bunt sign

April 3, 2000

Vintage EricThe most important thing in my life today is not my job, or my new house, or even the start of baseball season. Well... No, really, it isn't. It's my nephew's birthday. Eric was born in the bicentennial year, and today he turns 24. He changed my life when he came into this world, and he still makes the world a better place for everyone who knows him. I've never felt closer to anyone than I did to him when he was small. I took advantage of every chance I had to spend time with him. When he was two, we'd stack up blocks together. When he was eight, we rode bikes through the park. When he was twelve, we played miniature golf. I never wanted to miss one of his baseball or soccer games, because he was good from the start, and he still plays with the same joy and passion. He's just reached the rank of red belt in tae kwon do, and he's a skillful guitar player. Best of all, he's still my friend, and I'm still proud to be his uncle. Happy birthday, Eric.

I went off my diet in a large way tonight as the family got together to celebrate Eric's birthday. I think it was the first dessert I've eaten in about three months. Cheesecake. It was just sitting there, with a candle in it, and Eric had already blown the candle out, so I had to eat it. He was waiting for his tiramisu anyway, and I'd eaten all my calamari and spinach, so I was entitled. I'll be fine as long as I don't eat anything else this week. And maybe next.

It's always fun when the family is together. It's more difficult now that Eric lives in San Rafael, and David will soon be out on his own as well. I'm so glad we're all close enough that we still enjoy each other. We've always been so close that by now we can make each other laugh (or at least smile) with a word, or even just a look. I rode back home with David. It's always a treat to spend time with him.

The Boss came through for me, even better than I expected. I'd asked for half the rent on the new place I'm moving into, and he offered me that plus a substantial raise. I'll have more disposable income than I've had in fifteen years, since I left the shoe store. And by 'disposable,' I mean 'savable.' I definitely need to have a plan that will let me put something aside for the ever-looming future.

At first, I though he was going to be difficult about it. He asked me about my last raise, when and how much, and he wanted to review what we'd decided about my salary when we met last month. He had his calculator out and was working out an hourly rate for each weekly and monthly amount we discussed. I almost blew it when I started to repeat what I'd said in my note, that I thought it was only fair that the Company pick up half the rent, since I wouldn't have to move if the office files and equipment hadn't overtaken my home like weeds. I reminded him that we'd talked about the Company sharing the rent expense with me.

"I know," he said. "I was getting to that."

Oh. I'll shut up then, and let you talk.

It turned out that he was very happy for me and wanted things to work out for the best. He's just a micromanager who has to know which jar each penny is being tossed into (and what year the penny is, and where it was minted). He threw in a kicker when he said that my raise in salary could be delayed until I'd paid off the deposit I paid yesterday with a company check. He glossed over it as if it were understood that this was how it should happen, and I had little choice but to go along with it. He gets to save his thousand dollars and still feel as if he's giving me a raise. He got the better of that deal, but overall I'm doing well enough to curb my complaints. No more whining here, at least for a while.

Today wasn't overly intense, for a Monday. (And the first Monday of daylight savings time, at that.) I even found some time to do some pre-packing. I guess that what you'd call getting things ready either to pack up or toss out. All those cardboard boxes that are too small to use for actual packing are now mere random brown slabs, and tomorrow they will be on the curb for recycling. In fact, I've accumulated enough recyclable and reusable debris to line the entire curb in front of my house. That means I'll have to get out there early enough to reserve all that curb space before my neighbors realize it's pick-up day. Fortunately, they're a bit slow and rarely get it together before the last minute, if then.

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