Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday started early and ended late. It was especially troubling for my father since his cable-ready TV was now 300 miles away in Ruston and he was left with a small portable TV and network broadcast programming. TV, and especially televised football, is the center of his life, somehow helping him make some sense of a world he is increasingly unable to participate in. In the absence of TV he becomes quite irritable.

When I went running that morning, I was greeted by a lonely dog wearing an invisible fence collar that gave him an apparently quite painful shock when he strayed too far from the house. He was obviously looking for some companionship, so I walked into the driveway and shared some physical contact with him, careful to move closer to the house when I heard his collar start beeping. But I had things to pack and I walked away. However, the dog's need for affection overwhelmed his need for physical comfort and he suddenly came bolting at me, yelping all the way from the pain caused by the collar. I finally started yelling at him to go home and he relented. However, I am now a firm opponent of the invisible fence, that, like the "No Child Left Behind" legislation, is strong on the punitive but lacking in the remedial.

One notable item from the final day of packing was a bag of pills that my mother collected from all the unused prescription drugs that has built up in the kitchen cabinets over the past three decades. I ended up burying them in the backyard, but I would imagine they have some toxicity in such concentrations. I recently read about how many popular drugs do not break down in sewage treatment plants and are becoming observable in rivers that are used for drinking water by downstream residents. Guess I'm part of that trend.

My cousin Sean and his three-man roofing crew (Jerry, Jimmy and Timmy) arrived around 3AM. They had been delayed from leaving St. Joseph, MO due to an acrimonious dispute with another client. My mother did not realize that I had planned for them to sleep in the living room and she was a bit taken aback by this invasion of her privacy. I made some perfunctory phone calls to area hotels to confirm my belief that there were no available rooms in the inn - thus necessitating the men sleeping on our living room floor in the first place. But there was no problem as the guys were quite friendly (despite a 16-hour drive in a pickup) and they immediately retired for what was left of the night.

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Next: Tuesday, November 29, 2005

By and large women believe that the workplace is a meritocracy, and it isn't. (Myra Hart, Harvard Business School)