The pluses, minuses of a good ledger


Every year about this time, I’m given the royal tour of the books. I’m not talking about the literary accomplishments of such greats as Shakespeare, Dickenson, Hemmingway or Bombeck, but rather those spiral notebooks that contain our expenditures for the past year. I look forward to this yearly event with as much enthusiasm as a root canal.

Bookkeeping has never been my forte. Until I met my other half, I operated on the philosophy that one has a certain number of dollars and once they were gone, they were gone. Did it really matter where it went? One went without until payday.

Once I was married, it mattered.

My other half operates on the idea that once the money is spent, the amount is written down in this little black book. This man can tell me how much he paid for a quarter pound of cinnamon bears on July 16, 1974. It’s all in the records that take up more room in our basement than my unfinished quilting projects.

It should come as no surprise that he keeps the books. Committed to the idea that both parts of a couple need to know what is going on, we spend enough hours this time of year going through the books that I could complete my unfinished quilting projects.

He subtly points to the year-end total for “miscellaneous,” which always is huge, for that is where he makes up the difference between what the figures say we spent and what we really must have spent since he can’t find the money listed anywhere else. He tends to attribute this discrepancy to my forgetting to keep track of my expenditures. I totally disagree but change the subject by pointing to the total for car repairs, which is his expenses, not mine.

I don’t always agree with the way he distributes various items. A year ago, I questioned the entertainment column since I couldn’t remember being entertained all that much last year. Checking more closely I noticed Annabelle’s dog food and her veterinarian bills listed under the heading.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“If we don’t have Annabelle for entertainment,” he asked, “what do we have her for?”
I couldn’t argue with that.


Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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