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March 25, 2001: A little brain dump

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We got our taxes done - finally. We had someone else prepare them because after I attempted to do my own taxes last year and got extremely different numbers each of the three times I calculated, I gave up and swore I'd never do my own again. The minute you sink into the wonderful world of dividends, exercising stock options, and money market accounts, the 1040-EZ form runs screaming, and the 1040-A follows closely behind. Sigh.

I owe the government again this year - enough to make me wince visibly (it's not pleasant to face a nasty tax bill the same month you're about to enter full house-mortgage-land), but at least when the nice tax prep man itemized all my deductions, the amount was a bit better. Not much, but some. And when it comes to taxes, I'll take what I can get.

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Joining the ranks of things around the house that are falling apart because they know we're this close to moving, the toilet in the master bedroom decided it had had it. Near as we can figure, what with peering into the tank (and some wise person installed a bathroom counter directly over the tank so you kind of have to lift the lid and peer sideways and rely on dunking one arm into the water in a rather awkward position and trying to half-feel, half-squint at the problem), that the little lever that attaches chain to handle has broken. I'm sure it's fixable - they make packages of toilet paraphanilia at hardware stores - but at this stage of the game, there is so little incentive to even bother! We're just starting to accumulate a nice little list for the landlord when we move out. I'm sure he's going to appreciate it. Really he will.

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In house-building news, we had to finalize our picks for the kitchen and bathroom floors. This necessitated going to the local dealer of carpet-and-other-stuff-you-walk-on, and flipping through books and racks of vinyl samples. The selection of unattractive kitchen and bathroom flooring in every shade of beige known to man (and then some) was staggering, but having been through the ugly, speckle-infested countertop selection, and the paint chip joy of selecting the right white, I think we were more than prepared. In the end, we found our choices and are quite happy with them. Whether we will be quite so happy when they are on the floor and we are actually comparing them to the rest of the house remains to be seen, but I'm being optimistic here.

While the guy at the store was writing up our order, we got to amuse ourselves by trying to find the ugliest carpet sample in the display room. It was a close race, as there were entire binders full of those hideous spotty or geometricly-afflicted carpets one finds in business offices, and for a bit there our fiercest contender was a square of blue with a pattern of white guaranteed to induce nausea if stared at too closely. But in the end, this had to take second place. The winner, hands down, was the salmon-pink selection (bright salmon pink, too) speckled with multi-colored spots in shades of orange and red. The effect was sort of what one might find should one's cat toss her (barely digested) cookies onto a carpet which had once been a sickly yellow but onto which someone spilled an entire bottle of Pepto-Bismal.

The scariest thing about these lovely gems is not that someone thought them up. It's that someone, somewhere, probably has an entire room (perhaps a house, but that thought is just too painful to comprehend) of this stuff. On purpose!

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