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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And to think that I almost didn't bother going to the post office today. But there in my mailbox was a huge check from the supposedly bankrupt State of California for some work we completed only two weeks ago. That's unheard of, to get paid that fast on a public project, but it was a big relief, since I'd overdrawn the company account with checks I'd already written.

To be more precise, the check was the normal size and shape. It's the amount on it that was huge. Almost as huge as the amount we owe out of it. And so it goes. That's how things get done in the construction business, in which we're lucky still to be, considering. (See what I did there? I went to extreme lengths not to end that sentence with a preposition, then added a participle that dangles so precipitously it might well plummet into the grammatical abyss into which it belongs.)

What getting money in means, of course, is that money must go out. I'll spend most of the rest of the week writing checks, fitting that job in with all the other normal and abnormal tasks that will come up. Today I had to deal with payroll issues as well, including an unemployment claim that might or might not be legitimate (he says he was laid off, Tim says he quit), and a new child support garnishing order for the same employee (who either is or is not a current employee).

Plus, the next big check won't be released until I do the massively complex certified payroll reports that the government requires, to show that we paid our employees the equivalent of a union wage while they worked on state jobs. The state only cares because the unions care, and that makes us care. We like to be compliant (but not necessarily pliant).

If it seems I obsess over money (other people's money, at that), it's because it's true. The Boss has noticed it, too. It's really his money, and he worries about it less than I do, but he worries that I worry. Of course, he can see into the future, because he can pretty much decide what's going to happen in the future. He's always been one to get agitated over a missing nickel, but thousands of dollars don't faze him a bit. He comes from money, as they say, so it's not as big an issue as it is for the rest of us. He has as much trouble understanding us as we have figuring out what makes him tick.

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