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Thursday, May 1, 2003

I take it all back. All of the mean things I've said and thought about Tim are hereby rescinded. This just shows you can get a pass from me, no matter how many times you take advantage of my good nature and break your promises. All you have to do is make my life a little easier. Tim showed up today, more or less out of the blue (although the sky was gray), and did just that.

In case you're not totally invested in every detail of my glamorous life, Tim is the Boss's son and the foreman of our construction crew. He's kind of big and kind of scary. He's also the guy who promises to get me time cards on Monday, doesn't get them to me until Wednesday, and then complains if I can't get the payroll checks to him by Friday.

I have whined loudly and often about this cavalier attitude that tells me he matters more than I do, just because he takes up more space.

No more, though. Not today, anyway, even after he didn't come through with the time cards at all this week until this morning. He phoned early early and told me he was faxing them to me, and then he was going to come by and pick up the checks himself. So far this is not wonderful news and not the reason he's now my newest bestest friend. So far all it means is I have to get dressed and get all this work done and maybe even clean up my house before he shows up. Not how I had my day planned, you know?

He didn't drive three hours just to pick up the paychecks, though. He knew that I've been wanting him to haul my old Honda away (another promise he made, three months ago). He was here today to see if he could figure out what was wrong with it. Or at the very least, he wanted some idea of what to tell the mechanic.

I think he found what he was looking for, because when he left he had a piece of hose with him. Before he took it out of the engine, he showed me how it was blowing steam through a tiny hole in it.

That's good news and all, but it isn't the reason he's my new pal. While he was in the house, he noticed my fish tank. He asked why I didn't have any fish in it, and I told him the whole sad story of how I brought the tank home over the weekend, couldn't make the heater work, and then haven't had time to take back the defective part.

He told me he had once been a fish enthusiast and had had a sixty-gallon aquarium. He took a look at the heater and showed me how to turn the thermostat knob. At least, I think I saw it move. I could never actually feel it twisting when I turned it, but it seemed worth the effort to try to make it work, rather than returning it (and having the fish story guy tell me the same thing Tim had just told me).

At the last minute I remembered to ask him to look at the pump and tell me if it was working the right way. The fact that he thought it was might have been the best news he gave me. That I'd done at least one thing right made me feel good.

So it was worth the headache of having an unexpected visitor, because this visitor is going to get rid of my useless old car that I'll never drive again, and he might have saved me some embarrassment at the fish store. Also, he left in time for me to watch almost all of the Giants game on TV.

If he'd been here when he originally said he was coming, I'd have had the game on already. Since he was early, I was just hoping he'd leave before it started. No reason to have the Boss's son think I spend my days watching television. The fact that he left during the first inning saved me from having to ponder how much I really wanted to see this game. I only missed the first two batters.

I can't even tell you what a relief it is to have two potential problems possibly solved (maybe, I hope). It's a great way to start a new month. I feel a tremendous sense of relief that the car will no longer be an obstacle (or an oversized lawn ornament), but I'm feeling even better about the fact that the tank is that much closer to being safe to bring in the fish. Maybe. I hope. We'll see.

1 May 03

From across the drive, through the fence toward the front door.

The car thing isn't fully resolved yet, and who knows how long it might be before it is, but I have confidence. Why, I'm not sure. But I feel strongly that it's probably going to happen. Maybe.

The fish tank thermometer is another question. I've been fiddling with it for a few hours now, and I still don't know if it's working. Sometimes the pilot light will come on, flicker, and die out. Sometimes it'll stay out, but the element will be hot to the touch. I'm not sure I'll ever be convinced it's keeping the temperature constant. I'm not going to subject any fish to its quirkiness until I have this much worked out.

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And the game was well worth watching, for nine innings. Then in the tenth, two mistakes, one a mental error by the pitcher and the other a physical error by the third baseman, kept the inning going when a good play in either case would have ended it with the score still tied. They were costly errors, because they were followed by back-to-back home runs that turned a 1-1 game into a 5-1 Cubs win.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: From a Distance
"He's such a presence in my office by phone and fax that it doesn't matter if he's five hundred miles away (as usual) or orbiting Neptune (as he was for the last week)."

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