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Friday, May 5, 2000

Always proud to advertise my obsessive-compulsive dedication to updating this journal every damn day, regardless of the degree of inspiration with which I do so, I've accepted Patrick's kind invitation to join the newly-minted Always 'burb. I accept the honor with deep humility, knowing that I'm in the company of some of the finest, most fanatical writers on the Web. I only hope my own neurosis can live up to the standards they set. I shall do my best.

Updated daily!

And if you're up for a daily fix of a variety of journaling styles, you could do worse than to bookmark the Always list and check out my friends and me. Every. Single. Day.

Hair is a good thing, in its place. Organic, decorative, functional, sensual. On the human body it serves its purpose. If only it would stay there.

Once it leaves its natural habitat, hair becomes the enemy of cleanliness. As someone who's had some intense cleaning experiences over the last few weeks, I can say without hesitation that I've had more unpleasant encounters with hair than with any other substance. Even soap scum was easier to get rid of than hair. Sometimes it's caked in hidden corners of bathroom fixtures. Sometimes it's just a strand or two that you can't pry off the sink or floor or mirror.

When I moved into my new house, there was a washing machine here that I bought from the previous tenant. I'd been advised to run it with an empty load once before putting my clothes in it, and that's what I did this afternoon. It filled up nicely with water and then stopped. What I had was a hundred-dollar tub of soapy water, and nowhere to drain it.

So I did what anyone would do. I called my mom. I asked if she had any advice or knew what I should do next. As soon as she got the message, she drove over here to take a look. It turned out the agitator had stuck, and she jostled it loose and let the empty load run its course.

When it was done, I pulled up the top of the agitator and found clumps of wet hair stuck everywhere. Not my hair, because this was the first time I'd used the machine, Someone else's hair. In a frenzy I scraped and scrubbed until I removed all the loose hair I could see. It was a nasty job, but I would never be able to use the washer if I hadn't done it.

I know myself too well. I get creeped out by things like this. At the old place, there was a cutting board that you could pull out of the cabinet like a drawer. I lived there twelve years and never used it because the first time I pulled it out it was covered with mouse droppings. I scrubbed that board until the original surface had been totally scraped away, but I couldn't make myself believe it was clean.

I guess there's more than one way I'm obsessive.

There was a knock on my door this afternoon. The census taker was here. I'm not sure how accurate the census is going to be, with volunteers, however highly trained, simply asking the questions on their list and moving on. I believe I may have been counted twice. I told her that I'd filled out my form but didn't live at this address on Census Day, April 1. As a matter of fact, no one lived here on that day.

She wasn't about to be dissuaded, though. She ran through her list of questions, including my age (which is also not the same is it was April 1). I tried as many ways as I could to impress on her that I'd been counted already. She asked exactly the same questions that were on the form I'd sent in, and nothing beyond that. I had so hoped to be given the chance to expand on the narrow field of answers. I know there's a long version of the census form, but only a randomly chosen percentage of citizens gets it. The most important thing to the government this time around seems to be whether or not you're Hispanic, and if so, what kind.

So the fact that I may have been counted more than once won't carry much weight as far as national policy goes. I don't really count at all, except as a number (or two). To be heard, I'll just have to keep writing to Senators and representatives and magazines and newspapers. And here, of course.

As a person who loves to walk out to the mailbox and find it stuffed with anything, even junk, I was seriously disappointed by the quantity of mail I got today. I mean, why did I buy a box the size of a Quonset hut if all I'm going to get is one envelope? This one was from the City of Santa Rosa (in whose limits I no longer reside) declaring that May is Water Awareness Month and containing leak detection tablets. The city's whole approach is that leaks cost the consumer money. They even have a dollar amount - $45.54 per month. Since my water here at Green Acres comes from a well and I pay nothing for it, I had to look into my own soul and decide that I care about water conservation.


Apparently I have a bit of a leak. The stains are not what you're thinking. They're from the well water, which is why I use filtered water for almost everything in this house.

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