Journal Entry

I feel like I’ve spent the whole day mowing, from sunup to sundown. In truth, it’s been a little less than that.

Back to work this morning, and really not as bad as I expected. I had clean, easy work to do today. I had a meeting last week with the engineer, in which we went over a two hundred page document page by page, and marked down every change that needed to be made. That was brutal, but once it was done, the actual change process is fairly simple. I spent the day today working on that.

I also had some time over lunch, and some free time in the afternoon that I spent working on KJW. I typed up B23 and B24 and B25, which I had written over the weekend, and I had to write a thousand words to finish up B25, which is about half. I got most of that done in the morning. Then over lunch I wrote out B26 and B27, and then as I was bragging to T– and K– about that at the end of the day (over GMail chat), I got so caught up in it that, instead of going home from work, I wrote B30 (which is the final section of the book).

Now, some of you are math whizzes out there (I’m looking at you, Toby), and you’ll have figured out that I skipped B28 and B29 in that paragraph. That’s okay. It amounts to twelve pages between them, and I already know what happens (the Council offers their allegiance to Jason if he’ll support the war, and then Myriam asks Jason to marry her — it’s complicated). Twelve pages, and I could probably do that in a day, if it’s a slow one. If not, it’s a small matter to finish it over two, and that still leaves me two more to type up the handful of vignette pages that I need to finish the story out (a smattering between N16 and N29 — N30 got cut).

So there you go. Most of my day centered around King Jason. That, and an air conditioner modification to our long range radars in high ambient and high corrosion environments. Not around a lawn mower at all.

But I got home from work, intending to do the laundry as a favor to T–, and found she’d already done it. So instead, I spent an hour playing with my computer as a favor to T–, and then headed to Edmond to mow my sister’s yard as a favor to my brother-in-law.

Now, let me take a moment to expound on mowing my sister’s yard. First, I hate mowing. I really, really hate mowing. Nobody enjoys it, but I hate it, to a very unreasonable degree.

But my little sister lives in Edmond which, for the most part, is filled with nazis. K– and N– insist this isn’t true, but they do such a good job taking care of their responsibilities without anyone asking, that they’d never have a chance to notice nazis anyway.

Should I capitalize that? Nah, I’m not going to bother. I’m generalizing far beyond the context of the proper noun anyway.

Okay, so, S– lives across the street from a particularly awful lawn nazi. Really, a complete asshole. I try to avoid language like that on my blog, just because I want my mom and dad to start reading it, but in this case it clearly applies. Also, there’s going to be a lot of it in this post.

So, I’ve already established a little bit about my likes and dislikes. Specifically, I hate mowing, but I hate nazis more. And S–‘s asshole neighbor is a nazi. They’re both true things about her, I don’t know which one causes which, but they’re definitely mutually reinforcing.

Anyway, so I get–

Oh! (Yes, I just interrupted myself. Deal with it.) I also really hate talking to people I don’t know. It makes me extraordinarily uncomfortable. Even people I know sometimes make me nervous (brothers-in-law for instance, even the ones I like…which, so far, is all of them, amazingly enough… huh, I just realized that).

Buh! Benadryl is making me dopey. Anyway, so I get to S–‘s house, and have to do this whole complicated rite to get the necessary doors unlocked and the dogs locked away in their run in the back yard. It’s like a puzzle game. I’m Link, out there opening the garage side door so that I can unhook the lock on the back yard gate, but I have to open the dog run gate before the side gate or else the dogs will escape, and then I’ll have to chase them down and once I’m carrying a dog under both arms I cannot work the latch on the back yard gate so I have to go through the house or garage, but that requires that I already opened one or both of those doors and left it open….

Seriously, Legend of Zelda stuff here.

Anyway, so I beat the first two levels of that, and then there I am with the lawn mower out on the driveway out front, and who’s standing out in their driveway across the street except that very asshole neighbor, chatting away with a bunch of friends. Now, as I understand it, she’s supposed to be the sort of nazi who leaves notes, not the sort who talks to you, but since I already think she’s an asshole, and I hate having to talk to strangers, I just assume she’s going to want to talk to me, so I get this big knot of hate going in my gut.

I force that from my mind, and yank the cord on the lawn mower. It goes guh-guh-guh, real loud, but doesn’t start. All six of the people on the neighbor’s driveway look at me, and I probably blushed (yeah, I’m that bad). It’s really no big deal, though, because you often have to prime a lawnmower, so I gave it another yank, and guh-guh-guh, but it doesn’t start. So I look all over for some sort of primer (that’s what mine has, a little vaccuum button sort of thing), but there’s none. I try again, three or four times, and every time I pull the cord all these strangers look at me and I’m all, “Gah!” in my head but (of course) say nothing out loud, and I’m just praying the stupid thing will start.

I go through that whole process two or three times, and each time I prod or poke some other bit sticking out of the side of the mower engine, until finally one lever ends up working. So the lawnmower pops to life, roaring real loud, and my adoring audience all look over again and I’m half expecting them to burst into applause, but they’re not actually as interested in me as I thought they were. Right after that, though, they all split up, leaving only the neighbor’s stupid-looking family standing out on the driveway.

So I start mowing…walk walk walk. Right, this is the part I hate under perfectly normal circumstances. And this time the neighbor is watching me, and I’m thinking to myself, “I’m pretty sure that one’s the asshole nazi one,” and she just watches me cutting back and forth, and it’s really getting to me.

Then, as I’m making a turn, she walks across the street, and smiles at me, and says, “It looks nice, huh?”

And I said, “What?” I had to yell over the motor (I think that last little bit I poked was the throttle, and I probably turned it all the way up, and I didn’t turn it back down — so it was loud). She said basically the same thing, and I shrugged and walked on around (which is my way of not talking to people), and when I got back she nodded, still smiling, and said the same thing.

So (see, I’m not good at being openly rude to people who don’t get it on the first try), I let the lawnmower die, and I sighed, and I said, “Huh?”

And she said, “It makes a big difference, huh?”

Now I was cutting the grass a lot shorter than it had grown, because J– keeps his mower set low, so there was a dramatic difference, but it really didn’t look that bad to start with. Anyway, I hated this lady before she said the first word, so I wasn’t about to agree with her. I shrugged. “It’s not that bad.” And she looked like she was going to argue, and I spent all day writing about people who talked over someone who looked like they were about to argue, and I guess that got to me because I said, “Y’know, I don’t live here. This is my sister’s house. I’m just mowing the lawn as a favor because she’s got this asshole neighbor who’s always bitching about her lawn.”

And she just stood there, her mouth open. I don’t really talk like that to strangers. (I sometimes use much dirtier words, but only for laugh factor, and only around friends.) And I could tell this lady was highly offended by what I was saying, and I was pretty sure no one had ever chastised her for all the hell she’d given my little sister, so I shook my head and said, “I can’t imagine living next to someone like that. I’d go insane. It must be real hell, huh?” Y’know, pretending I didn’t think she was the asshole neighbor (and kinda covering my ass in case I had the wrong chick). Then I jerked the cord, because I was ready to be openly rude again, and finished mowing the front yard.

So…apart from finishing two novels in one month, that’s about the coolest thing I’ve done this year.

*Contented sigh*

Now! Back to my list of things I hate! So, we start with mowing, and then move up to nazis, and talking to strangers is somewhere in there too (it’s no longer relevant to the story, so I’m not going to labor over its ranking). There’s a few other items in the list. Dogs, but that’s sort of a low-grade hate, so it goes near the bottom. Now, chasing around the yard after dogs I hate, that’s higher up, but still probably not as high as mowing. Stepping in dog poo, though, that’s right up there. Probably equal to nazi.

So, dogs, chasing dogs, mowing, nazis, and stepping in dog poo.

You know what’s worse than stepping in dog poo? Mowing dog poo. Wait, just in case that image isn’t completely clear in your head, I should expound upon it. Not just mowing over dog poo but, because you’ve got no choice but to follow the mower where it goes, stepping in the greasy puddle left behind.

So, anyway, that for about forty-five minutes, and then I came home and mowed my own yard (which, you’ll recall, is something that I hate) just for a not-awful medium in which to get some of the mess cleaned off my shoes.

Hmm…y’know, reading back over it, this blog post really needs some disclaimers at the top of it….

Anyway, mowing my yard took another forty-five, and it bled the last of the sunlight from the sky, and the last of my energy from me, so there’s no way I’m going for a walk tonight. I did technically finish earlier than usual, though, so I had time to do an extra long blog post. And I wasted it writing this filth. Can you believe it?

Okay, I’m going to go read Harry Potter now. I’m up to chapter eight. In book one! Can you believe it?

I’m starting to sound like the guy at the end of Hudson Hawk. I’ll go before I start tossing out worse expletives than I’ve used so far.