What goes around

As we are experiencing record cold. My plan was to spend the day reading.  But nothing goes according to plan, does it?

I managed to read another 5 percent of my new book, Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue the Nation’s Treasures From the Nazis, by Robert Edsel.  I also plan to read  The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, by Edsel, and the basis for the new George Cloony film of the same title.  I don’t generally watch many of the new films, but this film sounds promising.

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About mid-morning David and I began the arduous task of sorting through the bits and bobs of paper collected in several big piles on the desk in his room. David says he wants me to prepare the 2013 taxes, which I’ll do, using Turbo Tax of course.

When David sold real estate, I insisted he do the job of tax preparer, because his activities complicated our tax return. Now that real estate is in our past, I can do them again.  Besides, I need to understand what’s going on. Just this morning, I found a W-2 form for a check he said he knew nothing about.  After trying to ascertain the truth for several hours via phone, he drove to the bank to discuss the matter with someone face to face.

Now that our taxes are straightforward, I think it’s better to begin the process and file early, rather than wait until April 15, the tax filing deadline. Every year David likes to wait until the last moment to complete the tax returns, then stand in line at the Post Office with all the other procrastinators.

Also, I am setting up a filing system for tax year 2014. No more piles of papers gathering dust.  From now on they get filed as they come in, just like the business offices where I once worked.

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Years ago, after training at a business college, I worked as a bookkeeper for various concerns.  My first husband was military, so I found jobs wherever we were stationed, and at different times I was employed by a large drug chain and several small businesses.

I was primarily a sociologist (demographer) after I returned to school and finished several degrees. Then, I switched from bookkeeping to economics to earn a living. Rather than doing payroll, inventory, business taxes, and recording receivables for advertising and promotion accounts, I worked in the Finance Department handling requests for information from government regulators  preparing studies for the marketing department and developing economic and demographic forecasts for the Business Plan (later on, managing those who did).

Along the way, I learned about computers. Bell Labs developed Fortran for the Department of Defense, so I learned how to program in Fortran, a scientific language used internally by AT&T.  Fortuitously, I also used Fortran in grad school, so I took courses on this software at George Washington University.

(Remember the Hollerith cards? Henry Hollerith, who devised the card, was a director at the Census Bureau before he left to become a principle with IBM.)

When I went to work for the Census Bureau, I discovered the technology was:

1/ way behind the private sector in terms of sophistication (they were using main frame computers for everything), and

2/ esoteric, or unique (the CB had its own computer language).

Mastering CB technology was like learning Greek (i.e., returning to an antiquated past), but with much hard work, I did it.

In the 1990s, the government was “reinvented” under the Clinton Administration, and employees received personal computers and learned computer languages developed in the wider business community, such as SASS and Word Perfect.

Under both the Clinton and Bush Administrations, agencies were directed to contract out many jobs formerly done by government employees.

With each change I had a leaning curve to master, and managed to do it until I finally reached a point where my body and brain said “enough already” and I had  a heart attack and three years later a stroke.

I retired and went back to graduate school and finished an M.A. in History with an A- average in 2012.  I don’t intend to work again, I’ve paid my dues. Now I want to do whatever I want.

But, David wants me to prepare our taxes.  He says it’s time I learned. Ha Ha.  I suppose so, but I didn’t tell him he will have to do some of the cooking while I work on them.  I know  a lot about computers, but am a lousy cook!!

28 thoughts on “What goes around

  1. I haven’t done taxes since before we were married. We do now send our tax papers to have them prepared by our accountant in Chicago. We haven’t found anyone in Hawaii yet, but we’ll have to since our accountant is retiring.

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  2. I did our taxes last year for the first time in 38 years, and I used Turbo Tax to do it. A friend convinced me it was very easy to do and it was. Being online means there is no mailing the paperwork back and forth. Also, the refunds, although small, were automatically deposited into my checking account with the credit union that provides the online Turbo Tax software.

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  3. Good idea on the filing system. We implemented one for my husband’s business and it’s so much easier at tax time. Even with Turbotax it became too daunting for me, so we finally hired a CPA and it’s worth it.

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  4. What a great post. Like you, I’m retired and a poor cook. I used to do the taxes and was a good cook. Ah, well. Most of the time now post stroke, I’m ok. Yesterdays post shows a non functional me…and here I thought I was making sense. LOL

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  5. Word Perfect disappeared here as well when M/soft entered the world. Mind you if I’m honest as a learner of all things technical at that time I found it easier to master the latter.
    Take care
    Cathy

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  6. WordPerfect–that brings back memories. I loved it. When something messed up you could actually look at the commands and figure out how to clean things up. A job change threw me upon the mercy of Microsoft Word. I use Word but still harbor resentment about its arrogance to this day. Obviously my computer savvy was and is limited. Hooray for Turbo Tax!

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  7. Hey, wait til President’s Day to do the Turbo Tax. Last year, David did it too soon and after he mailed our return to the State of Hawaii, I received a form from my former publisher that they had deposited money into my account in 2012. So now there is a discrepancy. David refuses to file an amended return. I worry about this.

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  8. Sounds like a very fair trade..if you are working doing taxes, somebody else should def do the cooking. I read the post below on your dental visit and send good thoughts for a good outcome…my sister is a dentist, so I can’t say I hate dentists, but I sure hate going.

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