Saturday, 8 December 2018

The day the oil ran out (15)

I let Slowy take a break as I could see she wanted to watch butterflies. She was somewhat of a free spirit unlike me and wasn't used to being chained to a house. I mean I was now used to it and accepted my fate but that was because I experienced severe Stockholm Syndrome under Mum's regime. It was hard for me to even think of leaving. Where would I go, and what would I do? I felt like Scarlett O'Hara when Rhett leaves her, telling her he didn't give a damn because she won't leave Tara. Or was it Ashley. I didn't know anymore my head hurt, so I thought the best thing to do was to have a cup of tea and a lie-down.

Dad made me a cup of tea and after finishing it I lay down on my bed. I soon fell asleep, exhausted. 
I didn't awake from my nap till I heard a familiar voice. 

Eh eh. Earth to Selina, earth to Selina. 
I woke to find my sister standing over me. 
What, is this all a dream? Aren't you mean to be in London? I said, semi-accusingly. How did she magically appear just like that? Genie, or just being Glennis?
I rang you from Nicole's. I've been back for a week. But I can't walk the Milford Track now because of this rather inconvenient oil crisis or even go back to London, since all flights are cancelled and nobody can get out so I guess I'm stuck with you here.
She grinned, seeing if I would take the bait.

Oh, I said. Well I can't really afford to hang out with you because I need to find a job. The car won't go.  And you can't borrow my bicycle because it's been stolen. 

My sister liked hanging out at trendy cafes and shopping malls, and seeing shows and dining out and all that jazz. My idea of a fun social time was,  a cup of tea and scone at church, while people asked me how I was and if I was  busy at work (No, because when they asked me it was Sunday, and I didn't as a rule do any work on Sunday). Also she wouldn't get the whole praising the Lord thing, and that you could sit anywhere in church you liked and didn't need to book or buy a ticket. That or reading library books. My sister never read library books, she always bought magazines. 

Aw chin up. She said. I bought you this Gardeners World magazine. I'm sure you'll find something. We can just put all the bills on my credit card. You can pay me back when you've got a job.

Ok. I flicked through the magazine. I came to an article with the heading 'What To Do Now'. It had no less than 50 things to do for the month of May. 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The day the oil ran out (14)

A familiar face appeared on my facetime. My sister, and she was saying "Good news, I am coming home".
"Huh, what? Wow, when why how?"

My sister said not to worry about a thing it would all be taken care of. She must have seen the look of relief on my face as my worry lines uncreased. See, my sister had a cushy job in marketing and had squirreled away hundreds and thousands of pounds due to favourable exchange rate and hedge funds, while I was still trying to get Slowy to mow the lawn and clip the hedge for chump change.

She was older, wiser, and probably mortified that Dad had designated me default head of the household in her absence. What are big sisters for if not to step in and stop their hapless little sisters from falling off her *borrowed* bicycle? As my sister seemed so sure of herself, I did not question it.

See I don't know how she would get to Auckland when the airplanes were no longer flying, nor pay the bills and handle Dad's vinyl revival obsession, cook dinner each night, clean the bathroom, mop the floor, take out the garbage, feed the cat and chicken, weed the garden, do all the laundry, but then this was my sister, she was Wonder Woman and could do everything, and hold down a full time job to boot.

Maybe I could sleep easy tonight and eat those chips and icecream Dad kept proffering me after all. It seemed the burden had lifted off my shoulders and the world would carry on, because my sister would be running the show.

Thank God for Big Sisters!

Saturday, 30 June 2018

The day the oil ran out (13)

My patience was being tested. I had one day to find a new job, and the day was coming near to an end. The bills were piling up. We weren't winning lotto. And Slowy was so slow, she would never eat the grass to a good enough standard to get to the minimum 300 millimetres required by Auckland Transport to be a serviceable berm. And the oil had run out. Did I mention the oil had truly run out?

I looked at my options. Desperate times called for desperate measures.

Option 1. Sell up and move Dad to the Waitakere Gardens, where I could live as a guest squatter as long as I kept my profile low. 

Option 2. Ring my ex-boyfriend in rehab, and become his accountability person. I will stop him from taking dangerous drugs, and be paid as a support worker. As long as he acknowledges he has a problem that will never get better. 

Option 3. Run away and join the circus. Shortland Street needs more people all the time. I could act as a kooky mental patient, and make a tonne of money on the long running series, as long as it continued to be on air. Perhaps even more if I had a special kind of illness that meant I could play multiple characters. 

I was in the process finding out the number of the Waitakere Gardens retirement village when I heard a familiar ringtone. It was my Facetime. My sister! What could she want, plus it was 3 in the afternoon. Why would she be calling me all the way from London in the early hours of her morning? 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The day the oil ran out (12)

The Lotto app did a magic sound and told me congratulations you have won! A bonus ticket!
"Dad you won Lotto again" I yelled.

Dad grumbled "Not again!".

"You have got to stop winning bonus tickets. Or you'll never finish the game". 

Dad just went back to the computer where he was downloading the latest old records on You-tube. He was up to record 4875902 Dot label circa 1954. 

"Look at this, uploaded just this morning! Only three views." 

I pretended to be interested, and then announced I better check on Slowy. She might have finished the front berm grass by now. Then she can get onto the hedges. I needed to train her to chew them straight and flat, so they don't end up looking like corncobs. It's buxus after all and has to be a nice, even, lego brick shape. If she could do that, we could make more money trimming hedges than lawnmowing, in fancier suburbs too. 

I went outside and there was Slowy the donkey still chewing away. But man, she was slow! She had only done half, and was looking distracted by the butterflies. 
"Come on Slowy, time's a ticking! Those bills won't pay themselves you know!" Slowy just looked at me blankly and then smiled at me as if to say me going bankrupt was never going to bother her. After all it wasn't her place. She was just the hired help.

I sighed. Being the breadwinner wasn't a piece of cake after all. 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The day the oil ran out (11)

I made plans to ride Slowy home and decided I would ring the Massey Pony Club and come up with the money once I made 400 bucks lawnmowing the neighbourhood berms.

Buffie had offered to express deliver a latte to the receptionist as thanks for all the horse manure she had taken over the years.

"How are you going to express deliver the latte when we can't drive our cars anymore?" I asked.

"Don't worry I've got some mad cyclists onto it," she replied. And sure enough one turned up right on cue in a racing lycra outfit.

"At your service, mademoiselle" said the mad cyclist.

It was Gilles from Woodside Garden! So this was his secret business. Gilles took the steaming hot latte and placed it in his pannier.

"Au revoir" he said, and rode off. He looked like he was training for the Tour de France.

Slowy and I started the trek home, while I kept a look out for my pink bike. I thought of ringing the police, but then thought maybe it will come back after it's been borrowed, like a good library book. I had taken the precaution of writing on it in a permanent marker "Selina's Bicycle. Please return to 41 Riverpark Crescent, Henderson. God Bless" just in case.

As we turned into my driveway, I saw dad waving a piece of paper and calling to me. "Can you check my powerball ticket on your ipad?" He said.

"Hold your horses, I mean donkeys" I said. "One thing at a time". I tied up Slowy to the gate and instructed her to nibble only our part of the 'berm' up to the box hedge. Then I went inside, dumped my library books, and reached for my ipad.

Dad was an incurable gambler, and spent $16 every week on these useless tickets that only ever won bonus tickets to buy more numbers. He was forever asking me to check them now I had this app on my ipad which meant we wouldn't need to go cross eyed hunting for numbers. He had been playing this silly game for over 30 years and we were always disappointed. I wish he could see that Sudoku was a much better numbers game and not one to give him false hope.  I placed the ticket under the scanner.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The day the oil ran out (10)

I named the Donkey 'Slowy' because she was slow.

She was obedient and stuck to the path but by the time I reached Korero Cafe it was near closing. Buffie was at the counter.

"Hi Selina fancy seeing you again!". Buffie was smiling as usual. But it might have been extra wide because she had another customer - me.

"I'm sorry Buffie there were no horses in the paddock. Will this donkey do?"

"I'm not sure about that" said Buffie "But don't worry, I found an even better mulch and fertiliser for the garden"

"What's that? Don't tell me you are installing a composting toilet."

Buffie reached behind the counter with a large sack. "As long as I have customers who like coffee, I will have a never ending supply".

She opened the sack.
Inside was something that looked like sawdust.

"It's coffee fluff" she explained. "It's wonderful! I throw it over everything and the plants really like it! Anyhow what can I get you?"

I presented Buffie with my hot drink voucher. "It's a latte for the Massey Pony Club lady. She won't give me a job unless I join up. But it costs like $425 to join".

"Really? Oh, stuff that. Come do some gardening, and you can work for free".

We both burst out laughing.
Slowy brayed. "It looks like Slowy's hungry" I said.

"By the way have you seen anyone riding off with my pink bike?"

"That might have been one of my PD workers. They like to "borrow" things".

We chatted for a while longer but I figured by the time I had got the latte back to Massey Pony Club it would be cold.  Buffie made me a hot chocolate instead while I pondered my next move. Slowy started nibbling the geraniums.

My next brainwave came along as I watched Slowy nibble. I could hire out Slowy as an organic lawnmower! And then my dad could use the petrol in his lawnmower to drive his car.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The day the oil ran out (9)

I didn't want to become a member and then have to pay to work as I had no money, and I wondered if this was it. I looked in my bag and there was my 'Horses for Dummies' book. Were all the horses out? I hadn't seen any on my walk toward the reception area.  I would have to tell Buffie no horse and no manure and she would be disappointed.

But I did have one thing, and it was a voucher for a free hot drink at Korero cafe.

Seeing I had nothing to lose except my dignity, I got the courage to say again to the reception lady, I can run and get you a coffee you look like you need it.

She looked a bit shocked but I said, for being so welcoming while you are so busy it's on me. What would you like - cappucino, flat white, latte?

Oh, latte if you don't mind.

One latte coming up. Be quicker if I had a horse but it's only down the road.

She said sorry all our horses are out but...there is a donkey in the far paddock you could ride.

I'll take the donkey.