We finally got our taxes done. Three months late, but really, one day early given the extended deadline. It’s not that we were procrastinating; we were simply holding off on this dreaded task for as long as possible.
OK, fine. We were procrastinating.
And by “we” I mean Tara. As with the boat, she is in charge of tax prep and household finances. By choice, I might add, much like the housecleaning. Many times I have offered to clean the bathrooms or wipe down the kitchen counters, but without fail she shoos me away, insisting on doing it herself. I lived on my own for six years following my divorce and was quite self-sufficient; I navigated my way around TurboTax like a champ, always paid my bills (though not always on time, but the devil’s in the details, right?), and managed to avoid burning down the house, though I came close.
I cleaned my townhouse, too. It’s just that my wife has very strict standards when it comes to that stuff. Way back when we were still a-courtin’, she scolded me for not cleaning behind the knobs on my stove. “I didn’t even know those came off!” I said. (When I shared this story with my brother, he said, “The knobs on your stove come off?!” Thank you, Scott, for the vindication.) So, we have an agreement: she lets me take out the trash and scoop the litter box, while I let her scrub the toilets and deal with Uncle Sam. It’s a win-win for us both.
Anyway, Uncle Sam was being a real dick this year. What he giveth, he taketh away. We ended up with an enormous tax bill—no surprise, given my freelance income last year, which amounted to a second full-time job’s worth (all untaxed, and I did not bother with quarterly payments), as well as some 401(k) and IRA disbursements, a calculated strategy to eliminate debt. Fortunately, I’d planned for all this and padded my savings account in anticipation, but it still felt like a punch to the gut when Tara ran our initial numbers and they came back astronomically high. She set it all aside when the tax deadline was extended and put off circling back to it until a few days ago. Managed to dig a little deeper and knock a few grand off what we owed, but it’s still a scary-high number.
Whatevs. We paid it and can look forward to a more reasonable tax burden this year, mainly because I’m only doing a fraction of the freelance work I did in 2019. That alone drops us into a lower tax bracket.
All along, my goal in working myself to the bone last year was to save up enough money for a new car. I love my Mazda3 to pieces; it’s sporty, zippy, and fun to drive. But it’s a lot less practical in South Dakota, where winters bring a lot of snow. And because we live on a fairly steep hill, just getting home sometimes has proved challenging. I need/want/would feel more comfortable with an AWD vehicle. I should have enough $ left over to swing that new car, so the very next morning I contacted the local Hyundai dealer and told them exactly what I want, right down to the color.
Before my Mazda, I owned a Hyundai Santa Fe for 13 years and never had a problem. I also looked at sticking with Mazda—the Mazda3 is now available in AWD, and I like the CX-3. But I can get more bang for my buck with the Hyundai, so that’s my focus now.
I’m not in a hurry; I just want it before it starts snowing again, usually in October. The Rapid City dealership is currently low on inventory (as in, they only have one), so it could take awhile. That’s fine with me.
By the way, I wish it would start snowing, because man alive, it’s HOT. My weather station tells me it got up to 98º today, which makes me want to rip my weather station from its post and stomp on it, because clearly technology is at fault here rather than something silly like climate change.
Or, you know. The fact that it’s summer, and therefore, supposed to be hot. We just happened to get spoiled with a cool summer last year. Thank you, 2020, for finding yet another way to screw us over.
My parents are coming out for a visit next week. I hope they pack lots of sunscreen.