How long does it take to pay a bill?

Depends. Prior to kids, it takes five minutes and four steps:

1. Pick up the bill from the mailbox and bring it in

2. Pick up the checkbook and write a check

3. Put the check in the accompanying envelope, put a stamp on and it

4. The next time you get out, mail the envelope.

EASY!! In fact, nobody ever thinks about paying bills, let alone writing a whole post about it.

Once you have kids, it gets a tiny bit more complicated. You now need about five days to pay a bill, and many, many more steps:

1. Get the bill from the mailbox on your way back from school pick up- it might have been there for a few days as you don’t check your mail everyday

2. Throw the bill on the kitchen table together with car keys, handbags and phone, while lecturing the kids to get their shoes off, put their stuff away and get on with homework

3. Move the bill plus everything else from the kitchen table to the counter so you can set the table for dinner

By the time everybody is fed, showered and in bed, you have long forgotten about the bill so you crash in front of the TV and pass out / blog / facebook and other pressing matters that you have been dying to do all day.

4. Next day, you get up, fix breakfast for everybody. When it is time to go to school you yell at everybody to hurry and get in the car while you look for your car keys. Man! Where are the @^#$ keys? Oh, you remember! They are with your phone! … Where is the phone? You ring it and find it buried under a pile of junk, on the kitchen counter. Ah, there is a bill too! Must not forget to pay it! So you set it back on the kitchen table, promising yourself to deal with it after school drop off.

5. You come back from dropping the kids off and concentrate on your task. Where is the checkbook? Last time, you could have sworn it was in the office. No checkbook. Bummer! You search for it, opening every single drawer and turning every pile of paper. But you cannot find it… Well, that bill’s gonna have to wait then…

6. You get on with your day, and postpone the search for later. You run a few errands, go to the supermarket. While you are looking for your wallet in your handbag, you find your checkbook! Great! Must remember it is there. You send yourself an email that says, “checkbook in handbag”. Yeah, your short term memory is that bad…

7. You go home, pick up the kids, and completely forget about the bill. Until you take one last look at your email before you go to bed. And there it is! “Checkbook in handbag”. You know what that means: you forgot to pay the bill!! You are way too tired to do it but you put the checkbook on the kitchen table to remember and do it first thing in the morning.

8. Next day, you get up and see the checkbook: must pay the bill! You decide it is best to do it while everybody is still sleeping, although you have not had a coffee so this could prove a real challenge. You look for a pen, and start writing the date on the check. But where is the bill? Last time you saw it, it was on the kitchen table. Not anymore. Argh!!!!! Have a coffee then! Maybe that’ll help your memory.

9. Kids got up, could not find their shoes, did not brush their teeth, etc… so as usual, you are late for school. That bill is going to have to wait a little longer.

10. Right, back from school run, errands, and had a coffee. So no excuse, just pay the bill. You lay out everything: checkbook, pen and bill that you finally retrieved form under the kids’ homework. YES! You did it! Now all that is left to do is put the bill in the envelope and post it.

11. Where is the envelope that was sent with the bill? Can’t see it anywhere… Oh well, let’s not sweat it! Tonight when the kids are in bed, you’ll just write the address on a regular envelope. What’s the big deal?

12. Kids in bed, let’s finish that bill’s business, shall we? Where is the check? Where is the bill? For real!?? Eventually, you locate them in a drawer. You take them to your office to get an envelope. Bummer!! Your kids have scribbled on all the envelopes!! Argh!!! Will have to buy some tomorrow morning, after dropping the kids off.

13. You go to the shop to get some envelopes. Man! They are closed. You decide to wait because you cannot postpone this paying-bill business any longer. You get the envelopes, go home. Almost there…

14. Where are the bill and the check? Are you kidding? Oh yeah! You put them in your handbag so you would not lose them again. Clever!!!

15. By now you have an envelope with a check and a bill inside. The only thing missing is a stamp. That’s easy, you have a gazillion in your wallet. So looks like you are kind of done.  But where is your wallet? In your handbag! Which is where? Could be in the car? Or in the office? You’ll look for it when the kids are in bed.

16. Kids in bed, you have found your handbag, and your wallet is in it! But bad surprise: no more stamps!

17. Next day, after you drop kids off to school, you run to the post office to buy some stamps. Great!! Except, you forgot the envelope at home so now you’ll have to give the bill to the postman when he comes later today.

18. The postman has come and gone and the bill is still on the table. Must remember to put it out tomorrow.

19. While you go out to your mailbox to leave your paid bill for the postman, you realize you have not checked your mail for the past few days. You pick it up and what do you find in it? Another bill…


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