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    The Writing Well

    April 2003 Archives

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    April 14, 2003

    Filing taxes - an annual event that we Americans dread each year. Whether we are receiving a refund or have to make a payment, April 15 looms over us all.

    Past years have found me stressed out to the maximum while working on our taxes, which can be quite complicated with two business, one full-time income, along with the income from the remnants of our farm in New York. That makes two state taxes that must be filed, along with the federal form. My family learned to not interrupt me with trivial concerns or questions and to fend for themselves completely as the 15th of April loomed closer and closer. Not only did I dread tax season, but so did everyone else here!

    This year, though, the whole process was relatively painless and certainly much less stressful. I began weeks early, gathering materials and tallying accounts one business at a time, then taking a week or so break before beginning the next business. And here it is April 14 and I am printing of the last of the returns. I've checked and double-checked. This afternoon, while printing and reviewing, I actually found one more area that needed correcting that saved me almost $50. Now I'm reprinting, but the checking and reviewing is done. All that remains to be done is address the envelopes, make out the appropriate checks, get hubby to sign the forms, sign them myself, and deliver them to the post office tomorrow morning! Ah, life is good!

    Since I seem to be on a roll with this whole accounting/tax issue, and issue it has always been for me, now seems to be the perfect time to get those QuickBooks accounts set up for 2003. That would certainly make next year's tax process even easier. Gee, maybe that's not such a good idea … how would my family know it is spring, it is mid-April, if they didn't seem me stressing out and spending hours of each week preparing for taxes? They might lose all track of time, space, and reality! Oh, for that reason alone I ought to give it a try!

    April 9, 2003

    Yesterday I wrote about how certain things remind me afresh how glad I am that we moved 8 years ago. And truly I do think it was the very best decision we could have made at the time. That's not to say that I don't have regrets about the move, because I do have a few.

    First and foremost I regret that we moved so far away from several relatives. By doing so, we removed our children from a support system of extended family. Yes, we do have extended family here in Alabama, but far fewer, and it's not the same in many ways. One of my fondest memories while growing up was the times spent with all my first cousins and I had hoped that my children would be able to experience that with their first cousins on my side of the family, but that has not worked out. We have missed holidays with relatives, family reunions, and other special events, without really replacing those missed occasions with anything similar here in Alabama. By removing extended family from the equation, we seemed to have removed family celebrations and family rituals also, and I am unsure as to how that happened.

    Another regret I have is that we left behind the feeling of really "belonging" to a particular place. The feeling of knowing a territory by knowing who used to live there or what event in the past took place at a certain spot seems to be irreplaceable. Even though we've come to know more people in our new home and learn more about the area in which we moved, it really is not the same sense of "home" as it was before we moved. Although I truly feel at home here and truly believe that home is where the heart is, there is a part of each of us that will always feel that home is Yates County, New York.

    Yet, moving has made us who we are now. We are very different people than we would have been if we had remained in New York. First off, we never would have made the decision to homeschool. Homeschooling our children has made them such distinctive individuals that I can not imagine who they would have been if they had spent their years in public school. And homeschooling has changed my viewpoints and my husband's viewpoints in incalculable ways.

    Moving also enabled us to become more freethinking, less concerned about what others think of our beliefs or our actions. And moving definitely made us more aware of how our everyday surroundings can affect, whether negatively or positively, our state of health and our well being.

    It's a shame there isn't some way to go back and combine the best of both worlds, the past and the present. But we can't go back and I've never seen the sense in dwelling on what was or what might have been. There's only the future, and the best we can do is take the lessons learned from our past and try to incorporate them into decisions made for the future.

    April 8, 2003

    A couple of things occurred this morning reminding me anew why I am glad we moved from upstate New York to north Alabama eight years ago this coming July. The first was weeding a flowerbed. The second was an email I received.

    I spent an hour and a half this morning cleaning out the flowerbed that Charlie and I began several years ago. Each spring I weed and pull berry brambles and honeysuckle vines, trying to reclaim the flowerbed from the woods. Every May since we began that flower bed we have been out of the state for a large part of the month and thus the flowerbed becomes so overgrown with weeds that it is impossible to do anything with it the rest of the growing year.

    I noticed this past weekend that the brilliant red azaleas we planted along the back of the bed were beginning to bloom, but they couldn't be seen for all the berry brambles and vines. So yesterday and today I attacked those weeds with a vengeance. Although I really don't like having to fight those weeds each spring, I do enjoy having a flower garden and that spot is one of the few spots in our woods that receives enough sun to grow some decent flowers.

    So, now I can see the flowers and begin to get the bed ready to receive some more plants, a few perennials and a lot of annuals. The butterfly bush I planted last spring appears to be growing. The fancy show iris we brought back from New York two summers ago are budding and should bloom within the week. The pretty yellow rose bush that Kat gave me for Mother's Day last year is starting up nicely.

    While weeding, the sky was threatening with rain and there were rumbles of thunder in the distance. A cold front is due to come through here later today and our 70-degree weather will disappear for a day or two, only to return by the weekend. I really enjoy this early spring weather and the warmer weather in general here in Alabama. We're just leaving behind one of the coldest and wettest winters I've experienced since moving to Alabama. And it is wonderful to have spring finally here!

    Which brings me to the second occurrence, the e-mail from my cousin in New York. They have had one of the coldest and wettest winters in recent memory there, too, only their cold was a lot colder than our cold! She writes that they are just recovering from an ice storm and last night received six inches of snow, with temperatures in the twenties today. Brrrr! Now I remember why we moved!!

    Shall I write to her and let her know that my irises are in bud and the azaleas are in bloom? That is has been sunshine and mid-70's the last several days? Or shall I just be a nice person and commiserate with her on their lousy weather?

    April 1, 2003

    April Fool's Day!

    So it's April Fool's Day… that means I should be playing mad, foolish pranks on friends and family. Did I ever do that? I mean, besides the usual kid stuff like switching salt for the sugar. I don't remember ever pulling any large pranks on anyone nor having any pulled on me.

    I've spent part of the morning searching online for a lost friend - time I should have been spending on getting our personal accounts ready to finish up the taxes for this year. But procrastination seems to be a major part of my genetic make-up, so searching for a friend seemed to take priority.

    My friend's name was Geralyn "Geri" Therese Heisser. We went to school together at Penn Yan Academy for only about a year, but she quickly became my best friend. We were like two peas in a pod. But then her family moved yet one more time and she found herself back to her old school, Mynderse Academy in Seneca Falls, NY. We kept in touch for several more years, but gradually, about 15 years ago, we lost touch. I have tried several times to locate her online with no such luck. All I have to go on is that she had several younger siblings: Marjorie, Peter, William, and Stephanie are the ones that I remember. Stephanie was about 13 years younger than Geri. I sure wish I could get back in touch with Geri!

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