March 24, 2005

Where have I been?

Well, right HERE, actually. This week has been weird – I have been in “oh-so important” all-day departmental meetings, which leaves me to scramble during lunch (my normal block of writing time) to catch up on everything piling up. Our computer at home is having issues so my on-line time has been limited this week. Plus, I loathe my job so much right now that I am a fount of negativity. Let’s see what I can muster.

Taxes: In an amusing bit of irony, I, the licensed CPA, hate doing taxes. I particularly dreaded this year’s exercise because we had some weird transactions last year due to the whole New House/Old House thing and the fact that last year we started renting out another house we own in another state (No, we are not rich, just incredibly fortunate that we each took advantage of the many first-time home buyer’s options available while we were both still single and not considered one financial entity). So, like I said, I DREADED doing our taxes this year. A few weeks back, I logged into TurboTax and half-heartedly started the monotony of clicking “yes” and “no”.* The one thing I loathe about TurboTax is the damned “refund/you owe” ticker symbol going on the left-hand corner. When I was at HR Block, we did not provide that because it was difficult for inexperienced users to understand how drastically the number can fluctuate based upon WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR TAX RETURN. This was particularly highlighted last night as X anxiously peered over my shoulder watching the damned numbers go crazy while asking me “Have you entered blah blah yet?” “What about the interest expense THERE?” “Have you input our miscellaneous deductions yet?” To my credit, I didn’t shoot him. Anyway, at least to the IRS, we don’t owe money – YEAH! I thought we were going to owe $5000, so it FEELS like I GOT that $5000. YEAH! Now, I just have to do 3 more returns – Missouri, Kansas, and Kansas City. Lord, I hate taxes, but my ridiculous pride prevents me from handing the whole mess to a REAL professional.

Phone: Over the years, I have been very lucky in the gadget department. I have not bought a cell phone since 1998 – I had a friend who worked for product development at Sprint and she was very generous. She referred to me as a “hardcore Palm” user and was nice enough to encourage my habit. She would pass along cool phones to me and after I had used it for awhile, I report back to her what I thought the strengths and weaknesses were. It was a GREAT relationship! When she left Sprint, it was a sad day for me. Therefore, I have had the Samsung I330 since 2002 – it’s a GREAT phone, but it is pretty old by now but I have gotten my use out of it. Also, it just wasn’t keeping a battery charge like it did when it was just a babe (even after buying a new battery for it). Therefore, X decided I should have a new phone and over the weekend, I got a Treo 650. So far, I am pretty happy with it. It is very friendly and has some cool features. Change is a funny creature, though. Even though the Treo is obviously a much better phone than the Samsung, I still miss the old one.

Life from the Lair: I am in a cubicle cul-de-sac and I sit in the next to the last cellblock. The gal in the very last cube I like to call the Prom Queen (PQ) because she is the most popular gal in Information Security (please note: The Big Burper sits on the OTHER side of me and oddly enough is equally popular. I haven’t figured out that conundrum yet, although to her credit she holds her bodily functions until her visitors have left). Anyway, all day long people trod back and forth past my cube to pay the PQ visits. Often, she is not there and it quickly becomes My Problem. When the visitor realizes she is not there, the Interrogation begins. Where is she? Will she be back? When? Can you tell her I am looking for her? Or, even worse, they will launch into a detailed description of their problem with a pleading look in their eye. I, of course, put my on Stupid Armor and lay claim to the fact that PQ is all-knowing and therefore, their best bet for a solution. I have about a 70/30 success rate in my favor.**

*Yes, I did work for H&R Block’s web development team prior to being lured into Big Al’s lair. Would I recommend using Block’s application? Of course! Would I use it myself? No. Why not? Simply because I did work there and don’t like having my financial data at a place where I know so many people. Block’s site is really just fine; I just prefer my data to be stored someplace where I don’t know the folks.
**I should note the PQ is the coolest gal in Big Al’s gang. She is the only reason I remotely give a damn.

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