bunt sign

Monday, April 1, 2002

April! I think I can handle this. It's still getting dark too early, but when we adjust the clocks next weekend that one last problem will be dealt with. No more rain, no more cold. Just an easy slide downhill from now to November. That's livin', man.

No, I'm serious. This was another gorgeous day in the North Bay, made even better when I checked out of work at eleven and spent the next few hours meeting some of our favorite people for lunch in Sonoma. I want to tell you these folks are family, and while that's not technically true, we have ties to them that are closer than friendship. But it's been a few months since we've had a chance to catch up with each other, so I managed to avert the deadly Monday blahs by escaping to a pizza parlor. No way this could have turned out any better.

Well, maybe. Maybe it would have been better if I hadn't spent the morning dealing with a crisis. When I got home from Easter dinner last night, there was a message on my answering machine. Tim our foreman was complaining that one of his new employees didn't get his paycheck last week. He was all bluster, saying things like, "We have to deal with this." Yeah, right.

The thing is, it's the second time this has happened. Last week I had to stop payment on a missing check (for a twenty-dollar fee). Then I rewrote that check and included it with his current check. So when those two checks turned up lost, I had to pay two more twenty-dollar fees to stop payment and write them for a third time. Now we're out sixty bucks in bank fees, and the employee has yet to be paid. What to do, what to do?

For one thing, I'm not going to mail his checks to the same address any more. I verified that I'd been using the address he gave me on his paperwork. The weirdest part of this scenario is that he lives at the same place as another employee, one who's been here awhile and has never missed getting paid. And the first envelope I sent this guy finally came back in Saturday's mail with no explanation of why it was being returned to me instead of being delivered.

So I'll mail Tim the re-rewritten checks and the marked up envelope. Maybe the employee can take it to his post office and find out what all those illegible markings mean. None of them says anything like no such number, no such zone. Someone has written in ink the date he should have received it, and they've also crossed out the city name. I'd call it a mystery, but that gives it too much weight.

It'll be interesting to find out the reasons behind all this confusion and commotion. Interesting, but not interesting enough for me to follow through. It's full-blown spring now, and I'd rather think about birds and flowers and lunch with dear, dear friends.

Anyway, lunch. It was actually quite foggy this morning, and there were low clouds in the hills off to the west. But by the time I met Suzanne at Mom's it was warming up nicely, and the drive through the Valley of the Moon was a pleasant one, with the still-green hills and the newly-planted vineyards.

I was glad I wasn't driving, though, because (a) I was still tired from the weekend, and (2) the road was filled with idiots. And I use that term in the nicest sense, meaning people who are probably very kind to children and small animals but have no idea of any such thing as a speed limit, or that anyone might be driving behind them with an actual destination and deadline in mind. No matter, though. All I had to do was watch the scenery go by, and I was up to that.

Not to go overboard with the beautiful weather, but when we got to the restaurant, we sat outside on the patio, the three kids at one table and the four adults at another. This made adult conversation flow a little more smoothly, but I missed getting a chance to talk to the younger ones, because they're interesting people, too. They were excited that this is the first day of their spring vacation, and they have all sorts of plans to fill up the hours from now until school starts again next week. It's a pleasure to be around such lively (and well-behaved) young people.

We stretched lunch out as long as we dared. The waitress was very attentive, and we got free garlic bread for filling out a survey. We caught up on each other's lives since we've seen each other, and I could have sat there for another hour. Mostly it was the company, but partly it was also knowing what I was coming back to. Around home, I'm always the point man in crisis central. Out with folks, I just sit and let someone else take charge.

By three I was home, fading a little, so I didn't let anyone know. If a serious problem had come up, I could have dealt with it, but I managed to get through the rest of the afternoon on the fumes I had left. This was a serious rupture in my diet (so-called), but not a permanent setback. I'm determined about that.


I walk through this colorful jungle every day between my car and the front door.

If you were expecting an April Fool entry, don't you think I would have made up something a little more electrifying? I have nothing against having a little fun with people, but I just can't pull it off. It's been on my bio page since I put it up that I don't like practical jokes, so every mundane word you read here is, if not remarkable, at least true.

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Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: A Modest Proposal
"It could be an annual ritual — change the clocks, go to lunch."

Two years ago: Rooting for the Home Team
"Then you look around and see the Bay Bridge, looking like a string of lights suspended in air in the dark."

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