Sitting in Fridges

mercredi, le 24 février 2010

And there I was, sitting in the fridge, minding my own business. I’m not going to bother to tell the joke, it hardly is a joke, but I did adopt the line.

So there I was, the new year rolling over me like a tank over a poppy field and the best I could do was to maybe, and only just maybe, drag myself from the comfort of my bed to the comfort of my couch, book in hand and The Princess in tow.

I didn’t have the energy, the inclination nor the desire to start pulling myself towards myself as I’d promised myself I’d do in the new year. And I was doing even less about trying to dig us out of the messy financial hole we were left in. But I justified it all with my non-belief in new year’s resolutions.

I avoided The Princess’ questioning eyes, turned a page and promised her that the next day things would be better. ‘Things have a way of getting worse before they get worse,’ I reminded her, with a wry smile and wiping a tear, L’homme used to say.

Just over a month ago the phone rang. That in itself wasn’t really odd. The bank was phoning me daily to enquire about my plans to get my accounts in order. I evaded their questions as deftly as I did The Princess’ inquisitive eyes. This was, however, a call from My Employer. I cringed. I have been hearing that whooshing sound of deadlines somewhere in the distance, but I’ve been treating them with the same disdain as the bank’s calls and The Princess’ stares.

The meeting went the way meetings with employers go: good in a bad kind of a way. They’d been thinking, now that The Shop was no longer a part of my life, didn’t I want to spend more of my time playing with them?

I vaguely said I’d consider it. I didn’t want to seem desperate. I frantically made sums in my head. ’How much can I charge for how much of my time?’ And then the snag came. In the way that there always is a snag in a meeting with employers. I’d have to work from the office. I dug my highest heels in. Firmly. It just wasn’t possible. I couldn’t leave The Princess home alone. I badly disguised the real reason with excuses of the 21st century and remote connections and electronic communication and mumbled something about being available for the odd meeting at the office, but an eight-to-five day was just not on the cards.

The rest of the lunch discussion was about everything but work. We parted agreeing to think about our respective needs.

Back home I showed The Princess the bullet hole in my foot. I told her that I thought I may just have shot myself. But I told her I took a bullet for both of us. For my sanity and for hers.

A week or so later another call came. They’ve considered my needs. They’re desperate. The account is in such mess, I could work from Outer Mongolia if I wanted to, if I could just please find a way to work on the account. I wanted to know whether the South of France would do, but I said it sounded reasonable to me. I’d get back to them the next day.

I put the phone done and shrieked with delight. I hugged The Princess and for the first time in many, many months allowed my body to soak up the relief as it washed over me. I braced myself for the meeting over remuneration. My Employer is known to squeeze blood from a stone. I’m useless at negotiating financial reward. I’d made some sums and arrived at an amount that I would consider generous, but before I put my demand cards on the table, they announced that they would be paying me 30% more than what I had calculated. It took every ounce of restraint to smile sweetly and nod in agreement. I was sure that it was obvious how my bum was settling in the butter.

Since then the heat under the frying pan has gradually been turned up and my bum is beginning to sizzle in the butter. But I sit in the comfort of my own home, with The Princess on her Ottoman right next to me and I’m meeting deadlines, ridiculous and less so, with a deep gratitude to My Employer who, unbeknownst to them, has given me the best life line I could’ve wished for.

Not only can I feed the money hungry wolves, but it is amazing how an avalanche of deadlines can focus a wondering mind. Tonight the bank texted me to tell me that I have been richly rewarded for my sterling efforts. Tomorrow night we’re having some friends over for dinner. The Princess, The Felines and I need to celebrate that we’ll survive, for the next few months, at least!

(Some music musings: I love Paris is my current reminder to meet this week’s deadlines. On Monday I can start planning my trip in May to the most beautiful city in all the world! )

(The story in the photograph: Despite time having joined the endless list of scarce commodities in my household, I have managed to keep an odd eye or two on the Winter Olympics. I can barely believe it is four years since L’homme and I enthusiastically watched Curling in the early hours of the mornings at a time when I thought my soul’s mate was here to stay forever. Just based on their outfits, the Norwegians deserve Gold this year.)

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