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Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Be careful if you get what you've been asking for, because somebody is probably screwing with your head. If it looks like smooth sailing, that's only because you can't see the rocks. Or the sharks.

Foolishly, I thought when the time cards came over the fax this morning that I was going to have an stress-free day. If I get the time cards early in the day on Tuesday, I can have the payroll checks all ready to mail out on Wednesday. It's the perfect formula for an easy ride. It should be this way every week.

When I looked at the time cards, I had some questions. I called the Boss. He told me to call Tim. I called Tim. He wasn't available, so I left a message. I told him what I was going to do, unless I heard from him. I was sure it was what he would have told me to do, so I didn't worry about it.

Here's the deal. There are two different pay rates for each member of Tim's crew. If he writes "site" on the time card, it tells me they worked on the job site instead of in our shop, and that means they get the higher rate. The only reason I bothered to call and confirm was that the job they were working on is so close to the shop that it surprised me a little that he'd give them the site rate.

But if he writes "site," he means "site." Right? I found something else to do for a couple of hours, though, just in case he should call back and tell me I was wrong. When I didn't hear from him, I went ahead and did the payroll. I filled in all the various tax details and worker's compensation percentages, wrote the checks and entered all the figures into my tortuously hand-written payroll program. (The Boss doesn't like commercial software, so I do almost all of this by hand.)

As you've already guessed, as soon as I was finished, Tim phoned. Oh no, he'd just written "site" on the time cards for his own information. He didn't mean for me to pay the crew at the higher rate. He was "sorry." He suggested I just leave the checks alone and take the difference off next week's pay. I thought it would be wise to make the corrections now, even if it meant rewriting all the checks. He was "sorry" again.

I assured him I wasn't going to make a big deal out of this with the Boss. I wouldn't even tell him, but he'll find out anyway. He always finds out, because he insists on seeing a copy of every check I write so he can cross the numbers off his list. If I don't call his attention to a voided check, he'll ask me about it. I told Tim I'd take the blame. I should have waited until I was sure before writing the checks.

Besides, I'm the only one put out by this. The Boss would love to catch Tim in a mistake that caused me to do extra work. It gives him leverage, and he's all about leverage. He feels good if he has something on you. Tim is a special case, being the Boss's son and all. If it was my fault, the Boss wouldn't care. So, it's my fault. So let it be written...

Luckily, the payroll was a lot easier to figure without the two-tiered rate scale I'd used the first time around. This meant that I was wasting much less time doing the checks right the second time than I'd wasted doing them wrong the first time. At least, that's one semi-twisted way of putting the best face on an ugly situation. It didn't really make me feel any better about my day, though.

14 June 03

Sonoma State University Commons.

Other than that it was an okay day. It's tomorrow that will suffer, because of all the things that got put off when I had to do the same thing twice today. I love my job; it's doing it that sometimes drive me nuts.

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I didn't need to watch Kevin Brown manhandle the Giants tonight at Dodger Stadium. I've seen it many times over the years, and I didn't need any more aggravation. Some pitchers just have a mastery over certain teams, and the Giants' nemesis is Kevin Brown. After beating them again tonight, his record is 10-1 this season. The miracle is that his one loss was to the Giants, back in April.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Game of Life
"When there are things we need to know, the only way we'll know them is by the free flow of information. Watergate was the sharp poke in the ribs we needed to remind ourselves of this."

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Don Juan, your money's gone,
And when your money's gone, Don,
Your baby's gone.
Don Juan, your baby's gone.
Stiff upper lip now, Don,
You'll have to carry on.