The Eleventh Hour Tax Evader

I am just completing a joyous vacation without pay, a euphemism of the State of California for end of quart break of a part-time teacher.  I had neatly set aside this period for the organization, accumulation or bottom line hysteria known as tax preparation.

Last year, I was so paranoid I made an appointment in January.  There was, indeed, a method to my madness.  My CPA gets the brittle frizzies in April and I cannot stand to see a man in the throes of hysteria.  Unfortunately, this year I chose to slide in midst weeping and gnashing of teeth to meet the deadline…..just barely.  I’m booked for April 12.

But back to my enforced vacation, nee organization period.  The first two days were spent in court arguing with an ex-husband over cost of living, starving children and tattered clothing.  That altercation left me far too upset to address the IRS.

The next four days were spent in dignified preparation for St. Patrick’s Day.  I cannot be held accountable for the fact that an old friend named Flynn had a birthday, the Hybernia Society had a formal banquet or that an Irish pub opened up within a stone’s throw of my home.  I was rendered disabled with Charley horses in both calves from jigging.  Surely, with a low pain threshold like mine, I did not dare approach my W2.

Next came the first day of spring and the infinite possibility that tiny little wild flowers might be blossoming SOMEWHERE.  Despite the warning of the AAA that no reports had yet been received from the hinterlands, I packed a lunch of feta cheese, Greek olives, french bread and wine and allowed myself to be kidnapped in a sports car heading north.  No wild flowers, no tax preparation, but we had a helluva fine picnic.

All is not lost, however.  I have 48 hours left before I face the crazed accountant in my life.  I have locked myself in my office/spare room.  (If the IRS ever questions that this room is used for business, they need only to put a federal periscope through the window.  No self respecting slob would habitate this den of chaos.  I am surrounded by piles of paper:  One for babysitting, one for telephone, another for gas and electric.  Let’s see, business expenses, educational fees, ah bank statements (why didn’t I balance my account monthly all year?)  I’ll do it next year,what’s left of it.

I also have copies of “How to Get Organized”, “How to be a Financially Secure Woman” and “Pulling Your Own Strings.”

Since I have not broken out in a rash or a crying jag, I must not be serious yet.  Just in case, the refrigerator is stocked with a modest amount of wine for medicinal purposes only.

Well, maybe I’ll just dive in, organize, stack, file and finish; but…….the grout in the bathroom looks moldy, the patio needs sweeping, and it just happens to be a perfect morning for sitting on a rock and photographing squirrels.  I guess I don’t need to get too uptight.  As Scarlet O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day.”


I found this attached to my tax file.  Nothing changes, nothing remains the same.  I am still Scarlet O’Hara at tax time.


Car Keys and Hair Conditioner

An exerpt from Chronicles from the Swing, by Madam Truefire

We sat in a swing: two women of two genres: One a diva in her early 50s, the other an aging dame in her first year of 70.

They sat in an ancient swing and drank good Shiraz after having walked a mile or so for aerobics.

The younger babe was in a crisis of sorts: living with an abusive man who called her various unattractive words in the alphabet beginning with C and or F. She flipped an F back in true Italian style. I call it the game of alphabetic jousting.

I said: “OK. Let’s find a solution.”
“Should I smother him?”
“No, for Gods sake. You would go to prison.
You can’t sustain bras without pushups and drab cotton prison garb. Plus you look hideous in orange.
MOST important, it’s your hair.”
“What do you mean?” She asked.
“You wouldn’t be able to sustain incarceration with roots and no hair conditioner.
“No you can’t off him,.This is the deal. It’s about car keys.”
“Car Keys. You hold them in your hand or as an ancient Sufi master counseled me,
Get a chain or something, but have them in your Levis or around your neck. You never know when you have to take a sudden road trip.”

“I’m not following you.” she said. Divas can be dense at times.

“Listen up. I nearly bought the cancer thing with my left breast three years ago. A medical intuitive reminded me that I had a certain life style that had to be ended. It was “doormat”. So now I keep my keys in my hand and ready myself for escape. I don’t need to say a thing, except, I DON”T need to put up with mental or verbal abuse. The first time I tried this method, it was a roaring success. My darling first born was loudly and offensively accusing me of some error in my behavior. I quietly picked up the keys and walked out and equally quietly closed the door behind myself. She called me on the cell in less than five minutes. “Where in hell are you?” She queried somewhat shrilly. I peacefully answered, “I’m taking a drive. I don’t need to continue with that particular conversation. Have a good evening.” I went to a friend’s house and then came back much later. The air had cleared. I don’t want to say that shrill sessions don’t arise any more. They do, but I just walk or drive away. It’s a choice,I can assure you.

.Trust me. When he calls you names, he doesn’t get to do that any more unless you allow it. DRIVE AWAY, and don’t tell him where you are going. When you return, politely explain that you will do it again if he ever calls you ANY names AND MEAN IT.

I’m 70, girlfriend, I wish I had learned this at 50.”

We sat and swang, is that the proper verb, swang? Swinged, oh who in heck cares, but we were sisters in solution mode. She had been raised by poodles; I had been born of wolves. Who Knew?
When she left, I called out: “Remember, your roots. They won’t look good in prison garb.”’

A Fond Fair Thee Well to Lingering

A Fond Fair Thee Well to Lingering….

To linger in the past is a well known recipe for illness. Holding on with white knuckles to what might have beens and if I’d onlys and exacting some sort of invisible list of regrets should be obvious enough; but let’s ponder some other faulty Lingerings……

Identifying oneself via career and refusing to change even when the economy throws a cog into the ever turning wheel can insure not only stress, tsunami sized stress, but equally large sized disappointment. It’s also important not to linger in a job that no longer suits who you are.

Growing up and beyond anything is a guaranteed road to freedom. Most people don’t give themselves true freedom. It’s far safer to lock the doors of what ifs and hunker down in the good ole status quos of life. This, by the way, cements the linger phenomenon. Buses, trains and planes are missed on the road to holding on tightly to an identification that no longer fits.

I suggest buying that tic ket on the bus, train or plane to Somewhere, and with wide eyed wonder, showing up at a stop and leaping perkily into a new adventure. OK, That sounds too scary for most. The What ifs of fear, lack and potential failure are a mighty Trinity. But if, for one moment, one shining moment, we could turn off all the buzz, the wifis, the dings of texts, you know, the every day fast lane and ponder a Plan B, it might be fun and frankly life saving.

Seniors are a fabulous example of this fork in the road option. Have you ever wondered why some septa and octagenarians are distinctly following the path of extinction while a few others are trotting the light fantastic, having fabulous love lives, and making their own kids wonder if they are ever going to get serious and be the parents and grand parents that they were promised.

Does the secret lie in good genes? Maybe sometimes; but mostly it’s attitude.

Don’t get me wrong. Illness of any kind is the quickest road to aging I know of; but infectious disease aside, lifestyle illness is truly the red light zone.

Retirement is another factor that may take too long to discuss today, but it’s prudent to have a Plan B for any life change whether it is employment downsizing, economic debacle or a broken hip.

It is pretty clear that the word PUNT could be important.

Sitting down again without electronics and examining one’s life might be helpful. Actually, how about asking the question: What do I really want to do with the rest of my life? It’s important and it may take more than five minutes with a smart phone in stun mode.

So let’s get back to the elders who don’t appear to be accepting status quo. One of the leading causes is their ability to surf change. Another is their dedication to ditch that very Status Quo. AND, that, my dears, is where Plan BE kicks in.

Geri Lennon (Madam Truefire) copyrighted June 28, 2013