Tag Archives: taxes

Why I love our library

I live in an area where the property taxes are just crazy high.  However, there are perks.  One, our school district is awesome.  Two, our library is amazing.

The children’s section is just really cool.  There are about, as far as I can count, like six or seven children’s librarians, and they are all both wicked cool and enthusiastic about being librarians, and they really know their stuff.  I can ask them about some random book from a piece of the plot I remembered from my childhood and they can tell me the book off the top of their head, the author, and where to find it.  In the half-dozen similar questions I’ve asked, I’ve not once had them reference a computer to tell me the answer.

The place in general is pretty big for being one of two libraries in a town of about 50,000 people.  In gearing up for planning, digging, and planting my veggie garden, combined with a bit of winter blahs, I read about eight different veggie gardening books and barely put a dent into the section.  I wish their photography section had a bit more of a selection, especially in the how-to area, and especially given the radical transformation from film to digital that has happened fairly recently.  I think I’ll mention that to someone.

They have a completely kick-ass online presence.  Not only can you search and reserve books and A/V stuff through their website, you can also download PDF versions of a ton of books (I’m currently reading Darkly Dreaming Dexter – upon which the series “Dexter” is based – this way) — basically turning my laptop into a slightly less portable Kindle, and for a lot less coin, given when I’m done reading my laptop is still a laptop and a Kindle is a useless piece of electronics.   They even audiobooks to load to your iPod (or other mp3 player).  Of course, the PDF books and audiobooks are no extra charge, all part of the services you get when you sign up for a library card.  On the website, you can see what you have checked out online, and renew it if the need arises (like it’s 10 minutes before closing time on the day your stuff was due back).  They even send out email reminders a couple days before something’s due to give you a heads-up, which has saved my butt a number of times.

The totally neatest part about the library, though, is the A/V department.  Not only do they have a great selection of movies you can borrow on DVD, but they’ve already amassed a decent Blu-ray selection (and being the recent recipients of a Blu-ray player for Christmas, we are all a-tizzy about borrowing Blu-rays).  They have a huge selection of kids’ DVDs, so the kids get new movies (one apiece) every week.  They even have a pretty good variety of video games, so I’ve sampled a few different Wii games that way.  I really don’t understand how Blockbuster stays in business with this library around.  The library’s even open until 9:00 most days of the week, and they actually have Sunday hours, too, when it’s not summertime.

The library still doesn’t totally assuage the pain of a $1,200 a month tax bill, but it is a spoonful of sugar.

And it definitely brings up a question — is my library that far ahead of the game?  I want to think so — the library in our own town in New Jersey didn’t have nearly the same level of resources.  How does your library compare?  And if you don’t know…. you should find out.  😉

Sometimes the planets align…

…and sometimes they, well, don’t.

Today has been one of those “don’t” days.

Got a call this morning from my friend Renee.  We’d visited them last weekend, during which there was a strong suspicion that Lane may or may not have accidentally or purposefully flushed a toy down their toilet.  She said something that sounded like she had flushed a toy down the toilet, but when asked to confirm, she denied.  So while we were there, the toilet flushed a few times and all seemed well.

Not so much.  They amassed a $200 plumber’s bill rectifying the situation.  Which of course I will completely pay back, but sigh.

Then, I had our New York State tax return to sign, and write a small check, and mail today.  I give it a once-over before signing and paying and mailing, and see something odd.  I’m being charged New York City income taxes on the return… but I don’t live or work in New York City.  Neither does Frank or the kids, as far as I know.  And as much as NYC thinks it is the center of the universe, I don’t think they have the power to tax us by sheer proximity.  There has been three phone conversations with the accountant and she still doesn’t seem to think anything’s amiss.  Does she even GET that we DON’T LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY?!?  And now since we’ll be out of the country the last week before the return is due, we may still have to pay, then file an amended return to get our money back.  Um, ARGH!!  The one redeeming thing here is that instead of owing $155 I’m pretty sure we’ll get back $17.  At least it mostly covers the plumbing problem.

Somewhere in there, Lane left the door to the bathroom open and Jake wet himself up to the shoulders in toilet water.

Since Lane is traveling out of the country with her grandparents, they need a notarized letter from us that they have our permission to take her out of the country.  I wrote the letter and arranged to have it notarized today.  Told Frank to sign it last night.  Guess what he forgot to do.  Lane and her grandparents leave on Sunday; luckily a close family friend is a notary public and was willing to notarize without Frank’s signature on the letter yet because she knows he fully intends to sign it and consents to the trip.

Got all the way to the store today and realized I’d left my purse at home.

Got a package, realized it was all wrong, had to send it back.

Consoled my son more times than should be necessary because his sister likes tackling, clotheslining, straight-arming, and otherwise knocking him on his keister.

But right now the kids are playing as cute as can be.  That helps.  And one of our errands today was to PetSmart to get dog food and they were having an adoption event, with some of the cutest, puppiest-smelling puppies you could imagine.  Hearing the kids giggle at the puppies and all those little puppy nibbles and puppy kisses is healing for the soul.  If we were in a house at this point, there was a puppy there who might have come home with us.  She was just sweet and calm and gorgeous and happy and the kids were just as smitten with her as I was.  She looked like maybe she was part yellow lab, and maybe part boxer?  I didn’t ask, maybe they knew.  But man, was she cute.

Gratuitous solicitation

Hey all –

So I just finished doing our taxes — one federal, two states, and I’m about as witty as a wet noodle.  But I feel like I have to write SOMETHING!

Thus I will take this opportunity to blatantly beg you all to sponsor me for the March of Dimes walk I will be participating in, in late April.  You may have noticed a link to my sponsor page on the right-hand side of the page here.  I’m walking with a bunch of other women from my Moms’ group, and my personal fundraising goal is $250.  I’ve donated $25 and I dare you to match me!  Though no sweat, if $25 is too steep, I will gladly let you get off with a $5 or $10 donation, too.

March of Dimes is such a worthwhile charity, they do so much good work for babies and prematurity.  While both of my kids were happy to cook to full-term, Frank was born a month prematurely, and our friends who have twins also saw them come into the world early.  One of my mom’s best friends had twins who were born after 28 weeks back in 1979, and unfortunately only one of them survived.

It is a great charity, and worthwhile, and I do hope you’ll sponsor me.  Scroll down the page and give that banner ad for the March of Dimes a click, wontcha?!?

Thanks and good night!

My take: Huckabee

Out of nothing more than sheer boredom, and my own desire to organize my feelings about some of the front-running presidential candidates, I thought I would take a little time to babble about each of them over the next few days.

So, Mike Huckabee.

There are certainly some things I like about this guy :

  • I trust him implicitly, which is odd to me. Like most people, I have a knee-jerk distrust of most high-ranking politicians. Maybe getting into my 30s has made me able to relate more to these ‘old people’ who want to be president but I’m finding I trust more of them. Or maybe my brain is atrophying and I’m getting more ignorant and naive. But, I do trust Mike Huckabee that he means was he says and he says what he means, though he does seem, like a crafty politician, just as adept at sidestepping questions, changing the subject, etc. Some of his interactions with Mitt Romney during the recent forum proved that quite well.
  • Fiscally, he’s really ‘out there’ for a Republican. I LOVE that there is finally a candidate that is a proponent of a federal consumption tax. Granted I’m no economist, but everything I learned in my undergrad economics classes tells me that taxing consumption vs. taxing income is just so much more economically sound. A basic economic tenet is that encouraging savings grows investment, which spurs economic growth. If a consumption tax can help discourage the rampant consumer culture we have, and encourage even a small percentage of the population to save more, it will do wonderful things for economic growth in our country. Opponents of a consumption tax say that a consumption tax will just encourage under-the-table transactions, but you know what? Income taxes do the same thing — who didn’t have at least one job in their lives that was paid under-the-table so that you, and your employer, could avoid paying income & employment taxes??
  • That whole weight loss thing? That’s pretty cool.

But then, of course, there is lots of stuff that make me want to run to Canada if this guy’s elected:

So it seems when it comes down to it, I really want to like the guy, but he and I will just have to agree to disagree.

Mike Huckabee, your stance on nearly every issue of importance to me makes me think you are close-minded and rely on only one source for your ‘wisdom’ – The Bible. I know for some people this is favorable, but in my mind it makes you blind, intolerant, and in blatant contradiction to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Our founding fathers were all about guaranteeing freedoms, not about restricting them. Thus, unless Charles Manson wins the Democratic nomination, you will not have my vote in November.

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Does life begin at conception?

I don’t know.

But I have a question for every politico who wants to “protect a baby’s right to life”.

If abortion at some point does become illegal again, does that mean that the government will start issuing social security numbers to every baby as soon as a woman gets a positive pregnancy test?  Do women get to claim miscarriages as dependents for the year in which they were miscarried?   Because if life begins at conception, shouldn’t the tax benefits, too?