Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Paperwork causes me physical pain

As you may or may not be aware - I HATE PAPERWORK! I hate doing my taxes, I hate filling out forms with numbers. I shiver when I see a stack of white papers with black squiggly things all over them that demand I fill out blank boxes or lines. I have years of practice in denial/avoidance techniques that would make you gasp. This has served me in no way at all. I only manage to postpone the pain. I have paid thousands in dollars in tax penalties, avoided looking at past due notices and generally make myself ill and tense at the very thought of tackling said paperwork. Credit card companies love people like me. They keep raising the limits because they make money off of me.

And I have yet again, done the same thing with filing my mother's summary of accounts paperwork with the provincial body that oversees such things. Becoming my mother's committee (which is actually stronger than power of attorney I'm told) required dealing with a lawyer, legal fees, masses of paperwork, sorting through her incredibly disorganized papers (and due to her state of mind hardly anything was how it should be) and because she had become incapacitated without benefit of a power of attorney and will, I am now legally bound to declare her financial assets and management of her person to a governmental bureaucracy. Now, it all makes sense. They are there to protect those people who would otherwise be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people or relatives. I totally get it. But I am totally inept at dealing with that type of thing. It's been years since I actually filed my taxes in a timely manner.

WHY do I do this to myself? Mmmm, well, I could give you all sorts of psychological/emotional reasons. But it doesn't matter anymore, cause I've decided that I need to overhaul my financial karma and STOP IT! In order to prosper, I MUST overcome my fear of all things financial. So under threat of legal action (and yeah, it got my attention), I am undertaking my mum's summary of accounts. So I shot off an email and left an after hours message pleading for an extension. Luckily, the case officer, after telling me off, took pity on me and gave me one FINAL and FOREVER extension. The man was right, I admitted it and I have a million and one excuses as to why I didn't get to it. But I really didn't want to list depression, grief, and hidden object games as my excuses, so I just pulled the ole' my friend died of breast cancer and he gave in.

Now the good news is that they have finally streamlined the process and it doesn't involve me making up 2 dozen Excel spreadsheets (err,my husband) like I did the first time. There were 2 1 inch books full of guidelines and rules explaining everything. My head ached. my stomach churned, my jaws clenched. Now the forms aren't long at all and TODAY I spent several hours organizing everything and labelling and I'm almost done. Ahem, I just forgot to file HER taxes for 2 years. So I'm going to an accountant tomorrow. I could get an accountant to do her summary of accounts but the last time I tried that this one guy had no idea of how to do them and the government office couldn't recommend one. So, later for that. Luckily, I do have a habit of filing everything in accordion boxes so at least my packrat tendencies have come in handy. With any luck, I may have this crap organized before I go away.

I even arranged to automatically debit my account for my Visa bill. I may decide to grow up and get a grip this year after all.


luna said...

I hate that kind of paperwork too. I especially hate it when I OWE money, like old useless medical bills.

kudos for turning a new lotus leaf...

annacyclopedia said...

You are an inspiration to me, Deathstar. I am also horrifically averse to anything to do with forms or financial things - to my own detriment, of course. And I'm trying to be brave and reform this year, too. Lead on, brave paperwork warrior, and I will try to keep up!

OHN said...

I am a serial postponer too. Ironically though, when I do get off my ass and actually pay the bills, file the papers etc, I actually physically feel better.

There must be a club somewhere for us.

Wordgirl said...

Um we may be twins.

Honestly, I could have written that post...for me, there was so much resonance with childhood stuff/emotional stuff over money -- young adult stuff with bill collectors and stress...eeeeeek...I told myself I was a wreck with it...and it was only when I just one day decided to start telling myself a different story...'you are ORGANIZED' -- is what I told myself...okay, so it didn't exactly happen -- I didn't turn into Martha Stewart or anything...but there's some method to the madness...

Hooray for checking things off the list and facing the paperwork!

Um, when do I admit I haven't signed those IVF contracts yet?