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Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good morning everyone! At two o’clock this morning, my “nephew” Kyle started the last phase of his Marine training called “The Crucible”. Basically between now and Saturday morning he, and all the other recruits, will be put through hell. They will be physically challenge, food deprived, sleep deprived, and while all that is going on, they need to work – as a team – to accomplish several “missions”. The reward? They get to graduate next week.

It’s hard to believe graduation is next week already. In the days leading up to his departure, January 17th seemed so far away. Now it’s here. My girlfriend Sharon and I will be leaving for South Carolina at 5:00 am on Wednesday, and driving to Parris Island. It should take us around twelve hours to get there. I guess my multiple seven hour treks to Vermont (which really don’t feel that tedious anymore) were my training for this trip. I figure if I throw in a few extra potty/stretch breaks, I should be able to handle being in the car that long without too much difficulty.

Barring any unforeseen mishaps, we should arrive at the condo Fran (Kyle’s mom) rented by dinner time. Since Sharon just started working after many, many months of being out of a job, and with me still not having a job, we will be making this trip on a shoestring budget. We will be splitting the cost of gas – which will cost probably as much as it would have to fly one of us down there – and we are packing food to take with us. I have a $200 budget (money I received as a Christmas present from my mom) for ALL of my expenses – food and gas for four days. I’m pretty confident I can do it.

Okay, I didn’t get much done yesterday because I was in a lot of pain (for some reason my hip is acting up), so I have twice as much to do today. I wish you all a great day & happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

You find an envelope taped to your door with your name, and nothing else, printed on the front. You open the envelope and you find money and a note saying, “This is for you as a thank you for being you. You need to spend this today, and the only stipulation is you must spend the money on yourself – no clothes for the kids, blender for the house, or anything along those lines. You deserve something special. Ps: I’ll know if you don’t follow my instructions.”

I wanted to give you a little history of what inspired this challenge. Right before I started writing full time, I was employed at a law firm, and the attorney surprised his employees by doing this. I had no idea what he had planned, and quite frankly I was a little nervous when I was asked to meet him off-site. I was new to the job, and I thought I had done something to make him angry, but he was being nice enough not to reprimand me in the office.
He asked me to meet him at a restaurant, and when I got there and sat down, he waved the waitress off telling her I wouldn’t be staying long enough to eat. My heart sank. Then, he slid an envelope across the table and gave me, pretty much, the same instructions, except I only had two hours to spend the money. I needed to spend it all, then bring back the receipts; and if there was more than $5 left from the money he gave me, then I needed to give him ALL the money back.
Thankfully the restaurant he chose was right next to the mall. I scooted over to one of my favorite stores (one which I also happened to have a 40% off coupon in my purse for) and purchased all new clothes for a business trip we were headed to the following week. He was very impressed with the fact that I spent every penny, purchased so many things, and returned in just under an hour.
Although things did not work out in that job, I will never forget the incredibly unique way he expressed his gratitude for our hard work. He knew, if he simply gave us a bonus – which he did by the way – the money would go toward bills and such, and would not benefit us directly. By doing it the way he did, we remembered how much we were appreciated every time we used, or in my case wore, what we purchased that day. See, not all attorneys deserve the bad rap the public gives the profession.

Your Next Challenge is (I’m going to make it a little tougher today):

Write a story using nothing but dialog (nope, not even a “he/she said”) with at least three different characters.


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.