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The Guest
Refrigerator Door

These magnets belong to

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book cover

Code to Zero
Ken Follett

(actually I haven't really started it.  But it's in my purse the next time I have a minute to read!)


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That's it for today!

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@$#%&^ and other expletives

29 December 2001

His words struck fear and terror into my heart. "I need to know exactly how much we have in the account and how much I need to add to pay the bills that are coming due and I need to know by 3 o'clock this afternoon so I can have you write a check for my wife."


I haven't said much about the Dreaded Bookkeeping part of my job. I've talked about washing speculums and helping with Pap smears and learning how to take blood pressures, and possibly even about scrubbing the bathroom--and did I mention I spent my Christmas vacation cleaning out a closet that hadn't been touched in months and was a total jumble?

That only leaves that big stack on my desk, kind of glowing ominously in the moonlight.

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Now when I was interviewed for this job, I said, rather glibly, that I was certain keeping the checkbook balanced would be no problem. I had a secret weapon in my arsenal: a laptop computer and Quicken. I figured it would just take a bit to get the figures into Quicken and from there on it would be smooth sledding. I'd know to the penny what we had at any minute.

Welllll....it didn't quite work out that way.

To begin with, I had no idea how close to zero the office is running all the time. We are in the red often. Dr. G works weekends at hospitals nearby in order to bring in enough money to fund his private practice. I once asked him why he was killing himself trying to make a go of this new practice when he can make much more money working less time as a fill-in doctor ("locums" they are called which, if I remember my Latin accurately roughly translates to "in the place of.") But he truly does believe in what he's doing, and he feels that this is a practice he can retire in--which, at his age, is beginning to be a consideration.

So "creative bookkeeping" was where it all started. Then I thought that keeping the books would involve writing checks to pay bills, and depositing money from patients. Seemed easy enough. I didn't realize there were regular automatic withdrawals, some of which Dr. G forgot to tell me about, or that ATM charges would be floating in, or that there would be other out of the ordinary expenses and income coming in fast and furious. I also didn't realize that trying to learn bookkeeping while answering the phone, greeting patients, helping with Pap smears, and cleaning the bathroom might not be the easiest thing in the world.

The next problem is that I appear totally incapable of seeing discrepancies. I got all figures into Quicken. I printed them out. I checked them, figure by figure, with what's written in the checkbook. I cannot find a single discrepancy. Why, then, please tell me, does Quicken think we have $5,000 and the checkbook thinks we are in the red? I have added columns of figures to much I can almost do them by heart. I've finally reached a point where I can get the same figure each time I add a column, but it still doesn't make sense. I finally had to decide that at a point where Dr. G said it balanced that the figure was accurate and to go from there.

I was thus able to give him the figure he needed in the time he needed it, but I am remembering that my predecessor was fired because she never attempted to balance the checkbook and checks were bouncing all over the place. I haven't even reached a point where I can think about balancing the checkbook. I can't even balance the checkbook against the computer program, much less the bank's records.

I actually reached a point on Wednesday when i could look at numbers and not relate to them. They were funny looking lines on a page, but they weren't "numbers" any more. That's when I knew I'd worked at it too long that day, and brought it all home, with the idea that I can spend the last days of the old year getting this damn thing undere control. Heck, I won't even record my time for doing it. I just want to get it done.

My predecessor was fired after three months. I'm coming up on my 3 month anniversary. I'd better master those figures quick or I may be out on my ear...unless I can keep bluffing my way along the way I have been.

But I don't want to bluff my way. I really want to do this right. And then I can relax while I scrub the speculums.

One Year Ago:
The Ants Are, my Friends

My tip of the week:
Go NOW to Pictures to EXE Presentations
and download some of the fantastic
slide shows which have been
uploaded.  You wont be sorry!

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