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Friday, January 24, 2003

Closing the door on this week is such a relief. I expected it to be busy, but I didn't expect so many briars, nettles and thorns to stick it to me as I hacked my way from Monday to Friday.

Can you believe that after telling the Boss two days ago that I had to buy a new monitor, I had to tell him today that we needed a new printer? And all this is happening while I'm still getting used to a new car. It's nice to have new stuff and all, but sheesh! Enough already.

The old car exploded last week, and I didn't know if I'd have the new one available this weekend. It ran fine when I went to the bank this morning, and showed no sign of problems with the coolant. Still, I wasn't going to let the warning go by without taking action, so I kept the appointment with the Saturn dealer this afternoon.

They always check the mileage when you bring your car in for service, and when the rep came back to the desk where I was sitting, he asked, "Does it really have 140 miles on it?" I don't know if he thought I'd set the odometer back, but I assured him that was the right number, and that number had a lot to do with why I thought they should check it out. Warning lights don't come on for no reason, do they?

Well, no, but the problem isn't a hose leak or anything else they could find in the 45 minutes they looked it over this afternoon. Apparently it just came to me without enough coolant in the tank, but now all is well and I'm good to go. They fell all over themselves apologizing for any inconvenience and convincing me that I wasn't crazy to have brought the car in, even though there was nothing they needed to do to it.

They even washed it for me. I almost expected a mint on the driver's seat, but they didn't go that extra mile.

While I was waiting, I sat in their lounge and read Ender's Game. I've just started it, and I don't remember who recommended it, but thanks. I like it so far. I'm not sure where it's headed, though.

After I left Saturn, I was headed for Best Buy to get the fax/printer they had on sale. I've been nursing the old Canon along for several months now. I guess I should have let the Boss know it wasn't working at full capacity. Today it just gave up and wouldn't do anything. It's had its little quirks since I got it, and I've been looking for an excuse to get a new one. I just didn't want it to happen during hell week.

The new one is the cheapest model they had with all the functions I need. I got it home and opened the carton, and it was obvious it had been repackaged, because the plastic wasn't even around the machine. But I got it out and plugged it in, and then looked around for the USB cable. No USB cable.

I thought I'd been pretty smart to get in and out of Best Buy and home by 4:30. People who are on the road at 5:00 on Friday afternoon are generally idiots. I know, because today I was one of them. The stop and go traffic was a good test for my car's cooling system, which had just been given a clean bill of health by the dealer.

This second time in Best Buy should have been easy. All I needed was the cable, but I saw USB cables with different kinds of connections, and I wanted to be sure I got the right one. So I stood with a puzzled expression on my face while no less than three sales people stood half an aisle away, fully within view of my pain, and ignored me. I had to walk up and ask one of them to help me.

That's so outside the realm of what I usually do when shopping that it's as if someone else were controlling my actions. I don't ask for help in the store unless I'm desperate, and by this time of the day and this time of the week, I was quite desperate. Desperate to have it over.

It wasn't until I was driving home for the last time that I realized I hadn't eaten lunch. My car appointment was at three, and I'd been on the run since then. It was 5:30, and I still had to set up the new printer. I know myself well enough to be pretty sure I wasn't going to stop and eat until that was handled.

Luckily, this was maybe the easiest thing I've done all week. I love plug-and-play. I only wish the Boss hadn't left his office already, so I could have him fax me something. I won't truly relax until I receive a fax, but from what I've seen so far, the machine does everything the old one did, only better. And for less than I paid for the old one, three or four years ago.

at sunset

The late afternoon sky, on a recent day with fewer clouds than today.

It actually is over, isn't it? I mean, that's good news. And hey! I got a lot done this week, in spite of car problems and computer parts falling by the wayside like dead branches in a windstorm. I should be stronger for having survived it, and putting it behind me. I know I'm a lot happier for it.

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Ellen has a chilling story of how the criminal justice system can fail those citizens least able to fend for themselves.

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Life is a beautiful thing
As long as I hold the string,
I'd be a silly so-and-so
If I should ever let it go.