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Tuesday, June 18, 2002

When I told the Boss I was taking off the second week in July, he was all supportive. "We'll make it happen," he told me. When I said I also wanted to take July 5, a Friday, off, he said, "Good idea," since it just turns the Fourth of July holiday into a long weekend. Probably everybody else in the country except him already planned to take that day off.

Then the barnacles started appearing on the hull. All of a sudden there were obstacles to overcome, things we have to worry about before I can leave. I'd already anticipated the obvious ones, like payroll. We've dealt with that before by telling the guys they had to get me their time cards early or wait two weeks to get paid. That works pretty well.

We take our obsessions seriously here at the Company. July is a rough month, because it's when the new insurance package takes effect, and this year our carrier has informed us that they don't want to insure us any more. It can't be anything we've done, unless they've gotten tired of collecting our money every month, on time and without having to ask us twice.

So that's one thing. And there are other things, like all the jobs we're bidding on and quarterly taxes and an interim financial statement. To me, "we'll make it work" means I start thinking now about the list of items that have to be done before I get back, because (obviously) they all have to be done before I can leave. I'm not sure where the "we" part comes into it.

Most of my family has been in Las Vegas for the last week, celebrating David's birthday. So it was a mini-reunion tonight at the ball field, where Eric and David were playing softball. It was an early game (6:00), and a warm day, so Mom decided she'd like to go, too. I picked her up and we all met up at the park.

As usual, it was about two parts chaos to one part comic relief for their team. Most of the guys are out there just to have fun, and some of them haven't figured out that you can have even more fun if you play the game right. I'm not saying they don't try, just that they don't care enough about winning to take it seriously.

My nephews are among the exceptions, of course. I indoctrinated them better than that, from a very early age. It took a little more with Eric, who has respect for the game, but this is recreational softball, not competitive hardball. Anyway, they each had two hits in the game, and Eric hit a two-run homer. That made us all feel good, especially him.

We didn't get a lot of time to talk. They all just flew back in yesterday afternoon, and they have so much going on in their lives that I almost always expect to be a few steps behind. Every so often one of them will stop by my house and fill in some of the details. Whatever happens, I know that they're in charge of their own worlds. I'm happy to be a roving satellite.

It was good to see them, as always. From what I've heard, they had a great time in Vegas, mostly with each other. Just because David turned 21 a week ago doesn't mean that he spent all his time proving he's an adult. He doesn't have to do that, because he's been proving it since he was about eight. But he has as much fun as any kid of any age.

Eric knows how to have fun wherever he goes, too. It's a good thing, because he came back to some disturbing news at the software company where he works. He takes these things as they come, though, and nothing can dampen his spirits for long. It always helps to blast a home run, even in a game where all your teammates are goofing off.


Standing under the old oak, looking southeast at the trees and fields.

This was one of my worst allergy days. I didn't let it keep me from working all day or from enjoying the game tonight. Who needs to breathe anyway? The explosive sneezes are a nuisance, but I don't think the violence is doing any real damage. The worst part is that it wears me out, physically and mentally. I could have worked a little harder and enjoyed the game a little more if not for the strain of fighting through this.

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All the cattle are standing like statues...
All the cattle are standing like statues.
They don't turn their heads when they see me ride by,
But a little brown maverick is winkin' her eye.