I lurched through the predawn darkness, pouring sweat, laboring up hills, trying not to lose control of my limbs on the way down hills. I guess you really can lose a lot in a week where running is concerned. Also, getting up this early again: I was befuddled and dim-witted with sleepiness at the gym. I wondered if people could tell how confused I felt. It’s just a cycle I have to get back into, getting up early enough that I need to go to bed early enough that I can get up early enough again.

I stopped at the drycleaner on the way to work with a load of shirts. I used to take pride in ironing the things myself, which I’m perfectly capable of doing. [FN 1] But I lost interest in doing it about a year ago, which meant after awhile that I was simply taking pride in not going to a drycleaner, even if my shirts were wrinkled anyway. I go to the Mr. Nifty on Greenmount, drycleaner to custodians and cops and firefighters. (Once, an imposing man wearing a shirt and tie and a pistol on his hip asked me where I’d gotten my jacket, which felt like a compliment.) On Wednesday, after we had finished our transaction, the clerk pointed at my Trader Joe’s bag (containing my work clothes, while I commuted in ratty shorts and a polo shirt).

“Is that your lunch?”

I explained what I was doing and she thought it was “a good idea.”

In the window of the Donna’s on St. Paul Street, a large, mustached man in a pink Oxford shirt sat at the counter in the window, talking on his phone. His Bluetooth headset left his hands free to pick his nose as I passed.

At work, it’s on to report number two of the series involving the Filemaker-database analysis I’ve described earlier. I’m on to another year’s data, which means I’m doing everything I had to for the last report all over again. At least I seem to have a working system this time. The question is whether I can get it all done by Friday next. We shall see. And my boss offered me some post-employment work already, which is nice. Coincidentally, I’d just been on the Missoula County Public Schools web site, looking into the requirements for substitute teaching. Damn, but they make you jump through some hoops for $9.64 an hour. References? Background checks? Did any of those somnolent oldsters who occasionally took the helm of my classes when I was a kid really go through all of that? You’d think it was an application to guard Fort Knox or some other precious. . . oh, yes, never mind. That and some other commercial freelance work suddenly makes it look like September will be pretty busy, and a time of plentiful groceries. Funny how much more appealing it is to think of doing the exact same work I’m doing now, but 2,200 miles away, on my own schedule, with an afternoon nap if I’m so inclined. And maybe in the university library, where I could break for lunch with A. and see what the fraternities are shouting about through their bullhorns in the dining hall. I think I’m going to like this.

At home, I packed three more boxes and mercilessly weeded out some of the incredible volume of papers a person like me accumulates. Some houses that I visit, it’s like there isn’t a sheet of the stuff in the house. Around me, however, it piles up as effortlessly as dandruff. (Metaphor only – that’s not currently a problem of mine, though my lower back does ache a little from time to time.)

I puttered around online [FN 2]while I was waiting for a call/visit from a Craigslister interested in the bedroom furniture. She had sworn up and down that she would come either Tuesday or Wednesday night at around 8 p.m. “If you don’t hear from me Tuesday, I’ll definitely be there Wednesday to pick it up.” No call/visit on Tuesday, of course. At around 9 p.m. Tuesday night, another respondent to the ad called to ask if the set were still available. I told her the situation and said I’d let her know on Wednesday. Sure enough, no sign of respondent #1 (actually, #4 at this point) on Wednesday, so I called the second one back. She came right over (she lives around the corner) and seemed to retain her interest even after seeing the stuff, which is always good. But she can’t pick it up until Tuesday, when she is moving out of her current house and will have a U-Haul truck available to her. Fine. It’s not like anyone else is exactly beating down the door.

I topped off the evening with yet another review of the Missoula-area house-rental web sites. There is one that I’d be willing to move on, except that it doesn’t allow pets, just like every other appealing rental we’ve yet located in those parts. I can sympathize, I guess – it just takes one corner left to stink eternally by some unfixed tom cat to sour a landlord forever, I imagine, but this is getting frustrating. It’s getting to the point where we’ll either have to lie and work it out later, or just go ahead and drown Zuzu now and get it over with.

Does anyone have a sack I can use?


FN 1: One of the many domestic skills I picked up or at least perfected in boot camp. Also making hospital corners in an unfitted sheet. It struck me as counter-intuitive at the time, how much time we spent ironing and delinting and otherwise fussing with our clothes, not to mention how much time we spent with our hands down each others’ pants, although this last was as always not what you’re thinking: your shirt had to be tucked in a certain way, and those of us who had mastered this skill and were tired of doing pushups and flutter kicks on behalf of those who had not were only too glad to lend some assistance. How did these people survive later, out on the ships, their shirts improperly tucked?

FN 2: I’m working on my own portfolio web site, after discovering that the design firm I contacted in town would “only” charge me about $5,000, or $1-2,000 if I kept it simple. I’m actually going to use WordPress blogging software, which is what powers this site, although I’ll pick a different template. I think it will work pretty well, actually, especially since I won’t be in a business that generally gets a lot of “walk-up” clients through a web site. All I need is a repository for some clips where I can send people if they’re curious.

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