Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday 9

Happy Holidays!

1. If you could ask Santa for anything at all, right now, what would it be? I know how busy The Big Guy is this weekend, so I'll make it easy on him. I'd like a $1,500 giftcard from American Airlines (it's the largest amount you can get for me online, Santa). I've got three trips planned for 2014, Mr. Claus, and this would really, really help. A giftcard fits under the door, so you don't even have to waste valuable time coming in. Don't bother with a gift tag. I'll know who it's from.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there? I think I'm on the Nice list because I've worked at being more patient this year.

3. Are you traveling this Christmas? If so, are you going by car, plane or train? I'm flying to Key West through Tampa and from Key West through Fort Meyers. I'm hoping my connections go smoothly.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year? Yes. I finally got My Name is Barbra and My Name is Barbra, Two on CD. I bought these albums on vinyl decades ago and love them. I have downloaded favorite individual selections on iTunes. But there were still songs I didn't have. Amazon had them on sale for $6.99 each, so Merry Christmas, Gal!

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie or TV special? Have you seen it yet this year? Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. I check around for it each morning but don't see it scheduled. I'll probably end up digging up the DVD and watching it tonight.

6. Which do you prefer: candy canes or gingerbread? Gingerbread. Love it, love it, love it.

7. Close your eyes and tell us the first carol that comes to mind. "… And so I'm offering this simple phrase to kids from 1 to 92. Though it's been said, many times many ways, Merry Christmas to you."

8. What's your favorite winter beverage? I like Bailey's. But not yet. Let's wait until afternoon before we start pouring.

9. What will you remember most about 2013? For me, this was The Year of Reynaldo. All of a sudden, my 9-year-old cat spun out on me. Peeing all over,
singing and screeching at all hours, alternating between demanding attention and being destructive. It
went on for months! I didn't want to get rid of him -- a return to the shelter would be so sad for him because, at his age and with his history, he'd be virtually unadoptable. After many trips to the vet for a series of shots, a switch to prescription cat food, and an herbal supplement, he's much, much better. He's still a little madman -- that's just the warp and woof of his personality. But now he's more peaceful, more comfortable and happier. He even sleeps every once in a while!

Holidailies -- Day 21

Well, I'm getting my last hair cut and color of the year. Does that count?

The Last Meeting of the Year

Thursday we had a meeting at our client's downstate offices. I presented six (count 'em! 6!) pieces of proposed creative. As expected, they chose two for April 2014. They seemed very enthusiastic about one and pleased (enough) with the other, so I think it went well.

Presenting on December 19 is never ideal. Everyone's head is more into Christmas than into work. That my client's chairman gave his annual holiday address in the building atrium right before my meeting just emphasized this.

Also, my boss had just given his own presentation -- which used up a ton of our resources and left me with the leftovers for mine -- on Monday. And it didn't go especially well. So I felt a bit as though I started behind the eightball. This added to the pre-meeting stress, but made it the mostly positive reception more satisfying.

I went down on Amtrak but came home in the car with my account team. The Chocolate Covered Spider drove. She told us all about her fractious family and how difficult her childhood was with an older half-sister who began partying and got pregnant very young. I'm glad to have heard these tales. They make Spidey's control issues more understandable. She's still always got to be "the good sister." Knowing this will probably make it easier for me to deal with her in the future.

Of course there's more. There's ALWAYS more.

My late mother's home sold at auction on December 9, so I thought the hassles about her reverse mortgage had to be over. I created a spreadsheet that cataloged the assets and debits, made copies of each receipt listed, carefully composed a cover letter and sent a packet off to each of my sisters -- first class mail and tracking. My heinous older sister's packet includes a check. (Of the $14000+ that was required to handle my mother's final expenses, she contributed $1000. Of that, she's getting $333.49 back.) According to USPS's tracking service, the package was delivered to Ms. Heinous at 3 PM today. So I should be able to sit back and say to myself, "Yea! It's finally over!" More than a year after her death, I can now think of my mother exclusively as my mother, and not as a legal entity, right?

Not right.

I got a notice from the IRS, saying that I owe $537 on the MetLife stock I deposited into my checking account when we collected on our mother's life insurance at the end of 2012. I'm not sure I do owe it -- in the past, whenever I have heard from the IRS, it has turned out that they were wrong and my accountant was right and it was resolved amicably and in my favor. But it has never been resolved quickly, and the IRS insists they need to hear from me by January 8. With the holidays, I didn't even bother to call my accountant, I just cut the check. According to the paperwork, I can always appeal it in the future.

The impossible part would be squeezing another penny out of my heinous older sister. If I do owe the $537, $179 is her fair share of the tax liability. Yeah, right. Life "fair share" has ever meant anything to her.

I have given up hope that this will EVER be over.