Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Illness, debt, parking fines and other good news.

Today’s SoCS post takes the form of an update on a previous rant and should I manage to crowbar in Linda G Hill‘s prompt, that’ll be a bonus;

” “in other words.” Use the phrase at least once in your post. “

Ok, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Things are looking up.

As I mentioned in this post, it has been an anxious couple of weeks, wondering whether we’d be able to finance Rhonda and Audrey’s upcoming visa renewals, so I was rather nervous when I walked into the bank on Wednesday afternoon.

It didn’t hurt that I’d woken up that morning with a hideous cold; my head appeared to be stuffed with wet cotton wool and it felt like someone had filled my sinuses with glue, so I was experiencing events through a kind of virulent sensory fog, which may have actually taken the edge off the stress.

Anyway, long story, short; after twenty minutes of watching compulsory, cheerfully-voiced warning videos, detailing the dire consequences of not paying back the money they were about to lend me at an extortionate rate of interest, then signing multiple copies of finance agreements, I was the lucky beneficiary of another seven years of debt and, far more importantly, the wherewithal to keep my family on the same side of the Atlantic for another thirty months.

In other words; Mission accomplished.

It was amazing, the difference that successful act of financial negotiation made to my mood for the rest of the week, despite my steadily worsening man-flu and the fact that both Rhonda and I were still working every available shift and barely saw each other until Friday evening, when she had an unexpected night off.

I decided, in deference to my cold and our small monetary victory, that I’d give myself a weekend free of overtime, so Audrey and I went into town yesterday; to trade in some of her old DVDs, buy a game for her Nintendo DS, (a Christmas present designed to coax her attention away from YouTube for a while) and get a battery for my watch.

Having selected a Sims game Audrey had already expressed an interest in and got it half price in exchange for a few old Barbie DVDs, I spotted this gem whilst waiting to pay…

…which, needless to say, I couldn’t resist.

In other words; What a bargain.

Next stop, the jewellers, where I remembered I had a “battery for life” deal on the watch I bought there, my first freebie for the day. Then, as we left I spotted a sale in the clothing store next door, where I picked up a half price winter coat. Not bad, huh?

But it didn’t stop there. Next door to the clothing store is the 3 Store, my phone provider and I thought I was due an upgrade soon, so I just stopped in to check.

“Oh, yes, you’re actually due an upgrade now…Yes, we have a very good deal for existing customers at the moment, too..”

Really? That’s a first, usually they couldn’t care less once they’ve got your money, it’s the new customers who get all the perks.

So, half an hour later, after Audrey had played with every mobile device on display and inspected the huge wall of Instagram photos for cute animal pictures, I walked out with a brand new £400 phone and the aforementioned offer for loyal customers; an £89 pair of Bluetooth headphones, all for free, gratis and no charge.

In other words; Time well spent.

We returned to the car, on the way to pick up my de-kerosene’d work clothes from the laundrette and grab Audrey a take-out from McDonald’s, (an exception I make very rarely, I can’t stand the place, but having two Americans in the house means I occasionally compromise my principles; Audrey claims the chicken nuggets are just not the same anywhere else and Rhonda has a weakness for their strawberry milkshakes) only to see a traffic warden standing over my car, electronic terminal in hand, stylus poised over the screen.

“No no no no no no! Oh bugger, am I late?”

“I haven’t issued it yet…”

I don’t think I properly registered this unheard-of response from a parking nazi council traffic warden before, so I continued to apologise.

“I’m sorry, I got held up in the phone shop, how late am I?

“Ticket says 12.19, by my watch it’s 12.39…I haven’t issued it yet…”

He looked at me over his glasses and actually smiled, as I stood there laden with shopping bags and Audrey watching curiously from behind me, (I’m not certain, but I think his eyes might have even had a bit of a twinkle, but that could be wishful thinking) then he clipped his stylus back into its slot and nodded.

“They don’t pay me any more if I give out more tickets, you enjoy the rest of your day.”

“You, sir, are a truly wonderful man, thank you.”

And off he went, looking happy in his work, probably unaware that he had rescued me from ruining a near-perfect Saturday and helping restore my faith in the goodness of people for a change.

In other words; Things are looking up.



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