I have it. Comes in bits and pieces but most notably today. I'm doing my taxes, actually I'm doing Cletus's taxes first and they're relatively straight forward. Just plug in the numbers, even with her college fund the numbers are in a box at the top of the form and even though there was a small withdrawal for a class in 2011 and so a cost basis and all that it is minuscule and there was actually a loss, but anyway, the numbers are in the boxes and with TurboTax you fill in the blanks and I'm not all that worried about it. She's getting a refund because I made her withhold the maximum self-employment tax and her quarterlies were paid on time.
Everything was fine until it was time to e-file. All of her banking is electronic. She doesn't even have checks. This means she has to deposit her paychecks through an ATM if she doesn't have direct deposit (as a 1099 employee she doesn't) and if she has an actual bill that can't be paid in cash she sets up a vendor and pays electronically. Not a problem. TurboTax wants a routing number off a check. I can't do this because she doesn't have checks. I don't see the box to check for savings account instead of a checking account and it never occurs to me to have her go online to get this information. I just sit there panicked because the only way I've ever retrieved a routing number is from the front of a check.
Fine. I'll do it the old fashioned way, e-file and have them send the check to the house in 4 - 6 weeks. Except they want a fee for e-filing (what IS this shit? Seriously? I'm not going to touch that rant. You shouldn't either). I can't figure out how to get them to just deduct it from the check they're going to mail to the house because they want a routing number.... ack.
Eventually I do manage to work out the routing number online and I get this figured out. As a technical person well versed in the navigation of the interwebs this should have been a no brainer. Hell, BOA has a pretty good online help chat pretty much 24/7. I could have done that. Never occurred to me.
Fine. It's worked out but I do notice the fog. A bad case of the stupids.
Next. Mine. A little more complicated because I do actually own property which means taxes and mortgage interest payments and dependents and all that (OK, there were some questions on hers as well regarding whether or not she could legitimately deduct her mileage to the client as a 1099 employee (business owner) and the answer is no, by the way, but I did work that out) and some investments in a Fidelity account that's been around since about 1999 and I don't even look at it because it's downright scary and a rolled over 401K and another with The Factory, neither of which are all that relevant because I haven't DONE anything with them - but there are forms and statements and numbers and all that STUFF that has to be plugged in.
IF I had last year's form in TurboTax format I could load it and fill in the blanks but I don't. I do have last year's form in PDF and I OUGHT to be able to read it and fill in most of the blanks or at least follow along. Still, this is not particularly complicated. I do need a copy of last year's software... I CAN get that... these are all pieces parts that I'm aware of, can you see where I'm going? I can see all of the pieces of the puzzle. I know where most of the parts live with the exception of one or two parts (and I know who to ask and where to get them)...
but I cannot put them together right now.
I need an oxygen tank.
Or something like that.
Now here's the thing. I haven't actually done my own taxes in. Um. Oh. Almost ever. I haven't done my own taxes since high school or just out of high school or once I got married at 20 or something like that. The reason I haven't done my own taxes is because once it got even remotely complicated - as in running a small business (that happened pretty early) it was easier just to hire an accountant to make sure we weren't missing anything. During those years there were a lot of Fk-ups (and I do mean A LOT) which led to some pretty nasty situations with the IRS well before the IRS was leashed and this was back when the IRS was allowed to call your house and pretty much threaten to throw your ass in jail if you couldn't pay your back taxes asap (good lord that was ugly and it also was a lie as it turns out) and I was traumatized to the point where by the time it got to be tax season I'd start hyperventilating around mid February, collect all my documents and throw them at the nearest tax accountant I could find. And that was that.
My third husband quietly handled everything. I never even looked (bad, Alecto). As the years progressed I did stop panicking until I got to the point where I was finally able to take them back from him. That would be this year. I was ready to start about five weeks ago. I had everything together in a nice neat folder and then there were a series of events that went like this:
- New job was beginning to eat my brain
- Cleaning service turned my house inside out (shit just VANISHED)
- Hard drive on new computer crashed (files were backed up but computer was out of commission)
Forms are missing. Parts of my brain are missing. Time is running out. I can file an extension but you can't do that until you know whether or not you actually owe anything and if so how much and then you need to send a check with the extension. I didn't manage to get that far. I am supposed to owe something because the tax base changed in Connecticut toward the end of the year and I didn't manage to change my withholding the way I was supposed to (I withheld in a savings account instead) but it's supposed to be a fairly small amount. I am obviously doing something very wrong because the big red numbers are, well, biggish. More biggish than I would have expected. Not so biggish as to cause white spots to appear before my eyes and the oxygen to leave the entire neighborhood but biggish enough that I know perfectly well I shouldn't send the State of Connecticut that much money. And then there is the Federal number. It's red too. It should not be red. It might be a little bit red but not a big red. Also not enough to cause me to faint and pass out but enough red to cause me to grind my teeth and mutter
Shut The Front Door! (can somebody please explain to me how that's supposed to translate into an acronym that has anything in common with Shut The Eff Up? Shouldn't we be shutting the Front Underpants or U-Boat or UPS or United Postal Service or Ulva or or how about Uakari? Right. Shut the Front Short Tailed Long Haired Monkey - come ON! What am I missing?)
I'm doing something wrong. Dammit. When I read last year's PDF the numbers start swimming. Not cool. Oh so not cool.
I'm going to have to get help which is perfectly fine but help is going to have to come with the step by step instructions relating specifically to my return that didn't come with the box. Remember the commercials with the husband and wife team where the husband is doing the taxes with the software out of the box and there just might be a problem and the wife says, what does the box say? and then she says THE BOX DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING BECAUSE IT'S A BOX!
I always loved that commercial.
Things that are funny:
- Elizabeth was face timing with her friend in her bedroom and she fell asleep face down on her iTouch most likely in the middle of the conversation. When I woke her up and convinced her she'd been asleep she sat bolt upright, long hair flying about wildly and yelled: SHUT! UP! (you have to apply the standard tween inflection that goes with that statement and translates to: you canNOT be serious!)
- Leafy has finally come into season for the first time and is in a complete state of misery. I've been waiting for this and expected it a little earlier since her litter mates have already passed the mark (but their ears stood up too and hers probably never will, poor little late or never bloomer). I first suspected when she suddenly sat up in her crate at about 10 at night (she's been in her crate at night for about a week for having suddenly taken to snacking on the upholstery) and let out a blood curdling howl. Just one, that's all. I leaned over the back of the couch and asked her what in god's name that was all about. She just looked at me, shrugged her little doggy shoulders and went back to sleep. She's progressed to the standard little bit of messiness (because she's just a little bit of a dog), general localized swelling and a good deal of bitching about her discomfort because the general localized swelling has gotten a little out of hand; in other words, she's got a bad case of it. I was trying to take a picture of her last night because she was being a unique sort of cute. I got up close to get the look on her face and she immediately turned around and presented her backside. I stood up and called her name. She turned around and gave me the look again. I bent down for the closeup. We repeated the process five or six times until I realized it was hopeless. The only thing she's interested in showing anyone is the object of her discomfort and WON'T SOMEBODY PULEASE FREAKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS ALREADY?!!! Poor kid. Some days I know exactly how she feels. This brings us to Simon. Up until last night he was completely oblivious. Cletus and I were discussing just how god awful it might be if he was still intact. What to do with a 200 lb intact male and a 14 lb female in heat and oh lord the hormones in the house and we just don't even want to THINK about it. He was fine until last night when out of the blue he started crying. He doesn't even know why. Poor guy. I need to go mop the floors.
Things that are not so funny but if I could just turn my head at the exact right angle...:
- Remember the neighbor who kept calling animal control about Simon's barking? OK, maybe you don't because most of that hell happened in 2009 when I was writing in the locked blog. The bottom line is he's a loud barker and he really doesn't much care for her. He used to sit in the front yard and bark non stop at her house across the street. I imagine it was maddening. It wasn't always this way but something was definitely going on between them. There was a lot of conversation with animal control but it came down to this: This neighborhood is full of dogs and they all bark all the time. Nobody is irresponsible (almost) and the dogs are brought in after awhile. One dog starts they all start and it goes around the circle in a great doggy sing along. They can be very 'chatty'. Dogs go out starting at 6 AM and are known to have last outs as late as midnight if they have tummy problems but those are quick outs. If someone walks by a house with an 'out' dog the 'out' dog in the yard will bark. Live with it, we all do. She's not a dog person. She's the 'everybody has a turn in the barrel eventually' person. Almost every neighborhood has one and she's ours. My turn in the barrel was in 2009 with Simon. Eventually he was fenced into the backyard but it wasn't entirely because of her. He also stopped having any respect at all for the invisible fence and for a dog who's scared to cross the line it was just flat out bizarre how some days he'd walk right into the middle of the road, sit himself down on the yellow line, back legs splayed on either side of the line, tongue hanging out the side of his big old drooly mouth and scare the living shit out of drivers of cars whipping around that curve too fast. He was one hell of a speed bump. Nobody ever hit him but if they had somebody might have died. He also left one serious mountain in her yard once which she photographed, sending the 8x10 color glossies to... you get the picture. She stopped speaking to me even after he was banished to the backyard and there wasn't a damn thing I could do to make it right. And I did need to make it right. Nobody wants a loose cannon pointed in their direction so as unpalatable as it was, I tried. Not happening. And it got downright uncomfortable for awhile, mostly for Elizabeth but everybody moved on and we all lived with it. Fine. Until ten days ago when I got home from work just before seven and stopped at the foot of the driveway to get the mail. The mailbox is just past the driveway. I found a dead cat three feet into the road right in front of my mailbox. Poor thing was hit hard enough to knock it's eyes half out. That's a lot more than a glancing blow. That's what happens when an animal is running across a road directly in front of a moving vehicle and hits a bumper. Not a tire (tire results in squashed animal), a bumper, and is thrown to the side of the road. The car does not have to be going very fast. The cat was cool. As a relatively qualified cat ME I pronounced the cat dead approximately 45 minutes as rigor hadn't set in yet. I knew this cat. This cat crossed the street at a dead run on a regular basis. This cat was responsible for the early demise of one of my neighbor's cats (long story but the short version is she said his cat was picking on her cat and he was actually forced to have his cat destroyed. turns out it wasn't his cat). This cat made me nervous because my cat regularly kicked the shit out of it in my front yard. I had four choices:
1. Go to the other neighbor with the body and ask for help
2. Leave the body and slink away
3. Take the body to the swamp and hope nobody is looking
4. Walk across the street and knock on the door
You know what I did, right? It was the girl who answered the door. I was grateful. The girl is fifteen and a reasonable child. She's the granddaughter. This is a long story. Mom is elsewhere; Granny is raising the girl. I ask about the cat and she bursts into tears and runs into the street to ID the body. I give her a hug, pat her back and ask where Granny is. I REALLY want Granny to still be at work. I tell her I can take care of this for her (I'm thinking I can dig a 3 foot deep hole through New England rock REALLY FREAKING FAST (and most of you know perfectly well that I can)). Granny, it turns out, is in her room. Fuckety, fuck,fuck fuck. OK, let's go get Granny. We go up the stairs, the windy, stone stairs and as we are coming to the top, Granny is already coming across the kitchen and as she sees me her face transforms into an absolute rictus of rage (the alliteration is called for), her hands come out in front of her, claw like and the child says, Angel is dead in the street and Granny: YOU DID WHAT?!!!! and she is at the door in my face, arms out stretched and I am propelled backwards toward the railing fifteen feet over the driveway. The girl puts her hands up and shouts, NO! She found Angel! She didn't do it! And the string of obscenities right out of a Stephen King novel begins. She pushes me aside and rushes down the stone steps and I follow as fast as I can because I DON'T know what she's going to do. She looks at my car parked IN the driveway which is BEFORE the mailbox and then looks at the cat. I tell her the cat is cold. Her eyes narrow and she reaches down and snatches up the limp body in her arms and hisses: if you really want to help you can shut your fucking dog the hell up. And then she is gone with the body. Meanwhile the next door neighbor - next door to her - has acquired in the last year a full grown Newfie and his bark is just as fierce and loud as Simon's and every hour on the hour it seems he comes outside and barks at her house non stop anywhere from 15 - 30 minutes. He is barking now I realize and has been barking the entire time. Simon is at the fence in the backyard but he is silent for some reason and has been silent the whole time.I wonder if she can tell the difference. I wonder if we have pushed her over the edge and how close to the edge was she when we gave her that one final push. I think about the fact that she was in her bedroom when the girl answered the door. I wonder how often she comes home from work and heads straight for her bedroom. I wonder about a lot of things that come out of a lifetime of bitterness and combativeness and creating a sea of hostility in your surroundings. Was she looking out the window at us before we came back to the house to get her or was she already in that state? In the morning there was a sign in her yard offering a reward for information leading to the identification of the brutal slayer of her cat and a warning to slow the hell down. That evening there was an apology in my mailbox. I am grateful for that one sign of sanity. The sign is gone now. I don't know when she took it down.
So I notice my tolerance is at an all time low. Don't fuck with me. Don't fuck with my friends. Oh hell, don't fuck with anybody. I've had it up to my eyeballs with positioned opinions (chalk that up to politics, what the hell, as we move closer to November it's just going to get crazier) which, like I experience religion, leave absolutely no room for anything other than my way or the highway. Very much like what I hear coming out of my boss's mouth, what I hear coming out of most mouths these days is how much 'those people suck' and how willinig we are to stick our necks out and actually say these things with so much rancor. As if it's not going to come back and bite us in the proverbial and very much collective ass (whether we want to admit that or not) one of these days.
When the hell did everybody get so god damned smug, righteous and superior? And when did we suddenly stop needing each other so completely?
I've never felt so alone in my life. I'd bring that lady brownies but I'm truly afraid of what might happen if I did. I don't want to be her friend; I just want her to feel better. And maybe not so alone.
The mild cognitive impairment is not so much about my job and it's not an all the time kind of thing but it is cumulative and it is leading up to something.
OK, bitch session complete for the day! :-)
I'm still smiling, by the way. And that's just the damnedest thing. But I'll take it.
Couldn't figure out if I should put this in the comment section or down here as a post script. What the hell. Plugged the tax form back in after some feedback and looked at the two numbers again - Federal and State - They are almost identical numbers, off by a few hundred dollars (which is what is expected to be owed) but they are much bigger numbers - here's the thing though, ready? Wait for it....
Wait for it...
One number is red and the other number is green.
TOTALLY missed that part.