It’s been a few days since I last posted, but there hasn’t been much to report. The weather has been godawful, with highs in the teens and/or rain/snow/sleet/slush … so we’ve been more or less housebound until today. But I’d be lying if I said I’d gotten much work done.
Mostly, I did some odds-and-ends spring cleaning – stuff like emptying and sorting both of my closets, and bagging up stuff to donate. Also, I culled a couple of boxes of books and will drag them off to sell them when the weather lets up; did a whole bunch of laundry (bedding, sweaters, all the not-every-week stuff); got my inbox down to zero; made an appointment to get our taxes done; and sorted out the last of our receipts to make that appointment go more smoothly.
Speaking of taxes, a friend of mine posted this article about filing while freelancing. It’s got some good info in it, but I think it over-complicates part of it a tad – especially for those of us whose income may vary wildly from quarter to quarter.
So in addition to the advice above, here’s a little simplifying trick I’ve been using for the last few years – and it seems to (a). keep Uncle Sam happy, and (b). keep me out of trouble:
- Start a second checking account. Take 30% of EVERY CHECK YOU GET – no exceptions – and stick it into this secondary checking account. Pretend this money does not exist until quarterly taxes roll around.
- Pay Uncle Sam from that account. When quarterly taxes come due, send the IRS a check for whatever has accumulated in there over the previous 3 months.
This “hack” (if you will) has saved me a LOT grief over the last few years. I’m not writing big fat checks from my usual checking account (shared with husband), I always make my 90% of taxes (against actual income – see article above) – and usually, after all relevant deductions and so forth, I’ve overpaid a little bit. So I get a refund! Refunds are better than the alternative, let me tell ya.
In other news, DON’T FORGET – Humble Bundle is LIVE and I’m in it! So are a whole bunch of other people, including (but not limited to) such diverse authors as Harlan Ellison, Kelley Armstrong, Connie Willis, Joe Lansdale, KJ Parker, and Tim Powers. And, as someone pointed out via Twitter – for some of these titles, this may be your ONLY OPPORTUNITY to pick them up digitally if you’re outside the United States.
So. Click here to take a look at what’s available. All the usual HB rules apply – pay what you want, no DRM, divvy up your payment however you like between authors/publishers/charity. A HUNDRED BUCKS WORTH OF BOOKS for whatever you find stuck between the sofa cushions, basically.
THIS IS A WIN-WIN, PEOPLE.
Apparently I never did post here about the cat’s lab results, in the wake of her “what the hell is going on with this little old lady cat” bloodwork. In short, everything came up fine and dandy, which is both good and bad. Good, because yay, she is healthy for an elderly feline. Bad, because it means she’s just getting old and weird – and there’s no magic pill for that.
At present, we’ve got her on one of the aforementioned pheromone collars and a regimen of kitty Valium before bedtime. These things worked great for the first week, then everything kind of leveled off to a level which might best be described as Acceptable If Not Fantastic.
Most nights, she wakes up 2-3 times and howls her head off … but only for maybe thirty seconds, and then she calms down and goes back to sleep without anyone “rescuing” her. Ideal? No. Vast improvement? Yes. We can live with it.
Since the weather’s been so cold and awful, she’s been spending most days camped out in my bathroom – where I leave the heated tiles turned on 24/7 for her creature comforts. Of course, she threw a sulking fit at me when I took away the bath-mat for laundering; but that’s what she gets for puking on it.
“What am I supposed to do with THIS?
Lie on the naked warm tiles like some kind of ANIMAL?”
As for Greyson, he’s a snow-dog at heart – and I’m glad he got a few days of the white stuff to frolicking purposes. Hell, I even took him out for a rare after-dark walk the other night, when the snow was fresh and dry. It was 25 degrees but every kid in the neighborhood was out, and so were half of the dogs. It was a very social evening, and it made for a very happy Greyson.
He’s an excellent pooch.
He deserved it.
And he’s the only reason I’m even remotely sad that last night’s rainstorm washed it all away.