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3:25 am EST        55°F (13°C) in Umatilla, FL

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The long trip back home for Thanksgiving begins later today. I will be running one load from Florida to Atlanta, and then taking another one from Atlanta up to Michigan. I have another back-to-back pair of appointments on Monday afternoon, and then I get to enjoy the rest of the week off. Let's see if the Detroit Lions can stop sucking in time for their Thanksgiving Day game …

Speaking of football, I'm very pleasantly surprised with the way the University of Michigan's football season has gone. Given all the offensive players lost to graduation after last season, I thought Michigan would be lucky to finish 7-4 and go to a minor bowl game, but here we are two days before the Ohio State game and they're 9-1, almost guaranteed to go to the Rose Bowl. A victory over the Suckeyes in that black hole called Columbus, or an Iowa victory over Wisconsin in Iowa City, clinches a return trip to Pasadena. As for Saturday's game, I'll say this: if Michigan can stop OSU's running game, keep good run/pass balance offensively, and avoid special-teams blunders, they ought to win easily.

I'm still hard at work on my essay aimed at parents of gay/lesbian teenagers. In part, it's been so difficult because I lack the perspective one gains from actually having a child, but in addition to that, I'm also trying to say a lot. It may well push 30KB by the time I get it done.

I'm about 95% recovered from some kind of a stomach/intestinal bug I began suffering from a week ago today. Last Thursday's lunch caused me to have to make three restroom stops over the distance of 180 miles; until Tuesday, it was like I couldn't eat anything without a good bit of stomach pain and diarrhea. It was more of an "it hurts" doubling-over kind of pain than a nauseous feeling; I never felt like I was anywhere near puking. Some antacids and anti-diarrhea medications slowly got rid of the problems I was having, and during the day yesterday I felt almost totally fine. I honestly don't know whether this was a minor case of food poisoning, a stomach flu, or something else. Maybe it's all the junk food that the harried life of a truck driver seems to require one to eat. (Just another reason I need to get the hell out of this industry as soon as I can …)

Frankly, the trucking industry seems to offer about the best pay of any career open to non-college graduates. As much as I have come to hate some aspects of this line of work, I have to face the fact that I'm at least doubling what I'd make flipping burgers at McDonald's or answering somebody's phones. There are some positive aspects of the job that I like, such as the fact that I don't have a supervisor constantly looking over my shoulder and bitching at me, but this is really not what I want to be doing with my entire working life. I need a car at some point — I'm still trying to work on my father a bit on buying his 1999 Ford Taurus — and then I want to have a decent nest egg before I try to get back into school. I will not repeat the 32-hours-of-work-per-week act that doomed my first attempt at college; at the same time, I had better plan to depend on nobody but myself — in other words, I'd better not be expecting any pleasant financial surprises, and frankly, my past financial woes have screwed my parents out of enough money already. If I have to take student loans to cover tuition, so be it, but I am not going to put myself in a position where I must work 35 hours a week to scrape up enough for rent, food, basic needs, and such — hence the need to put away a good bit of money before re-entering school. I feel that I have to plan for the worst — and then some.

It's about time to hit the sack for the night.