Friday, February 20, 2004

Pain in the Rear

Something has struck me. Perhaps it was someone. In any case, Clifford has a dimple in his backside. And I didn't put it there. With all the ice and whatnot, it's not surprising. I've seen several large trucks around here with blades and saltboxes in the past few weeks. With all that extra length, I can easily imagine somebody backing up (or sliding forward) and coming to rest against a large red pickup truck without a lot of give to it. Hence, the dimple.

We called it in to GEICO. I never do that. I'd just as soon see a physician as make an insurance claim. The experiences are similar. Lots of waiting. The attendant expense. And at the end of the visit I still feel bad and know that only time will take care of things. Well, for Clifford, the time is March 1. He's getting a new tailgate. A new $700 tailgate. And I'm getting a rental car for three days while Clifford gets his new a** painted. Such a deal.

The question now is this: does Enterprise have anything roughly equivalent to a full-size pickup truck or will I be driving an economy car and wishing I was elsewhere for three days? There's something comforting about having lots of space and metal between me and the next guy when I drive around here.

Soon enough there will be no question which is Clifford's "good side." Many of us look better from that direction.

High in the mid-50's here today. Plenty of sunshine. Woo-Hoo! Hope y'all can get out and enjoy the weather.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


I've got a big ol' chunky document to review tonight. I'm about halfway through it. So nice to have a charge number that doesn't chain me to a desk in an office someplace. It's like I'm having flashbacks to self-employment, except I'm getting paid.

Of course, right now when I stare in the mirror it is two pink orbs with blue irises looking back at me. The spectacles only magnify things. But I'm editing and life is good. Of course, as long as I'm typing I can't be charging, so I'll see you all later.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Not the Time-Tamer

I may have been mistaken in my perception of the esteem in which I am held. It turns out that what I do is "window dressing" and not nearly so important as "the technical stuff." Hmmpff.

Well, I'll have you know I do damn fine window dressing, thank you very much.

I also failed to have my way with time, as I expected. Our noon deadline left our tardy regulars completely unfazed. So it was moved to close of business (that's COB to those of you in the know about acronyms). This would have been fine if it had been de-fined. Unfortunately, one author is regularly at work until 7pm or later.

Who can get miffed? If I have a COB deadline, to me it means until you see Colbert's Old Butt out in the parking lot. So 8 hours stretched to 10 and there's still one review first thing in the morning. One beats the heck out of nine or ten. This I can do.

Be well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Inspirational Editor of Woodlawn

I'm bemused. My writers apparently hold me in high esteem. I feel as if I should be taken aback. Nobody is more aware of my shortcomings than I am. Still, the authors I serve seem certain that I wield special powers.

You may wonder how I can be so certain. As with most superhumans, I'm surrounded by signs and portents. My clue? Why the confidence they have in me. I serve ten writers. They have a deadline. They must deliver their reports to our manager by noon tomorrow. I know, I know. That's no real stretch. Anybody can come up with something and toss it on the guy's desk by noon. There's only one impediment to that train of thought.

Hello. It's me again. Dave. But you can call me Mr. Impediment. That's right. I walk softly and carry the big autograph stick. You don't got my autograph, you don't got no deliverable. It's a pretty simple equation. But here's the funny part. The faith these people put in my is humbling. Because as of five o'clock this evening only three of the ten authors had submitted their deliverables for review. I should say their Contract Deliverables. And if I could write those two words in the same font Moses carried down the mountain after visiting forty days and nights with the Daddy of All Customers I would, because it carries that kind of weight. Slip a deadline deliverable date and you can relabel yourself CREW with an S on the front and an E-D on the back.

But my guys have faith in me. They are totally convinced that I can make time stand still. I haven't tried to give them that impression. Sure, I've turned a product fairly quickly now and then. Who hasn't? But to make time stand on its head, or even to go backward? That's crazy. But it must be the case. Why else would somebody wait so long to turn a product in?

Did I mention that my writers are mmm-managers? Say it with me. Mmm-manager. It starts with the same sound as mmm-money. Just guessing...and I really am, we're all professionals and don't talk about this sort of thing...but just guessing, I suspect each of them is paid more than I am. One can only presume that with a handsome paycheck comes an enviable degree of responsibility. So the delay in preparing reports can't be procrastination. That's not responsible. And it can't be a cavalier attitude about keeping our customer happy. That's not responsible either. So it must be that they have an incredible amount of faith in my ability to mold time to my own ends.

That's it. I'm flabbergasted. I'm humbled. This is the best job in the whole wide world and I work with the best of all possible people. Gee, life is swell!

Monday, February 16, 2004

Weekend Update

We are all home today for Presidents' Day. Now we face a drought. Until somebody suitably famous is either born, killed, or passes away in March or April, we must cling tenaciously to the hope of a long weekend at the end of May. Whoever plans this stuff needs to spread it out a bit more.

Let's see, what's happened here recently? Well, Friday night Katie attended a sleepover to celebrate a friend's birthday. I think she may return the favor next weekend. I need to plan to be away. Too much estrogen, too little house.

Saturday was Alex Day. We went to see the River Hill wrestling team in the semi-finals and finals. They won their division semi-finals but lost in the finals. At least we were there to support them. Katie really likes this guy, but he just wants to be a friend. I told her I endured much the same thing during high school. It sucks. Get over it.

Today we are cleaning up. A cleaning service is coming in this afternoon to give us an estimate on keeping our home more antiseptic. So we are cleaning for them. I can see the wisdom of this for the initial estimate. I really can be as cheap as the next guy. A good first impression could save us some loot. But I fear we are setting a nasty precedent in which we clean every day before they get here. It's been known to happen. Hopefully, I'm wrong.

Tomorrow it's back to work and school for this household. Katie is sleeping right now. A wise choice. She's avoiding the decision-making portion of the cleaning. Do I keep this? Do I throw this out? Do I tell myself I'm going to give this away and tuck it into the corner of a room from which it will never again see the light of day? Usually, the answer to these questions is yes, no, yes, respectively. We are looking for new leaves to turn over, though, so this could be the dawn of a new era in trash management at Chateau Coal Bear.

As you may have guessed, I'm avoiding the melee of discovery on the first level. Joan is braving the strata of paper that chronicle our piling prowess over the past several months. I think the thing that would make us neater would be shorter stature or taller cabinets. It seems that our accumulation of paper is addressed when it reaches eye level. Thus, Katie is the neatest of the three of us. It would be Coby, but he doesn't get much mail. Archeologists would love our countertops. So many stories to tell. Months worth of magazines, advertisements, statements, coupons, and even the occasional bill (so THAT'S where the was!).

To tell you the progress we've made, we're nearly ready to invite people over. We've been an Inner Circle Entertainment Establishment for far too long. If we wouldn't parade in front of you in our underclothes, you didn't stand a chance of crossing our threshold. Fortunately, for us and for them, not many people visited. If you weren't here to fix the furnace or leave a package, you were not about to gain admittance.

Now, however, the living room looks pretty darn good. The computers have made their semi-annual migration to another part of the house and are grazing peacefully in the room next to Katie's. They share the space with the television, DVD player and VCR. Even the two acknowledged bedrooms look pretty decent. If you noticed I didn't mention the basement, very good for you.

Within a few hours, we will either have an estimate to keep our abode tidy or we'll see a terrified woman driving erratically down the access road, leaving smoking trails of rubber as she turns onto the main road, and vowing never to return to this part of the county. If I'd thought of this earlier, I could have sold tickets. This could be good.


Bill is too polite. You remember Bill. Courageous. Intrepid. Lets silly people into their running, locked trucks. Faces challenges like big old houses with the occasional mutter and imprecation, but really enjoys it. You can now link to his site from here. If you click on "Bill Dugan's blog" under Links, you'll get there.

I'm kind of proud of that. You see, that may be the first thing I've ever done in HTML. I got it to work correctly on the fifth try. It seems that in HTML punctuation is everything.

I offer this disclaimer: Bill can be somewhat forthright with his views. And I think he's a Democrat (but God loves him anyway). So this may not be the best spot for young children on a given day. That being said, Bill's comments on lives--both his own and ours in general--are a bright spot for me. So visit often. Comment when you feel like it. Most of all, enjoy.

I began by saying Bill is too polite. He suggested that I have been remiss in my posting. That my prose is irregular, at least in frequency. We are certain it is irregular in other contexts as well. And he's right. But I am as cautious about inflated promises of repentance and change as I am of New Year's resolutions. The difference between them is that one is an individual good intention and the other is a communal lie. Both are shakily propped up by weak wills and are subject to the vagaries of life. For those of us who are easily distracted, they are a danger to be avoided. That being said. I'm posting. Believe it. You're reading it now.