Seeing the words, 'You have won...' in my email Inbox is not as exciting as once it was. With so many hoax deliveries, I generally delete without reading. In my experience, I have had the chance to win several cruises, all of which are sailing to exotic climes. However, in order to be eligible to enter the contest, I have to subscribe to a year's worth of fishing magazines, the law review of Southern Croatia, and 'How to make delicious meals with organically grown cow fodder', all of which are of absolutely no interest to me. Attempting to go to stage two of the contest is always blocked by, 'YOU MUST TICK ONE BOX!!!' Out of curiosity, I did tick a box, once. This took me to a second page, where I had to complete a form, which asked for non personal details, which included a note of my annual income, how much I spend on groceries a week, and whether I still have my appendix. It was then that I realised, I had not followed my own golden rule, and that is to read the small print. At the bottom of the page, it states, minutely of course, in a beige-ish colour, so as to blend with the cream colour page, that you have to subscribe to at least three of the amazing offers, and fill out a routine questionnaire. This is
followed by a disclaimer from the contest promoters, who explain that they are in no way associated with the prize, the prize givers, the periodicals for which you are subscribing, or indeed, the human race. (I may have got the last one wrong, but it is difficult to see magnolia on magnolia!) If a woman is ever asked, 'what is the difference between cream and beige?', she should refer the one asking the question to one of these pages. It may be subtle, but it is different.
However, I digress! I did receive an email this week, telling me I was a winner. It was from Majic radio. Being a trivia fanatic, I log on to their website each day, and answer lots of questions that are of no relevance. One of the sections is 'Wacky State Laws'. It is amazing how quickly I can empty a room with, 'Do you know what they do in Virginia, if you leave your swimming pool gate open?' Each question is worth about 500 points, (some are worth more, some less). The contests 'cost' so many points to enter, and you can 'buy' as many entries as you like. As I am somewhat obsessed (yes, I am Tracie, and I am a quizaholic) with contests, competitions, and the likes, this suits me very well. I answer the questions, rack up the points, and spend them on the things I think I might enjoy, but again, I digress. I had won a contest. It was Monday 16th April, and I had until Thursday 12th April, to pick up my prize. I double checked the year, and both dates showed 2012. Slightly confused, as everyone knows that my time machine does not go backwards, I emailed my contact at the radio station. I call her my contact, but she may have different ideas! I kept a note of all the emails she has sent, just in case an occasion should arise such as this, and I may, perish the thought, miss out on my reward. Blanca, bless her, wrote back almost immediately. It appeared that there were several contests, each a week apart. The same email had been sent to everyone, but the dates had not been updated for this week. I did have until the 19th to collect my trophy.
Not particularly bothered by what I had won; after all, it is the winning and not the competing (some would say I have that wrong), Samantha and I drove to the now, almost, familiar venue to pick up the gift. In and out of the glass elevator we went, and came to the desk. 'I've come to collect my prize', I said, baring my teeth, so much so, that if I was a dog, they would probably consider me a risk. When did the word 'yay', take the place of 'hurrah!' I don't remember the exchange, but no one says the latter anymore, nor the even the less posh, 'hooray'. It seems to be the word used for everything. 'YAY' shouted the girl behind the desk, with two other's echoing, with much less enthusiasm, but as if it were compulsory. My effort was whisked away with the wind before the 'ay' had left my lips, but I did try to be 'hip'. 'I need your photo ID', she said, very excitedly. Being all fingers and thumbs (for no good reason), I slid my license out of my purse, and it, in turn, slid out of my fingers and flew across the room, almost beheading the cuddly toy that was on top of the computer screen. 'Yay', I exclaimed, before thinking that this was one of the few times when perhaps it was not the right occasion. 'Please fill out this and sign here', said the less than impressed female. Out came the glasses, with a couple of tissues, and a lipstick, which had somehow found its way into the wrong compartment of my bag. 'Is this a good time for a 'yay'?' I asked Samantha; the pursed lips told me that, again, it definitely was not. I could feel the words, 'is she safe with a pen', willing to leave everyone's lips, as I was handed the blunt object, to proceed with the task in hand. After what must have seemed an eternity for the third floor occupants, I completed the form, handed back the pen, without stabbing anyone, and returned the contents that had previously dispersed, into my bag. 'Yay', everyone shouted, when the envelope was handed to me.
My prize was two tickets to a free open air concert. It was pointed out to me that although the concert was gratis, I was awarded VIP seats (where most stand or sit on the grass) and I would be at the front of the stage, where I could watch the Mark Jungers Band perform live! Chara was the only person I knew, who had heard of the band, and while she said they were very good, she had plans for Friday night, and did not want to relieve me of my prize. I offered the tickets to everyone in the office, but had no takers. Kyle put a post on Facebook, and did have someone 'like' the comment, but she did not reveal whether she wanted the tickets. Dana and I decided that if no one wanted to join the festivities, it might be fun to go and watch the Country Music group perform, and as I had also been given a $50 gift card to a local restaurant, it may be a fun night out! (No, I didn't offer the gift card.) After all, Mr. Jungers and his fellow musicians are probably very talented. 'Yay!'
By Friday, I had forgotten the whereabouts of the Concert; in an area behind a shopping center, which houses playgrounds may not be flat terraine, and wore a nice blue, sleeveless dress, with a pair of high wedge sandals. This was the perfect outfit for anything but where I was going! (Yay) Friday turned out to be rather busier than anticipated. Samantha and I set out, around 9am, on a quest to find the perfect decorations for her house, as it was Edward's 30th birthday on Saturday. The Dollar Store had run out of helium, and so she was going to have to rethink her plans. After a few more chores which perhaps should not have been done during work time, (but I decided this would be a not usually taken 'lunch break,) we stopped on the way back to the office to pick up a free smoothie, from Jumba Juice. Yes, I had been given a scratch card on my last visit, and scraped off the silver cover to reveal three matching cups, which entitled me to one 16oz beverage. To reiterate the words (or word) of the girl behind the counter when I went to collect, 'Yay!' Antoher win for me!
Unfortunately for Mr Jungers' genuine fans, the weather took a turn for the worse, and our 80 degree sunny morning turned into a rather colder, and wetter afternoon. The thunder rolled through the skies and the rain poured, Texas style. My enthusiasm was waining, as the thought of traipsing through the puddles, in my new high wedge sandals, was not appealing. During the depths of my despair, my phone rang. As usual, I looked around the office, and saw both Dana and Samantha sitting at their respective desks. 'Must be a wrong number, or the dentist needs another holiday', I glibly uttered. I was mistaken. A bright voice emitted from my speaker. It was Blanca, my email buddy from Majic radio, to tell me that the concert was cancelled due to the inclement meteorological conditions, (or words to that effect,) but not to worry, as 'yay', they were going to reschedule, and she would be in touch. 'Yay', I replied, after thanking her profusely. So now, I was using the word not only instead of 'hurrah', but also to replace the rather simple, 'bye'. 'What are you Yay'ing about', was the comment from Samantha, who was equally bemused by the new language I had learned. My 'what are we going to do with our Friday evening' pondering, was short lived, as Samantha requested (demand is probably too strong a word...but anyone who knows Samantha....) that we go to the Dollar Store, near our home, to buy some balloons, as she was not, at this stage, going to be able to get them home without Edward seeing them. Dana, ever obliging, did not object, and as we were not going to be going to the south end of town, we could find a restaurant nearby.
Our day finished rather later than anticipated. Roger departed for the last time, with no pomp and ceremony as requested. It felt rather odd not having a leaving cake, or at the very least a card, but he insisted we not make a fuss, to wit, do anything at all to draw attention to the fact that he was off to pastures new. Dana and I closed the door at around 6.30, and headed to buy balloons. Once again, the lack of helium almost caused us to be unsuccessful in our quest, but the saleslady did say we could take some that had already been filled, and were on display around the shop. Not quite what Samantha had ordered, we made a selection. The Spring displays that had made the shop look very festive, were now somewhat depleted, with several of them struggling to keep up appearances. 'You did say we could take from all around, didn't you?', we asked the comatose assistant. She managed to nod, but did not share in the 'Yay, we have our balloons,' delight that I displayed.
Edward's birthday was a success. They met some friends at the open air reggae festival, which was not cancelled through rain. (I think it would take a lot to dampen the reggae enthusiasts, if you get my drift!) My weekend will be full of other fun stuff, such as housework, and grocery shopping; oh well, an outing is an outing! Of course, we were playing surrogate grandparents to the animal while 'mum and dad' went boogie woogie-ing, or should that be jammin'! Did Bob Marley ever say, 'Yay'?
Next week, I shall attempt to win some more, and I may get another email from my good buddy, Blanca. I shall no doubt get some other offers to enter to win a round the world vacation, and several from the Rev. Bartholomew Ojewoubi, telling me that I am the only living relative and, therefore, beneficiary of a fortune, which happens to be held up in a Nigerian Bank, and all I have to do is give them my full name, address, date of birth, bank account details, pin number, credit card number, copy of a finger print card...nothing too personal. Will I reply? Well that is....another story.