When I was 16 I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me attend a week long horse riding camp in the thriving metropolis of Holbrook. At the time it probably had more to do with Angus, the perceived dreamboat of the time, attending, rather than the thought of a week of riding horses and fresh air and the sun on my back etc. (Incidentally, I ended up landing said dreamboat through a cunning mix of nonchalance, following through on dares he never thought I would follow through on, and pretending to like Genesis. If thatâ€™s not a recipe for success then I donâ€™t know what is).
My mother held fast for about 2 weeks with a solid no. There was never any money. Actually, there was usually minus money, and the combination of my weekly riding lesson and my brotherâ€™s basketball and both my sisters doing gymnastics meant that there was really no money for extra things. And the camp cost a whole 80 dollars â€“ I remember it, because I remember vividly lamenting to her, at least daily, â€˜but itâ€™s only 80 dollars!â€™ all the while thinking that 80 dollars was a veritable fortune and I might as well be asking for a million.
Iâ€™m not sure what made her relent. Perhaps it was the fact that I was generally pretty gracious about these things â€“ if the no held out for a day or two, I usually went away. But this time I was a persistent pain in her ass, so Iâ€™m guessing she realised this riding trip to the middle of nowhere meant a lot, for whatever strange reason.
So she came upon a bit of a plan â€“ if I found $40, sheâ€™d come up with another 40. Iâ€™d have to earn that other 40 too, but sheâ€™d pay it. So I knocked on every door in the street and offered to wash their car. And really, at $5 a pop I was a real bargain. Presumably I ended up washing 8 of the damn things, because I came up with the money. Actually, I think I ended up earning some by raking leaves or something for the old woman across the road â€“ she didnâ€™t have a car, but I think she liked my get up and go.
So Mum, true to her word, fronted with the other 40. She did, however, make me iron 4 baskets of washing for it. And thus we are lead to the reason Iâ€™m writing this post in the first place â€“ I have spent an hour of my precious time tonight ironing. I have this pure dislike for it â€“ itâ€™s up there along with emptying the litter tray and cleaning leaves out of the fish pond. I think that pure dislike possibly stems from those hours and hours of ironing my school uniforms, the uniforms of my brother and sisters, and my Dadâ€™s stubbies.
The week in Holbrook was so worth it though. And tonight I listened to Andrew Bird while I was doing it, so that was kinda nice.