Magic Money. Avoid starving your kids or dying of thirst in spin class.

Nothing is worse than realizing your wallet is at home when it’s time to pay. Usually it’s groceries. Stuck at checkout with a line of people behind you, the sinking feeling sets in, “Oh NO! I forgot my wallet. Please don’t put back my food, except maybe the ice cream. I’ll be right back!” The face is flushed and sweat is dripping down the back. Forgetting your wallet is WORSE than a Got-Milk moment.

One time, I was just about to place a burrito order at Chipotle when I realized my purse was lighter than usual—no wallet. Lunch was for the boys at school, a break from eating sandwiches and me making them. I didn’t have time to go back home AND deliver lunch to TWO different high schools in OPPOSITE directions. This is the only time I wish they were together. (And Back to School Night. And registration day.) I couldn’t ditch my mom job—I thought about it for a split second. “Could they last until 3?” Ah no. They wouldn’t die but I think its child neglect or abuse or something. I’d feel like a creep. I look at the people behind me: too young to ask. They are not going to have an extra $20 and they probably wouldn’t know what a check was if I promised to mail it to them.

Normal lunch.  What could have been..but I'm too nice and too lazy.

Normal lunch. What could have been..but I’m too nice and too lazy.

I begrudgingly hop out of line and walk slowly back to my car. My eyes dart this way and that looking for a familiar face. I’ve got to know SOMEBODY in this parking lot who can spot me a twenty. I always see at least one familiar face, usually when looking my worst, of course. I’m actually spiffed up for a change; I’m even wearing lip gloss. This day is all wrong. I half contemplate a nice looking stranger, the grandmotherly type. We’re all neighbors, right?

The only thing I’m brave enough to try is hitting up a co-worker at my part-time job at a clothing store nearby.   Surely someone will loan me $20 for an hour. As soon as I spill out my predicament, Amy, the manager reaches for her wallet. A customer overheard the story and started to fish around in her purse when Amy came through. God I love this community! I grabbed to-go sandwiches at Chow restaurant across the way. At least the organic chicken and pesto with hot peppers sandwich is a little different from my home menu. Crisis averted.

Another time I was caught short at the gym. As I prepped my bike for spin class, I realized I forgot my water bottle. At 5:30 in the morning, nobody at the front desk can give me change for a five so I can buy a bottle of water from the machine—a double Got-Milk moment! I have one dollar but it costs two. So many fellow spinners don’t bring a wallet. Am I missing something? I always carry my wallet out of fear of an auto break-in. It happened eleven times when I lived in the City. As I’ve stated in a previous post, spin class is a disaster without a towel and water. These things cannot be shared and nobody packs extras. I remembered the quarters stashed in the ashtray for parking meters. (Thieves can have my change. No takers yet.) Whew!

Parking Meter safety net.

Parking Meter safety net.

I vowed to never come up short again. The quarters spurred me on to something.  To this day, I have magic money hidden in my car for emergencies-twenty-one dollars to be exact. (Thieves can have this money too.) I’ve only used it once so far. And let me tell you how grateful, relieved and smart I felt when I NEEDED money. I was ready to buy a salad while on lunch break at work when I looked into my purse and of course, remembered my wallet was still in my gym bag, lest I need a water for spin. The irony! My co-workers were ready to bail me out when I realized a solution was waiting for this very moment.

“WAIT! I have magic money in my car!” I exclaim.

“What is magic money,” my co-workers ask me while looking at as if more than water is in my Camelback bottle. I explain my creative solution and they both were slightly impressed. I on the other hand, was elated at my good fortune and smart planning.   It’s like finding a forgotten dollar or a twenty in your jeans pocket and thinking, “I’m so lucky,” only better. After retrieving my money I walked back into the store waving my cash around like a trophy.  I know I can’t buy a ton of groceries with my magic money but I can buy my own lunch.

Magic Money.

Magic Money.

“It’s only good if you pay it back,” one co-worker offered.

The other said, “Oh. I know I wouldn’t remember.”

Right. Good point.  And yeah, I can’t remember to pay it back either—yet.

P.S.  Thieves, if you are actually reading my post, I’m shocked and flattered.  I think. Be forewarned, I hide things really well where not even I can find them.  And, as of this posting, I haven’t put back the money yet.

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Noises In The Night: What kept me awake?

SAFE!

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Ride Like A Girl: My First Bike Tour

Posing for My Pro.

“Ride Like A Girl” is the motto I have on my ankle id bracelet I wear when I ride on the road. Along with my name and in-case-of-emergency contact, I had space enough to choose an inspiring message. To me, road riding is a tough girl sport. I can be tough, but I also like…

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A Golden State Warrior Fan Is Born

I'm IN!

When I first moved to California, I used to think the Golden State Warriors were some college basketball team out of Sacramento. After all, Sacramento is the capitol of the “golden state.” I played point guard during sophomore year in high school, so you would think I’d know about the Warriors like I know the…

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Meeting My Idol: David Sedaris

As close as I could get to a photo with my idol.

I met my writing idol David Sedaris. He is the one who inspired me to write funny personal essays. I didn’t know this was a writing genre when I started reading his books. I just thought he was writing about his life. The first book I read back in 2000, “Me Talk Pretty One Day,”…

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“I have a dinner meeting Thursday night,” says hubby. “PAR-TAY! We are going to have pizza, spaghetti and hamburgers for dinner and teeny, tiny salads.” I respond back.  We rarely eat anything kid-friendly.  Our salads are dad-made and huge, bottomless per the boys. He laughed at my food choices, things he would never eat. I…

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10 Discoveries On Amelia Island, Florida

Hubby found Amelia Island while searching for an airport with Southwest Airlines service and good fishing in the southeastern United States: Jacksonville. From there, availability and ratings led him to the Omni Resort on Amelia Island.   It was beyond our expectations providing us the beautiful, casual, warm respite we needed to unplug.     Not…

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Seven Fashion Picks for Spring

With spring in the air, the itch to shop is unbearable. I can’t wait to get out. Again. And again. I’ve already started. The last couple of issues of InStyle magazine and unusually warmer weather for March inspired me. It also doesn’t hurt to work in a clothing store a couple of days a week,…

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Pope Francis: Your biggest fan is talking.

Dear Pope Francis, It’s been awhile since I last wrote to you. I follow your activities through the news and as always, enjoy your commentary on world controversy. Your one-liners really stop people in their tracks, like the latest one about “a punch in the nose for insulting your mother.” Not everyone liked it but…

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