bunt sign

Thursday, April 12, 2001

I had to work hard at keeping busy today, to keep my mind focused on something that didn't require active engagement. I didn't want to think. Maybe that's a bad time to handle large sums of money, but I paid bills anyway. As long as there's money in the company account, I don't have to be creative to decide what to pay. If it's due, it gets paid.

The fact that it warmed up some helped me get through a day when I really didn't want to do anything but vegetate. I could keep the door open next to my desk and watch the hawks circling in the hazy sunshine. I could probably have afforded to take a personal day, since I'll no doubt make up the time on the weekend. But it was good to be busy with mindless work.

One of the bills I paid was on a credit card that we had to use for a cash flow emergency. Some of these banks have rules that make you want to throttle somebody, but I've fought this battle once before and didn't have the energy to do it again today. So I rolled over for their bogus fees.

You see, I wrote a check for the amount of available credit. With the transaction fee, that brought us over the limit, which meant that they could charge an extra $29.00. A phone call got them to reverse the over-limit fee, as a one-time-only "favor," on last month's bill, as long as we got the payment in on time.

If we'd paid the amount they were asking for as a minimum, we would still have been over the limit, so I paid an extra three hundred dollars, just to get us into safer territory. Unfortunately, the bill was due at a time when we were out of money. It was late. They not only reversed the reversal of the fee, but they added a second over-limit fee, plus a late charge. Now instead of $29.00, I'm paying an extra three times $29.00.

Whatever. I know this month's payment is on time, and it's enough to get us well under the limit (especially if they finally give us credit for last month's payment). Next month I should have the strength of character to fight for my rights, if they decide to trample on them again. This time around, they caught me on a soft day.


Cows are funny creatures. The ones that graze under the trees across the field from my yard are funny, anyway. Sometimes they ramble slowly, as if they had no particular agenda. At other times, though, they'll race up and down the strip of grass under the trees, apparently late for something more important than eating. They trip over each other and run up each other's backsides, which looks odd (considering they're all, you know, cows).

more cows

Even the simple writing of simple checks wasn't simple enough for me today. I kept writing "5" for the month, for some unfathomable reason, and once I wrote "4001" for the year. I don't know where that came from.

Somehow, the Boss came through with the perfect therapy for me this afternoon. He faxed me page after page of a boilerplate specification that he wanted me to type. This is part of a project he's doing for the federal government, but all it meant to me today was hours of low-gear activity. I was able to give it just as much concentration as it needed (which thankfully wasn't much).

A call from an old friend cheered me up this evening. Barry moved to Houston a couple of years ago, and we haven't talked since last fall. I lost his phone number, he changed email addresses, and his messages to me bounced. He's a busy guy, with a high-energy job and a high-energy wife, so his time to check in on old friends is limited.

It was great to hear from him, though. He's doing well, and now that we have the correct email addresses for each other it should be easier to keep in touch. I hope so. I'd hate to think that much time would go by before I talked to him again.

On the other hand, his phone call sort of reminded me how far away my one friend is. We'll never hang out together again. In fact, I might not see him again, at least for a long time. He has no plans to visit his parents or his brother in California any time soon.

It's not his responsibility to make my life better, but I wonder if I'll ever have anyone else to fill that role.

Just another maudlin thought on a dreary day.

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