Monday, February 23, 2009

I Can't Believe I Did That (Again!)

Note to self: When you buy the huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner from Costco to re-fill the smaller bottles you already have PLEASE remember to check to make sure you are putting conditioner in the conditioner bottle and shampoo in the shampoo bottle! And if you think you checked - - check again! There is no money saved when you make this kind of mistake. That is all.

(Yes, that is TWO, I repeat, TWO times I have done that now! Geesh!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Much Randomness

So much randomness I don't even know where to begin. So let's start with something I am making! This will be a scarf. It will be a scarf because frankly? that's all I know how to knit. Except for the back of a baby sweater that was for my nephew who is now four. Oops! I really need to learn more. My friend Jan has invited me to a class at the knitting store she works at one day a week but I just haven't had the time. So I keep knitting scarves. I now have five.

These are some of the fabric samples I ordered last week. I am having slipcovers made for my couch, chair and ottoman. I am so excited to have them done. But first I need to choose a fabric. It has to be the right color, the right weight and the right price. When the lady who is going to sew them for me came over with her sample books, Tim and I found one right away that we liked. But when we checked on the price it was $40 per yard! And no, it was not lined with gold. Just priced like it was! And that was the low end of that line. But to add insult to injury we need 30 yards. Um, even the designer said "No, that is WAY too much money!" for which I was grateful. So she turned me on to a couple of websites to order some samples from. So far in this batch there are three that are contenders and they are $12.98 per yard. So now I just really need make some decisions: should I do all the pieces in the same fabric or mix it up? do coordinating piping or matching? So many choices!

Here is what I have been eating. And eating. And eating. And now I am almost done with them and I need to start stalking the Girl Scouts at the grocery store. I think they may be laced with crack or something.

Here's the girl I get to spend the next two nights with in Greeley. Isn't she cute? She made All-State Honor Band and was the only one from her school to do so. I didn't really want her in a hotel room by herself so I am going too. I don't know why I am worried about her being in a room by herself because next fall she will be off at college doing all the things that college kids do. Wait. That may be why! Yes, yes, I think I'll keep her just to myself for the next few months until I have no choice. While she is at rehearsals I will be holed up in our room finishing (starting!) our scrapbook of our vacation last June. My scrapping mojo has been missing in a big way so I don't know how this will turn out. But I am bringing Firefly Lane with me so I will totally have something to do if the scrapping dries up. Or I run out of adhesive.

And lastly, I cannot BEGIN to tell you the number of jokes the above pictured girl can make about this little item. It is a bone folder. That is all. But oh NO! It is so much more. Go ahead and scroll back to look at that face..... yep! That sweet little girl makes way inappropriate jokes. For which I blame her father. She sure didn't get it from me! Ok. Maybe a little.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Grace in Small Things - Week 2

Here are five things I am grateful for right at 4:11 on Monday:

1. A healthy child.

2. Two lovable dogs. Especially the yellow one.

3. High school band music.

4. I got off work on time today!

5. LoneStar ranch dressing on my fries at lunch today.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why I Love My CPA

Once upon a time, I was very excited to get our W-2's in the mail because that meant I could sit down at my tiny, green octagonal kitchen table with my sharpened #2 pencil and a calculator and do my taxes on the 1040EZ form. After filling the initial one out in pencil, I would do it again to make sure I got the same numbers and then copy over my pencil markings in pen, the way I imagined the IRS people wanted it done. And then I would mail it off and wait for six weeks for a nice sized refund check to be mailed to me. That day was always like a second Christmas because that money was not earmarked for rent, utilities or gas. It was "free" money and I spent it with abandon; dinner out, new shoes, books, new shoes, makeup at the Clinique counter, new shoes.

But times changed. We bought a house, we had a child, we were adults. And I still did my taxes the same way, albeit at a newer white farmhouse table. We had way more W2's because we both had two jobs, and I couldn't use the EZ form anymore because we had mortgage interest (in the late 80's - yikes! I can't believe everyone told us what a great rate we were getting at 9.3%!), child care expenses, flexible spending plans, education credits. It was time consuming, but I did it! And when we got our refunds, we spent them on things like tuition, car repairs, house repairs, car repairs, child care, car repairs.

Every year it was the same except I started using my computer and a purchased tax program to figure everything out for me. And I didn't wait for a check anymore. They direct deposited into the account that I had specified. And I adjusted my withholdings so that we had our money ourselves all year long instead of getting a chunk back at the end of the year. Oh, except the last two years we owed because I changed employment and didn't withhold enough and Tim's mom died and left us some money which occurred in the 4Th quarter which the feds didn't like and penalized us for it. Yeah, other than that it was a piece of cake.

Until this year. This year I had to change my ways for my sanity. There were far to many things to take in to consideration like the loss of our child tax credit (why does the government think that kids need less support after they turn 16?) another distribution from my mother in law's estate, etc. and I was totally stressing out about it. So I hired a CPA. OMG! How come no one ever really told me how freeing it could be? I gave her all my neatly organized receipts and two days later she is calling saying that my return is done. Yes, we owe again. Who knew that you had to pay self-employment taxes if you did a couple of weeks work on the side and they sent a 1099? I mean, I paid my estimated income tax on it but there was that self employment tax snafu. And again, Jeanne's estate distributed the final payment to us on December 30th so we made a quick estimated payment on that but the federal government thinks we were hoarding the money and assessed a penalty. Again. But wait! Who is this knight in shining armour? Our friendly CPA argues that we didn't receive the money until the 4th quarter so there is no way we could have paid any earlier. And they waived the penalty!

Oh, and by the way? She looked at last year's return? And we way overpaid the state. Turns out that not all of the money we received from my mother in law's estate was taxable according to Colorado. So who owes who NOW, huh? Oh yeah! We are getting back all but $200 of what we had to pay in last year. Plus interest! Lynn, you totally rock. And this year, when we get our refund from the state, it will not be spent on dinners out, shoes, car repairs, child care or even books but will sit very happily in our savings account until I can choose the right fabric for my new slipcovers. Or until Amy's first tuition deposit is due. Whichever comes first.

The End.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Grace In Small Things

I was visiting a website Grace In Small Things and was inspired to try to do this at least once a week so I will be listing five things that I am grateful for. Sometimes I am sure to be serious and sometimes I imagine I will be silly (because seriously? How could I NOT?). But I will always be truly grateful for the thing at that particular moment.

So at this moment in time I am grateful for:

1. The fact that I finished filling out the FAFSA for my daughter today. (And won't have to re-do it until next year.
2. The glass of red wine to my left.
3. My documents are in order to take to my CPA for taxes this year.
4. Jelly hearts.
5. Spaghetti sauce cooking on the stove.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Taking What They're Giving 'Cause I'm Working For A Living

Okay, I KNOW I need to be grateful that I have a job. And I AM! And most days I even love what I do. But today reminded me that I would really rather be independently wealthy and get to stay home and craft.

That is all.