Thursday, October 19, 2006

doing the bills...

How To Do The Bills
An Instructive and Amusing Tale

“To calculate your routine household finances, you must set up a regular time and a regular place. It is imperative that you will not be interrupted. This place should be congenial and, if possible, have a window with good light and a pleasing aspect. Morning is more beneficial than afternoon or evening.”
~from A Gentlewoman’s Guide to an Orderly Household, 1865

Sounds like good advice. I will try this and perhaps it will help me through my bill-paying-block this morning!

Set up special place:
Check out bill-paying desk especially set up for this purpose; hmmmm, Over-flowing with old bills and receipts.

Coffee table in front room will have to do – is only surface not covered by knitting projects & artwork.

Set up coffee table with checkbook, pen, calculator.

Oops – forgot bills. Go sort current bills from old bills on bill-paying desk.

Check for pleasing aspect in window…. Ooooo the neighbours are adding a second storey screened porch! That’s interesting – I wonder where they are; they’re obviously not at home while all this building is going on…what’s that? Is the workman not wearing a shirt? In this weather? Hmmm, wonder if the view is better from upstairs window?

Oops. Go back to coffee table and bills. Sit down.

Must have tea.

Set up tea things on coffee table.

Put tea kettle on to boil.

Notice cat has no food (by tripping over cat as she frantically tried to call attention to empty bowl).

Fill cat bowl.

Settle back at coffee table.

Hmmm decide on International Decaf Coffee instead of tea. French Vanilla. No, Hazelnut. No Vanilla, No Mocha. No, definitely Vanilla.

Go get special cup for International French coffee, Oui! Oui!

Sit down at table.

Open checkbook.

Remember that checkbook hasn’t been balanced since March. Is there enough money in there for the bills? It seems so, but… what about all those debits that haven’t been recorded?

Must have congenial music.


No, Steve Halpern.

No, Sting.

No, definitely Enya.

Where's my Enya CD? Go look in pile of CDs. Find Enya under wing chair.

Go rescue huffy tea kettle and fill cup.

Sit down at coffee table.

Get up and look for un-recorded debit slips. Find pile on kitchen table. Find another pile on dining room table. Search through purse. Yup – more there. Oh, there’s one squished into pocket of rain coat. Search through purse used before this purse. Find third pile.

Gather all debit slips and bring to coffee table.

Sip coffee. Listen to music.

Decide to write witty story of bill paying for amusement of lj friends.

Set up typewriter in front of window.

Look out window. Watch workmen. What? 30 minutes have passed? Must go back to hard work of paying bills.

Go back to coffee table. Sort debit slips by month.

Oh! I didn’t know I spent so much on yarn this summer. Go find yarn in question. Oh, yes, lovely yarn! Sort yarn. Put in plastic bags (where are those bags?) Label each one with name and description of project I might make with said yarn. Hmmmm. Can’t remember what I wanted this one for. May just thumb quickly though a couple of knitting magazines to refresh my memory. Will just put this yarn in order.

Oh. Coffee is cold.

Will just heat up water and warm cup.

There ready now. Sit back at coffee table.

Write out bills due this week. There must be enough money in there for these, at least!

Remember Project Runway marathon starts at 10 am.

Check watch. 9:45.

Must get this done!

Feel very virtuous about new determination.

Start on debit slips with marvelous new plan.

Add all debit slips up on calculator to obtain one grand sum.

Record this in checkbook as “Past Debits – March thru Sept.

Subtract grand sum from current balance.

There! That job’s done!

This book was right – a special time and place makes all the difference!

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