Uncle Sam’s a (Insert Expletive)

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.

Three times.

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.

29 thoughts on “Uncle Sam’s a (Insert Expletive)

  1. Our last 2 cars have been four-wheel drive, mainly for getting up the hill to my father’s house in Utah. LA people laughed, but it was my brother’s rental SUV that slid off the mountain during the last ski trip, so ha! I stand by my forethought. We made it through a massive snowstorm the morning we left after last Christmas, too.

    I recommend Subaru. I figure everyone in New Hampshire has one, so they must be tough.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Our tax bill was high this year as well, though we paid them in April because delaying the inevitable just makes it worse. Funny thing about working, the more you do it to get ahead… the more they take. Unless you’re filthy rich, then you get to keep it all.
    Hope you get the exact car model you want. I special ordered my Subaru Forester and had to wait 3 months, and that was years ago. I can only imagine what Covid will do to the process.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark, if I ever decide to move to South Dakota, I think Tara and I should start our own cleaning company because she and I share a similar passion for cleaning. LOL!

    I filed my taxes at the end of January and got money back. But I was worried because I too cashed some of my 401 (k). Luckily though, they took enough taxes when I cashed it out so I didn’t own anything. Whew! There was only one year (many years ago) when I actually owed money ($700.00).

    Glad to hear that you’re enjoying your Mazda. What a great-looking car!

    “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.”

    Same here! In fact, I said that to someone the other day. I said, “Damn…I wish it would snow!” Yeah, I’m already over summer because it’s brought an incredible amount of humidity. Bring on FALL!!!

    Stay cool, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PS. Oooops sorry, didn’t read that correctly about your car. Hyundai, not a Mazda. Which btw, I owned a Hyundai at one time and loved it. And it lasted me forever!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I would say bring on fall too, but that season is so short here I figured I’d jump straight to winter, ha!

      I can totally see you and Tara running a cleaning company! Too funny. Now I need a new contest to solicit suggestions for a name for your company!


  4. You will love having AWD in the snow! Night and day comparison.

    We also procrastinated on taxes because we always owe, even with paying the quarterly estimated taxes. It’s mighty painful. I’m surprised you didn’t have to pay a penalty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, there is a penalty for not paying quarterly taxes. I just don’t have the patience to try to figure them out in advance or the commitment to send them in on time!

      Ironically, I owned AWDs in Washington, and it rarely snowed there! But when it did, I was thankful to have it, that’s for sure.


  5. I saw a commercial last night right before bed that intrigued me. A cute little Landrover SUV climbing a steep staircase somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know anything about Landrovers…whether they’re good, bad, or crap, but I watched all the videos about the cute, AWD, Discovery Sport model. I will also check out the Hyundai and the Subaru, not that I’m ever in cold weather.

    Uncle Sam wasn’t very nice to me this year, either. I didn’t owe any taxes but compared to last year’s windfall, I only got pennies back this year and then H&R Block took most of that!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paying taxes always bites the big one, doesn’t matter what month it is. My old Accord is *gulp* 17 years old, so I’ve been thinking about getting a new car. However considering how little I drive now I may let that idea go for a few years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here. We have a 20 year old Alero that is still in excellent shape and just went over the 100k mark. We dive less than 6k a year, and just the taxes on a new car are greater than the cost of our old car.

      Liked by 1 person

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