It Was Beyond My Control

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“A day late and a dollar short” is an expression I’ve been familiar with for a very long time. I truthfully haven’t had a lot of experience with either. Like my sons says, “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute.” Even he knows the importance of meeting deadlines and getting things completed on time.

When it comes to money, I attempt to have a little cash stashed away for a rainy day. Of course, the General and our kids will have to negotiate an Easter egg hunt to find it after I’m gone. I’ve cautioned them to leave no page unturned in any of my books. If they opt to burn my books, more than white paper may go up in smoke. If nothing else, the cautionary warning should foster a love for my reading material.

In addition, the General is aware that I carry plastic. The only expectation related to plastic is to make the General aware of anything I charge. I’m not sure how she manages all of that in the checkbook. Trust me, she has a system in place. My only role is to make her aware of the charges and of course there is the expectation that I make the money to cover the monthly bill.

I’d probably be wise not to render a value judgment on the General’s system, but it seems totally unnecessary to me. The simple solution is to: “Pay the bill when it arrives.” In essence, that is what she does. The only difference between her approach and mine is that she knows the amount of the bill prior to receiving the bill and has already made adjustments in the checkbook. My system may be cloaked in “unexpected and surprised”, but the outlay of cash is the same. I’m not complaining. Her approach seems like a lot more effort to me, but she likes the feeling of being in control proactive and aware.

Despite the fact that I get calls on a weekly basis offering to lower the interest rate on our credit card, I hang up the phone before they complete their spill. In addition, every call I receive indicates that I will not hear from them again. This is my last and final offer. They are obviously not true to their word, because I get at least one call a week. I wouldn’t trust those folks as far as I could throw them based on the erroneous information they share every time they call.

To date, there has never been any interest charged on my credit card because I (we) don’t ever carry over an outstanding balance. Trust me, the General orders significantly more online than I do. Of course, with her orders the expectations remain the same. We pay the invoice when we receive the bill. In addition, I have to make enough money to cover the charges. Did I mention the General leads a charmed life?

It isn’t often that I’m early, but I’m seldom late when it comes to deadlines. When it comes to meetings, I have a tendency to show up early. I’m more than just a little familiar with Austin and Houston traffic patterns. Consequently, I start early just in case. My tolerance level for folks who arrive for meetings late isn’t very broad. That is particularly true when folks need the training to be issued continuing education credits. It always chaps me when anyone shows up an hour late and carries that smug expression that they will have confirmation of attendance regardless of their delayed appearance. I even become more incensed when it is ethics training they fail to fully complete.

It isn’t often that I get a lot of questions regarding anything I’ve blogged. Most of you are intuitively thinking: “How could anyone have questions regarding the content of you writing? It is pretty simple.” Yet, my communication regarding the mistaken conversation I had last week with the fellow planning to refinish our front door related to my need for yard work caught a lot of attention. I was emailed or texted by a number of people wanting to know: “Is today’s blog purposefully a cliff-hanger? How did it turn out? Did you get the yard work done?’

Sadly and disappointingly, I didn’t’ get the yard work done. I’m sticking with my story that it was beyond my control. On the bright side, the landscape folks arrived on Thursday of this week. A day late and a dollar short turned out to be a week late and I haven’t yet received the charge. It may have been a communication error, but they did more work than I was anticipating. Regardless of the charge, I will pay the bill “no questions asked”. The place now looks great!

As the General and I were headed to dinner on Friday night, I asked, “Have we turned the sprinkler system on?” I remembered that I had turned it on much earlier. Discovering the error of my ways, the General had a conniption fit because I had the system activated at the same time we were getting measurable amounts of rainfall. She thought I was foolishly wasting resources. The system has a built in check and balance system to ensure it does not work if it is raining at the time it engages. Explaining that to the General required more effort than I had the energy to invest.

With the General it is all “black and white”. There are no shades of gray. Consequently, it was easier to follow her subtle directive than to argue (I mean convince her she was wrong). Knowing when to activate the sprinkler system is only one of many tasks that carry the potential of a house divided.

I should have seen it coming, but it still caught me by surprise. Friday evening when I asked if the sprinkler system was turned on, the General responded: “Yes!” She went on to say: “I know it is turned on because the sidewalk is getting totally soaked with water. You need to…”. Did I mention that any time the General opens a sentence with the phrase “You need to…”, it automatically engages my proclivity for selected hearing? I have a legitimate excuse. I am both hearing impaired and I don’t like to be told what to do.

On the bright side, last night when I was putting this blog together and got to the aforementioned paragraph, I realized that I had turned the water on late in the evening to fill the pond and had forgotten to turn it off. Do you have any idea the level of grief I saved myself by making the self-correction without the General sensing the need to provide Lecture #617? By every sense of the imagination, this turned out to be a WIN/WIN situation. Otherwise, it would be Sunday morning and well (it’s a very deep subject) you can only imagine.

All My Best!

Don

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