Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Reconcilable Differences

Why a cat photo? To get your attention, of course. (Actually there is a connection of sorts.)

When it comes to keeping track of expenses, Donna-Lane and I have very different approaches. She records every expenditure in a spreadsheet - every day. I load expenses into a spreadsheet as well - once a year.

Part of my procrastination personality, I guess. And her CDO (OCD in alphabetical order).

A few days before my tax return is due, I collect up all my bank statements, receipts, etc. and start sorting through them for the relevant numbers. The receipts are usually stuffed in a plastic bag, or maybe multiple small plastic bags, and are typically wadded up, twisted, and folded, so they first have to be straightened and smoothed before I can read what's on them. Then I sit at the computer, entering all the numbers, sorting the columns by date or expense type, or whatever to make sure I'm not missing anything, or not much at least.

D-L's method takes perhaps 5 minutes a day or 1825 minutes a year, or about 30 hours of her time total. My method takes perhaps ... 30 hours, but concentrated in 2-3 days of intense, non-stop, nailbiting effort, and Lord help me if I get interrupted as the filing deadline looms.

One added bonus of my methodology in searching through every receipt for the past 12 months is a mini virtual trip down memory lane. I see receipts for places we've traveled, museums we've strolled, restaurants where we dined together or with friends, even the business card of the very pleasant taxi driver who took us back to the houseboat we stayed on moored in one of Amsterdam's canals.

Oh, the cat. The photo looks a lot like Tummy, our landlady's outdoor tabby who shows up at our garden apartment door pretty much every morning. His mouth-wide-open but silent (the window glass between us) scream clearly says, 'Why haven't you opened the door yet?' As he enters, he scolds me again, this time quite audibly, and jumps on the bed to snuggle into the duvet for the better part of the day.

Yesterday, while I had important papers spread all over the couch and floor, Tummy decided - for the first time in our relationship - that he wanted to be cuddled. Usually, at best, he tolerates it when I pet him as he stretches full length on the bed. I suspect he was secretly tormenting me at a time when I was trying to get organized and did not want his paws messing up my paper piles. His way of sending a message - open the door faster, slave.

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