Paper check…

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out where my checkbook was this morning. Once upon a time, its assigned spot was laying right in the place where I kept my wallet and keys. It hasn’t lived there in a decade or more. The age of paying for things by check feels like it really ought to be over. In fact, before today, I can’t remember the last time I paid for goods or services by scrawling words on a small slip of pre-printed paper. I know this to be the case, because today I used check #5, drawn on an account that I’ve had since gods know when. 

As of this morning, I’ve handed over a paper check to the nice people from the company who will be renovating the master bathroom. I’m assuming it will have plenty of time to clear since none of us are anticipating a start date any time before the first of the year. The supply chain delays brought on by the Great Plague are apparently a very real thing. My delightfully hermetic life has mostly protected me from them. Seeing the months long lead time for ordering cabinetry and tile, though, yeah, my general mockery of just-in-time inventory when they first taught it to us in logistics school feels a little prescient. It’s the kind of system that seems brilliant in the good times, but is entirely based on the assumption that times will always be good. Personally, I’ll take old fashioned warehouses full of stuff and damn the carrying costs. 

So, the long-deferred bathroom renovation is now one step closer to getting underway. I suppose this means that we’re all about to discover if I know anything at all about design. Given certain physical space and layout limitations, I have to think the final product will end up being better than what I’ve got currently. Now, though, I’ve got to go out and find a nice antique storage cabinet since I just savagely cut the linen closet out of the plan in favor of knocking out a wall to free up more shower space.

All that’s left now is picking out tile and lighting fixtures… and the interminable waiting. I’m sure none of those things will drive me absolutely mad.

The wee small hours of the morning…

Unbidden, I woke up at 3AM this morning, as if my brain were hard wired to Apple’s central hive in Cupertino. It’s iPhone launch day… sort of. It’s pre-order day for the iPhone 5c – the new polycarbonate-shelled, mid-priced successor to the iPhone 5. Even though I’m not in the market for the “c” variant, my internal clock still managed to rattle me awake in the wee small hours of the morning. Sadly that means being in for a long Friday with way less sleep than usual to get me through to the weekend. C’est la guerre.

It shouldn’t be a particular surprise that I’m holding out for the 5s, the new glass and aluminum Apple flagship. In previous years, this morning would have been pre-order time for it too, but some combination of marketing, constrained supply, and production factors mean that the only options for its first day of ability are buying directly from a retail store on the 20th or ordering online that morning and waiting (if all goes well) until the middle of the following week to take delivery. My plan for next Friday remains a footrace between my dislike of crowded spaces and an equally strong attraction to having a new toy at the first possible moment.

So for next Friday, my choices seem to come down to this:

Option #A – Wake up at 2:30 AM, drive to Delaware, get in line in the pre-dawn darkness and hope that the local Apple Store has stock on hand by the time I get to the front of the line; or

Option #B: Wake up at 2:30 AM, direct my browser to http://www.apple.com, hit refresh until the site comes back online, complete the order process, wait for a confirmation email, go back to bed until 5:00 AM, go to work, and then wait for four or five days for the FedEx truck to back down the driveway; or

Option #C: Waiting until the supply chain is refilled from the early adopter rush, walk into the local Apple Store and buying a phone a month from now. It also involves about a month’s more patience than I have on tap at any given time.

So really, it comes down to A or B… Both bad options in different ways. Option A is a roll of the dice regarding whether they’ll have the unit I’m looking, whereas Option B is an exercise in at least minor amounts of patience. Unfortunately, because I’m upgrading a current line, these options are also mutually exclusive – meaning I don’t think there’s any way to order one online at 3AM and the go try getting my hands on one a few hours later from the retail store.

With a week to go, I remain decidedly undecided.