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Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Time Event
Semi-annual mail day
The only thing I do everyday with my postal mail is bring it in to my apartment from the mailbox. At the end of each month I'll root through the box deep enough to find my PG&E bill, which is the only bill that I receive only in the post and that isn't automatically debited my credit card. This happy state of accumulation continues for two to six months until one day I'm feeling domestic and I sort through that box and process all my postal mail. Today was that day.

Actually, Monday was that day, as I started to process the overflowing box. Piles everywhere on the table, split out by sender. I was surprised to find mail in the box from March 2006. Seven PG&E bills here, seven credit card statements there, etc. And a promise, which I've broken before, to not clear off the table until I've properly processed and filed everything. It can't just go back in the box to be dealt with later. I did that before, and now is later.

I'm an engineer so I like making spreadsheets. I've long maintained a spreadsheet with all my regularly occuring bills and statements: a column for when I received it, a column for how much I had to pay, when I paid it, and from what account. Very cute. I looked around for my latest print-out of that sheet before I started sorting the mail and I couldn't find it. Oh, no! But then it struck me: I don't need to do that anymore. Really! I don't need to keep careful notes that I received my cell phone bill on April 10, 2006, and it was for the amount of $43.56. Sure, I'll keep the bill itself for a while, I can't give up everything cold turkey. But I'm going to try the no-meticulous-records approach for a while, and see if I regret anything.

What's really scandalous is that I'm also giving up balancing my checkbook each month. But, really, what's the checking account these days, anyway, but a conduit between my paycheck and my credit card account, which auto-pays most bills. I *am* still looking over my credit card statement each month, reliving the exciting moments when I bought dinner at Hobee's or paid for another month of Internet service. But the checking account register? No so much.

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