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7:35 a.m. - 2002-01-28

SLOWLY ADJUSTING TO THIS NEW TV SCHEDULE

I feel much better now than I did in yesterday's entry. Thanks for asking.

Word to the wise ... I cannot email out of here for some reason. So if you email me, don't expect an answer. Just know that I received your message and it was very thoughtful of you and I like macademia nuts too and blah blah blah.

So anyway...after my mini breakdown, there was Sunday.

I was woken up by Susie's phone call at 7 a.m. after getting a few hours of sleep. She was calling to make sure I got in okay and I said yeah, but I was missing her and the baby horribly. She said that they missed me too and that it wasn't the same without me there. I told her that at least she had the comforts of home there, whereas I was facing a totally different TV schedule here. I mean...they show "The Simpsons" at 8 p.m. here. Gimme a break! Do these West coast people have any idea that's 10 p.m. my time?!? Who the hell watches "The Simpsons" at 10 p.m.? I guess I was expecting prime time television to begin at 5 p.m. here and end at 8. And all the bosses on the west coast let their people go home early each day to watch TV.

I mean...in a perfect world, that's how it would be...right?

But no. These insane northerners don't even start watching prime time until 10 p.m. central time.

What do they do?? Hike and square dance all damned night?

So anyway, hung up with Suze and took a shower and looked out my front door.

Those are some of the mountains right outside my door. The blue station wagon down there?? The Bobmobile. Pretty sleak, eh? It's hard to get a much sexier rental car then that. Anyway...the mountain straight ahead was beee-yooo-teee-ful. Gorgeous mountain.

I went down for that HUMONGOUS CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST that I was promised on the hotel's website.

Bagels and cereal.

Whooohoooo. If this is continental, we must be in Antarctica. Because there ain't nothin' of substance here.

I ate a bagel and had some orange juice, feeling mighty European if I do say so myself.

I then came back to my room, calculated the time change and realized that I'd be in church right now if I was home.

So I said a little prayer, thanking God for my safe journey here and not to forget about watching over me on my trip back. I thanked him for everyone's health around me and then I kinda asked if he could somehow speed up time and get me the hell out of this hotel a whole lot quicker than my itinerary said I'd be leaving.

We'll see.

I tried unsuccessfully for hours to connect to the web with no results. This made me feel even worse. I learned one thing so far this trip ... the more things you have that remind you of home, the better you'll feel. Except for pictures of my kid. For some reason, that goes over the line and makes it feel worse. But if I have the internet and decent prime time television, I'm okay.

About noonish, Natashka gives me a call. The Natter lives in Eugene and volunteered to be my guide through the city if I'd buy her lunch and take her to the mall.

I did both things.

She's a sweet gal and a lot of fun. Plus she knew her way around the city and was very helpful and comforting to be around.

First we got a map so that when she left me, I wouldn't be completely lost.

Then, lunchtime. We had a great lunch at Cafe Zenon, a hip little bistro that I think was downtown. It could have been in Egypt for all I know, I was totally turned around. But man...good stuff.

So then, we were going to have her show me some of the areas where I had interviews scheduled, but I decided that since I now had a map I could find all that stuff myself when I needed to.

So...show me THE MALL!!!

We went to the mall and walked around, checking out toys and CDs and products made in Oregon (I ate a rock. Don't ask. I wouldn't have done it, but the saleslady forced it on me. "Would you like to try a chocolate rock?" DAMMIT WOMAN! QUIT HOUNDING ME!! YES, I'LL TRY ONE OF YOUR CHOCOLATE ROCKS!!)

We decided to check out the downtown area, where I swiftly avoided being hit hard by a truck. I think Nat sensed my impending sleepiness so she suggested we head on back to the hotel to let me get a nap.

Wonderfu...zzzzzz.

At my insistance, we stopped at a grocery store where I could stock up on Diet Dr. Pepper and these things called Kettle Chips which are the best g-damned chips on the market. We don't have these in Alabama. We have pork rinds which are fried pork intestines or something.

We got back to the hotel and Natashka said she thought she could fix my computer so I could hook up to the internet.

Ahhhhh...the youth of today. Always there to help an old man out.

It took her about 15 minutes to fix it, but we fixed it.

She rebooted the machine.

Boom.

There's your internet.

Uhhhhh...gee thanks. I'm a bumbling idiot.

So she left after getting one of my patented awkward hugs for being such a great help and I settled in for some internet surfing which lasted about 34 seconds before I laid down on the bed and passed out cold.

Woken up by Susie again. I need to start calling her Susie Alarmclock because she keeps waking me up.

We talked and I told her about how hard it's been to be apart from her and the baby. She said she's glad she didn't take a recent job offer that would have found her travelling quite a bit. I told her there'd be NO WAY she could have done it. Absolutely positively NO WAY.

She agreed.

We hung up and I called one of my oldest and dearest friends Jamie, who told me her son had been in a car wreck December 8th. A bad one. One that people don't recover from. He was in a coma for two weeks and the doctors said his brain damage was extensive. But yesterday, they let him leave the hospital to go to church and he's able to communicate and be a smartass once again.

And it made me realize the true problems in life. The fact that I'm away from my boy for five days is a miniscule, trivial nugget of everyday life.

My boy is healthy and in good hands.

Having a son in a coma, clinging to life...that's what they call a REAL problem.

It gave me a lot of insight into my situation and I felt much better about what I'm doing.

I watched "The Simpsons". A little piece of home.

I watched "The Weakest Link". A bigger piece of home.

I marked all my destinations on my new map and am prepared to face the workday.

I ironed some clothes.

And I went to bed.

Today, I'm ready for the work week. I haven't been so jazzed for a Monday morning ever.

The rest of the week will be a downhill slide.

Let's get this party started right.

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