August 27, 1999
Waiting To Be Wired
I know, I know ... that last entry made ZERO sense. Forgive me. It was "composed" through a thick fog of physical exhaustion, creative desperation and bad restaurant food. But it ALSO quite handily illustrates what I've been saying for weeks now ... that my brain turns to Quaker Oats after a day at The Totem Pole Company.

Morning, Dear Readers.

It's a beautiful sunny Friday, and I am taking a rare -- and much-deserved -- day off from work today. A reprieve, if you will, from blinking voicemail lights and imploding fax toner cartridges and grownups acting like big collicky BABIES.

Even better,  it's a sanctioned reprieve. None of this calling-in-at-7:47-a.m.-with-*stomach-flu*-nonsense for me, anymore: I applied for the day off at the very beginning of the week. My excuse? A purposely vague "personal emergency."  The reality? David and I are finally having that second phone line installed today, and SOMEBODY has to be here to make sure Phone Company Guy doesn't eat our cheese or rearrange our snow globe collection or jump up and down on our bed while we're out.  So I am able to enjoy a long, guilt-free, Franz-free weekend ... knowing that my job will be right where I left it, come Monday morning.


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I should explain that having the second phone line installed today is a landmark event for David and I.

For one thing, it's the first significant change we've made to The Castle since we had the gas turned on last year, right after I moved in. We've made some minor cosmetic improvements, here and there -- a new bookcase for the ever-growing CD collection (I have the top two shelves: he has the bottom NINE), new refrigerator magnets, new Happy Panda Toaster -- but this is more than a cosmetic change. This is a lifestyle change.

More about that in a minute.

Another reason this is such a big deal? It represents the INCREDIBLY RARE INSTANCE where *I* didn't immediately get my way in this particular relationship. I've been making noise about wanting another phone line for months now. I was tired of having to "take turns" going online ... tired of loved ones (and not-so-loved ones, occasionally) being forced to page us at odd hours of the day and night, any time they wanted to get through on the phone and YELL at us ...

... and, of course, tired of signing onto AOL and not seeing "DRaftervoi" on my Buddy List unless I'm three states away. (It's funny. I live with with the man now. I get to wake up next to him every morning. I share a toothbrush holder with him. But even after nearly a year of blissful togetherness, I still "miss" talking to him online sometimes. Someone wanna explain that one to me?)

Anyway. To me, it just seemed logical ... sensible, even ... for two dedicated cyber junkies to have dual phone lines.

David didn't see it that way. At least, not right away. His objection was mostly financial: "I'm a tightwad," he said simply. This isn't strictly true -- point him at a rack of guitar magazines or a used CD store, and he can be just as freewheeling with a dollar as anyone on the planet -- but I understood the point he was trying to make. Right now we are attempting to extricate ourselves from beneath a mountain of debt. Little by little, paycheck by paycheck, we are making progress. (The Ex Husband actually called and THANKED me, two nights ago, for being "reliable" about paying my child support. "It makes a big difference," he said.)  So tacking another monthly expense -- however small, or however "necessary" it might seem -- onto our list of bills seemed counterproductive. We don't have cable TV -- or personal trainers, or Redken Flash-Wash Shampoo -- for pretty much the same reason.

I understood his financial objection. I didn't like it, but I understood. It's pretty tough to argue with somebody who is trying to create a better future with you. So I shut up already about the second phone line.

Besides. There was ALSO the fact that *desktop real estate* is pretty SCARCE around The Castle. We've still got both computers crammed into one tiny workspace -- my old desk, which we brought down here from Oregon in a creaky U-Haul truck. And unless one of us wants to sit on the other's lap -- a not-totally-unpleasant option, mind you, but one that makes concentration ... umm ... difficult  -- there really isn't any way we can both do the tandem-computer thing. At least, not here at this desk.

So the second phone line idea went on the back burner, time and again.

But then two things happened that opened the subject up for discussion, once again: I got bumped to the top of The Totem Pole and started seeing those slightly-less-sucky paychecks ... AND we acquired a used laptop computer from David's best friend, Graham. It's nothing fancy -- an old 486 Toshiba Satellite Pro, with only slightly less memory than *I* have -- but it's functional, and it's got a decent modem, and it looks GREAT with Hello Kitty Bee stickers plastered all over it. All of a sudden, I started having these lovely visions of myself sitting in bed with the laptop in the evenings -- working on my website and writing leisurely e-mail -- whilst my beloved works on the "big" computer, out in the kitchen. (Or at least we could pretend to work. In reality we would probably be i.m.'ng each other. "Hi, HoneyBuns! Bring me a glass of ice water, wouldya?" "OK, ShnookyDoodle ... but only if you rub my FEET!")

And suddenly that second phone line became an issue all over again.

David still protested, even though I promised that I would arrange for the installation and clean up the mess and pay for everything -- I felt like a little kid trying to convince Daddy to let me have a puppy, forcryingoutloud -- but eventually he relented. And now I'm sitting here on a sunny Friday morning, waiting for Phone Company Guy to show up and make this a Two Telephone Line Castle.

I'll let you know how it goes.



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