Sunday, June 10, 2012

I was drowning in paperwork, so my husband rescued me.

On Sunday, I spent five hours of a beautiful, sunny day locked up in my room surrounded by piles of SSI forms, pay-stubs, bank statement, savings statements, insurance statement, medical reports, old IEP's, current evaluations, CCS authorizations, Regional Center authorizations, receipts, artwork from my daughter, articles I wanted to read but never managed to, advocacy information, special education legal guides, a few Johnny Depp pictures, and paperwork filed under "miscellaneous." My entire room, from floor to desk to bed, was covered in white and beige paper.

I was preparing for our annual Social Security interrogation... I mean the "Representative Payee" interview. Every year I need to show Social Security that I am wisely using the money they give my daughter for her care, while also showing we need the help and that I'm not trying to screw the government out of benefits we don't need. I have to justify every expenditure and keep track of every penny, showing bank statements and pay-stubs for an entire year. I imagine it must feel a lot like preparing for a deposition.

Since I had to organize the paperwork for that, I decided I might as well tackle the whole mess. My filing system of throwing paper behind the bed was no longer working. Typically, I keep excellent records, but this last year has been a tad more hectic than normal, so in a rush I'd toss documents into a pile to put into the filing cabinet "later." Later had arrived, and I plowed into the pile with determined dread.

Two hours in, I was in full blown panic; my body was shaking and I couldn't make sense of the forms I was reading. Is this my bank statement, or Queen Teen's? What year is it? How far back do I need to go for pay stubs? Is this an original or a copy? How long do I have to keep this shit? The filing cabinet was packed with every important document since Queen Teen's birth and here was more needing to be filed. More and more and more and it just kept coming and I had to keep track of it all and if I lost anything it seemed to cause problems but how much more could I cram into the filing cabinet and OMG!

My husband entered the room. "Honey."

I jumped. "What?"

He looked at me and then the pile, asked a quick question, then left. Smart man.

After another thirty minutes I walked out of the room needing to escape the claustrophobia of paperwork. My husband handed me a glass of wine and said, "Come outside."

"I need to finish filing."

"Just a minute. I want to show you what I'm doing."

"You mean you want me to help you." I scowled at him.

He shook his head and said, "I just like the company."

I sighed and resigned myself to going outside to look at the fence he was repairing. We chatted about lattice and rotten wood and how many posts he had to replace. I looked at the flower pots he bought earlier that day and remembered the succulent still sitting on my kitchen window. It would look lovely in that pot. Soon, I was happily potting the little succulent and taking it to its new home in the back garden.

Oooh, my husband is good. All he had to do was get me outside near my plants to help me calm down. Just touching a little dirt and smelling the damp soil after I watered made the panic leave my body. The sun was warm but not too hot and the breeze smelled like jasmine and old wood. I smiled at my husband who was busy tearing out old boards from the rotting fence.

Smart man.


Mother of Chaos said...

I always knew I liked that guy. :)

I've been avoiding my pile for a while. It is stubbornly refusing to deal with itself. I plan to give it just a FEW MORE DAYS to do so, and then...I will...issue a sternly-worded reprimand to it.

Barbara @therextras said...

He is worthy of you.

I so relate to the need to work in my office, and, to the joy of working with earth and plants.