In Which We Are Alerted, But Not Alarmed

8 February 2003

Our apartment complex sent us a terrorism warning. IT says, "[large rental company] has been notified by the National Apartment Association of a possible terrorist threat targeting apartments and hotels....Attorney General Ashcroft described the non-specific threat: 'Recent intelligence reports suggest that al Qaeda leaders have emphasized planning for attacks on apartment buildings, hotels and other soft or lightly secured targets in the United States.'" Well, thanks, John; that's useful.

And, oh! We're instructed to "Report suspicious people or activities at the apartment community to the management. For example, vehicles, visitors, unusual traffic, noise, solicitors, abandoned packages, residents changing their own locks." Okay, so that last one is an issue. But for heaven's sake. Vehicles? We're supposed to report vehicles and visitors? We're supposed to report noise? Dang. The next solicitor who comes to my door should get a warning about this, though. "Dude, I don't know, I'm supposed to report you. Don't you know we're on orange alert?"

I wonder if the neighbors will consider it suspicious that we're having the broken-down old couch hauled away. By a visitor with a vehicle, possibly with noise, definitely not our usual traffic. Eek.

But, oh, Timprov put the new living room chair together while he was watching the Wild game (woooo!), and it's so comfortable. Specifically, it's so much more comfortable than the couch, it's hard to believe. Timprov put it together, watched the game and the Simpsons, and went into his room, and Mark and I sat out here in the living room marveling at the comfort of the new chair. It looks large to me, but not excessively so, and I suppose most of the people who sit in it will be larger than I.

So. I bundled up into my shirt that resembles a bathmat and my fall jacket (wool) and headed up to David's yesterday, where my melodious coughs charmed him and the Jasmine cat. I'm still a bit cold, coughing and phlegmy, a little snozzly, but not doing too bad this morning. Could be worse.

Ah. See. I said to Timprov just yesterday, "I should explain 'could be better' and 'could be worse' in a journal entry, because people sometimes seem to mistake them in writing." And now here's an example. I think this one's pretty clear. But sometimes I'll be babbling along and say, "But it could be worse," and people who are not from home think I mean, "I am uncertain of my estimate of the situation, but it may be worse than it previously was." Whereas I never, ever use "could be worse" to mean that. That's what "might be worse" is for. "Could be worse" always means, "I am certain that this situation has not reached its maximum negative potential." Usually it means, "I am certain that this situation is above the zero point: more than half of the possible situations related to this topic would be worse than this one." That's why my Gran's response to "How are you doing?", when she had cancer was, "Oh, honey, I could be better." I didn't think of Midwesterners as particularly understated, until I left. Now I know.

Ah well. The endnotes on The Vicomte de Bragelonne most certainly could be better. My latest annoyance: the annotator has decided to endnote minor characters upon their first appearance to say that they were not known historical personages. To say, in fact, that a novel was fiction. Good heavens! Who would have guessed? The same guy has annotated our copies of Louise de la Vallière and The Man in the Iron Mask, so I have more of this yet to come, I expect. But not immediately. I'll move on to something from the library first, I think, some nonfiction.

Now Mark's company has canceled his planned business trip to Denver for next week -- or rather, not canceled it, but postponed it to later in the month. I'd like to say that this will mean Mark won't be so busy, but I think it just means he'll be differently busy at different times. Ah well. No airport runs this coming week, at least.

Plans for today: drink lots of tea. Wear warm clothes. Finish The Vicomte. Do not lose temper with annotator. Finish accursed Chapter 10 of Dwarf's Blood Mead. Remove couch. Vacuum. Hug. Do laundry. Eat ice cream. Fill in other blanks as needed: shower, nutritious food, etc.

Tea first. Then I'll handle the rest of it.

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