Ozarque asked about the refrigerator. It is still not working. This is because we are still waiting on a part. In fact, it has developed new and alarming symptoms which I am trying to ignore, because I want to believe that the part will fix it. The fact that I am classifying raisins as “fresh fruit” shows the depth of my denial.

Yesterday was a full day. That Man and The Empress interviewed a candidate for the clerical position, and I dropped by in an utterly natural manner to meet her. Everyone drops by the store an hour early, right? She can do 13,000 strokes an hour on the ten-key machine. “She did that for an hour?” I said in horror, but this is why I am not a good candidate for the position. I do feel that I should clarify, though, that this was a test she had taken elsewhere, not a horrible audition we forced upon her. We hope she will begin on Tuesday.

Then That Man and I wrestled with the previous day’s deliveries.

Deliveries don’t usually involve wrestling. Except for the enormous, hundreds-of-boxes type, you would hardly notice them. There are a dozen boxes in the room, maybe, but they are neatly stacked. I open one, take out a stack of things and check them in, label them, put them away, and come back for another. I can leave it to help customers, there is no mess, and perhaps it just adds a little excitement — ooh! new stuff! — for shoppers.

This was different. For one thing, That Man was unpacking one shipment. He has a different method from mine. He opens all the boxes at once, removes things, and strews them all over all the work surfaces. He makes stacks and piles, and moves the boxes around to consume as much floor space as possible. I don’t know why he does this, but it explains why his office looks the way it does. At one point, The Empress chided him a bit (I think she might have noticed the way we had to reach over his piles of stuff on the counter to check people out, while the roll of labels spilled down the front of the counter and customers picked their way through the trail of boxes) and he said he was doing it decently and in order. He has a system.

But my unpacking also was less tidy than usual. I was doing a warehouse shipment for delivery orders. So all the things had not just to be checked in and labeled, but also sorted into the various orders, packed, billed, and prepared for delivery. The amazing creativity of the people ordering things again forced itself onto my attention (if you want TEC2137, Winter Science, it is best not to write down “EC2137 Resourse book” on the order form. Just a hint). Things had to be gathered from elsewhere in the store, and sometimes from the other store, too.

And, as That Man pointed out a little peevishly, people kept coming in and wanting us to pay attention to them.

#1 daughter brought me lunch and we had a good heart-to-heart. Then Son-in-law came just as Than Man returned from his lunch to watch the shop, and the three of us took advantage of the lovely weather (under 90 and not very sauna-like) to have a drink on the deck of the restaurant next door. There are sculptures of palm trees with giant flamingoes made of old tractor parts, which makes it feel quite tropical.

After work I dashed home for another vegetable-free dinner and then went to the Chamber Singers rehearsal. There had been three phone calls exhorting me and That Man to come. I enjoyed it very much. Singing is always relaxing, and good singing is especially pleasurable. The church choir has as its goal for a song merely to get most of the notes right. Since #2 daughter and I have joined, there has been the new development of thinking about dynamics sometimes, but mostly, the feeling is that as soon as most of the choir is pretty close to the right notes, the song is ready.

In a good choir, having the notes is the beginning point.

The Chamber Singers has some good voices, but so does the church choir. The Chamber Singers has some mediocre voices, and some people with pitch problems, too. It really is not that the church choir is intrinsically worse than the Chamber Singers as far as the instruments go. The church choir, however, will never sound good, because there is no work on the sound. I really don’t understand why a group of singers would choose to sound bad, but that is essentially the choice they are making. Some of the choristers have told me about the time they had a conductor who was “really picky” about the sound. I think I know the guy they are talking about, and I liked him a lot, though I only worked with him a few times. But the choir membership just fell down to nothing during his tenure.

Oh, well. I enjoy both groups, and I am glad that I decided to sing with the Chamber Singers this season. The Master Chorale is out, though, I think, even though they are doing Brahms and Mozart. Sigh.

Tonight, my husband and #2 son are cooking Lao food and we are having some people in (including #1 daughter and Son-in-law) to enjoy it. #2 daughter will be sailing in late, but we have promised to save her some food. I am thinking that I might provide some cooling foods, like cucumbers and sherbet. My husband cooked for us a couple of nights ago, and Son-in-law tried to eat a hot pepper the way my husband does — like an apple, just picking it up and taking bites. It was a green one, “not very hot” according to my husband. Son-in-law is a Navy man, accustomed to doing insane things on a dare, and he took a couple of bites, while the rest of us stood around watching him and laughing. This is what Lao people do when they see Americans eating hot peppers.

We will not do that tonight. I promise.