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Saturday, September 27, 2003

So much for leisurely, relaxing Saturdays. I knew as soon as I picked up the mail that the rest of the day would be a harrowing thrill ride through a dark tunnel. As usual, it's all about money.

The company, as it does so often, finds itself in a situation where cash is short because payments are late. I thought I had it handled by accessing one of our credit lines two weeks ago. That would have given us enough money to keep bills paid and payroll up to date until at least next week, when we expect a very large check from the state to arrive.

Then the mail came, and it brought a notice from our bank that the credit access check had been returned. I informed the Boss, and that was the start of endless phone calls, some of them three-way calls involving him, me and somebody at the end of a bank customer service line somewhere on the other side of the country.

We tracked down the bank servicing the credit line, and they blamed our business bank for trying to deposit the check in the wrong place. They assured us that we had done nothing wrong, and that the check should have been good and would have been paid if it had been deposited correctly by our bank. That's nice to know but not the least bit helpful, money-wise.

Our bank knew nothing about this, because the actual check hasn't been returned to them by the bank they tried to deposit it into. They had been "informed" that it would be returned, and they'd put a "hold" on our access to the funds, which leaves us with just about enough in our business checking account for a cup of coffee and a plain cake donut. And I want mine glazed!

I spent hours of my Saturday reading account numbers and phone numbers to the Boss. He had a telephone receiver in each ear, and every so often he'd have to put one of them down so he could write, then pick it up and read what he'd written to the other person. Oh, this modern technology is a wonder, isn't it? It's a couple of soup cans and a string.

I'm not sure where we left it, but I think it involves me going into our bank branch Monday morning and talking to the manager. Since there seems to be a new branch manager every other week, I probably won't know the person and they won't know me.

I'm told there was a time when a business like ours had a personal banker who would help us solve problems. Now we have toll-free numbers and buck-passers, and none of this puts any sugar in my tea. If we don't have some money by Wednesday, there will be no paychecks this week, and maybe no company by next week. It's a tenuous thread we're all balancing on, and you don't even realize how thin the ice is until you're already under water.

23 September 2003

Looking due west from the back of my back yard.

And yet, somehow it always seems to get resolved, one way or another. The Boss is sending me some of his personal funds to tide us over, and he's taking charge of handling the bankers, as much as he can from his office in another state. We've been through money crunches before, and we've also been through periods when we have more money than we can spend. Even in those flush times, though, I never forget days like today, and I try to put a little aside for another rainy day.

I'll also remember days like today next Saturday, because I'll relish my lazy day off all the more. Maybe it's good to have a crisis like this every so often, to put things in perspective. But why oh why does it have to be on a Saturday?

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Sebastopol is everything Berkeley wishes it was. It's a small town, close-knit, and committed to social and environmental causes. Tonight I was privileged to attend the ninth annual Celtic Music Festival at the Sebastopol Community Center, a cozy room with good acoustics and uncomfortable seats (but I found that after the lower half of my body got numb, I didn't mind the hard chair as much). The music was sublime, the atmosphere was joyful, and I was in the company of a friend. What more could a person ask of an evening?

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Excellent Driver
"If I were the same person in real life that I am when I drive, I might be president. Or in prison, I'm not sure which."

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