I love doing my taxes

You know how occasionally you find yourself in some situation where as an icebreaker you have to come up with an interesting fact about yourself? I think the next time that happens I’m going to use this:

I love doing my taxes.

I really, really just get so much joy from looking back on the year before. What did we earn and where did it go? It’s nice to lay out all your charitable donations for the year and feel good about where you maybe made a difference or helped someone reach a fundraising goal.

I find the math soothing. I like keeping all my forms and receipts organized in a folder. I like doing each of our taxes individually and then seeing if we’d save any money as a married couple. (So far every year we’ve been better off legally single.)

One day when I have loads of free time, I want to volunteer to help other people file.

 

IMG 0089

 

Alaska likes to help.

IMG 4008

I feel like I should have some tips for doing your own taxes, but I only have this one good one:

If you have a relatively simple return you can use Turbo Tax online or H&R Block online to file your federal return for free, and they are really, really easy to use. (I’ve used both; I prefer H&R Block’s myself but both are super user friendly.)  They’re free, but after you finish your federal return you get a message like, “for $29.95, with just a few more clicks we’ll file your state return as well!”

And it’s kind of tempting. (I’ve done it in a super busy year.) I’ve filed state taxes using the free efile systems in California and in Colorado and they’re not quite as easy and user friendly as they could be, I’m always worried I’m screwing up.

So here’s the trick: start your state return, but stop before you get to the point where you have to fork over thirty bucks. You don’t have to pay unless you actually have them submit your completed return. As you go along, you get a running total of your refund amount (or what you owe).

Screen Shot 2013 02 24 at 1 23 28 PM

 

Then, when you use the free efiling through your state, you’ll know that if you get the same final number, you did it right. Ta-da.

You could also do the same thing by entering all your information into both H&R Block and TurboTax and making sure those numbers match up, but even I, who loves doing my taxes, was only silly enough to do that once.

Anyways. I started our taxes a few weeks ago, but today was a quiet, snowy afternoon and I went back and double checked everything I had entered and finally hit “Submit.” And now I’m a little bummed it’s over and I have to wait a whole year for tax time to roll around again.

 

PS, remember when I said I went to Ignite and was like “This is so cool, I’m going to submit to speak at the next one!” I did and now I am. It’s this Wednesday, 2/27. Eek! http://ignitedenver.org

Mini goals update

Last week I set the following five small goals.

Monday – walk to work (a little over a mile and a half, about 35 minutes with a heavy bag).

I got a ride to work because I woke up to a small fire I needed to put out and I wanted to get to the office more quickly, but I got my walk in after work, though I suppose my bag was a little lighter since I’d eaten my lunch.

Tuesday – run for 30 minutes.

Skipped it. Realized the State of the Union was on and I wanted to watch.

Wednesday – go to yoga or do a podcast at home.
Check! Did a podcast with Chris. At one point the instructor told us to curl our ears back. Yoga is weird.

Thursday – read for 30 minutes (I am in the middle of a great book, so I assume 30 minutes will run closer to an hour once I get sucked back in).

Read the Steve Jobs biography for…not sure how long but a good long while. I smashed my kindle (again), but I own the big heavy paper version of this book and its been on my nightstand since the end of 2011.

20130218-162036.jpg

Friday – get up and do a 30 Day Shred before work

Ha. Nope.

All in all, probably better than I would have done without my goals, and I really loved having them as my iPad wallpaper for constant reminding. I am committed to the idea that I have enough time to do the things I need to do and that I want to do if I cut down on the things that are neither, my iPad being a huge time suck when I fall down a hole reading magazines or random internet.

 

Forget goals for the year. How ’bout goals for this week?

I have been feeling very embarrassed about my lack of exercise this winter. I don’t know how I went from 6-10 hours a week of workouts over most of last year to…like one workout per week. I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed at work lately and lacking the mental and physical energy for anything else.

My schedule has been something like…6:00, alarm goes off. 6:45, get out of bed. (Yeah, this is 45 minutes of my day I could get back, but I live with some mammals who are expert cuddlers.) 7:20, leave for work. 6:30 pm, leave for home. 7:00 eat dinner, make Chris watch a show with me, drink a beer. Maybe take a bath. Aaand begin again. 9:00ish, get in bed. Read twitter, my google reader, etc. 

But what I learned from the silly schedule from last year (which was somehow the same as above plus training before and/or after work) is that there are 16 waking hours in the day and what I do with them is my choice. I can work out more, and I can do more of the things I want to do if I make them a priority. I have time to read books. I have time to cook. I have time to meet friends for beers. I have time to run. I have time to volunteer.

So, this week my goal is to spend more time exercising and more time reading. As a consequence, I hope to spend less time sucked into random internet on my iPad or watching shows and drinking beer.

I set the following five small goals. Monday – walk to work (a little over a mile and a half, about 35 minutes with a heavy bag). Tuesday – run for 30 minutes. Wednesday – go to yoga or do a podcast at home. Thursday – read for 30 minutes (I am in the middle of a great book, so I assume 30 minutes will run closer to an hour once I get sucked back in). Friday – get up and do a 30 Day Shred before work.

To keep myself accountable, I’m posting my goals on the internet. (I actually think this does nothing for accountability. Think to yourself now, can you name a blog you read and a goal they have? I really can’t. If you post about a goal and never mention again, I’m sure I wouldn’t notice.)

To really keep myself accountable, I made this list the home screen on my iPad. So I have to look at it 20+ times a day.

Let’s do this.

 

IMG 0096

The Bet

The annual bet about who-can-go-the-longest-without-finding-out-who-won-the-super-bowl has started. The first 24 hours really require a total media black out and the occasional fingers in your ears, but now we’re in the it-could-come-from-anywhere! phase of the game. I’ve gotten spoiled by an episode of Royal Pains. Chris has gotten spoiled by an article about the White Stripes in a music magazine.

It feels a little…smug and just so terribly anti, but I promise it’s not the spirit in which the bet is intended. I could just not watch the Super Bowl. I don’t care about the game, but when I say I don’t care, I really don’t care. Meaning I also don’t care about people who do really like the Super Bowl. It’s just not my bag in the same way, I don’t know. Riding a unicycle isn’t my bag. I don’t complain on twitter about people who like to ride unicycles. And I don’t roll my eyes when I see people riding unicycles. I just…don’t ride a unicycle.

But rather than just skipping the whole thing, The Bet is a way for folks like me to participate in this national holiday. The Bet, and eating guacamole.

(PS I submitted to speak at Ignite Denver! Part of the selection process is voting on the topics, so if you wanted to click over and vote for my topic (Common Law Marriage) that would be cool! http://ignitedenver.org/spark-voting/)