I told Toffee that Al Capone always paid his taxes — as my Italian dad likes to remind me.
Toffee thought it over and decided that Al Capone was a sissy.
We toss all our tax papers into a folder through the year, and organize it the night we start the taxes. As I went through it, I found a misfiled vet bill from July for one of Snalbert's last visits. It was heart-breaking; it was from when he was really sick and we still hoped we could stabilize him. He was with us at this time last year (and Snicky, too, just barely). Poor little guy; he was brave and sweet to the end. At his best, Bertie was a huge, hilarious personality — even our splendid Possum and two crazy kittens can't quite fill this apartment the way he did, I must confess. And he was Wendy's best friend... the only way to distract myself from tears was to become annoyed that we can't deduct medical expenses for our animals. Imagine if we could....
The kittens provided comic relief by chasing each other the length of the apartment, racing across the carpet at our feet.
We usually fuel our TurboTax sessions with large slabs of layer cake and tall glasses of milk, but tonight we had Trader Joe's Chocolate Coated Chocolate Chip Dunkers. These cookies are essentially a slab of chocolate with a thin chocolate-chip cookie on one side. The cookie part is just an excuse; it's all about the chocolate. I recommend these if you still have to do your taxes: You can dunk one as you ponder some incomprehensible question about overseas investment income (check "no") and the slab will prevent it from turning into mush at the bottom of your glass. There are two cookies per serving according to the nutrition label, but I didn't read that until I'd had at least six. But it's tax time; one does whatever it takes to get through it. The cookies come in a giant tub so we might still have some left in case we get audited.
Although the process was quicker this year, there were several questions TurboTax asked us that so thoroughly stumped us that we checked "no" as a kind of white-flag surrender. Not only did we have no idea what it was asking, we also knew that, in a million years, we still wouldn't understand. We wasted less time helplessly dithering over those questions this year; being older and wiser, we have a more accurate idea of how ignorant we are.
I was feeling quite relieved as I wrote this, believing the annual torture was over, looking forward to 11.75 months of not worrying about taxes. (And we're getting a refund!). But I just remembered — I still have to complete the Pennsylvania tax form. By hand. All I need to do is copy down some numbers an accountant sends me, but I still suffer over it and screw it up. If it's any comfort to my local readers, the Pennsylvania form is at least as arcane and annoying as the Massachusetts form, and possibly worse.
It can wait until morning.