It is incredible that I have forgotten so much, so quickly. I have used my body for 60 years; I thought I knew it. Yet already it is fading like a dream. Arms, legs, where are you? What did you ever do for me when you were mine? I send out signals, trying to command the limbs I vaguely remember. Nothing happens. It is like shouting into a vacuum. Shouting. Yes, I try that. Perhaps they hear me, but I cannot hear myself. Silence has flowed over me, until I can no longer imagine sound. There is a word in my mind called ‘music’; what does it mean? So many words, drifting before me out of the darkness, waiting to be recognized. One by one they go away, disappointed.

Hello. So you are back. How softly you tiptoe into my mind! I know when you are there, but I never feel you coming. I sense that you are friendly, and I am grateful for what you have done. But who are you? You see I am becoming curious. That is a good sign is it not? What happened? You probably know as much as I do. Tell me. How much is left of my body? Don’t hide the truth. I am not afraid. If you can only get me home. Why can’t you answer?

I am sorry. Was I away a long time? Let me get a grip on myself. Please say that again, slowly. My education prepared me for any conceivable reality. I can face whatever you tell me. But slowly. Well, it could be worse. I know who I am. I think I know who I am. All my memories are trapped in the cells of my brain. And not only memories. Me.

Well, what happens next? Please say that again. I do not understand. Those are words. The eyes. They are very important. And the mouth. Now let’s see. There is something between the eyes and the mouth. Stupid of me. Of course – NOSE! There is something else, something I have forgotten. Unfinished. Not like me, the smartest kid on the block. I’m a nurse, with twenty years of service. Why do my thoughts keep going out of focus? Help me, please! Too difficult. Begin somewhere else. Ah, I know— The thighbone is connected to the shinbone. The shinbone is connected to the thighbone. The thighbone is connected to the shinbone. The shinbone…

All fading. Too late. too late. Something wrong with the playback. Thank you for trying. My name is… my name is… MaMa — where are you? I just want to go home!

words taken from “The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke”


Do you know, with some accuracy, how much you spend to maintain your household? Do you know how much money you need a month to maintain your basic needs if you were to lose your job? Do you know how much cash is left each month after your basic needs are met and where that money goes? Do you have a short or long term fiscal goal, like a home or vehicle purchase, a dream vacation, or getting out of debt, and do not know where to start? Establishing a personal or household budget is a worthwhile endeavor, especially in today’s high inflation environment as maybe you suddenly lost that cushion between income and outgo.
As befitting our group’s mandate, I will use technology, freely available, as long as you have Internet access at home and a smartphone to record purchases in real time. To create and maintain the budget, I will be using Google Sheets, a browser based spreadsheet following the Microsoft Excel 97 public domain specs. I will use Google Drive for storage. With this setup, you can use your favorite device for budgeting, be it desktop, laptop, pad, or phone. A checkbook app for a smartphone will be used to record any and all non-recurring transactions eliminating the headache of accounting with paper receipts. Following, are instructions for setting up a Google Drive and step by steps for creating a Google Sheets Budget. For those users that are already familiar with Excel 97, I will provide a built out budget spreadsheet that can be downloaded and altered for your own requirements.

example budget spreadsheet