Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Tax Season, but this time I'm an EA!!!

Yesterday, Mark brought me the mail. It included a large flat envelope. From the IRS. And I lost my breath... not the way most people do when they get large flat envelopes from the IRS, but in a good way. I squealed. Really. Mark and Katy looked slightly concerned.

I thought (maybe, probably not) that if they were going to reject me, it would be in a small business sized envelope. "We are sorry to inform you that you are unfit to practice before the IRS. And you are going to jail."

It was a cardboard page in a folder. I thought (really) that it was a request for fingerprints. I opened the folder. I started making squeaky noises like a cat with a mouse (the cat sound, not the mouse sound.) Both Mark and Katy pulled out their cell phones to call 911. "Are you ok?"

I started jumping up and down. "I'm an enrolled agent!" At least they knew to say "congratulations!" Others have to say "Congratulations! Now what does that mean exactly?"

It means I can represent tax payers before the IRS in non-tax court cases. It means I'm a professional tax preparer with a DESIGNATION other than "unenrolled preparer" or "charlatan." It means I DID IT!!!!!

I was very surprised to get it this soon, since I'd applied in November. I didn't expect anything until mid-January at best and mid-March more likely. Now I get to start the tax season as an Enrolled Agent. I'd like to start off right by commending the IRS on their efficiency. (Doesn't hurt to kiss up.)

I am so excited! I need new business cards, and a frame for my certificate, and a name plate that says "Kathy Duffy Thomas, EA." What a great Christmas gift!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Dammit

Yesterday was a fairly stress-free day.  I was able to find what I need to make my pumpkin cheesecake.  I didn't ruin the cheesecake when I put it in the fridge, forgetting something is leaking from the freezer (probably the ice maker) and causing food to water-log.  I removed the cheesecake in time.

This is the perfect Thanksgiving plate.  From the top going clockwise: turkey that was very moist because of the fennel bulb, onion, and orange placed inside during roasting, cardiac mashed potatoes (not so cardiac this year because they were made with white cheddar, cream cheese, and Greek yogurt without the usual sour cream and butter), succotash (lima beans & corn), two kinds of stuffing, cranapple sauce (no added sugar, just orange juice, orange zest, apples, and cranberries), creamed baby onions, ham, bourbon sweet potato casserole (my brother said next year he'd just take in on the rocks), and in the center green & wax beans with garlic, butter, and almonds.  The pecan halves are part of the sweet potato thingy, I think.  Hmmm... no blue or purple.  Oh well.  Maybe bourbon is purple.

We took the obligatory Thanksgiving pictures.

My brother John, with Bill in the chair.

  My dad John.
Roslyn, my beautiful niece.
Starting with Dad (see the shirt?) and going clockwise, that's my son Mark, my son Joseph, Bill, me, my sister Ellen, Ellen's husband Paul, and my husband Bob.  I'll try to find a better picture of Bob and Mark, but they are being shy.  Since I just got a new camera, I'm a little ticked, but we'll adjust.  I'll hunt wear them down.

Today we will go to Bob's parents house, where I will put aside my churlish desire for order and forget that I have 10 thousand things to do and go with the flow and have a great time.  Really, I probably will.  We are bringing left over green & yellow beans, mashed potatoes, cranapple sauce, and cheesecake.  Since the potatoes are a complete protein, I'll be fine even if they have fried chicken.   What can't be fixed by a large plate of mashed potatoes?*

*I'm only joking, Annie & all Angels.  Sort of.  :S

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, Everyone!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why must you torture me like this?

OK, I am neurotic.  I know that. You all know that.  We all try to adjust.  I do what I can to clean up after my neurosis and y'all don't poke sticks at it.  Right?

So here it is, the holiday season.  The season of where neurosis comes home to visit, even the ones you don't see most of the time.  Like the Martha Stewart neurosis, that wants to make hand-made Christmas cards, twenty kinds of cookies, and a real rack of lamb for twenty.  I don't have too much trouble keeping that one under control.  Although I did actually BUY Christmas cards this year, and I wrote a short and sweet Christmas letter.  Sort of funny but not over done.  No bragging, really, and no talking about things best left unsaid.  Surprisingly discreet. 

The neurosis I can't control, try as I might, is the one that wants to make sure the family plans are set.  I don't think I'm entirely unreasonable on this one.  Bob and I both have family in town and want to spend time with them.  Our son and his family have to deal with both of our families, plus Katy's mother's family and her deceased father's family in her hometown.  There is an intricate mix of want to be together feelings and obligated to be together feelings.  And there are things I'd like to do like make ornaments, bake cookies (not twenty kinds), and read meaningful stories. 

And then there is life, which continues to happen.  Mark's school, Bob's work, my work.  All of the preparation for the tax season.  Cleaning the house and the office so I can think straight.  (Is that neurotic?) 

And so, in order to not go crazy crazier, all I ask is that people decide what they want to do more than two days in advance.  I'm not talking about planning every single second (although I do it), I'm talking about deciding what day and time you are going to have Thanksgiving dinner.  Or Christmas dinner.

Which is why my mother-in-law rolls her eyes and acts like I'm difficult when I ask for a commitment in early November.  So this year, I said, we are having Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's house on Thursday at 3:00.  In the past we've had the dinner on Friday, and I'd like to do it on Thursday this year.  What are your plans, I hope I'll be able to be there? And although we are willing to eat two Thanksgiving dinners in one day, I kind of hope I don't have to do it.

And her plans are to have dinner at 12:00 or maybe 12:30ish on Thursday.  BUT she won't be there because she's having surgery on Tuesday.  She wants us to go to a cafeteria or buffet or something and be together.  Without her. Bob says, Mom, don't feel you have organize something for Thursday, it would be great to do something later when you feel better.  She says, no, it has to be Thursday.  Even though she won't be there.

I say, ok, but I can't make it.  I hate cafeterias (more neurosis) and I have other stuff to do.  Bob says ok.

Then, she tells Bob that his sisters won't be there because they have other plans, but we should still go out with his brother's family.  Even though she won't be there.  And neither will his sisters.  But it has to be Thursday.  Bob says, let's do it later.  Like in December.  When she will be well enough to enjoy it.  So, ok, it's going to be Friday and we are supposed to bring something but I don't know what and she will still be unable to enjoy it.  And neither will I.  But I will be there, and I will be cheerful and happy-looking.

Now, this is the thing.  I had plans for Friday.  Not meeting someone plans, but clean the house, catch up with Mark's virtual lessons, make cookies (not twenty kinds).  Take the on-line class on Non-profit information tax returns.  Read.  Write.  Sleep.

OK, some of you may now be thinking that I am being churlish, and maybe I am.  Maybe the holiday neuroses are just too much for me today.  Maybe I should just buck up and go to the damn family dinner even if it is at a cafeteria and I'm afraid of cafeterias.  Maybe I should just learn to go with the flow.

Or maybe people should just freakin' learn to plan ahead.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kathy's one thousand one hundred and twelfth diet journal: Eating... the Angel Way: Welcome!

Kathy's one thousand one hundred and twelfth diet journal: Eating... the Angel Way: Welcome!

This is a link to a link. I am helping a virtual friend Annie who is writing a nondiet book about Eating the Angel Way. I am going to follow the guidelines and share my experiences. I know a lot of people don't care, but if you do, this is where it will happen.

Peace. Water. Warm socks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Listening to the bees

I am doing a lot of things these days, and most of them seem to be valuable, enjoyable, necessary, or comfortable.  Some are more than one of those things.  Some are barely one.

I am thinking a whole lot about busyness.  You can see from my posts that it's something that I think about a good bit.  I used to think that busyness was a good thing, the goal of a fulfilled life.  When I heard people say, "I'm too busy for..." fill-in-the-blank, but probably something I like to do, I'd feel guilty and think, I need to do more stuff.

And when people tell me that my schedule makes them tired, I don't really understand, because I don't do nearly as much as most people.  Or as much as they seem to do.  And I really should do more... 

As an aside, a Facebook friend from high school asked if I wanted to foster cats.  I admire the work she does more than I can say and I really wanted to say yes.  Even though we have four cats of our own and three of my son & daughter in love's and my husband hates having cats at all.  People who know me are rolling their eyes and wondering if "animal hoarders" pays a finders fee.  Anyway, I passed on that.

So there is something in me that tells me I'm not doing enough, and in answer to that, I keep adding stuff.  Even stuff I don't do well, like baking cookies for a set time.  Cookies that are normal and will sell to children.  (Nota bene: elementary school kids aren't big fans of rosemary lemon cookies.  Go figure.)

But maybe it's not that I'm not doing enough, it's that I'm not doing the right things.  Or maybe that I have too much stuff going on to figure out what I truly love.  (I'm seeing the eyes roll now as the "hoarders" analogy continues in some people's minds.) 

I think I am doing some very good important things and I don't want to stop, but I want to do them better.  And I want to stop kicking myself for not doing more.  And I want to stop hoarding tasks and things to do.

I think I need to take some walks in the woods by myself and listen to the softer voices beneath the screeching harpy who is telling me to get busy.  I think I need some quiet time.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall forward

The weather has cooled down here, after the remnants of the tropical storm drenched us for a couple of days. I hope y'all up the coast are drying out now. I love the fall weather. I say there are 15 minutes in SC when you can enjoy the outdoors, and this is it. Fall and Spring are my two favorite days.

I have been sort of busy (busy! busy! busy! I am Important!). I actually worked a full week, which for me is 30 hours M-Th.

Mark was sick last week and he's catching up on his work in his virtual charter school.  You know, when your kid goes to school, you take him in at 8 and pick him up at 3 and you pretty much assume there is learning in between.  Like magic.  And of course, Mark was at Carolina School for Inquiry, where excellent learning takes place every day, like magic.  Magic and a great deal of hard work and planning from an excellent faculty, staff, and administration.  With a virtual charter school, I have to make sure Mark has 30 hours of learning in a specified variety of subjects.  Whether I know diddly squat or not.  Now, the lessons are really well planned, with a mixture of on-line instruction, off-line work (including labs), and on- and off-line assessment.  But Mark doesn't get the interaction he had at CSI.  The energy that comes with a really good classroom setting, lead by a professional teacher.  The on-line teachers are fine, but we haven't figured out if we can use them to Mark's benefit yet.  It's a process.  It's still happening.

I was sworn in to the CSI board again last night and elected chair. We are planning to work on sustainability and long range plans, especially on-going funding sources and technology.  The new board has a lot of people who are new to CSI, at least to the board, and I'm really excited.  They respect the history and the ancestral memory, but they are not entwined in past drama-baggage.  They are looking to the future.  One of the new board members suggested that there is a danger that some of the members who were re-elected (after being off a year) might be subject to the old bad patterns.  That is an excellent point, and something we must all guard against.  Although our mistakes were not as outrageous as the board from last year, we did have a couple of problems.  For me, it is that I had trouble communicating with the community.  I was trying so hard to keep the board professional and about governing not managing that I may have been too aloof.  It's a fine line, and I think that there are some other board members who can help me find the balance.  I am looking forward to the challenges.  More challenge, less drama.

In other news, I have passed two of the three parts of the enrolled agent exam. I'm going to take the third part in the next two weeks. After that, I have to apply, which means a background check and examination of my tax return.  More challenges, along with the regular ebbs and flow of a tax office.  October 15 is the deadline for filing personal tax returns if you got an extension.  It's like a mini April for us.  Then we start going to workshops and classes, sending out planners, examining last year's procedures to see how to make it better this year, and incorporating the new regulations into our routines.  It's very exciting.  OK... maybe not to everyone.  Go figure.
 I am also running for the St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church vestry, which meant I had to go get "received" into the church by the bishop. Last Sunday my friend Morgan and I went to Rock Hill (about an hour away) for me to do that. It was very cool.  The church was beautiful in a very different way from St. Michael's.  The people were welcoming, the music was great but different.  I got goose bumps when I was received, although that's when the rain started. Hmmmm. Anyway, I forgot to get my official certificate, so I might not be able to be on the Vestry anyway. If that is the case, I'll take it as a sign from God and be grateful for the heads up.

Oh yeah, I have volunteered to help a non-profit organization called Girls, Inc. here in Columbia.  I have three sons, and like many women, I always wanted a daughter.  At some point I realized that the good Lord had a reason for giving me sons not daughters, and it may have something to do with the violent twitch I get when I hear high pitched squeals.  Although I enjoy my nieces (hey Roslyn!), my cousin Lizzie, and my daughter-in-law Katie, I am not a girl scout leader type.  Which is irrelevant, because I'm going to be helping with the bookkeeping.  Accounts rarely squeal.  And who knows, maybe someday I will have the opportunity to work with these great young women, even if they do squeal.

On Mark's schooling, I need some advice. I want to enrich his world history experience by watching a couple of movies. I'm going to get Luther when we get to the Reformation next week, but isn't there a good movie about Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci? Something that will show the art and give him a feel for the time and politics and culture. Any suggestions for this or any world history type movie from 1400 to the present would be appreciated. 

So that's me today.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coming up for air

I am very busy.  I hate when people say, "I am very busy."  First, I immediately feel lazy.  Then I think, "who cares?"  And then I wonder why they are so busy if they are just going to complain about it. 

I am very busy for a couple of reasons.  (1) Some things have been thrust upon me.  (2) Some things I have taken on myself.

Things that I have to do:  work.  visit people.  clean my house.  shop.  shower.

Things I have chosen to do:  be a learning coach for my son's virtual charter school.  take the enrolled agent exam.  spend time with people.  read.  go to church (and all of the things that go with it.)  serve on boards.  volunteer to help a non-profit with their bookkeeping.  eat.

You see that the list of things I've chosen is longer than the list that I've had thrust upon me.  So I'm not going to complain when I say, I'm very busy.

There are many things I'd like to share --- the learning coach thing, the vacation to Lake Lure, NC, random thoughts.  But I'm sort of crazy at this moment because I signed up for Part II of the enrolled agent exam on Friday and I'm afraid I'm not going to pass.  I know a bunch of stuff, but there is a bunch I'm not getting through my head right now.  Like which part of a sale of a partnership is ordinary income & which is capital gain and when you have a 1231 gain... oh crap.

I could use some good thoughts, prayers, and maybe a cheat sheet or two.  See ya soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010

On the gym

I think I mentioned that Bob and I joined the gym about a week before my 50th birthday.  It made sense.  We're both hitting 50.  We want to exercise, but we live in SC where it is at 80 degrees at 7 am for most of the year.  When it's cool enough to walk outside, it's too dark.  It wasn't working for us.  I'd thought about yoga classes, but the gym offers yoga among other classes and costs less.  There is that nasty 2 year financial commitment, but that's just incentive to work out, right?


And anyway, Gold's Gym, which we joined had just hired my daughter-in-law.  That didn't work out, so now I feel free to tell the story of the fitness trainer who I thought was going to help me learn to use the machines.  Silly me.

OK, so I go in and the woman I'm supposed to see isn't there.  It turns out I'm scheduled for Saturday at 9 am not Friday.  OK, that's not going to happen, I say.  So they set me up with a guy for Friday afternoon. 

I'm thinking he's going to weigh me, talk about goals, show me how to use the machines.  No.  We did talk about goals, but I'm not sure he heard me.

D: so what are your goals?

Me:  I want to be healthier.  I'd like to lose weight...

D: how much?

Me:  About 50 lbs.

D:  (Raises eyebrow)

Me:  That puts me in a healthy range and if I lose too much weight I'll be all wrinkly.  Like Nancy Reagan.

D:  OK.  (Writes: "Lose 60 lbs." on my goal sheet.)

Me: (Eye roll.)

D:  (Long and boring spiel about rates for personal trainers who will "Kick my butt" and get me into shape.)

Me:  I don't want anyone to kick my butt.  I'm 50 years old.  I want to use the treadmill and the girly weight machines.  Can you show me how to use those?

D:  (More crap about personal trainers, kicking butts, and rates "you can't beat")

Me:  (Eye roll.)  OK, well let me talk to my husband about this.

D:  Oh (eyebrow raise) did you ask your husband if you should buy those shoes?

Me:  (Double eyebrow raise and expression that everyone who knows me knows means get the hell out of my way but D. thought meant he'd brow beaten me into submission.)  (Like the brow pun?)  No, but my shoes don't come with a two year contract.

Then, just because he'd pissed me off, I explained to him that as an INTP on the Meyers-Briggs scale, I tended to believe people who I liked and because of socialization, I tended to want to make people happy.  And that now that I was 50 I'd finally figured out that I needed to walk away from long-term commitments and talk the decision over with other people who would help me put things in perspective.  His gaze went blank, and when I finished, he said, "Well let's workout then."

He did NOT show me how to use the treadmill or elliptical machine, which are much more complicated than they sound.  He showed me one weight machine, but didn't really help me use it, he just adjusted it.  And he had me do these awful squats and weight things.  Then I left feeling kind of crappy about the whole thing.

In fact, I couldn't get out of bed the next day.  My legs would not move.  By Sunday, I could walk, but almost died during the service (Episcopalian calisthenics.)  Morgan laughed at me every time I moved from sitting to standing to kneeling.  The 90 year old people pushed me forward during communion (not really, they were very patient.) 

Bob went to visit D on Saturday and he missed work on Monday.  Why in the world would D think it's a good thing to work two middle-aged people who admitted they hadn't been in shape since the last century (or their last incarnation, in my case) to the point of near-crippling?  Did he think that would make us want to jump up every morning and get our butts kicked again and again?  Personally, I can think of a lot more interesting ways to inflict pain on myself.

Maybe he wanted us to be so miserable, we don't use the gym again, now that they have our two year financial commitment and they still get the money whether we show up or not.   Probably not, I don't think he thought that much.  I think he believes everyone wants to get their butts kicked by muscle-bound personal-like trainers.  Maybe he's INTP and that's his world.

In any case, we went religiously for a week after we recovered.  Life intervened and we haven't been back for two weeks.  We will start again on Monday.  Me on the treadmill reading my Barnes & Noble Nook and Bob on the elliptical watching FOX news alternated with the Morning Joe.  And if we see D, all of us will pretend we have never been through that embarrassing little S&M episode.  At least I will.  I think D has forgotten us already.  I feel so... cheap.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Decade of what?

I am planning to make my 50s the decade of joy, but so far it's the decade of "get the hell out of my way or I'll hit you with a bat."  I'm hoping this will change soon.  Maybe I'll just sit here and rest a spell.

There are already really good things.  I joined the gym and went for awhile.  I'll probably start going again soon.  An old friend made contact after 12 years.  Well, 12 since we talked and about 22 since we've seen each other.  It is really good to hear from her.  I think we both are awakening at 50, but I might be presuming there.  I think I mentioned that I sometimes feel as if I was in a coma for about 20 years, beginning to come alive again at about 40.

The things that are dragging me are the same old things.  Nothing dramatic, nothing I can fight head on, really.

My computer broke.  I'm using an inspiron mini (which seemed like such a cute idea when I bought it).  I'm hoping the desk top will get fixed soon.  Especially since my youngest son is in an on-line virtual charter school.  Computers that you can actually see are really important here.

My dishwasher broke.  I hear it's been fixed.  That's good because I was about to take all of the dishes upstairs and give them a shower.  And by all the dishes, I mean ALL the dishes.  Since my sink drains through the dishwasher, I couldn't even use the kitchen sink without flooding my floor.  Serious bummer.

Mark and I are painting the study/classroom.  I have high hopes for organization when it's done (tomorrow, I hope.)  I often say I can be organized in one area of my life at a time.  I usually pick work.  Now I need to be organized in work and Mark's school.  I am almost wondering if it would be that bad if he went to a school that teaches Charlotte's Web in its 6th grade honors English class.  But then I remember that SC funds its public colleges and universities at about 10% so the tuition to even state colleges is more than the value of my house.  Scholarship, baby.

And then there are the shenanigans at his old school, where a selfish board refused to approve contracts for three teachers (the day AFTER school started) but did find the time and money to buy pretty report card covers and a wand with which to put up school achievements.  Since the twits fallible human beings won't acknowledge the great job of the director and teachers who are committed to multi-age, child-centered, inquiry-based education, I'm not sure what they want to put on the sign.  (The school has made Adequate yearly progress two years in a row, and last year's 6th grade (Mark's class) led the entire district among 6th grade classes.)

I'm thinking that a trip to the gym might not be a bad idea.  Or maybe I'll go upstairs and paint a room, then organize my really cool school supplies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Decade of Joy

When I turned 40,  I went to the doctor.

I was at a low point in my life--- feeling tired and depressed, not sure what to do with myself, waiting for the times to get better.  I was staying at home with my 2 year old baby and trying to help my 14 & 11 year old sons make it through puberty.  Although I did wonderful things with Mark (the baby), I didn't do much with myself.  I played a hell of a lot of Canasta with my parents.  Together time with your parents is great at any age, but let's be real.  A forty year old really shouldn't be that good at Canasta.

And so I went to the doctor.  Up until then, I'd only gone to the ObGyn or to the Doc-in-the-box if I was really sick.  I think I thought, "gee, you are forty, you need to take care of yourself.  Go to the doctor."

Well, the doctor liked me.  I was fat and forty and had great insurance and a lot of time on my hands.  My thyroid was low, my iron was low, my will was low.  I went on medication for hypothyroidism.  I had a boat load of tests (and by boatload, I mean that I paid for my doctor's yacht) to find the cause of the anemia. 

As an aside, as the Colonoscopy Poster Child, let me say:  This is when I had my first colonoscopy, and that was a good thing.  Since then, two of my uncles have died from colon cancer, along with at least two of my Dad's cousins.  I have had this test every three years since then.  The test isn't fun, but colon cancer is worse.  And when you get tested, they remove the polyps so they are gone before they can develop into cancer.  It's well worth the agonizing misery the day before.

So, I had tests on all parts of my body that might cause anemia.  They never figured it out, but when I had a hysterectomy because of heavy bleeding (which THEY said wasn't enough to cause anemia but I thought was enough to make me die) and three very early term miscarriages, I got over the anemia.  I guess.  I sort of quit paying attention.

Then... I had my first migraine, an agonizing pain that felt like someone was hitting me with a spiked pike for a week.  It wasn't typical, so it took awhile to figure it out.  After they called it a migraine, I had one a day for a few months.  I lost 30 lbs in three months.  I looked like hell, but I was thin(ner) and was trying to decide whether it was worth the pain when the migraines just sort of went away.  I still get head aches, but nothing that keeps me from eating, dammit.

And then my blood pressure, which had always been normal even though I'm fat, went up.  A whole lot.

Sometime over the decade, I woke up psychologically.  I went back to school and became a tax preparer & accountant of all things.  I helped start a great school for my youngest son, and worked with that on a daily basis for five years.  I felt alive and competent.  I vaguely wondered where I'd been the last twenty years.

Here I am: 49 years and 363 days old.  I am no longer fat and forty, I am fat and fifty.  I do like what I'm doing, but I'm not sure what else I want to do.  I love my children and am really really glad they are older.  I pray that they are able to become independent and challenged in their lives very soon.  I hope they come visit.  Often.

And here I am, working every day, taking on more and more tasks and completing my to-do lists while writing more.  And I still don't know what I want to do with my life.

That is why I am calling this the Decade of Joy.  I'm not going to quit my job and move to Santa Fe (not yet).  I'm still clearing out the crap in my house and my life.  I'm still thinking about being in business for myself (with Bob's help).  I am still working on quality public charter schools.  But now, I'm adding time for my joy and dropping the stuff that isn't important and/or Joyous.

This is my JOY:

Instead of yelling at Bob because he grabs his guitar and heads out to the hammock when I want to clean the bedroom, I'm going to grab a G&T and head out with him. 

We joined the gym, not because we (or anyone else) thought we ought to (and that's another story or two), but because we want to.  I'm going to use the walking-type machine, the girly weight machines, the yoga class, and the water aerobic classes as much as I can.  I'm not going to care that Duston the pt kid thinks I'm a wuss.

I'm going to write more.  That gives me joy, even if I never get an actual story written.

I'm going to have lunch with friends, because I like that and it doesn't make me stress.  Hey, maybe friends can walk with me at the gym.  Whatever.

I'm going to talk to my kids without asking them when they plan to go to college/get a job/cut their hair.  I'm going to listen.

And the stuff I'm not going to do... well that's another story.  But maybe I won't tell it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


This week, I went to Charleston with my husband and youngest son.  Charleston is my father's birthplace, the place where my parents met and married, where we spent almost every New Year's Eve and every weekend from Easter to Labor Day throughout our childhoods, where my aunt and cousins still live.  Although I haven't been there as often in the last 30 years, I have been there many times.  And yet, for some reason, this week the nostalgia hit me like the wall of humidity that greets you when you walk from the air conditioned hotel lobby.

I was there for a conference, and so we were with my boss and his wife and my co-worker and her sister.  Maybe it was sharing memories with them. 

My mother's mother moved to Charleston from Massachusetts when she retired from teaching.  It wasn't until I spent summers with her that I really "did the tourist thing."  Gramma and I walked or rode buses and taxis all over the city.  She took us on the horse and carriage tour of South of Broad.  We'd go to the Market, or even just the Piggly Wiggly on King Street.  And where ever we went, she'd say, "This is Kathy Duffy.  Her uncle is Father Duffy.  Her grandfather was John Duffy the pharmacist.  Did you know him?"  And although it wasn't surprising that everyone knew Uncle Tommy, I was shocked by the number of people who remembered John Duffy the pharmacist.  It was almost enough to break through the soul-deep mortification I felt as a psychotically shy child with a talkative grandmother.  Almost.

On Tuesday afternoon, we drove to Folly Beach.  The road to James Island, where I enjoyed a true childhood with my friends Bernadette, Elizabeth, and Roland, was so different it didn't strike any chords.  Actually, I think it might be an entirely different bridge.  It certainly didn't awake my sleeping child-map that remembers the turns and the Spanish Moss and the Dairy Queen we stopped at once in a while for a rare treat. 

Although Folly Beach isn't a part of the child memories, the ocean and the waves that were.  The waves were breaking in just the right place for some serious wave-riding.  For the first time in 25 years, I didn't stand in the shallows with small children or watching anxiously for potential threats against my fearless sons as they dove into the waves.  Mark and I rode the waves ourselves.  I heard my mother's voice as I said, "Hold up, that one isn't going to break for us."  I saw my awe for my mother reflected in Mark's eyes as he saw I could really tell when the wave would break and when it was faking.  Of course, he didn't say anything.  He was having too much fun, and maybe he didn't realize what an art it is.  I got tossed into the sand with the whole ocean as a Netti pot, and I haven't had such a good time in... 30 years?

Wednesday we went to Sullivan's Island to visit Fort Moultrie, and that is another story...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summertime, and the living is...

OK, first an update on Dave, Adrian, Bud, and the missing Lumina.  Dave says he is going to pay for it.  He thinks Adrian might have it.  We are holding our collective breath...

I started to write about how hectic my next two weeks are going to be and how unhappy that made me, but then I decided to slap myself.  I really need an attitude adjustment.  OK, so my idea of a perfect life is to live alone in a house with a big porch on a beach without hurricanes or mosquitoes with books, writing equipment, and regular conjugal visits from my husband.  OK, he can live with me.  People would visit often enough, but in a really really informal way.  I'd have beer, basil lemonade, and cookies for them.  They'd go home (although they could sleep over if they needed to.)  And money is no object.  I don't need a lot.  Just enough so I don't have to worry about it unless I want to buy a $500 cotton t-shirt.  And that won't happen.

So... my real life.  I missed work yesterday to take care of my grandchildren because my son & daughter in law needed help.  I had a great time with them, although the fantasy about cleaning my house while watching them was ... a fantasy.  I did get a teeny bit done.  But mostly I played.

Today I am at work, trying to catch up with what I didn't do yesterday and can't do next week because we are going to Charleston, SC for a tax workshop/conference.  (This is when I start the slapping.)  Bob, Mark, and I are staying at a really nice hotel right across from the Market, within walking distance of the finest restaurants, shopping, and historical sights in SC.  Bob and Mark may go to the beach one day while I learn how to help people who are going through bankruptcy and other fun things.  Sunday & Monday nights are paid for by my boss.  Tuesday, we are paying, so I can have a little bit of a real vacation and visit family on Tuesday evening and Wednesday.  Obviously, I am an ungrateful wretch if I don't see what a cool thing this is.  (And I LIKE learning about tax stuff.)

Again, I'm a wretch because I'm feeling pressed about family obligations this weekend before we go to Charleston.  A family wedding on Friday and the second quarter birthday party at my in-laws on Saturday.  The wedding will be nice, even though it keeps me from my usual suspects happy hour and that puts me out.  The second quarter birthday party will be as good as I make it.  And I don't want to talk about that right now.

Next week, we'll miss the regular happy hour again for another family gathering with the in-laws.  We're meeting at Little Pig's Barbecue, which is a really good place to eat as long as you like pork.  They have three kinds of barbecue --- mustard based (my choice), ketchup based (yuck), and vinegar based (ok).  They have all of the normal sides --- slaw, green beans, mac & cheese casserole, banana pudding, rice and more.  It's a great place and I'd be really happy to go there if I weren't missing happy hour.  

On July 3, I think we are going to my boss' house for more barbecue as well as swimming and horseshoes.  On July 4, we'll have a picnic at church, then go to my brother's for swimming, burgers, and brats.  The sausage, not my children.  I think we have July 5th off.  I know I'll need it.

And so you see what a whiner I am.  This looks like a great couple of weeks, doesn't it?  It will be as fun as I make it, I guess.  OK, well, off to have fun, even if it kills me...

Monday, June 21, 2010

I am not making this up...

OK, about three months ago, our 1996 Lumina's transmission broke.  We had it towed to a transmission repair shop where they told us they'd look at it for $400.  That's on top of the $90 tow.  On a really ugly car.  The car in which I'd spilled spaghetti sauce and Italian dressing and could never get clean.  The car with only one working seat belt in the back (see spill above.) 

Bud, the owner, did tell us that if we decided to fix it, the $490 would go toward that cost.  So we know we are looking at a pretty hefty repair bill.  On a car with a blue book value of $450 if it runs.  And at this point it did run, but only backwards.

So Bob asked Bud if he knew anyone who might want to buy the car.  Bud grumbled something that sounded negative, but one of Bud's employees (Dave) told Bob he'd give Bob $150 and pay for the tow.  Great.

AND SO, Bob and I take off from work and go get a copy of the title.  We take it back and get ready to sign over the poor old Lumina to Dave.  UNFORTUNATELY, Dave didn't have the money then.  He'd get his check cashed and get with us on Monday.  OK.

Bob takes off on Monday and goes to see Dave, who had had a family emergency over the weekend.  (I think his cousin Jose Cuervo showed up, but what do I know?)  He did not have the money.

Bob and Dave dance this dance for a couple of weeks, with Bob taking off from work to meet Dave, only to get a last minute phone call.  In the meantime, poor Dave is having one family emergency after another.  (I'm thinking it was his brother Jack Daniels & his uncle Captain Morgan, but I'm cynical.)

And it turns out that Dave can't buy the car, but his buddy Adrian can.  And he will get Bob the money as soon as his fiance gets their bank account unfrozen. 

This has gone on a long long time, and at this point I don't care.  I was about to call SCETV and get them to pick up the car and sell it for whatever they can get.  Bud seemed to think we would pay the tow if the "deal" fell through.  Bud was mistaken.

But now, as of today, the car is missing.  I am not making this up.  Adrian (or is it Dave) thinks it was stolen (who the hell is going to steal a 1996 Lumina that only goes backwards?)  Bob told Bud that we needed to know if he was in the city or county, because we needed to know where to file the police report.  Bud said Dave is going to pay Bob anyway.  And then Bud said he saw pigs fly... but I think that was cousin Jose again.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gray rainy mornings in Columbia

It is gray and a little rainy.  I think there is a chance of thunderstorms.  You may think I'm strange, but I love this weather.  It feels comfortable, like an electric blanket with a frayed cord.  OK, that's a little strange, but I was thinking about the possible thunderstorms.  I love thunderstorms.  I've missed them over the winter.  I don't think it's hot enough for a really good storm, but I'm feeling tingly just thinking about it.

My mood is like this weather.  Gray and damp, waiting to see what is going to happen.  Is that enough blue to make a pair of cat's pajamas?  Is the sun going to come out?  Will it be bright and sunny by the time I get to work?

Are those real storm clouds?  Will we have a thunderstorm, finally, to break the tension of the almost rain? 

Is it because this is the last week of school and I still think like a student/teacher/parent when it comes to the calendar?  Is it because tax season is over, but I still haven't caught up and I have a pile of tax returns that people wanted yesterday?  Is it because Mark is leaving his school but I still hope that the school will go on?  Is it because a lot of people "need" me, but it's not like I'm a rocket scientist and there aren't other people who can do the job just as well, and I really don't know what I do want to do?  Is it because I'm not sure about finances, family, friends? 

Oh Wow, I need a thunderstorm.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A little bit of nothing much

This is Mark's last week of school, and the last week at Carolina School for Inquiry.  It has been a good ride, for the most part.  Mark has gotten a wonderful education.  He has grown up with some great friends who he hopes to keep in touch with when school is out.  He is sad to leave his friends, but I think he's excited.  Who knows what will come?

Next year he will be attending a virtual public charter school.  I'm hoping this is a good thing with project based challenging learning & the opportunity to meet with other kids and teachers on field studies and other things.  With our legislature cutting school funding to as close to nothing as is legally possible, we have had to make tough choices.  First, he is zoned to a middle school that has terrible test scores.  The honors summer reading book for 6th grade last year was Charlotte's Web.  Add to that the budget cuts which have led to widespread teacher lay-offs and new rules which allow "unlimited" number of children in a class, and I can't really see sending my baby there.  He will have to be responsible and get the work done every day.  There are still attendance requirements and of course, he has to complete his assignments.  I think he'll be with me at work.  Thankfully, I am in a flexible work environment.  I don't know how much togetherness Mark and I can stand, though...

I took the first part of the enrolled agent's exam last week and passed.  I'm glad to have that out of the way.  I was sweating it.  It's so obvious to me what I don't know, I can't always see what I do know.  So here we are, part one down... two parts to go.  I'm waiting for a part two study guide in the mail.  That's the hardest part... business and stuff.  Part three is ethics.  I'm glad to say I don't have too much trouble with that.

I don't know what we're doing this summer.  We won't get our week at the beach, darn it, because of scheduling conflicts.  In fact, that week is now and Mark is in school.  Bob and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary if we make it until August 17, and we both turn 50 this summer.  I'm thinking about a "hundredth" birthday party for both of us.  I'm not sure we know that many people who we want to see, though.  

Tut tut, it looks like rain.  I guess that means I should try to get a little more work done.  Don't ask me why, it just does.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

I have never had a big thing for mother's day.  I used to buy my mother stuff, usually books.  We'd have dinner at her house.  When I got married and had children, we still went to Mom's for mother's day.  When I suggested that I was a mother too and might want something different, Mom ignored me.  Which, I suppose, she should have.

And so, with no expectations, Mother's day is usually pretty good for me.  Yesterday, all three of my children and the two grandsons were here.  Robert gave me a rose a couple of days ago.  Joseph & Robert bought me some bromeliads (I'd asked for Rolaids... just kidding) and a palmetto plant.  Mark gave me gifts for my facebook farm (is that sad or what?).  All was good.

We went to church in the morning, then to my brother's in the afternoon.  Johnny & Bill will be leaving for Europe before Mark's birthday, so we celebrated yesterday.  Barbecue and ribs from a local restaurant I won't name.  It was open on Sunday.

The kids, Ellen & Bob swam. It has been in the 90s but yesterday it was maybe 75.  And the water was cold.  Roslyn, in particular, is an ice baby.

And of course, I dreamed about Mom, and it was a good dream.  I don't think it was too exciting or traumatic.  I think we were having a party at her house and everyone we've known for the past 50 years came through.  And then I cleaned up. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All or nothing

I'm an all or nothing kind of girl.  I tend to dive into something with great enthusiasm, then decide to think about it for awhile, or maybe make an excel chart or something...

I have walked two days in a row.  Bob and I walked about 30 minutes each day.  I promise, it was ALL uphill.  What's with that?  If burning butt muscles means they are getting strong and firm, I'm well on the way to having a butt.  We can only hope and keep tromping.

Bob has been pretty good about not leaving me in the dirt as I toddle along with him.  He even pulls me up the hills when they get really bad.  Mostly, he encourages me.  Sometimes he decides to talk politics, which pisses me off, but I suppose it raises my heart rate.

I have made better food choices.  Two days, what can I say?

I am using the 15 minute timer thingy to get myself cleaning.  Monday I only cleaned about 30 minutes total, and yesterday I had to go to work even though it's my day off.  But today, I'm going to set the timer as soon as I finish this ramble.

Mark left for a school field trip this morning.  They are going to a CSI camp --- Crime Scene Investigation without the blood spatter.  They will learn how to observe and measure and do cool stuff.  I'm glad he's able to do this.

Friday, Bob, Mark, Roslyn & I go to Kanuga, an Episcopalian retreat center.  We are going to have a great time.  It's in the mountains, so I plan to work on my burning butt muscles.  It will be too cold to swim, but there is a lake and maybe I'll get to canoe or kayak.  That's one of those things I like in theory more than fact.  I guess it would be good to work on my flabby back and arm muscles too.  And I hear the food is marvelous!  I'll try to pick veggies and fruit.

Speaking of which... time to make a smoothie.  I have some locally grown strawberries that really didn't want to be picked.  Now I need to use them before they go bad.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What else do you do on a rainy day?

I woke with an urge to go tromping through the Congaree National Swamp, but it's raining.  A real frog-strangling soaking rain that may even clean the pollen out of the air.  Or not.  And even though Bob says it's not raining that hard (he is upstairs in bed and doesn't know), I'm not going out today.

Today, I am going to clean something.  I just can't decide what.  The kitchen?  That would be good.  I need to sort through my cupboards and clean out the fridge so I know what I have and what I need for the next week.  I want to try out the chicken salad & pita recipe I found at Cinnamon & Spice.  I need to make rainbow slaw for my Dad's birthday cook-out tomorrow.  A clean kitchen would help.  And a good thing about cleaning the kitchen is that you can see the results.  It smells better.  People say, "Wow, good work Mom/Kathy/lady."

I also need to clean the closets so I have places to put the things I plan to keep after my house purge.  Starting today or tomorrow, I am sorting, trashing, giving away all of this crap in my house.  I have too much stuff.  Too much that I might use someday to make 10,000 crocheted blankets.  Too much stuff I might use when I re-pot 4,000 African Violets.  Too much stuff that could outfit a dozen kitchens and a couple of apartments. 

Since Joseph is making moving out noises, I want to box some of this up for him.  I also need to box up stuff Robert & Katy will need when they are able to move into their own house or apartment and out of her mother's house.  I'm not really sure what to do with the furniture, since it's hard to store extra couches and king-sized beds, but I'm going to do something. 

A lot of this is going to Goodwill.  I still sort of kind of not really want to have a yard sale, but I know I will be miserable, make very little money, and end up taking it to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity any way.

I'm not really sure where to start, but I figure I'll quit thinking about it and just do it.  Tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Slowly returning to the world of the living...

I spent most of Saturday in bed and made it to church yesterday.  I decided NOT to try to go to the baseball game because it would have ruined everyone's fun if I'd a fallen out in the middle of the game.

It was a shame though.  Yesterday was a beautiful day.  Warm but with a cool breeze.  Bright sun.  Still the pollen, but no count is more like 2000 parts per square inch rather than the 5 billion parts last week when even my cats turned green.

Today is a "day off," but it's a "clean the house that has been neglected since Christmas" day off.  Since I'm still a little tired, I'm moving slowly, but I'm working....

I didn't sleep well last night because the cold medicine gave me weird dreams.  One of them was that two cats were fighting on top of my head.  Oh no, wait... that really happened.  Our cat Mars and my son's cat Kay (Mars' daughter) got into fight in the middle of the night.  On my pillow.  On my head.  We have too many damn cats.

So now, I'm moving... sort of...

I'm making rainbow lamb korma for dinner.  I started with a simple "convenience food" recipe from some magazine... Good Housekeeping, I think.  I'm cooking the lamb cubes and a jar of korma sauce in the crock pot for the rest of the day.  Later, I'll add fresh veggies.  The recipe called for microwave frozen green beans and carrots, but the produce was pretty this morning, so I got small yellow and green squash, baby carrots, and red, yellow and orange bell peppers.  See, no blue, but I'm making a salad with purple  & green lettuce, raddichio, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes & broccoli slaw mix.  The korma will go over whole wheat couscous.

We'll see how well this goes over.  Mark and Joseph aren't sure they like lamb very much.  They can have hot pockets if they want.  Whatever.

I need to go wash some dishes then maybe take a little nap.

Or maybe I'll nap then wash some dishes...

Friday, April 16, 2010

A new year

Tax season is over and I have a chest cold.  I have spent the last couple of months saying I couldn't get sick until after tax season, and it appears my body has taken me literally.

My husband asked what my schedule is for today and I tried to give him a look, but went into a coughing fit.  My schedule is to (1) go to work to see if any e-files were rejected (there were two) and fix them, (2) go to the store and buy paper and cd labels so I can make covers for Bob's cds, and (3) go home and go to sleep.  I'm at step two and a half: reconnecting with the blogosphere.

After I sleep awhile and enjoy a happy hour knowing I don't have to go to work in the morning, there are lots of things to consider.

My work situation is changing.  Not me, but the job.  We may move offices, combine spaces, enlarge.  I need to decide what I want my place to be and how I can ensure that.  You can tell I'm not ready to talk about it.  Sleep.

I have signed up for an online course to prepare for the enrolled agents exam.  Next year, all paid tax preparers will need to pass some sort of test.  I might as well go for the biggest one I'm interested in.  I plan to take the first course, then take the first part of the test.  At the beginning of next month, if I like the course, I'll sign up for the second part & for the second part of the test.  Part three is ethics and only a week instead of three weeks.  Telling, huh?  I passed the ethics part of the exam without any problem, but I want to be completely comfortable.  I should be finished with the three parts of the test by July, then I will do whatever else I need to do to become an enrolled agent.  (I hope I pass the background check.)  And BAM! next year I will be a professional tax preparer with a set of initials behind my name.  Cool huh?

Then I can think about why I have choosen a career that makes me miss spring.  (I heard it was a nice day this year.)  I'll think about how Mark came running from the house yesterday and said, "Mom!  Tax Season is OVER!  YEAH!!!!"  I'll think about developing coping mechanisms that don't involve yelling at people I love and eating large amounts of fried food.  But that can wait.  I think I'll go check up on my blogging friends... how have you all been?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Moving right along... again...

Is it interesting that I said I would avoid whining self-indulgence for Lent, and haven't written another post since then?

Moving right along...
Have you heard the stories of the three Jesuses?  A (probably) famous psychiatrist worked at a mental institution where three patients believed they were Jesus.  He thought it would be interesting (and amusing at cocktail parties) if he put the three men in a room to see how they would handle the conflict.  Obviously they couldn't ALL be Jesus.  Obviously this was done before ethics rules stopped psychiatrists from screwing around with patients for fun and profit. 

Anyway, the three men talked for awhile and the psychiatrist was disappointed (I made that up) to see they weren't really upset.  And so he talked to each of them separately and asked how can you be Jesus if he thinks he's Jesus? 

Well, this seems kind of obvious to me, which makes me wonder about my sanity.  Each man maintained that he was Jesus and that the other men were nuts.  And each man forgave the others and prayed for their well-being.

I'm not really sure why (which also makes me wonder about my sanity), but that story seems to be really important to my life right now. 

Oh well.  One and a half more weeks of Lent.  Three more weeks until the end of tax season. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

SNOW dammit!

First, let me say to all of my friends north of here, you might not want to read this. You might break something from laughing too hard, or snorting with disgust. Just to be safe, if your roof is in danger of caving in because of the weight of the snow, move on to another blog post.

OK, for those of you who are still here: it's supposed to snow today. One to SIX inches. (Six inches is about /------------------/ that much right?) I am sooo excited I'm having real trouble putting together this foreign earned income tax return. I haven't looked at the payroll tax deposit I ought to do. I am waiting for the snow, dammit.

I'm working, so I had to send my son out for milk and bread. He went yesterday, but that's what you do when it might snow --- go buy milk and bread. And beer, but that's just us. There hasn't been a flake, the temperature is about 39 degrees, and school gets out at 3 pm anyway, but they shut down the schools early. I love it.

Yesterday, I went looking for gloves. I want some basic Isotoner type gloves to keep me warm. Target had some cute bikinis that might keep one hand warm if I wrapped it real well, but no gloves. What's with that? We heard rumor of winter wear at the Family Dollar, so that's where the boys are heading now. Katy and I are waiting for a few flakes so I can close the office early and go home. Dangerous roads, you know. People driving while looking for snow flakes.

Oh well, I guess I have to wait. Let me get back to the damn payroll tax.
Stay warm.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fridays aren't for working

I know that I am not going to get a lot of sympathy on this one, but:

This is the first Friday I've worked in several months. I mean, work at my job, not at home or at St. Michael's or as a volunteer at the school. In my office in the country. You know what this means. It means that it is TAX SEASON.

From January through April I work five and a half days a week. May through December, not so much. In fact, 30 hours a week is really only a theory. That's not great since I get paid by the hour, but it's hard to argue with flexibility.

It takes awhile to get back into TAX SEASON shape.

It means that I wear real clothes and shoes every day. And make-up. No more wearing my Snuggie all day. No more fuzzy socks from morning to night and beyond. I'm talking hard-soled shoes. A bra. Jewelry if I can find it.

It means that I work nine hours straight most days. No more naps on Friday afternoon. No more Friday night "happy hours" that run into Saturday. The happy hour is going to have to be closer to an hour (or three, but who's counting?)

It means that I have something to do at work pretty much all the time. And that much of the time I have three or four things to do. And I have to figure out what's important and how to do everything.

It means that I will see actual human beings every single day. Several times a day. And some of them will yell at me because they have to pay taxes even though they were unemployed most of the year. And some will cry on my shoulder because their stinking soon to be ex-husband/wife is doing terrible things to their credit rating and alienating their children. And some will try to kiss me when they get a big refund even when I tell them that was their money anyway and the government has been holding it interest free. When it's not tax season I can go three weeks without a visitor. And, as an accountant, I LIKE that.

This stuff takes getting used to. I try to take it slow, working until five a couple of days a week to build up to the six o'clock closing time next week. Walking around the yard when I start to feel really tired or overwhelmed. Telling accounting jokes with my co-workers (why did the accountant cross the road? Because that's what last year's accountant did.) Little things that keep me going.

So now, Fridays are for work, like normal people. And Saturday mornings are for work, like a lot of other people, too. And my sudden urge to crochet may be pushed aside by my increased desire to sleep as soon as I get home.

But at least I'll be making some money, and as an accountant, I LIKE that, too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Has broken

For Travel Tip Thursday, from Pseudonymous High School Teacher: let your donations do the traveling.

The airport at Port au Prince is open, and the donations are coming in. Haiti is a small poor country, probably less able to handle this disaster than any other country in the world. Let's help our neighbors.

American Red Cross

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I am doing what I can to make this tax season not suck. I am coming to terms with the fact that I have no control over most things. My goal is to do a good job and make a lot of money. I am planning for the future, but I'm not ready to talk about that a whole lot. But let me ask, who wouldn't want to have their taxes or small business bookkeeping done in a coffee/tea shop?

I have acted on my new serenity three times this week, catching myself before I got upset about things I'm not going to be able to fix. I had a NOTE on my desk Monday morning. NOTES are a trigger for me. My blood pressure rises, I think WTF now? I start planning my resignation letter. Sometimes actually reading the note makes it better, sometimes it makes it worse. Monday, it made it worse, listing three possible crises or screw-ups, but I calmed down and actually listened to the phone messages and realized there wasn't a problem. Yet.

I have learned I will have much less help than I thought, and I really wasn't planning on getting much help. I'm on my own (almost) with no authority and lots of responsibility. As usual. The difference is, I'm not going to fight it right now. Just think of the money.

I'm also signing up for at least one yoga class. That should help. I'm proud to say I have taken two steps: checking out classes, times and rates on the Internet & asking someone who knows about this stuff what she recommends. Today I'm going to see about finding a class and a partner or two.

Other than that, I'm still ahead on the payroll reports and W-2s, on task on the bookkeeping for tax returns, and behind on a mailing that should have gone out last week. Oh well. On we go.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Here we go again...

Tax season 2010. I'm feeling sort of weird --- excited, nervous, and panicky. Kind of like I felt when I felt the first labor pains with my second child. "Oh no, I changed my mind, I can't do this!"

Things feel fairly calm right now. We have good personnel, including a really good bookkeeper with a positive attitude who will take the burden of a lot of the monthly bookkeeping and payroll work. I've given up any notion of control, and that is good right now. I've never liked floating, going with the flow, but it's liberating. My new motto is "I'll burn that bridge when I come to it."

On the home front, Joseph is not in school this semester, which means he will have no health insurance. He may sign up for some sort of mini-semesters, but I don't know. I'd never push him to go to college if I weren't terrified of him being without health insurance. Although I always assumed my kids would go to college, I know from my experience that if you don't know what you want to do or you don't want to study, college is a black hole for cash and self-esteem. Get a job, then go to college when that's what you want to do and will be willing to work hard to do well.

Robert & Katy are still living with us. It's nice having Gabe & Brendon with us, but Mark is getting really tired of living in a crowded house. I have a couple of ideas, but I don't have the time to do something right now. Maybe tomorrow...

One of R & K's cats had kittens and the other is preggers. I can't tell you how much I want them to get the girls fixed. This time, for sure. Right? In the mean time, kittens, free to good homes. OK: kittens free to homes that won't feed them to dogs. I still have standards.

This is the last Friday that I don't officially work. Tomorrow is the last free Saturday. I'm helping the accountant at the church, then going to my office to get some stuff done. I'm tax season nesting. Ready to roll. Today is the last lunch with Bob. Maybe we can go to the Blue Marlin... very nice. We'll probably go to Monterrey's where I'll get the #10 & Bob will get the Speedy with rice.

I have been thinking about things I want to write, and now that I've gotten this exciting update out of the way, maybe I'll remember and write something interesting. Or not. Peace out!