Friday, March 25, 2016

A Rite of Spring


In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
Benjamin Franklin

Real spring – not simply a date on the calendar indicating an astronomical phenomenon - is almost here. I can feel it in the air, sharp breezes taking on a warm edge by afternoon. 

My gray, barren yard transforms
as flowers bloom.
Daylight lingers and Earth’s grayness dissolves. The yellows of sprouting daffodils, greenery on trees and bushes, the glistening sun and deep blue sky chase away winter blues. An eclectic mix of garden tools and construction equipment materializes everywhere. The local ice cream store opens. People emerge from winter hibernation, walking, riding bikes or simply sitting outside, smiling, faces raised, absorbing the sun’s warmth.

Such a lovely picture, a perfect picture except for one problem –

TAXES - defined as:
An obstacle to enjoying spring.

I never worried about taxes as a kid, so spring was a delightful season. I am not Catholic, but fondly remember Ascension Thursday, occurring after Easter, usually early May, the first day my friends and I went to the beach after months without sand and sea massaging our feet.

I grew up and became an adult, Ascension Thursday beach trips replaced by that great American tradition memorialized every year on April 15th - or the closest business day to that date – TAX Day. FYI –The date is Monday, April 18th in 2016. Here’s why.

Whatever else happens in the world – a Presidential election, late spring snowfall, sidelined by the flu for a few days, cancelled plane flights, weddings – there is one thing we can count on every single year.

TAXES

Our favorite TV show may be cancelled, our much-loved coffee shop close, construction work could play havoc with our commute to work, our lives seem steeped in chaos, yet tax time will arrive. The IRS eagerly awaits our returns (no matter what Ted Cruz says). Ben Franklin said so, and our Founding Fathers never lied (according to one of my teachers decades ago). 

 As proud citizens, hub and I undertake the yearly task, the government confirming we donate our fair share of TAXES in support of a bloated bureaucracy located within the confines of the Washington Beltway, where thousands upon thousands of hard working bureaucrats attempt to run the country. A few hundred elected officials occasionally work there also, when not on vacation or visiting constituents or foreign countries or seeking election.

Hub and I do our own taxes. I collect the documents. Hub inputs the data. We are a team. If not dysfunctional, not exactly in perfect harmony. We argue, get tired, hungry and annoyed with each other, but we persevere.

Completed forms are filed with our demanding Uncle Sam and, for the last few years, our difficult cousin Chris Christie. Chris insists he wants to reduce our hefty state tax bill, but unfortunately his pronounced generosity has yet to become reality. A tug of war ensues – Uncle Sam wants more, Cousin Chris wants more, and we want to keep more, especially now that we are retirees.

Taxes complete, TurboTax indicating no errors, we hit the send key, propelling electronic forms into cyberspace and the cloud, our hard work settling in IRS supercomputers.

We breathe a sigh of relief and turn our attention to a world turning bright and happy. Spring unfolds in colorful splendor. 

2 comments:

  1. That reminds me ... gotta go see if our ice cream store has open up yet.

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  2. Congrats on taxes done! I, too, do my own taxes -- quite an undertaking the first year after my husband's death though we had previously done them together as you describe (before Turbo). I've not used a digital program but might this year. I've all the "ingredients" together, so better get busy soon consolidating everything.

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