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Saturday, October 14, 2000

Mom felt she was seeing well enough to drive to the store and back today. The fact is, she was getting stir-crazy and had to get out of the house. And she was feeling overly dependent on the wheels of family and friends, and had to get out of the house on her own, without help.

Not that I was worried, but I was glad she offered to phone me when she got home safely, so that I wouldn't have to miss the ballgame while organizing a search party. And I promise that it was sheer coincidence that I happened to be in the Safeway parking lot when she drove in.

Getting around in a supermarket parking lot is difficult enough with two serviceable eyes. I myself am susceptible to neck injury from whipping around in all directions, trying to see who it is I'm about to back into. People do the dumbest things in close quarters, and sometimes parking lot driving becomes an extreme sport.

I didn't stay to watch her back out of her space. I didn't even let her know I saw her, since she seemed to be concentrating so hard on getting around. I wasn't surprised when she called me later on to tell me it had gone okay. She didn't have as much trouble driving as she had navigating the aisles of the store and picking out items from the shelves.

But she did it, all on her own.

One thing I cook fairly well is pasta. It must be difficult to do wrong, because I'm not an accomplished chef by any stretch. My experience in the kitchen is limited and mostly self-taught. So if I invite you over for dinner, be wary.

Besides, I only know how to cook for one.

Before tonight I'd never tried spaghetti. Penne rigate, with pesto from the deli case, is the dish on which I've built my reputation. Boil the pasta, add the sauce. That's what I'm good at (if I do say so, which I have to, since no one else has ever eaten it).

Okay, so it doesn't add much to my resumé. Still, it's a cheap meal a couple of times a week, and for a single guy who spent most of his life eating either frozen or fast food, it's an achievement of some merit.

I went to my cookbook for idiots to make sure I was getting started right. It recommended measuring the spaghetti by crooking your forefinger and thumb into a circle the size of a quarter. That circle is supposed to hold a single, generous helping. It seemed to be a lot of pasta, but I went with it.

Spaghetti turned out to be so easy to cook that next time I might try making a sauce instead of just opening a can. That part was a disappointment.

I'll probably use a little less spaghetti the next time, too. A quarter-sized circle's worth filled my plate to overflowing and filled my stomach beyond the comfort level. Somehow I managed to eat it all, so it couldn't have been too vile.

Much to my dismay, I managed to maneuver myself into a position where I have to get up early on a Sunday morning. When I tried to connect to the Internet today, the computer informed me that the modem couldn't detect a dial tone. I tried using the phone on that line and there was too much static to hear anything.

So I used my other line to call Pacific Bell repair, and they gave me an option of having a service repair person come out by 6:00 pm either Sunday or Monday. I picked Sunday, since I'd be home all day watching football and baseball anyway. Then the recorded voice came back on the line and told me someone would be here between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Eight o'clock on Sunday morning isn't a time I was planning on experiencing first hand. It's a mythical time that exists only in legend and fantasy, at least in my world. I'm sure the phone guy won't show up until 5:30 in the afternoon, but I have to be ready all day anyway. I guess that means retiring early tonight. That's another thing I didn't have in mind.

Just as a matter of closure, DirecTV sent me a message tonight apologizing for what they called an "incorrect blackout." They said it was a temporary problem that they have worked to correct. And indeed, tonight's hockey game was right there on my set. I didn't watch it, but I did check to make sure I could have watched it.

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