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Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Back in the days when all the roads were open, I could zip off to the post office in the morning and be back in fifteen minutes. Today's errands took me far afield, and more than two hours.

First stop: Safeway, but only because I had deposits to make and the closest branch of the company's bank is there. I can usually find a couple of items to buy in the store whenever I go to the bank, but there is a strike (teamsters, I think) and Safeway's shelves are getting more and more sparsely stocked.

There was a time when I would take advantage of a trip to the bank to pick up a couple of glazed donuts from the Safeway bakery. My latest diet, and not the strike, is the reason I stopped. I don't know what the strike is about, and there are no pickets at my store.

Besides, I feel a loyalty to Safeway, because they do some good for the community, including the nursery school where Suzanne teaches. And I associate Safeway with the people who bought the Giants in 1992 and kept them from moving to Florida; I'm still grateful for that.

At any rate, the strike is having its effect and I'm not able to buy all the items I need there any more. No French Vanilla Ultra Slim-Fast, for one thing, and no crunchy raisin bran. I would have bought cookies at the bakery, just to have around in case I truly needed one, but I didn't like the selection today. They all seemed to be pointlessly splattered with candy sprinkles. I didn't even check out the donuts.

My next stop was the post office, and then I had to get on the freeway and go all the way across town to Montgomery Village to make Tim's deposit at his bank there. I was surprised at how empty the Village parking lot seemed, but I guess it's not that close to Christmas yet, in spite of all the advertising inserts that weighed down the Sunday paper this week.

On the way back I made a stop at the office supply store, and then dropped in at Best Buy, which the Golds conveniently placed next door. I bought half of Ashley's birthday present there, and the other half at the bookstore across the parking lot.

(Ashley is my cousin in Iowa who's turning fifteen this week. As far as I know she doesn't read my journal, but she'd hardly be surprised anyway, since a book and a video are what she gets from me almost every year. And it gets harder every year to guess what she might like.)

By the time I hauled myself wearily back to the old Fortress, it was noon and there were four messages on the answering machine. Before I could catch my breath (and this was a big mistake), I returned a call from the Boss.

He informed me that a check I'd written and made a special trip to mail a week and a half ago had gone missing, and the supplier was refusing to ship to us because they didn't believe the check had ever been sent. So I stopped payment and wrote another check, and then he called again and told me to send it by overnight mail so they would have it tomorrow.

I'm afraid I didn't take this very well, and I may have said something I'll regret. I do know that I tossed the phone across the room and shouted at the merciless heavens until my voice echoed around this barn I live in. I did not want to go out in the cold again, and I know how these crises always resolve themselves: I perform some heroic feat at great personal sacrifice, and half an hour later the Boss calls and says, "Oh, by the way, they found the check."

Today I took the replacement check to FedEx and sent it overnight by the most expensive service they had available. At least I have a tracking number, in case it loses its way again.

Since Raley's supermarket is next door to the FedEx place, and since I didn't feel like going straight home to face the phones again right away, I wandered over there. I didn't get a cart or basket, so that I wouldn't go overboard. All I bought were cookies (plain chocolate chip, no fancy stuff), tapioca pudding (my favorite thing in the world), and two kinds of crunchy raisin bran. Well, then. (It was almost two, and I hadn't eaten all day. Not that that's any excuse.)

By the time I got home for the second time, I was spent. I'd been hoping for an easier day than yesterday; nobody needs a week with two Mondays. I didn't get much done the rest of the afternoon. Maybe tomorrow.

Sooner or later I definitely need to dive into the piles of work growing like a fungus on all corners of my desk and infecting most of the house. I think this is a big part of my current malaise, and I won't feel any relief until I start getting things done.

I need the time, but I also need to regain my ability to concentrate, and to stay with a task until it's done. I'm so easily distracted lately, so overwhelmed by it all, and that gets me further behind and depresses me even more. I used to be so good at my job, but right now I would hire myself.

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