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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Most of my job, it seems, involves dredging up the past. What did we do last year? How much did we bring in and how much did we spend? What kind of profit did we think we were going to make on any given job, and how much did we actually make? Where did we stand at the end of the year? Iím still answering this question, three months later.

Iím always trying to collect money from projects we finished months ago, so that I can pay bills that were past due weeks ago. Weíre audited by various insurance companies at least twice a year, and I have to keep elaborate records of transactions that could be simple, if only the different agencies and entities all asked the same questions in the same terms.

But nooooooooo. The liability insurance renews every July 2. (Not even July 1!) The workers comp policy starts and ends on October 1. The tax returns are dated December 31, due April 15, and usually finished some time in August, the way our accountant works. I donít keep two sets of books, as crooks do. I keep about six sets, the way honest businesspeople are forced to do.

So I try to have some fun with it. Spreadsheets to me are a source of enjoyment, as long as I can create them on my own terms. I put some effort into turning source documents into tables that can be adjusted to show whatever anyone asks me for. Itís a good thing, too, because I never know what the Boss is going to come up with.

And now that we have two companies to account for, I have double the fun. And I have twice as many people asking me for the same information in different formats. Thatís either job security or a ticket to the cracker factory.

22 March 2005

One end of the rainbow.

The Boss is the one who gets to look forward. He gets calls from other contractors who want our price on a future project. He does the engineering and estimating, and he can see what itís going to look like and anticipate any incidents and accidents, and make contingency plans. Every so often I get in on the process. Today we put in a bid on a new project that would be good for the company and interesting to do. I got to type the proposal. Thatís usually as close as I get to forward thinking, but at least itís a change in routine.

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ďDMV will revoke your restricted license and reimpose the suspension.Ē I keep reading that sentence and looking through the manual to find the difference between being suspended and being revoked (not to mention restricted). I learned today that if you drive with a suspended or revoked license, you might be required to have a breathalyzer connected to your ignition, so that you canít start your car if youíve been drinking. (Actually, the court can order a person to use this device after any DUI offense.) Iím glad I donít drink and drive; it makes life so much simpler (not to mention safer).

Recent recommendations used to be found on the links page.

One year ago: Performance
"It took her a while to get untangled and leave, but it was fun to watch."

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