Monday, November 12, 2012

The Week of 5 Bucks

My week started out as any other – go to work, go home, check mailbox, do chores, etc. But as it happens to most folks working the 9 to 5 grind, every second week is one to rejoice – pay week. But as many will joke, no sooner do we have our hard-earned paychecks in one hand than it’s instantly out the other; pay bills, buy food, foster chocolate addictions, etc. Then the grumbling starts: ‘You can’t buy much for (insert denomination) these days.’

So while I was anticipating the much-anticipated pay Friday, I went about rationing the remaining bucks I had in my wallet, stretching them at the grocery store to last until Friday. Buying a chocolate bar to hide in a spot I won’t mention was my only indulgence.

But little did I know what a lift 5 bucks would give me.

When the grocery store clerk handed over a five dollar bill as part of my change, I noticed something written on it. I have often seen either a phone number scribbled in haste on our nation’s bill or a note of reminder to the temporary holder – buy milk. But at the risk of advocating defacing money, which I don’t, this particular illegal act was the best thing money could buy. It gave me a momentary thrill.

On it was written: ‘Track this bill.’ And then below it a website: ‘’

OOHH!! What’s this all about?

So I, the same person who complains of having so little time for frivolities, visited the website.

One of the first lines on the website says, ‘Do you ever wonder where that paper money in your pocket has been, or where it will go next? This is the place to find out.’

Well, to say that was telling was an understatement. All I had to do was enter the serial number on the bill as well as my postal code (no personal info needed), and for anyone who had had the bill in the past and took the time to do the same, I could see where the money had been.

Setting aside neurotic thoughts about germs and illegal acts, my imagination ran wild. Who had it last, and why? Where did it go?

This particular bill had been tracked in Port Moody, BC about eight months before, only to end up in Victoria in someone else’s hands, then mine. Not too exciting to most folks, but to me it was fascinating.

So to say that 5 bucks don’t buy ya nothin’ these days...well, for me, it gave me a thrill. If only for a few minutes.

No sooner had I logged off the website and reluctantly spent that 5 bucks, did another one of the same bills of five bring me joy.

I belong to the Vancouver Island Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Among our meetings and workshops is our yearly Valentine’s Lunch, a time to acknowledge and celebrate members’ achievements from the last year. Susan Lyons, multi-published romance author, conducts a goal-setting exercise. At the luncheon, members are invited to write down their personal or writing-related goals and aspirations for the coming year. We seal it in an envelope and give it to Susan to mail back the following year, the intention being to see what goals were met. I have participated in this many times, and have found it always useful, inspiring, and productive.

I received my goals envelope in the mail and was anxious to see what I had accomplished, if anything, over the last year. I had a challenging year with personal issues, and even though I knew I had a productive year of writing, I couldn’t remember what goals I had written down.

I opened my list of goals, and out fell 5 bucks.

What the heck? What did I put that in there for? What was I thinking? Susan didn’t put it in there as the envelopes are glued shut with our own spit!

And then I saw it. At the bottom of my typed list of goals, was my hasty handwriting. I had written: ‘If I achieve at least three of these goals, take this 5 bucks and buy something - for ME.’

Well, I know 5 bucks doesn’t buy much these days, but for me, it was such a thrill. And I HAD achieved beyond three of my goals.

And what did I buy? A Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha: full fat, triple shot, extra sweet, extra foam, double whip, and extra caramel.

But I had to pay an extra 43 cents. Oh well.


  1. Good for you for rewarding yourself with a special treat. And for meeting and exceeding the goals you set out for yourself! Love the where's willy bill, too. :-)

    1. Thank you, Ros! And you know, I held on to that Where's Willy bill as long as I could....I should have just saved it...but couldn't. Take Care, adn thanks for reading! Lisa