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Tuesday, August 29, 2000

So the Boss calls me at eight this morning, when I'm sitting at my desk, almost awake.

"Michael, we have a problem."


The concrete pour on one of our job sites has to be put off from Wednesday until Thursday. ("Are you okay?" he asks me, as I start hyperventilating.)

He's going into all kinds of details about why this is happening, details that go right over my head as I'm thinking about how to tell the landlords that their new tenant can't move in because I can't move out. Wondering how much it would cost to hire a moving company. Trying to decide whether to tell him that according to the radio it's going to rain all week anyway, so ain't nobody doin' nothin'.

After about five more minutes of densely packed explanation, during which all contingencies are discussed (I know this only because every sentence seems to start with If...), he says, "So it looks like we won't be able to get there to help you move until Thursday afternoon or early evening."

What? Did I miss something? That's still Thursday, isn't it? So what's the problem if they can't come at nine in the morning. I can sleep in and finish my packing, instead of having it all done by Wednesday night. I work better later in the day anyway. Plus I'll have all day to move the things I don't want these guys to handle.

So it's only going to be a few hours later than planned.

Why didn't you just say that in the first place?

Now I'm trying to catch my breath and restart my heart. "No problem," I tell him. "I just appreciate the help."


I discovered a way to feel better about myself. On a whim this morning I made a detour during my regular errands and somehow wound up at Wal-Mart. It was a trip I've been putting off, but I couldn't find the heavy-duty commercial strength shower curtain I wanted at Target, so I got on the freeway and trekked down to Rohnert Park.

The people in Wal-Mart (customers mostly, but also some of the personnel) are even more clueless than I am. That's a good thing to know, when I'm feeling down. I'm glad there's a place I can go and feel like the smartest person in — well, not in the room maybe, but at least the smartest person in aisle 108.

Have you ever managed to go to Wal-Mart with one thing in mind, find it right away, and walk back to the checkout line without getting sidetracked? I almost managed that today. I didn't stop at the electronics department, but I won't buy anything there anyway. Censorship issues.

But I hesitated when I passed through the office supplies. What stopped me was the fact that I don't need anything extra to move right now. It'll be months before I get back to Wal-Mart, and by that time the temptation will have passed. At least I didn't pick up the three-packs of Pringles that were conveniently at eye level. Or the roasted garlic bread. Or a disposable lighter.

For a brief photo essay of the inside of my new house, start here.

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