The great tampon hunt

On Thursday I became a business owner and I ran out of tampons.

You’re probably wondering how those two things are connected, but I’m guessing that anyone who has set up a business knows the answer.

You see, for the past two years I’ve worked as a freelance writer but – as the reduction in the number of these blogs proves – demand was far exceeding supply.

I only have one set hands and one mostly pretty good brain.

Now that’s a good problem to have but, like anyone else who’s been a freelancer, if I was sick, I couldn’t work, and if I couldn’t work, I didn’t get paid.

Plus, it is a pretty lonely gig. I had an open door policy to my study, but no one ever walked through it but my housemate or my lover.

So I spent many months cajoling one of my mates – who’s also an awesome journo and writer – to quit his job and set up shop with me.

I finally wore him down and a few months ago we started quietly to hatch a plan.

But something weird has happened to the hours in every day.

I’ve learned very quickly that start ups are more like: Chat to my business partner; do some work; have a meeting with the lawyer; chat to my business partner; do some work; have a meeting with the accountant; chat to my business partner; do some work; speak to the web designer; chat to my business partner; sign some tax documents; do some work; go to sleep. Do it all again tomorrow.

You see over the past two years I’d forgotten about meetings – not with clients – but the types of meetings with people like lawyers and accountants that seem to last forever and not achieve much but chew up the hours you could be working, you know, on stuff that makes you money.

Oh, of course, that’s because they charge hourly.

But back to the tampons…

You see as a peri menopausal woman, my need for tampons waxes and wanes with, well, the moon.

Some months I don’t need any. Other times, I need ones the size of sheep.

Yesterday was one of those days when I was neck-deep in some type of administrative hell when I realised that it was also one of those days when I needed one.

The thing is, I haven’t really done any shopping all week – and even if I had, tampons would probably not have been on my non-existent list.

Who needs food when you’re launching a business?

So, I looked in the bathroom cupboard to find it was bare. Then I tried my new handbag and the result was the same.

Then I tried my handbag before my new handbag –  because you don’t ever really throw away the old ones do you – and also it was a tampon-free zone.

I remembered about the handbag I had before the old one so I hunted through that like a wild peri menopausal woman. Nada.

I tried my toilet bag, then my three different-sized suitcases, which only held remnants of holidays that now seemed like a very long time ago.

Now never did I once consider walking the five minutes to the shop on the corner because, of course, there was too much work to do.

Then, like some brand-new business owner gift from the universe I found one solitary tampon in a long forgotten bag under my bed.

Then I noticed that in the lounge hung washing that had been there for three days and that the salad in the fridge was actually six days old.

My phone was also alight with text messages and voicemails from various friends that I had forgotten to reply to – some for the best part of a week.

In one of our 29 phone calls to each other every day, I told my business partner about my tampon fiasco this morning – as you do.

He replied that while he’d never had to hunt for tampons for himself, he did forget to wake up his wife and children this morning because he was too busy working.

So, while we start making plans to expand our business six months earlier than we anticipated, I guess the moral of this story is that if you’re starting a business make sure you buy tampons and an alarm clock.

And maybe a six-pack or two to celebrate at the end of your first week. That’s essential.

The curious case of the stolen car

thief running stealing a car

This is a story about a man named Mike* and his stolen car.

Before you say anything – yes, I am actually writing about someone other than myself, which surprises me somewhat, too.

But when Mike told me this story – in two parts with a number of months in-between –  I knew that I had to share it.

Now the reason that Mike has an * is because that’s not his real name. For once, I’m going to protect his identity and you’ll soon understand why.

Like me, Mike travels a lot for work. That means that our conversations are often truncated, but somehow we neatly pick up where we left off.

A while back now, Mike called me one night and asked of me a perplexing question.

“Where you home about the (something date) of (some month that I can’t now recall)?” he asked.

“I have no idea,” I replied so I checked my diary and then replied in the affirmative.

He then went on to ask if I saw anything or anyone unusual loitering around?

I may be protecting his name but it’s fairly obvious now that we may live in the same building.

“Well,” I replied, “our suburb and its inhabitants are quite unusual most of the time.”

“That’s true but it’s just that I’ve had my car stolen from out of my garage,” he told me.

I was a little confused, though, as the date that he’d asked me to recall was some six weeks in the past so I said as much to him.

“Ah, it’s a little embarrassing,” he said, “but I’ve only just noticed.”

You see, he’d been travelling so much that so didn’t really need his car and hadn’t checked the garage in the interim until this particular day. However, he couldn’t find the automatic door opener anywhere.

A garage door opening person was soon engaged to open sesame the door, he said, and the only thing that he saw was an empty space where his car had been some six weeks before.

“I must have dropped the door opener on the drive-way and someone’s stolen my car from out of the garage,” he told me. “Six weeks ago.”

I had to laugh just a little and question him on whether he needed a car at all given so much time had passed and he’d been none the wiser.

Then I didn’t see him for a couple of months.

“How did the insurance claim go?” I asked him when next I did.

“Ah, well, it went OK but then I cancelled it because, ah, I got my car back,” he told me.

“No one ever gets their car back. That’s awesome!” I exclaimed. “How did they find it?”

“I found it,” he said matter of factly.

Then he proceeded to tell me the second half of the story of the curious case of his stolen car.

A number of months on from the date when his vehicle disappeared from his garage, he received the statement for his toll road usage and decided to go into “super-sleuth” mode.

He scanned the charges and saw that his car had been driven on a well-known toll road many months before and then, well, nothing.

Mike looked closer at the toll charges and saw that it was for a road he knew very well.

In fact, it was a road that he travelled on frequently.

It was a toll road called the Airport Link.

“What?” I said as my brain started to think that the thief had stolen Mike’s car from the garage and then driven it to the airport.

But that thought process was overtaken almost instantly with a dawning realisation about what may have really happened.

“Hang on,” I continued. “Who was driving the car?”

“Me,” he said sheepishly. “I must’ve driven it to the airport and forgotten all about it.”

I laughed long and very loud, which he took graciously on the chin.

So it appears that on his initial return home, Mike had promptly jumped in an Uber while his car was securely and safely waiting for him in the airport car park, you know, where he’d parked it when he left.

It wasn’t until he couldn’t find the door opener – because it was in his car at the airport all the time – that Mike surmised that an opportunistic crook had stolen his vehicle out of his locked garage after fortuitously finding the automatic door opener in the driveway… or so the story became.

He’d only paid for a week or two’s parking at the airport, too, so he also learned that they don’t contact car owners for at least six months if vehicles are left there lonely and clearly forgotten. One has to presume so they can build up some nice bills in the meantime.

So the curious car of the stolen car came to its unusual conclusion with Mike’s wallet a lot lighter from the parking fees and his dignity perhaps a little bruised from the experience.

Taking a photo of where you park your car doesn’t seem so silly now at all.

To catch a lip kiss thief


As the years pass on by, I’m still often surprised by how much I have to learn about myself.

It’s almost like I’m some type of human onion with layers that are slowly being peeled back to reveal who I truly am after decades of being on this earth. What’s that all about? Some of this information would have been helpful much earlier than middle age, don’t you think?

For me, I recently had an epiphany that while I like sex as much as the next red-blooded, horny Scorpio, I actually don’t really care for relationships much at all. This is perhaps why I’ve always been crap at them for my entire life – what a big waste of energy. But that’s a blog for another time because I’m still trying to get my head around that fairly important observation about myself.

What’s almost as important is a moment of personality transparency that occurred a few months back and one which I’ve been “researching” via asking my friends about it every since.

Here’s the thing: when I was visiting my dad and step-mum back in the homeland before Christmas, one night the topic turned into a discussion about how affectionate our family is. You know, we’re the huggy, kissy type who probably touch people (not in a sexy way) too often, too, I said to them both. We even kiss everyone on the lips, I exclaimed.

Then, my parents told me something about myself that I never knew before. Well, they said, it’s not a family thing. It’s a “you thing”. A you thing, what do you mean by that, I asked? It’s you, you’re the one who kisses everyone on the lips and we in turn have learned how to kiss you back that way, they told me.

I sat there in silence and may have had a swig of beer to take it all in.

So, you’re telling me, I said, that I go around and kiss all and sundry fair on the lips and generally, what, just get away with it?

Yes, they said.

Shit, I said.

How long has this been happening, I asked?

Forever, they said.

Shit, I said.

And that, my friends, was the moment when I learned that I am a lip kiss thief.

Until then, I’d just presumed that my family was overly familiar and that I’d surrounded myself with friends who also liked a bit of “kiss on the lips” action every time we saw each other.

On my return to Australia a few weeks later, not truly believing this overly affectionate revelation about myself, I tested this information with two of my best friends.

Now this part is important because I have many female and male friends. Some of these male friends are my female friend’s husbands and we’ve been having a big of a hello “friendship snog” for years and no one seemed perturbed by it at all. I just presumed that’s how my tribe greeted each other.

So, when I posed the question to my friends – who are wife and husband – that my parents had just informed me that I’m a lip kiss stealer, the bloody (but lovely) bastards agreed with their assessment.

What are you saying, I asked?

That you go for the lips every time and we don’t really have time to out-manoeuvre you,  they said.

Shit, I said.

How long has this been going on, I asked?

For decades, they said.

Shit, I said.

My friend, let’s call him Blair because that is his name, said he’s not a lip kisser much at all (apart from with his awesome wife) so my over-the-top kissy greetings had been a bit of a struggle in the beginning of our friendship. Now, he intimated, he just knew that I’d go for the lips every time and he’d made a kind of peace with it.

When I saw them yesterday, in jest, he actually turned his cheek at the last moment so I just sat there with my lips pursed and waited for him to say hello “properly”. Then I said, I must write about this – and so I am.

Since this disclosure, I’ve talked about my “kiss issue” with a few more friends, who’ve all agreed, plus I’ve tried to be better at assessing whether a lip kiss is appropriate or not.  Although, let me be clear, I don’t kiss professional contacts, well, until they become friends and then it’s lip action all the way.

Lord know what this says about me. Perhaps, my statement at the start of this blog about not being good at relationships means that I’m starved of affection so I just go around planting platonic kisses on anyone who I’m close to – and for all these years they’ve let me.

I’m hoping that means that there’s really no problem with me being a lip kiss thief and I don’t have to do something radical like change my behaviour because I fear it’s far too late, and much too entrenched, for that.

Plus, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to.