Leaning tower

I confess to coming from a long line of piles, but yesterday I think I won the prize, and it wasn’t a prize I wanted to win.

I like to send out birthday and anniversary cards, but to keep my sanity, I prepare a month of them at a time.  Each envelope then gets a sticky note with the day and date it needs to be mailed, and they are all stacked up in mailing date order in a little box that sits behind the rack of stuff on my desk.  Every evening I glance at the stack, and if there’s something that needs to go out in the next day’s mail, it gets moved to the out-going mail container over on the filing cabinet.  Then, in the morning, when I go out to walk, I carry all that outgoing mail out to the mailbox (with the flag up, of course). This system has served me fairly well for many years.

I typically work on preparing the next month’s cards on the 25th of the month, and that’s where the problem started.  Obviously, I didn’t do anything useful on the 25th of last month, and what with guests, celebrations, and excursions, I didn’t spend much time at my desk in the days following, either.

Finally, on the 4th of January, I tackled the January birthday and anniversary cards.  It was quite a little project, as I also needed to transfer all the pertinent dates to my 2011 calendar (another task that should have been done a month earlier, but wasn’t).  I felt a great sense of satisfaction when I finally finished sticky-noting all those cards, and I will say that there were a lot of them.   May truly must be the month when a young man’s fancy turns to love. . .  Anyway, I stacked all those cards in out-going date order and reached up over the teetering stack of paperwork to place them in the box, but wait.  What was this?  Something still in the box?  Sporting a  “WED 12/29” sticky note?  My, that was six days ago.  What could it be?

Oh, no.  Surely not.  I think I’m going to be sick.  But yes, it really was a VISA payment; the one that HAD to have been mailed on December 29 in order to arrive early enough to avoid penalties and late enough not to bounce; the one that would now be overdue and would accrue not only a late fee, but a hefty interest charge, as well.  Sigh.

You might ask, with such a well-oiled system, why I hadn’t mailed that puppy on the 29th, and the answer would be that leaning tower of homeschool records, library books, miscellaneous periodicals, a 15-page insurance application I was also supposed to have filled out last month, a couple Christmas cards/pictures that hadn’t yet been hung, the owner’s manual for my new electric knife (very nice!), a notice about health care reform from my current insurance provider, one issue of the Taney County Republican (what a lovely name for a newspaper), a short stack of clean printer paper, and my working copy of our two-year Bible-reading plan.

All that stuff stuck up so high that for about a week, I hadn’t even been able to see what was in the dated mail box.  Realizing that the buck – probably a lot of them – clearly stopped with me, I knew I needed to take swift and severe action.  I sent Scott an email telling him what had happened and that I would pay all the charged incurred by my negligence, and then I grabbed the entire pile from the rack and plunked it down on my desk.

Life’s full of trade-offs.  Now I can see the charming stack of January cards in the dated mail box, but I have to lean over a ten-inch-high stack of stuff in order to reach my keyboard.

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