December 18th, 2008


Damn Snow

It's been dumping snow all day -- I've got a good 5 inches in the driveway.  I did not move to Seattle to have this much snow.  This reminds me of a Utah style snow storm.

The dumping is kind of appropriate though, as I'm feeling rather dumped on today.  The IRS audit finished up yesterday.  I freely admitted my errors, and owned up to owing taxes for 05 and 06, mainly because I had a client fail to send me a 1099 form, and the client sent it to the IRS five months late and not to me.  Had I gotten the 1099 I would have filed an amended return and probably avoided all of this.  What really is the kicker is that they IRS is assessing nearly $11,000 in penalties.  I've already appealed to one level and been denied, so I'll appeal it again up -- I have nothing to lose, as I'm only appealing the penalty.  Being penalized because someone didn't send me the proper form -- especially to the tune of $11,000 is grossly unfair in my book. The actual tax owed I'm not disputing, although suffice to say it's also in the five figure range, and it will take me a while to pay up.  I'm going to delay paying so at least I don't pay the corrupt, immoral and unethical Bush administration the funds (like it really matters.)  At least it's over,  after six months, well over $2,000 in compliance costs for copying and research and accountants (all of which is NOT tax deductible either)  I'm pretty angry at myself for letting this happen -- I guess I'll have to chalk it up to an expensive lesson learned.

However, last night I dreamed again of just doing an Atlas Shrugged move -- selling everything and riding off into the sunset for as long as the money holds out.  Waking up to a dump of a snow storm didn't help either.

Damn snow, damn IRS, damn everything....

  • Current Music
    Island Boy - Kenny Chesney

Reliving My Childhood (And Not In A Good Way)

The snow just dumped all day and finally let up about 3pm. There is a good seven inches in the driveway. I had to shovel it. I did not move to a temperate zone city to have to shovel a driveway again. I did that as a kid. Growing up in Salt Lake City, it was my brother's and my job to shovel the driveway every time it snowed, which when we were kids seemed to be about every other day. We had a long flat driveway, and it was relatively easy to shovel if you didn't let the snow get too deep. Dad was never one for buying a snow blower. I suppose it was some sort of cheap puritan work ethic -- or he thought it would build character or something. Nonetheless, my brother Gordon and I would be tasked with shoveling the driveway when we got home from school and before Dad got home from work. After years of doing it we got pretty good --  a skill which still comes in handy I'm afraid. It's very funny to watch neighbors who did not grow up in snow country try to shovel a driveway. They always make it way to hard. They tend to scoop and throw and carry. That's not how it's done.

The trick you see is to plow/push a single track parallel to the driveway on each side as a space to turn around. Then you start at one end of the drive and using the snow plow type of shovel, push a 1/2 to 3/4 width shovel back and forth across the drive and toss the snow off the edge. You "push" you don't lift or carry or throw. It clears the drive quickly. You can see I still remember how to do it looking at the pictures above. It's not a skill I relish remembering how to do.  But since I didn't get to the gym today...

Now I've not had to clear a drive like this in nearly 25 years. Generally snow up in the Northwest is heavy and wet and only an inch or two -- but this was surprising light and very deep, almost a Utah dry powder for some reason. Because the neighbors had already driven on the drive it was compacted to, so on the steep part up by the street it was very slippery and I slipped more than once and landed on my ass. The old level driveway back home growing up never had that problem.

My brother Gordon said a few posts back that "middle aged nostalgia is hell". I would have to agree. I never enjoyed shoveling snow when I was a kid, and I know I sure as hell don't enjoy it now. I am not at all nostalgic about it.  At least I had my I-pod playing Kenney Chesney and Jimmy Buffet songs about living in the tropics -- which is not something I had as a kid (in the ancient days before Sony Walkman tapeplayers!). I guarantee though that if it snowed like this more than this once every 15 years I'd have a snowblower sitting in the garage, even if only for once a year use. Dad taught me some good lessons growing up -- but NOT buying a snow blower is not one. 

One good thing -- the hot tub in the back yard is at 104 and I'm ready to hit it...

  • Current Music
    Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffet