I remember 40. It was when I had Paris. It was a number that did not limit, yet had enough robustness within it to withstand the eddies of life. A good year.
There have been 40 days since my last blog post. There is no one clear factor that prevented me from blogging. There was no "that is the highlight of my life, the rest is empty and meaningless and should be undocumented" nadir reached.
At Christmas, I joined the masses and actually engaged in the capitalist festival of shopping with a vigour that is rarely shown - there was actual currency burning through my pockets, and we were going to see the whole tribe so decent dross (as opposed to the poor excuses every other year - sorry kids, but I am the bah, humbug Aunt for a very economical reason) was within my sights.
Unfortunately, hunting was not happy for this little black duck, for the quality was depressing and the coin was not plentiful enough to pave the way to finance a proper shopping trip in a far away city that offered many choices.
Luckily for me, there is one store in town that I know of* that ticks enough boxes to offer a selection of interesting stuff. This outlet was Toyworld. And Toyworld offered a competition, whereby you received a ticket with each purchase, hopped on the computer (or smartphone or tablet or ipod - possibly even through a stamped envelope but I am not sure if that happens any more) and got an entry into a draw for a new car.
Of course, I am a statistician and therefore I knew that, while my chances of being the one person out of all the people who bought at Toyworld over Christmas actually winning the new car were infinitesimally small, the chances of me being the one person out of all the people who bought at Toyworld over Christmas actually winning the new car would indeed be non-existant if I did not enter. And so enter I did. And because although the Toyworld at nearby big town is old and sort of familiar around here, the people who work in it are lovely and I kept on trying elsewhere and I think I may have mentioned that hunting was not happy for this little black duck so I kept on trekking back to the little old local Toyworld and buying decent dross and getting my entry tickets and the whole enter I did happened on more than one occasion. So it might have been several infinitesimally small chances rather than an isolated one.
I work several jobs.
One of them, I work for a guy who picks vegetables. He doesn't like all of the vegetables that he picks. He gets free vegetables. Last week, he got a heap of capsicums. He doesn't eat capsicums. At all. I got heaps of capsicums.
We currently do not have an oven. Or a few elements on our stove. We are dreaming of renovations - for a whole slew of liveability factors, but also because niggly stuff like this.
So I grilled heaps of capsicums, and I peeled heaps of capsicums, and I dreamed of Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.
Then I went to a local fruit shop and they had a whole box of roma tomatoes for only five dollars and it was like the universe conspired on the whole lets make her dreams come true because goodness, there was even fresh stock in the freezer just waiting to make the marriage of tomatoes and capsicum blossom and give birth to a gastronomical wonder.
Thank you universe.
I work several jobs.
One of them, I am a very small cog amongst a lovely group of people. Its funny how some jobs, the mix of people just seems to destroy your soul and some jobs the mix of people restore you faith? I am so very, very grateful that in the last two years, I have had the latter.
While in one of my first weeks, and therefore still very much in the "jury is out, I will act as professionally as possible and pray to God that they won't turn into a pack of wild dogs" mode, I got a personal phone call on my mobile phone. I actually missed it, and therefore the woman with whom I work most closely advised me when I returned to the room.
It was okay, I was doing actual work and not skiving because, hello, the professional mode does include as a standard "doing actual work", and my mobile phone rang again. I answered - very quietly, because professional mode and open office plan situation do not lend themselves to personal calls on the mobile - especially when you are temp.
A man asked my name and advised that I had won a new car.
What do you normally do when you are advised that you have won a new car over the phone, private mobile phone call at work or no - what is the general response to such a statement?
Because I think I answered in the standard method, calling BS. But in fact, no, I was assured that I had entered a competition and there had been a draw and that (one of) my infinitesimally small chances was indeed the winning entry. Yeah. Batman's name may have been taken in vain on several occasions (beneath my breath because professional mode).
When I got off the phone, the woman with whom I work most was very busily engaging her professional mode and looking like she was working. I may have mentioned to her what had transpired and she very quickly proved to the jury that there was very little canine to concern myself about.
And I knew for sure that they were the latter mix of people when one of the gents from the next work area gave me a "Deal or No Deal" razz every time I entered the room (which was often, as his workspace is between my workspace and the whole rest of the offices, and my job involves more moving between them than you would imagine) of "she's won a new car".
The timeframe between the "won a new car" phone call and the actual "won a new car" feeling with car in garage is not infinitesimal, though.
Resultantly, my actual belief in the voice at the end of the phone was not firm.
I know I had heard it. I know I had even spoken to the local Toyworld owner about it. He was pretty chuffed. I got the warm and fuzzies in the excitement he had for my win.
It really was an excitement that I dared not show - because really, it wasn't real. It was surreal. It was voices on the end of the phone and a whole world of possibilities opening up in terms of - well, general maintenance and quality dross, renovations and dreams - but it was dare not touch in case it went "poof" and back into dream land.
In between all of this, I went and did my Jeanie Martini thing. I saw friends. I started studying. I did my various jobs and mothered and wifed and gardened and cooked and neighboured and volunteered and read. I even blogged.
Eventually, I got another phone call.
This one was from a local car group. The car group, in fact, who sold me my current car. I love my car. It is my dream car and they sold it to me for what I could afford to spend. Then they gave me a huge gift basket and fantastic customer service.
I know. I didn't believe it existed either!!
So J1 called me and asked me if I wanted White or Red and would I like to come in and chose and have a test drive and do the paperwork and get my new car. He was pretty excited. I still couldn't be excited, because it still wasn't real.
We went with white, because we are practical and it was several voices on the phone and a whole world of possibilities opening up involved such dry issues as saleability and surely it is smarter to go for the more conservative (and therefore monied up) market when contemplating a surreal article that is a whole world of possibilities.
We were introduced to J2, who was a great study in customer care - considering the new car was a win on a competition and therefore the patter was more for entertainment purposes than real impact, the team at the local car group did go above and beyond. Both the local car group and the local Toyworld were so excited for me. Keys weren't yet in my hands and signatory ink wasn't yet on paperwork, so it was still slightly surreal - although more likely because if it all went pouf now, it had been an awesome dream thus far.
One of the possibilities is a great little runaround ute for V. V's wagon has been hanging in there, the odds on hanging rather than in there were tipping. Two days before we collected the new car, it tipped.
Just today, Paris managed to turn it into a comedy routine. When discussing vehicles, she mentioned that V's old car was a wagon, because "it had to be towed".
Yes, we laugh now, but at the time it was providence having a laugh, advising us that this bounty was to be used ever so, ever so wisely.
For six weeks and five hundred and eighty kilometres (no food, drinks or garden materials allowed in the car at any point in time) we had that new car and, while we loved the luxury that driving a new car offered, we loved the possibilities and our life and lifestyle required us to seriously contemplate the possibilities and so now someone else owns the new car and my bank account is quivering in anticipation.
* There used to be an awesome shop in the main drag that offered affordable and quirky options for the discerning purchaser of stuff for kids. Unfortunately, there was not a great enough market of discerning purchasers of stuff for kids therefore it went the way of many a valiant small business built on a great idea but crashing on that almighty marketing principle - never overestimate your audience.