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Sunday, August 15th, 1999

four The Septic:
Still working on it. You know you've got your work cut out for you when you're using an axe for digging. We're not talking sandy, loamy soil. We're digging out a layer of rock solid, packed down sandy clay, above another layer of pure red, hard clay. And if the soil isn't hard enough, the roots are sure to slow you down.

The art of digging in clay such as this is to use lots of different tools for digging: a long trenching shovel, a short trenching shovel, a spade, a normal shovel, and an axe when you simply can't penetrate the earth with any of the latter. Make sure you mix it up and use all of the different digging apparatus. It will help fight the monotony and also cut down on your efficiency. You don't want to become efficient with any one tool or you will most certainly end up doing more work and that will leave less for your spouse.

Make sure you stop and contemplate your work after every two or three shovels full. Don't just quickly appraise the ever so slight progress you've made (miniscule, in fact, in relation to the amount of dirt yet to be moved), really study it. Lean on your shovel, forehead resting on your hands, and stand there planning your next move. Will you dig some more in the same spot? Try the other side of the wall? Get the red trenching shovel next? Look at your watch. Is it time for a break yet?

six Diet and Exercise:
Caution: I do not recommend following this regime as it may result in rapid weight loss, headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, exhaustion, collapse, and a general lack of appetite.

As the nearest McDonalds and real grocery store are 30 miles of farm roads away, if you want to eat well, you have to plan ahead. If you want to plan ahead, you must have a means of storing foods so that they will stay fresh for the week or so before your next trip into town. If you are using a dormitory refrigerator, have no insulation, and live on the Texas/ Oklahoma border during two consecutive weeks of severe heat advisories, say goodbye to fresh food of any kind and hello to all foods containing additives and preservatives, are unopened, and have an expiration date well into the next millenium (sorry, just couldn't resist a reference to "the millenium"). Which means basically, kiss your appetite goodbye. Oh, you'll get hungry. At about two o'clock in the morning you'll be watching TV and you'll see someone grilling up a nice, thick, juicy burger in a frying pan and you'll experience hunger pangs like you've never had before. But you look around for a substitute. A few stale Cheez-Its and some dry butter cookies are not going to cut the mustard. Your options: drive an hour to McKinney hoping for an all-night drive-thru(I never want it that badly) or nibble a few stale, dry goods and wait for the heat and physical exertion to deplete your appetite the next day.

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