Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rushing to Finish February on a High Note ~ Tuesday 2/28/17

I didn't sleep well last night, I felt like I tossed and turned all night. I must have, because the kittens didn't come cuddle until 5:50 a.m. even though I'm sure at least one of them was sleeping with me.  The new pillow isn't helping at all and I didn't even use it last night.

It was foggy this morning when I drove my son to school and my mind felt foggy too, due to the bad sleep, but one thought was clear: today is the last day of February and my last day to try and knock some February goals off my list!

So let's get to it...

  • Work on shopping list
  • Fold the laundry
  • Put the laundry away
  • Research state park for a hike this weekend
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift (next week) 
  • Mop bathroom
  • Clean bathroom ceiling
  • Vacuum living room DONE
  • Make my bed DONE
  • Turn bread heels into bread crumbs - We ended up eating them!
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits DONE
  • Input weight into WHBRHC DONE
  • Sort coupons
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time  DONE
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) DONE
  • Watch "Spy in the Wild"
  • Clean fridge - DONE
  • Sweep/mop the downstairs bathroom
  • Vacuum the upstairs bedrooms - Swept mine
  • Vacuum living room DONE
  • Vacuum the exercise room DONE
  • Sweep the cat room DONE
  • Sweep the breezeway DONE
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son (after pediatrician apt)
  • Back up external drive to its own external drive!
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Do my foot exercises DONE
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only) 
  • Read one of the library books
  • Clean upstairs litter box  DONE
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Read new issue of Kiplinger's in progress
  • Wash kitchen windows
  • Vacuum the fridge's coils DONE
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Inventory the freezers
  • Reorganize the gardening supplies area in breezeway DONE
  • Purge file cabinet Finished the bottom drawer
  • Take RaceTrac surveys 
  • Take my measurements
  • Look into transplanting hyacinths in garden - Moved them outside since Explorer has started to jump on mantelpiece :(
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Sit down with my daughter and show her how to file her taxes DONE
  • Start on our tax return FILED!
  • Schedule an outing to P.E.A.R. Park and ask them about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Write letter to my great aunt, with pictures
  • Mail letter to my great aunt
  • Schedule credit card payment
  • Summarize February Food Expenses and post DONE
  • Update French blog
  • Mend sliding door window screen
  • Finalize and mail letter to UPS CEO (add Amazon's comparison)
  • Plant and water the tree 

  • Youngest Son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • Despite my fatigue and the fog and my being impatient (see: "Failures"), the school drop-off went, in fact, well :)

  • I opened the windows as soon as I got home from the drop-off. Starting today it will keep on getting warmer so I don't expect that I'll be able to have them open past noon-ish :(

  • I started working on Swagbucks when I first got up by playing some videos.  At 10:30 a.m. I have earned 41 SB out of the 99 SB I need for my 1st goal.  I won't pretend that I'll try to reach it, but I don't mind running the videos.

  • As soon as I finished opening the windows this morning, do you know what I did? No, I didn't go sit outside on the patio. No, I didn't sit down to have breakfast.  I.... (drum roll)... gathered all my tax folders and commandeered the kitchen table (I left a small spot for Greg to have breakfast) and started working on our tax return!  Woohoo, me!  I was really dreading it and starting on it was a February goal so I figured that I should just jump right in.  Greg left for work as I was already growling at the instructions... taxes, fatigue, I have PMS, the kittens kept on jumping on the table and counters so they could better see what I was doing... he was quite happy to be able to escape to the office today!  I feel bad for my daughter, whose room is right above the kitchen, because there was much yelling going on this morning, between the stupidly complicated tax return and the kittens' behavior!  I'm doing the taxes by hand again this year so I can save the TurboTax charge (last year, I got frustrated with them because their software wouldn't let me correct a number that I had input incorrectly, no matter what I did).

  • A few minutes after Greg's departure, I called him to say I probably wouldn't be able to finish them today because we didn't get a 1099-B from our brokerage firm and their instructions said that if we were to get one, we'd get it in "early March". I had no idea whether we would get one or not (we did last year) so I figured I should stop and wait.

  • However, I thought better of it immediately and decided to keep going. I figured that if we weren't going to get the form, at least the taxes would be done and if we did, at least I would have gotten the practice again.  In the middle of continuing (I hate Schedule D and the various stupid worksheets with a passion!), I decided to send the brokerage firm an email to ask whether our account would be getting a 1099-B or not.  Then I finished the taxes. Barring any huge mistake that I might have made (knock on wood), it looks like we might get a nice return. But I suck at math, which is why I'll redo it again and then redo the calculations for Greg and then maybe it won't be such a nice one :)

  • Once I was done, I checked my email and they had replied that we won't be getting a 1099-B so wow, if so I'm very close to being done with our taxes and really hoping I didn't make a mistake!  I'm taking a break (worked on those for almost 3 hours!) and then will have to continue.

  • The CVS Consumer Advisory Panel sent me a survey. I qualified for it and was able to complete it so I should be getting a $10 ECB Reward in the next couple of weeks.

  • While I was doing my chores, I started wondering about my Amazon packages so I pulled up the MyUPS notices and they said the packages had been delivered at 4:27 p.m. yesterday.  Heck no, I'm 99.9% sure that I checked the front door, where I found them presently, last night and again this morning. (We actually have 2 front doors, the one to what looks to be the main part of the house, that we never use, and the one in the front covered porch at the top of the driveway, which is the one we use). But at least I have my packages. 

  • I told my daughter that I wanted to show her how to file her taxes today so we spent some time going over that.

  • I helped her reinstall the wifi printer's drivers on her laptop as she was having problems connecting to it.

  • For lunch, I had the last of the butternut squash soup, the leftover salad from last night, and an egg and avocado sandwich. Dessert was 2 clementines and a cupcake.

  • I transferred $166.66 to Savings, as my goal is to put $2,000 in our regular emergency savings in 2017.  (We have "Catastrophic Savings" set aside at a different bank, which equal to 12 months of barebone expenses, in case Greg were to lose his job or become incapacitated), and "Emergency Savings", which is our regular savings account, which we use for car and house repairs, for instance, that we can't "cash flow" out of checking).

  • I went to redo our tax forms so Greg could sign them tonight. Only I realized that I had miscalculated some stuff, and then I started doubting whether I should fill out some forms or not, so I decided to check what TurboTax told me after all.  It took me another hour to get everything imported and reviewed.  I'm glad I did it as they told me that even though Greg's IRA contribution isn't deductible, I could deduct mine since I wasn't covered by a retirement plan (woohoo!).  And also I had miscalculated our total income and I was going to fill out schedule D when, in fact, we weren't required to do it this year.  Woo!  I called Greg to get his OK to file.  We're going to be getting $5,700 back... since I always fear that we're going to owe something, that was very nice!  I had set our allowances to 0 on his W-4 so we would have fewer chances of owing anything. Next year we won't be claiming my daughter so it'll be a different story. 

  • I went through USAA to access TurboTax which saved me $20 :)

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.

  • I entered my current weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 BR points.

  • For dinner, I cooked a box of spaghetti (60 cents at Publix), meatballs (bought on BOGO with coupons) and a loaf of garlic bread (free after coupons). It was delicious!  I really want another piece of bread, though.

  • We finished watching Season 1 of "The Jim Gaffigan Show" tonight. I'm glad it's over, it was excruciating.  But I had bought it so I felt I ought to watch it.

  • Greg and I agreed to send our tax refund to the mortgage company when we get it!
  • Gas:
    • to take my son to school
    • and tolls for Greg's commute
    • for my daughter to go to her college class

  • I realized this morning that I really need to be more patient when I do the school drop-off. I wasn't listening to classical music today and my lack of patience manifested itself when I grumbled between my teeth about the stupid driver in front of me that was accelerating and braking in an odd pattern, taking turns way too slowly (like a turtle!) etc.  When we got to the school drop-off, instead of a student coming out of the passenger side of the car, it was an older woman (about my age)... and then the driver exited too and it was a young teen. Doh! I had been driving behind a teen learning how to drive!!!  I should know better as I'm teaching Youngest Son how to drive (although I don't feel comfortable with him driving to school in the mornings yet).  I was instantly ashamed of having cursed her (to myself in the car).  Yeah, I need to be more patient in the mornings!

  • Tax Filing: $24.99 (TurboTax)
  • Tolls: $25.00 (Greg's Sunpass replenished itself)

  • I earned $10 in ECBs by completing a CVS Advisory Panel survey (should get it in a couple of weeks)

  • Fed the kittens
  • Packed Greg's lunch
  • Prepped his breakfast
  • Worked on Swagbucks
  • Dropped Youngest Son off at school
  • Aired out the house
  • Worked on our tax return
  • Emailed the brokerage firm
  • Turned the timer on for 15 minutes but did chores longer than that!
  • Made my bed
  • Cleaned the upstairs litter box
  • Swept the upstairs landing
  • Swept my bedroom
  • Finished cleaning out the bottom drawer of the file cabinet
  • Turned the AC back on
  • Reorganized the gardening supplies area
  • Swept the exercise room, the hall, the breezeway, the cat room, and the laundry room
  • Cleaned the fridge's coils
  • Cleaned the fridge
  • Showed my daughter how to do her taxes
  • Filed my taxes with TurboTax
  • Organized tax paperwork and left myself notes for next year
  • Brought the trash cans back up from the curb
  • Texted Oldest Son to wish him good luck on a big audition I heard he was having
  • Worked on my February Goal Recap post
  • Cooked dinner

  • For all the birds singing in the neighborhood this morning. I love that we can hear so many of them.
  • For checking TurboTax and not stubbornly insisting on trying to file by hand this year :) I would have missed that I could deduct my own IRA contributions!
Have you done your taxes yet?


  1. Yay for ending the month on a high note! Glad you got your taxes all done! That's a nice tax return! :) I haven't done my taxes yet, although I've an appointment with the accountant for my daughter's taxes, later this week. I was supposed to have got my papers together to take them to her before that, so she could work on mine, too, but getting sick put me behind. I'll see what I can do tomorrow. If not, I can ask her to do my taxes later.

    1. I'm so relieved it's done. The large return was a nice surprise, I was just happy that I could put that behind me for another year, lol! Goof luck with yours. Is it that complex that you need an accountant?

  2. Hi! I posted yesterday and my message was deleted or so I think since I never went back to check LOL. Good job with the taxes- I use Turbo tax myself but I always have to pay since I'm an independent contractor with a 1099, receive social security and have a tiny pension from my husband's employer. This past year I filed more quarterly so hopefully won't owe and I also bought my new Prius and had sales tax. I hate the car pool lines too- I usually pick up GS once a week. I have found the best thing for me is to leave way early and just wait with a book. Sometimes I'm still number 5 or 6 in line and I am there 45 minutes before school is out. I love to read so it doesn't bother me too much. Once he starts HS he can take the bus like his older brother does but middle school is out of zone. Can you believe it's March 1st- my notes all start over again with the job and I'm out this afternoon with a meeting and a few visits to make. Did you get your mojo back after your lack of sleep? I am usually asleep by 9 and up by 4. That's enough sleep for me. I read in bed so sometimes I'll go to bed really early and read an hour or longer. Crazy schedule I know!!!

    1. Hey Nan, I hear there were widespread internet problems yesterday because of a major failure with the Amazon servers that are used by many sites. Personally, I didn't experience any interruption of service but I wonder if maybe your comment was lost due to that problem? I checked my pending comments and I don't see one from you apart from this one. However, I did see 2 pending comments from other commenters dated late January and early February and I'm positive that I never received email notifications of those! So maybe it's another Blogger problem.

      I remember having to pay taxes quarterly for Greg back when he was an independent contractor. When I first met him he had already been an independent contractor for a year and didn't know to pay his taxes quarterly so we started our relationship with having to pay a pretty hefty tax and penalty bill!

      I'm happy I don't have to pick up my son from school. Back when I did 4 school pick-ups, I'd always tell the kids they'd be the last ones picked up as I left the house at the last possible moment so as not to have to idle in line forever. It gave them a little more time to socialize with their friends.

      I still haven't found my mojo (I slept badly again last night and now I'm so tired at only 8 p.m) but it sounds like you have yours well in hand! I love reading in bed before going to sleep but haven't been able to do it since the kittens have taken to come sleep with me because if the light is on, they think it's playtime and take a long time to calm down, hahaha. I did read on the couch for a bit before going to bed last night. I hope I can finish the book this time!

      How was your 1st day of March?

  3. We brought all of our tax information to the accountant two weeks ago. I'm hoping we might be able to pick it up next Thursday so I can see what the damages. I'm glad you still text your son even if he doesn't reply to you. I often think about your relationship with him and hope he will turn his thoughts around to talking to his mom 😀

    1. I hope there's no "damage" for you, Sandie! It's always a nail biter when you don't have a straight forward situation, isn't it?

      Thanks for your kind words about my situation with my son. I get sad occasionally but at the same time, I'm mad at him for the hurt he's caused me (even almost a year later, I still don't understand what caused him to send me that email) and I've spent most of my adult life estranged from my own dad. So I don't understand what I did wrong, I DO understand that he feels he doesn't want me in his life, and I'm hurt and angry about it. But most days I don't really think about it. It's complicated. I don't know that I will keep on reaching out. His repeated silence is indication that he has so intention of rekindling a relationship and I'm getting tired of trying, quite honestly. He knows where I live and how to contact me. I just hope he's happy.

  4. Uh, way to go on finishing up the taxes and HOLY COW. That is an awesome refund!!

    1. Isn't it?! We went from owing that much a couple of years ago to now getting that much back. Neither situation is optimal, I'd rather we not get anything back without owing anything either, but our situation is still fluctuating from year to year (size of Greg's bonus, how many kids we can claim, whether we qualify for Roth IRAs or not, whether we contributed to the Roth 401(k) or not... so I decided to play it safe this past year and just leave the allowances at zero on the W4. I'm excited that we're going to send it all to the mortgage! I can't wait to be done paying off the house.

  5. Way to go on getting your taxes done! My husband is a tax accountant, so that work is all up to him. He usually starts in February, but this year, with his Mom passing away, he's put it off. He just got his Dad's taxes done, next will be our son's (which will be a piece of cake), and then ours.

    1. Way to wait until I wrestled my taxes to announce that Dave was a tax accountant! He's a corporate tax accountant, though, isn't he? If he has a private tax accounting practice, I would be interested in giving him our business. I'm really clueless and every time I look at my returns from previous years, I'm thinking that I screwed up something. I did, one year, spend 3 or 4 hours (I forget which one it was) on the phone with the IRS convincing them that they had sent me $2,000 that I wasn't entitled to. Greg was mad that I did that, I was mad that it took so long for someone to stop arguing with me that they knew what they were doing, and get a pencil out to redo all the calculations with me on the phone and then recognize that I was right. I sent them a check back and never got a thank you or anything. Makes you wonder how many of those errors go unreported too!


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