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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Once I got over the laughable notion that I was going to get the 1099s done today, I was okay. It's just that I thought I had a plan, and then it went awry. (Also askew.) It's like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and then falling down a mineshaft. It would be nice to get to the light, but first I have to crawl out of this black hole.

I knew I was in trouble when the Boss phoned before I was even dressed this morning. "I want to spend some time going over these new contracts," he announced. My eyes weren't even all the way open yet, and he's trying to get me to look at some fine print. (I really need to get new glasses. Not this month, though.)

It was all downhill from there. He didn't like the payment clauses in the contracts. (That is, he didn't like that we might have to wait to get paid, when our proposal clearly said that we wouldn't.) After much gnashing of teeth and chewing of nails, and after many frantic phone calls, we got the offending clauses rewritten in our favor. Because we work cheap, we can sometimes get away with making unreasonable demands.

There was one more contract he wanted to go over, but I couldn't find it. I knew it was here, because I remembered seeing it when it arrived. I just couldn't remember how long ago that was, so I didn't know how deep into the pile I had to dig. So guess what? I spread all the job folders across the living room floor and took every piece of loose paper out of the big pile and put it into the proper folder.

The fact that some of the documents I filed today were dated in 2001 probably tells you all you need to know about my filing habits. I do as little as I can get away with. Since I don't share the office with my neat freak boss (or any other obsessively tidy individual), all I have to do is know generally where something is, and more often than not I can find it.

My doing all that work (work!) today is an outward sign of the desperation I finally managed to force myself to feel when I couldn't find the exact item I needed at the exact time I needed it. That doesn't happen often, but that's why it's such a harrowing experience when it does happen. It takes me a while to calm down after a session like that.

And I didn't even finish! I had to redo the wording in the contract, order the insurance certificates, fill out various government forms that will allow us to get paid, and write a cover letter explaining all this. Yes, I crossed out the paragraph that says you don't have to pay us until the whole job is finished. Now you have to pay us when our part of the job is done. In other words, you can't run the rest of the job on money that belongs to us. Too bad for you.

I got one of the two contracts redone to the Boss's satisfaction. I ran out of time (and energy) to get the other one revised, and by the time I get that one done there will be another one coming along. That's good; more work for us. That's bad; I need to get those 1099s out by the end of the month, which gets one day closer every day I do something else. Maybe I can take a breath this weekend, but I'm not counting on it.

14 January 2004

Last year at this time, the yard had fewer brown spots and the camellia was already blooming.

I spent the last two days doing the W-2s, a much bigger job than the 1099s. I really didn't expect to finish yesterday, because they involve typing on the decrepit old Selectric upstairs, and I usually can't sit long enough to do them all at once, because of my back, or see well enough to do them all at once, because of my eyes. I did have to do one form over three times, and a few others twice, but I plugged away until I finished. I was hoping to get the rest of it behind me today, but that didn't happen. It won't happen tomorrow, either, but it will happen eventually.

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I'm also having a little trouble getting through this new experimental workbook for my sign language class. Some of it is just screwed up, such as when the questions on the video don't match the answers in the book, but I can deal with that. My problem is that there's so little verbal explanation that I keep getting lost. I know I've only been to one class meeting, but they're asking me questions that I not only don't know the answers to, but I don't know what the questions are either. It's frustrating, because there's no place to look it up. I'm a big one on looking things up.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Taking the Wheel
"By the end of the day I was signing anything they put in front of me. I might have signed up for conga lessons or floormat-of-the-month club. But I drove home in my new Ion 3."

Two years ago: Understated
"I said there was a reason. I didn't say it had to be a good reason."

Three years ago: Flying Low
"It's a dream to believe that one person could make that much difference, but I know it's possible, because such a man lived among us once. It's up to us to keep the dream alive."

Four years ago: That Smell
"Today I learned that you can't mince garlic with a paring knife. Or at least, I can't."

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From a distance,
We are instruments
Marching in a common band.