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Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Ah, that sinking feeling that I have too much left to do and not enough time left to do it in. I'm probably the only person who gets that feeling. I'd hate to think that it's common or ordinary, and not just special to me. It's mitigated somewhat by the fact that I'm usually wrong. Usually there is enough time, if I use it properly. (There's the rub.)

This was the day I'd planned to clean up the house and get it ready for the auditor tomorrow morning. He's due at the crack of dawn (by which I mean 9 am), so I obviously won't have any prep time in the morning. I'll be lucky to be out of the shower and halfway kempt by the time he knocks on the door. If he expects me to be fully kempt, he's rolling down the wrong driveway.

But at least the house should be a little tidier than I usually keep it. At the very, very least, I have to clear off a workspace for him on the dining table, where things tend to gather in piles and then just get spread into a soupy sea of files and folders and loose papers and enough paper clips to stretch to San Francisco and back. Maybe even Daly City.

But all the cleaning I planned to do got put aside when that sinking feeling told me that I'd forgotten to convert my payroll program to the new tax tables. And today being payroll day, I had no choice but to spend my morning and half the afternoon getting ready to write paychecks, and the rest of the afternoon actually writing them.

It turns out, by the way, that I took a pay cut on January 1, even though state withholding taxes went down slightly. That was more than offset by the increase in the state disability insurance rate, which rose by more than 30%. Why didn't I hear about this? I'd blame the governor, but I keep forgetting who that is. In California, it's usually a bad actor, and we have too many of those to pin it down from one week to the next.

Anyway, I'm taking home less out of my check than I did last year (or last week, for that matter). If I made a lot more money, or if I were married and had six or seven kids, I'd be taking home more than last year, because the tax cut is heavily weighted in favor of people in those categories. (However, it probably wouldn't be enough to feed those six or seven kids, so I doubt I'll be making any drastic lifestyle changes right away.)

Needless to say (or did I already say it anyway?) all this left little time for cleaning, so I did the usual. I scooped up all the debris off the table and stuck it in a box. I'll pull it all out again after the auditor leaves. I wiped all the built-up crud and used staples off the table and whisked the feather duster over the cobwebs that were at eye-level. I hope he's not tall enough to see the tops of the bookcases.

For some reason I also cleaned the bathroom. In fact, that's where I started, even though I don't expect him to go in there. No auditor has ever asked to use my bathroom, although the copier repair guy did once. I have to say, it needed cleaning, even if nobody goes in there but me.

5 January 2004


One of these days (he protested unconvincingly) I'm going to do a real cleanup of all the office stuff that clutters my vast living room area. What's the use in having all this space if it's taken up with papers and boxes and materials and supplies that I'll never use again? Or that I don't need to have at my fingertips on a daily basis? No use at all.

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Lucky for me, federal taxes didn't change with the new year. I'd forgotten that we got our federal tax cut last summer, so I can use the same tables until probably just before the election in November. By then, I'm sure the folks in Washington will decide we need a little more walking-around money. Taxi fare to the polls, maybe.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Against the Wind
"'I can't leave until I get this done,' he said, meaning that he wouldn't leave until I got it done."

Four years ago: Groundhog Day
"Wrong numbers. Insurance companies, wanting to show how they can help me. Market surveys that will take up just a few minutes of my time. Can I find this file? Do I remember that invoice? Whatever happened to Baby Jane? Where have all the flowers gone? Why do fools fall in love?"

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I know the routine
Put another nickel in the machine
I'm feeling so bad
Won't you make the music easy and sad