Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The day started badly.

I had been up most of the night doing CPAexcel units on the subject of bankruptcy law, a somewhat depressing subject even if you have a good job and manageable debts. Obviously, I'm still working on the "good job" part. The units were due at midnight, but the computer-based grading system doesn't really care if you complete the assignment a little late. Just click a button that says "regrade" and all is copacetic. Even so, I didn't want to fall even further behind. I wanted to finish the entire section, but around 5 AM excessive sleepiness put an end ot that plan.

It would have been nice to sleep in a bit, but I awoke just after 10 AM and got up. I have an interview Thirsday morning for a part time bookkeeper/ accountant job at St. Michael's, for pay this time; and I needed to turn in the job application today. It was a PDF file, which I filled in by hand yesterday. My handwriting can at best be referred to as "somewhat readable," so John and I between us spent a few hours over the last day and a half trying to find a way to add my answers to the file as printed text. Saving each page as a jpg wasn't the most practical approach (or maybe it was), so John opened it in real Acrobat and tried to make it a fillable form. That would have been ideal, had it worked; but it didn't.

When I went to download the emailed edit of the file, I came across an ominous-looking email from the state unemployment service, something about my unemployment claim for last week. Uh-oh! Now what? When I tried to open the email, nothing happened. That's when the internet connection went down, completely and convincingly.

I spent the next hour booting John's computer, checking the modem, the router and various cables, and then playing with the job application file to see if I could find a way to add my data. No luck with any of it. I could add little comment boxes with red text, but that would do me no good.

Deprived of the internet, short of sleep, stymied by a program I should have been able to conquer, and even without a manila envelope in which to put the form as requested, I was not a happy camper. The unread email from the state almost certainly meant bad news, and I was annoyed that I'd have to turn in a messy, handwritten job application, undercutting my reputation at St. Michael's as a computer whiz. My pending job interview was starting to stress me out a little.

But I showered and dressed, put the application in the wrong kind of envelope and headed for a Hallmark shop and office supply store near the church. They had onesies for sale of manila envelopes in a variety of sizes, which I found within about a minute of an employee's friendly greeting at the door. As I went to pay for my envelope, I saw this little guy sitting near the register, waiting for a buyer:

Yeah, I know. I already have two rubber ducks. But he was very cute, and on sale for just fifty cents, and he's slightly shorter in length than my little finger. Besides, he can do this:

Can you see? He's got flashing red lights inside! I've named him Fester.

My brief visit to Plunkett's, with the friendly staff, the inexpensive envelope and the unexpected whimsy of a light-up rubber duck, marked the exact moment my day turned around completely. I dropped off my application in the right kind of envelope, and realized that nobody else cared that my info was handwritten. Furthermore, a St. Michael's volunteer told me that her Cox internet connection had also been down that morning, but had since come back up. I could stop worrying about equipment failure at my end of things, or prolonged internet deprivation.

When I got home, I opened the email from the state, and it was no big deal. Suddenly, after all these months, some human, computer or combination thereof has decided that it's a good idea to remind people to file their claim for the previous week if they don't jump on the task by 6 PM Monday, and warn them they'll be dropped unless they file by Friday. I filed on Tuesday and the system knows it. Everything is fine.

This afternoon I was at church again, doing the volunteer stuff, and early this evening the dogs and I went to the dog park as usual. I have to admit that after eight months, I'm getting a little bored with the place, and even the dogs are not enjoying the dog park itself as much as they used to. I took them around other areas of Reid Park, getting some exercise, amusing the dogs with interesting smells, and trying to prove to Pepper that the ferret she smelled at the concert was long gone. She should not expect to find ferrets in Reid Park. Yeah, sure - except tonight there was a couple near the performance center with a ferret on a leash! Fortunately I didn't let the dogs close enough to even know it was there. Ferrets! All in all, I prefer ducks. And so, of course, does Cayenne.


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