Friday, May 19, 2006

I Guess I Needed a Saturday

Now that it's 11:00 pm, I guess I have to face the facts that my brain and body needed a Saturday. I needed to run errands and pay bills and make plans. I did get about two hours of work done, but that didn't amount to much.

So this one client, my primary client, is very different from the sort of company I usually work for. There is a VERY long ladder in educational publishing from down at the bottom to up at the top and I'm not even sure where on that list the people who actually get their names in the textbooks appear. Normally I'm about a two or three rungs up from the bottom. My name appears nowhere in the book and a lot of people have taken their share of the pie before I get a slice (which is why a large textbook project can run about 65 million dollars--my pie slice is still a good one). But every so often I get to work with this one particular team out of sheer luck--and the fact that I somehow keep my head above water and make myself useful when we do get to work together. My name still doesn't appear anywhere in the book, but the whole method of payment is very different because I'm not working for the middle man now. I'm working for the company whose name actually appears on the spine of the book. Instead of waiting 45 days after I get paid, I get paid in 10 days to 4 weeks. Instead of getting a handwritten check, I get direct deposit. NOBODY else pays in direct deposit in my line of work.

At first I was sure this was wonderful. And it is. It is wonderful. But as time goes on and I become aware of how totally RANDOM the rate of invoice processing is--and therefore the FACT that although I'm being paid more often, I just never know WHEN I'll be paid--well, it's disconcerting. And since I'm taking every dime that comes in and immediately turning around and sending it back out again in anticipation of the day that I can say honestly that our only debt is our mortgage--it's still a bit stressful.

Now, normally if I'm going to get paid I get an email on a Wednesday evening between 7 and 8pm telling me that an EFT payment was processed. This means that the money will appear in my bank account on Friday. So after I pick up Max from drama on Wednesday evening, I go home and get online and watch my AOL mail box for an hour.


Sometimes--nothin' (said in the voice of Cornelius the Miner)

This week--nothin'

I wasn't really expecting it. The typical amount of time it takes them to pay me is 19 days after I submit an invoice. That's not till next week for this particular invoice.

But every so often, on some OTHER day, I'll get the email. The first time it was a Monday evening. That made sense to me since I was told that sometimes they make EFT deposits on a Wednesday. Wednesdays and Fridays and that's it, I was told.

But the second time it appeared in my box on a Sunday night and the money was there on a Monday! I was a little freaked! But I didn't say anything. Just paid the bills. You would, too.

And today, just as I was starting to get useful there with work--the email. 2:45 on a Friday afternoon--"We paid you! Just lettin' you know." Only, you know, in bank talk. (This is to notify you that an EFT payment has been processed blah blah blah.)

And that was the end of my tentative concentration on work. Now I wanted desperately to balance the checkbooks and pay bills. Now that the balances just go down and not back up, I love paying the bills. Take that! And that! You slimy interest-charging swine . . . (except taxes. I never love paying taxes. Earlier this week I was over at the yarn shop and there was noone else in there so one of the owners and I had a grand time preaching to the choir about self-employment taxes.)

But afterwards, after the checkbooks were balanced and the bills were paid, I got to thinking about the randomness of these payments. I'm not complaining--I should make that clear--I'm still getting paid faster than is the norm for me--but the control freak in me finds it all disconcerting. I am reminded of the Tarot Card of the Hanged Man.

Now, the Hanged Man can have a number of different meanings depending on its position, including that of a martyr and other less benevolent meanings, but the meaning that resonates the most for me is that of "loss of control".

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo,
God has got you by the toe.
If you holler He will know,
It's not time to let you go!

Much like those weedy things in Harry Potter 1, the second of the challenges that Harry, Hermione, and Ron had to face once they got past the three-headed dog--the way "out" of this predicament is to relax and stop fighting it. The whole POINT of this position is to learn to trust that you will be taken care of. Your needs will be provided for. You're not in charge and yet you'll be just fine.

I'm very familiar with this card as back in the days when I did tarot often (it's not really an LDS-friendly activity, so I don't often indulge anymore) it came up in almost every reading I did for myself. Call it a life theme. I don't trust God and the Universe to provide me with things I need--love. food. shelter. And so He is persistent in teaching me that I just could. not. be. more. wrong.

So anyway, this thing with the EFT payments appearing out of nowhere in my in-box. It's disconcerting, but it makes me laugh at the same time--since deciding to get the heck out of debt once and for all, I haven't had one day without work. I'm employed by my two favorite clients. I really enjoy what I'm working on. I even feel as if I'm coming out of a burnt-out period. My work is better than it had been. If I will stop fighting--if I will just hang here and enjoy the circumstances--the dividends are incredible. All the husband and children I've wanted, all the house and home I've wanted, all the everything I thought I had to fight to get for myself.

Well there. Off to bed. Since today was Saturday, I'd better make tomorrow Friday and get a good amount of work done.

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