Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas Tree Day 2012

 The Anderson's had to travel into the woods a little early this year.  Three of the Anderson's are insanely busy people with schedules that must be respected.  So we went out on the last day of November (*gasp*) to find the perfect tree.

We went back to Spenser's Tree Farm in Wakeman where the last 19 of our 20 trees have come from.  It's gone through good times and bad out there with the tree selection.  But no matter what, you can't beat the prices, service and the homemade cookie for your ride home.

It's a big place.  We lost The Girl for a little while. 

 Everyone had their own opinions on what tree we should pick.  This year there were three finalists that we were trying to pick between.  The problem was they were all really far apart from each other.  There was quite a bit of walking back and forth.  But some people know how to travel.

Finally one tree was compromised on.

Not too big.  Not too small.  Not too fat.  Not too thin.

The Girl was asked to hold up the tree while The Man sawed it down.  He's laying on the ground behind the tree in these shots.  You'll just have to take my word on it.

Oh no!  Says The Girl.  This tree is Sooooo heavy!  How will I ever  hold it up?

Uh oh!  It actually is very heavy.  *Ugh*  I need help!

No worries, that's what brother's are for.

 And that's it.  The tree is down.   Hey guy down there with the saw, you okay?

 Never better.  Another tree conquered.

 Another successful Christmas Tree Day!  Now to just get it home and make it pretty.

 Bonus! This tree has many, many pine cones.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

 Twenty years ago today, I woke up in my bed in my mother's house and realized I left my contacts at the new apartment.  I was going to need them for the day so I quickly threw on warmer clothes and drove through the snow across town.

I wasn't sure where The Man spent the night.  I was pretty sure he stayed at his parents house.  I'm not a superstitious person normally but the bride not seeing the groom before the wedding seemed like a good idea. 

Luckily when I pulled up in the driveway I could easily make out The Man's fresh footprints in the snow.  It looked like I had just missed him and that he also had showed up and then left right away.  I wondered what he forgot and had to make an early morning run for.  What a pair we were!

I don't remember standing in the apartment thinking anything like, "When I come back here I'll be a married woman."  That would make a nice detail to this story. A young woman standing right between two parts of her life taking a moment to ponder her future. What I do remember is grabbing my contacts and blowing out of there to make it back to the house.  I still needed to shower and get my hair dry before people started showing up.

This morning I woke up in the house I've lived in for the past nineteen years.  After I got the kids off to school I went back to bed to snuggle for a little while with The Man and Mamacat.  There's no snow on the ground today and no threat of flurries later.   I won't see his footprints in the snow today, but later tonight Marco will let know when he hears his truck coming home from teaching at Bowling Green.

 Twenty years later he is still my best friend and my all-time hero in cutting down Christmas trees.
More pictures from our early Christmas Tree day coming soon!  

 Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Dance Team Season Arrives!

It is finally here.  The first home game of the basketball season which means it's the first dance team performance.  No worries if you can't make tonight, there are eleven more opportunities to see The Girl dance before February 12th, which is the last game.  That's 69 days away, but who's counting.

Here's the whole schedule for the season if you want to make plans to come out and see her.  The team dances at Varsity games.

The team only dances at home games.  Not included on the above schedule is the Dance Team Showcase.  The team has invited dance teams from other area schools to come and perform.  That will be Saturday, January 19th at 6 PM. 

The Man and I will always be on the home side, way at the top with the wall to our backs.  See you there!

Coming Up:  A Capella Christmas Choir Concert, Sunday December 16, 3 PM

Friday, November 09, 2012


Tonight is opening night of "Harvey" the Elyria High School Drama Department fall show.  Neither of the kids are in the show since rehearsals and cross country overlapped.  The Boy is on running crew which means you can go see the show and not see him for the entire performance.  I haven't seen him all week because he's been busy with tech week.   The Girl helped out with painting the set on Saturdays.  She's not down with tech week stuff so I've seen her lots this week.

But there are plenty of other of my favorite kids in this show so I'll be there tonight supporting the department, all of these talented kids and, of course, my favorite crew member.   The set is supposed to be a two- sided spinning contraption.  I'm excited to see them try something so new.

Performances tonight and tomorrow and 7:30 PM.  Sunday is at 2 PM. 

Friday, October 05, 2012

Coming Soon in the Lives of the Andersons

Tomorrow is the next cross country meet.  It's in Medina which I can't remember ever going to before.  Maybe we were excused as parents to attend.  Or maybe they've  just never run there before.  The Girl runs at 10 AM.  The Boy runs at 11:40 AM.  Last week, 90% of the team got their personal best times.  Most everyone at that meet got their best times ever.  There's been a lot of finger pointing that the course was short, but what's done is done.

Tuesday, October 9th, The Girl has a choir concert at 7 PM in the Performing Arts Center.  The choir director, for some unknown reason, thinks this show is going to be huge and has scheduled a second show on Monday, October 15th, just for those people who get shut out of the first show.   I don't know anyone who clamors to get to one of these shows.  Everyone is there out of pure obligation.  I don't have a very high opinion of the choir director in the best of times, but scheduling extra shows, just in case, really knocks him down a few more pegs.

Wednesday, October 10th is a band concert, which we've never had to go to before, but this show has Comedy Troupe performing as well, so off we go.  I don't know the time yet for this show or if The Boy will actually be in any of the skits since it's supposed to be short.  Stay tuned.

And that it.  Boy Scout popcorn sales still roll on.  My shed is stacked the ceiling in the stuff.  Booth sales start tonight, but it's raining so I'm probably going to have to cancel.  Not disappointed that I won't have to stand outside on a Friday night trying to sell something nobody wants, but at the same time, every box sold gets us that much closer to the sale be over and done with.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Senior Pictures Sneak Peek

If you want to see them all (215 pictures in total), I can send you the link.  But here's just a taste of what they are like.
The next cross country meet is this Saturday, September 15th.  It's going to be out at Galion, which is the one race I do not attend.  It's too far away, too crowded and has an terrible parking situation from what I hear.  I put them on the bus an hour before dawn, say good luck, go home and go back to bed.

September 22nd's race is at Black River High which is down in Amish country.  Nice drive and a nice location to see a race.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cross Country for Saturday September 1

The Saturday, September 1st meet is at Lorain County Community College.  The Girl runs at 9:30 AM .  The Boy runs at Noon.  The crowds will be huge.  Ask passing people to point out the starting line.  If I tried to describe where it is right here you would probably end up on the in the wrong place altogether.  Park somewhere near the tennis courts or at least on that side of the campus.  No matter where you park though, give yourself a good amount of time to walk to the starting line.  If you are staying for both races, you might want to bring a chair for chilling out between races.  There's not much to do out there but clap and cheer and there is nowhere to sit.  But don't drag a chair to the starting line.  You won't be there long.  It's also really sunny out there.  Bring a hat!

Upcoming Events:  Saturday, September 8, Cross Country meet @ Wooster
                                Saturday, September 22, Cross Country meet @ Black River

Fundraising Currently Happening  The Girl is selling cookie dough for choir.  The Boy is selling popcorn for Boy Scouts.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

High School Seniors

The Boy and The Girl are ready to take on the world!

In order for everyone to stay in step with the madcap go, go, go world of these two, I will attempt to post (in a timely manner) all of their upcoming events such as cross country meets, choir concerts, basketball games, mock trial competitions, play productions, art exhibitions, tennis matches, awards ceremonies, graduation parties and the dance recital.

Soon there will also be a preview of their senior pictures which encompassed two separate days and four locations.  It was quite an experience.

Heads up:  Graduation is June 1st, 6 PM, Ely Stadium.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A few notes on Disney

I've waited too long to write about The Girl and I going to Disney World.  We've told our stories over and over at this point.  There are plenty of pictures on my Flickr and on Facebook that you can check out.  Here's my favorites.

Everyone at Disney World is wonderful.  Servers, security guards, even people waving flashlights so you walk down the right paths.  Everyone is happy to see you and offer a friendly word.  But this balloon guy took the prize.  The Girl, in a teasing way, was constantly asking for a balloon while we were in the park.  This balloon guy left her hold them all.

These balloons all had blinky lights in them too!

If you'll remember, The Girl played Rapunzel back in the winter play.  So meeting Rapunzel herself was on the top of the list.  She found where she would be appearing and waited alone in line for an hour to make it happen.  We brought her dinner in line.  Finally the two Rapunzels got some time together.
Worth every second of the wait.

Going on this trip with The Girl was an amazing experience.  We made the absolute most of it and we both realize how special and unique the whole thing was.
But this my favorite picture from that week.  While the girls were in Florida, the dudes went zip-lining.  Check out my handsome boys!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Adventures with Meg

I've said many times that we have the representation of the bear family from Goldilocks in our cats.  We have Jack who is heavy and round.  We have Mamacat who is the perfect cat size.  And we have Meg who is a walking bag of bones.

Meg's underweight status has been a concern of ours from the start.  All three of these cats eat the same thing at the same times.  Jack packs on pounds like he's trying to win a world record while his sister looked worse than cats you outside of dumpsters.  It didn't make sense.

Back before Christmas Meg started throwing up.  A lot.  Many times a day.  It was worrisome and disgusting. We found cat puke everywhere.  We would be woken up by the sound of her yakking in our room.  No one wanted her to sit on their lap.  She was that volatile.

A trip to the vet got us nowhere with the vomiting.  He prescribed hairball medicine and sent us on our way.  Hairball medicine is tuna-flavored Vaseline.  Meg would lap it up and she seemed to be getting better.  She was down to puking one every other day.  Much more manageable.

Then a few weeks ago, Meg developed scabs all over her head and neck.  She would scratch them open and they would bleed.  She was losing hair in little knots that I found all over the house.  She wouldn't let you pet her, I presume because her skin hurt.

"She's going to the vet next week", I declared.  This was a Wednesday.

The next morning, Meg had licked down to bare skin a nickel sized patch on her neck.  It was raw and disturbing to look at.  She had to get to the vet.

By that evening when everyone was home, Meg came out of wherever she was hiding for the day to show up what she had done.  All of the hair the one side of her neck was gone.  Wherever she could reach she had licked herself bare.  It was red, wet and awful.

We got into the vet the next morning.

The vet still didn't have any answers.  But he suggested it might be a food allergy and suggested we put her on a food with no grain in it.  I did a little research and our littlr cat had every classic symptom of a food allergy.

She's been on her fancy-pants catfood since May 21st.  After three days she had no more scabs and the fur on her neck started coming back.  Today she's still bony, but she feels heavier.  She hasn't puked either.  I was worried that he tubby brother might try to get her food, but we keep it away from him.  She tells us when she's hungry.  She knows without a doubt that she gets special food now and doesn't even bother with the other stuff.  It's lucky the smartest of our cats is the one who developed this.

It's going to be awhile until all of her fur comes back, but our tiniest kitten is going to be just fine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another Prom Picture

Here's The Boy and The Girl Who Thinks She Lives Here at prom.

Cute enough to make your eyes melt!

A Yard of Loss

Note:  This post was way too much trouble to get together than it should have been. It's taken days!

Once I had a hammock.  A colorful retreat suspended in the trees.  Here it is in happier days, back when Mamacat was still just the stray in the yard,

Here is my hammock now.  Chewed and defiled by rodents, probably of the mouse persuasion.

They ate through the ties too, just to be spiteful.  Utterly destroyed.

Once I had a lovely chiminea.  So many many many days and evenings were spent in front of it.  Plenty of hot dogs and pie iron pizzas.  Even more s'mores. 

Look at it now.  Reduced to a planter after the bottom fell out.  A clever use, yes, but it's not my fireplace.  

Doesn't even have any flowers in it.  Just a pot of dirt.

Once I had a lovely sunflower garden with majestic giants swaying in the breeze.

Now the only residents are two trees that are pushing their luck and a freak of a prickly weed that's about 100 times taller than it should be
Oh, woe is me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Our Prom Attendee

First I couldn't find my memory card reader.  Then I remembered it was at work.  But when I went to work, I forgot the card.  Then I remembered to find the reader and grab the card, but the cord attaching the reader to the computer was missing.  I ripped my desk and then the entire office apart until I could it.  Then I didn't have the card with me anymore.

But now all of the piece are together, in one place, functioning correctly and you are rewarded with pictures of seriously handsome Boy.


 Oh my goodness.

The plans for prom were a bit sketchy right up to the end.  How was he getting there?  Getting home?  Getting to After Prom?  Getting home from After Prom?  But eventually, he had it all ironed out.  My only part in it was getting him to Big-Beautiful-House-At-The-End-Of-The-Street.

"Do you know which house I mean Mom?"

"Ah, yep.  I sure do."

So we got him there and then girls in gowns and guys in tuxes started showing up all over the place.  More and more and more kids dressed to the nines filled the beautiful lawn.  And the owner of the home provided cold beer and cocktails for the parents while the kids visited and took pictures.  It was awesome!  Thank goodness I brushed my hair!

Here's the reason that The Boy got to go to Prom, Kate.  She's been in The Boy's art class all year and asked him to go as friends.  Awwww!

The hostess wanted a group picture of all of the kids who had shown up at her house.  They tried several locations around the property.  This is finally where they settled on.

As for The Girl, no Senior asked her to Prom which was fine because at the time she was still speaking in just whispers.  She spent the night at the friends' house and came home in the morning talking like the Man-Frog again.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Wide Mouth Frog

Okay the title of this post relates to a joke that most people don't think is funny but cracks me up so hard I can hardly tell it.  And it's a joke that has to told out loud.  Wouldn't be funny to read at all.  So all and all, the title of this post is not getting job done.  Let's get right into the story then...

The Girl has been sick.  Coughing, sore throat, feeling crappy kind of sick.  But yesterday was Physics Day at Cedar Point so she couldn't, she wouldn't miss that.  When I dropped her off in the morning, she sounded exactly like my daughter.

What I picked up 13 hours later was a loud, raspy, deep, deep, DEEP-voiced frog woman.

Her voice was so loud and so foreign I had to stare at her all the time when she spoke or I didn't know who was speaking.  It was hilarious.  She's tried so hard to tell us about her day and what she rode and what she ate and all we could do was laugh at her.  And then she would tell us to shut up in that deep crazy voice and we would laugh harder. 

This morning she woke up with no voice at all.  Just a raspy whisper.  She's not in pain, she just sounds that way. 

I'd rather have the frog woman back.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Drowning in Pics

It's been quiet around the office for the past week.  Silent actually.  We are in a bit of limbo between tax season and getting busy doing the rest of the year stuff.  The Boss has been gone for three days.

I've kept busy during this time going through old memory cards from the camera and getting things uploaded to Flickr.  It seems that around 2009 I just up and quit caring about uploading and organizing pictures.  The memory cards are a complete mess.

So slowly, carefully, I am uploading batches and instantly organizing them into sets and collections.  Then I go right back to the card and delete the files.  I know if I don't delete right away, they'll be on the card forever because I won't be able to remember if I uploaded them or not and then I'm too lazy to go check if they are sitting in Flickr or not. 

That's probably what happened back in 2009 when I just gave up on the entire process.

But here's some love to Flickr.  Thank you for being so easy to use.  Thank you for constantly coming up with updates that somehow make things better, every time, instead of worse. Thank you for helping keep track of all of these pictures because I truly despise the idea of scrap booking and was barely on board with photo albums.  It's like you were made just for me, Flickr, and I love you for it.

PS:  I know that Flickr widget runs the most recently uploaded photos.  If you see pics in there with The Girl in braces, now you know the reason why.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

National Honor Society Induction

 Much to my heart's delight, last night the kids, and almost all of their closest friends, got inducted into National Honor Society.

You know these three.  No surprise they get to share this moment as well.

My cutey girls.
I didn't think of it until we after we left, but I should have tried to get a shot with all of their crew together.  This is a small pile of them anyway.

The 88 new inductees to NHS of EHS.  If you can get this picture bigger, The Boy is right in front on the corner.  The Girl is buried in the back row.
The reception afterward was a claustrophobic affair in the auditorium lobby.  There was lots of congratulating, hugging and cookies.  We went out for ice cream afterward.

You two make me so proud.
Love, Mom

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Music Man Recap

When we were leaving to see the show Friday night, The Man made the claim that the only reason he was agreeing to go was because the kids were in it.  He hates "The Music Man".  Hates the story.  Hates the music.

On the way home, he admitted it wasn't as bad as he remembered, but he still didn't like it.  A little progress at least.

If we just focus on the school's performance itself, it was so much fun.  All of the kids did a terrific job.  The Girl was a joy to watch dance and perform.   Every "Ye Gods!" was cuter than the next.  Her dancing partner was successfully was able to lift her and at one point she jumped into his arms and he held her until the curtain closed.  I didn't get to the see The Boy since every scene change happened behind curtains, but he was back there pushing those heavy set pieces on and off.  He's got the bruises to show for it.

But let's think about "The Music Man" as a story.  One word comes to mind:  Reprehensible.  It's a show about a con man who gets away with everything through of a combination of charm and dumb luck in the form that parents blindly believe everything their children do is amazing.  A true ending would have had all that tar and feathers they were gathering put to good use.  The townspeople don't care that he's fallen for the librarian by the end of the story.   They are not even aware of that situation.  They are way too hopping mad about being swindled over paying for a fake band, and they should be.

Luckily for Professor Hill, the bright colored uniforms and shiny instruments show up.  They are more than enough distraction to keep everyone off balance.  The noise is heard as music and Harold Hill is saved.

But saved for how long?  "The Music Man Part II" would be an interesting affair I think.  Harold Hill stays in town to start his new life with the little librarian.  But the townsfolk are still expecting a band.  Eventually they are going to expect to hear music.  What will Harold do?

I guess that's why the story ends when it does.  These questions are just too big.

Anyway, here's the Girl and her stage boyfriend for two shows looking adorable.

PS:  Everything my children do is amazing.  I would fall for Professor Harold Hill's fake band right with everyone else.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Music Man

It's opening night of "The Music Man" tonight.  This show was cast back in November so it has been a long, long, LONG time coming.  The Girl will be gracing the stage as Zaneeta Shinn, the mayor's oldest daughter.  This is perhaps the most perfect role The Girl could ask for.  It involves lots of dancing and no singing solos.  She has a few lines, but mostly she gets to dance and look cute.  Exactly what she is best at!

Break a leg tonight kids!  It's going to be a terrific show!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tax Season Story #5

This will be my last tax story unless I think of a doozy later.

This story is one that I saw played out with two different clients weeks apart from each other.  Both of them  were single moms who had hit hard times.  And they both felt the need to unburden their whole life story on me which is pretty common in a tax office.  We hear lots of stories here.

Both of these women told of a recent history full of struggle, set back and heartbreak.  While their stories were very different, they both had been betrayed by family members in some way, been forced out of work and were struggling to make ends meet.  They both also were fiercely proud of their children and would do anything for them.  I got to see pictures.  But what has stuck me the most is that they both also chanted the same thing under their breath as I worked on their return.  "Please don't let me owe.  Please don't let me owe. Please don't let me owe."

I review tax returns right on my computer screen, spun around so clients can follow along.  I go over every line, explaining where each number came from.  I don't rush it and make sure that everyone is clear on every point.  I keep the final number a bit of a secret, just off the screen until the very end.  Sometimes I do that to delay the inevitable telling of the bad news that they owe a bundle.  But it's more fun to do when I know the end result is a sizable refund.  Both of these women were going to get a very nice check from the government.

I went through my explaining routine while they both waited anxiously.  When I finally got to the end and they saw the final number their reactions were identical:

  • First a huge sigh of relief.
  • Then tears.
  • Then laughter.
  • Back to tears.
  • Some prayers of thanks
  • More laughter. 
    Appointments like that make all of the yucky, bad news appointments worth it.

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Tax Season Story #4

    I mentioned before that the initial reaction to something going wrong with your taxes is to assume that you are going to jail.  I've had countless freaked-out people on my phone who have ended their terrified rants with "...and just don't want to end up in jail over this!"  Let me assure you, it takes a lot to get to jail.  More than I've seen and I've seen this:

    Tax Dodger Case A:  She has her own business, but also gets paid by an employer along the same line of that work.  She hasn't filed her taxes in six years just because she, "Hasn't had the time to get things together."  She dropped off a huge boxes of documents eighteen months ago mostly containing unopened letters from the IRS.  I worked on her returns for weeks but couldn't complete them because I needed more information.  I called, I wrote, I begged for her to help me help her but I got nothing.  Eventually she showed up to collect her box saying she would do it herself.  Good luck on that, sister!

    Tax Dodger Case B:  He also has his own business, with his own employees.  While he is terrific now at keeping track of receipts and his employees hours, he wasn't always so put together.  He didn't file between 2004 and 2009.  We have all of his returns done and ready to go, but we aren't mailing them until he pays us for all of the work it took to get them done.  The six years worth of returns have been sitting behind me for a year now.  He calls about once a month saying he'll be in with the money.  I'm not holding my breath.

    Tax Dodger Case C:  He shouldn't be here.  Five years ago he was given the diagnosis that he would be dead in three months.  So he did what anybody would do with that information--he went crazy.  A trip to Vegas blew through all of his money double quick and then put him in serious debt.  When he didn't die on time, he just assumed it was always just right around the corner so he gave up on paying bills or filing returns. Things went from bad to worse.  Just a few weeks ago he came to see me about what we could do to finally fix things up.  What prompted this change of heart?   He got a letter from the IRS threatening to keep a portion of his disability in order to pay down his tax debt.  Now he's all business.

    I hope these three stories illustrate how far you can go and still wake up in your own bed every morning.  All of these people owe crushingly huge amounts of money to our government, but haven't yet had a personal visit by an agent to their homes to discuss the situation.  They've only received letters, lots and lots of letters.  So many letters that they don't even bother to open them anymore.  I know because I get to open them all.  And they scare me to death.

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Tax Season Story #3

    Something a little lighter today, shall we?

    If something goes wrong with your taxes and the IRS catches it, it takes them just about a year to let you know.  Therefore, any problems with returns that we did in the spring of 2011 are just now coming to light.  The letters from the IRS started hitting mailboxes about two weeks ago, right when we were getting slammed by THIS season's last minute rush.  Timing couldn't be worse.

    People have only two reactions when they get a letter from the IRS.  Most people freak out and freak out big.  They peek out of their front curtains to see if their house is being watched. They lay awake at night picturing themselves in prison jumpsuits.  Then they empty every one of their file cabinets, shoe boxes and junk drawers into a huge cardboard box and descend on our office like a fireball.

    All we usually need is that letter they got from the IRS. Just that letter.  But no worries, they brought it and five extra copies they had made of it at Office Max, just in case.

    This is a story about a couple who got one these letters.  I got a call from them and the wife tried to read the letter over the phone to me while her husband yelled in the background.  When I finally got a word in, I told her it would be much more helpful if I could actually see the letter.

    Ten minutes later they were both coming in the door with their two little girls.  The couple was loaded down with files, notebooks and stuffed envelopes.  Without so much as a hello, they started dumping out everything on my desk, making piles and arguing with each other over where was this and did you bring that.  The two little girls took off their coats, threw them on the floor then kicked off their shoes.  They brought with them enough snacks to feed twenty kids and huge pink ball.  The set-up a picnic on the chairs and started bouncing the ball off of everything in the room.

    The couple was now ready to acknowledge me.  At the same time, talking over each other, they tried to explain the situation.  All I wanted was the letter.  Could I see the letter, please?

    The seven page letter was dug up.  There problem wasn't a huge one.  It involved some dividend money that they received but didn't get put on there return.  Not uncommon and not freak out worthy in the least.  They were able to locate the statement about the dividend.

    "So, I'm keeping this statement and this letter and I'll call you next week, when tax season is over.  I can't work on this now."

    The husband was not happy with this answer in the least.

    "What about the penalties and the interest?  We have to take care of this right away, don't we?"

     "Nothing about this situation is going to change between right now and next week."  I tried to sound reassuring, but I suspected it sounded more like bitch.  The excited screaming of the little girls as they chased the ball was putting me deeply on edge.

    "Is there something you need us to sign?"

    I shook my head, "Not until next week when I get a chance to work this up."

    They were dumbstruck.  Literally sat their with their mouths hanging open.  Right at that moment the big pink ball flew across the room and hit the dad square in the ear.  It was beautiful.  He spun in his chair, saw the state of room and shouted,   "Hey!  Put your shoes on!  Throw away all that trash!  We're going home!"

    It wasn't an easy exit or quiet but eventually everyone was packed up and dressed.  The husband has called everyday, even over the weekend, to see if we are ready for him to come back.  I can honestly say that I could never, ever get myself prepared for a scene like that again, but I have fixed his tax problem.  He's coming in later today. 

    The other reaction that people have to receiving an IRS letter is to pretend it never came.  My next post will be about a few of these people that we have as clients.  Prepare to be amazed! 

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Tax Season Story #2

    This is a scary story.

    A man came in to get his father's taxes done.  His dad can't leave the house easily, so his son was getting this errand done for him.  It wasn't complicated and while it was printing up I casually asked the son if I would be doing his taxes as well.

    "Nah, I don't have to file.  I didn't make anything last year at all.  Just unemployment."

    Uh oh.

    "You know you still have to file," I tried to sound cheerful. "Unemployment is taxable income."

    "No, no, no.  You don't get it.  I ONLY had unemployment.  That's it."

    "Yeah, I see.  But unemployment is taxable income.  You have to file."

    That's when things went bad.  He went from being a completely normal person to a furious monster.  Why didn't anyone tell him that?  How was he supposed to know?  How is that fair?  Hands were flying, eyes were blazing.  I was getting really nervous for my safety.  The phrase Don't Kill the Messenger was taking on a whole new dimension for me.

    Finally he thought he found an out.  "Wait, I never got a statement in the mail about that!"  He was filled with hope from head to toe.  Unfortunately...

    "Yeah, nobody got one in the mail.  It's in your correspondence mailbox when you log in into your account for unemployment on the website.  (I've done this plenty of times this season.  Actually had to talk a guy through the process over the phone like some IT person.)

    So I had him log in on my computer and there it was.  His tax statement showing how much he got from the state in 2011.  My heart just sank when I saw that he had no federal money withheld.  This situation was, unbelievably, about to get worse.

    So he agreed to have me put together his return which took all of 2 minutes.  The result was a pretty big bill that he owed the IRS.  Now he was crazy angry all over again.

    "That's how it is huh?  Well I'm not filing and I'm sure as HELL not paying anybody!"

    After he settled down just a tick I dropped some serious truth on him.  He could go ahead and not file and he could go ahead and never pay, but the government would get the money one way or the other eventually and by then it wouldn't just be a big bill anymore, it would be crushingly huge.  This wasn't some small time private contractor paying him on an easy to lose 1099 Miscellaneous, this was the State of Ohio and the IRS.  No escaping it.

    So he let me file him.  But he left swearing that he'd never pay.  At least I saved him the hefty Failure to File penalty.  His story is his own now.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Tax Season Story #1

    My first full complete tax season is over.  Unlike some predictions I heard back in January, I never got exhausted, burnt out or sick of being here.  It was an adventure everyday that I looked forward to falling back into every morning.  Today it is eerily quiet.  Just like that, there is nothing to do.  Well, there's stuff I could be doing, but in comparison of what a week ago today was like, I could take a two hour nap right now face down on my desk and not miss a beat around here.

    A few stories from some of my most memorable clients this season seem appropriate now.  These are in no particular order, just as they occur to me.

    When I write "Little Old Lady" a certain particular picture comes to mind, right?  She would be tiny, thin, fragile, bright shiny eyes and a sly little smile.  Well that's exactly what came through our door one day leaning on her stylish flowered cane.  She handed me an envelope with not much in it and said, "Just call me when you're all done with that and I'll come back."  Her voice was more like a coo.  I told her if she had five minutes I could get it done right that moment and she wouldn't have to come back. "Oh no," she smiled, "That's not how we do it."  And she winked at me. 

    Later in the afternoon I got a chance to look through her envelope and saw it was missing quite a few vital documents.  I had our receptionist call her up and explain what was missing and what she needed to bring in.  I guess it was a tortured phone call for both of them.  Lots of explaining and misunderstanding and repeating and explaining again.  I made a note to file an extension if she didn't show up on time.

    But she did.  She pulled up on tax day out of the blue, dressed like spring itself and had every one of the missing documents.  She tried to leave again, but I convinced her to stay.   I pulled out her file with her name on the front and she was shocked.  "Were you waiting for me?  How did you know I was coming in?"  I explained that I recognized her from when she was in the week before.

    "I was here last week?"

    She had no memory of her previous visit or the phone call with our receptionist.  But she didn't seem to mind at all and even laughed about it.  "My memory isn't what was!"

    I had her finished up pretty quickly.  I wrote very clearly on her envelope that her taxes were done and she didn't need to mail anything.   "Oh that note is a good idea!  Otherwise I'll be calling you tomorrow wondering what I need to do!"  The she winked again and laughed and drifted out the door.

    And I was thinking what a merry soul she was until I saw her drive away and I was seized by the terror that she was on the roads.

    Friday, April 06, 2012

    When it comes to golf, it seems I have a price

    My history with golf is fairly short and uninteresting.  When I was a kid, we would spend most Sundays sitting at my grandparents.  The best part of the visit was the bucket of KFC that would show up for dinner.  The worst part was there was only one TV and grandpa watched golf all day.  Golf, golf, golf.  To this day, the sound of polite golf clapping makes me crave chicken, no lie.

    Also as a kid, my dad would go out golfing and pay me a quarter to clean his clubs when he got home.  Maybe it was fifty cents, but anyway it wasn't a tough job and I didn't mind scrubbing away dried mud and grass making them all shiny again.

    That's it.  My whole golfing history unless you want to throw in there how The Man and I yell, "Nice pants fancy lad!" when we drive past golf courses.  Probably shouldn't add that in though.  Just forget I mentioned it.

    This weekend, is the Masters Tournament which is an event that would not even register as a blip on my consciousnesses under normal circumstances.  But I've been wrangled into a pool and now I've got ten bucks on this mug:
    Charl Schwartzel.  We were randomly given golfers and landing on the guy who who last year seems as good as anyone.  I wish he were a little cuter, but he swings a mean club.

    Now look at me.  I've got a window open on my browser constantly on where I'm tracking the action live.  I've changed the picture on my desktop to him.  Charl ended up even yesterday.  He tees off today at 1:31 PM.   It's raining today so the course will be sloppier for the guys starting later so I'm worried how he'll fair today.

    I make me sick.

    Monday, April 02, 2012

    What Happened?

    So I claimed I would write more and snap more photos because so much was happening. 

    Yeah, so that didn't work.  The writing and picture taking part of it at least.  All the stuff still happened.  Here's a recap.

    Sunday, March 18th:  The whole family hit my house for our annual pierogi making and feasting.  There was much making and much much feasting.  My job this year was the boiling of pierogis and then the frying of them.  This hot and steamy work which was made more bearable by cup after cup of our festive punch.  (FYI:  Even though I didn't get in the least bit tipsy or drunk, I was graced with a hangover the next day.  Woo hoo!)

    We topped the day off with one of our favorites, fake ice cream cake.  So pretty, so easy, so fake.

    Tuesday, March 20th:  Who gets their kids out of school at 11 AM so they can go sit outside on a sidewalk (in stunningly beautiful weather) for six hours so they can have as-close-as-humanly-possible positions for the Artic Monkeys/Black Keys concert?

    That would be us.

    Friday, March 30th:  The kids didn't have school, but they still had to be there bright and early to leave for State Thespian Conference.  Their fall show, The Bad Seed, was chosen to be a featured performance at the conference. Such an honor.   They had to hire a truck to carry the very large set, all the props, costumes and everything else related to putting on the play.  After the truck was loaded and the bus showed up, off they went.  They had an amazing time and the show was extremely well received.  The kids said the audience freaked out at the ending and started screaming.  I would have liked to seen that.

    Sunday, April 1st:  Happy Birthday to The Girl and The Boy!  They got home around dinnertime from the conference and were utterly exhausted.  I baked a cake but they weren't up for much for festivities than that.  Maybe this weekend we'll find someway to celebrate them turning 17.