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Friday, November 9, 2001

I get a little lost in the world of finance. That's a confession I probably shouldn't make, since I've recently been described as an "accountant" (which I'm most definitely not). Every time someone asks me a question about money, I get a little light-headed. I know how to count it, and I know how to spend it. I've never been able to save it, and I'm not all that good at making it.

So the Boss wants to trade in the company truck and he's put Tim in charge of the transaction. Tim calls me and asks my opinion, mentioning interest rates and payoff amounts. He has me look up the original loan papers, which is hard to do with my eyes glazing over. Dammit, Tim, I'm a bookkeeper, not a miracle worker!

From my point of view, I don't care how much we save by paying off the new truck at low interest over 36 months, because the monthly payment is so high that I'll be scrambling around for the money to pay it every time we have one of those months when cash isn't flowing as freely as it is right now. And that could happen any time. And it could last for a long time.

Besides, Tim's never driven a truck for as long as 36 months in the fifteen years I've known him. The used-up one he's trading in is barely two years old. So I told him to check with the Boss, but from my point of view, I'm all for lower payments, even if it supposedly takes 60 months to pay off the loan. We'll be trading again long before that time comes. I can't relate to interest rates when I'm thinking about having enough in the bank to cover next week's payroll.

So my secret is out. I'm a total dunce when it comes to financial matters. That's probably why I'm renting the house of my dreams instead of owning it. It's why I'm a salaried worker for a struggling construction company instead of part owner of a successful shoe store (which I actually was, once upon a time). It's probably why I'm driving a 1988 Honda Civic with 202,000 miles on it. (Well, one reason, anyway.)

And don't even get me started on insurance! I have to write a letter to our workers compensation carrier, because they're charging us rates that are about fifty percent higher than the rates we were quoted. Even I am smart enough to figure out that mistake. Now if I can only figure out how to get them to fix it.


Taken a little before sunset (hence the appearance of the actual sun).

I finally watched the recent Frontline documentary on the U.S. Army Rangers' attempt in 1993 to capture the Somali warlord Mohammed Aidid. After watching the young men who survived this ill-advised raid on Mogadishu describe how they survived, and how they risked their own lives to save others, I won't hear any criticism of the commitment or courage of the U.S. military. Even when I'm not sure our policy is on track, I'll be confident that it's being executed by dedicated individuals.

It was a riveting hour of television. And it proves that I don't just watch shows like Survivor (not that there's anything wrong with that).

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