Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Good News/Bad News

Okay, so I didn't get everything done that I wanted to do. Especially sleep.

Okay, Friday was pretty awesome. I met Adin for lunch, and then the two of us went to a pottery painting place and had fun making a mess of some ceramic. (We'll get our pieces back at the end of this week, I think. I'm looking forward to seeing how awful mine turn out, or if they're actually half-decent.) And then, because the weather was so nice and warm, we had grilled meats for dinner. Yum!

I'd forgotten I had a hair appointment Saturday morning, so even though I actually went to bed more or less on time (thanks to Alex throwing a hissy fit so I took him home rather than put him to bed at the Hegemony), I was up at 8 so I could caffeinate and get over to the salon.

Hair re-colored and trimmed, I considered Penny's plea that we join the Hedge at Busch Gardens' pre-opening preview day for pass holders, and decided it was good. So we left the boys at home (Alex was still in pretty dire need of a nap) and headed out. Naturally, the park was completely packed -- we left home at 11:30. It took us 5 minutes to get to the park grounds, and then another twenty minutes to get through the parking line. And then by the time we'd made it to the back of the park to where the Hedge were having lunch, it took us another hour to get our food. (Note to self: Remember, when at Busch Gardens this summer, not to eat at "normal" mealtimes. Get a snack at noon, and have lunch at 2.)

But we did eventually get to have some fun, though Penny didn't get to do any roller coasters, as she was hoping. (There were pictures, but I haven't had time to upload them to flickr yet.) But after we left Busch Gardens, I went home and collected Alex so Matt could go to his D&D game, and then we met up with the Hedge again for dinner. Some begging had induced me to agree that Sarah could sleep over at our house, so we packed up and came home shortly after dinner, and I got all three kids to bed.

Blam! Saturday gone.

Sunday was the usual chores, mostly. We met up with the Hedge for lunch so we could give Sarah back to her dad, but other than that just lounged around the house. I made a pot roast for dinner that turned out very well, though, and I'm eagerly anticipating the leftovers. (Pot roast is always better as leftovers. I don't know why, but it's true.)

And then Monday -- yesterday -- was supposed to be my day off to really relax. Catch up on sleep, do some writing, maybe run a couple of errands. Matt looked at the calendar Sunday night and noticed a doctor appointment I'd completely forgotten about, so that was good, because otherwise I'd have missed it.

The morning got off slow, though -- I did more chatting with KT than writing (this is why I should register my copy of Freedom) and when that two hours was up, I finally guilted myself into doing our taxes.

That was a weird conglomeration of good news/bad news. Good news: We've paid down quite a chunk of the principle on our mortgage, so in 2011 we paid only half the interest we'd paid in 2010. Bad news: That drop meant that our itemized deduction was actually smaller than the standard deduction. Good news: Using the standard deduction is loads easier and lighter on the paperwork, so next year I can probably skip straight to the standard unless something happens to make me think itemizing would be a good idea again.

Good news: I actually did save the receipts from my Vistaprint orders and when I went to Roanoke Pride in September, so I could claim all that stuff as a business expense (advertising and promotion travel are allowable). Bad news: I made less than $1600 from my writing and editing combined; less than $1400 after factoring in the expenses. I won't be able to give up the Day Job any time soon. Good news: That means I got to use the "EZ" version of the self-employment form. (That would be Schedule C, for my writer friends who haven't done their taxes yet...)

Good news: We owed less than last year. Bad news: We still owed. Good news: We make enough money that we owe taxes.

Bad news: The VA form is still put together by epileptic meth addicts. Good news: The VA form still lets us claim a lot more of our daycare expenses, so we're getting a small refund from the state.

Back and forth like that. I think if I had to write them all down and add them up, the good outweighed the bad... but only just barely. Anyway, I lost a solid three hours to wading through all that paperwork. Which is nothing compared to, say, my brother and sister-in-law, who operate their own business out of their home. (Sam spent over 20 hours just gathering files and organizing things for their CPA.) But it was still three hours out of a day I'd really wanted to spend on less mentally draining efforts. Or at least, more enjoyable ones.

Then I ran some errands and ate lunch and tried to wake up a little. Later in the afternoon, I drove over to the doctor's office and had my annual boobsmashing. (I realize I am now old enough that even if I switched to a different insurance company, they're pretty much guaranteed to agree to pay for annual mammograms. I guess that's... good?)

I thought about going to bed early last night, but instead I thought I should recover some of the writing time I'd meant to have earlier in the day, so I started up Freedom (Twitter is my nemesis in the evenings) and dove into my current project. I didn't do a progressive word count, but I wrote a solid two and a half single-spaced pages, so probably 1500 words, give or take? That felt like pretty good progress. I'm only another maybe four pages from wrapping up the story, so I might make that April 1 submission deadline with it, after all. (And if not -- or if they reject it for the anthology -- I think it's good enough that a little scrub would let it stand alone.)

So that was my long weekend. Not nearly as relaxing and sleep-intensive as I'd hoped, but still (mostly, except for the taxes) pretty good.

Now, I just need a good, long nap... What? Work?


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