mathematical gymnastics and book hooky

Things here at Casa Crisis have begun to settle down a little. Some good progress is being made in those areas which were most worrisome. Long way to go, but we have a solid and promising start.

So the Mathematician went skiing. Right now he’s at Whistler in British Columbia, where he goes every year for a long weekend with a group of friends. In the evenings they play poker and eat and drink a lot of beer, and in the day they ski. He hesitated about going; I tried not to push him out the door too roughly.

I like having the house to myself now and then. Okay, I like it a lot. What would a writer be without a lot of conflicts in her nature? Love the family, glad to be alone.

However. I am just alone enough to feel overwhelmed by the long list of things waiting to be done. A backlog of things, most of them not especially fun. Like: getting the tax stuff ready to send to the accountant. Not only our personal tax stuff, but the Saralaughs corporate tax stuff. This always makes me nervous. You know if you look in your rearview mirror and there’s a cop following you, you get a flush of adrenaline? Thinking: shit. Thinking: what did I do? Did I cut that light too short? Are my tags out of date? Where’s my insurance card? What’s the speed limit here? Are my brake lights working? Did I pay that parking ticket? I can work myself into a sweat in a situation like this, and then the cop pulls out and passes me and I collapse into a twitching lump of adrenaline-saturated self mockery. That’s how I feel about doing the corporate taxes. I am very scrupulous about making sure that business expenses are really business expenses, that I can justify and document everything, that I’m well within the letter and the spirit of the law. Every year I say the same thing to the accountant: no numerical gymnastics, no loopholes. I want to pay what I owe.

All of this so that if dear old Saralaughs ever does get audited, I don’t faint dead away. So I can walk, angst-riddled, into the audit knowing that I am in the clear with at least a chance of not having a full blown panic attack.

What can I say? I was brought up Catholic.

Have I ever mentioned that the Mathematician collects graduate degrees? He’s got an undergraduate degree and a Master’s from Trinity Cambridge, a Master’s degree and a Doctorate from Princeton, and then for fun he went and got an MBA at the University of Michigan while I was on the faculty there.

He’s the Mathematician with an MBA, and I’m doing the taxes. And you know why? Because we’ll end up divorced if he does them. A typical exchange would go like this:

Him: Wait. Wait. We’re paying how much for server space?
Me: We’re not paying anything. Sara is paying. Saralaughs is paying.
Him: With our money.
Me: With her money.
Him: Debatable.
Me: You promised not to use that word.
Him: I have told you before, I could set up a server of our own, right here from the house–
Me: Can we move to the next item?
Him: It’s ridiculous what they charge.
Me: Granted. Can we move on to the next item?
Him: Wait. Wait. We’re paying how much for software updates?

You see that it’s easier, in the long run, to do it myself.

So the taxes need to be sorted out, and various animals need to go to the vet, and I have to call the attorney about something really irritating but necessary, and there are three boxes of things I need to pack and take to the post office, letters to write, email to answer, the forum to check, and I have a doctor’s appointment and oh by the way, this book that is stuck in my craw. More than one book.

I have such an urge to play book hooky. Not work on the book I have to work on, but on the book that appeals to me most at the moment. The one I don’t have a contract for. The fun one.

So that is where I am at this moment. You know what? I’ve been up two and a half hours, and I feel the need to take a nap.

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3 Replies to “mathematical gymnastics and book hooky”

  1. I’m glad the crisis part of your lives seems to be settling. Hopefully it will continue to do so.

    Sorry you have so much stuff that has to be done, that you don’t want to do. Sounds like you need a girls week-end as much as the Mathematician needed his boys week-end.

    I hope you find some sort of balance. Thoughts are with you. :)

  2. Rosina–Re: writing the “fun” book vs. the “other” book. Have you read Jenny Crusie’s Argh Ink blog lately? She’s experiencing the same thing with what she’s working on right now. See the posts titled “Zelda #3” and “Zelda #6”.

  3. I’m afraid I do exactly the same thing about cops. And while I try hard not to blame the Catholicism, since I rather enjoy it, I know my mother was a huge factor in training me to react a certain way to the cops.

    We had a huge administration changeover of our driver’s licenses here. For purely technical reasons, this required people to renew their license in the month of their birth AND again, four months later. Apparently we’ll never have to renew twice in one year again, but hey, wait until after the next election, I always say.

    SO somehow, (understandably, if you knew the way I file important papers) I missed this, and didn’t renew the second time around. I realized about two days after the deadline. I became instantly paranoid. The fact I’d been driving around in security for two days with an expired license in no way affected my certainty that something awful would now happen, now that I knew. Is this how Adam and Eve felt? Adam (picking apple peel from his teeth): Sure, we were naked yesterday, and nothing bad happened, but now we *know* we’re naked, and I feel, um, kind of naked, you know? Eve (on her knees, trying to match a suitably sized fig leaf to Adam’s suddenly exposed bits): I know it’s crazy, but it’s like I’m aware of every little creature, staring at me, noticing I’m naked. But *they* didn’t eat the, you know. It may be all in my head, but they’re starting to creep me out. Adam: I know. It may be time to leave this place.

    Anyway. I renewed at the appropriate place, but as we completed the paperwork, out of the corner of my eye, I notice two cops walk in and stand in line. Sheesh. I thanked the woman, got up and walked past the cops, out the door, past my vehicle, and down the block. I walked around the block in minus 28 degree weather, without a hat, just to create the illusion I hadn’t actually driven my vehicle to the license renewal place. They didn’t follow me, so I figure I ‘got away with it.’ The horrible crime of driving uninsured. Man oh man. I need to start drinking or something, loosen me up a bit!

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