Friday, February 09, 2007

Today I Lost $70,000 and Anna Nicole Smith Died

Another busy week is coming to a close. I'd love to be able to say it was a good one, but then I'd be lying. I don't know what happened this week. As usual, I started out with a long-winded detailed rundown of my week, then decided it would be too boring and edited it down to the *ahem* highlights. Then I re-edited to the really important parts.

  • made emergency run between classes to former home to make sure pipes/heat were ok
  • shoveled driveway there so it looks lived in
  • missed a couple classes because I hurt my back shoveling in a hurry
  • found out my new team for E-ship class may be worse than the first one (lack of communication, no dedication to the class or assignments)
  • shivered all week
  • stayed up too late working on assignments that didn't need to be turned in
  • survived the team presentation we whipped together on the spot
  • managed to be behind the eight-ball all week in every class
  • picked up a new Teresa Wentzler cross-stitch design and organized my floss stash
  • discovered floss is much, much cheaper than yarn
  • discovered an inexpensive way to fulfill my S.E.X. needs through "flossing"
  • survived another inhumane pop quiz in Econ—inhumane because he likes to follow this bass-ackwards procedure: 1) lecture one day; 2) give quiz on lecture material that is embryonic in our minds at best; 3) give homework on stuff that was on the quiz so we actually learn it. I struggle with the quiz, ace the homework. The quizzes are worth more points than the homework. Not fair. AGGGGHH!
And then we get to Thursday.



After class, I ran some estate-related errands. Went past tax accountant's office. After being greeted, I was handed a bag of M&Ms and given a sympathetic look. Then I was handed the tax packet (2005 taxes, because Dad didn't get to it, he was a little too busy dying).

Then the accountant told me that they owed the IRS $9,750.00 dollars.

Because Dad had sold all the stock he'd inherited decades ago from his parents, and there's some silly IRS rule that I was too shocked to pay attention to that said taxes have to be paid on it because (I think) it wound up going into an estate or something. I can't remember. All I heard was "around ten thousand dollars" and that it had something to do with the stock sale.

Then she told me that had Dad held onto the stock and just let us inherit it, we would not have had to pay the tax, AND we could have sold it for double what he got for it.

Basically, we didn't lose ten grand (to the IRS). We lost more like $140,000. Meaning I could have been 70K richer but now I (and my sister) owe the IRS $5,000 (each) of my (our) half(s) of the estate.

I went home and had a meltdown. I spent the day on the couch sobbing, hysterical, dry heaving, and ever so slightly suicidal*.

First I was pissed at Dad for selling early, then at Mom because I remember her telling me she'd told Dad to cash in the stock so they'd "have enough money to live on". But that was silly because not only was Dad financially astute, but he had such a good retirement plan, great insurance AND he was brilliant at budgeting and actually adhering to it. Dad would get worried about going bankrupt if, God forbid, it looked like we might go over the carefully planned budget by a small amount (say $50) one month. He believed in paying cash and if you didn't have the cash you didn't buy it, despite his very good salary. They actually saved money and had no debt. Ever. On one salary. With two cars and a mortgage-free house. And we weren't denied much.

Mother didn't involve herself in the finances. She had no idea how much they had. She panicked. Because they were helping me survive in the wake of my job loss, she started panicking that they would "run out of money" and convinced Dad to sell.

So, it's my fault. That's what I've deduced. No reason to be mad at my parents—if I'm going to be mad at someone, it should be me, because if I'd been able to hold onto my prepress job in the wake of 9/11 layoffs in the ad industry, or had been able to get A Job Of Some Sort in a blue-collar economically depressed town (as a white-collar college grad who is overqualified for the available jobs), my parents would not have had to assist me and Mother would not have panicked and harangued Dad to sell the stock. Hence, I am the one at fault. Hence the slightly suicidal* part.

Then I opened the gas bill. I need to call my bank. I have duplicate checks. I wrote the check to my lawn mower guy and mailed it with a bunch of other bills, but he still hasn't gotten it. The gas company swares I didn't pay two bills (I know I am late with one because it got misplaced in the chaos until last weekend but I know I paid the January bill, but it's not showing up paid in my accounts) and is threatening to cut off my heat in this balmy weather. So despite the fact that I mailed a check for $260 earlier in the week (last month's), I got online and made the full payment (double that) to make sure they let me stay warm. Sobbing. The entire time. With visions of them finding us in the spring thaw because of the smell—one frozen dead side of human and five poor little catsicles.

I mean, come on. I know I set myself up for serious stress by taking on five classes—that was within my control and I admit it, maybe not such a wise idea given what I've gone through in the past year. But dealing with my grief, the estate bullshit, trying to manage three houses at once—two of which are empty, need to be fixed up and sold—this is stuff I can't control for the most part and then to have the IRS shit AND the gas company bleeding us dry? Bleeding ME dry, I should say—it's too much. It's too hard to do all alone. I didn't ask for this. Yet, here I am. In the middle of it.

Then I learn that Anna Nicole Smith died.

Bum. Mer.

OK. Could be worse. I could be 39 years old, just off the Trim Spa diet and dead. Did she ever get her hands on the old man's money? It's moot now. OK actually the Anna Nicole Smith part is a lousy attempt to inject the humor I'm so not feeling right now.

Somewhere along the way, I guess I regained my resolve, or at least part of it, and spent the remainder of the evening taking solace in warm cat bodies and Grey's Anatomy.

It HAS to get better, it HAS to get better, it HAS to get better, it HAS to get better...

*Please note: when I was in therapy a while back, my therapist said I'm not clinically depressed, rather, I suffer from situational depression. In stressful situations, where one person might get drunk, abuse drugs, eat, or spend money, I get the serious blues—it's my response to stress. So when I get the blues, I momentarily feel something I can only describe as suicidal, but it's NOT suicidal because I have no intention of leaving this planet. I've often put it like this: I don't want to die, I just don't want to live like this anymore. So please don't take this the wrong way and worry. It's my terminology for wanting to end the way of life I'm currently leading and trade it in for a new one while still being alive and breathing. If that makes sense. This will pass. It always does, given a day or so.

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At 1:31 PM, February 09, 2007, Blogger Mother of Chaos said...

Aw, that BITES. Tax law...grrrrrrr!!

If you don't mind some Random Internet Stranger Advice: Try not to think of this as a screw up - it's just a missed opportunity.

Opportunities are around you Every. Single. Day. They're like a bus - when you miss one it sucks, but another WILL come along.

And sometimes, missing one is the painful education you need to recognize and grab the next one.

You're right. It WILL get better. Sure sucks right this minute, but it WILL GET BETTER.

Hang in there.

At 1:56 PM, February 09, 2007, Anonymous tiennie said...

Your week truly sucked. I am so sorry! It will get better, it will get better!

At 4:53 PM, February 09, 2007, Anonymous Stick said...

holy hell mother mary and joseph! I cannot imagine how you are still holding up! I would also be suicidal*

You'll figure it out, you're a smart woman and you are loved. It will be OK. But grab a glass of wine and a cat just to make it feel better!


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