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Saturday, June 30, 2001

Here's the big mistake I made today: It's Saturday. The sun is shining. And I spent the day working.

Not just working, but overwhelming myself with the sheer volume of work I have to get finished before I can go on vacation in two weeks. I keep thinking of one more thing that has to be done and adding it to my to-do list. I've crossed a couple of items off today, and added a half dozen more. Some I added just so I could cross them off right away. That made me feel a little better.

It was satisfying to get so much done, especially after feeling so nonproductive all week. I didn't realize until I started this morning how far behind I'd fallen. At the start of a new quarter, I always have to prepare new worksheets for the payroll. This time around, because of some tax cut that they must have enacted in Washington (who knew?), I had to change all the rates and percentages. That's something I usually do just once a year, for which I'm grateful, since it's tedious and time-consuming.

If I used commercial accounting software it would probably be done automatically, by a simple download. But the Boss doesn't trust outside sources to give him the reports he likes in the format he's used to. He wants everything done exactly as it was when he started the company, long before computers did any of it. So I do the payroll accounting using elaborate Excel spreadsheets of my own convoluted design, one that mimics the handwritten spreadsheets of yore.

The discouraging part of this exercise was finding out that I'd have to make about three times my current salary before I'd gain any tax benefit from the cuts. So I just want to thank the president and Congress for nothing. To me, it's just some extra work.

I spared some time late this afternoon to work outside. A Saturday would be fully wasted if I didn't get to dig in the dirt at least part of the time. I'm still working on clearing the ground between the stones in my walkway, and that's where I ended up putting my efforts today.

The kneepads I bought for this purpose got used just once, before I realized they weren't going to work for me. The Velcro straps cut into my legs, and they kept slipping down or riding up. The one time I tried wearing them, I didn't get much done because I spent so much time adjusting them. The next day I went out and bought a foam pad to kneel on, and I've been using that ever since.

Sometimes I wonder how I can live out here in the country, with wildlife all around me, and not have my house overrun with bugs and varmints. I've never seen a mouse inside, and I have remarkably few crickets, even though they chirrup their hearts out just outside my door.

Lately my nemesis has been earwigs. Somehow they keep turning up. It seems every time I move something, there's an earwig under it. I have no mercy for them, though. Some bugs get relocated, but I put earwigs in the same category with flies (in the house) and mosquitoes (anywhere near me). If I see one, I kill it.


Sometimes the camera just can't do justice to the beauty of the clouds in the sky.
This was taken from my back yard, looking southeast.

It was Kevin Costner night on Encore, and since I'd never seen Waterworld, I sat down and watched it. I really wanted to love it, the way I love 1941, the Steven Spielberg film that all the critics call an embarrassment. I didn't love Waterworld, but I did like it a lot, especially Dennis Hopper, as a deliciously campy villain who gets all the movie's best lines. Jeanne Tripplehorn and Tina Majorino were fine, too. Costner was Costner. I like his baseball movies, so I cut him some slack when he plays one of these squinty-eyed heroes who talks in a raspy monotone that's apparently supposed to make him sound deep and thoughtful.

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