Blast from the Past 3: Life in the Ring of Fire…Mitts and Quarters

Third and final blast from the past in honour of my appearance on DNTO today. Here’s how today’s DNTO story unfolded in my preparations for Denali. I’d asked friends and family for challenges to complete to help with my mental toughness. My brother sent one along and then my niece and nephew sent along this clarification:

Hi Auntie TA!

My dad screwed up and sent you the wrong ring of fire challenge. The concept was correct but the details were wrong!

My inspiration for this challenge comes from how much I love my piggy bank and my new winter mitts!

The 7- day challenge is as follows:

1. You must carry a minimum of $100 cash on you at all times (and yes this includes EVERYTHING, showers, swims, workouts, etc.). No denomination larger than a quarter.

2. All transactions for 1 week must be paid for with cash, no denomination larger than a quarter (in other words you need a stuff sack full of change)

3. In order to complete your transactions you must wear your favorite mitts when exchanging money for goods or services.

The lessons learned from this ring of fire are to: a) increase your strength (have you ever weighed $100 of quarters???) b) increase your patience (…ever had to sort $100 worth of change in a busy line????), c) appreciate the value of an essential item (hey when your 2, change is everything!!) and finally, d) to improve your dexterity (people say you can’t pick your nose with mitts on… but hey perseverance is everything!!)

Have fun with this new and improved ring of fire challenge (my dad’s version was too easy for my auntie!!!)

Love Rayne, Kaimyk and Taglu

This is how I blogged about that week:

400 quarters dominated my week. Yup. Count ‘em. Four quarters to a dollar, ten dollars to a roll…40 quarters in a roll…10 rolls…400 quarters. Everything I purchased this week, I bought with quarters… wearing gortex overmitts. I have to admit that the sales clerks generally didn’t know what to do with me. They tried not to stare. They tried not to be impatient. They tried not to act like I was weird. I bought a new hoodie yesterday. $22.75. 91 quarters. Thank the goddess no one was in line behind me. All counted out in groups of four, then piled two across, all with the manual dextrity of a goat or other ungulate (always wanted to use the word ungulate in one of these e-mails).

You may have heard of “But Nothing” day…many times I thought my best strategy this week would be “Buy Nothing Week.” But then I needed bananas. Or a religious experience at Tim’s. Imagine me at the mall trying to get the sandwich combo at Tim’s with 16 million people behind me, counting out $6.08 in quarters in purple overmitts. I would have made Barney proud. Not to mention wearing an additional five pounds to step class or out on the hockey ice…I carried the quarters in my waist pack and prayed to the hockey gods that the zipper not open while I was taking a slap shot-just think of the joy of picking up 70 quarters from slightly damp ice…now there would be a ring of fire. Patience. Willingness to be different. Manual dexerity. Stategic planning. That’s all what I learned from my week of small change and big mitts.

This is how sometimes I tell the story when I speak in front of groups:

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