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I am not dead.

Surprise!

More on that later, me thinks.

Em.

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Has it really been 11 days?!  Hm.  I suppose so.  To my credit, I did write a draft halfway in between that I was seconds away from publishing until my better judgment stopped me from defaming my dearest That Boy on the internet out of anger.  Justified anger, but anger regardless.

Then, I really didn’t have anything else to say that didn’t somehow link to that situation in my angry brain, so like our Kindergarten teachers told us, I couldn’t say anything at all.

Let me catch you up …

A friend of mine is campaigning for the state house of representatives.  A long, long time ago in a hot van somewhere between NYC and MI, a conversation was had by a group of college friends.  It was all about big dreams and sweet changes and how we’d do shit our own (coooool) way if we were ever to run and/or be elected to office.  We were (um, are) political science nuts so this conversation was much preferable to us discussing reality television or the Yankees.

In the course of those hours of talking big talk we all promised we’d be there if anyone ever grew the cajones to walk the big walk.  Fast forward to now (uh … 5 years later?  I don’t exactly recall.) and low and behold, one of us got his shit together enough to do it.  That means drop everything and help run a campaign so we can fulfill our promises, laugh hysterically about the people that answer the door during neighborhood canvassing, and if we’re lucky, screw around in the spinny chairs at the State Capitol some day.

We’ve matured so much in five years.

Then, of course, there’s other news.  I went to work yesterday (high school kid job) for a meeting with next year’s potential new and returning students.  That meeting went well.  We had a staff meeting afterward where someone was kind enough to tell me (after knowing for 2 full fricking weeks) that the school board is proposing a change to the payscale I fall under.  Change.  Hm.  I mean, I guess, the state is broke and they’re passing on that broke-ness to the schools, so it makes some sense that they need to change things up a little.

Except, they’re proposing a change to my payscale that changes it from “not a whole lot, gosh we should give that girl a gold star for feeding a family and keeping the lights on with it” to $0.

?!??!

Yea, you read that right.  ZERO F’IN DOLLARS.  And of course, the school would never “ask me to work for free” so they’re quintessentially telling me I volunteer to work there for nothing or my program is canceled.  Done.  Goodbye.  Sorry.

Great.

Awesome.

The best news I’ve ever heard.

(/eye rolling bitter ass sarcasm)

That’s a lot to swallow.  I’ve been at this particular school for 5 years.  I’ve been doing this particular job for at least 8.  My kids gain so much from their participation, I can’t even explain it.  They go to law school.  They become doctors.  They get full ride scholarships.  They stop acting like idiot children and start thinking like non-window licking adults.  It’s amazing.  There’s huge bang for your buck as far as my minuscule paycheck and program budget are concerned.  I dare anyone to get the same impact for the same money.  It can’t be done.

The best part?

The athletic coaches are excluded from this proposed payroll change.

Are you kidding me?!

Are you telling me the kid that dicks around playing mediocre golf for two seasons gets more from that experience academically than my state champion policy debaters?

I don’t think so.

But of course, athletics always get their way.  For no real reason.  It’s not even like the athletic teams at this school are any good.  They win occasionally.  Sometimes.  I mean, they’re not world class or state renowned or fricking magic.  They’re … alright.  Mediocrity buys you a new stadium and a special pass to keep on spending as much money as you please while excellence kills your program.

Shit.

Now, lest you think it’s all doom and gloom, the board hasn’t made a final decision yet.  There’s still time to rally my alumni and parents and go make a toddler tantrum scene at the meeting in June when they’re making the decisions.  It’s on like Donkey Kong now.  I will fight for these kids and this program and my job until they have to drag me off someone if necessary.

There’s a storm brewin’, y’all.  I’ll keep you posted.  If you think your kid goes to my school, I’d love to have to tell the board how much you love and adore me (and my not working for zero dollars).  If you have any muy bueno legal advice, bring it on.  If you could start saving your quarters in case I end up locked up for my shenanigans, I’d much appreciate it.

Em.

I am not the biggest fan of doing my taxes (is anyone?).  They aren’t the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, nor even the most complicated, but the sheer volume of stuff I have to consider gets overwhelming sometimes.  There’s the home business and college tuition and medical expenses and student loan interest and more ‘worksheets’ and ‘schedules’ than library of bureaucracy can handle.  I put this off for … well, as long as I can usually (in anticipation of the check I’ll have to write to the government …), but tonight after a million forms, 3 hours, and a pot of coffee, I have a tentatively completed tax return.

Shit, dude.  That took forever.

Now, you’re thinking, “Why in the world doesn’t she go somewhere and have someone else do her taxes?!”

That’s a damn good question.  I had my taxes professionally done once, a number of years ago when I started the business and was terrified of screwing up the fancy schmancy business tax forms.  It cost me $85, and that was only because I knew the lady who did them pretty well.  Apparently many other people pay much more than that.  Ick!

After parting with both the $85 check to the tax preparer and the giant check to the IRS, I couldn’t help but think there could be another option.  I can read.  I’m pretty good at following directions.  I can add and subtract, and in the event those skills fail, can handily operate a calculator.  Why not do them myself?

Yea.

Great idea.

Doing my taxes by hand each year is kind of like getting your teeth cleaned.  You know you have to get it done, and that it won’t be the worst thing that ever happened to you, but it’s still not up there on the “Top 4,872 Things I’d Like To Do With An Afternoon” list.  Once it’s over, though, time fades the memories and come next year I’m ready to do it again.  I’m pretty certain this has everything to do with my inability to part with money so someone can tell me to part with more money and nothing to do with any kind of mad tax preparing skills or enjoyment I get out of the process.

I’m a penny pincher by (nature? no) necessity, and short of something being physically painful or actually beyond my skill set (or ability to acquire a new one via everyone’s friend, The Internet), I just c-a-n-n-o-t bring myself to pay exorbitantly for it.

And look, the taxes are done (both state and federal), in all their 238 more forms than could possibly be necessary glory, and I lived to write about it.

Better yet?

I don’t owe them any money this year!

Even better than that?

They’re paying me.

YAY!  I’m thinking a nice dance around the living room while no one is looking is in order in honor of this occasion.

How do you do your taxes?  Do you love it? Hate it? Begrudge it?  Are you crazy enough to be (gasp! no!) an accountant or some such?

Em.

Ok, not really.  The oven we have is still dead.  But!  Today a pretty new oven will come to live at our house, assuming That Boy can really load it into a truck by himself (and by ‘by himself’, I mean ‘with my help’, which is hopefully going to mean ‘by himself’ … ha).  It took a million hours and more trips to look at stoves than I’d care to remember, but we finally made a decision that means someday we’ll be able to bake things again and cook on more than 3 burners.

Can I wax poetic about this bad boy?  It has 5 burners instead of 4.  It’s bigger than the stove we have.  The oven has conventional AND convection settings AND a button that converts conventional time/temperature settings to those appropriate for convection so I won’t be burning the crap out of everything while I figure out the differences.  The drawer in the bottom is a warming drawer that goes up to 200 and some degrees.  It has THREE oven racks instead of two.

I could dance.

And the professor’s at my alma mater’s Women and Gender Studies program (in which I minored) would probably have a stroke if they knew that.

Haha.

I’m almost as excited about this stove arriving tomorrow as I was about the giant freezer we bought over the summer.  The freezer that you could store a couple few full sized bodies in until  you found an appropriate burial location.  Ah, freezer, how I also adore thee.

Now, before I get too off track with my adoration of the fancy pants new oven, let’s talk about money for a second.  Buying appliances makes me want to puke.  Mostly, spending that kind of money on, um, anything, makes me seriously queasy.  We have a tight budget around these parts.  I mean, I work for a public school and they pay me more in good feelings than they do in cash.  We are not the kind of people to run off randomly buying appliances for fun on weekday afternoons.  We got a great deal because of a President’s Day sale.  We got an extra 10% off for being nice people (or some equally amusing reason).  We chose the least expensive model that met our needs (the one pictured, in all stainless, is not actually the exact model we chose … stainless is expensive!).  We got some sweet added features that just happened to be included in the sale price.  And, we saved the exorbitant delivery charge by planning to pick this bad boy up at the store ourselves when it arrives.

Did I mention the stove we have is a million years old?  Did I mention we paid cash money?  We’re Dave people.  If we didn’t have the cash to pay for it, we’d just be a little more creative for awhile with the whole not baking thing.  We happened to have some extra cash on hand, and yes, in the interest of disclosure, we did divert it from say, my student loans or the mortgage, but this girl has to have an oven if she’s going to keep feeding this family at home on the cheap.

Did I mention we got a killer deal?

And that I’m giddy as a school girl about it?

Oh oven, you finer thing, you, please hurry up and come home (and please don’t be terribly heavy … this girl doesn’t really want to break something hauling you around.)

Em.

Need more Finer Things in your life?  Check out Amy’s Finer Things Fridays.

Past Tense