Monday Stuff

Weekend Top 5: The One Where I Complain About Taxes


Weekend Top 5 is hosted by Kristi at The Wheelz are Rolling

number The husband drove me absolutely bonkers this weekend. Picture this: I’m standing, stock still, in a room. I’m not moving a muscle. The husband, on the other hand, is a blur, zipping from room to room, never stopping to take a breath, never stopping to take a break. He’s in constant motion.

He was like that the entire day yesterday. I think the man was on speed. Or he drank too much caffeine or … something. No human being should have that much energy, it’s sick.

I think it bothered me mainly because I felt guilty. He was getting so much done! He vacuumed, he shined up our dining room table that had been sticky and grungy for months (we used this stuff – GOOD stuff. It looks brand new again). And quite honestly? I don’t even know what else he got done because I was too busy being annoyed with him to pay too much attention.

Where does that man get all of his energy? I think I might have one thimbleful of his energy. Which annoys me and it annoys him because he wants to go-go-go and I want to sleep-sleep-sleep.

number4 However, I forced myself to just sort of step back and allow the man to leave tire tracks on me because he spent FIVE HOURS on our taxes.

Five. As in one more than four. Apparently, our taxes are more complicated this year than in previous years because my husband’s company set up stock options for him and that required about 50 more forms than we’re normally used to.

Thank God he’s an accountant because there would be no way I could even attempt to do our taxes.

But he’s done and I’d like to run some totals by you because taxes are one of my biggest pet peeves and I don’t think people truly think about how much the government is taking from us.

I’ve been forbidden to give you actual numbers, but consider this – the government took enough from us this past year to pay for two cars.

Really nice cars.

And in the end? We’re getting six percent of that back. Six. That means, the government demanded a big chunk of our money, squandered it and then had the decency to feel a bit bad about it and gave us our six percent back. That’s why I get so angry when people say, “But I’ll get that back in April!”

Uh no. People get a small sliver of what they pay out back in April. Heck, some people don’t even get that. AARGH! Message to government: manage our money more wisely and stop bleeding us dry!

Okay, rant over.

Here are some facts that I thought were interesting:

We spent a little under half of what we made last year. Not bad! I think that’s mainly because we do not have any debt save for my car. Everything else (including the house), is paid off.

Since my husband is an accountant, he keeps track of this sort of thing …

I spent $317.00 dollars on hair last year (me and the boys – the husband uses a Flowbee on his hair. I know, dorky right? But wow, it does a good job on his hair).

I spent $1,274.00 dollars at last year – I really thought that would be higher as it seems like I’m always ordering stuff from them.

I spent $118.00 dollars on scented lotions.

I spent $138.00 to tan.

We spent $1,296.00 dollars to enable MK to play his saxophone.

I spent $743.00 at Starbucks. (Which will stop because I’m about 92% sure there is something in Starbucks coffee that is giving me digestive problems).

And a whopping $11,711.00 dollars at Wal-Mart. Wow.

And the list goes on and on (like five pages on). It’s really interesting to see where all your money goes. I wonder if people kept better track of where their money was going if the government would even be successful in raising taxes to begin with. They would certainly be forced to manage existing money more carefully, that’s for sure.

number3 Now that we’ve crunched some numbers and have an accurate idea of our financial situation, we have decided that we’re going to go ahead and plan for a Disney vacation this summer.

The boys are not excited. In fact, when I enthusiastically mentioned that we were going on a Disney World vacation this summer (!), they actually grimaced.

It’s because they still associate Mickey Mouse with little kids. They honestly have no idea just how COOL Disney World is. I mean, given our interests in technology and science alone, we could spend our entire vacation at Epcot center and be very happy.

But they’ll come around. In the meantime, I bought a guide and I’ve been haunting the American Airline website looking for travel packages. The husband is not excited about spending the money (of course), but I’m being insistent. Not because I’m crazy about spending the money (hello?! I’m Queen Cheap, remember?) but because we only have a few good years left with our boys before they move on with their lives. GD will graduate in two years!! Then he’ll either go to college and/or get a job. He won’t have the freedom (or even the desire) to spend his vacation with us.

So, tough. We’re going to make the most of these next few years and create some pretty awesome family memories – while we can. We can sit home and be cheap when we’re old.

number2 GD wanted to buy Halo 2 for his computer. So, we went to Game Stop to see if they had it.

Have I mentioned that GD would like to get a job at Game Stop? And this particular Game Stop is pretty close to our house so technically, he could ride his bike there, no problem. (Because he’s not ready to drive yet).

GD is pretty laid back. And he doesn’t really show a lot of emotion. But I have to say, that boy CAME ALIVE in that place. His eyes sparkled and he just looked so … animated – it was really quite cool.

He wants to work there. He’s a die-hard gamer and the thought of being surrounded by all those games, by all the new gaming news and being on the cutting edge of everything just made his mouth water. I’m really going to try and (gently) push him into getting a job there. I think that would be such a good place for him to interact with the world – on his terms.

But since he’s not ready to get his driver’s license yet and he still needs an ID in order to apply for a job (which is his plan for the summer), then I plan on taking him up to the DMV on spring break and helping him get an ID.

That should be an experience.

number1 We’re finally trading our old house heater in for a newer model. It all started with smelling gas.

Well, GD and the husband smelled gas – I have never smelled it but that doesn’t surprise me – my sniffer sucks.

It was weird because they didn’t smell gas all the time, just sometimes and only in certain areas of the house – and those areas would be different each time. So, I’m thinking they smelled something that smelled like gas but wasn’t actually gas.

But this freaked the husband out and now he’s on a mission to make sure we don’t have a gas leak. He bought some sort of gas-detecting instrument and spent some time walking around the house to see if he could detect any gas – I’m relieved to say he didn’t detect any.

But the episode got us to thinking. This house is over 30 years old. And that heater is the original heater that came with the house when it was built. It’s probably about time to replace it. Not only that, but heaters nowadays are so much more energy efficient than ours that it’ll save us money in the long run.

The guy came out and gave us an estimate of what it would cost – which was lower than what the husband was predicting so it’s a done deal. The guy will come out in a few weeks and do the deed. He told us that our current heater is only running about 40% efficient at this time and our new one will run at 90% efficient.

It’ll be interesting to see what difference that makes in how that heats our home and how that effects our pocket book.

We’re slowly, but steadily, making the move to be more “green.”


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Preparing for Battle

It took me a long time to admit this, but something was wrong with MK.

MKs Breathing Treatment
MK's Breathing Treatment

We’re a very healthy family. I think the last time I went to the doctor was … three years ago? And that was for a sinus infection, which I used to suffer from at least once, sometimes twice, a year. But ever since I discovered nose spray, I haven’t had one sinus infection.

Go figure.

The husband hasn’t been to the doctor in … forever. I think the last time he went he had a wart burned off.

The only time GD has been to the doctor in the last ten years was to either see his orthodontist or to get his booster shots.

And before this picture (he looks like he’s about 10 in this picture, he’s now 13), MK hadn’t been to the doctor since he was a toddler.

So, we’re healthy. And we plan on staying that way because we trust, and believe, that God will help us maintain our health. Period.

MK’s “problem” began when he was three years old. April rolled around and suddenly, MK began sneezing – a lot. Like about ten sneezes in a five minute period.

And then the coughs started. It would start with a little *cough* and before long, it graduated into a *COUGHCOUGHHACKSNEEZECOUGH*.

I couldn’t figure out what in the world was going on with him. He had been perfectly healthy up to that point so I treated it like a cold, giving him children’s Tylenol or cough syrup. But these medications did absolutely nothing for him and he just got worse. So much worse, in fact, that he couldn’t take a breath without coughing.

The edges of his face began to turn gray and he would complain, “Mommy, my chest hurts.” I’m assuming from all the coughing, poor little guy.

I tried everything I could think of but nothing I did helped him. I grew frantic and when it got to the point where he couldn’t breathe anymore, I got scared. Really, bone-freezing scared. I rushed him to his pediatrician and was told that since I didn’t have an appointment, they couldn’t see him. Even though she could CLEARLY see my child was in distress. I honestly think if I hadn’t been so worried about MK and hadn’t been holding him, I would have jumped through that little window in their glass partition and strangled the smugness right out of her.

I left, cursing her under my breath and now REALLY SCARED. Though I was out of my mind worried, it never crossed my mind to take him to the emergency room. I think now, thinking back, I thought that if I took him to the emergency room, I would be admitting that something was seriously wrong with my little boy and I just wasn’t ready for that.

So, I took him to walk-in clinic.

They were very nice to us and saw us right away. MK was coughing so badly by this time that they had to give him a breathing treatment first before they could even examine him.

Once his coughing was finally under control and he was loopy from the drugs he was breathing, he slumped against me in exhaustion. A portion of my heart broke for him and I vowed I would never allow this sort of thing to happen again. My son was looking to me to take care of him and I wouldn’t let him down.

They began their examination and their conclusion? He was allergic … to something. They couldn’t tell me what but what happened was, some allergen attacked my son and he went into the normal process of trying to expunge it – the sneezing, the coughing. Only, his reaction graduated into a full-blown asthma attack, hence the reason he couldn’t breathe. The passageways in his lungs had narrowed in order to try and protect itself from attack.

I was calmer. Now I knew what I was dealing with. Every April when his allergies began to flare up, without fail, I treated him with OTC allergy drugs and years went by with my being successfully able to ward off future asthma attacks by keeping his allergies down.

But then, we had an unusually wet spring and MK’s allergies just sort of exploded out of the gate. Usually, I could detect the first warning signs and head them off at the pass with allergy medicine. Not that year. One day he was fine, the next *WHAM* we were all hit up alongside the head and the dreaded coughing began.

As a mother, you instinctively recognize when a cough is dry because of a tickle, or wet and breaking up after a cold, and when it’s a consistent, I’m not going away any time soon sort of cough.

I prayed it would go away. I prayed we wouldn’t have another mind-blowing coughing spell like when he was three-years old.

But it happened anyway.

I was calmer this go-around. I sort of knew what to expect and I was smart enough to not allow it to escalate into the red zone. I took him back to the clinic, they gave him another breathing treatment and even allowed us to rent a nebulizer.

Which we used off and on for about two months.

After the season passed, I admitted defeat. I knew he was allergic to something, I just didn’t know what he was allergic to. The not knowing? I don’t do so well with that.

The husband went to an allergist years ago and found out he had some food allergies. So, I got the name of that doctor and we went to see him.

MK endured a very uncomfortable (and painful) session of being pricked in the back about 30 times with various allergy triggers. He kept a stiff upper lip, until the doctor and nurse left the room to give him time to react to the testing and he started crying. The silent, it-breaks-my-heart-to-see-him-like-that, tears.

It couldn’t have been 30 seconds after the doctor and nurse left us that his skin began to bubble – really, really bubble in quite a few places. He was absolutely, definitely allergic to something – actually, quite a few somethings judging by the look of his back. I wish I had had the presence of mind to take a picture of it but I was so shocked to see the reaction that it never crossed my mind.

He began to squirm because it started to itch, like I’m-going-to-die-if-I-don’t-scratch-very-soon sort of itch. I had to work hard at distracting him before the doctor came back because he wasn’t supposed to scratch at them until he got a look at them. The doctor finally came back (though he was gone for only a few minutes, it felt like hours, you know how that feels) and his eyes widened when he saw how MK had reacted.

He had several good-sized bumps, but there was one in particular that bubbled to the size of a dime. Even the doctor was shocked by the size.

I know this because he said, his eyes wide, and just a little surprised, “Wow. Look at the size of that one.”

He consulted his chart. The culprit? Oak. MK’s body HATES oak. It hates other kinds of trees, too. And even some grasses, but oak is the one it hates the most.

Guess what? The neighbor across the street? Has three HUGE oak trees standing guard in her front yard. Virtually right outside of MK’s window.

Great. Just freaking great. And this made sense to me because when he was at school? His allergies weren’t that severe. But the minute he came home? BAM! We got slapped in the face. And that would be why, because the oak trees were blooming and spitting lethal pollen practically in his face.

The doctor prescribed Singular during the day and Zyrtec at night to help keep his allergies under control. And he even gave us a prescription to the medicine you use in a nebulizer just in case we needed it (because we bought our own nebulizer – you think I will be caught unawares next time? I don’t THINK so).

MK has endured the last few springs relatively easily. I’ve had to make sure he was good and drugged, but overall, he’s handled the allergens pretty well. I took him in to see his allergist last May for a check up and to make sure the Singular/Zyrtec combo was working and he gave me another prescription for Singular and some sort of inhaler (which I hope we don’t have to use but it’s nice to have it as a backup, just in case). Zyrtec is now available OTC so I don’t have to worry about jumping through doctor visits to get my hands on that drug.

After that last visit, I forgot all about MK’s allergies because the rest of the year, he’s perfectly healthy. But now that January has rolled around and spring is coming, it’s uppermost in my mind again. I went and picked up another season’s worth of Singular this past week because I like to be prepared for these sorts of things. I can handle ANY crisis, with a military precision, IF I know what I’m dealing with.

And trust me, MK’s allergies will never catch me with my pants down again, let me assure you.

When I paid for MK’s Singulars, I was shocked by the amount – it cost us $35.00 for 30 pills. I’m pretty sure I had never paid that much in the past so I asked the gal if our insurance paid any of it?

“Oh sure!” She said with a nervous giggle. “They paid $100 of it. Here, you can see how much they paid right here,” she said while pointing to the “your insurance paid this much” total.

Again, I was flabbergasted. Singular now cost $135.00?! Are you kidding me?? Thank God for health insurance! But I suppose that is what the drug companies are counting on – because if you have health insurance, do you really CARE how much it is? All you care about is how much YOU have to pay.

It sickened me. What about the poor people who didn’t have insurance? No wonder people can’t afford to get healthy, it’s a sick scam!

And though this realization angers me, even though it makes me angry at our system, at the drug companies, in the end, it doesn’t matter because in the end, I know, and the drug companies and government know, that we will pay and/or do anything it takes to make our loved ones well again.

Scary, isn’t it.

Monday Morning Meme

Monday Morning Meme – January 12th

All you have to do is answer the questions below either in the comment section, or on your blog. And elaborate! Make these questions show your unique and special personalities. This meme entry will post at 12:01 every Monday morning and will be the first postentry listed on WFK all day Monday. (This is an all-day Monday meme, so please, play all day!)

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January 12th Questions:

1. What book is on your nightstand right now? What was the last book you read? How many books do you think you read in 2008?

2. Name three blogfriends that have inspired you. Now please tell us how these blogfriends have inspired you.

3. How far do you live from the place where you grew up as a kid? Tell us about the place you grew up – would you choose to go back there and raise your own family (if you have one)? Why or why not?

4. Finish this line: Absence makes the heart……
(please do not say “grow fonder”.) How long do you think is ‘too long’ to be away from your loved ones?

Monday Morning Meme Participants

1. Marianne
2. Sue
3. Jodi
4. Thea @ I\’m a Drama Mama
5. Dawn\’s Daily Life
6. Oregonsunshine
7. Jen @ mommablogsalot
8. angelgal3176
9. Incrementum- GiGi
10. PhoenixTheBloggingMama

Learn more about Monday Morning Meme here.

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