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Last week was Ginny's vacation week, so I fully expected that work would be crazy. Carol and Toni both leave at noon during the summer, Carol works only three days, and Toni works four. Fortunately, this summer we also have Erick, a reasonably competent[1] office clerk. He's not fully trained on phones, but he's OK in a pinch. The big issue was making sure that I got some time for lunch. I was thinking ahead enough to bring lunch all week, and one day I ordered out, so usually I didn't need much more than five minutes out of earshot of the phone and the front door.

Trying to cover for Ginny is always a challenge. There's so much going on, and no matter how much she leaves in notes for me, there are always questions I just can't answer and things we didn't anticipate. I'm also not nearly as good at forcing Joe to work hard on the most urgent things on the list. I try, and he is much better at looking at lists and following up on his messages when Ginny's away, but it still leaves me at the end of the week feeling a bit like I'd been half-drowned, wrung out and hung up to dry.

Monday night after work, I made Soupy Chicken (because I'd been craving it) and figured that the leftovers would make several days' worth of lunches. This was a good plan.

Tuesday night, I called my friend Melissa to wish her a happy birthday. We have been friends for well over twenty years, and while we don’t talk often, we do consistently remember to call each other for our birthdays. Of course, I maintain that she has an easier job of this, since my birthday is just a week after hers. Instead of trying to catch up on everything since we last talked, we've established a pattern of just picking up in the middle of whatever's going on, as if the other knows all about it and who the people involved might be. Again, she has more of an advantage in this, since she met most of my friends in college - but then, I've made some friends since then, and she still hangs out with some of the people who were her friends when we were growing up. Anyway, she recently moved out of her parents' house, so she's very excited about that.

Wednesday was the day that really wiped me. We had a will signing scheduled for the afternoon, which I hadn't been able to change. We were going to be short a witness, but the secretaries for the other offices in the building are usually pretty good about helping out with that. However, when I picked up the messages from the answering machine, and discovered that Erick was taking the day off to go to Baltusrol to watch the PGA, I was Not Best Pleased. Neither was Joe, when he came in, especially since we needed to call in payroll and Erick hadn't left his hours. He almost didn't get paid because of that, although Joe ended up estimating his hours instead. Toni managed to stay a little late so that lunch was covered, and both Dineen and Debbie were available for the will signing, so it all worked out in the end, but it was one more thing I didn't need in an already challenging week.

Well, after that, I was in a mood for steak, so I called oidhche[2], but he was busy. Instead, I ended up watching the end of the Red Sox game. I started watching in the top of the seventh, when the score was 5-1. The game ended 16-5. I certainly picked an interesting game, and the right time to tune in.

After work Thursday, oidhche had both time and good news, so we went out for dinner and drinks and ice cream. Later on, I talked to daernhelm, who invited me to come spend part of the weekend at his place. I was thinking I wanted some plans for the weekend, so I was delighted to accept.

Finally, Friday rolled around. I managed to survive the work week. We were trying to get one last thing out the door, so it was almost seven by the time I left, but at least it was all finished. I didn't end up doing laundry as I'd planned. Instead, I just went to bed early. I really don't understand why it is that on weeknights, I'm usually up past midnight, even when I want to go to bed early. On Friday night, I almost always end up going to bed by about ten - except if I have to get up early, in which case I also stay up late. Logic and my sleep schedule simply do not intersect.

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[1] We are very nearly caught up on filing, for the first time in years. All of mine is done, and most of everyone else's. For that alone, I adore him. He also empties and takes out garbage, without being asked. He's got his quirks and problems, but who doesn't?

[2] Doesn't everyone automatically think of oidhche when they think of steak?