bunt sign

Wednesday, February 14, 2001

I was so furious last night that I scribbled out an irate memo to the Boss's kid Tim, and then faxed it to him before I could change my mind. This guy has no concept of how hard it is for me to run my side of the business, when he's such a shoddy record keeper. And he has no idea what kind of trouble he can get into by giving people money and then expecting the company to reimburse him.

First of all, he hires and fires people without regard to anything but his own ego. I should know better, but I usually write the first paycheck for a new crew member before I get the W-4 and other employment forms back. I've told him in the past that I wouldn't do this any more, but I always do.

This is only the second ... or maybe third time I've been burned. This time the guy quit on the first day of the second week. No forms, no social security number, no proof of legal residence, none of the background paperwork I need to write the first check (done and gone), let alone the second (pending).

Second, Tim writes on his time card for last week that he gave out two bonuses of one hundred dollars each, and spent another hundred on food and ice for the crew on the job site. He wants to be reimbursed three hundred dollars. For what? I have no record of these expenses, other than his word.

I'm willing to accept that he might have spent a hundred dollars on food and drinks, even though there were only six guys working three days on the site. Seems like a lot, but for the sake of argument (or rather, for the sake of avoiding an argument, since I have other fish to fry) I'll buy into it.

But two hundred-dollar bonuses? What kind of rationale does this guy have in his own mind for giving away company money to individuals on the payroll, without accounting for taxes? He's going to get me sent to San Quentin. He can't give them a raise? Or tell me to pay them a legitimate bonus, on the books? No, he has to do it the way that's easy for him and impossible for me.

When I started reading all this stuff he wrote on the time cards, I was so mad I thought I was going to have to break something. I almost did, but luckily the closet doors in this house are stronger than the ones in my old place, which showed a lot of dents and scratches by the time I moved out (I got my deposit back anyway, because the rental agent like me).

Where was I? Oh yes, I held my pencil in a death grip and broke a couple of leads while writing the following note:

(1)If you want to give someone $100.00, OK. But I can't pay you back for a "bonus" given to an employee unless it's declared as income to someone — in this case, you. It has to go through the system, or be called some other kind of expense.
(2)If your new man quit without filling out forms, we are screwed unless I call it income for someone who is on the books! We can't operate this way.

I looked at it for about two minutes before putting it on the fax and punching his speed dial number. Then I walked away and took a few deep breaths. I didn't want to talk to him, or anyone else, so I put on the answering machine and turned off the volume. I just needed to blow off steam and try to get my point across.

This is actually the second time this week I've had to deal with Tim's irresponsibility. Last fall he sold one of the company vehicles for two thousand dollars. He assured me that I wouldn't have to deal with any paperwork, because the new owner was going to change the registration.

You see what's coming, right? Monday I got a notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles, telling me that a tax lien would be filed if we didn't either pay the registration on the long gone truck, or give them the name and address of the new owner. I don't know if Tim even knows who it was he sold it to. I haven't heard back from him on that memo, either.

As much as I like most of what I do for the company, I hate dealing with this lack of respect. That's what I call it, but I guess it could be just laziness. Mostly, though, it's a trait inherited from his father — pure, unabashed arrogance.

The Boss thinks he can bully anyone into doing things the way he wants them to — even the government. He files lawsuits left and right, whenever his ego is bruised or his turf is invaded. He never tries to do things by the book or work things out in a straightforward way. He just plows through like a bulldozer, leaving bodies in his wake.

And Tim is the same way, only not as smooth. If anything is going to drive me to the psych ward (or the cardiac unit) (or the cemetery), it's dealing with this stuff. I can go through a perfectly pleasant day and have the brightest of outlooks, and something will come over the fax that will turn everything sour.

It's a hazard of working at home, but even more, it's a hazard of working with people who think they're better and smarter than everyone else, and that the world will just have to deal with them. In this vein, I'm an enabler, because I work behind the scenes to legitimize a lot of the bullheaded moves they make.

If they only knew the cost to my peace of mind ... well, it wouldn't make any difference, would it? No difference at all.

I took this picture from my back yard.

snow in Sonoma County (look closely)

There was a lot more snow on the hills all around Santa Rosa, but none that I could get to with a camera yesterday.

Mom's first day of looking up yesterday was mostly a success. She had some pain in her neck and back, but that will fade with time. After all, she's been holding her head down for almost two weeks. She was so relieved to be able to see again that she was beaming. She still can't see very well, and she's bothered by the bubble in her eye, but she's a patient person and knows that chances are she'll continue to improve. At least she can now watch TV and, with the help of her magnifying glass, read, a little bit at a time. She even sent me an email last night.

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Who're you gonna get to do the dirty work
When all the slaves are free?