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.

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?


Almost Monday

I did manage to wipe down the kitchen counters, ran a load of clothes, and the dishwasher.  The sit down project was to keep working on Aletha’s baby blanket.  She was in church against doctor’s orders to stay home with her feet up this last 30 days or hopefully less.  The poor girl is more than pregnant, she is swollen.  She’s carrying her first like I carried my second, puffed from hairline to toenails. Continue reading

An arm or a leg?

Our cubies are arranged like an egg carton.  I have the lower right corner.  Across from me is Pat, the blond, high-heeled great-granny.  Next to her is Beth, approx 20-something.  Next to her is MacKenzie, also 20-something, a JBC graduate and a newly-wed.  Beth and MacKenzie are young, witty, lots of fun, and attached like grade school girlfriends. No one knows who is the shadow.

When one’s job description is one word — type, you have a lot of room to listen to whatever you can pipe in through ear buds and as much time to think up stuff, stuff like random What-If Silly Surveys.  Continue reading

The Silver Streak

…is not just a train or a movie starring Gene Wilder.  And, it’s all over my workplace.

The company I work for permits and encourages the freedom to celebrate holidays, therefore each department has its own Christmas tree, its own gift exchange, brunches, lunches, and snack days.  The managment also gets into the employee recognition routine with thank you catered events and landmark celebratory catered lunches.  Do you see a pattern?  One of the first phrases I heard was NOVA Pounds.  

Today was a thank you brunch from our manager. She made two quiche dishes of which she promised to email the recipes, and biscuits.  We thought we were done when she pulled out a game of Outburst.  A team leader has a card with 10 answers to a chosen subject and the rest of the team is to shout out their answers before the little hourglass empties.  We divided into 3 teams and proceeded to play for at least 45 minutes.  One of the categories was “Hair-dos”.  One noticable thing about the game is it gets really loud.  I missed most of the answers to the hair-do category, so when we finally did get back to work, I asked Beth what they were.  “Oh, I can’t remember them all but I do remember….” (and she rattled off all of them plus one or two that she said should have been on it.  MacKenzie, the other half of Beth, made note that Beth has a high retention rate of, in her words, worthless crap with no future.

Hair-dos that made both the official list and the Beth List were Mullet, Ringlet, Bob, Corn Rows, Shag, Beehive, Butch, Buzz, Duck Tail, Flip, Wedge, Fringe, Pompadour, Mohawk, Reverse Mohawk, Ponytail, Pigtails, and one shoulda-been, The Rachel, named after a character on Friends.

One more honorable mention is what I see walking around Cubie World — the Silver Steak, worn by middle aged women who keep their hair youthfully dark, too dark, or red or orange or suspiciously blond.  They color their hair whether professionally or by way of the Clairol box, then wait about 3 weeks longer than they should before they do the old root repair.  The result is a one to two inch silver part on the top of their heads, a feature that catches the light and shouts from the front of the building to the back, “make an appointment!”

It’s not just a train anymore.

Would you like a jar of Tennessee Hot?

The air is now about the thickness required to dish it up with a spatula.  Just send me shipping and handling and I’ll send you a Quart of Southern Summer that you can save for a cold night in January.

These are the dog days of summer.  Symptoms include:

  • Leaving the car windows down, unconcerned over theft.  The horn buttons are gone, the fabric by the back window is torn, there’s an empty cheetos bag on the floor and crumpled kleenexes with lipstick prints in the center caddy.  Go ahead, make my day.
  • Bare legs.  Mine redefine white woman.
  • Non-stop fans with the AC.  The ceiling fan blades are dizzily spinning as fast as they can.  Pray we don’t find them stuck in the walls in the middle of the night.
  • Starting the car wearing gloves and going back in the house — the mirror image of warming the car in January.
  • Cold food, no appetite, where’s the ice?
  • Clicking on the weather section of every internet news site every ten minutes just in case the weather actually is changing because I don’t like it.
  • Thumbing through fall clothes catalogs, again, just in case this ends during my lifetime.

I’m told it will cool down to the low 90’s — maybe — by Saturday or Sunday.  I’m waiting.  Like, man, where am I going? Maybe I’ll just fly to oh, say, Seattle.

So, just as my pity party is gaining strength, I am reminded that in Fallujah, Iraq, it’s 121, not many trees, and the people who are risking their lives covering our backs are wearing helmets and flack jackets and carrying sun-warmed hardware.  I appreciate and respect you guys. Thanks.

The heat wave just got a little more bearable.