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April 16, 2006: Wincing

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April has so far shaped up to be an expensive month. First there were the taxes, which we actually got done the last weekend in March, but which did not get paid until the last possible minute. In a way it was kind of amusing because this is the first year in a very long time that both Richard and I have worked only one job each, and we did not have anything complicated, like buying or refinancing a house, or purchasing a car that required recording a credit based on instruction so complicated (and yet so vague at the same time) that it took five of us to figure out where the hell to record the damn thing on the taxes, or any other sort of complicated thing that would keep us from doing our taxes ourselves. We've been so used to going to H&R Block to get them done that it didn't even occur to me until we were nearly done with the whole thing that we could have just bought the silly software and done it ourselves this year and saved ourselves a bit of money. Not, mind you, that this would have saved us the whopping $2000 we owed the Feds (you may all commence with the cringing right along with me), but it might have been quicker. I will note that since we got our taxes done we have both upped our contributions to our respective 401k's at work and both of us made sure that we've got the maximum amount of tax being withdrawn from our paychecks, and we are both crossing our fingers that next year the tax bill won't be quite so painful.

Next, one of my tires bit the dust as I was toodling along on the freeway heading to work. Luckily Richard was working from home during the original tire blow-out, so he could drive out, and we could swap out cars. By the time he arrived I'd managed to get the tire off and was just starting to fight with trying to put the new tire on. We discovered that my car comes with a nifty little wheel lock - one of the wheel bolts is specially shaped and requires a special little wrench extension to get it off. I am so glad this happened during daylight, or there would have been a *lot* more swearing during the process than there was. Anyway, when Richard took my car in to have them repair the dead tire, we found out that actually all four tires had barely any tread left and were in urgent need of being replaced. I guess all those road trips to and from Ashland and Seattle must have taken their toll. Cost for the new tires - several hundred dollars. Ding! And finally, when Richard took his car in for its regular 3000 mile check-up, we discovered that he needed work done on the brakes. Add in a few hundred more bucks to the mix. Ding!

I am hoping that after all of this, our financial karma will decide to let us take a little break. May's going to be expensive enough, what with that three week trip to Ireland.

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