The $5 Shopping Spree

August 25, 2009 at 10:56 pm (general life)

My husband has never been overseas. I spent twelve years preparing to be an overseas aid worker in Indonesia. Thus, one of the first things we planned for married life was a trip to Indonesia – so he can see first-hand what I first saw at the age of ten – that the world is wrong, and that we are obscenely rich.

My husband’s brother is currently in China, so we’ll be dropping by Beijing too.

Since I was getting a bundle of cash for nannying, this was the month to finally book our flights. We have a Sydney-Beijing section, a Beijing-Jakarta section, and a Denpasar-Canberra section. I’ll call them A, B, and C. C had to be paid on the day. B had to be paid within three days, and A had to be paid within the month – not within *a* month; within *the* month. Which made the crucial difference that we had two pay days instead of three to pay for all $3000.

It was looking very close, but plausible (thanks mainly to my $1500 worth of nannying). I’ve been using all my powers of stinginess to stretch our food out as long as possible.

On Sunday I discovered that the nannying people had decided to hold back on $200 of my pay because I hadn’t checked that the girl was taking her medication – and she had effectively gone cold turkey on anti-depressants (which is a VERY bad idea). It was very out of character for her to not take them, and I had seen them on the bench and felt certain all was well – but yes, it’s definitely my fault. I won’t be doing non-family babysitting for at least a year.

In the short term, it also meant a financial crisis. I hastily cobbled together some back-up plans (none of which were likely to get money, but worth a try), gathered up all the spare change I could find (literally) and worked out we’d have a maximum of $25 to live on until Tuesday next week. That’s BEFORE any living expenses (and I think we have a direct debit bill thingy happening tomorrow). Today one of my back-up plans actually came through, and we’ll have about $100 spare. THAT – assuming nothing else goes wrong – is fine.

I just looked in my diary and worked out that we’d have run out of chocolate (yesterday), internet (a crisis on so many levels), petrol (tomorrow), and food (on Saturday). My breakfast and pancake supplies are already gone, so I had two-minute noodles for breakfast today.

So I confess I was a little tense. But I celebrated today’s good news by going on a wild shopping spree – with $5. I bought:

flour (for pancakes)

a mini caramello

a pack of gobstoppers.

All seven food groups are covered – pancakes, chocolate, caramel, colourings, sugar, round-shaped things, and preservatives.

All is well.

(Harper Collins hasn’t replied yet – it’s now over a month since they said they’d take two weeks to reply.)


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