bunt sign

Wednesday, March 7, 2001

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I think I have bushtits.

It's either that or blue-gray gnatcatchers, or maybe some kind of chickadee. Tiny little birds that swarm through the garden like bees, chirping at each other and flitting around nervously. (Okay, that isn't exactly like bees.) Then, they're gone. In fact, they didn't stay long enough for me (an amateur, to say the least) to make a positive identification.

Bushtits, though, I'm pretty sure.

They were all over the garden for awhile yesterday, but within a few minutes they'd moved on. All that activity, followed by the silence of a schoolyard just after recess. It was a little like being visited by trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Since I spent all of yesterday typing and retyping the same letter, I won't try to relive that tedium here. It was enough to go through it once, but let me just make one point.


Table formatting in Microsoft Word isn't as user-friendly as it's cracked up to be. It doesn't help that the Boss keeps changing his mind about how he wants this proposal to look. It's hard to fold in another column of figures (with text, of course) between and among what I've already typed.

There was one number, in the middle of the page, that I couldn't get to print at all until I put it on a different row, which offset it awkwardly from the accompanying text. And there was a total that suddenly decided to print itself in the middle of the column of figures. I usually look for the total at the bottom of the column, but apparently Word sees it differently.

And that's not to mention how Word puts page breaks in all the wrong places. Every Single Time I had to add or delete a line, the pages would break in a way that was stupid and confusing. I was moving margins up and down, and changing font sizes, and adding space before and after lines, until my eyes started to bleed. And this happened All Day Long, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

But wait. I wasn't going to go over this again. No use dwelling, so I'll stop before I start hyperventilating.

To get away from the computer and into the cool almost-spring air, I puttered around in the garden late in the afternoon. I didn't get much done, because every time I got going, I'd hear the fax machine roaring to life with yet another revision of the letter.

Some weeds just outside the back door have been bothering me for way too long, so that was where I started. I didn't want to stray too far from the porch, because I didn't know what the range of the cordless phone was, and I couldn't afford to miss a call. (Later, I tried phoning the time from the garage. It came in clearly, which leads me to believe I can roam a lot further than I previously suspected.)

Most of my efforts for the day were concentrated on the camellia bush. I picked the fallen camellias up off the ground, because I didn't want petal blight. (I have no idea if this is a real condition or not. I read about it somewhere.) I think I like camellias a lot less after that dirty job. They're not so pretty when they're all brown and yellow and full of big ugly bugs.

So it wasn't a totally wasted day. And if we get the job that I spent all day typing that proposal for, I'll feel a whole lot better about it all.

Coda: The Boss went on the road today, so he won't be near a fax machine for a few days and I'll be able to get my Real Work done. I'm not sure why I consider the boring daily grind more Real than an important proposal letter. Maybe it's just that if I don't do it on time, I'll be spending my weekends catching up.

Monday sunset

I was going to write something in yesterday's entry comparing the songs that were popular when I was fifteen with the hit "tunes" of today. You know — "I Want to Hold Your Hand," vs. ... what?

That's the point, really. I don't know the songs fifteen-year-olds listen to. I just have this vague sense that a lot of these songs are about violence and hate. That they either mimic or encourage the raging frustration that goes with being fifteen, even in the suburbs, even when your life isn't all that bad (although you might not realize it).

I could be wrong, but that's the feeling I get from scanning up and down the radio dial, and listening to Channel X on satellite. Yeah, there's a lot of other stuff, too. But somehow I don't think the kid in Santee listens to 'NSync. They say his favorite band is Limp Bizkit. Are they loud? Are they angry? Are they a symptom of something wrong — an emptiness that needs filling, or a fevered brow that needs soothing?

Probably not. Probably I'm way off base. It's just music, after all. It doesn't have anything to do with real life.

previousbunt signemailnext

Latest recommendations:

Jessie, Blueberry Hill, March 5, Every one of you

Lynda, (Parenthesis), March 6, A Letter to Bethany

Other recent recommendations can be found on the links page.
Subscribe to the list to be notified of updates.

You end up like a dog that's been beat too much,
'Til you spend half your life just covering up.