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Tuesday, March 12, 2002

My job isn't much fun right now, and therefore my life is listing toward the murky and mournful itself. We seem to be lurching from one self-created crisis to another, taking baby steps forward and tumbling calamitously back into the abyss. It's probably not that bad, but that's how it seems from in here, where I'm hacking my way through a jungle of petty details.

After all the turmoil over whether or not we were going to submit a bid on a state project today, the Boss backed out at the last minute. That wastes his ex-wife's time yesterday picking up the bid bond for us, and my entire morning filling out the bid form, but it was for a good reason.

The only way he could have bid the job would have been to slink into one of those gray areas of contracting, where you know a little bit more about somebody else's bid price than you really should. As much as we need the work, I'm glad we're not bidding, because it's my signature that would have gone on all the forms and certifications and promises that no such collusion was involved.

Still, it seemed like a lot of work for nothing. He'd decided last week not to bid it, and then at the next-to-last minute we had to go to all these lengths to get ready to bid it, and then at the very last minute we're out of the picture again.

Then tonight I got a call from Tim, who has his work crew down in Southern California installing a job. Actually, the first call was from the bank, wanting to know if it was okay to cash the men's paychecks. I said that would be all right, but the bank manager who called had to determine if I was who I said I was before he'd take my word.

He asked for my social security number and before I could say "no way," he pulled that request and started asking obscure questions about the account. The amount of our last deposit was easy, but when he asked if I knew at what branch we'd initially opened the account, I had to go back ten years to another bank entirely, one that was later swallowed up by the megabank we use now.

He was sufficiently impressed when I came up with all this trivia, but a few minutes later Tim called and said the guy wouldn't cash the checks after all because none of the men had picture IDs with them. That threw me for a minute. I mean, what if they get stopped by the Homeland Security forces? We're in a yellow ("heightened") state of alert right now, after all.

Most of them are under 21, so they probably had fake IDs, but nothing the bank could use. So Tim cashed a check himself (he's 38) and gave them the money, but it overdrew his account. He'd like me to make a deposit for him tomorrow to cover it, which I agreed to do.

"You're still at Large Bank with Branches Everywhere, right?"

"No, I got mad at them and moved to Small Bank with No Branches Near You."

Well, good for you for supporting community banking, but I'm not driving to Lodi or Gilroy or Calcutta (or wherever, probably not Calcutta, though) to keep you from getting an overdraft fee.

I was going to end this by saying that Tim called and told me he'd handled the banking problem himself. That was what was supposed to happen, but I'm still waiting for that call.


If I hadn't been so busy, I would have noticed this sunset earlier, before it was almost gone.

Meanwhile, I'm looking out the window at dandelions that need to be pulled, and we're looking at four or five days of rain. Giving the yard another few days to dry out enough so it's not a total swamp, that means it'll be more than a week, maybe two, before I can do any good work outside. That's probably just as well, since I seem to be tied up inside these days.

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