I *probably* have a job. Now I hope you are comfy, cos I am going to tell you all about it.

On Tuesday night a mate of mine phoned me.

"Treen!" he said. "Hi! How are you? There's this ad in the paper - a Ringwood company looking for a proofreader... You interested?"

Now, up until that moment I didn't know I was looking for work. I thought I was just going to stay home and be motherly, you know? But hey, I found I *was* interested, told him so, accepted the name and number from the ad, thanked him and called.

Helen (the lady running the ad) had gone home - well, it *was* 10 to 5, so I have no problem with that  - and the receptionist took my details.

The next day we were at Werribee Open Range Zoo - It's a *lovely* place, they take you around in a bus and look at giraffes and stuff - and the phone rang. 

I'd been worried Helen would call while I was driving, but she kindly waited till I was staring vacantly at some zebras and actually had both hands free, and my diary and pen close at hand. We chatted a little - she asked me if I'd done proofing before, I told her I had, but never for money, and she gave my the address and an appointment to come in the next day at half past twelve. While I was on the phone to her I was quite collected, amiable and amusing. And when I hung up I went all thingy. My belly went squicky and my breathing just went. 

You see, I have had no official paid work in 10+ years.

I had no idea how to conduct myself at a job interview, or anything. And while I'd written plenty of CVs for friends, I had none for myself, and no real idea about how to go about writing such blatant personal advertising about *myself*

So I spent Wednesday night online with a friend who writes resumes, and ended up with a very nice (but shockingly immodest) piece of writing all about how wonderful and fabulous I am.

I was almost late for the interview.

Mum wanted me to have my hair "set," but I declined on the grounds of not being 79 years old. I did agree to have my hair done by the hairdresser though. So it was about 11.15 and Dean the kids and I were sitting in the hairdresser's when my turn came.

"I don't want a cut, thanks. Just make it look nice. I'm on the way to a job interview"

She smiled and nodded.

She wrapped a towel around me and combed my hair.

She lifted a hank of hair and made "Shall I cut here?" motions with her hand, the way they do.

"No," I said, "I don't want it cut. Just brushed and put up."

She smiled and nodded again.

She picked up a hank of hair and moved her fingers down close to my scalp.

"Very short?" she asked.

It was only then I realised the woman had almost no English at all. I picked up her scissors. I moved them far away from me. I covered them with my hands. I said "No! No!" and shook my head vigorously. 

She looked at me as if I were insane.

I pointed to the brush and to the hairdryer and nodded hard.

A look of revelation came over her face and she proceeded to do my hair in a way I am sure is very nice.... but not for me 

We left there just after 12, in Croydon still needing to get home, print my resume and two references and change my shoes and get to the place by half past.

I think Dean hit 90 in a 60 zone a couple of times.

We got there though. At 12.30 we were at a red light, and outside the office, so I leapt lightly out of the car and went inside.

Helen was on the telephone, which gave me a few minutes to collect myself and have a peppermint and then it was on.

I was amazed at how cool and calm and friendly I seemed. 

We went over the hours (10 - 10.30 Mondays, 11 - 3 Tuesdays) and money and whether my children would make it difficult for me, and the fact that since we live with my mother, it would *not* make it hard at all.

She told me there had been about 175 telephone applicants, and followed up rapidly with "I really wanted you to meet Rollie. Could you come in on Monday for a few hours to meet everyone, and see how we go?"

I assured her I could and she said she would call me today to arrange it.

And she just did.

I will be spending Monday from 10.30 to 3.30 in a real place of work with real people, earning money ( well, maybe not earning money for a "trial" day, but what the heck? :)) instead of tramping round Sovereign Hill with my littles as I planned to be.

And I'm as excited as all hell, and scared as well.

I got off work today at 4:00. At least, I thought it was 4:00. I had an unanticipated bount of of temporal disillusionment. I had been watching my watch all day, having little to do and being anxious to get out and do stuff. I looked at my watch, and it said 3:52. I noticed, however, that the date on the watch was January 2, 1995. I figured my watch's battery must be low or something, and it had reset. My computer's clock said 4:05 AM. This would lead me to believe that perhaps the computer's clock had never been set properly either. And I can't very well trust Windows 2000 to do much of anything, let alone keep time.

Not really trusting either my sources, I got up and walked out. Now, I work at an accounting firm, being the person-who-educates-them-about-web-development-and-PHP-and-the-like, and everyone is too busy being busy to worry about what some teenager punk intern is doing. Outside, there was no sign of my mom's car. She was supposed to be there at four, lest I have to walk home. (Yeah, not having my own car sucks). I proceed to walk over to Exchange St. and look for some sort of clock. Now fnding a clock in downtown Portland would seem like a deceptively easy task, but it actually is not. I thought there were would be an old analog on city hall, since bells sound out the hours and all. It occured that I should listen for the bells, but I had been in the office and I could easily have missed the four o'clock bell, so I scrapped that idea. I recalled what I could of Portland's geography to figure out where I could stand to see the Franklin Tower, which displays the time and temperature prominently on top of its roof. No luck.

I consider going to my dad's office, a few blocks away, but decide against risking it assuming it's actually 3:30 or something, as he would be understandably miffed. I couldn't very well walk into a store and be like "duh, what time is it?" They'd be like "Dude, are you stoned?" Stoned teenagers are not very uncommon wandering around the Old Port. I started walking back towards the complex where I work, and noticed the familiar outline of my mom's car. And the license plate etching. Strangely enough, my internal sense of time seems to have served me well in this situation.

My last thought as I got into the car was - "Hey, I should node this."

Spent the last six days in Connecticut. The most interesting part was the amusing 3 hours I spent with a candian goose that adopted the house. He hung out with my in the garage as I was refinishing some furniture for the apartment in Long Island. He didn't mind the sander or the louds 80's techno. Highly amusing. Lilith is reclaimed, with new tires and emissions sticker. Like I did in Florida, I plan on living in new york without switching the car over. Screw NY. Still looking for work, work work. Had the odd sense of being home both in CT and when I walked in the apartment (after greeting roomate sitting on the stoop locked out of the place for an hour..haha). Just good to be home for a while, in New England. Florida, never again, besides the trip to get the rest of my stuff.

Today started off as any normal summer day, with me sleeping in until 2:00 p.m. GavinDot and Mitchevious crashed at my place last night after the fireworks show. After I hustled the guys out of my house, I set up a checking account at my local bank, and bought some clothes for DefCon next week. I am eagerly awaiting DefCon, where I will be giving a brief speech on Macintosh computer security. NetPseudo and Mitchevious will be making the trip with me. The trip itself will be an adventure, with a four hour layover at LA X, and the Motel 6 where we are staying is sure to be interesting.

Tonight went well, with a gathering for coffee as has become typical this summer. In attendance were: GavinDot, Mitchevious, NetPseudo, and some other non-noders. As Aaron had broken up with his horrible bitch of a girlfriend (see Mitchevious' previous nodes for more information), tensions were easied greatly among the group. During coffee time, I received a call from my father, informing me that he wanted to talk about something. My stomach twisted in knots for the rest of the evening, fearing he had found an undesirable item, such as booze, cigarettes, or condoms in my room.

It has become apparent that is merely deals with my trip to Las Vegas next week for Defcon, and my flight schedule. I will find out the truth in the morning, but for now my fears have been placed to rest. Now it is time to program, and then a normal bedtime (for me) around 3:00 a.m.

Happy 4th of July. May I fuck your reputation?

Disclaimer: The following is a short rant about fake friends, backstabbing, and revelations. If you are offended by opinions or just don't like me, stop reading here. Pregnant women and small children should also avert their eyes.

Ahh... the joys of summer. Teenagers become restless and bored. When certain girls become bored, they must find a way to entertain themselves. Entertainment is not cheap. Someone always has to pay. In this case, me.

- July 4th, 2001 -
The day began like any other dreary summer day. I slept until 1pm, woke, ate pancakes for breakfast and returned to bed to ward off the demons of sleep. At 5pm, I was sequestered to appear for food at CyberGoat's. It was to be CyberGoat, Mitchevious, and Netpseudo for a little chow and then coffee. What should have been a quiet, intellegent evening turned into a suprise barbecue when our co-worker and chum remmin asked that he bring over a friend and some beef patties. All right, CyberGoat agreed- Free food is always welcome. Half an hour later, remmin shows up with Adam, Adam's lady friend, and another anonymous faced male. This was good. Men enjoy their manly time. Then through the gate walk remmin's girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend), Sarah, and Tracy. Keep in mind that remmin's woman Amanda never did much other than cause trouble. Sarah and Tracy, her new co-horts in training have assumed as much of Amanda's personality as is possible without frontal lobotomies all around.

It is the general consensus that they have been spending far too much time locked in a bedroom together. It seems that rumors about myself have begun to surface in the Three Stooges Community regarding the youngest and most red-headed, Tracy. She claims that at one of Mitchevious' parties where she consumed enough alcohol to fuel a car cross-country, I took advantage of her on Mitchevious' bed... in which he was currently dozing. Truth be told, I am reluctant to post what really happend, but it must be done. Just as our young irish lass was babbling about The Big Lebowski she somehow worked her hand under my belt. How, I am not sure, but thank god it didn't get any farther. The tensile strength of braided leather must have been too much for her. I promptly removed the white fingers and rolled over. Her- feeling dejected proceeded upstairs for sleep (more booze?).

Now for Amanda's story: One day, not so long ago, while my good friend remmin was in his room and I was guest in their fine apartment, I am accused of rubbing her lower back and touching her rear end. Now, how she can state this is mind boggling to me. I try to keep as much distance between the seething, writhing ball of cat hair and penis-envy as is possible. In no way do I find her attractive, even with a paper bag included. Amanda only has to glance in my general direction for me to fear the wrath that she will bring down upon poor remmin for his role as a human: breathing.

Sarah. I find Sarah's story somewhat interesting. According to her, I have $100 to waste on sex. With her to boot. Then I honk my horn outside her house until she comes outside only to ask "Have you changed your mind yet?". Weak. Very weak. It is reassuring however to know that when women get together, they can work out a plan. In this case, it must have been Destroy GavinDot! Why? Nobody will ever know but them, and that's fine. Perhaps someone should direct them to the node on how to make friends.

To the girls: I know you're reading this, so go ahead, print it out. After all, that's why I wrote it.

Quote of the day: "Sarah? Why, I wouldn't pay more than a bean burrito for her!"

Happy noding and good night.

Ah.......work is a bitch. Pick up the lens, put lens through washing-machine, wipe the lens, rinse the lens, dry the lens with towel, blow-dry the lens with machine......REPEAT....over 200x a day. Grrrr. But, with the parents gone for the weekend /me wonders if dipping into the family Kalhua stash would be a good idea and "the flu", I think it might be conducive to my health to call off sick tomorrow :Op.

Went out for coffee with my friend, the illustrious Lindsey R, and introduced her to Cocoa Ninas, a yummy concoction of Hot Chocolate, Strawberries, and Whipped Cream. Ran into the male faction of Diverinc as they were on their way out, leaving me boy-toyless and forced to flirt with random guys ;-)

I am currently talking to Cybergoat online, and it turns out he ran into a previously good friend of mine while he was at the coffee house. Knowing Cybergoat and I were in communication, she felt the need to express her distaste of my current lovelife and attempted to extract any other tidbits of knowledge about it that he might have. I have not spoken with this girl for about a month. I have also not spoken with any of her cohorts who might be spreading vindictive, licentious and false rumours. I chose to segregate myself from them in hope that I might embrace my geekiness and gain a private life. Appearantly, I'm just too interesting./sarcasm

I think I feel sorry for anyone who lives their secret desires vicariously through gossip....and then again, it pisses me off since I myself glean no pleasure from putting down others and wreaking havoc upon their personal matters. Can someone please expain the value of gossip to me? I must be missing something./rant

Well, I guess it's not supposed to be easy.

Day 3 without alcohol, following my July 4, 2001 resolution to stop drinking. It's now about 4 in the morning, and I can't sleep. Insomnia is a curse.

How do I feel? Like my skin suddenly doesn't fit my body anymore. Like I have a splinter in my mind. Something is nagging me. Something is missing. I know what will relieve this feeling, and I know that I don't want to give in. I feel, to be very concise, miserable.

It's Friday, so if I make it through this day, I can probably catch up on sleep this weekend. It's going to be a tough day at work, though - a big project is coming to its final stage today. I have to give a presentation for about 50 people. This would make me nervous any day, but especially in the state I am in now, deprived of both sleep and my favorite brain cell killer.

But let's be positive: it's Friday and people have made it through tough days on no sleep before. I also really appreciate all the messages of support that I received from everythingians - it has really made a difference to know that so many people care!

Today is Friday, I don't work on Friday.

I can sleep late and not answer the phone and if I do, I don't have to make an effort to not sound like I was sleeping in case it is my boss or a client who wants to know why I am not at work yet.

I can wake up, and go back to sleep.

I can do whatever I please... I can blow of the plans I made Thursday night, the plans which including going to all kinds of stores and buying things I need, I can just keep on sleeping and decide to go and get all that stuff NEXT FRIDAY....(Which will probably be spent sleeping late...)

I can promise my mom I’ll pick up my brother from the airport on Sunday… since… that will be Sunday, not Friday, on Friday I do absolutely nothing.

Speaking of my brother, he just spent a year in New York, I visited him sometime in January, haven’t seen him since then. We talk on the phone sometimes, and he catches me on IRC every once in a while… now he is coming home, which means I have to give him his TV back, so I went out and bought an even bigger, better, newer TV.. and then he said “Oh, well, I didn’t tell you that I wanted the old TV back…”

But TODAY is Friday, so I don’t care about any of that… I’ll go shower and then eat something and then go fix my friend’s computer and then hang out and go to some pub or club tonight.

I can sit around on e2 or irc or playing bubble shooter or reading or watching TV, if I did watch TV, but I don’t (Yes I know I said I HAD a TV, but I don’t watch anything but rented DVDs on it… when they work, I can reply to all the emails I got, and I can listen to that voicemail I got while looking at “Her” picture…..

Today is Friday, which makes tomorrow Saturday, which makes Friday even better!

Oh and by the way….. the movie sucks.

Friday is here!

With the girls going to Grandma's, my wife and I are planning a LOT of fun.

BUT before I can get to that I have to goto work. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO! I want to leave now. My wife ASSUMES that I can just leave. I think I can sneak out. I don't have anything to do. Why is it when you have nothing to do, you have more than enough time to do nothing?

My computer is STILL screwed up... I cant get the think working I should just get a new HD but I've already blown my allowance for the week. Have to wait.

At least it's Friday.

A week or two ago, I sent in a dream I had to the Danish newspaper Politiken, because they were offering free dream interpretations. It turns out they chose my dream for one of their articles (probably because it is fucked up), and they had 4 experts try and interpret it. Here are the results, as translated by me, with commentary in italics. I reccomend that you read the dream before reading the analysis.
1: A poisonous pill
"When you dream something from an earlier school, it is the dream insinuating that there is something you haven't learned in life. The face is about showing who you are, or putting on a mask. The yellow color belongs to the solar plexus chakra, which in turn stands for sympathy/antipathy, shame/guilt, anger/fear, but also confidence and self-worth - or lack thereof.
Your dream is about being able to say when, about being who you are. Maybe you have had to swallow a 'poisonous pill' in your life, have had to accept something, and now have to be honest 'to the skin' (My attempt at translating a Danish figure of speech... I don't think there is an English version, but do /msg if you know one.). Maybe being a bigger brother/the oldest have had its price.
There are a lot of aggresion in your dream, and it is possible that this side doesn't get much exposure in your real life - the dream compensates for it. Walking into a cave with Egyptian artifacts, suggests that you are finding an older more natural side of yourself. When you dream about fire, it suggest that you have enthusiasm and energy and are looking closely at your own perception of life. And when you burn your friend (it wasn't my friend, it was some random character) - who stands for your energy - it means that there is something you need to change - maybe you need to change your behaviour towards others? Do you normally walk around and beat people up, 'burn' them, scare them, because if you do, it is that behaviour that needs to be changed. It could also mean that you are very quiet and don't show who you are, in which case you need to be more noisy, aggressive and energetic."

It is true that I am a quiet person in real life. And I often hate that side of myself, for not being more open to other people. I do feel, however, that I am improving in that aspect, and have been for some time now.

2: Angry young man
"The classroom stands for being taught, learning. Chemicals are an artificial means. The cave is the subconsciousness. Egyptian is a pointer to old mysteries. Noise equals attention. Fire means transformation and change. Hands are giving and receiving.
The dream tells me that the dreamer has inner tensions of more or less aggressive character towards his younger siblings. It is mirrored in the dream by the dreamer's attempt at scaring them, but at the same time, the lecture is that when you hurt others, you hurt yourself. The dreamer understands this, and the pain goes away, and it follows that the dreamer gets the opportunity to dig out old things from the subconsciousness.
Then the dream returns to the 'present', where he shows that he wants to be noticed, and that negative attention is better than none. It ends in a conflict for 'the others', who get beat up. The element of fire tells us that it is time to look at inner tensions to work on the reason that the dreamer is an angry young man."

I used to have massive fights with my brothers when we were small, and it always ended in a deadlock, where I would pin them down and make them promise not to start again, yet I knew they would. I have since become quite good with them though, and I have no problem with either.

3: Attention
"Think about if you are honest towards yourself about your life. It seems as though you need some attention. Also thing about how you really see your siblings as persons, as they tell you something about yourself. Lastly, look at what the Egyptian artifacts tell you. Maybe it is a new and darker side to yourself that you have discovered in the cave. But maybe also something that is not entirely real.
It also seems as though you could be angry with yourself. You don't use the strength that you possess in a good way in your life, which seems emotional currently. I see it as important that you in your real life take good care so as not to get hurt and 'burn' yourself."

I don't believe one can be entirely satisfied with life. I do however feel quite well these days. A couple of years ago I had a major depression and visited a shrink (though I never felt it did any good, it must have).

4: Shadowsides
"That is some dream. A classroom means something needs to be learned. Something old is in you. Rome is a symbol of old things and sights. Try looking at the teacher, what qualities does he have, and then look at yourself. Are there similarities, or qualities that you would like yourself? Do you know him, or is he an unknown side of yourself?
The old that is in you shows itself as the cave, an archetypical symbol. You wish to scare your siblings - who also represent sides of yourself - but suddenly it's serious and it hurts. You want to free yourself from the pain, but it means that you lose face. The dream leads you on and tells you that if you free yourself, the pain will cease and you will gain a greater self.
You burn a side of yourself, the person you set on fire in the dream. Dreams are a product of yourself, and all persons appearing are sides of yourself, that you like or not. By looking at the qualities of the persons, you can learn a great deal about yourself.
Find the thing that forces you down - I think you know what it is - look at it, and it will no longer be scary. The more you refuse to see what scares you in the eyes, the more it scares you."

I like the part about losing face, I didn't even think about it that way myself. The persons in my dream are typically very generic and thus very hard to find certain qualities in, but the guy I burned, I remember him as a real asshole. The kind of asshole that screws up the party. I don't remember ever having done that, though, except New Years eve in 1997 where I fell asleep in the bathroom.

This was quite entertaining, and I am sure that upon re-reading these analysises in the near future, that I will learn something more from them. I do still believe, though, that the dream has the meaning I choose to give it and nothing more.

(Pleasantly) "Hi, I'm here to pick up my check."



"Hrm...I don't seem to have anything here."

(sigh) "All right, I'll do down and talk to payroll directly"

(drive to payroll, which is conveniently located in a building 2 miles away from the offices...I can only speculate why)

(A tad annoyed) "Hi, I was looking for my check. I asked in the department office but it wasn't there. I thought it might still be here"

(short, fat, obnoxious little man) "Hrm...no, we don't have it. What's your name?


"Right...okay...hrm. I don't seem to have you in the system"

"Riight...I've been working here for a month and a half. I've yet to get paid. I was told I was going to be paid two Fridays ago, then last Friday, then this one."

"Well, if you're not in the system, you're definitely not going to be paid. Let me check again, what's your social security number?"

(Realizing this is hopeless) "66-66-6666"

"Hrm...nope. Looks like you haven't been entered yet. I'll talk to someone and find out what happened. You'll be paid on Friday"

(anger rising) "No, I will be fucking paid TODAY. I have been here six weeks. I've been trying to get you morons to enter me into the payroll the WHOLE GODDAMN TIME! NOW CUT ME A FUCKING CHECK!!!"

(Clearly not realizing the danger he's in) "Listen, if you're not in the system we can't pay you."

Inhaling sharply, my hands clench into fists. I feel the surge of righteous wrath boiling in my brain. The room suddenly grows cold as its heat is absorbed into my body.

I begin to grow.

Every muscle in me grows taut as the white-hot heat of rage grips me. The dim room is lit by the reddish glow emanating from my body. My head snaps back, eyes closed, arms out to my sides, a hellish scream rips from my body. Glassy eyed, the smallish tub of fat stands helpless before me.

Seven feet tall, I tower above the simple-mid ed fool. I bring my head up again and my eyes open, glowing red in place of white. With every muscle straining, I raise both hands, fingers outstretched, pointing at the now babbling ignoramus. A searing heat tears through my body, racing into my arms. With a jerk, power blasts from my fingers, ripping into his blubbery form. He is immediately thrown into wall behind him, impacting with a sickening crunch. His charred and broken frame slide to the ground, as the smell of burning cellulite fills the air.

With another scream, the power suddenly blasts from my body in all directions, smashing through brick and concrete. The building begins ripping apart from its inside, detonating outward in a horrific explosion.

Standing amidst a pile of rubble, I feel the last remnants of my power fade. I gasp as fatigue attacks my body, drained from expending so much energy at once.

As the dust begins to settle on the smoldering wreckage, a small envelope, its white paper sharply contrasting with the charred landscape, slowly flutters from the sky. Extending my hand, it falls delicately into my palm--alighting as nimbly as a butterfly.

Peering through its white membrane, I can just make out the phrase "Pay to the order of r00k123"

Smiling, I stroll to my car.


My dad's out of town for a week, so I figure I'll take the jet ski to the lake and relax a little.

It takes me ten minutes to hitch it to the truck, because the hitch is broke. I fix it, and get under way.

I get to Lake Lewisville, where it costs $5 to get in. There's nobody working the fee shack, and there aren't any envelopes in the payment box. I figure screw it, I'm only going to be here an hour, and drive through.

There's nobody on the lake. A joyous day for me.

I put the jet ski in the lake, park the truck, and go climb on.

It won't start. It would appear I don't have enough battery to get it going. By now, I've drifted far enough out that I'd have to swim it back. Off I go.

I tie it to the dock and go get the truck. The lake is so high this year that I'm walking on what used to be a picnic area. I fall in some kind of underwater pit and gouge my leg open.

I get the truck, back the trailer in, and load up. I'm off.

I get home, un-hitch the jet ski, and back it into the garage. I feel fine the whole time, but once I put the front of the trailer down, my back and right arm suddenly hurt.

I'm just going to go lay on the couch for the rest of the day so I don't get killed by a falling plane or runaway cement truck.

As I was turning to leave after writing this, I banged my left elbow into my desk and it is now bleeding. Somebody please save me.

I'ts a good day to be single.
Why you may ask?? Maybe cause I woke up this morning feeling refreshed from a great nights sleep. I'm experiencing a freedom and happiness I once feared was slowly being extinguished in my life by a girl named Amanda who is now my X. Amanda(last name unmentioned) , now that is a paragraph all by itself. When I first me her, I never imagined the lifeless whore she would turn out to be. Commitment is a word she will never know the meaning of. Responsiblity is another one. In the 9 months we were together, she never had a job for more than 2 weeks. She was a leech, a slut, and a sloth(not to mention extremely arrogant). When her confidence was high enough, she acted like the whole world was in her vainy hands; only to come to the realization that she was extremely lacking in brain powerie: robbing and ATM and leaving her card in the slot and motivation due to the large amounts of crack she subjected herself to on her dream vacation in California where she resorted to stripping for money and drugs. She is a reject in this world due to her lack of moral ethics. Amanda, if you are reading this, GET YOUR FUCKING PATHETIC LIFE TOGETHER before the entire world rejects you. Your parents already rejected you - what's stopping the rest of us? Oh, and say hi to your two fellow stooges for me. Treat them well, for they are your only remaining friends...

After going to bed at the insanely early hour of midnight, I was surprised to wake up at ten this morning and still feel a bit sleepy. My needy teenage body does not seem to enjoy cooperating with a mind less focused on daily necessities as opposed to long-term goals. This is something I must learn to live with for the next two years.

I watched The Price is Right, the game show to end all game shows (at least since Let’s Make a Deal isn’t on tv these days), from eleven til noon. Bob Barker is looking quite frail, but he still manages to keep young minds entertained. And old ones, too. Naturally. I made breakfast during the first showcase showdown. This leads to my daily intake log:

I had to work at 2:30 this afternoon. It was an extremely busy day in comparison to our usual business. Several couples picked July 6 to buy entire sets of dishes ranging from $200 to $500 total. It was exciting.

There is a woman who comes into the store every week or so by the name of G*y*n (she is always wearing her nursing nametag, so we all know her personally). She has been coming to Pfaltzgraff for many years on a weekly basis, buying random selections that total about twenty dollars each visit. The next week she is usually back to return what was purchased the week before, or to exchange it for something else. We all know her by sight and sound, as well as the all white uniform she wears in addition to a stethescope around her neck. The scary thing is, she is not all there. 34 cards, maybe 35 on a good day, but that is the extent of her mental deck. And she is an RN. Another reason to lose a little bit of faith in society.

On Not Recognizing My Father

The Amtrak Coast Starlight pulls into Paso Robles only 15 minutes late. I step onto the platform and scan the small crowd of people there. I don't see anyone waiting for me, so I walk to the bank of pay phones and call home.
"Hey, there!"
I look around, and spy this guy who might look like Ben Kingsley wearing an extra 20lbs and a Hawaiian shirt.
Strange, that’s my father.
"You staying for a week?"
"No, got to leave Sunday."
"Why did you pack so much?"
I know you would like me to stay longer, Dad.
We climb into the new family vehicle, a late model Chevy Blazer. Dad takes it through the few stoplights that comprise downtown Paso Robles and heads out the backroads towards the house. I notice a filter mask sitting on the dashboard.
"I was just at the doctor’s office, getting a shot and some more blood work. My white count cell is pretty low. They might not be able to do the next chemo. The nurse told me to wash after shaking hands with anyone. She gave me a mask to wear. I told her that I had a party planned tonight and it’s hard to drink wine through a mask. She told me not to be with anyone tonight. I groaned, it’s only my thirtieth wedding anniversary."

preparing for the party

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