It Is Still Raining Here

“April is the cruelest month.”  ~ T. S. Eliot, “The Wasteland”

I’m sick of the rain.  We’ve had wet weather here almost every day since mid-March.  In fact, in April we had 3x our normal rainfall, making this past April the second wettest on record.

[Oh joy.]

  • At this point, I can’t stand looking at the rain:  boring raindrops descending from gray skies that never go away.
  • I can’t stand hearing the sound of the rain pounding on the roof all night: *plop, plop… plop… splat* over and over again.
  • I can’t stand driving the car in the rain: *swish, swish* {sound of windshield wipers} *splash. splash. splash* {driving through a puddle}
  • I can’t stand walking in the rain: wet feet, muddy shoes/ cold ankles, soggy pants bottoms.

I’ve been a trooper about this lousy weather.  Really, I have.  I’ve looked on the bright side and been understanding about the fickle nature of spring.

[Spring: the passive-aggressive season.]

  • Yes, yes– I know that we had a drought last summer/autumn and that this rainfall is wonderful for the trees and grass.
  • Yes, yes– I get it that the early farm crops are thriving and this pleases some farmers.
  • Yes, yes– I’m delighted that because of the plethora of worms available, the birds are so healthy and happy this spring.  Bully for them.

But the reality is that after a very long winter I’ve endured almost two extra months of cabin fever, unable to go for long walks– or to putter in the garden– or to enjoy cook-outs on the deck.  I’ve been cooperative.  I’ve put up with this weather nonsense without much complaint.

And what have I got for all my goodness?  More fricking rain.  Predicted through the weekend.  Maybe into next week.

[And my life remains on hold.]

In Which The Beans Pay Taxes– Sort Of

[This series of events is weirdly inspirational considering we’re talking about the IRS here.]

2009

The Beans make money.

2010

AprilThe Beans file a tax return with the IRS and pay taxes on the money they made in 2009.

August – The Beans receive a letter from the IRS stating that one small section of The Beans’ 2009 tax return is being audited.

The Beans phone their CPA, Sir Add-alot, who did the tax return in question.  Sir Add-alot and the Lawyer Bean figure out that the IRS is indeed correct and that a mistake has been made on the “tax return in question.”

The Beans pay more taxes.  And a penalty.

The Lawyer Bean, who spends most of his working life figuring out how to solve problems, is pleased that the situation is rectified.   The Blogger Bean shrugs and says, “oh well.”   Sir Add-alot frets.

November – Sir Add-alot continues to fret and tells the Lawyer Bean of such.

2011

FebruaryThe Beans receive a phone call from Sir Add-alot.

While preparing The Beans’ 2010 tax return, Sir Add-alot has a brain storm and double checks something on what is now known within The Bean household as the “tax return formerly in question.”  At which point he realizes that he did not make a mistake on the “tax return formerly in question.”  Nor did the Lawyer Bean make a mistake.

[It’s a given that the Blogger Bean didn’t make a mistake.  She cedes all responsibility for taxes to those who actually enjoy working with numbers.]

The Beans learn from Sir Add-alot that the financial institution where they have some investments– a place of numbers— had made a mistake while adding up a bunch of numbers.

[Uh huh.]

By the time the Blogger Bean hears of this turn of events, Sir Add-alot has already made some calls– filled in some new forms– talked with the right people.  And he has sent the revised “tax return in question/then not in question because we paid more taxes and a penalty/then known as the tax return formerly in question/but now once again referred to as the tax return in question (but in a good way)” to the IRS.

[You with me here?]

AprilThe Beans await the return of their money— that they did not owe to the IRS, but paid while under the impression that they did owe it to the IRS– but now know better– and want their money back from the IRS– who has said that the money will be returned to The Beans once the “tax return in question (but in a good way)” is processed by the IRS.

The End.

[I hope.]

Shopping For Clothes

I don’t like to shop for clothes– at the mall– in the department stores.  However, last week it seemed like a good idea. So…

I went to the mall to look for some spring clothes for me.  I parked in the only place I could find– a parking garage about halfway between two department store anchors on either end of the mall.  Then I walked to the end of the mall to shop in the big bad department.

Once inside I went to the exact spot in the exact department where I had seen, in January, what I wanted to buy.  But my item was not there.  In fact, the whole large area formerly devoted to this particular brand was gone.  So I went in search of a sales associate.  Eventually I found a woman and asked her where the brand I wanted was hiding.  I know department stores.  They hide things.

She told me that they no longer carried that brand.  So I asked: “why?” And this is what she told me.

The brand that I was interested in buying is also sold on a tv shopping network.  Dishonest shoppers, who had purchased discounted  items on the tv shopping network, were returning these discounted items to the big bad department store– where the big bad department store was giving them a full price refund— which was costing the big bad department store money.

[I have no idea why the big bad department store didn’t pull a Nancy Reagan and “Just Say NO” to the scam artists.  That’s what I’d do if I was in charge.  But, of course, I am rational and ethical– which in my experience is the antithesis of how department stores work.]

Instead, the big bad department store did the only thing it could think of to solve this problem;  it stopped carrying the brand altogether.  The brand that I had finally decided to buy.  The brand that this annoying store has promoted ad nauseum for years.  That brand.  *sigh*

So I thanked the sales associate for letting me know what was going on and left the big bad department store empty-handed.  Again.

As I was walking back to my car, I started thinking about what had just happened.  I had made the effort to buy something, but was defeated by the very store that had convinced me that I needed this item.  That was annoying.

I’d  been told a story that made the big bad department store look like a victim– which, I guess, the sales associate thought would make me sympathetic to the plight of the store.  That was weird.

But most importantly, I’d had the belated realization that I should never, ever listen to what the big bad department store says. Everything about the place is  hinky.  And this insight, gentle readers, was worth the trip to the mall.  I have learned.  I am better for it.

And you know what?  I’m not going back there again.

[Hello FTC!  I cannot lie.  I didn’t put this disclaimer on this post when I first published it because I didn’t use any names of the companies that I’m writing about here.  But now I can see that in the comments below I will be revealing the identity of the big bad department store.  So just to be safe, here is what you like to see: I have received no money or other compensation for the opinions stated in this post or in the comments below.]



Our Lawn Has Mange

No act of kindness goes unpunished.  I relearn this lesson all the time.

Last summer when we had the worst drought ever, I decided to save water by not watering our lawn more than once a week.  Unlike most of our neighbors, we don’t have an underground watering system that keeps all the little grass blades bathed in a perfect, almost daily shower of water.

At our house, I’m the watering system [to date still above ground] that drags hoses and water sprinklers around the yard in a somewhat random, well-intentioned manner.  I do my best.  And usually my best is just fine because Mother Nature cooperates with me and provides some addition water to the area.

But not last summer.

Now that spring is almost here and we can see the results of my let’s-be-kind-to-the-planet-by-not-watering-very-much plan, we realize that we are screwed. Unlike most of our neighbors whose lawns look whole and alive, we have a lawn with mange that will cost a bundle– a break the bank sort of bundle— to fix.

Or so says the guy from the landscaper company who came over the other day to talk with me about this situation.  And I believe him because it’s a reputable company.  And I believe him because my online research on the costs of having a professional company reseed a lawn in the spring say the same thing.

Unfortunately I have no pithy conclusion to this story of dead grass woe.   Perhaps something good is yet to come from my save-the-water kindness. I dunno.  Right now all I see is a mess with a big price tag that will keep me snarling for many months to come.

*sigh*