This week I was shouted morning tea at work to celebrate 15 years in my current job... or variations of my current job.
I can actually trace my ink-stained footprints still further back, to a previous incarnation in the CHB Mail office back in 2000... and that makes me feel a tad ancient, crusty and cobwebbed.
Back then we didn't even have the internet in our office. We had to ask special permission to get it installed on just one of our office computers, on the grounds that we would use it for research purposes.
This was after we'd walked 20km to work barefoot through thick snow of course, standing in fresh cowpats along the way to warm our feet.
Or was that my grandparents?
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I remember my first week or so in the job, which I had not trained for, had been talked into applying for, and was a little shocked and horrified to be accepted for.
My first emergency services callout... the protocol was: hear the fire siren, whip into the car and down to the station in the hope of following the firetruck, if you miss it ask someone at the station where the callout was.
Me: Rush to the station, miss the firetruck, run into the station office panting and dishevelled and shedding pens and notebook pages and ask where the siren was heading.
Two grizzled firefighters looked at me, pointed to the ceiling and said... "the siren's on the roof, where it always has been".
Then they took pity on me and told me and off I went, camera bag, notebook, all professional.
As I arrived an angry firefighter was striding down the driveway waving his arms.
"Get the media off the scene!" he shouted and I thought, "wow, this must be big, the media's here."
Then I looked behind me for the media and realised he meant me.
In the following weeks I was told off for hiding behind a wheelie bin to take photos during an armed offenders' callout: "Rachel you can't hide there," said the policeman. "Wheelie bins only stop bullets on TV, not in real life."
I found myself out on a farm interviewing a famous bull who had been featured in a TV ad... he didn't say very much and I was sworn to secrecy about him wearing glitter on the filming set to make him shiny. Don't tell him I told you.
I walked long distances in stupidly high heels - including into a flooded river where emergency services were rescuing a family from atop their vehicle. The heels came in handy for digging into the mud to stop me getting washed away, but they weren't good for much else afterwards.
I interviewed Jumbo the famous... and then infamous... circus elephant. She tried to eat my notebook and by the time I got back to the office it was covered in elephant slobber.
A bunch of keen paragliders wanted me to write a story too. I said they could pop in and see me and they said I had to go and see them. Atop Te Mata Peak. Dressed warmly.
That's because it gets really cold a couple of thousand feet up on a tandem paraglide.
I still get teased about how loudly I screamed when we did a spiral.
I am never doing that again.
My first helicopter ride was to write about spreading fertiliser. The pilot stopped in mid-air to explain the use of the GPS. I wished he hadn't, because I wasn't sure what was keeping us aloft. Air brakes?
Again, taking pictures from a helicopter, and the crewman threw the chopper door open and invited me to lean out to get a good shot.
Not doing that again either.
I met the reporter who had done the same job the previous year. She got so airsick she had to be deposited on a nearby hillside while the helicopter flew off without her.
I don't think I've thrown up on the job. Yet.
Not even when I ate a barbecued cow eyeball for a challenge at the opening of a local animal products laboratory. I smiled and said it was delicious (it really, really wasn't) then had the last laugh when several others chowed down and promptly ran to spit chewed eyeballs over the fence into a paddock.
I was so busy in my job that I gave up owning horses. Then interviewing two people trekking the length of NZ on horseback made me get horses again.
When, partway through the interview one of the riders caught me rather vigorously sniffing her horse, she said "I think you need a horse of your own".
By that evening I had bought one. Doing stories for the SPCA inevitably leads to me taking something home. A story about kickboxing ended up with me having a go, nearly passing out from the exertion, then taking it up for a year or so. Then I did a story on belly dancing and... well, you get the gist.
I'm more careful what I write about nowadays. But don't tempt me...