It's been an interesting few months - quitting a well-paid job, feeling like a failure, surviving Christmas, starting the novel in the holidays, twanging the Achilles, seeing Sapphire smile again as school resumes with the bully in another class, finding myself the captain of the tennis team....
During all of this, I've pretty well decided that the formal job structure is no longer for me. No more black polyester slacks, ironed shirts or pinchy shoes. No more nine-to-five and a boring commute home and have you filled out your timesheet and paid your two bucks into the tea club kitty yet. No more feeling trapped or struggling to be nice to someone who needs a short shap slap rather than strained respect.
Instead, little things have cropped up. Good things. Back writing for The Age. A few hours of casual work at an independent book company several tram stops away; some tutoring leads and child minding. Yep, child minding - one, as it happens. To hear this spunky little seven year old spontaneously exclaim, "This is so much fun," as we sat outside taping together some shoe boxes for Skipper the rabbit's new playground made me grin wider than the Nile.
And so, on a morning off I had a long list of errands to run. It was a beautiful sunny day. Sapphire and I had been for our now-regular 3km run (her) and hobble (me); the vet had just rung on the mobile to share the good news that Milly's second lump wasn't cancer and a box-load of new chocolate samples were on their way. Plenty of time to do the bank, post office, hardware store and Coles before then.
I saw my body reflected in the Witchery window whilst crossing Puckle Street and instead of cringeing, thought, "I'm OK. No-one's running away from me screaming and I look happy and content in myself. What more could I ask for?"
The check out lady at K-Mart told me all about being blindfolded and taken to the airport and whisked off to Sydney for her surprise 50th birthday present. "Thank god it wasn't a blindfolded Brazilian," I said, waving goodbye to her laughter. Life was good. An article had been submitted three days before due date and a radio station had requested an interview.
"Here." A pretty sixteen year old girl, presumably an apprentice beautician, thrust a brochure into my hand. She was fully painted and precariously perched on her stacked heels outside the salon, selecting passersby to hand her leaflets to.
"Ta." Such places are alien to me, so it stayed scrunched in my hand until I reached the car park. As the key was inserted into the door, it was time to open up the paper and see if it needed to be read or flung into the recycling bin on the other side of the trolley bay.
'Menopausal Skin Treatment. This voucher entitles you to three sessions of half-price facials designed to rejuvenate ageing, tired skin. Call today to change the way you look and feel!'