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Thursday, August 1, 2002

The first day of August dawned gray and dreary, as if it were the first day of February. When did time get six months out of joint? Has the earth flipped on its axis, and is it suddenly summer in the Other Hemisphere? (You know, the one you have to turn the globe upside down to see?) If so, I hope you're enjoying our weather, because I don't much care for yours.

At 10:15 this morning I just happened to be standing on the stepstool looking out the kitchen window. It's the only way I can see over the side yard fence and all the way out to the end of the driveway. I saw a car turn in and I was sure my auditor was here, but it was just someone turning around. The county is working on Llano Road and whoever this was didn't want to wait for the flagger to give him the go-ahead. I could have told him it wouldn't be long, since I'd been watching the traffic all morning.

It wasn't that I spent the whole day standing on the stool and waiting for my visitor to show up. Every time I heard a noise, though, I was up as if shot out of a cannon. I even kept the stereo off so I could hear better, but most of the sounds I heard were false alarms. The relative silence made the refrigerator running sound like a cement truck barreling up the drive. By the time he showed up, I was kinda sorta jumpy.

After he phoned (10:45 am), I was better. He was close, so I wouldn't be waiting much longer. He remembered vaguely from last year how to get here, but I do keep myself hidden away so he needed directions. I took the easy way out and told him the shortest route, instead of sending him to Petaluma and back first. I wanted it over and done.

Naturally, he was here and gone in less than twenty minutes, just like last year. He's an independent auditor and doesn't work for the evil insurance company that gave us the boot, so I don't mind saying: nice guy. He remembered my entertainment system, which isn't all that impressive to me but seems to give me some credibility in his eyes. Whatever it takes, I guess. He asked a few questions, I gave him a few answers, and he was out the door with a smile and a handshake.

He might be back, though. The funny part of this whole ordeal is that he always forgets what information he's supposed to get from me. He asks random questions about costs and receipts, and I throw out whatever I think the right answers are. This time nothing seemed to match up with last year's audit, so he took a few extra numbers with him, just to have as much information as he could think of.

If the insurance company wants something else, I guess I'll hear from him again. And I guess I'll go through all the detailed preparations, from printing out check records to sweeping the carpet (with a broom, since I don't have a vacuum) to obsessively pacing the floor (actually that very same carpet) and peering out the window. It'll be just as easy next time as it was today, but that won't keep me from hyperventilating whenever I think about it.

The sun finally came out, at just about the time he left. It might have been a coincidence.


They keep knocking it over and I keep picking it up.

Now I have to put all the clutter back where it belongs. Everything is so neat and tidy that I'll never find anything. I hope I can remember where to toss every scrap of paper with a phone number but no name, and every pen that's out of ink, and all of last month's issues of Baseball Weekly. I won't try to put back all the dust, but I'm sure it won't be gone long anyway.

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