Filing and virtue

1. I watched a movie called Edge of Madness, starring Caroline Dhavernas who some of you may recall from the television show Wonderfalls. The movie is about the Manitoban Red River valley in the 1850s, and one young woman who arrives at a fort in the middle of winter claiming to have murdered her husband. The movie was fine, perfectly middle-of-the-road, but I really enjoyed the multicultural aspects. The lead, Annie, is French Catholic. The community she moves to with her husband is Scots Presbyterian. The fort is run by British Anglicans and their Native American Christian converts. The accents, to my limited ear, were quite good. And the religious and class differences among the ethnic groups were played just right — not hammered home, but a constant backdrop to every single event and interaction. I should also note, however, that the film is particularly brutal in its depictions of rape and sexual violence, and its therefore not for everyone.

2. We’re asking around for local recommendations for roof steaming. The ice dam problem as-is is too great. Once it’s steamed, we’ll try to keep it snow-free for the rest of the winter.

3. The kids are growing up. We took their little table and chairs out of the kitchen, and removed the dog-gate. The kitchen looks huge without those features, my goodness. At the moment we are trying the kids eating at the dining room table. This has the slight drawback that we need to change the tablecloth nearly every day, now. But there’s also an advantage/disadvantage in that we have to keep the table cleaner overall. We might end up having the kids sit on stools at the kitchen counter and eat there. Yes, these are the vital decisions of my daily life.

4. I started doing some filing last night. Guys, I haven’t filed papers since March of 2009. IDEK. The thing is, I distinctly remember complaining about my filing that last time on Twitter. (I just spent five minutes trying to find out how long I’ve been on Twitter, but Twitter is unhelpful in that regard. Hmph.) And at that point I swore I wouldn’t let it get that bad next time. Well. So much for that.

The thing is, the battles against my slothful procrastinatory nature are won one fight at a time. I also vowed, at that point, to not let my unopened mail stack up in a nervewracking pile of guilt and unpaid bills. And I haven’t — I actually do open my mail on the day it arrives. Moreover, when I get around to doing my filing I find that I have files for all my important papers, I know where they are, they are clearly labelled, and others could, in an emergency, find them.

PSA: Does the person who is the executor of your estate know where to find your papers? Your will, your banking records, your bills? If you are in the hospital for a length of time, will your family and friends be able to pay your Visa and your mortgage for you? Do your cats need special medication? Take fifteen minutes and write down some of these things and mail the information to those who might be handling these things for you in the event of your injury, illness, or death.

So, anyway. I’m, like, two-thirds of the way to mastering my filing. I’m sure that eventually I’ll get that last bit down, and file in a more timely fashion.

In other grown-up news, I finally remembered to put a calendar reminder up to change the furnace filter every month. (If you don’t change the furnace filter and it clogs, your furnace shuts down. In winter. In Minnesota.) Go me.

5. We’re off to the Y in a little bit, here. Time for more virtue.

Speaking of virtue, I just want to mention, here, what virtue is and is not. Virtue is not that state of being naturally inclined to do ethical, productive, useful, empathetic things without prompting. No, virtue is the state of doing those things when you don’t want to in the slightest. Virtue is not hopping out of bed cheerfully and thinking that a ten-mile run sounds splendid this morning. Virtue is dragging your sorry ass to the Y to work out even when you would rather scrub the toilet or do your taxes than go work out. Virtue is turning down the date with the unsuitable extremely attractive person when all you want to do it get some part of your body in slippery contact with theirs. Virtue is stuffing your shaking hands in your pockets and refusing the cigarette. Virtue is right action in the face of wrong inclination. This is why virtue is never easy. But in some ways, because of that, it is perversely more rewarding — the harder it is, the more virtuous you get to feel. If, like me, you find secret smug victory to be internally rewarding, you may enjoy the trials of virtue.

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