Saturday, April 12, 2008

I'm still here!

Wow, I think this is the longest I've gone without writing since I started this thing. Sorry! I've gotten in a bad habit of falling asleep while putting the kids to bed, so I've been asleep and not posting the last two nights. Sleep is good, sleep is my friend. I miss sleep.

I worked Thursday. Boring boring, even though I got quite a bit done. My grandma said that she was unaware that I worked outside the home, and so I thought I'd tell you a bit about what I do. BJ owns a company with a couple of the professors from the University and the senior propulsion engineer from the same U. Since he's all smart with the rockets, but doesn't have time to do the bookkeeping, that's where I come in.

It started off that I just wrote the checks every once in a while - back when the business was in our house and we didn't have bills and stuff. I would go for months without balancing the checking account because there really wasn't enough activity in it to worry about. I remember our first year, scrambling to get all of the statements in and balanced before our accountant took them to do the taxes.

Now things are a little different. We have a real office, and real bills, and real money moving through the company. Luckily, we've grown slowly, so I've had time to learn as we've grown. I do a lot of stuff for the Defense Contracting Auditing Agency (which is exactly as intimidating as it sounds). They're the folks who work for the government and make sure that you're not cooking the books. I've told our auditor several times that I'm not smart enough to do anything malicious - any mistakes I've made have been made out of pure stupidity. This is the project I'm working on now. Go ahead, read a few paragraphs until your eyes cross and you want to throw your monitor out the window. I'll wait.

Isn't that hideous?? And not only do they expect me to understand it, they expect me to be able to generate accurate reports based on the stuff we've done, and they expect me to not screw those up, and if I do they expect me to go to prison. Ok, well, maybe not prison, but they can fine the crap out of us. It's kind of like doing your taxes all year long, only you can't just pay H&R Block to do them. It keeps me off the streets, that's for sure, and it's a 180 degree change from wiping noses and butts.

In addition to my duties as Chief Financial Worrier, I also am the Lead Paperwork Processor and Manager. We work on Small Business Innovative Research grants quite a lot. We've had five Phase I contracts (in the 5 years we've been operating) and two Phase II contracts. In order to get the Phase I, you have to write a proposals, which is 25 pages of, "Why you oughta give us money." I certainly don't write these, but I proofread them, and let me tell you that nothing will make you feel stupider than reading 25 pages of stuff that you couldn't begin to understand. Then there's paperwork when you get the contract, paperwork during the contract, and lots and lots of paperwork when the contract is over. BJ is far too intelligent to risk melting his brains doing all this paperwork, so I do a great deal of it.

Are you getting the impression that I do all the crap that BJ doesn't want to do? Yeah, me too. It's a lot like home, actually. Guess who cleans the toilets.

So, I do a lot of stuff to keep the government from throwing our butts in jail. I like to think I do it well, although the minute I say that, the government is going to be knocking down our door to take us away. I don't want to get cocky. I also do a lot of the general business junk. I went to the local Business Expo and talked to people about how they can separate us from our money by doing stuff for the business. BJ thought he wanted a new website, so I researched a bunch of companies that do websites, got proposals, set up a meeting, etc. I talk to clients and generate invoices and liaise with Fed Ex and schmooze with the research park where we have our company and interface with our insurance companies and our accountants and our lawyers... A lot of the time I do these things from home, with the kids crawling around my feet (and screaming because I'm on the phone and not giving them my full and undivided maternal attention). Do you have any idea how hard it is to sound professional with someone screaming, "Mommy! I'm all poopy!" in the background? Yeah. The kids also come to the office with me quite a bit. And of course Grandpa Bob watches them now that he's here, and Allison watched them before that.

That's my job, in a nutshell. I also buy office supplies (and snacks), am in charge of decorating the office, help with marketing materials, make copies, send faxes, make coffee, pick up dry cleaning, make travel arrangements when BJ has a business trip, etc. etc. etc. Now that I see it all written out, I think I'm going to ask for a raise!

Friday I had lunch with Karen and Tammy, and Karen brought me flowers for my birthday. Awww... We went to the new cajun place down by the river. I didn't love it. Part of the problem is that they're doing something to the wastewater treatment plant that's just south of there, so the whole levee area is going to smell like sewage, and Tammy says it's going to last all summer. GAG! I think we'll be avoiding that area. It was horrible. It's going to be even worse when it's 90 degrees outside. But we had a nice lunch, stench notwithstanding. After that I ran by the office to do a few little things before coming home for a nap with the kids. Then supper, bedtime, and I fell asleep again.

As you can see, it has been a thrilling couple days in the PB house.

We had planned to go to Spring Fest at the University this weekend, but it's going to be too cold for the pretty babies. It was too cold last year too. I'm bummed. I need to think of something fun to do with these kids, though, so BJ can stay home and paint the kitchen. Assuming I can drag him away from his video game, that is...

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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