Thursday, February 26, 2009

Married, filing jointly

So I got the taxes done last night, and it was another case of "What was I so worried about?" Last year's taxes were a nightmare: we'd just gotten married, we'd moved across a state line, and it was my first time having to file as an independent contractor, so there were library books involved, because I didn't know what the hell I was doing.

This year was a comparative walk. I was really worried because I didn't pay quarterlies in advance this year. That can result in penalties if you earn serious money, but there was so little work this year it was no big deal.

I was motivated to get them done yesterday because it was our year-and-a-half anniversary and it means a lot to Spouse that I do our taxes. Despite being a math genius, he used to go to one of those storefront places to get his taxes done! So I wrestle with TurboTax, he makes a big fuss when I give him the final figure, and it makes me feel appreciated.

His beef, which I'm inclined to agree with, is that taxes are too flipping complicated. I have a legal background, so I feel like I should understand what they mean when they say "Copy your total from the 2008 Widget Recycling Incentive Deduction Reduction Credit into the Bonus Box on Form Umpty-million, multiply by Q, do a little dance, make a little love, and use the resulting figure to verify your Seriously Gross Acne-Related Health Expenditures." I am never sure I've gotten it right, and it just shouldn't be that hard! I mean, apparently you can have the financial savvy to consult to the World Bank and still screw up your return. (Not that I'm bitter or anything.)*

I made a little card that spelled out "I love you" and "Sugar Bear" in binary, and concentrating that hard on all the zeroes and ones made me see spots. There was also a little Woodstock**, dressed like Cupid and holding a tiny Whitman's Sampler, for 75% off at the grocery store. I think Spouse was amused, but he's getting alarmed at how rapidly I accumulate stuffed animals.

And for dinner, we did burgers and crazy fries. Crazy fries are what I call Spouse's method of doing up French fries with real bacon bits, shredded cheese, and Ranch dressing, which sounds gross but smells and tastes amazing.

I am so crazily, ridiculously lucky to be happily married. We have our ups and downs, our lumps and bumps, but somewhere under all the clutter and conflict is something real and true. We are just fine. We are great, actually. What a gift.

*Totally lying here.
**Snoopy's avian life partner.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Things I did this week

Observed: I was driving by the City Christian Schools complex and noticed for the first time that one of the buildings said this:



Um, it's been a loooong time since 8th grade Church history, but I seem to recall lions enjoying Christians in the same way Dr. Lecter had an old friend for dinner.

Jobs applied for: One.

Thank-you notes sent (re previous week's interview): Two.

Mood swings (ditto): All over the danged map, ranging from "Oh boy, oh boy, let's go buy me a new suit" to dramatic boo-hooing and subsequent nose-blowing.

Resume tinkering: Fin. My girlfriend, the yoga and dance goddess who went to business school and is fixin' to take over the world, somehow made it all fit on one page in a non-myopic font, doing all the awful futzing with tabs and bullet points that makes me berserk, and the lawyer I ran it by said it was much improved. Woot!

Tax-related procrastination: Persisted, but Spouse is on to me.

Web phenomenon discovered: It's Nannerpus!

Raging craving for: Pancakes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Transcendence. Also: poop.

So Monday I emailed a friend of a friend a networking letter and a rez, and said friend of a friend passed said rez up to their boss, and holy crap, I had an interview yesterday (Thursday).

I got completely hysterical Wednesday night freaking out about what top to wear under my suit jacket, and it turned out the perfect thing was right in front of my face. I'm hoping that is a good sign. When I came home late last night from a potluck and got the mail, my first glossy issue of the state bar magazine had arrived. I'm hoping that was another one.

This interviewer was extremely low-key, which helped calm me down a lot. I had stayed up late and spent time in the morning, when I should have been beautifying, studying actual legal content, thinking I might be quizzed, and nothing like that ever came up.

This would be something totally different for me, in a good way. Mom asked what I would actually do, and I explained it by quoting Joe Friday: "You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, I would be appointed for you." It is hard to describe how freaking amazing it was to say that. To even think it, typing this. I start thinking about watching Henry Fonda in Gideon's Trumpet, in 10th grade Government. Earlier, Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, during freshman English, way, way before I understood what was really happening. And to even earlier, when the church we attended had a prestigious downtown address, adjacent to the courthouse. I read a parking-lot sign that said "Reserved for the Public Defender," and asked my parents what that was, because it sounded like a superhero to me.

I would get lots of experience really fast. I would be learning from really experienced practitioners. It would be crazy challenging on lots of levels. And I would definitely be helping people who really need it. Which is what I went to school to do, and what I think I am called to do, on a spiritual level (I feel goofy typing that, but it's the truth).

And if the number I was quoted is even close, it is beyond our wildest dreams.

I am hoping, hoping, hoping that I got myself across well, and praying (again, goofy, but that's what I'm doing) that it finally took this time. I am trying really hard to stay positive, to open my heart to love and change, and to keep the heck out of my own way.

For the moment, however: I need to go and empty the catboxes at my mother-in-law's.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ma'amed at the Monologues

Last night I went to see The Vagina Monologues at Spouse's alma mater. I'd seen it a few years prior during law school and had hemmed and hawed about whether or not to go, and it turned out to blow my mind. I'd remembered how very serious the serious parts were, but had totally forgotten how funny it was, and how hot it could get.

One of the coolest things was that the cast was really diverse, in most aspects. Maybe not in terms of age, but it was a college production. But there were lots of different shapes and sizes and colors in the cast, and even the audience was a lot more gender-balanced than I'd expected.

When my grandmother was still in the hospital, she and I and my mom watched an Oprah that was supposedly meant to help women get their mojo back, or to find it for the first time, or whatever, and they went through the ENTIRE HOUR without saying the word "clitoris." I don't they even referred to it obliquely. And of course they kept pointing people to the show website, where I imagine they could be more frank, but my God, it was making me mad. I know that it's daytime television but if we can watch commercials about erectile dysfunction and priapism during Katie Couric's evening news, then by golly, "clit" should be fair game at 4 p.m.

And in the Monologues, of course, they go there. Over and over again.

When I moved back South I acquired a habit of saying "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" while on the phone with authority figures, and sometimes it slips out when talking to Mom, and she utterly loathes it, and before last night I couldn't figure out what the big deal was. My brother and I didn't learn to say it at home, because my parents weren't native Southerners, but many folks around here just grow up using it.

Last night most of the cast was out in the lobby after the show, before the second act (belly dancers!), and I complimented everyone I saw. On the way to the ladies' room I realized I was going to pass the incredible, elfin youngster who played the sex worker who serves only women (whose monologue involves lots of moaning by the rest of the cast). So I said to her, in what I hoped was an effervescent, non-threatening way, "Ohmigod, you were fan-freakin'-tastic--are you studying theatre?"

She smiled sheepishly, charmingly, and to my great chagrin, replied "Yes, ma'am."

And I got it. Big time. I may have slightly hipster glasses but I do not pass for a college student, or maybe even a grad student, anymore. Even with my gray hair covered. Yeee-owch.

I scolded my reflection in the full-length ladies' room mirror, thinking that had I dressed less frumpily, had my hair been less flat on top, or most cruelly, if I wasn't morbidly obese, I might not have been ma'amed. I don't know if any of that is really true, but I am on the lookout for better-fitting trousers, that's for sure.

And I hope never to say it to my mom ever again.

Afterwards we went to an adorable non-chain pizza place I had never been to before, and which is crazily, colorfully decorated. The front windows are covered with door beads and the walls are deep dark purple. There are painted hubcaps and lots of framed posters, including a Keith Haring. From the ceiling tiles hang Christmas ornament balls painted in pastels and festooned with curled ribbons that hang down, three feet long. All the tables and chairs are painted different ways, and the bathroom is almost entirely decoupaged with kids' coloring pages. My Coke was huge and came in a colorful plastic tumbler--they have shelves full of them--and for napkins we were each handed an actual washcloth, warm from the dryer, all different colors. Mine was nicely striped and appeared to be from Target's College 2008 line. It was completely eclectic and nuts, and I was all, "This is what I want my house to look like." Like fun people live here.

Thank God for female friends who get me out of my shell and off of my couch.