Half a Week in the Rear View Mirror

Highlights from the last few days:

  • Tax man (the Feds) have notified us that there was an error in our filing last year and we owe them $2800 in self employment tax (that’s on top of the taxes we paid on the dollars I earned).  As it stands that means I’m paying an almost 40% tax rate on a very small income.  Obviously we now must meet with our CPA to help us clean this mess up.  (He didn’t do our taxes last year, we did)  The state is also expecting us to cough up the remaining $1200 we owe them from last year but didn’t finish paying because we started paying our mortgage again.  The last two years have been like this: we can afford to pay our taxes or we can afford to pay our mortgage, but not both.*
  • I learned that sharing such details out loud and then asking the wrong questions about the situation with the wrong people (people not my CPA) can result in people freaking out and me having the worst day ever.  I am calling Friday a lost day.  It was so bad that for the first time in a long time my kid kept coming into my office where I was trying not to cry to give me spontaneous hugs and to ask me if I needed cheering up.  His version of cheering up is to watch thirty episodes of Avatar.  Which we did.  The last time he was worried about me he cheered me up by picking me flowers from the garden with my mom.  He’s really a sweet kid to the people he respects and loves.  I’m just sorry to have caused my son to worry about me.  Kids should not have to worry about the well being of their parental units.
  • We took two boxes of books to Powell’s in Portland and made a little over a hundred dollars which I then spent on two very expensive cookbooks I’ve been coveting (Plenty and Culinaria China).  2 boxes of books turned into 2 books isn’t bad!  I also gave a box of fabric to a friend in Portland.  That’s 3 boxes of crap out of my house!
  • Spent over an hour in the Powell’s cafe reading Culinaria China while drinking a decaf latte and watching the partiers drifting by wearing various combinations of green attire (it was St. Patrick’s Day) and being silly.  After the previous day’s disaster of emotions I really enjoyed my quiet respite in my favorite environment.  My guys were off selling CD’s and eating the perfect french fries down the street.
  • I discovered that my kid hates crowds as much as his father does.  He had a grade B** panic attack which was set off by us going to The Kennedy School for dinner before heading home.  It was crammed full of people.  Crazy amounts of people in stupid green hats collecting in doorways and in the hallways.  There was a two and a half hour wait for a dinner table.  Needless to say, we left.  But not before getting trapped in a packed crowd to hear the bagpiper play near the front entrance.  My child, by this time, was pushing at people to get out of there and was ranting about the pointless stupid holiday and how much he hates it when everyone wears green.  He was still ranting about it five minutes later as we sped away in the car.  He ranted so effectively that he got Philip’s anxiety ramped up and I had two people in the car with me in panic mode.  I am skilled at bringing panic levels down.  At last we headed home in peace.
  • We were very lucky that our favorite pub in town was relatively quiet and there was a booth available for us when we got there.  We had a lovely dinner at Golden Valley (paid for with the money Philip made from selling his CD’s) during which we played one of Max’s favorite games: ask him lots of questions about the video games he plays.  It was a good ending to a long day.
  • I got a cold on Friday.  It is good to note that this is only the second cold I’ve had this season.  Last year I had at least six.  Or at least, it felt that way.  So Sunday I made soup and couscous.
  • I am still stubbornly trying to get Baby Girl Six started and it is stubbornly not revealing itself to me.  I think it may be a first person perspective story but I can’t find the rhythm or the voice.  I may have to shelve it and work on something else for a while.  I also considered giving up this whole writing fiction gig.  For about five minutes.  Then I considered just publishing Cricket and Grey on my own and trying the traditional route for The Winter Room.  For about five minutes.  I also realized that the names of these books might not be right but anyone reading this blog will get used to them and then it will be an annoyance to them to see it change.  Then I realized this is one of those small details you worry about when your writing has completely stalled.
  • For the first time in a long time I admitted out loud (to Philip) that if it weren’t for him and Max I would be planning my suicide right now.  He understood.  I won’t do it, of course.  I would never do that to the two people I love best in the world.  But it’s very revealing of my mental and emotional state that I’m even thinking about it.  It isn’t even a wish to do violence to myself.  It’s a quiet ardent desire to not exist.  I’ve actually been thinking about this incessantly for months now.  But I wasn’t calling it a wish for death and I let myself remain in denial about how bad things have become in my head.  The fact that I’m saying this out loud to you is evidence that I’m not going to act on my desires.  (In case you were worried.)  I can promise you that if I really was going to kill myself I wouldn’t announce my intentions to anyone.

So here we are.  It’s Tuesday.

*Please note that this piece of information is being shared only for an illustration of how much the universe still hates me and is NOT an invitation to discuss my taxes in depth.

**Grade A involves hyperventilating and passing out.  Grade B is working up to Grade A.


  1. Kathy says:

    I was deeply moved that Philip came to the airport in January and now after reading this, I’m completely filled with gratitude, knowing of his anxiety and dislike of large crowds. xo!

  2. angelina says:

    Luckily it wasn’t bad at the airport. He’s usually okay there. What gets him is when he’s in the middle of an unmoving crowd – one with no inwards and outwards flow – it makes him feel trapped. I first discovered this in an open market in Tel Aviv. I was completely enjoying the chaos of people but he started freaking out and I got really angry with him for being an asshole but then after we talked about it I realized he’d been having a panic attack. This was back when he had very little awareness of his own issues – he didn’t recognize when he was having a panic attack. I am a person completely riddled with phobias and anxieties and yet tight crowds are not one of them. How can that be? At least Max has early awareness of this.

  3. Sarah M. says:

    Oh gosh, Angelina, I’m so sorry. Self-employment taxes suck rotten eggs, to use a very juvenile saying. I’m sorry things are so rough.

    Avatar is awesome – Max has good taste.

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