Saturday, January 31, 2009

How to lose 6 hours in the blink of an eye...

Turn on the computer. Really, that's all it takes.

What starts innocently enough as checking email and news headlines, quickly morphs into a black hole of other activities. Of course I read email, answering a few, forwarding a few; I checked the news on three national sites, as well as the local paper; and then trouble hit.

The simple act of a couple games of cards turned into at least 30 minutes. Dealing with numbers sets off multiple notes to self that are rolling around in my head.

I haven't updated my finances in Quicken in over a week, so better enter deposits, checks and payments. But wouldn't it be easier to set up some of my accounts as loans so I can track the balance with the statement? Absolutely. I've no idea the time I spent playing in Quicken. And I've made a committment to myself to keep everything on the computer from now on so that taxes aren't such a nightmare. Crap...taxes.

I'm pretty sure I have everything I need to do our 2008 taxes. Pull the pile off the shelf and start sorting. Recalculate Mike's expenses for traveling after finding a new stack of receipts. Double check the total for medical expenses. Gather W-2s, interest statements, mortgage statement, school loan statement. Put everything together neatly in two manila envelopes, labeled with name and contents. Whoops, also need the 2007 return for the CPA. Check. Add to envelope.

Now double check everything! Set aside to drop at office. I could easily do that when I take Dean's friend home because I'm going to be in the area. As long as I'm doing that, I may as well load up the excess trash collected from Devan's room (that tale for another time) and take it to the shop dumpster. Hmmm, side-tracked thoughts; let's stay on task.

It's handy working in the same building as the company CPA. It's been years since I've had anyone do our taxes. (One year about 14 years ago when we moved; I didn't want to mess with moving expenses, federal and two state returns.) I started out doing them by hand then got into HR Block online, and finally TurboTax. I've always felt confident doing my own, even in recent years when more and more things factor into the mix. But this year...not so much, despite having a tax class under my belt. Honestly, I just don't have the time.

Since Mike is working out of state, I'm the only adult around, so my responsibilities and chore list have grown. Or I delegate and have to supervise results. Plus, I'm trying to finish school (only 6 1/2 weeks left!). I'm working. And I'm tired.

Figuring I wouldn't like the answer, I asked the CPA how much he'd charge to do our taxes. He asked a few questions about what we'd have, thought it over a bit, and announced all he would charge is the filing fee for our 2nd state return. So I'm getting my federal, Idaho, and Oregon done for roughly $20. UNFREAKINBELIEVABLE!! He figures we trade favors, etc back and forth enough that it will come out in the wash. The man is awesome and beyond generous!

But I still have a table full of papers that I need to sort, file, or pitch. Maybe I'll save it for just a bit and take a break.


The guilt is too much. Must clean up the papers now. Can't shower since the dishwasher is running anyway.

While sorting papers, find yet another envelope of receipts for 2007. Medical and work-related travel. UGH! Moan, groan, and mutter expletives under breath. Say screw it, get a bowl of sugar covered kid's cereal and sit down for just a couple more games of cards. And lose yet another hour...

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