Wednesday, February 1, 2012

taxes and death

Stretches pass between us this morning like a contagious yawn. I pull my arms upward, move towards the right. The girl follows, then the boy, then the dog. It is morning. We stretch. Fart. Yawn. Rub eyes. Sigh.

I am coming off a busy streak, then into another one. Today we craft. We paint. We walk in the rain.

So busy, I glance back at things lost in the wake. Paintings. Phone calls. Emails. Children. More peppermint tea for the kiddies. But I have done paintings, and cleaning, and shopping, and returning, and taxes. The bloody taxes.

When I started doing my taxes, I was listening to Japanese flute with monks chanting. It was peaceful. I lit incense, and took the excuse as quiet time. Taxes as meditation. Why not? There is a number at the end. The answer to your year. No questions answering questions. No children on top of me. No one asking me for anything. No death.

I organized all my medical expenses, my yearly donations, Etsy sales, and tax documentation that comes in this time of the year. I had color-coded tabs, highlighters, staples. Then I started.

Social security number.
Donation to campaign fund?

I can answer these questions. The children ran in circles from the bathroom to the dining room, giggling. Just outside the door of the office. I watched them from my computer desk. It was lovely. Then they began to circle into the office, small steps at first, just as the Schedule C and Form 8889 began taunting me.

You have no idea what you are doing with this calculator, Artist.

My Etsy shop needs a tax form. For the love of everything holy. I made a profit of $116 dollars after hundreds of hours of work. And now taxes on top of the insult.


grunt. snuffle. is that right? None of our medical expenses count?
Harumph. Capitalism sucks. How can we make too much and not have enough?


Scurrying like pecking hens, they chant in discordant shrieking, "One marker, Mama? One piece of paper? One sticker? One thing that is so important I can't live without it."


By the time I was itemizing, Jello Biafra was screaming California Uber Alles from my computer speakers.  And I was screaming at the children, they giggled. My knees folded up under my body, stiff neck, and buzzing from too much wheatgrass juice. Maybe I should meditate. I'm angry, or restless, or anxious. Turn off the punk.


I am thirty-eight years old. I am surprised at my life. It is a normal life. Taxes and Dead Kennedys. Little people who giggle and wrestle and ask me for paint.

What are you up to these days? Where the hell is everyone? Who does your taxes?


  1. I really loved this post. The ease of taxes lasts for about three questions for me too. I swear to God we have been doing our taxes, and two business taxes for a god damn month now. And we have an accountant. Something doesn't add up here.

    This is where I've been, anyway.

  2. Ever since we finished grad school and got 'real' jobs, we have paid to have our taxes prepared. The time and frustration saved is well worth the $150. Which reminds me, I need to gather our tax info and make an appt.

    Otherwise, we've done a little traveling, a lot of working, a lot of playing inside and watching movies.... It's a warm winter here which is actually worse than a cold winter. In the cold we can play in the snow. This 40 degree business gives us mud.

  3. Oh, same as always - trying to move forward, encountering some road blocks, exploring other paths, thinking about buying a house, thinking about moving, thinking about new jobs...

    In the meantime, drinking good beer, watching pro wrestling, dodging and throwing balls, running. Trying to mix business and pleasure, grown up things with a little bit of fun.

    Taxes - gotta add that to the to do list. And how is it 11 am this morning already? Dammit day. Quit flying.

  4. This is exactly why we pay for ours. We did them ourselves one year and it was not worth how much Matt drove me crazy.

  5. OMG I love you, Angie. So much. Seriously, I cannot face taxes anymore. We have a good friend that does that crap professionally -- can you imagine??? She actually understands all that stuff!! Anyway, she is well worth the $s -- though I admit I'm so lame I still have yet to get all my receipts in order for her! :) xooxoxoxo

  6. I am such a wimp about taxes. I truly believe they are simply beyond my mental capacity. My mom did my taxes for me until I got married and now my husband does them.

    Aside from not doing taxes, my semester just started last week and I'm already swimming in student essays and class prep (currently reading: The Iliad and Dubliners, so I can't really complain about that...).

  7. Out here liking you and wishing for more hours in a day and sometimes randomly commenting - but liking you all the time even when I don't say a word.

    Avoiding taxes like a billion other things.

    I was wrong. This morning I wrote that, right now, Stomping is my Mother Tongue. But I think it's Avoidance.

    Of some things, but not others, which is why I always come back to read and it makes me feel like it's okay not to quit. Not today.

    Hello, Still Life Angie. :)

    Cathy in Missouri

  8. Today I spent 30 minutes of my life on the phone to the tax office. Unaccompanied by screaming children or Dead Kennedys as I was at work. Which I suppose was a blessing. And as I only have one source of income my employer does my taxes. Which would also be a blessing except it appears that they don't do them correctly!

    If I were an accountant I'd offer to take the calculator on for you. If it is any consolation, paints, brushes and words taunt me. You have no idea what to do with us do you, numbers girl. Perhaps we could swap?

    Now I am eating marshmallows and reading blogs when I should be writing a presentation about using data to inform the commissioning of healthcare services by general practitioner groups. About as thrilling as it sounds. Sigh.

    And at LEAST once a day in my life, that Talking Heads song pops into my head, "you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?" because it is surprising. You've hit the nail on the head there. Life. It is surprising. Consistently so.

  9. I am feeling you on this one. We pay for our taxes to be done and for that I am grateful. I can't even begin to understand how to do them.

    Also, this life. Where did it come from? Who am I again? But I like it, warts and all. I've been busy thinking about these things as well.

    Good luck with the taxes.

  10. My favorite uncle is our accountant- which makes me feel doubly guilty that we are not even remotely on top of our taxes yet this year.

    As to where the hell I am, I don't know. Marking the time at work, trying to stay present, and well, you know.

  11. My father is an accountant. *ducks* I am very lucky to have him (refunds every year, and aside from sending him documents, the bulk of my work is signing the returns), but I know I'll be in trouble when he's no longer able to do my taxes. I also know that, when he's no longer able to do my taxes, that won't be high up on my radar of concerns.

  12. i started my taxes when i was staying home sick from work. bad idea. i spend the whole day going through hospital statements, cross-reference claims online, and looking at my bank statements. still not done and not looking forward to finishing.

    as for what i've been up to. i've been walking the line between hope and fear. whenever i get to the point of believing i will finally bring a living baby home, panic sets and i hear a voice saying i am setting myself up for failure and heartache.


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