Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One of the joys of solo practice: $28 to plug in a fax machine

I drove downtown first thing this morning to pick up a large appellate record (from which the second brief of my current three brief sequence was drawn) and return it to Elgin.

Elgin is the city well northwest of Chicago where sits the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District. Returning the record this way involved driving to and from the Loop in rush hour traffic. I could have made arrangements to send it back via UPS or something -- but that would have necessitated finding suitable boxes (you know, boxes that close) -- and packing materials -- and calling UPS -- and being here when the driver comes.

This is not a knock on UPS -- but driving was easier.

Besides, this way the record was returned on time. It was due today.

Now my wife had one request of me this morning: She needs to sign up for a continuing education seminar and she tried calling the telephone number on the brochure -- but couldn't get through. So she filled in the form on the brochure instead and asked me to fax it.

This is a task not likely to be confused with cleaning the Augean stables and I did not mind undertaking it in the least. Even though I'm certain that her school also has a fax machine.

So... while the flashers were blinking on the car parked in the tow zone on the street outside the Undisclosed Location and I was putting the (open) boxes in which the record was obtained from the Appellate Court Clerk on a dolly brought down for this express purpose, I also waited for the fax to go through.

It didn't go. I got the printout that said that there the line was either busy or had no signal.

This got me just a little indignant: Imagine! This outfit doesn't answer its voice line or its fax line. Grumbling to myself, I put the papers in my suitcoat pocket and steered my dolly out the door, back to the car (which had not been towed or ticketed -- yaay!) and headed out to Elgin.

I have an appointment on the North Side this afternoon, but I thought I could stage for that just as easily from home as from the Loop... and I always carry work with me that I could do. And I had to go right by the house -- well, practically right by -- in order to get back downtown... so I went home.

It was when I got out of the van, in my driveway, that the light bulb went on.

I went inside and dialed the number of my fax line. The phone rang and rang and rang some more.

My suspicions were thus confirmed.

We have a mostly-retired lady who comes in once a month or so to prepare checks and allocate the bills for me and the fellow with whom I share this Undisclosed Location. Now and then she fills the postage machine. This is done over the phone.

She has found, from trial and error, that the postage machine has to be moved to the conference room and plugged into the separate line there (the only real justification for our continued maintenance of that line, actually) in order to accomplish this task. For a long time she used to try plugging the postage meter into the fax line -- but she couldn't make that work. On some of those prior occasions she had forgotten to plug the fax machine back in.

Monday, when she was last here, she must have tried to use the fax line again: The fax machine had been disconnected from the phone line.

Now it's not that I get a lot of faxes. But I have this line listed and clients do use it sometimes. I need to have it available.

So... back in the van I jumped and headed for the Loop. Traffic was a lot better, at least. And I'll hang out here until it's time to head out to my late afternoon appointment.

And the fax machine is now plugged back in, too.

But why did I title this piece "$28 to plug in a fax machine?" That's what it cost me to park.


Today's post was going to be about another aspect solo practice -- collections -- in response to a comment left the other day by Shell of Shelley's Case. (She even referenced and linked to Monday's post in her September 29 post, which was nice.) I guess that post will have to wait a little longer, though.


Dave said...

They let you TAKE the file? Wow. We have to sit there and read it and get the page numbers for citation in the not so pleasant reading room at the Clerk's office.

I'm not touching $28, you big city folks, I don't know how you abide it.

Cathy said...

I complain and moan when I have to pay 10.00 to park in the garage for a Dr. Appointment at CCF. 28.00 would send me over the edge. I'm teetering anyway,

shell said...

I am looking forward to future posting(s) about solo practice. So it seems like it's not as glamorous as it seems?

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