I was alight when I felt the slap on my face. Peter leaned over and started whacking me frantically on the head. I was still a little confused as to what was happening. Had I done something wrong or was I on fire? I was on fire; okay, that established, I can panic. As soon as I start panicking, I lose the ability to do anything else but panic. In that way I am like my Mother.  I seem to lose all function of my brain. I let Peter whack me about until I was out.

It was hours later before I smelt the smell of burnt hair and skin. Maybe my nose had shut down with my brain when the panic button had been hit. I am sure the others smelt it within seconds. The windows were kept down. I could not wait to get into the surf that day.

Peter was driving with one hand at one stage. I have an image in my mind of memories of looking over at him to see how he was driving and dealing with me on fire as well. Dual control.

Once I was “put out” it was time to survey the damage – and laugh. To be honest, that day I did not feel much like laughing. I had lost one eyebrow and one set of eyelashes completely. My Mum and Dad had no idea I smoked. How was I going to explain losing an eyebrow and an eyelash while at the beach for the day?

Part of my fringe was gone as well. Fred was maniacally laughing his way to self-induced committal in the back seat. Linda tried to be supportive, but she too succumbed to fits of the giggles. Her comical effort to restrain laughter almost made me laugh. Almost.

You know how these cringeworthy moments burn so easily into your fragile teenage psyche? This incident was just one of my embarrassing moments.  My fringe, eyebrow and eyelashes had to grow back. I had to face embarrassing weeks to endure “this incident”.

All this talk of “the moment” we hear now; really it is rarely a moment. It can be weeks, months and years.

I have one more eyebrow story in my mind of memories. God only knows how I link these topics. Alphabetically? A few years ago, while interstate I started getting my fair eyebrows tinted and was impressed with the results. When I returned home I went to my usual salon and added a regular eyebrow tint to my list of package maintenance. I like to think of my outer skin as being my packaging. I am somewhere underneath the packaging. It helps me to remember that we are not what we look like – in the beauty industry people come and go and this day I had a newbie. The newbie girl suggested I get my eyebrows waxed. I said I was getting them tinted because they were so fair I could not see them so did she think I needed them waxed? “Yes,” she said with such confidence I agreed to get them waxed.

Then she tinted them. When I came out of the shower the next morning, my husband took one look at me before blurting: “What the hell happened to your eyebrow?” Tripping over my feet to get to the mirror, I was shocked to discover a huge chunk was missing from one eyebrow. Clearly the over-zealous newbie had dripped some wax right in the middle of my brow and tinted over the offending bare patch! Sadly, her camouflage attempt lasted only as long as the next wash.

My first thought, beyond one four-letter word, was that if my husband of 30 years had noticed this, so would the rest of the world.

Yeah, life is just like that. Indubitably.

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2012

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Indubitably

Indubitably

Indubitably – it’s one of this man favorite words. He says it so well. I told this man in my life, “I have a plan, you know”; to which he confidently replied, “Indubitably”. He is certain I have a plan, all right.

I am thinking this dismissive, one-word answer which stops further chatter from me is covering up his deep fear of just what my plan is in regards to him.

He may have worked it through enough to know my plan will not be going to print.

This morning the topic of conversation turned to marriage (not any suggestion of us and marriage, just marriage in general) and the lack of confidence he had in the institution. His suggestion was that of dealership that allowed you to trade-in and buy again – a process he had already worked out the fine print for within 10 seconds of having that first thought. The man needs to be in business.

“The idea is you can trade in the model,” he said. “Not on a whim, it has to be honest and you can’t be flippant or blasé about it.”  A “relationship trade-in dealership”. Definitely has a ring to it, hey? “No kicking, there can’t be any kicking on the way to the dealership,” he added, and we laughed.

A relationship dealership, a relationship broker. Then the conversation turned to the seriousness of such a transaction and the paperwork involved.

He knows how to have a laugh at himself and at the experiences we all have. We are unique yet the same in so many ways. We crave relationships and then we find them to be a tricky business with ships sailing towards collision.

My happy tap man is indubitably ready for the business world. He seems to know what he wants – or does he?

But I cannot discuss his mind or feelings – it would be wrong; besides which, I cannot work him out. I am forced to think about my own mind, my mind’s wardrobe of items to be looked through and sorted out. I have a mind wardrobe where I store thoughts that I am still pondering or ones that I just want to leave hanging there for the moment.

To be on your own does offer a certain amount of appeal. I rather like it myself. I like doing what I want, when I want, without criticism. I have not been criticized much in my life.  I was lucky to be a product of wonderful parents and lucky again to pick people in my life who lack the need to criticize.

However right now if I burn the toast nobody is going to tell me I burnt the toast.

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2012

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The Credit Card Season

The Credit Card Season

It’s holiday season again. Wow, an overwhelming opportunity to max out the credit cards, again. This year I finally paid them off after many years living with them maxed to capacity. Oh that makes me think of someone I once worked with who said she couldn’t do something as she was “at capacity”. I laughed so much about that line and even tried using it myself to stop people giving me more work but for some reason it did not work for me.

Back to the credit card season. For many years I kept my credit cards in a bank safety deposit envelope so I could use them in an emergency. Once you use them for an emergency, it then becomes another emergency to pay them off. They triple at the speed of light. The sad thing is that you never realise that there is a second emergency and somehow, you foolishly think you have covered the cost of the emergency and all is well. However, ten years later, you still owe the same amount, despite having paid if off at least three times in interest repayments. This is not in my best interest.

Credit cards are a huge trap. They succeed is taking all your spare money.  If I ever get any pre-warning about my time to die, I intend to do some serious credit card spending. Not on myself. That would be a bit daft. But I would spend up big on someone. That debt will probably be clawed back from my Estate. Oh, I probably won’t have one, so that should be ok then. I might be able to give something to someone after all and if I am given that chance, I will definitely take it.

Not having credit card debt for some of this year has made me realise that I do not need much money to survive. Being out of work made me realise I could not live on air and sunshine. However, I have learnt that I only need to earn enough to eat and sleep; off the streets.

When I had time and no money I read a lot. I remember reading somewhere that we should honour some of the traditional common courtesies like saying “bless you” when someone sneezed. In my current job I found myself saying “bless you” all day long. Finally my instinct told me not to use this courteous phrase so much as everyone was over it, including me. In winter we were all sneezing all day. I love the word ‘balanced’. There is a definite balancing act to living. Debt and courtesy can both be taken to the extreme.

Life itself is a balancing act. I find that I daydream. Yes really. The other day while waiting at the traffic lights, I heard the beep beep of the little green man telling me it was time for me to walk, I trust the green man and I hardly ever look for cars. So walking across I caught sight of a moving car from the corner of my eye. As I found myself in front of the car, my mind tells me, ‘maybe its not going to stop’. I reacted with a little jump, not big enough to escape being run over, but that small intuitive panic we get. The intersection was a T-Junction with two sets of lights. My hearing is moderately damaged and in a nanosecond my mind clicks in and realises the possibility that maybe it was the other set of lights that went ‘beep, beep, beep.’ I have a definite need to worry about myself, but I don’t.

Then again, maybe I’m the person who is in the wrong place at the wrong time when somebody else might be daydreaming, even more than me. No amount of worry will change a particular event from happening. No amount of planning can alter the course of what become our lives.

That same morning, still feeling a bit rattled about my lack of due attention to the little green man on the traffic lights and my possible death outside the office, I go to the ladies toilets. One of my jobs in the last 24 months was in a new building where all the lights worked on sensors to save power. There were no switches. However, at times the lights seemed to need to rest. You would have to stand up from your desk and jump up and down directly below the nearest sensor on the ceiling to get the light over your desk to come back on. This is 100% true. I got into the habit of waving my arm at the light sensor as I went into the ladies toilets. I knew the lights required more attention than my whole body under them to come on. You had to give a little wave as well. Perhaps the lights required the wave as a common courtesy? I don’t know. Maybe I moved too quietly, although I doubt that.  Anyway, the morning of the traffic light incident I went to the toilets at my current workplace, which does not has defective light sensors and I wave my arm. What can I say? Old habits die hard. Up to this point, nobody had caught me and I felt lucky. Then I felt ridiculous as suddenly, I saw myself, waving. Of course what is one to do when they catch themselves being so stupid? Naturally, I laughed out loud.

I know I will not laugh out loud after the credit card season this year. The credit card companies will be the ones laughing because they are cashing in on my being stupid enough to max my credit cards to capacity. We all do stupid things and most of the human population now have credit cards and many others have been trapped into working in jobs they hate because they have debt to pay. However, credit cards also provide us with money in advance. For example, my car needed a service and I needed to see my children for Christmas this year. Both of my children live interstate.  Both the car service and travel will be covered by my credit card and the debt I will diligently pay off next year.

In contrast, I received a phone call this morning to say I have won a prize in a raffle I entered. I won $300 in jewellery! My goodness! Now I get a Christmas present as well. How wonderful is that?

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2011

 

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Looking after yourself

 

Day at Deloraine Fair

 

Looking after Yourself

I can see that I will be spending my life’s savings, that’s not a lot, I’ve never been a saver, on body maintenance.

My hair was falling out and not regrowing until I got onto Silica capsules. My teeth are dropping like ripe fruit from a tree.  The wrinkles are building speed as they race around my face, leaving tracks. Muscle tissue is now just tissue.  I have never been good on high heels. Luckily, I have saved my feet enough to be able to wear high heels again, but I’m expecting it will only be for another ten years and then it will be back to the flatties.

When it rains my hair looks like steelo wool due to the amount of product I now put in it. Am I trying to look like a glossy brochure? I look out the window and see rain and use a swear word. Is this healthy? I love the rain usually but my hair just hates it. What am I doing I ask myself?

Is this how one looks after themself? An attempt at looking good. The term ‘looking after yourself’ makes me laugh, a lot of things make me laugh. I think of all the years I worked on looking after myself emotionally. I attended self-development courses on ‘How to be happy’ and ‘What to do to relax’. Now I find the body went running past the mind to Disaster Hill. Plastic surgery was never something I even considered. Well now I do.!  It just goes to show that until you have walked a mile in those metaphorical shoes, you really have no idea what it feels like.

It was only yesterday, I’m almost certain, that my mother was my age and I marvelled at how she still got from one place to the next. Now it’s me and I am not going anywhere near what my children might be thinking about my state of well-being.

So it’s back to facing facts … no let’s leave that for another day. There is someone in town teaching pole dancing? What an opportunity not to be missed. I decided to go and even dragged and I do mean dragged a few girlie friends along with me. What fun! We hired the teacher, Sheri, for a one-hour personal trial, just to see if we liked it. In one hour I learned that I could not get myself off the ground. Pole or no pole, my feet would not leave the floor. It was so much fun and I have decided not to give up and I am going back next year for a six-week course she is offering.  Sheri said it was a confidence thing, but I didn’t trust myself enough to even lift my body off the ground. It felt a bit like my bike riding experience, where I always found myself on the ground. Sheri was right of course. Between my small recent weight gain because of those alluring Caramello bears and the tissue instead of muscle, my confidence was a bit shot.  I will try to lose the waist covered by chocolates bears and rebuild the muscle before the first class starts in mid-January. Fun hey?

Will this be considered to be looking after myself? What is that about I ask?

 

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2011

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