Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Certificate in Advanced Filing

That last exam was a cinch, and I feel strangely bereft without something to learn, to the extent that on my trip to London to spend some 'quality' time with Lola II, I brought the Pocket Guide to Clinical Nutrition. Lola II and I learned about clinical handling of diabetes on our tube trip home. It's just so interesting.

This visit to Lola II, apart from being a post-exam treat, has a serious intention. She has a small problem with paperwork. Not at work, where everything is thoroughly shipshape, but at home, where it doesn't really matter. So she drafted me in to assist with an attempt to get everything in order and impose a System that will be easy to maintain.

Before embarking on the Herculean task, we started out with some R&R, and went to see the Mike Leigh film 'Happy-Go-Lucky'. Very good, and lots of food for thought afterwards, which is the kind of film I like. And there were two old ladies behind us in the nearly empty cinema, who commented on what was going on in a way that would have been annoying if it weren't so funny. "Ooh, look, there's a bed, they're in the bedroom," one of them said, when the screen characters were in the bedroom.

But on Saturday morning the work started, no more mucking about. Well, maybe some mucking about, we can't help mucking about a bit. I started by asking Lola II to show me all the stuff that needs putting away and filing. I knew I'd seen a bit on the living room table, and she has a plastic box with stuff in it, but she took me on a tour of the flat, and I think there was stuff in every room except the bathroom. Even the kitchen. It was very, very impressive. We put it all on a table (actually, it wouldn't all fit on a table) and I stood back in admiration.

Paperwork on floorMy idea was to think up as many categories as possible, and put all the stuff in the categories, and then put it all in a filing cabinet in suspension files labelled with the categories. Not an original idea, but an impossible mountain to climb alone when you have a busy social life and just empty your handbag onto the floor when it gets too full. Lola II had a filing cabinet, but it only had two drawers. And they were full.

Paperwork on tableToday is Sunday, and we have achieved a great deal. The whole of the living room floor started out covered with all the paperwork in the chosen categories. We went out and bought a filing cabinet, and even carried it between us up the metal stairs to the door of Lola II's flat. That was quite hard, but we are Strong and Determined. Most of the categorising work was already done when we had to take a short break because a friend came to fit a second telephone point, so the modem cable doesn't trail across the hall.

Piles of receiptsThe placing of documents in categories seemed to turn out very well. With a little help, Lola II attacked some of the more difficult categories early on, such as the variety of documents associated with the building where her flat is located - company tax, insurance, maintenance, the purchase of her flat, ongoing improvements and so on. Her own financial information was also a tricky one, but we made it, with a certain amount of detective work.

We were still working hard late into the evening, but I was able to break off and write some of this, because - and I am so proud - Lola II has graduated. Yes, by 9 p.m. on Sunday she was deciding for herself how things could be categorised, and coming up with new ways of combining the files.

FilingIn only two days, we have turned a mountain of paperwork secreted in every corner of the flat into a well-ordered fully-labelled entity, filling more than fifty suspension files in one beautifully crafted four-drawer filing cabinet. Plus several ring binders, three box files, a full sack of rubbish, a sack of paper for recycling and another sack of paper for shredding. And she has two new telephone points as well.

It is also worth noting, as an additional burden, Lola II has been coming down with what looks like the same cold that I had two weeks ago. She has been very brave, and worked through it, mostly because I gave her no other option. You have to be cruel to be kind.


Anonymous said...

I might seem strange, but I love cleaning up like that, putting everything in its own proper place so it's easy to find later on. Still have some of that to do today actually.

It's weird when you finish a part of your studies, isn't it? I always get the feeling I've got to do something, only I can't think of what. It always takes me a few days to adjust after exams.

Brett said...

After sitting an exam at work, that required weeks of study, i found my self feeling guilty that i had free time!

Anonymous said...

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank my wonderful sister, Lola, for all her help and hard work over the weekend. In the midst of my serious, almost life-threatening illness (well my nose was running and I couldn’t taste my food), Lola did all the running around whilst I decided what went into which pile.

Following my initial embarrassment at the quantity of horrendous mess, Lola encouraged me to see it as ‘impressive’. Almost ‘magnificent’. I still gaze at my new filing cabinet with the affection of someone who feels they’ve been saved from drowning.

Lola guided me as only an older (though shorter) sister can. She gives me the love and support of someone who really doesn’t have any other choice because we’re family, I know where she lives, and will hunt her down if she thinks for one moment she can do without me. Oh yes.

Since Lola went home I’m finding the lack of guilt quite disturbing. There are no bits of paper to be filed, I can find things if I need them, and my flat looks tidy. The final stage will be introducing my newly-cleared flat and newly-purchased filing cabinet to our parents. I’ll have the paramedics on hand, just in case.

Lola’s the BEST!

Lola II

Iain said...

Though it was a long time ago, I still remember that empty feeling when I finished my final degree paper. Having worked up towards the moment for months, there was a strange emptiness when the final paper was handed in; a clear consciousness that I had come to the end of an era in my life.

Anonymous said...

I love my filing cabinet! I don't necessarily look forward to filing my taxes each year, but I do like the sorting and shreading that goes along with it . . . I need a hobby.

travelling, but not in love said...

Wow! What do you charge? There's a serious filing issue here at Travelling Towers....

Lola said...

Travelling, I thought you'd never ask. My charges are nil, based on free accommodation in Paris - you see, I spotted that your apartment has a spare bedroom - you may have the tidiest files in the world by the end of the summer... Just say the word.