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(c) 2016 Trina Lambert

(c) 2016 Trina Lambert

If you saw me this past weekend you might wonder just how and why I became coated in the dust of ages. Well, about once every 10 years or so I have to clean out the office—whether or not it needs it. Truth? It needed it.

However, changing around the office is not exactly a new year’s resolution project, despite the timing. I likely would have lived with the hidden dust behind the furniture longer if we hadn’t needed to find more space. I am formally welcoming an officemate—well, a human one beyond the two or three dogs that often hang out in here when I am working at my desk. Welcome, Christiana, to the office down the hall. The dog hair is plentiful (although not as much after the recent cleaning spree) but the commute is short.

My daughter recently finished additional schooling (a certificate in graphic design) to round out her BFA and has begun her job search. But as a fine artist/graphic artist, she’s always going to have work-from-home projects in the pipeline and since this is her home for at least the near future, I’d rather those projects not take over the living room too often. We’ve already tried out working in the same space while she created and completed projects for her courses and, so far, we seem to be able to finish our work without causing each other trouble—but more space would allow that to happen with a whole lot more ease.

And in this 1940s office, more space means moving on up—at least as far as storage goes. (“Moving on up” is also the phrase my husband Sherman and I chose for 2016.) No more (horizontal) credenza that has served me a little too well over the years. Sherman and son Jackson moved it for use in our basement. So grateful for their efforts—and that neither of them died during the process. Yes, moving furniture in this 1940s house is often a life and death pursuit.

Non-hipsters that Sherman and I are, we had never really considered that homes such as ours are exactly what IKEA furniture is designed for rather than for those modern suburban homes with up-to-code doorways and large rooms with few walls. My friends, we are no longer IKEA innocents, but after a two-hour trek checking out everything (I mean everything) the store sells, we decided that for now we’d stick with the cheaper (and much bulkier) close-out vertical wardrobe we found at Lowe’s. Should the both of us (my daughter and I) one day decide to make our fortunes full-time in this space, we will likely put some of those fortunes toward IKEA and its Tinker-Toyification of storage solutions.

But for now we’re settling for sturdy upright storage and a whole lot less dust. I love how the office is shaping up but what the heck am I going to with all those piles I’d rather just forget crowding the dining room table and other furniture? The point of keeping my daughter’s doodads from spilling into the other rooms is moot if I replace them with my own.

Dust in the wind I may be, but without tackling my own copious baggage and putting more than a little of the dust from that baggage into the air by cleaning and moving it out, I’m destined to be held back by the whatchamacallits and thingamajigs I have collected. When my days on this earth are done, I’d rather that stuff and dust are not the only legacies I leave behind.

Pardon the dust—it’s got to get a little dirty in here first in order for me to move on up.

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(c) Trina Lambert 2014

(c) Trina Lambert 2014

Though I don’t miss eight-track cartridges, cassettes, or albums, I do miss how listening to one set of works at a time allowed me to get to know a particular set of music well. When we upgraded our stereo system to include a CD player that let us listen to five—five—CDs, either one after the other or shuffled together, I still felt I could really get to know the individual pieces of works. Sometimes that song I didn’t think I liked grew to become one of my favorites, something that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been forced by the industry to take my music as a set.

At the time when we built our CD collection, I would have told you the options were almost overwhelming. What did I want to listen to for the next three hours or so? But for the most part I did come to know the songs on those discs, some in an intimate way. Remember reading the words from the CD cover, not just looking them up online where you hope that person sharing the words hears well enough to get them right? I wanted to know what they meant and write some of the words on my heart.

Now I can access my songs shuffled in so many ways: randomly, by album, by artist, by genre, by playlist, etc. Yet all those songs are there for me at the same time. With my CDs, I never stopped before to count just how many songs I had available to me. Despite not having converted all those songs from the original format, just the sheer number listed on a screen of what I own overwhelms me. And the new stuff acquired—some individually, some in album groups—has never grown as near to my heart and memory. Somehow it seems almost wrong to focus on an individual song or album when I can listen to some endless random loop.

Having too many choices has weakened my connection to this song or that album. I feel as if I’m losing my ability to come to know a work so intimately that it becomes part of the soundtrack of my own head. Instead, so often it’s all this grand, big collection of music I like versus something really personal to me.

So while I’m open to new songs and new artists, the expansion of music options available to me seems to keep me quite a bit in the past. These days I hear songs I like then promptly forget about them. Without repetition they just don’t stick with me.

Though it’s easier to live without physical representations of music cluttering my space and gathering dust, I feel that when all my music is contained in one small box or a cloud, the too-muchness of the formats puts a barrier between me and true love for that music individually.

The other day after driving around in my car while listening to a mix CD made several years ago, I realized just how often I had fallen into singing along with those songs without even knowing it. I, not some random algorithm, picked those songs. Sure, I made the “playlist” myself, but first I had to know those songs well enough to want to choose them.

Yes, even with a car that is smart enough to allow me to bring along all my music at once, I prefer to put a boundary on what I can hear in that small space, even if that means cluttering up the car with specific CD jewel boxes. How else am I going to live up to my “Caution—driver singing” license plate holder? I can’t sing along with every one of the songs in my collection, but give me 10 to 15 at a time and you’re going to need that warning.

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

Do you ever think that if you could just sit down to create and put together a really detailed spreadsheet, then life would be OK? I mean when worries wash over you, do you ever start heading for Excel? All will have to be OK with the world if you can just plug some information and formulas into some slots, hit return, and, voilà, the facts and answers will appear and all will be well? Or maybe this is just me?

Sometimes I like to work with numbers that just are, numbers that are black and unchanging, and, seemingly, nothing more. Find the number, drop it into the cell, and move on. The repetition calms me, lulling me into believing that those boxes can control and keep the data—as well as contain any possible associated messy meanings. A simple click on AutoFit column width and nothing can spill out or hide.

This, my friends, is why I am more than a creative. Somewhere deep inside in me I find comfort in putting things into boxes—except that with my ability to see shades of gray, things often escape from those boxes, despite my best efforts.

Though I am not enough of a nerd to assign emotions to particular numbers (trust me—my son can personify numbers in a manner far beyond my comprehension), deep down I realize that numbers can bring out emotions. If those supposedly black numbers take a turn into the red, my rational mind can become quite overwhelmed, especially when those numbers are personal to me. And sometimes, I know or discover that those numbers are not even as certain as I might like to believe.

Still, on a good day, I can give into the Zen of the spreadsheet and forget what significance lies in the big picture of totals, projections, associations, or anything beyond the next cell. In those times I am simply creating order out of chaos, recording history, and sticking with just the facts, ma’am.

so much depends
upon

black roman
numerals

inserted with taps and
clicks

inside white columns and
rows.

(With apologies to William Carlos Williams and his “The Red Wheelbarrow” poem.)

Still life by Christiana Lambert, 2010

Still life by Christiana Lambert, 2010

So after my last posts about biology and how it should not affect the ability to get an education, biology is back on my mind. Is biology destiny? And how do you confront biology that might be a bit flawed in one area—can systems and/or willpower change approaches?

Why do I ask? I’ll tell you why—I’ve just moved my daughter again and it’s a lot like moving my mother, even though my mother’s no longer here to demonstrate her lack of organizational abilities for my daughter. Yes she had dementia, but the moving difficulties were really more related to lifelong patterns and approaches. Neither of those two could load a dishwasher in a way that makes any sense to me—nor to even those in the family who are not quite as obsessive about it as I am. My spatial abilities are specialized while theirs might be or have been almost non-existent.

You see, ADD runs through the family, but how that manifests varies in each of us. Besides, I am not certain how far along the scientists are in tying what difficulties to what genes in this area. And though our family participated in one of the first big studies involving ADD and genomes, it wasn’t the sort of study that provided any information to the participants. We have no idea if in some lab somewhere, a scientist looked at all the traits reported and started to make sense of how the information on our DNA connected with our behaviors.

As for my mother, we know little about her biology other than the fact she had a head injury in an early car accident. By the time we were helping her, she was hopeless when it came to packing, either because of the biology, accident, and/or lifelong patterns.

I pray there is still help and hope for our daughter—and, consequently, us. If nothing else, she hasn’t had any head injuries and she’s young enough that she still can learn and still search out tools to help her.

The girl loves her stuff! And as an art major, she has a lot of supplies, too, that she actually needed at one time or still needs. Bins, stacking organizers, shelves, dividers, etc.—I keep trying to find something that will help her keep it all semi-together. Would it be too much to ask her to search out solutions herself, even if they might not be successful? Ask my family—while I have found some really good solutions for myself, there are many more I have tried that just did not work for me. When your mind isn’t wired to realize that there should be a place for everything—or that such a concept even exists—you have to concede you need help and search for whatever tools that work for you—and keep searching when you haven’t found a reasonable solution yet.

The Battle of Too Much Stuff is a constant in this household—and it would be so much better if I could rally more troops to fight against all that stuff instead of having troops who add more stuff to my stuff. I am dealing with my own biology on this—I don’t need other peoples’ stuff and biology to exacerbate my own disabilities. Really.

Love my daughter and loved my mother, but their stuff? Not so much.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

Almost a decade ago our newly-relocated washer connections started spewing water all over the basement floor—sounds I heard from upstairs. After running down the stairs, I spied my then-twelve-year-old son staring intently at the game on his computer screen. Our conversation went something like this:

“Jackson, do you hear the water?”

“What water?”

“Can you grab me some towels immediately?”

“What towels?”

“The ones in the linen closet.”

“What linen closet?”

I finally got him to follow me to the linen closet (the one in the close-by hallway space between his and his sister’s bedrooms) and very soon we were sopping up the mess on the floor together with the aforementioned towels.

We live in a 1940s house where storage space is at a premium. Our house didn’t come with amenities such as coat closets or linen closets—where we can, we have added storage places. Sometimes, however, we can’t really change a space so we add organizers. The only linen closet is still in the basement—even the bath towels for the upstairs bathroom remain there because there is no room for them anywhere else.

And while keeping bath towels so far away isn’t so inconvenient, I found it too hard to switch out the smaller hand towels and washcloths as often as needed without keeping them upstairs where they were used. For years I kept the built-in bathroom cabinet overflowing with all the towels and products that could not fit on the small counter. Almost every time I opened the cupboard, towels and all sorts of items would burst out since the organizing containers inside could only contain so much stuff.

When you’re as naturally disorganized as I am, you have to devise organizing systems that give you some chance of success. I’m definitely one of those “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” people so there were many good reasons for moving some of that stuff out into the open—which I finally got to do about six months ago when my daughter moved from one living space to another and no longer had such a tiny bathroom space herself.

That’s when I claimed her over-the-commode (doesn’t that sound fancy?) organizer and went searching for containers that could remain in the open, but still keep me organized. No more toilet paper, bath linens, bottles, and makeup either spilling out of the cabinet or remaining on the countertop—well, on many days, anyway.

Last night I removed one dirty hand towel and ran to put it in the washer before setting out the clean towels. In the meanwhile my husband grabbed some other towel (really, more a rag than anything I would use in the bathroom) to use instead. Now this part of the story is just a matter of two different people seeing matters in a different way, but what follows is similar to the story of my son and the linen closet.

Me: “Oh, the spare hand towel is in the basket in the bathroom.”

Husband: “What basket?”

So today I sent him a picture of the basket—now full since I’d put away the clean towels.

“Where is that?”

“In our bathroom.”

“I thought it was somewhere else. I’ve never seen that.”

“We got it in August after we moved the girls. It’s on the shelf next to the Kleenex container.”

“What Kleenex container?”

Then I sent him a picture of the whole arrangement and he still professed amazement and shock.

This goes on for quite awhile until he then says, “You do know I am pulling your leg, don’t you?”

What he does and does not know about this arrangement apparently will remain a mystery to me, but I’m pretty sure he really did not notice the original basket. And maybe it never occurred to him that things weren’t falling out of the cabinet at the same rate as they have since, well, forever in this house-of-little-storage.

You may be asking yourself, what’s the point of this post? There are few.

First of all, don’t assume someone else “sees”—or “hears” in the case of my son—what you do. Sometimes it doesn’t matter and sometimes it does, but awareness that you don’t always know how something appears from another’s shoes is big. Next, what I might be good at doing and what you might be good at doing are not always the same. Also, you may not even care about something that matters to me and vice versa. Finally, those of us who enjoy applying process improvements in order to make some aspects of life easier aren’t always going to receive the respect and appreciation we expect.

What I think of as having my ducks in a row might lead to no more than being asked, “What ducks?” Here I go—just me and my towel stories—trying to demonstrate that one man’s or woman’s simple is often another’s, “Huh?”

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

In our house we don’t have everything in its place—far from it as our more left-brained friends can attest to. But that’s not because we’re lazy, as some may assume, and it’s definitely not because we’re sitting around watching TV. Frankly we spend a lot more time in our heads than we do in the material world and much of the where of where to put things just isn’t as obvious to us as it is to many. However, because this “stuff” area is an area of weakness for us, we are much more likely to analyze why we just can’t seem to put things in the supposed obvious place, such as the drawer or cabinet, and eventually we come up with totally a different way that works much better for us.

That this sort of thing doesn’t always work for others became abundantly obvious when I decided the best place to store my hair supplies was not beneath the sink or on the overcrowded counter top but in a trash can (read: container) I bought to fit the gap between the wall and the cabinet. Every morning I’d just pull it up in order to get ready and then when I was done using all the products, I’d put them in that waste basket and return the whole container where it belonged. No mess on my counter or cramming more items into the too-small cabinet—and it took advantage of formerly wasted “dead” space.

Perfect, right? Except for when we had company—and too many people didn’t even notice that this converted trash can wasn’t a trash can, despite the carefully placed bottles in it or the much larger covered trash can sitting right next to the toilet.

Sometimes people who always have a more typical place for everything—whether that’s a place for objects or for what their observations tell them something means—miss that there could be more than one place for everything or more than one meaning behind an action. Or get this—that just because something has typically gone here or meant this doesn’t mean there isn’t a better place to put something or a better way to do something or a better understanding of the meaning behind actions. Or that what works for many doesn’t work for everyone . . .

In the years after I got out of college, I used to read all sorts of career articles. I’ll never forget the one where a hiring manager said she likes to hire people who have all the details put together because if they didn’t, she assumed they’d do sloppy work for her. The all-important detail she noticed? Whether or not a woman with pierced ears was wearing earrings. Really. (You read this sort of thing and think, “For this I went to college?”) My ears were pierced for about three years of my life—in junior high—before I gave up due to constant allergic reactions that made me look as if I had leprosy. But besides that, sometimes people either don’t think accessories are as important as knowledge and ability or find they can’t “do” it all so choose doing quality work and looking neat and professional over obsessing over details that don’t matter to the particular job at hand.

Heck, even looking around my neighborhood I can notice people who choose where their priorities lie—people who are obsessive about some details and not others. There’s the man who has the perfectly-manicured lawn and well-maintained trees and bushes but who has never ever painted his house in the twenty-five years I’ve lived here—and who knows how many years before that. If you think he doesn’t care about appearances at all, you’d be wrong, but he’s more of a detail-oriented specialist than a detail-oriented generalist.

The devil is definitely in the details, but so is demonizing someone from assumptions based on only one small detail or one type of detail versus the sum of the details.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

Breaking news—I am tapping on my keyboard in front of the monitor in my office. This really is big news because I am no longer just using my laptop on my lap in some chair or on the dining room or kitchen table as I have done for most of the time since I got my puppy—yes, that’s the puppy who is now 2 ½ years old. You see I initially fell into that work-at-home habit because he was just too “big” to fit in my office, no matter how small he was. He was always running around and needed lots of space—and plus, it was so much easier to puppy-proof the other rooms. Though I can work anywhere, I know it’s really helpful to have the option to go to a space dedicated just for working.

Just yesterday ARC picked up my old heavy oak L-shaped desk and drove off with it. My modest-sized 1940s former bedroom/now office breathed a sigh of relief—and so did I. Until I figure out just what sort of work space I want to create, I am working from a short utility table that has just enough room to fit the printer, monitor, keyboard, laptop, and a pencil cup. It’s the end of the world as I have known it lately and I feel more than fine.

My husband Sherman is going to make me some sort of desk from a solid-core door, but we haven’t quite decided what all it is I need in a desk. So far we’ve looked at Lowe’s and Pinterest for ideas. I’m feeling the need for advice because, let’s face it, we use desks differently than we used to do. Though I’m still trying to break away from all the paper documents and references, this isn’t going to be a virtual-only workspace yet. However slowly I am making strides toward saving the trees of the world, I am still going to need some file cabinet space. Nonetheless, I am trying to figure out if I can live with some sort of bins instead of a drawer for supplies—isn’t that what right-brained organizers, such as I am, are supposed to like anyway?

Anyway, getting rid of the desk and reorganizing the office is just another way we are clearing out the unnecessary clutter that has been hogging too much space in our home. Time seemed to stand still and speed up at the same time when my mother’s health troubles set in—leaving little time and energy for the difficult tasks surrounding keeping track of “stuff”—especially that belonging to others. That my back injury followed soon after her death most definitely did not help with the process, either.

Though it is way past time to move everything out, thank goodness we’ve made such great progress this summer. As I mentioned earlier this month, Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way program reminds artists and other creative people that getting rid of what no longer works for us creates space for new growth. On that vein, taking care of the office is especially important to my long-term professional growth, whether more of that growth happens here in my own space or in someone else’s space. This room is the room where I get down to business more than any other room in my home. This is my “room of my own”—and I’ve been away from it for far too long.

Glad to be back in my own office chair in my own space where my seat is most firmly planted. Ready, set—grow!

Sherman Lambert's feet--(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

Sherman Lambert’s feet–(c) 2012 Sherman Lambert

It’s late summer (or at least it seems late when people in your family go to school) and suddenly the living feels easy-er: my daughter is feeling better and leaving soon for a temporary campus job that could work into a job while she’s in school too, my son finished the course—and coursework—that’s been in the way of his moving forward in college, the salary freeze has been lifted at my husband’s work, all the work we’ve done to get the commercial property loan we need is leading to a closing date, and with just a small weekly commitment to physical therapy exercises I am remaining relatively pain-free and able to improve again with my activities. I finally feel as if we can all move forward.

As for me, I’m thinking more about the lessons I learned while doing (Julia Cameron’s) Artist’s Way almost 15 years ago. There are obvious steps that move you toward your goals and then there are subtle activities that can open up you—and the Universe—to what comes next. So on one hand, I am evaluating what type of work I want to pursue and working on how to present myself. On the other hand, I’m doing other things that seem to have no professional purpose yet they help me both to remember who I am and create enough space to help me discover how to create a new way of living.

Sometimes you just have to stop thinking and do something—with your hands, with your whole body, or with your possessions—or all of them. Movement inspires more movement.

Part of getting ready to move forward is leaving behind what doesn’t work anymore or what’s been an impediment. That junk that causes me to stub my toes and then say things I wouldn’t think of putting in print is dragging me down. This past weekend my husband started removing items from our detached garage and soon I joined him. Why were we storing the whatchamacallits and thingamabobs of previous decades (and the past century and millennium) when we have current doodads that need a storage home? We kept at the work for a good part of two days and couldn’t believe how much easily-accessible storage we really do have. Just imagine if we keep up the work—and do not fill up every available free space . . .

However, the garage work is just part of the physical movement we’ve done that frees up room for more ideas. I can count three other areas where we’ve made major changes for the first time in years—the house is beginning to feel very different.

Speaking of ideas, I had one a few weeks ago that didn’t involve words. In times of great emotion, sometimes words come too fast and seem to keep me too deeply anchored to the present and past. No, I don’t usually think in pictures but this time a fully-formed picture came to me that expressed where I’d been for far too long. I’m no great artist, as my daughter is, but I just knew that making a small crazy quilt project would be better than writing the same old things . . . blah, blah, blah, blah.

Just so you know, I’ve never made a crazy quilt before but have pieced together quilts. Also, somewhere in the really far past I did embroidery on 4-H projects. So I looked on the Internet and—voila—found a pattern perfect for my project—just as I had envisioned it. Then I scrambled through my scraps looking for just the right pieces—and at the same time got all the remaining scraps organized for future projects.

The top is now pieced together and waiting for me to have time to sit down and practice my embroidery skills a bit more—my first attempts showed me I am not quite ready for prime time, but I am close. Hope to share this completed project with the pattern’s designer and in a future blog post later this month. And, you know what? I do feel more hopeful about both my renewed embroidery efforts as well as most everything else in my life. Really—the picture I saw is starting to become reality.

What is next for me? Don’t know yet, but little by little, day by day, the future looks more like a picture at the end of a gallery than one hidden behind clutter in a garage. And that makes it easier to find a little focus—which is one more reason this summertime feels—if not easy—easier.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert Planted by Woman.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert
Planted by Woman.

Where has May gone? Well, I’ll tell you, I have spent much of May outside—it’s so good to be able to get out again, although I’m not that excited about weeding, pruning, and mowing. Thank goodness I can listen to books and music to get me through the less exciting stuff—yeah, I know, not very mindful, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to write “Zen and the Art of Lawn Work” as a follow-up to my “Zen and the Art of Snow Blowing” post.

My new neighbors have rarely seen me outside without headphones or ear buds—sheesh, am I becoming that remote person who disconnects from the world by using technology?

For the most part I’m just trying to con myself into doing what I consider boring work—hard to believe I come from long lines of farmers. I first started listening to books to get myself through organizing papers and doing my physical therapy exercise, so outside work is just one more place to use that tool. Since I spend most of my daytime hours alone, I have lots of time to think deep thoughts to myself anyway—a few hours listening to someone else’s thoughts doesn’t really inhibit my ability to formulate my own. I’ve never been a person who puts on music or the TV just to have background noise.

Our neighborhood can be pretty quiet on week day mornings and early afternoons, so it’s not as if I usually need to block out noise, unless someone’s using equipment my ears can’t stand, such as chainsaws, jackhammers, or leaf blowers. Still, I was really glad I was listening to a book without much outside sound interference when I realized I could still hear someone shouting—turns out some guy was just pontificating at great volume on his patio half a block away! Imagine if I hadn’t already been enjoying my book—planting my annuals would have been a lot less pleasant.

I really can plant annuals without needing to distract myself, but not so sure I would have weeded so thoroughly without a little help. This past weekend, I realized it would be folly to mow the grass before removing the weeds—no need to disburse any more weed seeds by mowing off the tops. By the time my story on the library’s Playaway system had ended, I was only about half done. As tempted as I was to run to the library for another book, I switched to the iPod instead to listen to some of my favorite “chore” tunes.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert Planted by Nature.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert
Planted by Nature.

Maybe I didn’t hear my son calling my name again and again. So what if he gave up, right? The dog and I were having a great time dancing to “Brick House” while pulling weeds. How did he know what song it was, you ask? Apparently, while he couldn’t hear the professional music, he could hear me singing along—really badly, no doubt. Guess I should be glad it wasn’t the new neighbors calling my name, right?

New plants are all planted, seeds are in the ground, perennials and self-seedings are waking up, and fewer weeds sprout in our green-for-now yard—the effects of the drought beat back for a few more weeks by a spring of moisture.

Now I can take my laptop outside to write—in silence. Or walk, run, or hike without any headphones. I may not always be mindful in whatever I do, but for the most part, I do have a mind full of my own words and songs. No, there are many outside activities I do that never require the distraction of someone else’s story or music. That’s just part of the real magic of May and the warmer months to come.

What optimists my parents were–this was obviously written before I was born!

Remember how I was emptying out my house and hoping the Universe would find more space in it for good opportunities? Well, what does it mean when a long-awaited payout arrives . . . with my name not just misspelled, but wrong??!! Does that suggest I better do some more cleaning out?

Or is it just another example of how hard it is to get many organizations to take good care of their customers/clients?

Really, I wanted to cry because I was both happy to see the payout and incredibly frustrated that someone would not take the time to get my name spelled right on something so important.

You see, my mother’s former employer informed the executor of her estate—who is my brother Scott—earlier this summer that she had owned a group life insurance policy and we were owed money. He had to figure out what steps we needed to take and we both had to certify some papers. Now, mind you, our mother died in January 2011 and he had notified all the companies we knew needed to be informed of her passing. We knew about her pension—which ended with her death—and let the employer know right away. What we didn’t know about was that policy.

I suppose we could have never known. Maybe the employer got audited? Maybe when I asked someone to remove her name from a mailing list for retired employees threatening a lawsuit that triggered something somewhere that told the right department of her passing?

Anyway, in a lot of ways it’s rather unconscionable for such a payout to take almost 20 months to arrive. But, for the most part, Scott and I have been trying to think of this along the “not looking at a gift horse in the mouth” lines and just trying to go along with the flow.

That was a lot easier for me before the money came to me in the wrong name. Folks—my name is Patrina. P-a-t-r-i-n-a. After 50 years of such mistakes, I still get riled up when people who should be the kind of people who read carefully for details, don’t. Especially when they don’t even apologize for the error . . . and ask me to wait a little longer. Seriously, if you’re not going to be accurate, a little empathy would go a long way.

Just guessing that the company managed to spell my brother’s name right—then again, he always did keep a lot fewer things in his house than I did. Maybe he’s just better prepared for the Universe to hand-out its goodies?

Nonetheless, I thank Mom for her foresight and God for prodding these people to hand out what she intended to provide for us.

While waiting—again—for the payout, I got out more donations (this time for ARC)—and the corrected check arrived a couple days later.

Maybe it doesn’t hurt to hedge my bets. In case the Universe is listening, I’m continuing to clean-out my house. (And just to be sure, that’s Patrina, spelled P-a-t-r-i-n-a!)

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(c) 2009, Christiana Lambert