It’s 3:20, the rain is steadily coming down for the second gray day in a row, the air temperature is on the 50 mark, great for Canada, chilly for Florida, the TV is off, and the two clocks in the living room are ticking away. I am basking in the afterglow of paying into the government half of what I thought I was going to pay. If anyone had told me during the furniture store years when we were getting nothing but refunds that I would be near tears thanking God for this tax bill, I would have committed that person.
Anticipation is better or worse than the actual event, depending on what that event is. Anticipation of happily ever after the wedding is an example of the former. Anticipating the loss of all one’s goods and any kind of future resulting from doing one’s taxes is a palpable example of the latter.
The taxes are done. We knew we were paying in but didn’t know how much. We’d set aside as much as we could, but the torture was that it very possibly wasn’t enough.
Our culture has convinced us through advertising that if we pay less than the seller said we’d have to pay if it weren’t on sale, we were saving the difference. Is anybody out there still not getting it? It’s a cold, hard fact that if you don’t PHYSICALLY PUT the difference into savings whether it’s a bank or a china pig (the two are now eerily related) you haven’t saved a thing, not a red cent.
This year, we set aside the amount we thought we’d have to pay without giving thought to the concept that the very money we drew out of the IRA would push us into a higher tax bracket. Honey being over the age line required to avoid penalties, we weren’t worried about that, only the overall rate. Our primary motivation was to find our favorite kind of car, Paid For.
I’ve told you before that I have guardian angels on rotation. Some days they have to draw straws to see who gets the duty. Drinks on the house for those who don’t draw the short one. We were indeed pushed into the next bracket, but because last May, Honey insisted I clean out those closets for the church garage sale, because Tennessee’s sales tax is high and deductible, and because TurboTax assigns a generous value to my rejects, I was able to deduct more than we normally do and offset the Feds’ insatiable appetite.
I could list the projects and chores that I now feel free to attack with force. That would be boring. As a matter of fact, they’re boring me just looking at them. The laundry, at least one load, will get done the next time I feel like getting up. But for now I am basking in the sounds of steady rain, clocks, embers, and when is that refrigerator going to stop?