THIS IS USUALLY my day to play. But I got behind in my work last week and have to spend the day at home, taping shows and editing them. It takes me the better part of the day to get through one hour of programming -- six 10-minute radio features. It's the most boring part of my job, but I have to do it myself because nobody else can read my notes.
When I finish in the early evening, I visit my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and relax, eat spaghetti and watch cable TV. I get a pleasant surprise when my wife, Lynda, drops by. We've been separated a month and a half and are going through a "friendly" divorce, more or less. Sunday
I get up early and drive to Lynda's house in Herndon, where I park in the driveway to tune my car. Before I get started, we sit down and watch her on TV for a half hour. It's a taped talk show about Vietnam veterans that she did a few days earlier.
Working on my car is difficult and exasperating, but it pays off when I turn the key and it actually runs better. I save about $100 on the tuneup.
On the way back to my apartment in Reston, I stop at the Dulles Airport express mail facility to send my programs back to Los Angeles. There, they'll be duplicated and distributed.
Tonight, I have to go on dialysis, so I set up the machine as soon as I get home. This is about the 2,000th time I've had a dialysis treatment since my kidneys failed 16 years ago. When everything is set, I come to the hardest part -- inserting two 16-guage needles into veins in my right arm. Today, it's a little easier than usual: The veins pop right up when I put the tourniquet on. For 4 1/2 hours, the machine silently cleanses my blood while I watch TV, read the paper and eat dinner. Monday
I sleep a little later than usual because I know not much is happening on the Hill. I stop off first at the radio-TV gallery in the Rayburn House Office Building, a wonderfully busy place where broadcast reporters write, record and edit their stories. I check over a tape from a hearing a few days ago on Tris. I decide there's not enough to use. The witnesses refused to be recorded -- a right they have under House rules.
At 2 o'clock, I take the Metro to AFL-CIO headquarters for a news conference called by the OSHA/Environmental Network, a group of labor and environmental groups protesting budget cuts in OSHA and the EPA. It's one of a series. This time, people from Wisconsin tell why the cuts would be harmful. I follow them to the White House, where they stage a peaceful demonstration. No picketing -- too hot to walk.
Back at Rayburn, I write a 10-minute feature, using excerpts from the tape. This will balance an earlier program about business groups who advocate less health, safety and environmental regulation.
It's still 80 degrees when I get home at 7, but I decide to go jogging anyway. I've been running for about three years. Tonight, I put in a sweaty three miles before I head home to a dinner of turkey pie and a cold beer. Tuesday
I eat a bologna sandwich on the way to work through Northern Virginia traffic. A fast commute today -- only 55 minutes to the Capitol. There's a news conference at 10 in the Cannon Building. It has been called lby groups opposed to the idea of a "guest worker" program, something the Reagan administration is reportedly considering as a way to combat illegal immigration. Nine people speak at the news conference but reporters ask few questions, perhaps because the room is hot and steamy. Afterwards, I do a good one-on-one interview with one of the speakers, who represents a migrant legal action group.
At 1 o'clock, I leave the comfort of Rayburn air conditioning and go to another news conference, on K Street. The National Small Business Association wants to make known its suggestions for the tax bill. Early on, I stop taping and decide to interview the head of the group when the news conference is over. He agrees, it comes off well, and with a touch of editing can be used.
After a swing by Rayburn to check out tomorrow's schedule, I head home for another dialysis. My doctors don't like the fact that I dialyze alone, but after 16 years I can do it with my eyes closed. Wednesday
Another bologna sandwich on the way in. At 10, I'm at a House subcommittee hearing on tax protesters. I tape my mike to the public address speaker and start recording. A man from the GAO says the IRS could do a better job of catching and dealing with the protesters. It's pretty routine but things liven up when a man in the audience jumps up and calls him a liar. The subcommittee chairman doesn't get ruffled and tells him to sit down, that he'll be allowed to testify later even though he's not on the witness list. I am new to the Hill and am told this is highly unusual.
The IRS commissioner testifies next and concedes that the governmnet could be losing billions because of people who don't pay taxes on principle.
The protesters -- three men and a woman from Pennsylvania -- finally get their chance. They're passionate but disorganized, and their desperate tales about tilting with the IRS bureaucracy are funny, even weird. Still, you have to feel compassionate for them.
I spend the afternoon compressing two hours of tape into a 10-minute show. At sunset, I run three miles over a hilly road course. Later that evening, I get $10 from my bank's cash machine and, lo and behold, I win an ice cream cone in their contest. Thursday
I park my car in a lot near the Capitol, paying $3.50 for the privilege. This morning, I take the Metro downtown for a news conference called by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. They're releasing a report on American Indians. The event is good for me -- lots of information on meaty issues. I corner a semi-reluctant staffer after it's over for a few extra questions to flesh out my program.
I write it up back at Rayburn and make phone calls.
Just before I leave, Terry Dolan of the National Conservative Political Action Committee returns my call and agrees to an interview the next morning. I look forward to that. Meantime, I head home for a few hours of taping and editing, followed by an hour in the library to research NCPAC. My dinner is a fast-food burger and milk. Friday
Good luck! I find a space on the street near NCPAC's building in Rosslyn. The Dolan interview goes very smoothly, but I'll have to edit four minutes out of 12. Back in my car, I cross Key Bridge on my way to the Washington Hilton for a news conference on the unlikely subject of laser surgery. More good luck -- a space on the street. Laser surgery turns out to be fascinating and I get a lot more tape than can use.
My incredible run of good luck continues at the Capitol as I find a space on the street good until 4. Rayburn is quiet for a change, and I breeze through both stories. I beat the traffic home for a few more hours of taping.
I don't get on the machine 'til 8. No problems with the needles. I haven't had a miss in months.