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Thursday, March 8, 2001

I thought I'd know when something like this was going to happen. I can almost always tell when I'm so tired that I'm about to collapse into unconsciousness. But when I lay down to read yesterday about 5:30 in the afternoon, I didn't know I was going to be in such deep sleep that I would wake up not knowing where I was.

Who knows how long I might have slept if the phone hadn't rung. I was startled, suddenly awake but not yet alert, and it was dark. I was sure it was the next morning. I didn't know how early, but for some reason I didn't want to answer the phone. That was my first misguided inclination, to run downstairs and turn on the answering machine, because obviously I hadn't remembered to turn it on when I went to bed.

But I wasn't in bed; I was in the loft with my jeans on and a book in my lap and the phone chirping on the table beside me. As I was coming down the stairs, I saw the light from the computer, and I thought I'd left it on all night. Then I saw the blinds open and assumed I hadn't remembered to shut them. It still wasn't registering when I turned on the answering machine and heard Tim's voice, answering a work question that I'd left on his voice mail.

You're wondering when I came to my senses? I know the exact moment. I walked to my desk and sat down, trying to decide whether it was too late to shut it down for the night, or if I should leave it on (since it was tomorrow already). I tabbed through the open windows on the taskbar and found four browser windows, and I said to myself, "I wouldn't have gone to bed without reading Nova Notes."

I'm serious. Of all the parts of my nightly regimen that I obviously hadn't done — brushing my teeth, changing into sweats, getting in my own bed — it was the routine of my nightly journal reading that brought me to my senses. I looked at the clock, and it was 6:57. Still Wednesday night. (Thank the Golds. I hadn't missed Once and Again.)

So I'd like to thank Al, and everyone else who updates late, for being such an important part of my life that I just knew I couldn't have slept through the night without reading.

When I finally did go to bed last night, I left out the most important part of the routine. Every once in awhile I forget to turn off the phone and turn on the answering machine. Usually it doesn't matter, but this morning I had a call at 5:30. This time I knew exactly where I was and what was going on. I sprang out of bed and turned the answering machine on in time to hear the wrong number hang up.

That was the end of any useful sleep for me. I tried, but it was a lost cause. I'm just resigned to rolling through the day at half speed, occasionally finding myself staring into space, not remembering what I'm doing or where I am. That's something that I can do whether I'm asleep or awake.

Yesterday was a day to catch up on loose ends. Since there was no money in the company account, I couldn't pay any bills. We're waiting for a big check from the state that should have been here a week ago. The Boss called last Thursday, and the payment officer casually told him that our check was sitting on someone's desk. It had been approved, but no one had bothered to sign or mail it. They were going to get right to it.

So instead of paying bills I did other things. I got caught up on some of that annoying paperwork that I let slide whenever I have something more interesting to do. As I was going through the pile on my desk, I came across a disconnect notice from the phone company, on Tim's phone. With March 7 as the cutoff date.

I should have known this was coming. I made a $97 payment in January, but Pacific Bell credited us with $53. For the math-challenged, this left $44 dollars that they considered past due. I checked with the bank, and the $97 check had been paid, so I let it go, thinking that a correction would show up on the next statement.

Well, it didn't. Instead I got the disconnect notice. So yesterday, at the last minute, I called the phone company and tried to get someone to tell me what the deal was. "What's the deal?" I asked, to no avail.

The thing is, Tim put a password on the account, even though he uses the phone line for company business only, and I pay all his bills. I had to beg the customer service rep to listen to me as I tried to explain what was going on. "You don't have to release any confidential information," I whined pitifully. "I don't care what tabloid-style dirt the phone company has on this guy. I just want to tell you my story."

She was kind enough to listen, and she even gave me some advice about how to word my letter when I send them the canceled check. I got them to rescind the disconnect, and now I have to wait for the bank statement to get here in a few more days. The best part was, I talked with someone from the phone company and she didn't try to sell me any new services.

Tuesday clouds

I was more aggressive yesterday with the weeds. It was a rare sunny day, for one thing, and I'd discovered the day before that I could take my cordless phone to the far reaches of the yard and still be in touch. So no one has to know I'm not in the house, at my desk.

The garden looks so much better than it did. I'm still at the point where I don't have to know what I'm doing, because there's so much growth that obviously should go. A lot of dry brush and twigs, and dead brown appendages to otherwise lively greenery. Easy pickings.

So for now I can leave the plants I have doubts about. I honestly don't know if about half the things growing in my yard are weeds or not. If it's not obvious, I'll let it go. Some day everything that's left will fall into that "undecided" category. Then I'll probably just start with the ugliest and work my way back, until I know there's nothing left growing that isn't supposed to be there.

Don't worry, I'll never stick with it enough to get to that point. There will always be more weeds to pull.

To add to my good luck, tomorrow is pick-up day. So if we have a decent weekend, I'll have a whole huge yard waste container to fill up. (That's assuming I remember to take it out to the curb tonight.) It would be our first weekend without rain since about 1978, so I'm not too optimistic. I should probably spend the weekend sleeping anyway.

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I see today with a newsprint fray
my night is colored headache grey
don't wake me with so much.