bunt sign

Friday, June 22, 2001

My job is easy when we're in one of these cash shortages. I don't answer the phone, because it's always someone looking for money. Which we don't have. And I don't want to talk about it (not to the people who want to talk to me about it).

There are only so many ways to say "we're expecting that money in about a week" before people stop believing you. Imagine! "Expecting" is true. "About a week" is true. I give them the truth, and they still want to know when they're going to get paid. As I said: about a week. Or so. We hope. Maybe.

Oh, I want to pay them, almost as much as they want me to. But it does no good to open up the company checkbook and write checks, when the account has about $64 in it. I'd like to write those checks now, while I have the time (not answering the phone and all). But if I wait, I know I won't accidentally mail one and screw up my bookkeeping forever. I hate when that happens.

The other thing I could do is borrow the money. That's what I've done in the past, and it makes everyone happy except the Boss, who looks at the interest and finance charges we pay and starts spitting lag bolts. Last year we paid three times as much as the previous year in interest, and since he found that out he's been determined not to borrow. That's easy for him to say. I'm the one answering the phone and telling people we're expecting money in about a week.

Finally the Boss has seen the light. He's always bidding work at too low a price, just to make sure we get the jobs we want. Keeping busy helps the cash flow, even if there isn't enough money in the contract to cover expenses (such as interest payments).

On the job we bid this week, he put in the highest markup he's ever tried, and we were still the low bidder. (Unfortunately, it was over the state's budget, and we won't be awarded a contract unless the agency can get more funds appropriated.)

I hope this is the way of the future. We get work, but they pay us enough to cover our overhead and make a little profit, too. Imagine paying all the bills on time, and answering the phone with a clear conscience. It's a whole new world.

It's cooler today. More importantly, it was cooler last night, which makes sleeping much easier. Just lie down with a blanket over. No sweat, you might say.

I got up on time this morning and plunged into my day with all the pleasure of a river guide. River guides (so I've noticed in my vast experience, having gone whitewater rafting twice in my life) love their jobs.

I don't love my job, but I'm good at it, and I like being good at something and getting things done. It's satisfying to be able to cross an item off my to-do list before nine o'clock in the morning. Rare, too. That makes today a good day, with fifteen hours left to get even better.

beyond the house the grass grows high and golden

Yesterday afternoon I was walking out in the garden, because ... I don't remember why, probably to get the mail. Wait a minute! Do I need an excuse to walk out in my garden on a beautiful afternoon? I was walking out in the garden. Period.

I was walking out in the garden yesterday afternoon and I saw the back end of a mole waddling across the walkway and disappearing under a bush. That's a statement I can't back up, only because I don't know for sure that it was a mole. It's what I imagine a mole would look like, from that angle. I couldn't see the animal's face, so I don't really have much to go on. It didn't have a tail, though; I saw that much. And it was black and furry, and about the size of a large mouse or a small rat.

I don't know what to do with this information. I already knew that something was digging holes and leaving piles of dirt all through the yard. This creature ended up under a bush that grows right next to my front door. When I watered last night, I watered that bush with extra zeal. I know that doesn't do any good, though, because I've sprayed a jet stream directly down into the holes I've found, and all that's accomplished so far is irritate a couple of harmless lizards.

Cats have been scarce around here lately. When I first moved in, there were about six different cats who would roam through the yard every day or two. I haven't seen many around since it's been so hot, but the cream-colored one walked across my porch this morning. I think that's my best hope of controlling the varmint population.

Forces beyond my power have the run of the yard. I'm not in charge, and it'll be a long time before I feel as if I have any control. I think I'll worry about the weeds first, and take care of the mole later. Eventually. When I get around to it. Like everything else in my unstructured life.

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