Apr
21
2013

  Photo Previews

I have a link to a few previews from our photo shoot on W's birthday, I have not yet seen the full gallery, but I do like a few of those photos of the boys a lot...

Apr
17
2013

  William Mulches (Video)

This is unedited, you have the opportunity to watch in real time W and M working together to fill a toy wheelbarrow with mulch, dump it near the shrub, then return for the next load.

M lost interest about halfway through the job and came to "help" me in the garden, but W continued until the mulching job was entirely done. He probably needed 15 or so loads of his little wheelbarrow to mulch that shrub. I did not do any mulching myself that day, lest he see that I could carry the same amount in about 2 or 3 loads of my enormous wheelbarrow and become demoralized about his progress.

I am perfectly contented to let him take as long as he needs to do mulch things himself, it is very useful for me, and one of the few gardening tasks he doesn't think is "too boring".

Apr
13
2013

  Why Is It Always So Bad?

You know, I went into the preparation of our personal tax return with a good attitude today. I had already installed the software, the documents I needed were all in an envelope clearly labeled "2012 Taxes", and it's quiet with the kids out of the house. I was in a good mood when I sat down, ready to just enter in all the info that I have so that I can print out the extension form and be done with it until the corporate return is done and I can finalize the return.

But I didn't even enter in all the info that I DO have finals for before I started to feel frustrated with the process. TurboTax was telling me that something I thought WAS taxable wasn't, and for other things it was asking for more complicated information than what is provided on the regular forms. Aaaaauuurgh! I was ready to just drop in some numbers, and get an answer. I do NOT have my head around re-calculating my 2011 return to figure the taxable amount of last year's refund. Nor can I fathom why our Roth conversion is showing up as non-taxable, which makes me wonder if the brokerage processed it correctly. I am not going to deal with complications today.

I am abandoning the taxes now. I will ask T what he thinks, he usually has good advice on this. My inclination is to just assume we owe nothing, file the extension with no payment, and deal with the details later.

Apr
11
2013

  Feeling Better

I see my last post was when I was sick in bed. Luckily for me, the one entire day of rest did the trick, I was fit to rejoin the land of the living on Sunday. I was still a tad congested and thought it best to take it easy for a day or two beyond that, but I've been back at full strength since yesterday. When I took the boys out on an expedition to clear a path through a previously unused patch of woods.

W and I went out early yesterday morning to scout locations for our photo shoot which is happening next Tuesday. We walked all around the property-- I don't even recognize the woods in the back acres, so many trees have come down over the past year, and our old path (from 2004) has been obliterated.

I thought I might like some woodland photos, since we had the last set done in the field, so I was focusing on finding a pretty patch of woods. The place where I got some maternity photos when I was pregnant with W, near where the pond is now, is no longer an option. So many trees are completely down that it looks like a scene from a disaster movie. The oak with the 12' high root ball is still prostrate, so that's a major aesthetic problem. Although I think getting some shots of us atop the dam might be nice, the rest of those woods are problematic.

I ventured slightly into the grove of cedars (eastern red junipers, really) about halfway down the right side of the driveway (as you approach the house). If you enter from the field above, it is not too steep, and VERY shady, although there is one spot where the light shines through, which I thought might be the good photo spot. So I spent quite a bit of time lopping off the branches below 6' to make a path through to there. Unfortunately, my loppers are either dull or otherwise not adjusted quite right so it was a difficult chore, and I didn't get clean cuts. So I left extra bits on the cut-off limbs so I could return with a better tool and make it look nice. Those trees don't look so nice now, but we'll see if I get to it before Tuesday. A lot will depend on the weather. If the woods don't work out, I might go with photos taken with us in a different field than the one adjacent to the house. The upper pasture has somewhat different views which might be a nice change of pace.

I decided that I'll "do" my taxes during my "free" day on Saturday, while T watches the boys. I don't intend to get them done really; since the LLC return isn't finished I can't finalize the personal return. But I can enter everything I've got through today into TurboTax and at least get a good idea of whether I'm sufficiently paid-up for 2012 or need to pay more when I file the extension. My guess is that I'll be due a refund, and I can just apply that to 2013 as well. But I don't know for sure. Once I stopped actively trading, I stopped managing our finances in general. T took over even paying bills when M was an infant, and though I'm back to doing that (although I would say T's still in charge of it, since periodically he just delivers a pile of bills he's gathered for me to pay while he watches the boys, I don't have to keep track of anything, I'm just better with the payment details like adding account numbers to the memo line of the check, etc.).

That was a digression-- the point I wanted to make was that I am glad I started "doing" the taxes tonight even though my designated day is Saturday, because I could not at first find this year's copy of the TurboTax! If this had happened on Saturday, I would be a mess. But since I have two days to install the program, I wasn't stressed out when I was looking for it tonight. I found it after less than 10 minutes of searching, although it was serendipitous that I happened to catch a glimpse of the box when I was bent over looking in a different location. It was in such an obscure place my best guess is not that the boys squirreled it away, but that they (or an adult) knocked it off its original storage location, and it happened to land in a box of old files because the lid was slightly askew. But this sort of thing happens all the time to me. I am neither surprised that I found it nor would I be surprised if I didn't find it and had to run out and buy another copy tomorrow. My last camera STILL has not turned up.

I saved a few pairs of W's old shoes so I would have play shoes for M, but now that M is a size 8 I went to find them, and found two shoes that were the right size, but both were the left shoes from different pairs. I had matched sets all together in one bag, but I came down one day and the boys had dumped them all out and were playing with all the shoes, and I flipped out and T told me to cool it and just let them play with the shoes, what's the worst thing that could happen? Well, they could lose every other shoe, that's what. T's answer is, "just buy new shoes." Today was my SECOND attempt-- I come home with shoes for both boys, and they both scream and have a fit and won't wear them for whatever reason (W said one pair were "not gray enough" despite the fact that they were gray shoes, and the other pair "felt bumpy" although they looked perfectly smooth to me). M just fussed because he sensed from W it was the thing to do. I will have to return both pairs I got for W since once he makes up his mind about something it's done, but I will just try putting the new shoes on M another day. He didn't like his new sneakers at first, but warmed up to them after 15 minutes. I expect I can get the same result with his sandals if W is not throwing a fit simultaneously.

Apr
06
2013

  Sick Day

I just got further behind on my paper projects. I had the sitter for two afternoons last week, but the second day, when I intended to put the corporate return to rest, the table
I was using collapsed when I was using the 2-hole punch, and my full cup of tea spilled and soaked all the documents. That was so demoralizing I just set everything out to dry and gave up for the day. I decided to use the last hour of my sitter time to do some neurofeedback, but I got a low-battery signal and it didn't work. It was not my day.

My backup plan was to spend my "free" day finishing up that return, but last night the minor cold I first noticed last Sunday took a turn for the worse. I woke up today not feeling much better, so I've just spent the day in bed. Hopefully this day of rest is all I need. But I'm resigned to filing an extension for our personal returns now, also. If the LLC had been done by this weekend, there would be a (still highly optimistic) chance of finishing the other on time. But now, no way.

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