9 I had an oDesk assignment yesterday — twelve hours to complete by Tuesday, so apart from the usual blogging and analytics and stuff, that was all I had scheduled for the day. Oh — and that lunch date. And wine in the rose garden.

Yes, well, the buyer neglected to change my work limit with his company. Over at oDesk, there’s an arrangement where the buyer can specify the number of hours he or she will pay for. The provider (me, for example) can then work all she wants, but the buyer isn’t responsible to pay for anything over the limit.

I’d previously had a three-hour limit with this guy. So I worked my three hours, sent in my stuff, and assured him that as soon as he changed the limit, I’d do the rest of the work.

I headed out for lunch.

When I left my house, things seemed normal.

A few cars on the road, nothing much. I was thin 9 king about the issue of developing goals for my business, driving along, and then I turned onto a main road and was immediately reminded of the biker festival as I sat through three stoplights. It took me fifteen minutes to get through the intersection.

I was fifteen minutes late for my lunch date. Fortunately, Egypt was still there. There was a line for ordering lunch that went all the way to the door.

The staff, who had perhaps been mildly sedated for the occasion, were calm and courteous and eventually we all got our lunches. Egypt told me about her ill-fated early marriage and the challenges of caring for her mother, and I told her about my kids and my class.

We caught up on old friends and recent travels.

9 It was fun, but it was also odd to be doing this in the kind of crowd that was there.

Normally, you can have lunch in this restaurant and talk as though you were in your dining room at home. We had, however, been magically transported to a much larger town.

It is expected that in the next decade, this could really happen in our town. We’ll have to get used to traffic and crowds.

I think it’ll be different if it gradually happens over time.

Next I went on a long walk.

Not that long a walk, actually, just a couple of miles. However, I’ve only been managing my thirty minutes of walking about two days a week, so it was a long walk by the standards I’ve sunk to. 9

I took some pictures for you.

It was beautiful. A gorgeous early fall day. The way the light falls at this time of year is completely different from how it is in summer. The things that had been feeling that it was just too hot to bother begin blooming again.

We have lots of peppers in the garden, and a few tomatoes as well.

It feels as though the world is relieved.

I ran home then to see whether I’d been cleared for more hours, and I had not. Clearly, I couldn’t do any work of any kind. I had no choice but to go on over to Partygirl’s place, where there was a light and fruity red wine.

9 I very rarely drink. Maybe once a year.

But this is because of my triglycerides, and Partygirl assured me that red wine was good for triglycerides, and I was in the mood to believe her.

I haven’t actually gotten around to having mine measured for a couple of years, so I don’t know whether I should still be worrying about them or not, let alone whether red wine is good for them to a degree that cancels out the fact that alcohol is bad for them.

However, on a lovely Friday afternoon when through no fault of my own I simply couldn’t do any work, sitting in Partygirl’s gazebo admiring her roses, it hardly mattered.

Her husband, who grows these roses, came 9 out and told me that the roses were looking terrible, that he had just denuded the entire garden for an exhibition taking place today, and that there just was nothing left to look at at all.

This is a regular feature of these visits. It isn’t always an exhibition. Sometimes it’s Japanese beetles or the weather. The central point is always that the rose garden isn’t up to snuff and I should see it when it’s looking good.

It looked good to me.

When I arrived home at 5:30, the hours had been changed. Too bad. Regardless of what wine in the rose garden might do for a person’s triglycerides, it definitely makes me feel like not doing any more work on Friday evening.The buyer changed the limit to six hours. I guess he figured twelve hours by Tuesday spread the time over two weeks. This means that I have to fit another three hours in today, or I won’t be able to get the twelve hours done within the new time limit.

Possibly this buyer has had to contend in the past with highly zealous workers who just kept on working past their allowed time over and over, making him feel bad about not paying 9 them for all that extra time.

I guess this could really happen, now that I think about it. For me, no. For a good client, I don’t even charge anything that takes me less than fifteen minutes. And there’s all kinds of stuff I don’t consider billable. For my favorite clients, I don’t even charge for meetings. I respect my clients’ budgets, and I never charge more than I agree on.

But my oDesk job announcements today included one for placing classified ads at twenty cents apiece. True, it takes no particular skill and it isn’t very arduous, but it’s still got to take ten or fifteen minutes to fill out those online forms, right? There’s the time finding it, and the time waiting for the machine to move on to the next screen or whatever. This has got to work out to less than two dollars an hour. If you worked for so little, wouldn’t there be a temptation to keep going when you were on a roll? And wouldn’t you hope the client would pay for all the time? How bad would you feel, refusing to pay an extra $2.50 for that diligent worker who kept going past the agreed-upon time? Perhaps he has encountered this before, and fears that someone as expensive as I am would just beggar him.

Anyway, #1 daughter is arriving today, and I intend to go down to the green jobs rally, and no doubt other fun stuff will occur, but I also have to shoehorn in three hours’ worth of paid blogging. So maybe I should get to it.

Enjoy your weekend.