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Thursday, January 31, 2002

Looking for some doo-wop to listen to while I worked this afternoon, I was pawing through a box of old CDs that rarely get played and came across Yo Frankie, the album Dion put out in 1989. It's not doo-wop, although I'm sure I have Dion and the Belmonts' greatest hits somewhere, with "Teenager in Love" and "Runaround Sue" (still not exactly doo-wop, but closer and from the right era).

But this was good stuff anyway, even if it wasn't the good stuff I was looking for. "Blue-eyed soul," they used to call it, before the racial implications of that phrase made it obsolete. Rhythm and blues from the streets of New York City, smooth and mellow (unlike, so I'm told, the streets themselves).

It's probably just as well I found something more adult than "Lonely Teenager," although I can still relate to those when-will-I-be-loved songs of the fifties and sixties. A lot of me is still that age. A big chunk of my heart and way too much of my brain still reside in that era, without the bad skin and the cracking voice, but still with the feeling that I don't fit in. The music is a mixture of chest-beating bravado and tear-drenched despair, sort of a combination of Kid Rock and the Backstreet Boys (well, maybe not quite).

As I was making my way through the pile of papers on my desk today, I came across the notice from the workers' comp carrier. The audit is a week from tomorrow. Maybe I should start thinking about planning how to get some of the paperwork together. The auditor's list of demands is extensive, but the only thing I can't provide is a General Ledger (but here's the address of our accountant's office in Sagebrush Gulch; wear a bandana and watch out for baby rattlers).

What I don't get is that they always ask for the same information that's on the reports I send in with each month's payment. So I give the auditor photocopies of those same reports. Do they think my copy will be any different from the one already in their files?

This is the first time they've asked for time cards. I wasn't eager to start going through file boxes and pulling out the cards for the audit period, which (of course) doesn't coincide with the calendar year. Then I remembered that I haven't filed away any time cards for a year and a half. Ha! There they are, bundled month by month, in no particular order.

As long as there are twelve little piles, and as long as they start in October and end in September, I'll just put them aside for her. That's what I should do, anyway. But you know how I am. I'll sort the cards out by name and date and label them for her, because if I did anything to make her job harder I'd feel (a) guilty and (2) confrontational. That's definitely not the approach you want to take with an auditor.

The real secret to dealing with auditors, in my experience, is to give them more than they ask for and answer every question with absolute irreproachable honesty. This is of course a whole lot easier if you don't have anything to hide.

Another thing I know from experience is that they ask to look at only one or two of the items from the list. I could take a chance and not bother with the rest of it, but it's a new auditor every year and the risk of disappointing one isn't worth it. That's a big difference from the old days, when my friend June would show up on the second Friday in August. We'd chat, she's look at a few records, and off she'd go to her next stop.

A lot of things were easier just a few years back. Or maybe they just seem so in retrospect. I'm pretty sure I was nervous about June's arrival the first time she audited us, and maybe the second and third time, too. On the other hand, now that I'm older and wiser, I have no fear of this new auditor, whom I've never met. All I dread is the work I have to do to get ready for her.

I hate getting new work to do just at dusk, because I can't see and it forces me to concede that it's getting dark. At least, that's the interpretation I choose to put on it. The fact that I can't see all that well during the day is something I'm ignoring for now.

Given the chance, I'd leave the lights off until it was pitch black out, but that doesn't work most of the time. I have to find things, like the phone when it rings or the remote. Or the other remote.

The three-page letter the Boss faxed me at 5:20 today had to be typed. The hints I've dropped in the past haven't had much effect, I guess. "You're always thinking of something to do at the end of the day," I tell him. That doesn't seem to oblique, does it?

But of course, he's been doing it, whatever it is (drafting the letter in this case) all afternoon, and it's the end of his day, too. In fact, it's leaving his desk and landing on mine. And I have to turn on the light so I can see what I'm doing and spend perfectly good reading time — maybe the last until tomorrow, because by the time I'm finished the sun will be completely behind the hills — doing something that I get paid to do from 8:oo until 4:00 but end up doing from 8:00 until whenever.

His drafts are written in pencil and require heavy editing. Since I can read his mind, the editing part, which primarily involves putting his thoughts into comprehensible English, is no problem. If he writes "chance" and it doesn't scan right I automatically type "change."

It's the seeing part that I have trouble with, and if I think I can type fast enough to get the job done before it's completely dark, I might slack off some on the editing process. This means that I'll no doubt have to retype the letter, but with luck it won't be until tomorrow morning.


The honeysuckle will be damaged when the fence is finished falling down.

I stayed up way too late writing yesterday's entry, because the entry I wrote earlier and almost posted was so negative and whiny and almost totally pointless. And I already knew what I wanted to write about, my eating and spending habits, so all I had to do was find a few minutes to do it. I was relieved not to have to post that earlier depressing entry, and somehow writing about something else brought me out of my slump a bit.

"Find something good to write about." That's my new motto. It's not always possible, but I plan to try harder. I think I managed to find a positive spin to put on all three sections above. And if I'm deluding myself, well, that accomplishes the same purpose, doesn't it?

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