Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tax Time Loometh

Every year since my husband turned the taxes over to an accountant, who then turned most of the bookkeeping over to me, we've filed an extension and end up filing sometime in September or so.
I thought this meant I had from April until September to do all that bookkeeping stuff I SHOULD have done from January to December.  Turns out I still have to have it all done by April, but the Accountant doesn't have to have his part of it all done until he's good and ready, which can be any time between May and September.

I reconcile two accounts; the business checking account and Hubby's American Express account, then I have some magic to do with his Per Diem calculation and taxis and meals and figuring out where he was on what days, waving my magic wand, and coming up with a number which then I write on a check and pay the household account for in retribution.  I don't understand it, but I follow the instructions carefully laid out for me by the nice accountant. 

Last year (2010) I had kind of stalled out in February, and didn't pick it back up until October, which is a totally stupid time to decide to catch up as everything else in my life starts hurtling toward the holidays, which are a grossly time consuming season for me.  One problem with waiting is then it gets hard to find the statements to match the QuickBooks files up to, and after a while they no longer make them available on line.  It starts getting difficult to accomplish it at all.  But for the 2010 taxes I got it all completed and to the accountant by the middle of March, then I vowed that NEVER AGAIN will I let the bookkeeping get so far ahead of me.

This year (2011) I apparently made good on my vow long enough to get things up to date for that minute.  I had entered up to March in one account, and April in the other before I stalled out.  However I didn't pick everything up to work on furiously until Oh, about a week ago.
So the house, the kids, the laundry, dinner... everything is coming to a complete halt and hanging around my ears until the Quickbooks stuff is all entered up to December.  The per diem stuff may take longer, but I don't have to show that to the accountant immediately (shhhhhh).

I'm just taking this moment here to complain about it.  As of this moment I have finished the checking account through 2011, and I'm on May of the Am Ex account, but I haven't started the whole per diem stuff.  The accountant said he'd sure appreciate it if I could get this to him by the end of the week.  

Ummm... unless I stop eating and sleeping I'm not sure that's going to happen.  And did I mention we have this whole remodel thing going on in the basement?  The contractor told me I have to have a closet in (see previous post) so they can finish the baseboards in that bedroom before the painter comes.  Sigh.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I am not an island

I have learned to singlehandedly take care of many things around the house. I'm sure this is true for many many people.  I know I'm not alone in my alone-ness.  A lot of people have to find ways to do things alone that require multiple people.  Or maybe they're smarter than me and they call a friend.  But I consider myself moderately handy, like being able to do things, and usually can do it myself despite the obstacles.
As part of our remodel we are putting in a bedroom downstairs.  One of my issues with bedrooms is the closet.  I hate how the doorway is cut smaller than the closet, so you can't get to the stuff on the sides, or the top shelf.  Then we discovered the IKEA closet systems which go all the way to the ceiling and all the way left and right.  

None of that annoying shelf behind the door jamb.  They have multiple options for shelves, drawers, racks, and shoe storage.  We are hooked.  They are cheap.  It's a match made in heaven.  I'd add doors because it's not part of a walk-in closet. 

The bedroom is nearly done, with the nice big open space just waiting for the closet.  I drive to IKEA and purchase my closet system, which weighs approximately seven billion pounds for each of the two base units which will sit beautifully side by side in my closet space. I got them on the cart thing myself, but a nice passerby stopped to help me get them into the back of my car.  While I am a fully functioning independent person, I have been known to accept the kindness of strangers.   I even bought some closet doors, which I decided on the way home I definitely don't like, but then I had the brilliant revelation that I'd just return them later and have the cabinet maker guy who's working on the house make me four little closet doors that will match the door to the room!  And the molding!  (pictures will come later!) It will be custom fit, it will go beautifully!  I'll pay more for the doors, sure, but it will be wonderful!  Wonderful, I tell you!

My contractor and his daughter (who has been helping him with my house) helped me get the two huge boxes through the removable open window, into the basement, the same way they've brought in all the lumber, dry wall, tile, and other equipment for remodeling so they didn't have to carry it through the house and down my tight turned stairs.  Soon after they brought in the closet they replaced said window with the real thing.  They go to lunch and I go to work assembling my closet.  I am excited.

I am alone.  But I am undaunted.  I have always assembled stuff from IKEA by myself, despite the little warning:
Taken by itself this image is somewhat confusing.  It looks like uneven-eyed Picasso inspired people wielding hammers should not approach the IKEA products.  Or maybe you just shouldn't hammer on them.  But next to it is the explanatory image:

Oh, I see.  Two people are okay.  Or maybe it's hammering is okay as long as you have a friend with a pencil behind his ear to watch.  Whatever.  I am alone.  But I remain undaunted.  Until somewhere around step 11 when I had to stand up the side and attached bottom of the closet structure, previously laying on the ground and attached by two tiny sticks and three screws.  It took some doing but I succeeded without breaking anything.  Then, I was supposed to sort of simultaneously attach the other side, and the top of the closet structure, forming a box, again with two little dowel sticks and three screw things.  This is where I started having trouble. The first time the side that I had carefully balanced slid out from under the top, the top fell down, knocking off a corner, and bending the screws, breaking the dowels, and ripping out the screw holes.  

Yes, I should have stopped there.  But I found some wood glue and a vice the contractor had in a box in the hall, did my best to patch things back together, straightened the screws as best I could with a couple of pliers, and started again.  The second time the whole thing leaned too far and fell over and I couldn't catch it, the screw holes on the other side were ripped out too. 

And now this is me:
Only I have more hair and accessorize better.  Other than that, it's a pretty accurate depiction.

The contractor said he'd probably be able to glue most of the pieces back together and would be able to help me another day.  

So much for being a do-it-myself-er.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Long time gone

Hubby flew to Sydney yesterday.  He's been in Melbourne, before that he was in Brisbane, before that he was in Wellington, before that he was in Auckland.  It has been a loooong couple of weeks.  He comes back home on Wednesday late afternoon.

Last week we kind of sat around.  This week we kept ourselves busy.  My niece, who we'll call Niecey, is Thing 1 and 2's most favorite person in the world, came up for a sleepover.  Friday night I took all three girls snowshoeing at night with a group from church.  Niecey had never been snowshoeing before, my girls had been once.  Turns out snowshoeing in the dark is predictably harder than going during the day.  Also it was steeper, in any event we didn't make it to the top of the hill to see the moon rise... Thing 2 became very frustrated and started falling down a lot.  Everyone was kind of stumbling, the terrain is irregular and the snow trips you up, but Thing 2 seemed to take it more personally than anyone else.  When she started loudly crying we turned around, as reports indicated the incline got much steeper from there.  And, having a sobbing kid that I'm driving forward at night on a trail full of people I don't know is certainly not my idea of a good time.  There were Banbury Cross donuts and hot chocolate waiting at the bottom.  We took Kelso, who was of course more of a problem than I had hoped.  He was fine once we got on the trail, he stayed pretty close to us, but he was going back and forth, and knocked Thing 2 down once when  he pushed past her, and he growled at people on the trail a couple of times, and I'm sure by the end of the night EVERYONE knew our dog's name as all three girls kept calling to him the minute he was out of their line of sight, even when he was quite close by and didn't need to be called back.  They were quite worried he'd run off.

Saturday afternoon the three girls played in their rooms a lot, and went outside a couple of times to play in the snow.  Thing 1 figured out a way to go snowboarding, sort of.  She's really excited about it, and I think it's time to put them in ski or snowboarding lessons.

My brother came up later on Saturday to get his daughter, it's always nice to have him up and I got to show the remodeling off to him.  I love how he has always been very positive about this house, commenting how much he likes it and how well it suits our family.  Which it does.
After they left we went to dinner at the home of one of Thing 1's friends.  Her dad was out of town so it was a girls party.  We just had Costco pizza, but it was really nice to talk to the mom, who I like talking to.  The girls had a few incidents where the friend turned off the lights, pulled some heads off her dolls, and apparently tried and succeeded in freaking out my girls, especially Thing 1 who has a low tolerance for dark and creepy.  She was ready to leave quite a while before we actually did.  But they made cotton candy and all in all I had a lovely time.  It's nice poking my nose in other people's houses, and though there are things I really like about their house, overall it's probably not one I would have really considered.

Today we're just sitting around.  I sort of "accidentally" forgot it's daylight savings time, and we missed church. 
Not a good excuse, I know, but it's what we did.

A nice weekend, despite Hubby not being here.

Not much going on, just thought I'd catch up a little.