Procrastination (But I Digress)

Friday, March 28, 2008

All News All the Time

So Adrienne told you all about the mouse. I haven't seen it or any evidence of it, but every little noise is suspect and I hired an exterminator. While I was at it I asked for a termite inspection too. Same price, but two different guys. They'll come the same day, but I missed the part about two guys, so when one guys calls and says he'll be late, but the other guy is there, I'm cancelling the guy on the phone who gets the message and gets upset and calls back and I call him back and finally we are both at our phones and he explains--two guys. Reschedule him for Saturday. The first guy left traps all over the place (no mice took the bait and it's even chocolate) and will pick them up a third time scheduled on Monday. Meanwhile the dog is not barking at anything in the house, but barks like crazy if there's a person or animal within a block of our house outside. I think the mouse found greener pastures elsewhere--although he's probably kicking himself for missing out on chocolate.

The mouse guy also sprayed for spiders. Now our house has always been a spider magnet and not just run of the mill, ordinary spiders--we get black widow spiders. We've even had the police tell us to get our trees sprayed for black widow spiders. What the police were doing in the back yard and why they spent enough time to care about spiders there is more story than I am willing to go into at this point, but it was freaky to say the least.

Anyway, several years ago I bought a spider vacuum. That's right a vacuum to scoop up spiders. I have used it religiously for years (in the house--I don't trust black widow spiders not to escape and find me--so I don't go looking for them outside). I have to admit, I don't see too many spiders in the house anymore. Crickets, yes. Lots and lots of crickets in the house, but not too many spiders. So last month when I saw a large, ugly black spider in the shower, I decided that I was willing to pay someone to get rid of them. So the mouse guy sprayed for spiders. Mind you I've seen one spider in the past year. Last night I killed a spider on my desk. He was suspiciously close to the bag of potato chips that Erika sent to Adrienne for her birthday (that Adrienne was nice enough to share with me). This morning I killed another spider in the kitchen, also suspiciously close to the rest of the chips that Erika sent to Adrienne. One step forward, two steps back.

The refridgerator, not to be outdone by spiders, has been acting up. We have a puddle of ice in the bottom of the freezer and everything on the bottom shelf is stuck in solid ice. Not optimal freezer conditions. Adrienne defrosted and cleaned it out--twice. So we finally had to admit, no it wasn't the result of a power outage (that we get due to the Santa Ana winds occasionally), but the sign of a more serious ice despenser problem. So I call a refridgerator guy. He's coming the same day as the mouse guy, but between different hours. Luckily Adrienne is going to be home babysitting Caitlyn all day, so no problem. And he doesn't come. And he doesn't come. And the time frame he was supposed to come passes. So I call the main office. He should be there I'm told. Then I realize that there's a message on my cell phone. I can barely make out that someone named Ceasar is calling and I figure, that must be the fridge guy. So Ceasar shows up about an hour late. He cleans out the line to the ice maker and charges his outrageous fee and tells us that it should be fine now. Goodbye Ceasar. I have a cup of ice that night and everything in the freezer has frost all over it. Well, I guess he had to leave it open to fix it, but didn't think it was so long that we had to empty the freezer--Ok, I get that. The ice is a little low, but it probably takes time to fill up--no problem. THIS MORNING, there's no ice. Open up the freezer to see the problem--the freezer has been turned off. The fridge guy must have turned off the freezer to fix it and then never turned it back on. This is our second throw away everything in the freezer fiasco (our first being in the garage where the freezer is plugged into an outlet that was controlled by a switch that we never used and that I turned off without realizing when I cleaned the garage.) One step forward... you get the idea.

And then there's the news. I went to college at UCLA. All the guys at the office and in Kiwanis know I went to UCLA and since I like basketball, they expect me to know all about college basketball. I know NOTHING about college basketball, except that it vaguely resembles the game played in the NBA. From chatter in the hallways, I picked up that UCLA has a really good team this year. We're in March madness. UCLA won their games so far and they were playing last night, but there's always talk about how deep the field is (do you like the jargon I have picked up without knowing anything about the subject--they don't give law degrees to just anybody.) So my job on Friday morning is to know #1, did UCLA win? #2 how close was the game and #3 are there any chocolate chip cookies left. I had to go to court this morning and it was a very long drive, so I have plenty of time to listen to the radio and get my first two questions answered. Except that I was listening to NPR and I guess the outcome of Ucla's game was not national news. I was on my way back to the office and I still hadn't heard the score. I was starting to get desparate, so I changed to KN something, something--all news all the time, but they were doing traffic and weather on the fives and by golly there's not much time for anything else when you have to do commercials in between. (Although I did hear that two sisters were killed in a car crash after inhaling laughing gas at a party. Ewue.) So I changed the channel again and again and never found sports. My gas tank was on empty for more than twenty miles (my cushion), but I couldn't stop for gas, because I needed to hear the news. Nada. I walked into the office and the sports page was on the table in the reception area--UCLA won--it was a nailbiter, but they pulled it off (that's just from the headline). And someone put two chocolate chip cookies on my desk. Life is good.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tax Fun Time USA

I have another very bad cold, but except for the toe numbing coughing and the purpetual running nose and occasional sore throat and the fake, annoying sympathy from people tired to death of all that ridiculous coughing, I'm fine.

When you are sick, but functioning, procrastination is much, much easier to accomplish. I should be doing a lot of things, but I'm sick. I'm not so sick that I can't do anything, but since I have a perfect excuse not to do the yucky things, maybe I'll indulge myself and do something fun. Let me remind you that I am sick (coughing, sniffling, etc.). I found myself wanting to do my taxes. I considered this a guilty pleasure taking me away from my regular work, but still something that really did need to be done.

This year my taxes will be as complicated as taxes can ever get, since I inherited money from my Aunt's estate which included interest, dividends, qualified dividends, IRA distributions, foreign tax credit and a large deduction for estate taxes. Did you know that the Alternative Minimum Tax is a morase of calculations that seem to have no grounding in reality or logic? At the end of three hours figuring out my Alternative Minimum Tax, it was about $30 less that my regular tax. You have to use the higher number. But it was like a puzzle, sending you to this form and that worksheet. I didn't get enough of it two days ago, that I wanted to do my California taxes yesterday. I was so happy with my federal return, that I was sure Cal would be a breeze. California doesn't recognize my largest deduction. It was very disappointing to complete relatively easier paperwork with a much more depressing number than I was expecting.

Needless to say, I have no interest in now, actually finishing my taxes. All the fun stuff has been done, so they will take their proper place on the procrastination shelf. I have court tomorrow and I think (I'm not sure, mind you, but I think) my clients would really like me to bring my A game. The A game takes a little prep, so off I go into the wild blue yonder to shoot down some red baron.