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Thursday, July 26, 2001

The telemarketers are finding me again. They must have missed me terribly while I was on vacation, because all the credit card companies and political causes and newspapers have made a point of keeping in close contact with me all week. I don't hang up on them until they're rude to me, and that hasn't happened for a long time. I do have a few standard answers, though:

"I don't want any service that I have to make a phone call to cancel." That gets rid of the credit card people who want me to buy "protection" from them. They'll give it to me free for a month or two, just to give me a chance to see whether I like the service. Well, I don't like it, and I know that without giving them their trial period. Count me out.

"I'm not in a position to make a contribution just now." That takes care of the Democratic Party. How can they argue with that? If I were rich enough to give money away, wouldn't I be a Republican?

"I live too far off the road, and your carrier won't come to my door." That's all I need to say to the newspaper circulation departments trying to get me to subscribe. Give it a try, they'll say. I've tried. I don't want to have to slog through the mud all next winter just to get a wet paper, when I go to the post office every day. There's a newsstand there where I can buy a dry copy of the later edition for half the delivery price.

Believe it or not, all three of these stock responses invariable get me off the hook (and off the phone). I don't have to whine or plead or snarl. I can be myself, tell the truth, and get through the conversation with some dignity. That makes the annoying calls a little easier to take.

Shasta Lake

Two houseboats on the beach (sigh).

My yard has probably been neglected more since I've been home than it was while I was away. Mom took care of the watering when I was gone, but I haven't even done any of that since I got home. The gopher holes are still there (getting deeper and wider, in fact), and I keep forgetting to refill the hummingbird feeder.

It's either tougher getting back into routine than I thought, or this is just an unusually pressing week. I think it's a matter of both muddy rivers feeding into the same gulf. The fact that I've been spending so much time on catch-up work and reacting to all the new crises hasn't allowed me to get my rhythm back.

Things should break this weekend, though. I'll still be working extra hours, but I'll have time to get outside, and time to think about other things for the first time since vacation. The first thing I want to do is take my little hand-held cultivator and plow up the gopher mounds. Let the little rodents start over if they want to.

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