Thursday, April 30, 2015

It Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

" Beer plus bagpipes 
The two hobbies came together one fateful evening in 2007, after Kidd and his friends from the aquarium had been drinking. "

You don't say.

His success as the Unipiper has led to his own beer: UnipIPA. (No Kidding.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why the NFL just gave up its nonprofit status: to escape scrutiny - Vox

" . . . lawmakers have used the tax-exempt status as a point of leverage in investigating the NFL's mishandling of concussions, among other issues.
Apparently, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners decided the tax-exempt status was no longer worth it. . . . "
" But more important, filing as a taxable, privately held entity will mean that the NFL no longer has to disclose its income — or the oft-criticized salary of its commissioner, Goodell. "

Oh, no!

Pretty stressful when you have to be worrying about ominous clouds all the time. The Fox guys were all excited about naming it something like "Ominous 2015" or "Cloud-ageddon" but they didn't so, you know, it's just Anonymous Ominous. . . .

Speaking of which, if I was running for Student Council in southern California, say, on a platform of providing whole grains in all the drinking fountains, my slogan would be "Farro Faucet."

Get your updates here!

It's updates day in Windows-land which makes for excellent work avoidance but is seriously cutting into my goof off time. 

But I love to vacation there.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Love Living Here

More Critters At The Airport, As Portland Signs Up Some Goats and Llamas - Jaunted
" For once the terminal’s carpet isn’t in the news, as this time it’s some llamas and goats taking center stage. "
That news made me think of this commercial. If you don't live here, you might not have seen it.

How can you not love that? Entertainment at every turn!

Friday, April 24, 2015


Jeb Bush Is Definitely, Grumpily Running ... Away From Calories - The New York Times
" The rigid abstemiousness runs the risk of putting him at a dietary distance from an American electorate that still binges on carbohydrates and, after eight years of a tea-sipping president, craves a relatable eater in chief. "

Wait, where was I?

Free Starbucks for all? Computer glitch hits coffee giant - KOMO News
" At a Starbucks store in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, customers were told staff members couldn't process orders. They were, however, being offered coffee at no charge. " 

Built In Work Avoidance

" Awesome news for bored people everywhere: Solitaire is about to make a huge comeback on Windows 10. "
Solitaire Is Coming Back on Windows 10 | PC Mag

Dancing In The Sun

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Deep Fried Spam Masubi

Spam in the center of a sushi-like roll, deep fried, and sliced into sections. Glad I tried it but I might not go out of my way to try it again.

But wait! 

Isles' favorite meats meet in exclusive Spam treat | Honolulu Star Advertiser - TheBuzz

" Please stand by for this rather breathless scoop: Portuguese sausage-flavored Spam has been developed by Hormel Foods Corp., and the company has chosen Hawaii to debut the new flavor.
" "Hawaii is getting it first," Jennifer Nolander, Spam Brand product manager, told TheBuzz. In fact, "right now Hawaii is the only state that we're planning on selling it in," she said. "

Maybe that will make it better.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

I'm still doing tax returns in my sleep which should wear off in a day or two. Meanwhile, sunny and warm.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Skipping because I can.

I used to run. A lot. Now, not so much. As much as I would like it to be a daily habit, I don't even walk every day. Sure, I walk to the coffee pot and back but I'm not sure that counts as exercise. (Maybe I should put it at the top of the stairs.)

Sometimes, I skip.

I don't mean, I skip the exercise altogether. (I often skip the exercise but that's not what I mean here.) I skip, as in "... to My Lou."

Hubby and I will be out walking and I'll just start skipping. He doesn't seem to mind my bizarre behavior. (He's grown accustomed to it, at this point.) Skipping requires a little more physical effort than walking but not as much as running. I figure it uses more muscles, too.

I'm just waiting for it to become "a thing." I especially like to skip in places where people are overly concerned with physical fitness - places with heavily populated walking paths, where people who are already physically fit parade their beautiful, well-tanned bodies in fashionable spandex gear, sporting Fitbits, and iPhones tucked into jog bras. (Don't ask me how the phones don't fall out because I have no idea.) I'm just waiting for someone to think I'm on to the next new fitness fad.

What I need to design, here, is skipping gear. Clothing with slogans like Skip For Joy!, a skipping app, special skipping shoes. Then, it will be a thing all right.

In the meantime, I'll just skip because I can. And, because I'm dying to see if it catches on.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

National Park Week

 No fee to visit a National Park this weekend.

Haleakalā National Park

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy Tax Day, said no one ever

Today, I'm doing what I love best: I'm in a coffee shop - this one with with a view of the Columbia River - and writing.  I wish I had more time to do exactly this. But, it's 9:30 in the morning and I already feel my day slipping away. There's much to catch up on after spending the last several weeks doing nothing but tax returns. Like, food. Laundry. Personal grooming.

But it's a beautiful day and although I'm still doing tax returns in my sleep, I'm not going to the office.  Instead, I'm booking appointments for me and my co-workers for the Wash & Brush Up Co.

Speaking of coworkers, they are almost all female and they not only do a great job of making my job easy, they have crappier jobs than I do! The work they do allows me to work from remote locations most of the time and I really appreciate that. There are only a few aspects of my job that require I be in the office and they pick up that slack for me.

While tax season is over for me, it goes on for everyone else in the office, in a manner of speaking. Not only that, their tax season starts long before mine. They file Quarterlies in January (Quarterly Federal Tax Returns - can you imagine? Filing a tax return every quarter?). Then, they file corporate tax returns in March followed by individual tax returns in April.

Even though it's April16th, they are back in the office busily preparing Quarterlies again.  (Already, three months have passed.)

Yesterday, was my Friday (finally) but it was only Thursday for everyone else so no Snoopy Happy Dance just yet.

Hang in there, ladies. You're almost there.

I'll see you in six months and we can do it all again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I've been saying this all along.

Would You Let the I.R.S. Prepare Your Taxes? - The New York Times
" Today, employers, banks, brokerage firms and pretty much every other financial organization in the country send the federal government detailed records about our economic activity every year. These organizations also send you, the taxpayer, a similar set of documents, which are forms with names like W2 and 1098. After you file your taxes, the government matches its two sets of documents to make sure you have filed correctly. 
To Mr. Bankman, this double documentation doesn’t make much sense. If the government is already collecting financial data from employers and banks, why can’t the I.R.S. use that information to precalculate our tax returns for us? At the very least, why can’t tax software just connect to the government’s database to download all the information that the government has collected, saving us all that record-keeping and data entry? "
I said it once, anyway.


I have three left - of the "ones I know about" variety. I have an untold number of extensions to file today. It's a long list - I didn't bother to count.

To help me through my day, someone advised me to try adding grass-fed butter and coconut oil to my coffee. (Look up Bulletproof Coffee.) An interesting idea, I think, since I like butter and I like coffee. I haven't yet tried the nutritionally fashionable coconut oil but I am very intrigued by the idea of it. It's on my list of things to try right after I finish my Costco-sized vat of previously fashionable extra virgin, cold pressed, imported olive oil.

Why not put these fine ingredients into a steaming cup of coffee? I'll tell you why: because that space is already occupied by coffee. I don't make my coffee "with room" (Starbuckspeak for don't fill the cup up all the way because I'm planning to pollute it with cream). If there's room in my cup, it means there isn't enough coffee in it.

There's no cream in my coffee, no mixers in my whiskey, and no flavoring of any kind manufactured into my potato chips. (That's my kind of paleo diet.) The only time there's something other than coffee in my coffee cup is when I'm drinking a latte made with soy milk (made fashionable in the 1990s).

Instead, I am starting April 15th with a nutritious meal of two scrambled egg whites and ham. (For flavor, I added fresh red pepper, an organic Yukon gold potato, substituted bacon for the ham, and aded in two egg yolks, all sautéed in well-intentioned butter.)

I appreciate your suggestion, Leslie, and your thoughtful comments, Beth and Laura. I'm looking forward to the day that Starbucks has this on its menu. Seriously, I would love to give this a try. But it probably won't be on April 15th. I have work to do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Everybody's grumpy:We're grumpy, our families are grumpy, and the clients are grumpy.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Generally when I tell someone what I do for a living this time of year, they reply with "I already filed my taxes" - my friend, Steve, notwithstanding.

I think, graciously, to myself, And, what? You want me to give you a medal? Yeah, I 'd have mine done, too, but I'm busy doing these other 200 returns. And, so what? If you did your return yourself, you probably aren't much concerned with bond premium amortization, are you? Have many publicly trade partnerships? Nope, thought not. Well, at least you didn't have to convert currencies or anything like that. How's that social life of yours, by the way?

Equally graciously, I reply, "Good for you."

Sunday, April 12, 2015


The score as of this morning, Steve, is 17. Most of them are in and just waiting for that one little thing from the client - a check made out to the IRS. Today, I hope to get through the rest of them - the  ones that have come in the last few days so that I can tell them what they owe and that they will be filing an extension. (In reality, someone else gets to deliver the bad news. So, you know, it could actually be worse.)

But these 17 are just the ones I know about. There is a team of women who will pour through the list, and the list of lists, to determine who's missing. Have we overlooked someone? Are there people we need to contact? Will we have everything done by April 15th? Do we have enough coffee and chocolate to get through it all?

I have no doubt the count will go up before it goes down. More than one will come through the doors or call before it's over saying, "It's not too late for you to do my tax return this year, is it?" Adding, "It shouldn't take long. My return is easy this year." (It takes every ounce of diplomatic strength for us not to ask why the hell they didn't just do it themselves if it was so damn easy.)

Last year, we had a client - a new one at that - who came in at 2pm on April 15th with such a request. Needless to say, he isn't my favorite client. (Although, come to think of it, there are several who fall within that category.) I haven't checked the list but I don't think he's been in yet this year. Tick tock, Mr. Client. Let's get it together. You're not a new client anymore so we know your return isn't easy. And let me add this: Don't come empty handed.

By the way, Steve. Congratulations to your wife on assuming the role of Commander of the Seattle Sail and Power Squadron. She'll do a great job and we were glad to have the opportunity to celebrate with her. But knowing that your tax return isn't done, please don't talk to me for the next three days.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Got five done yesterday but picked up three new ones so the score is now 31. Time to stop screwing around. It's time to pull out my super secret ninja accountant tax preparer shit.

It's about freaking time! says my boss.

I know, I get stuck in the details. It's hard to just let loose and let fly in this job. Just wing it, as they say. Look at the big picture, and move on (an oft used and very annoying saying. I'm just saying - if I could just move on don't you think I'd freaking do that already?).

(h/t Kellie)
Now, for those of you, boys and girls, who are interested in becoming an accountant, we have a very simple interview process. While accounting can be a glamorous and exhilarating profession (this is a business where glamorous and exhilarating is bad news), it's also very face paced and technical, the nature of which changes with each Congressional session.

Here are three simple questions we use to determine who's right for the job and who can be easily eliminated:
  • What are debits and credits?
  • How do you balance a checkbook?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?

Can we go home now?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


. . . and 33 to go.

This morning, in an effort to look more pulled together than I really am, I fashioned my hair into a French Twist. As I own no styling products (I never figured out how to use them to any good effect), I secured my up-do with a million bobby pins. As well as a professional look, it provides the unexpected illusion that I've had a face lift and now I worry that I've wound my hair a little too tightly.

Sometimes these things work out as planned and sometimes they don't. From behind, my hair looks less like the rich swirl of a croissant and more like a plate of spaghetti. Without time to muck around with it, I adopted a "close enough" attitude.

It wasn't until I was ready to leave the house that I put on my glasses and saw the results of my efforts. My hair looked more like a furry hat than smooth sophistication. I made a mental note to invest in some hair spray.

By the time I got to work my hair was already falling in limp tendrils and by noon I expect the whole thing will be undone. My tresses will be kinked with more randomness than can be plausibly explained by, "I slept with it wet."

And even though this exercise was designed to streamline the process of getting ready for work, it still me took thirty minutes to figure out which shoes to wear.


Monday, April 6, 2015


I'm confused about what day of the week it is. I know exactly how many days, hours, tax returns, until April 15th but no clue as to whether it's Monday or Tuesday. Not that it matters.

I can tell when it's Saturday or Sunday, though, when I get to the office and the only cars in the lot belong to accountants. I get there and usually park several spaces from a red pickup truck belonging to another accountant in a different office in our building. Long past being embarrassed about fast food diets, we get out of our cars balancing Starbucks coffees with sacks of McDonald's goodness and head to our respective doors while fishing key cards out of our pockets.

We give nods to each other that say, "Hang in there. It's almost over. We can make it - as long as we don't spend too much time thinking. Of family. Of outdoors. Of sleep. Of how much is left to do.  God speed, my friend. And, good luck."

We've never spoken to each other. I don't even know his name. But from his ball cap, the tired glaze in his eyes, the wrinkled clothes, and bedroom slippers, I know exactly his struggles. The need to push forward. Finish. Keep going.

I still have 43 tax returns to go. I shouldn't have looked. This is not a number I need to know. I just need to know that at 9 am I'll be doing one. And, then, I'll be doing another one. It's fatal to look at the big picture.

How could I still have 43?

I might need more coffee.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

That's all I have to do?

IRS ignoring 60 percent of taxpayers’ calls as deadline looms - The Washington Times

Is It Friday Yet?

I had mixed emotions when someone asked me that upon arriving to work this morning. First of all, I don't get Fridays. My work week is non-stop so the idea that there's a day to look forward to - as in the last day of the work week - is now about two weeks away.

And, secondly, if it was Friday that would mean I have one less day to prepare this mountain of tax returns. What I need is a long string of Thursdays.

The next guy who asks me Is it Friday yet? I'm going to kick in the shins.