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Monday, January 23, 2006

Whatever will I complain about now? (Donít worry; Iím on it.)

Now that the mud that has been befouling my driveway entrance has been scraped into a smelly pile and placed on the landlordís lot, I wonít have that to complain about. Now that a layer of rock so smooth itís almost like pavement has been laid down over where the mud used to be, I donít have to grumble about wading though anything, not even puddles on rainy days. And now that the letter carrier has started delivering to my mailbox again, I donít have that worry eating at me any more.

So what will I complain about, now that all my worldly problems have been solved? Hmmm. Give me a minute.

While the landlord and his henchmen were out there with tractors and dump trucks and shovels and rakes this afternoon, I wandered up the drive to chat. It seemed like the right thing to do, making an appearance so that they knew I knew what they were doing. He made a point of letting me know that it had cost him $800 to rent the equipment and buy the material, but he also mentioned that he knew it was his responsibility, and if he hadnít been out of town he would have known about it sooner, and taken care of it earlier.

Well, of course I believe all that, not that it does me any good now. When he told me to call him any time I had a problem, I believed that, too, but only because I donít think he wants to hear from the Boss again. And I think he realizes that I havenít bugged him for much of anything in the five and a half years Iíve lived here, so Iím probably not going to start now. The fact that I donít ask him for little things made it easier to take care of the mud, which became a big thing.

11 January 2006

Against a sky brushed with clouds.

So whatís left to complain about? How about my car, and the fact that it wouldnít start again this morning. I eventually got all my errands done, but as soon as I had a mud-free driveway to get through, I hosed all the caked-on mud off my once-green Saturn (all that would come off with a hose, anyway) and called the dealer to make an appointment. The first day they could get me in was Thursday, so Iíll probably lose another half-day of work getting that taken care of.

But Iím pretty sure Iíll come away with the same dependable car Iíve been driving for all but the last month of the three years Iíve had it. And then, on to the next worry, whatever that turns out to be.

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I drove my unreliable car out through my newly graveled driveway tonight, so that I could take D.J. to basketball practice. I canít tell you how entertaining those practices are, and I give all credit to the coach, who takes the time to explain the fine points of the game, just before all eight of the kids who showed up scatter in all directions. He canít get them to throw bounce passes, no matter how many times he picks their high throws out of the air. He canít get them to find an open space on the floor, even when heís pointing to the place he wants them to go. He canít get them to spread out on offense or cover their man on defense, no matter how many times he goes through the drill. And yet, some of them are actually learning how to play basketball, and the rest, the less interested ones (including you-know-who) are having fun. D.J. asked, as we left the gym, ďWas I horrible?Ē That isnít exactly the word Iíd use. He wasnít exactly focused, and he even had to run some laps because he wasnít paying attention, but, as I said, it was fun to watch.

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One year ago: Excess
"I kind of enjoyed the decadence of the whole thing, but I like even more the notion that Iíve now got it out of my system."

Two years ago: Car Care
"I still don't get it, but I let them do it. What do I know?"

Three years ago: It's Probably Nothing
"'Would you like to bring it in and have us look at it?' Well, yeah, that's sort of why I'm calling. I could look at it myself, assuming I could raise the hood, but I couldn't actually do anything."

Four years ago: Unraveled
"I'd turn back if I were you. No, wait. Give me another chance."

Five years ago: Pebbles
"It's a jarring reminder of the difference between pretty words and ugly deeds."

Six years ago: Being Connected
"I can lose my train of thought and none will ever be the wiser."

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There were plants and hills and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings

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