Saturday, March 24, 2012

On Obsolesence. Taxes, and Rainy Days - Off Topic

It was rainy most of the day. We got up at 5:15 to take our daughter to BWI. She's off to Florida for spring break with her lacrosse team.  They're going to practice a lot this week. (Yeah, right!) All the girls on the team had all three volumes of The Hunger Games and two swimsuits. 

After getting home and taking a long nap, I procrastinated for several hours. Three crossword puzzles and half an Outside magazine later, I faced reality and started to do my taxes.  My hard drive has only 40 megabytes and 39.7 are occupied so out with the SAT prep software, out with last year's Turbo Tax. Pop in this year's Turbo Tax.  No go. It needs Service Pack 3 from Microsoft.  So I download SP3 knowing that I've previously tried to download it 3 times unsuccessfully.  Lo and behold, it loads! After only one hour!

Now we're cooking. I put the Turbo Tax disk in. No go!. I no longer have enough disk space!


Now my desktop computer is only about 6 years old.  It was the bees knees when we bought it.  Now most of its once massive hard drive is taken up with software updates. 

My wife, being way smarter than I, bought a laptop last year.  From what I can tell, it plays Mahjong like nobody's business. (My machine doesn't even have Mahjong. Sadly, I am mired in the Spider Solitaire epoch.)   So I copied my old tax files to a flash drive and loaded Turbo Tax onto her machine.

Unfortunately, it worked like a charm. I spent the nest two hours entering seemingly endless data about our charitable contributions. We don't give all that much, but we give to every tin cup in the free world. WAMU and WETA?  We need to decide. Adventure Cycling, WABA, and LAB?  I like my cigar too but I take it out once in a while. The American [Name Your Disease] Association. Pick one. 

After about four hours of this, I pressed the magic button and learned that once again we must pay the Alternative Minimum Tax.  I don't mind paying taxes but paying the AMT makes me feel like we are getting screwed.  It's like winning at negative Bingo.

We saved our asses off. We paid off the mortgage. We've been really good. Our reward is to hold our breath once a year and hope that we are not going to be rendered insolvent by some impenetrable math concocted by the Senate Finance committee.  Dear Congress, just raise my effing tax rate.  I won't mind. Really.  Just get rid of the AMT. when you do it.

End of rant.

Having some foresight, I am happy to report that Mr. and Mrs. Rootchopper are getting some money back this year. We withhold like a murderer in the interrogation room. We also benefit from Ben Bernanke's QE2 (or is it 3, I've lost track.). Our interest income is so low that our bank decided not to bother sending us a tax statement. Ha. Ha. You're rate is 0.25 percent!  Ben, we need to talk, dude.

(Prediction: in about 20 years, a whole bunch of financial institutions will go broke. They loaned money out for 30 years at 4 percent and have to pay 7 percent for deposits.  Sound familiar. Welcome to the S&L crisis of the 1980s Part Deux. No worries for me. I'll be worrying about the price of Depends and ExLax.)

So I saved everything and tomorrow I will hit the send button. One should never file taxes without a glass of wine and a good night's sleep. 

The good news is that the refund will pay for a new computer.  So we can do this dance again next year.


  1. A new computer will make everything seem better!

  2. Are you going to get a Mahjong master laptop or, I assume, another desktop?