September 12th, 2002


Company Picnic

Company picnic is this Saturday. Normally I loathe these things, but this year it is at Safeco Field and includes tours of the facilities, apparently including locker room and other things. I believe the picnic itself is on the field but I could be wrong. Any Mariners freaks out there want to be my date? Event is 3:30 to 7:30. I'm planning on going, getting some food, getting one of the tours and then getting the hell out of there.


Bills all caught up

One of my old bad habits was to neglect to pay my bills. I would forget to pay a bill or two. Then I would stop picking up my mail, or stop opening mail because viewing late notices frightened me. Yeah, I know it doesn't make sense when I write it out or when you read it. I would forget to pay a bill because I have an aversion to paying a bill as soon as I get the bill. Why let someone else earn interest on the money before necessary? Yeah, I know. One percent interest on $54 for an extra week is hardly worth paying the late fee. I would also forget to drop the envelope in the mail when I did write the checks out. They would sit, buried in my bag until I dug them up when I got the envelope that must contain the late notice (which I never opened). Or I'd put the bill in a stack of stuff on my desk or on the coffee table and I would forget.

Last year, I started using the online bill paying service that First Tech Credit Union offers. I used Washington Mutuals bill payer service for a couple of months before that, but they charged to use it, and I closed my WaMu account because they pissed me off in other ways as well. The idea being, as soon as I get the bill, I can enter the payment information into the system, and it sends the payment off at the appropriate time. All problems solved. From May '01 to July '02, I wasn't late with a single payment because of my neuroses. A couple of payments were messed up due to the bill payer, and a couple were posted to the wrong account by the payees. But those were all mostly corrected.

So I went on this trip to Vegas at the end of July. When I got back, I picked up the stack of mail that had accumulated during my absence. There were several bills there, but I didn't immediately get to the bill payer web page and enter them. Then I didn't grab my mail for another week. That stack I didn't look at either. I knew a couple of payments would be late then and so I didn't look at the next couple of batches cause I figured there would be late notices in them.

This morning, I decided enough was enough. Dug through the last batch. Pulled out the two bills that were in it. One for 3 months worth of water bills at my house in Idaho. One for two months worth of phone, cellular, and DSL service from Qwest. I just entered them in. One due today. One due Sunday. Looked at my payee list and saw that there was one other bill on there I should look at. I vaguely remember that envelope in the batch from this morning but thinking it was something else. Luckily, it's my credit card and I can check the statement online. Sure enough, I owe $640 for two months of bills. Got that one entered. Here's where the bill payer service really came in handy though. My mortgage for the house is kept up because I entered in a years worth of payments ahead of time. Same with the less important but still predictable NY Times monthly subscription and my ISP service. My monthly rent I had taken care of through a direct transfer. My landlords also use First Tech, so I can cross-transfer the money directly to them. I have to do that manually, but the neurosis didn't kick in for that. I think because I can deal without a credit card or phone service or water at my house in Deary. Can't deal without a place to live.

In any case, I am all caught up now. Or I will be when the service sends out the checks tomorrow morning.

I feel crappy for having relapsed into this behavior, but relieved that I snapped myself out of it after 6 weeks. In the past, I could go on indefinitely like this and only pay a bill when that company shut off whatever service they provided. And I went over a year before the relapse. Now to go two years at least before it happens again.


Rules of Engagement (Phil's Version)

Inspired by Kim's Rules of Engagement, I have written my own set.

The following are the rules for behavior when you are dating me. In addition, I have a lot of qualifications that you must meet if I am to go on a date, or to continue to date you. Those are qualities, such as attractiveness, intelligence, etc., which I look for in a woman. This list doesn't include those items, because it's probably not likely that you can change them much. I have limited these mostly to behaviors. The other list is of things people mostly are and are a lot harder to change.

On to the list:

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Well, that's a few more items than Kim. Most of these are in the list because I have made a mistake in the past. Over all it appears kind of negative and that I am a bitter man. I am gun-shy, and have made some mistakes. So I will let this list sit and attempt to revise it later, to switch the tone around so that it tells more the behavior I want, rather than lists the behavior I do not want. But for now, it'll do.


I love bad jokes

Farmer Jim-Bob went to the vet complaining that his prize heifers were suffering from chapped skin around their mouths because of the fierce wind.

The vet said she had a solution that was herbal.

Jim-Bob: Oh no, you don't mean...?

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