bunt sign

Monday, March 4, 2002

I don't remember what the bet was, but I lost. It was probably the Super Bowl, because I was definitely wrong about how that game would end. Anyway, it was Texas barbecue against California artichokes, and since I lost I had to ship the artichokes to Texas. Since I haven't been out of the house long enough to find a farmer's market, and I wasn't about to send Safeway produce all that way, Mom volunteered to pick up the artichokes for me.

And now I have a refrigerator full of artichokes, because I'd forgotten that my friend in Texas was going to be away all this week. They were ready to ship overnight to Houston, and now they're cooked and ready to eat in Santa Rosa. I wish I liked them a little better, because I'll be eating them all week. They're probably better for me than the barbecue would have been anyway, though. I like them well enough, and anyway it could be a lot worse. It could be Brussels sprouts, although I can't imagine anyone wanting to win that bet.

It serves me right, because I never paid off the bet I lost to him last year. He let me off the hook when I sent him all the local newspaper coverage of Barry Bonds' home run record. I remember that bet: He said Russ Davis wouldn't last as the Giants' starting third baseman until September, and I said he'd be in the lineup the whole season. He was gone by June, not just out of the starting lineup but off the team and out of baseball.

So I'm looking for something closer to a sure thing for our next wager. Do you think I can count on the Cubs and Red Sox to stay consistent and not get into the World Series again? I doubt he'll go for that one, though, since the Cubs haven't won one since 1908 and the Red Sox haven't since 1918. The Cubs haven't even been in a World Series since 1945. And yet, every year they start the season thinking they're going to make it. Every year their fans come back and cheer them along. For some reason, baseball fans always have hope. At least, in the springtime they do.

I spent the whole day writing checks. I had to borrow money again to pay all these bills for the Company, and we've now maxed out all the credit lines. The next time I borrow it'll have to come out of the Boss's personal savings. He knows it, but I have to decide when to ask him for the money. His moods are even more erratic than mine, and I'm always on edge the first time I talk to him each day. I let him do the talking, until I can gauge whether it's a good day or a bad one.

On a good day, he cheers me up, reminding me that we have more jobs than we can handle. We'll be busy for a couple of years with the work we have on hand now, and the prospects are good for some time beyond that. He's working on keeping the business strong, selling our services all around the state. He's off later this week on another sales trip, and nobody can make you believe you need that castle in the air as well as he can.

On a bad day, though. On a bad day, he looks at cost reports and wonders where the money went, why we're making barely enough to pay the bills. On a bad day, he looks at the checking account and wonders when we'll have enough to pay ourselves those long-promised bonuses. Sometimes he talks as if he's about to give it all up, because he's 62 years old and working much harder than anyone with his father's trust fund to draw from should work.

So I take these things to heart. When I have to borrow money, I take it personally even when it's not my money. There's always a big payment out there that we're just on the brink of collecting, but there's always a reason why they can't pay us today. Maybe this is the way it's supposed to be. Maybe the struggle to survive is exactly what keeps us from dying. I don't know, but I do know that I have my good and bad days, too. (No, really, it's true.)

white blossoms

The view from my kitchen window. (I went outside to take the picture, though.)

I slept well last night, but that didn't make it any easier to get up when the clock radio came on this morning. You can only hit the snooze bar so many times before it says, "Forget this. You're on your own, amigo. Why do you even set the alarm if you're not going to get up?" Then it turns itself off and we both go back to sleep.

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