Friday, February 13, 2009

How hard could it be?

At the end of last year, I found myself becoming a bit overwhelmed by paper. Partly it was just the usual, and partly it was because in a fit of “I should do something useful rather than fretting about the work I’m not getting,” I tackled the thankless, tedious and otherwise meh task of the filing cabinets out in the garage.

A lifetime of paperwork, people. Paycheck stubs, work contracts from 1997, insurance paperwork from 1992…you get the idea.

As I sifted through it all I began thinking about why we hold onto such things. Because they might be useful one day? Because someday, someone might need the account number on the Blue Cross policy I cancelled back in 1993?

The more I thought about it (and the more paper I shoveled), the more I got to thinking about how computers were supposed to end All This.

Yeah. Remember that? When they said email would put the post office out of business, and we would all live in a world positively rotten with trees because of the new, paper-free society we were building?

Whatever happened to that, I wonder…

ANYWAY. One thought led to another and suddenly I found myself vowing, before $DEITY and all ye little golden fishes, that I would stop the madness.

I would (I said) scan each of these precious, can’t-toss-em documents into PDF files. I can do that easily (I theorized) seeing as how I have an all-in-one printer with scanner/fax and more than a smidge of computer know-how.

This way (I enthused), I would not be faced with the annual debacle of what to do with all this paper. I would not be faced with having to store it, file it, figure out what really needed to be kept and what could be tossed.

Moreover (I burbled), how much safer would this be – considering that my electronic files are backed up nightly to an off-site storage solution. If the Den burns down, my precious contracts, insurance forms, paycheck stubs and the other things I would need to do, uh, whatever it was that required me to produce them, would still be there.

I congratulated myself on my brilliance and further vowed that I would take care of this scanning as things came in, thus rendering what might otherwise be a burdensome afternoon of scan-save-repeat a mere hiccup of time out of my average week.

Furthermore, I resolved that every so often, on slow days perhaps, I would make a point of dealing with a folder or two from the garage. (Conveniently, this meant that I could stop shoveling content in the knowledge that it would get dealt with…eventually…)

It was a brilliant plan. It is a brilliant plan.

Unfortunately, I am incapable of doing things the easy, simple way…and thus I have spent the lion’s share of today doing what?


Scanning insurance forms, scopes of work, paycheck stubs, policy declarations, GATE paperwork, and a wide assortment of miscellaneous other things that need to be kept for an undetermined period.

None of it, mind you, from the forest-killing files of the garage storage. That’s right. It’s all current stuff.

Stuff I have been dropping into my biggest drawer and ignoring for days weeks months.


But, on the bright side, I’m nearly done now. Ready to move on to other things.

…like taking out the huge pile of recycling, or emptying out the shredder bin…


Trina said...

It may be reassuring to know that the GATE paperwork may be amusing to Eldest when she is in her twenties. I never new the craziness that was getting into the GATE program until mom pulled it all out for me a few years back.

(Slacker that I am, I blew off the initial test and they had to IQ test me, aced that one and got in)

Anonymous said...

You mean you're supposed to save all that stuff?


Anonymous said...

Hey, at least working the shredder is satisfying :-D

Barb Outside Boston said...

I'm a little late to the 'tennis elbow' party, but as someone who also has it. I suggest the Crafting with Carpal Tunnel group on Ravelry since it goes beyond the Carpal Tunnel and the ice dips have helped me more than anything else in the last 4 years.
Take care!