Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And Now For Something A Little Less Serious

She should have known it wouldn't last - an argyle sock and a pair of jeans. She should have known. But she was lonely, hanging on a hook on the back of the bedroom door. She was faded and frayed, relaxed and comfortable. She didn't go out much anymore like the other jeans - dark-denimed and tight to the point of  needing spandex.

She wasn't sure why she was even around and she suspected even that wouldn't last long. But being the old timer allowed her to see what was going on in the wardrobe. Or, so she thought.

The argyle had been flirting with her from the laundry basket and at first she wondered if the sock's attention was directed at some other garment except she was the only one on the hook. She couldn't understand what he saw in her and she assumed he was either mistaken or confused. The other jeans were clearly more desirable or, at any rate, they were treated with special care. They never went through the dyer. No, they were always hung to dry, along with the delicate and lacy lingerie and the soft and fragile sweaters. So what did the argyle see in her?

It was sheet-changing day and a load was put together of the dirty linens, along with the other whites to fill out the load: undershirts, athletic socks, wash cloths. For some unknown reason she was tossed into the basket as well.

He was there in the basket. She didn't see him do it; she didn't know how he got there.

Her mind whirled, wondering why she was included in the load of whites. It clearly indicated a special need but what could that be? Was she going out? Surely, there were better jeans for that purpose. More likely, it was her final wash before being donated somewhere. She had seen that happen before, clothes washed and then disposed of, the only ceremony of disposal being this, the final wash. There could be no other reason that she could imagine. There wasn't much time left.

She was shy around him in the basket. What could she possibly say to him? He was so dark, lined with distinction. Oh, if her parents could only see her. Her mother, no doubt, would tell her that he was bad news, that he could be nothing but conceited because he was different than all the other dress socks. But just wait, she could hear her say, They all look the same when a toe is poking out. 

Her father would warn her not to trust him. Socks could never be trusted- a sock will always use you, tell you what you want to hear and then dump you.

Still, she remembers finding "The Joy of Socks" when she snooped in their bedroom. She didn't know what to believe.

And yet she couldn't keep from being excited from his attentions. He was alluring, charismatic, mysterious. Maybe, even, a little dangerous.

They were loaded into the washer, nestled among the sheets and towels. He was hidden from view but she knew he was there. She could smell his musky odor. The lid closed and water poured in and suddenly they were weightless. They began to swirl and dance, all together, and her legs stretched and twisted as he floated by, teasing her. He would run along the length of her and then disappear behind a pillowcase only to reappear somewhere else. He whispered sweet nothings as he caressed her and she wished the wash cycle would never end.

Too soon, the drum stopped its rhythmic swirl and the water receded. Gravity returned with her on one side of the drum, heavy and wet, and he high on the other. The drum began to spin and they were powerless to move. She tried to keep her senses but the drum kept spinning faster and faster until she hardly knew where she was.

Suddenly, the drum stopped and she struggled to find her equilibrium. Clothes were being moved to the dryer as she tried to focus. She saw the sheets being unwound from themselves and towels being pulled out. And just before she was being untangled from her own self she caught sight of him, high in the drum pressed flat, dark on the dark porcelain behind the shadow of the washer lid.

He didn't make a sound. Nor did she. At first, she remembered the tales of all the socks who had sneaked out of the laundry in a manner such as this but he had sneaked in. To be with her. Surely, they would be reunited in the dryer.

She fell heavily into the dryer and waited. More towels and undershirts followed but there was no sign of her argyle. There was no activity for a long moment and the only sound that could be heard was a swirling, scraping sound inside the washer drum.

"There you are," said the laundress as she slung the sock into the dryer.

She thought he looked sheepish but they were suddenly in motion again and she wasn't sure. Again, they danced. It became more erotic as she lost her water weight and the static began to build. She could only hope the static would bind them together, long enough - for what, she didn't know. Long enough to exchange lint, perhaps?

Again, it ended all too soon. Again, they were untangled from themselves and one another and placed into the laundry basket.

And, again, the sock was nowhere to be found. He was hiding behind the lip of the dryer's opening, pressed low against the drum.

The laundress closed the dryer door and started to leave the laundromat with her load.

She wanted to cry out. To her sock, to the laundress, to anyone who could hear her when suddenly they went back. The laundress set down the basket, opened the dryer door and, once again, ran her hand around the drum and stopped when she found the sock.

"Rascal," she said. She tucked him deep into the basket so he couldn't get out.

They didn't speak about it in the laundry basket on the way home. She was embarrassed, sure the rest of the laundry knew she had been a fool, a patsy for his escape. Her shame was complete as she imagined what her parents would say.

At home she was hung by a belt loop on the back of the bedroom door once again. From there she could see her argyle being tossed into the sock drawer, alone. She could also see his mate in the hamper, waiting his turn for the wash, oblivious to the sock's philandering and attempted escape. If I'm a fool, she thought, at least I'm not alone.

She felt as used as she was worn, hanging on her hook, still not knowing why she was sent through the wash with the whites in the first place.

Darn him, that argyle sock.

Monday, January 28, 2013

View from my bedroom window

This was the site of the original Burgerville. It's a little noisy around here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Today's Rant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a surprising blow to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, a federal judge on Friday barred the agency from regulating thousands of non-professional tax return preparers, throwing into doubt a multimillion-dollar enforcement program already underway.
MSN Money
This was a program initiated by the IRS to catch some bad apples. Apparently, there were some unscrupulous tax preparers who took advantage of the sensitive information they were entrusted with.
[Former IRS Commissioner] Shulman in 2009 called for an IRS effort to root out tax preparation fraud. The IRS Return Preparer Initiative began in 2011. It requires tax preparers to register with the IRS. It also requires preparers, especially those without other professional credentials, to pass competency tests and take classes to maintain their IRS registration. 
So we all had to shell out $65 apiece to register as tax preparers. Anyone who prepared a tax return had to pay. Before this law, tax preparers already were required to identify themselves by signing the tax return and providing an identifying number (either a social security number or an ID assigned by the IRS).

Apparently, that wasn't enough and I can see why the IRS wanted more control. There are a lot of tax preparers who aren't CPAs and, therefore, aren't bound by a code of ethics, held to the same level of responsibility (or liability), aren't required to pass competency exams, or complete any continuing education. Also, there is no oversight of tax preparers at the state level except in a handful of states.

To be clear, we're talking about non-professional tax preparers. These are people who do not already have industry designations such as CPAs, or Enrolled Agents. These were your mom-and-pop outfits.

In our office, the new registration rules changed exactly nothing as everyone was exempted by the fact that we are already CPAs, directly supervised by one, or didn't prepare tax returns. All the CPAs in our office were already required to pass competency exams and were required to take continuing education. They rest of us volunteered for continuing education or were otherwise instructed by our employer to go.

But now it's been ruled that the IRS did not have the authority to regulate (non-professional) tax preparers, the argument being that their mandate only allows them to regulate those who represent taxpayers before the IRS which is not the same thing.

With this reversal, the press is publishing opinions such as this which makes it seem that the industry on the whole was untrustworthy:
“Taxpayers are going to go into filing season without preparers who are prepared,” Olson said in an interview yesterday.  
Have you seen the tax code? Are you telling me that between January 18th and today every tax preparer went on a vacation, drank too much, and completely blocked out everything anyone knew about tax returns? You mean that without this mandate, we would not have followed the news about the fiscal cliff and the resulting tax legislation like everyone else in the nation? That everything we needed to know to prepare your tax return, we would have learned in the last week and a half?

This gets me because we spend a heck of a lot of time getting prepared. We spent a lot of time doing it before this regulation and will continue to do so without it.

But this was my favorite quote:
The IRS rules were criticized by some because of the new fees they slapped on practitioners, but broadly supported as a way to regulate a free-wheeling industry and fight tax refund fraud.
MSN Money
Let's play a quick game of word association. I'll say a word and you say the first word that comes into you head.

My word: Accountant

Your word: Free-wheeling? Really? Have you ever met me?

To be honest, I never really cared about the regulation. It was a nuisance but so what? What bothers me is the IRS sold my e-mail address to every fly-by-night tax prep school that hoped to cash in on the new education requirements.

I had to get a new spam filter.


I'm sorry about the people who got hurt by unscrupulous preparers. It's not cool - not for the victims and not even for the IRS regardless of how you might feel about them. It and makes the rest of us look bad.


Importance: High

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Fillings are Falling Out

I live in a ground floor apartment, in an end unit facing the street. Actually, it "faces" two very nice courtyards. It's my bedroom that faces the street.

Across the street used to be the original Burgerville which provided rich aromas of charred burgers and deep fried potatoes. In fact, on one website, our current location is still referred to as
....1 block behind the original Burgerville.
The iconic Burgerville was demolished in 2011 and since then the view from our bedroom window was a vacant lot and the aroma of french fries was no more. The only sounds we heard were the gentle braking of semis on the nearby freeway, the incessant City of Vancouver street cleaners, and the garbage trucks on Tuesday mornings.

This morning, at 7 a.m. sharp, we heard the monotone beeps of heavy construction equipment being driven in reverse. No snooze alarm here, the beeps were followed by the roar of several pieces of equipment being fired up and some activity that I couldn't make out from across the street in the predawn light. I don't know what they're doing, exactly, but whatever it is shakes my building to its core.

According to this same website, the condos were originally built in
1944/1945 - They housed the nuns from the orphanage/church across the street at The Academy just 1 block south of the condos.
The Academy referred to above has its own history which is very interesting although offsite housing for the nuns isn't specifically mentioned.

Soon our view will be of Prestige Plaza. I can hardly wait.

As long as all this shaking  doesn't spill my coffee, we should be okay. But since I work from home, I may want to find my earplugs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two Items of Note

It's raining here. Probably not newsworthy, but it hasn't been for quite a while so it's new, if nothing else.

And, my phone is wonky. Battery is starting to give up the ghost. Power button is fussy. Could be time for a new phone. Maybe an iPhone with an iPad to go with it? The idea of it is almost too much.


The rules have changed!
Scrabble players will be able to spell words backwards and even play words unconnected to any other words on the board.
Gasp! First new Scrabble rules since 1948?
I wonder if this means they'll also be updating the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. I guess it depends on whether "official" modifies "dictionary" or "Scrabble."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stink bugs

(Matt Rourke, AP2011)
... these bugs can safely be flushed down the toilet or gently sucked into a disposable vacuum cleaner bag headed for the freezer. 
Usually, my vacuum cleaner bags aren't headed for the freezer. But I'll keep that in mind.

I have stink bugs living in my Vancouver apartment (neat-o) but I've never even seen one in Seattle just 150 miles away. Go figure.

They're quite a problem, agriculturally speaking. I'm not very fond of them domestically, either. You know, unless they could fold the laundry.

Good news, though. You can buy a stink bug trap and gift wrapping is available.

Who would gift wrap a stink bug trap?

Friday, January 18, 2013


That was my cat's name. Loved that silly cat.

It's also the weather forecast for today. From NOAA,
Patchy fog after noon. Widespread freezing fog before noon. Otherwise, partly sunny...
Fog as far as the eye can see, but otherwise....   which is to say if we didn't have fog, we'd have sun. That could pretty much sums up winter around here although we're usually talking about rain, as in  .... raining for the next three months but otherwise sunny...

The hourly forecast shows a perfectly calm day. If I had one of those cozy Northwest boats, I would say today is the perfect day for boating. The lake must be like glass - can't tell for sure through all this fog.

And the sky cover percentage looks better than it does on the average Seafair weekend. Just looking at the hourly chart you would think it was going to be a perfect day on the lake. Well, other than the freezing temperatures and the sky cover is pretty literal.

I was going to take the topless car today but, the visual for the forecast looked like this:

Might have to think about taking the regular car.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is it that good?

Suds for Drugs
Tide detergent: Works on tough stains. Can now also be traded for crack. A case study in American ingenuity, legal and otherwise.
In New York Magazine.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's All My Fault

The Seahawks lost on Sunday and it's all my fault. I feel badly about it too because a lot of people had high hopes for the team.

I watched the game.

I knew I shouldn't but I did for the first three quarters. I was at a gathering of friends so what was I supposed to do? I did my best to avoid the game. I hung out in the kitchen or the hallway, tried to avoid eye contact with the giant flat screen TV. But it wasn't enough. At the beginning of fourth quarter I announced I was going to Starbucks.

Before I was out the door, the team scored. See? I said. It's only weird if it works.

I returned with the coffees and the score had improved. My friends turned to me and - as lovingly as possible - asked me to leave. And, could I hurry up about it?

Yes, it was time for me to do what I could. For the team.

I spent the remainder of the game in my friend's den. The Seahawks continued to make gains. My friends continued to cheer and yell their instructions for me to stay well away. I did and in the final seconds of the game I even plugged my ears so I couldn't even hear the game.

It almost worked. We were so close. If only I had left in the first quarter.

For the next day two days I listened to sports announcers on the radio recapping the game, how we were this close to a win. I half expected them to say, "and if Lynn C Dot had only left the room earlier...."

If only.



If I worked at the Colorado Department of Transportation, I could sign all my correspondence

Lynn C Dot

Or maybe,

 Lynn (C Dot)2

Friday, January 11, 2013

And so it begins...

The first tax return of the season came in yesterday. This has to be the record for the earliest tax return ever. Meanwhile, I'm still working on one for 2011. (In some cases, returns may be extended beyond October 15th.) This is the first year in my experience where I will be working on two returns for two different years (2011 and 2012) at the same time, in a different year (2013). It's all very confusing.

Meanwhile, I'm still organizing all the packets that we mail to our clients every January so they can get their 2012 documents in order.

And, it's a travel day and we all know what that means. Absolutely none of this will receive attention today.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If I'm not here, I'm probably there.

2012 was a year of travel for me. Every three or four days, I changed cities. Generally, I moved back and forth between Seattle and Portland which calculated to a commute of roughly 15,500 miles over the course of the year. I've gotten pretty good at knowing which city I'm in at any given moment - even in the semi-conscious state between wakefulness and sleep - but most of the time I don't know what day it is and I have to remind myself which city I'm in when I'm in an airport.

Every week is split in two so that I have two mini-weeks comprised of two Mondays, two Wednesdays, and two Fridays bookmarked by travel days and an odd weekend day during which I catch up on laundry and cram in family and social obligations. And during each half-week I have double the housecleaning, bed changing, grocery shopping, and bill paying. Somewhere in there is work, not that it's immediately obvious.

Even though it only takes 2.5 hours to move between those two cities, it's hard to be productive on travel days. If by "productive" I mean "work"  then travel days are useless for avoiding work. I have found it nearly impossible to cram travel, work, and avoiding work all into one day. Which is why, if you don't see me here, I'm likely doing one of the other two things - travel or, when required (as suggested by my employer), work.

I would like to be here more - wherever that really is. In my head, on this page, in your head, goofing off with you. 'Tis the season, though, when there will be less and less goofing off. I just thought I should explain my absence.

Am I excused?

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I just don't seem to have enough of it. If I had unlimited quantities of time, I would read more, write more, walk more, and - oddly - clean more. It's not that I place such a high premium on cleanliness. I just want to have enough time to clean my house and purge my space of so much accumulated junk. I am un-American in that I can still get both cars into my garage but it's getting tight in there and if we should ever be hit by an earthquake the cars would be so buried that we might never see them ever again.

I value my leisure time more and more these days. Even on days when I "don't have anything to do," I still can't get it all done in a day. How is that possible?

Speaking of time, digital clocks can provide hours minutes of entertainment. For example:

12:34 - fun, right?
11:11 - looks like corduroys
10:40 - okay, not so much fun but a good reminder to avoid avoiding work*

Can't do that with an analog clock, can you?

10:03 is my personal favorite because that's my birthday. Twice a day, assuming I'm paying attention to the clock at that particular moment, I will actually point out - out loud - to whoever might be in the vicinity, "Hey, it's 10:03!"

Well, maybe I have more time on my hand than I think.

*Thanks to 76003.1414 for adding the emergency link.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I can tell it's January. Besides the fact that it's freaking cold, readership of this blog has plummeted to single digits. (Holidailies always boosts it to double digits. It's such a thrill.)

You can also tell it's January because there's someone dancing on the street corner dressed like the Statue of Liberty. I think it's an initiation rite for acquiring a Liberty Tax Service franchise.

I guess that means it's Tax Season too but I'm going to ignore that for as long as possible. 

My clients do.

In the meantime, here's my plan for TSA. (How was that for a non sequitur?) Instead of standing in long, winding lines ...

Those lines remind me of Disneyland. (Stick with me. I got distracted.) They bend back and forth on themselves so you see the same faces every time you turn a corner. It's strange to spend that much time together while avoiding eye contact. By the end of it, I feel like I should know the names of the dozens of people on either side of me and I should be able to pick who I get to sit next to for the remainder of my journey.

Sure, there's a ride at the end of the line. But you don't have to strip to ride it at Disneyland.

...there should be people movers like easy chairs on a conveyor belt. It would give us time to get undressed, it could be rolled right through whatever zapping machine ensures our safety, and it could extend a comfortable length to allow passenger to get re-robed. Maybe it could linked into the luggage conveyor system and be on one big loop: passengers in, luggage out.

I don't know. It just seems more efficient.

It's the same system I would employ for the Art Walk if elected Mayor. 

Think about it.

We should sit and the art should move around. Sit at your favorite bar or restaurant, grab a window seat, and take in the Art Walk.

serial spiller
cereal spiller
serial cereal spiller
surreal spill

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January Joggers

Lots of people out exercising today. Maybe not where you are because where you are it's probably freezing outside. We're just north of freezing but the sun is out, it's the first of a new year, and people are optimistic (if they aren't paying attention to the news).

Tomorrow, (whether or not anyone is paying attention to the news) there will be fewer people out there because they overextended their physical limitations the day before (and the night before that, albeit in other capacities).

By the end of the week, things will be back to normal. Couches will be sat upon and potato chips will be greedily consumed.

I'll skip the bravado and head straight for the couch, thank you and pass the chips.

I had take out for breakfast today - corned beef hash and eggs from Sherman's Deli & Bakery - and was amused by the expired party animals. Most of the crowd was wearing yoga chic but there were more than a few there with glittered platform shoes, short skirts, and bloodshot eyes nursing either Bloody Marys or bottled waters.

I was nursing my coffee. Pretty soon I'll be nursing a pretty lengthy nap.

Off to a good start so far.

With a Whisper

I still contacted the Left Coast at 9 pm - my time - via text. Not as loud but probably as annoying.