One of the pitfalls of tuning out the world, not knowing was is going on beyond my quiet, snow covered yard is I get in a rut where the show the squirrels and the dog put on becomes the highlight of my days. Here’s what happens: The squirrels come to my bird feeding station that’s a foot off my deck, the dog barks and I wait until a squirrel gets greedy enough to no longer be satisfied eating what’s in the ground feeder and he climbs up the pole. That’s when I let the dog out on the deck to chase the furry tailed rodent. Levi comes back in tongue-hanging happy and it takes a few days for the squirrel to get brave enough to try pole dancing again. And while I’m plotting against my squirrels, the rest of the world is doing God knows what to each other. Yup, I’ve joined the geriatric, tuned out set for sure.
Or have I? A few days ago I tuned back into having media on in the house. The storm out East drew me in and before I knew it I was watching the San Francisco auditions of American Idol. Then I discovered that while I was away the gods of programing have decided to pull Morning Joe off the air. Oh, crap. Apparently, too many of his viewers, like me, had put themselves on a media blackout so now I feel obligated to watch his prolonged death on the air. I hope it’s not as long as Letterman’s exit plan. I can’t wait for him to leave so we can see what Steven Colbert will do with that time slot.
In the meantime, like many Americans I’m getting ready for tax day---sorting and purging the filing cabinets. I have never minded paying taxes, never grumble about it, or looked for ways to hide income or cheat the system the way a few people do. It would have been easy to do, being self-employed most of my work life. But in my experience, those who do those things eventually get caught and life is too short to spend it arguing with the IRS. Spending your life looking over your shoulder wondering when someone is going to report you for your ill-gotten gains is not my idea of fun either. I knew two people who did that and both paid heavily in the end. One lost a farm that had been in the family for generations and spent time in prison. He was one of those people who believed that all local, state and federal laws and taxes are bad. All guns and resistance to authority is good. I can’t image living that way.
I go to a CPA for my taxes and I don’t have much to gather this year---it all comes to me in the mail from banks, Social Security, the pension administration, etc., but old habits are hard to break so I still designate late January as purge-the-filing-cabinet time. It hasn’t be as bad this year as the last two when I was still dealing with issues related to my husband dying. This year will be the first tax filing entirely on my own, with his name and details not appearing on anything. The death and dying bills have been paid. Insurance, pension and financial issues are all straighten out. Everything of Don’s that could be donated, was donated and the tax write-off taken. Yadda, yadda yadda. At least the receipts and records I’m sorting, now, aren’t like re-living a sadness too deep to explain. I did find Don’s last billfold, still loaded with his ID, cards, money, etc. and I did my widow's work---I unloaded it. Then I decided Don is going to buy me one last gift with the unexpected windfall. Or maybe it should be from Levi since I found the money on his birthday.
Levi just turned seven. That’s like 21 in people years if you go by that old wives tale. We are having a fight. He’s schnauzer stubborn. I’m old lady stubborn. We’re fighting over how he eats and it’s all my own fault. Back when he was a puppy I read something in a “flaky” (?) training book about how dogs and cats need the mental stimulus of finding their food instead of having it given to them in dishes. For cats, that meant hiding kibble around the house so they’d have to hunt for it. For dogs like schnauzers that like to chase small vermin that meant rolling kibble across the floor so they can chase the food, crawling under and behind stuff when necessary. It’s a fun game, but recently I decided that he might out live me and Levi should learn how to eat the normal dog way. He’s not liking that idea one little bit. He’ll stand next to the bowl, bark and take off running then he'll look back at me like I'm dumber than a plastic mannequin. He’s probably thinking his human is getting senile and needs to be retrained. If I don’t give in (to stop the barking next to the dish) he’ll wait until after the lights go off at night before he gives in and eats from the dish. If it wasn’t so cold and icy outside he’d probably run away from home and it if wasn’t so cold and icy outside, I’d probably go with him. I’m really bored right now! ©