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If you guessed that something was going on that kept me from writing the last few days, you're right. If you guessed that it was my annual workers' comp audit, good for you. You know me better than I thought possible.

The only way to be ready for such an audit is to anticipate every possible question. The best way to get through it is to have the answers to those questions presented in such easily negotiated spreadsheets that even the pickiest auditor can find them. It's not as if they're trying to catch me out in some kind of massive fraud. They should know by now that's not going to happen.

What they really want is to find a minor discrepancy that can be explained away. Somehow that makes them really happy, so I always throw them a bone. Not intentionally, mind you. It's just that my bookkeeping is still done mostly by hand, without commercial software, so I'm bound to screw up somewhere over the course of the year.

If the mistakes were huge, I'd have found them myself. They're usually a tiny percentage of the total volume of information. Very satisfying for the auditor, and less than totally humiliating for me. Win-win, don't you know.

So that's what I've been doing: Getting the books ready to be audited, and obsessing over it to the point of exhaustion. It's been two days and I'm still hung over from it, in part because the auditor has called me three times for clarifications that I'm pretty sure we went over while he was here.

This is earlier in the year than we usually do these audits, and it has compressed the time I have left to finish quarterly payroll and sales tax reports into the few days left in this month. I could have had them done by the end of the first week in October, but that's just not my way. As you know.


On a happier note, there are signs of some slight softening of the hardline position that led to the painful situation outlined in the previous entry. We are hopeful, but it's nothing that can be specifically noted yet. But in that vein, thank you for your support in our time of family crisis. Trust that I have read every one of your comments and emails, and they mean more to me than I can say.

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