As a prelude to my morning walk around a wetland east of my house that is surrounded by expensive new homes, I walked north into an even newer construction zone. The property used to be an alfalfa field sprinkled with singing meadowlarks.

That loss, plus the many other aggravations of having construction all around me, made the sound of trucks delivering concrete at 7 this Saturday sleep-in morning seem like the last straw.

So I had a little talk with the contractor overseeing work at a foundation with a still-wet basement floor.

I questioned his neighborliness.

He explained that with winter coming, his crew must work on every nice day to get their homes built. And they have to accept concrete deliveries whenever they can be scheduled.

I understood that. He understood my frustration at having my routines and the land all around me disturbed.

I apologized for yelling – he said I was not the first person from my subdivision to do so – and said I was thoroughly frustrated with all the construction work the past two years and needed to complain to someone. He happened to be the boss on this particular morning.

That episode followed a frustrating work week linked mostly to one simple problem. Someone never called me back.

I had left my calendar mostly free and put off other projects to be flexible for a time that worked for this man. And he never even called me back.

It was a good reminder about the importance of responding to voice messages and emails, even if it is only to acknowledge that I received them, and that what we do or don’t do does affect others.

I had left the first voice mail message for the man’s employer on Sept. 12, asking him to serve as a middleman. I left phone numbers for my direct line at work and my cell phone, adding that it was OK to call me that night or over the weekend.

I left the same message late Monday afternoon because I had heard nothing.

Tuesday noon, I called the business’ office to ask if the middleman had been ill or was gone. No, the woman said, he was right there. He relayed through her that he had passed along my phone numbers to the man I wanted to interview.

That was fine, but why didn’t he call to tell me that?

Wednesday noon, I called the office again and got a different woman. I apologized for being so persistent. She promised to make sure the interviewee had received my message.

Now, it is Saturday afternoon and I still have not had a call back.

I did squeeze in another interview that had been on hold into Friday morning for a story in today’s Hub, but I would have done it on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday if I had known there would be no call back on the other project.

A counselor might say that when I yelled at the contractor this morning, I also piled on my frustration with the didn’t-call-me-back people.

The cure for such frustrations is to do something I enjoy, which usually involves taking photos.

On Monday, I enjoyed interviewing the new habitat manager at the National Audubon Society’s Rowe Sanctuary. While I was out in the country south of Platte River, I noticed the masses of goldenrod carpeting the prairie meadows and road ditches.


It is Nebraska’s state flower.

This afternoon, I took Mom for an outing to Apple Acres, an orchard several miles northwest of Kearney that also is having a bumper crop. The trees are loaded, and I can’t wait to try the tart Jonathans I brought home that are the size of baseballs.


If that’s not enough to lift my spirits, especially if things don’t go well for the Huskers as they host Miami in football tonight at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, I still have a sure cure for the blues.

In my refrigerator is about three-fourths of the 1-pound block of dark chocolate I bought at the Education Fund silent auction two weeks ago at the NFPW Conference in Greenville, S.C.