Friday, January 30, 2009

Collection Calls

I make 'em - I take 'em. Fact of life for us accountant types.

Making them is hard. Asking people for money without going all "Guido**" on them is an art form, and I'm just a scribbler at best at it. It's the non-Guido** bit that is frustrating. Keep the customer, but get the cash. I can't be rude, crude, abrasive. I have to be sweetie-nice - as I push people to give me money. Well, not me personally - but me the Accountant for my Most Excellent Employer.

I used to be scared to do them, but now I'm ok at it. Sometimes I'm too mean and I get in trouble, most times I'm not mean enough and I get in trouble. Trouble R Me.

Anyhow - getting the calls is something else. With the current State of the Economy and all the layoffs and stuff, people are getting both more frightened AND more understanding. This makes VERY little sense to me, but... *shrug*

A few pointers:

1) If I tell you I will run a check this week - you really do NOT have to call me every day for the rest of the week. You're wearing out your welcome.

2) If I tell you I can't run your check this week, but will try for next week, whining, crying poor or just generally keeping me on the phone and away from my other chores is NOT going to change my answer.

3) Lecturing me about your payment terms is ALWAYS counterproductive, Snookiedimples.

4) If YOU go all Guido** on me, please understand that I can, I will, and I certainly HAVE already caused several former vendors to lose our business. The guy in purchasing and I get along pretty well, and he doesn't like being beat up on either, so he listens to me.

5) If I tell you the answer is "no", calling my boss is not going to change that - I already checked with him before I told you "no". Eat it.

The understanding ones make it a LOT less stressful for me.

**(No offense intended to any actual persons named Guido anywhere in the world. I swear. Pinky swear. Please don't hurt me.)

(Piston - you are NOT Guido...)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Picking Your Battles

Been running about reading blog entries about various and sundry items regarding the new Administration in Washington, D.C.

I'd thought about this during the run-up to the inauguration. I'm finally getting around to mentioning it, because it seems that liberal folks have really been losing focus since 11/4/08.

Prior to 11/4, we had one goal - one purpose that united us - one reason for putting our best efforts forward. Getting Rid of Bush/Cheney and their Republican Regime. Period. I might not have agreed with every single thing that was said/done - but I was willing to put some things aside in order to achieve the prime goal.

And - YES, WE DID!!! The politics of Warhawk and Stupid are off the table for at least 3 1/2 years.

But then something happened. We splintered. We began to nit-pick and kvetch about things that aren't really the be-all-end-all that some would have us believe.

The first time I thought "Pick your battles" was when some of the GLBT folks got all up in arms about the guy who was going to give the "Invocation" at the inauguration. The guy got to speak for less than 5 minutes. It was a "prayer", not a sermon, and had those GLBT folks just said "I'm disappointed, but it is HIS party and less important to me than marriage rights and adoption rights", and refused to make a big deal out of it - NOBODY would have listened to him. Pick your battles. You're not going to win this one, and it's not important in the grand scheme of things.

President Obama has been on the job for a week now. SEVEN DAYS. During that time he and his team have already done rather a lot toward reversing the egregious errors of the prior administration. They haven't done everything - but they have been picking their battles, and tackling the hardest ones, the ones that will affect the largest proportion of the country - first.

Today I read an editorial by someone who was very upset that the "Economic Stimulus" package was not going to include money for contraception for poor families. While I agree that this is an important issue, I don't think the Democrats need to be villified if they choose to pull out (pun intended) this part of the package if it will get the rest of the package approved. It's been ONE WEEK, people. Surely you could let them tack the contraception onto another bill NEXT week maybe? PICK YOUR BATTLES.

I have too many books

No I don't. I just have my own personal library - of several 100 books. A friend of one of my ex-roommates had come to visit and asked him "How many of them has she read?"

His answer was correct - "All of them, some of them multiple times."

I'm a word junkie. I love to read; I'm not quite so fond of writing, but I enjoy it. I absolutely ADORE new vocabulary.

One of the downsides of this addiction is that I've now got so many books that I can't remember all of them. Walk into a bookshop and see something "interesting" by a favorite author and not sure if it is on my shelf or not. Aggravating.

So I have begun to take stock - I'm starting a "Card Catalog" spreadsheet. Author, title, soft or hardcover, location in the house (I have 5 bookshelves) and genre. So far I've listed over 100 books and have only just scratched the surface, so to speak. This is going to be a long haul. In the end, however, I'll be able to shop for books with confidence, because I'll know what I already have and what is new fodder for my library.

Mom used to jump my case about having too many books. Why didn't I get rid of some of them, she'd ask.

Simple. I can't get rid of ANY of them because invariably when I've taken a batch of books to the used book store, within a week I'm awake and insomniac at 2:00 a.m. and remembering 1/3 of a book plot and need to be able to read THAT book to get back to sleep. I am not crazy.

So I have a question from anyone who may read this - do you know of any good (cheap) software programs that handle this database function specifically for home/personal libraries/book collections?

Inquiring mice want to know.