The Winter Jacket

I needed a new winter jacket. Something smart, stylish and classy that did not scream, ‘Discount rack!’

I had been looking for a few weeks. As usual, everything that I liked or fitted well was incredibly expensive. But last Saturday, there was an advert in the newspaper for one of my favourite stores where I had loved a jacket. I had tried it on and it fit beautifully. The colour, style, length, it was all perfect except for the price and I had reluctantly left it in the shop and walked away. Yet here it was at less than half price! Making it very affordable for me and a whole crowd of other people too. “I must get to it quick” I thought. Putting the paper down and calling to the husband and kids to tell them I was going out, very soon.

But the plumber was coming to fix the new showerhead so my husband offered to stay home. One of the children had a birthday party to go to but that was on the way so I could drop him off. The other one needed new shoes so I could take her with me. I made the children eat breakfast and dress in a great hurry. I knew many people would have the same idea as me.

“Hurry! Hurry!” I shouted as I dashed through the house, getting myself fed and dressed as I coaxed everyone along. The children got dressed in such a hurry that one of them had their clothes on inside out. The other one decided to drink her toast rather than chew it! The result was a spectacular clean up on the kitchen floor.

I didn’t realise the inside out clothes until I was driving down the freeway. I couldn’t drop off a child to a birthday party dressed like that! I had to pull up on the side of the road to sort out the clothes. My phone was ringing, it was my husband and I ignored it. At the party drop off, there was no parking in their driveway, too many parents delivering children at the same time. I had to park further down the street and walk my child to the birthday party. Thankfully, my husband had neither left a message nor rung again, so it must have been something trivial.

We were on our way to my winter jacket once again now. The shopping centre car park was full and I couldn’t help but think that everyone was going to try and buy ‘my’ winter jacket. I had to park far away from the shopping centre entrance. As we entered the building, I heard the unwanted, “Mum, can I have a donut? I’m really hungry.” I was about to say that we’d all just had breakfast, when I remembered that this one had lost it to the kitchen floor. So I said, “Yes, have it.” Anything, not to have a cranky child at the shops. But they were out of donuts so we bought a large milkshake instead and went to the jacket shop. It was very busy since everything was less than half price that day. The phone was ringing again. I glanced at it, hubby dearest again. Really! I’d been out of the house only 40 minutes and this was the third call. I ignored it. Whatever it was, could keep for another hour and I would be home.

We entered haloed battleground- a clothes shop with a super sale on. I had my handbag hitched firmly on one shoulder and my daughter’s hand in one of mine. This left one hand completely free to push my way to the section with the winter jackets. There was no space to move, only the most skilful would forge through and I did. My elbow was touching the end of my handbag and I could feel the phone vibrating over and over. I could faintly hear the ringtone, it was that man again…. the one I’d married!

I finally got to the winter jackets. I was visibly palpitating now. So far, I had seen three women take winter jackets towards the checkout. I was hoping ‘my’ jacket was still there. It was! I couldn’t believe I had found it in this crush. It fit perfectly, it looked lovely and now it was mine. We headed in the direction of the checkout. The queues were long and slow. As we waited in line, my daughter needed the toilet. I was reluctant to leave my place in the queue but the milkshake, it seemed, had no such problem. All around us, women seemed to be buying clothes for the rest of their lives. My daughter began to dance from one foot to the other, the queue wasn’t moving and she really needed to go. Finally, the lady behind us took pity on the little girl with the hard-hearted mother and agreed to hold our place in the queue.

Eventually we got home with the precious cargo of my winter jacket. As we walked to the front door, I checked my phone. There were 8 missed calls from my husband and I had already begun my rant to him in my head, when the front door flung open and he ran out saying, “Why won’t you answer the phone? After you left, I reached for the newspaper. It was open on that advert you saw and the last line of that winter jacket sale which was covered by your coffee cup read … “All sizes, styles and colours available. Order online for free express delivery and a $50 gift voucher!”



The Mani, Pedi Cure

All my friends love these things and post photos on social media in very serene surroundings, looking hopelessly calm and happy so I thought I would experience it too. No elaborate spa treatments, just a manicure and pedicure.

I rang the posh spa that my friends inhabit.  Even as I made the appointment, I could hear the calming music in the background and the gentle tones of the receptionist confirming my contact details. Already I could feel soft, quiet waves of serenity washing over me.

On the day, I arrived at the spa; walking past a pond with pale green lily pads, floating over dark water rich with koi swimming lazily between the stems. The white water lilies waved gently in the breeze. Dotted around this oasis of serenity were discreet little stone seats where one might sit and reflect …. oops! I better let them know I had arrived for my pampering.

I stepped into the cool building with marble floors. Faint fragrances of soothing oils teased my senses as the receptionist looked through her computer for my appointment. There were potted ferns and palms, pale marble fish spouting water and tiered fountains with marble frogs on them. Staff in pale lilac uniforms glided about with tiny trays of oils and little pyramids of fluffy, lilac towels. Every now and then, men and women came down the marble staircase looking marvellously rejuvenated, skin aglow.

The singsong voice was asking if I wanted my treatments by the beach in an organza cabana or upstairs in a private suite.  Apparently, the Lotus Pond treatment rooms were all booked out today. I opted for the beach organza cabana thingy. The inside of this cool marble building with its hushed tones , serene music, pastel-uniformed staff and talk of treatments was beginning to remind me of a mental institution!

I was led to a changing area with discreet ferns and potted palms for privacy and expensive lockers for belongings.  I decided to keep my phone with me just in case I needed to escape this serene world. I was assisted in divesting as many of my clothes as I would let them. I managed to retain my own underwear. Now wrapped in a soft, fluffy lavender robe, matching slippers and my phone in a robe pocket, I was led out to the beach by a lady in lilac (L.i.l). I was sat comfortably in a huge winged armchair on the sand. Around me, soft folds of the lavender organza material, gently fell down from the marquee to form a little cocoon of lavender, wrapping L.i.l and me in it. Outside, warm breezes teased the wispy cocoon as waves gently broke on the soft, white sand beach.

I was offered a choice of herbal teas and music; Russian caravan, Tibetan, chamomile, whale song, rainforest and nature’s melody. I refused everything. All this serenity was beginning to get to me and those ‘treatments’ hadn’t even started in earnest.

I was handed a huge tray with samples of nail polish and nail art. L.i.l waited patiently for me to choose and every now and then, she shook her head, which I assumed was for the condition of my poorly tended feet.

I settled on a pale, pearly pink for my fingers and a darker shade for my toes. I chose a musical note on my toes as nail art. As I pointed to my choices, I noticed a flicker of a ‘Tsk, tsk!!’ from L.i.l Obviously, neither my feet nor my choice of treatments and nail embellishments were up to the standard of regular customers. Still, she smiled and laboured on.

The pedicure was fine. I could still text my friends. It was the manicure that began my turmoil. I couldn’t text, I didn’t to be overheard and I had to be really still. As my fingernails were painted, I tried to move that hand but was told very politely and firmly, to wait until the nail polish had dried completely. As it dried, L.i.l  put on another coat and when that dried, a clear coat!!

I had to lie there pretending to be comatose, if not dead while all this nail polish and nail art dried. Back in the change rooms, I was helped into my clothes by L.i.l  “Please be careful, these nails look dry but are not completely dry as yet” she said. I didn’t believe her for a moment!

As I walked out of the forested marble foyer, I rummaged for my car keys in my handbag. Bam! First strike… I had smudged the polish on one of my fingernails already!! Looked like this purchase was already depreciating….

I started driving home, I couldn’t change the CD in the car for fear of smudging the nails again. I couldn’t let myself into the house because the bunch of keys could smudge that nail polish. I didn’t dare take my feet out of my Fit Flops or curl up on the couch. And anyways, I couldn’t have turned the pages of that book. The TV seemed plausible but the remote had slipped down into the sofa cushions, retrieval was not possible without smudging.

I decided to do other things but I couldn’t unstack the dishwasher or fold clothes from the washing line. The computer keyboard was impossible without nail polish damage. I thought I’d ring a friend but couldn’t hold the phone to my ear because the hair would make little lines on that nail polish – it wasn’t dry as yet! I couldn’t put the phone on ‘speaker’ because everyone was home. I tried to open a can of fizzy drink and almost chipped some polish, stopped just in time…Phew!

Finally, those nails were dry. Now I had to try my best not to chip off the nail polish at least for a week, to make the expense worthwhile. All this was getting me more and more agitated and frustrated.

So I dug up an old bottle of nail polish remover and some cotton pads and used them. Now I feel free …..

Relaxed, serene and rejuvenated.