Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pray, Love, Calculate Tax Adjustments

I have excellent news. This piece of information has been a long time in coming. At times I thought it would never arrive, but here it is finally. Are you ready for it? Here it is:

I enjoy parts of paralegal school.

Yes I know, you would have expected that to happen before I got four months into it, or to hear of my switching my life path again, but instead, I've rode out the storm and discovered that the drafting of legal documents can be pleasant in some respects as well a practical career choice.

I am a big believer in the power of prayer; so much so that I will quite often say to my non-religious friends, coworkers and casual acquaintances that I will pray for them when they mention something they are in need of. I get mixed responses to this offer, but usually people realize the merit of what I'm doing. I believe in prayer enough that when I entered into my program with no motivation other than rationality, I prayed to find some sense of joy in what I was doing as I knew it was the best option for me.

This idea was inspired by a good friend of mine, who a number of years ago had a car in her possession but had not as yet gotten her license. Realizing she was lacking the motivation to do so, this friend prayed for the desire to drive.

I would have thought the car was motivation enough, but to each their own.

To make a long story short, that friend now drives herself everywhere and gives me rides on occassion to make up for all the rides I gave her while she was praying for motivation.

On Friday, I had a quiz on writing up statements of adjustment for real estate sales and calculating tax adjustments. As an extremely right-brained person, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I first heard the subject we would be working on. The only things I enjoy doing with math or numbers is cutting a pi into the crust of my favourite dessert every March 14 and doing sudoku puzzles. Still, at least I know enough that I could understand what I was doing.

In the middle of my exam, I had an epiphany: I was actually enjoying myself. As dorky as this makes me, I find statement of adjustments fun. It's like sudoku; it's just a little puzzle you have to put together.

I left school that day in the greatest mood, and feeling like my sister who still bounces when she explains her job that no one really understands. I had found something I enjoyed, and in taxes of all things.

So I prayed, I found something incredibly dorky to love, and now I am writing statements of adjustments to my heart's content. Life is beautiful again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Corner Office

I'm moving up in the world. Or at least, in the world of my part-time job which I do so I can graduate without a mountain of debt. A hill I will have, but not a mountain.

A month ago, my manager informed me she wanted to train me for a position that is slightly higher in the ranks than the one I currently possess. I was deemed qualified for this position not because of my awesome work ethic and drive, but because at the time I was the only employee who was not quitting.

Training for said position at work while being in school has proven stressful. I wondered why I was doing this to myself; until yesterday, when I started to see the perks. I was informed when I arrived at work that with the new staff that has come in, among other things, we would be shuffling arround offices. I was informed that I would be moving from my office in the tiny far corner to another, which is better for the following reasons:

1. It is a tiny bit bigger.
2. I do not have to walk through someone else's office to get there.
3. It is closer to pretty much everything.
4. The master radio is in it.
5. The back door is in it, so I can have an escape route.
6. The walls surrounding it are not the walls to someone else's office; so I can hang the sign designating it as my office somewhere other than right over my desk.

And the best reason of all:

7. There is a window.

It is a small window, the glass is frosted, and it looks into the back alley, but it lets in natural light. I was so excited I showed it off to all my clients yesterday. Yes, it is not that monumental a change from my old office, but is the only one that lets in sunlight.

I will try to control my excitement around my co-workers.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Carrying the Banner

This past Sunday, I went on volunteer overload for the city-wide food drive my church puts on every year. I took a route to distribute flyers and pick up donations as usual, and went one step further when they added an extra service project to the mix.

In our third meeting of the the three hour church block, they asked for volunteers to go out on Monday night and hang banners off of bridges over the freeway. I thought to myself:

"I have never hung anything off of a bridge before. It can be one those stupid bucket list goals that you say you've done but never aspired to do in the first place, like sing primary songs while riding a scooter up a mountain or signing a petition."

So I raised my hand.

The five of us who went agreed that we should meet the following night at 5:30, hang our four signs, and then go to our church potluck at 7.

At 6:45, we were still fastening the first sign. Any hopes we may have had of going to said potluck were gone. I'm sure you can all imagine my devastation and disappointment.

All in all, it took us four hours from initial meet-up time to when I got home instead of our planned hour and a half. We are very grateful we decided to go at 5:30, as opposed to our other option of beginning at 8:30.

Here are some other things I learned about hanging banners, in case you were wondering:

1. When one of your bridges is in the vicinity of a stadium that is hosting the Battle of Alberta (Stamps vs. Eskimos), it is advisable to get there before all the crazy football fans are swarming the area and celebrating as they leave the game.

2. If possible, choose bridges that have other signs already fastened to them. That way when you have five novice sign-hangers, you can look over at the other banners every thirty seconds and copy what they do even if you don't have nearly as many cool tools.

3. It is advisable to not waste all the screws you are given on the first sign, even if it is the most obnoxious bridge you have ever seen and has a grate over the rails. Doing so will require a side trip to Canadian Tire.

4. Zip ties are the greatest invention imaginable for securing the bottom and can reduce the time to put up a sign from 45 to 20 minutes. That, and experience.

5. When putting up a sign to advertise for your event, you can gain free advertising by waving at passersby. They will usually honk back their appreciation (especially if their team has just beat the province's capital), and the whole process becomes quite enjoyable until one driver decides to show his appreciation by showing off his middle finger to the food bank.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Left Your Business, and All I Got Was a Ballpoint Pen

A few weeks ago, I made the decision to switch my banking from the bank it has been with since I was twelve to another. This was a decision I have been contemplating for several months now, and finally acted upon by setting up an account at my new bank.

I had my reservations about switching banks, and I confess one part of the plan I was not looking forward to was going into my old bank and announcing that I was abandoning them. I was convinced they were either going to give me the stink eye and demand to know all my reasons, or look so wounded I'd take pity on the poor teller and keep the empty account there just to appease them.

You can imagine my delight and relief then, when my new financial rep said he'd take care of it for me. I now felt confident in my decision; knowing I didn't have to face the wrath/ broken hearts of my previous bank. Sadly, this was not to be. It seems whenever you have a ridiculous fear of something, you must be forced to face it. After a week of living in blissful misunderstanding, I spoke to my financial rep again and he explained (as he probably had before knowing my luck) that he could shut down my old acount, but it would take him six weeks, so it would be easier if I just went over there myself to shut it down and bring over the balance in a deposit.

With trepidation, I went to the bank Monday afternoon; only to realize I had left my debit card at home. How convenient.

Again on Tuesday, I entered my old bank prepared for whatever they threw at me. While standing in line, a smiling woman with a bank nametag came up to me and began asking me how my day was going. Guiltily, I told her it was just fine. She asked me if I was interested in doing better at saving money. I thought of the most honest answer to that question, which would have gone something like this:

"Yes, as a matter of fact I would. The people at your competitors have done a fantastic job of setting that up for me."

Instead, I think I said something like "Why not?"

She then launches into this pretty little speech about how Canadians don't know how to save, recites some interesting stats, and then encourages me to talk to my financial rep about that. I nod and say I will do just that. Then she gives me a pen for being so agreeable. It is in the bank's colours and says:

"Let the savings begin."

At the counter, the girl's only response to my request to shut my account is "Oh." She even smiles as she hands over the balance of my account, and I escape with no accusing glares, no demands as to why they are not a sufficient bank, and no woebegone expressions.

Instead I get a free pen.