I never got the hang of today. I spent most of the day thinking it was Friday, being corrected on that point, and then promptly forgetting it. I started off by getting the dogs to the groomer and then going to the library.
But for reasons noone can explain, our public library is always closed on Thursday mornings. I was so puzzled by the closed signs that I thought, you know, that funding had been pulled or there'd been a bomb scare (I went to public school in Washington DC in the seventies) or something.
No. It's just Thursday.
So I headed for home. The day was insanely beautiful. Sunny and warm and breezy. I called Chris and told him to dress the kids. I'd take them to the park and then try the library again in the afternoon. But I stopped at the post office on the way home where there was a letter from the Outrageous Local Taxes Tax Board asking for $138 MORE. I'd already given them more than the GNP of most countries, so I was . . . unhappy.
I drove straight over to the tax office and asked for an explanation. Well, see, they figured since the state of Pennsylvania had already given me credit for the money I paid the state of CA they didn't have to.
I asked why the heck I have to pay 2.5% income tax on money earned while a resident in a different state through employers not located in Pennsylvania.
You don't have to, she said, you're only supposed to claim the amount you earned while you were actually a resident here.
I pointed out that I had scoured the tax booklet they gave me (one page, front and back) for that information and it pretty clearly stated that they wanted my gross proceeds for the year. Not for the portion of the year I live here. This makes sense since it's how PA does things, too. Asks for it all and then lets you deduct whatever you paid the other state. It's still an outrageous sum of money, but I can understand the crackhead who came up with that idea.
She said, "Okay, well, um, yeah. You only have to claim what you earned while you were here."
I drove home, told the kids to get their shoes on, did some quick refiguring and faxed her the new numbers. It gives me back about $135 which I told them to apply as first quarter estimated taxes for 2006.
Taxes are shortening my life. I can feel my heart growing weaker every time something like this happens.
I took the kids to the park, but they acted like little caged animals who didn't know how to play on playground equipment anymore. After 20 minutes we left. We went to explore a coop I'd heard of, but it's . . . lame. A whole lot of pancake mixes, eggs for $2/dozen, and a lot of home-made marinades. I wanted big bins of flour priced cheaply by the pound and peanut butter and other staples. There were no staples here. I talked with the guy behind the counter. He can special order stuff. But his prices aren't that special.
I bought some chocolate milk for the kids that I'm sure comes from hormone free cows but all I could think was "whole milk? this stuff is loaded with fat!"
From there we went to Houts. It was on the way home and they had everything we needed for a real lunch. Then we went home and had the lunch.
Now it's 2:00 and I was just starting to get myself ready to go back to the libary when Milo came in.
Now, Milo's tummy bug had the upper hand in a horrible way today. Miraculously, we made it through all of the above without an accident--but he had to "go" every 20 to 30 minutes. So at this point he crawled onto my lap for a hug and then stayed for a bit. We rocked in the green chair and I knitted. After five minutes I realized he'd fallen asleep.
I cannot remember the last time Milo slept on me. It occurred to me that this could be the last time he does. He's tall, 45 lbs, 4 and some odd months old. It's been forever since the last time . . . so I knit and rocked and rocked and knit and let the hour slip quietly by without one thought to work. When Chris came by looking to run some errands I sent him off to find the children's immodium. Milo woke up and went off to play with Ben. Max and I watered the plants.
Then Max and I went to get the dogs, took Max to piano, I made dinner, picked up Max from piano, came back home, got my stuff together, and finally made it to the library. I got 90 minutes of work done, then played a game of chess with Max upstairs. He won. We were rushed in our finish as they were turning off the libary lights around us, but it was a fair win.
Came home, worked some more. Time for bed. Big day tomorrow.
I'm so grateful for being able to work in the way I do. I'm not grateful for the huge tax bills, but I'm grateful for the chance to go to the playground on the first day that screams SPRING (oh, you should have seen the college kids. They moved all their ugly couches to the lawns and BBQ'd.) I'm grateful for chess games and for being there for one last nap on Mom.