Lucy Jensen
Lucy Jensen

It was simply one of those days. A wake-up call that didn’t involve coffee or soft music, let alone the sound of little birds singing to herald the dawning of a new day. “This is Bank of America. We have reason to believe that your credit card has been compromised…” Oh, blooming great. The one we use for all the household stuff, our go-to, the one that gains us all those precious air miles. Yes, that one.

“Madam, did you happen to purchase tickets for the New York ballet?” No, I did not. Masterful how they flag some things and not others. I don’t look like a ballet fan, perhaps? A few days away from our European vacation and this gives me a sore head right at the beginning of the day. “Can they just move all the auto-charges from this card to the other one?” I plead with Fraud Department in my sweetest little girl English voice. “Oh no, Ma’am. You have to make all those calls yourself.” Of course, you do.

Then the escrow that was supposed to be closing in a matter of a few days started to crumble to its knees and there the money I had already spent, likely sitting, as we speak, on that coveted credit card, was not to be … right in the heart of the Christmas shopping season. That was annoying too. Whoosh and all that work was gone.

Where was my other card? You know that other one that I don’t normally use. That one. “Is the other card in your possession, Ma’am?” Mr. Fraud enquired. “Well, yes, kinda, in a manner of speaking…” Good grief, why can life be so complicated before you have even poured your second cup of joe. Where did I see it last? I know it was nestled in that lovely cream-colored Coach pouch I like to take to games or places where I don’t want to use up much space. I normally keep it in its matchy-matchy cream purse. Was it there? Of course not.

I pull out all the bags I had used in recent weeks. Gosh what a lot of nothing one can accomplish some days. No, no and no. I go through my work bag — maybe it was nestling in there. No. How about the bag I use to transport things back and forth to work. Negative.

“When did you use it last?” husband asked, trying to be helpful. I ate up his helpfulness with my scowl.

“The other portion of your vacation rental is due today!” the cheery email came across. Ah, they need a card. No, not that card. I about slammed shut my computer, pulled up the covers over my head and canceled the day entirely. Somebody was messing with me, and it wasn’t even Friday the 13th. “Is it too early for wine?” I enquired of our transaction coordinator. “Never!” came back her immediate response. I love that chick.

I finally put on some clothes, worked the ranch, washed my hair and put a little color on my face. Sometimes how you look can mirror how you feel, or make you change how you feel? Not really, but I thought I had better give it a go because the day was yet young and, so far, it had been super iffy on the accomplishment scale. As I was washing my foul start right out of my hair, it came to me. The blessed card was in my laptop case. Old smarty pants here had imagined that would be a safe spot to keep it, not thinking that she would immediately forget all about it.

Ah, the card has been found. Yay me! Now to start ploughing through the phone calls I would have to make because someone thought they needed tickets to the New York ballet at my expense. How can that happen? It can and does much more often than it should, in my opinion.

Early afternoon and I had stopped going backwards in my quest to accomplish something, anything of positive note. A much-improved email zoomed through the ether. “Your book proof will be arriving on Tuesday!” My co-author and graphic designer in the U.K. would be receiving hers today. Today! How darn exciting is that! The story of our shared childhoods on the East Coast of England was just about ready for the open market and we felt like we had entirely birthed a very large baby over the course of the last 18 months or more.

“Oh, I have to make some color changes to the cover,” she says all graphic-designery. Of course you do. It’s not like we are going to make the Christmas rush with this tome, although mid-March is looking pretty good for a book signing in my hometown.

My epic adventurer of a friend — my oldest friend in the world, no less, also co-author and graphic designer extraordinaire — is about to start her “Clipper Round the World” sailing race next month. Like a complete star, she is doing not one but two legs of the race, and those of us who prefer dry land can only stand back and be amazed at her bravery in heading out onto the ocean wave for a month to try and win a race. I take my non-sailing hat off to her and I shall be charting her progress like a pro.

When she returns from Leg 1, we shall be inserting our book signing into the madness that will be her life, as she catches up with work and prepares to leave the U.K. for the U.S. Again. (Her husband is American. Every few years they have to move from one continent to another.) Leg 2, she will be sailing from Seattle on her birthday, no less, and I shall be one of the “Support Crew” (faker) in a blue T-shirt, waving a flag from the quay and no doubt bawling my eyes out like a complete pro, without ever stepping on a boat.

By the afternoon of this bad day, I was over the whole card thing, I was completely enthralled and excited by our new book and its possible launch in the next several days. I was anticipatory of our 2024 adventures in Seattle and a nice hotel already booked down near Pike Place and I felt super glad to be alive all over again.

Now if I could just feel as chill about my oldest friend racing around the world on a boat, no less; things would be really good in my world.

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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