Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's that time again!

For the last four years we've been leasing my car, known as the Pregnant Rollerskate, but since we're trying to wrap up all the debts, we decided to go ahead and buy the PR, since it has a BlueBook value considerably higher than the lease-end price. Also because I like it. And because shopping for a new car is such a pain, I always feel like everybody else gets a better deal (even though people always lie about what they paid). So Saturday we went to the dealer and forked over what felt like a whole lot of $$. It wasn't at all like buying a new car; I mean, there it sits in the garage, completely covered in paw prints and wilted cherry blossoms, gum wrappers in the ash tray, smelling like the fries you brought home last week, nothing like those showroom waxed beauties at the dealer. It reminded me of other times when we spent a lot of money without having much fun doing it. One was paying to have a home sanitation unit installed, in place of the failed septic tank. You know, all that cash for something you bury in the back yard, can't even talk about it at the water cooler, only memorable if it doesn't work. Or having the roof replaced. Yes, it is nice not to have those plastic trash cans adding to the ambience of the living room (since it is one of Murphy's laws that roofs never leak except in the wintertime). But on the other hand, a roof isn't really very exciting, and there's all those roofing nails to pick up out of the flowerbeds for months. Or paying off hospital bills, you can't help but think what the same amount of money would have gotten you at a really nice resort. And the staff would have been so much friendlier, too. Or grocery shopping, mostly dull stuff like paper towels and baked beans, with the odd kitchen gadget thrown in to make it even somewhat bearable. If I took the same amount of money and hit the outlet mall, what a haul I could make!

But the one that really sticks in my craw is Income Taxes. I think, since the government takes their cut off the top, before we ever get it, that they should be able to figure out how much to take. If they come up short, too bad, right? But every year for as long as I can remember, we figure the taxes out in January, and then save up to pay them by April. Such a downer, to save money for Uncle Sam, knowing that our frugality will be such a pittance to the government, it won't even pay for one new seat on Air Force One. Not that we'd ever get to sit in it, if it did. And there's that looming deadline to meet, no wiggle room if you're a little short. This year, for the first time, I noticed that you can opt to make monthly payments on your outstanding tax liability, the friendly folks at the IRS will just dip into your checking account every month until the bill is paid. Uh, hello? Am I the only one who thinks that giving the IRS the power to bleed your checking account dry is a bad idea? Can you imagine the battle you would have if they took too much (a computer error no doubt, we know how honest the government really is), trying to prove it and get your money back? Your beard would be long and white before you ever saw a penny of that. But of course, if you failed to pay all you owe, rest assured that they will pursue you to the end of the earth to get that last dollar. I think the government ought to collect taxes like in the 'Hagar the Horrible' comic strip; they show up at your door in black masks, one of them holding a bag and the other an axe, pay up or else. At least it would be entertaining, for a change.

Happy tax day!

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