bunt sign

Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Today was my day to pay bills. Not my bills. Not the Company's bills. Today was the day for me to pay the monthly bills on the rental property owned by the Boss and his ex-girlfriend. He's in Phoenix right now, meeting with her and a real estate agent. They're trying to decide whether it's time for them to sell the property. Since the rental income is about half the amount of the mortgage payment, I'd have to say I think it's time.

That's really all there is to paying the rental property bills. I collect the rent from their tenant and write checks for the mortgage and utilities, plus an occasional insurance bill. Then I balance the checkbook once a month and let the two owners know when it falls short. They send me extra money when I need it, and I keep a meticulous record of how much each of them has paid in.

The two of them actually get along better than when they were living together. When I first worked for the Company, he was building her a house along the Napa River. Actually, when I started the house was nearly finished and they were living in it. He'd commute to work every day at job sites in around the area, and I'd have to listen to him fighting with his ex-wife over the phone.

After I'd been with the Company about three years, he decided that the office should be moved to the basement of the Napa house. Her house. I had to use her bathroom, and I began getting notes from her, asking for favors. I spent six months typing her doctoral thesis for her, in my spare time, of which I had little.

Now he's with another woman, living with her in Nevada. He and the ex-wife get along. As I said, he also gets along with the ex-girlfriend better than when they were together. They sold the Napa house but still own the rental property together. The ex-wife hates both the current girlfriend and ex-girlfriend, but the current and ex get along famously, like best friends. I think they like each other more than they do the Boss.

Once a month the tickler on my calendar reminds me it's time to make the mortgage payment. Sometimes the rent check hasn't come in yet, and the Company has to lend money to the household account on a short-term basis. When the Company is out of money, the mortgage check is late, and I take some heat for the late charges and penalties.

I really hope they're in Phoenix right now deciding to sell that property.

Our crew likes to get paid. We have four guys who work hard, and it's my responsibility to write their paychecks and mail them in time to have the checks in their hands by Friday. It's their responsibility to fax me the time cards. I have to mail the checks by Wednesday afternoon, so I have to have the time cards by Wednesday morning. Tuesday night would be better. Monday would be better still.

Naturally, I almost always get them just as I'm ready to head to the post office on Wednesday. Suddenly it becomes a crisis, and I have to decipher the scribblings on the time cards, write the checks and prepare them for mailing, at the expense of whatever other crisis I happened to be working on at the time.

When I'm rushed, I make mistakes. I have to start over, and things take twice as long. That's when I start to resent everyone in the world for every slight that's tossed my way. I'm not as important as them, because I don't "put work in place," so they don't have to treat me with respect. They always have a good reason to make things harder on me, and all I can do is tell them, "That's okay."

So I'm having my own little crisis these days. It doesn't matter, because it's just me. There's nothing I can do but plow forward and do my job. I wish I had the motivation to dive into it with enthusiasm and really do it well, but I'm settling. I'm getting by. Maybe the spark will come back, maybe not. I have other things in my life that help light up the dark corners.

When I did leave for the post office today, a monstrous potato bug was lying belly up in the middle of the garage, just behind the car.

strange visitor

If you're wondering how I spend my free time — well, I like to watch TV. I only wish there was more programming worthy of the limited time I have to devote to this pursuit. I tend to go on recommendations and reputations, and so I checked out Ed Sunday.

Actually, I taped Ed Sunday, because I believe there was a ballgame on at the time. Now I've finally watched the tape, and I liked the show. But they kind of gave short shrift to the back story, don't you think? I felt cheated that they talked about the First Kiss, but we didn't get to see it.

Other than that, cool show. Low-key, sweetly romantic, with quirky characters. I'd be happy with a real life that could be described the same way.

Great review, huh?

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My heart's on fire,
The flame grows higher,
So I will weather the storm.