Sunday, August 28, 2011

An Ill Wind...

Irene did little damage to those of us in the south - wind brought some trees down and the water level did rise; where she did an amazing amount of damage is up north, where their water levels are still rising, a day after the storm. 

I had originally posted that I thought that the media was stirring up a panic level that was unwarranted - and I qualified it, for HERE, in NC.  I think, though, that based on the reporting, their level of concern was justified for the heavily populated northeast.  The folks in that region were already saturated with wet - and now all the rivers are above flood stage by several feet; the babbling brooks are now roaring rivers.

Most of my friends and family have been lucky in that they were able to leave, or they were on high ground.  But still, the effects of this storm will be long-lasting and devastating to local economies.

Irene was definitely a nonstarter in our area, but she left a very bad aftertaste for many in the northeast.  God bless and Godspeed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Procrastination

I'm a procrastinator.  The fewer things I have going, the longer it takes for any of them to get done.  If I have a million things on my plate, they all get done.  But I get tired.  And cranky.

In 2010, I dissolved my corporate entity (The Last Word, Inc. - catchy, eh?).  It's now August of 2011, and I have yet to file the last corporate tax return.  Oh, I filed for the extension.  Did the dissolution paperwork with the Secretary of State and the Employment Security Commission.  But now September 15 is looming and I have a ton - really, it seems like it - of paperwork to get to the accountant.  Sadly, MOST of it was done by January 31st.  Really, after all, I needed to do the 1099s for my subs (notice how THEY could get their taxes done on time!).

So here I am, knowing that my accountant's office closes early on Friday, and I'm trying to get all that "other" stuff packaged up and organized so that she has two full weeks to get my corporate stuff done.  Then, of course, it's on to the personal stuff (which has until the 15th of October!).

I guess my goal should be to have a lot on the plate, but very little of it "pressing" and more of it just fun stuff I want to do.  Then I can use the fun stuff as the reward for doing the nasty bits.

If anyone has any cures for procrastination, I'm up for hearing it.  Tomorrow. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Protecting Yourself and Your Business

One of the little details that had to be taken care of when I left the State's employ was professional liability insurance.  As an employee of the State, my work was covered because I was a State official doing an official assignment from the State; now, though, I'm not.  My work is covered by... gulp... me. 

Which is not to say that I PLAN ON having any issues; no, indeed, I don't plan on them.  But I believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say.  This is my "rainy-day fund" for the business.  So I've applied for and received Professional Liability coverage (Errors & Omissions, many call it) for any work I do effective today, 8/19/2011, in my court reporting business as a freelance reporter.  PHEW.

For a few hundred dollars a year, I've now covered myself in case of a catastrophic event - like my equipment being stolen or my house having fire damage, etc., and having to recreate the record at my own expense.  I'm not inviting that to happen, but life is crazy and it's better for my peace of mind to pay a little than to lose a lot.

Also on the table?  Thoughts of:  added life insurance, disability insurance (and I already have my 'inland marine' policy for my equipment).  If you're an independent contractor and you don't have this kind of coverage, please - PLEASE - consider adding it.  You never know what might happen in the future, whether a disaster or a medical problem or something completely unthinkable; won't you sleep better knowing you've planned for it?

Happy Insuring.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I've gone and done it.  I've become an iPerson.  Actually, I converted my husband into one, as well.  His was a "legitimate" conversion; mine was a voluntary, "because I want to, not need to" one.

His Blackberry died and he was eligible to receive an upgrade.  So he got an iPhone.  Nice.

I wanted - REALLY WANTED - an iPad2 (white).  But they only had black.  I got it anyway because, hey, you put covers on these things anyway, right?

So here we sit, in the same room as each other, playing with our iToys.  Me, I'm still downloading the "update" for the iPad2 (and it's taking FOREVER, thankyouverymuch!) and he's over there setting up contacts, changing ringtones...

I can only imagine what our evenings will be like soon.  You know, Angry Birds, watching movies on our iProducts, searching for recipes on Jamie Oliver's site, or maybe Cooking Light's.

Hopefully these tools will be TOOLS and not binding chains... but from everything I've heard, we're going to be spending a lot of time with these toys.  But we'll be TOGETHER when we do it, so that's something.

I'm glad to be part of the revolution.  (and hopefully, one day soon, I'll be able to stream a realtime feed to not only MY iPad2, but the attorneys' iPads, as well.  See, you knew I'd find a way to bring the toy to work!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I spent the weekend at the NCRA convention in Las Vegas this past weekend.  I had a spa day at the Canyon Ranch Spa.  Then I taught a couple of seminars (TEAM training for officials - don't ask me what the acronym stands for - and the Current State of Realtime Technology for Voice).  I was always running into people I knew... being hugged (nice - I'm getting better at it!).  We went to a karaoke joint.  Had some nice meals.  Hung out with some cool folks.

All the while I was thinking, "What will Monday be like?"  Because Monday, after all, is the first day that I'm NOT working for the State and I don't have any 'assignments' to cover as a reporter.  Of course, I still have transcript to produce, but the deadline is still over a week out.

Turns out Monday was pretty relaxing.  Make that VERY relaxing.  I slept most of it.  I think I was really tired from the Paris and Las Vegas trips, not to mention the stress of the past few months.  Today, however, was a work day.  I got a little bit of scoping done for those transcripts, answered emails and phone calls, ran errands.  And I didn't HAVE to be anywhere.  Yep, that felt pretty good.

I'm excited about being free of the constraints of a daily job - even though my assignment was one of the best.  I just work better in an unrestrained, unfettered environment.

I think that's what I learned about myself in the past three years; I love what I do, but there are places I'm better suited than others.  But it takes all kinds, and I'm glad to know that several of my colleagues are more at home in the courtroom than the deposition suite.  As long as we're all taking care of that record, that's what's important.