Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Darrel, the IRS super

Yesterday I had my taxes done at the IRS. If you make >$49,000 per year, the IRS has to prepare your taxes for you. Even though this often takes an hour or more (wait time), I love the security of knowing the IRS prepared my taxes and cannot audit me or otherwise say they were done incorrectly. They did it.

I walked in about 2pm, there are over a dozen people waiting but the man at the counter says “whatchu got?” and takes all my tax papers. He has tightly curled black hair and red-brown skin with (oh, my favorite) dark brown freckles. Very dark brown, like little chocolate buttons. Probably in his early forties, dressed like a jazz musician from the 30’s, slightly taller than me, soft brown eyes.
“You just walked in here?” he asked. It seemed as if I was over-prepared.
“Yeah.” I say and he doesn’t give me a number to wait (although most of the people in the room have these). Slightly concerned that I have no number, I trusted my gut which was telling me this guy liked me and wanted to help.

After about twenty minutes, he calls me up with a few others to go to another room where someone is preparing taxes. He keeps calling me by my first name and has a very tender demeanor. I wait in this other room for about 45 minutes.

“Julia! Are you still here!?” He says when he sees me. I’ve been doodling. “Oh you’re an artist! Look at that.” What a sweet kind man, when the tax preparer has some problems itemizing my mortgage stuff, he comes over to help, he laughs at my secret-unclaimed-beach-house joke. She calls him Darrel. He tells her I am an artist and asks (in earnest) to see my doodle again. Thank you Darrel, the sunshine on my Tuesday tax ick.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Crazy

Last night while lying in my vat of usual insomnia, I remembered the time when I worked for a brain-damaged psychologist. I was fresh from dropping out of college, confused, broke, living with my “best friend” Buzz who had convinced me I was a helpless idiot, dating a boy. It was a rough time and here was a seemingly together gentleman taking a chance on me. He gave me a job, paid me way more than I was accustomed to and helped me develop a skill set that helped me survive. Sure, he'd had an aneurism rupture and part of his brain removed, but he seemed ok.

But as I remembered the crazy things the good doctor made me do all in the name of the 9-5, I wished that I had kept a blog back then or a daily journal entry or something about the jist of what Crazy task I'd been given each day. As boring as it would’ve been to do, it would be nice to have a record of those things. And because I was so shut down at the time, the record would have been hilariously matter-of-fact. (example: Today I went through all E---'s possessions. These were shipped to me after he jumped off the Golden Gate bridge subsequently ending his 34-year existance. My task is to pick out the "pertinent items" for Dr.- to look over when he gets back. Having never met or even spoken to E--- I am not completely sure what the pertinent items are.)

But then when you’re enmeshed in The Crazy, its hard to see it for what it is. I probably wouldn't have known exactly what was Crazy and what was just work since I was so Crazy myself.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Starlings are an accident in America, one man’s obsessive love of Shakespeare has overtaken the entire continent. Those of us who love songbirds and the wonderful colors and twitter of our indigenous birds know the bane that starlings can be. They clean out a birdfeeder in an hour, flocking and pecking and tossing seeds. The swarm stomps our delicate grass shoots to flat green paint splatter on the muddy ground.

As a lover of all living things, I’m shocked at my idea of buying a BB gun but there it is. I want to shoot the little bastards. I’m tired of this! I think they kicked my woodpecker out of her tree! They have this evil way of letting woodpeckers make a hole to live in and then flocking them into giving it up! Isn’t that awful? They deserve a good buckshot. Ugh. I say that but the first time I hit one, and it fluttered awfully to the ground, the self-loathing would be unbearable. Anyone know how to convince these greedy bastards to move on?

My neighbors are putting in a Purple Martin house and I fear it will be overtaken by starlings then I'll have a family of them next door. I want my woodpecker back! I love her cute little red-mohawk and infernal pecking at the birch in the front yard.

Monday, March 15, 2010

writing workshop

This weekend I took part in a critiquing workshop at the main branch of the Public Library.

The creator of the workshop sloppily foretold in emails what s/he was planning. Declan, an obscure male traditionally-Irish name, turns out to a be a young woman. She is probably in her early twenties and proactively decided to begin her own writing workshop to built her resume. I appreciate the gutsiness.

About 12 of us show up, as soon as I walk in I see my son's grandmother. The woman who served us with papers filing for full custody at the behest of her son, who took part in the brief time when we were denied access to our child until the courts rectified that. This all took place after a painful and unfortunate accident that left our son injured, a time when he needed his parents (all of them) the most. I was shocked, but being who I am it was easy to hide shock and I only said, "hello".

She didn't recognize me at first then, registering shock in her wide blue eyes, she stuttered "I'm so happy to see you here."

It was all I could do not to say "I'm so NOT HAPPY TO SEE YOU here." I felt invaded, scared, irritated, angry. Then, I took a deep breath, let her sentence hang in the air and said something non-descript like "what a surprise."

In typical steam-roller fashion, I had agreed to share one of my poems at the first meeting. I waffled, thought of reneging then just decided whatever the world has in store for me, it will out. So I guess I'll go back next week. I am thankful that such a program exists in this city for broke writers such as myself, even if it comes with unwanted lessons in forgiveness.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

the iNterNet

The internet is freaking me out today. I was searching for a contributor online because sometimes our contributors fall off the face of the Earth and I still have to pay them. I stumbled across the website, ussearch. I'm not linking to it, it's too creepy.

I typed in MY NAME and it knows where I live, how many addresses I've had where and promises more information like annual income, value of property and current address (verified by utility bill payment!) arrruuuugghghhgh! Freaky!

So imagine I accidentally call some guy who is crazy because I push a 9 when I meant 6 and he gets pissed off and is will to spend $4.95 (!) to look me up on the internet and hunt me down because he's crazy and he knows the only way you get away with killing someone is by not knowing them at all! Of course, his number would be in my phone but only once and if the police called him he'd probably say it was a mis-dialed number. Then he'd laugh to himself at home, rubbing his hairy hands together and remembering my corpse. SO CREEPY. I am NOT friends with the internet today.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

5 love languages

A book The Five Love Languages has been rattling around my head for a few days. I haven’t read it, only heard of it. The basic premise is that there are five ways people show their love to others. Each person has a primary and secondary “love language”. Sometimes they are equally expressed, sometimes one is louder than the other.

The five languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gift giving and quality time.

Sunday, I spent the day at my sister Hope’s house. Her son is an only child and he has everything he could ever want. Its not enough to have a Wii, he got an xbox. He has an unplayed guitar and dusty keyboard, both especially nice. Leather bedroom furniture, a 4-wheeler (though they live in a Franklin suburb with no trees) and a trampoline that he only uses when other people come over, the list goes on and on.

So I was thinking, are we training our children to speak in One Love Language? Gift Giving. And in so doing, are we perpetuating our extreme-consumer society?

My partner’s primary love language (I think) is gift giving. Her mother is a shopaholic (not casually) and the way they show their love in her family is to buy each other things. My partner, a broke musician most of her life, has always shown this sadness at Christmas time because all she has to give her family are home-made gifts, as if they are inferior in some way. To me, these are the best kind. Time is put into them, they are thoughtfully constructed for the person they are meant for and the maker’s love and hands go directly onto them. But I can see how being brought up in a home where love=stuff, the shiner the stuff the purer the love would seem.

I worry her side of the family will pass this on to our child and he will speak the language of “stuff”. Currently, he seems to lean to quality time and words of affirmation. He’s only three though, I hope it sticks.