A Taxing Situation

For the first time in a very, very long time, I drank a cup of coffee this morning that harkened back to the days when I used to grind my own coffee beans and make a pot of powerful coffee every morning. This morning’s coffee was courtesy of my visiting friend, who arrived at my house on Friday with a French press coffee maker and whole bean coffee. I supplied only the grinder and the water for the coffee. And a pot in which to boil the water. I’d almost forgotten the flavor and richness of French-pressed coffee. Unlike filtered drip coffee, French-pressed coffee retains the coffee bean oils that are removed from the brew when using paper filters. Paper filters collected not only the oils, but the flavors that accompany them, leaving the coffee adequate, but not really satisfying. And, in my case, water being forced under pressure through the Keurig pod seems to leave the pod with even less of the oils than a typical drip system. At any rate, the coffee from a French press is far superior, in my opinion, to the coffee from a Keurig or typical drip system. But, alas, it is more involved, takes more time, and requires more clean-up than my lazy man’s coffee. Yet, after having a cup of the good stuff this morning, I have to weigh whether I should get a French press and give myself more time in the morning to make coffee, which I can then savor, rather than simply drink. Ach! I can let little decisions turn into philosophical dilemmas, if I let them.


Finally, I hung the hummingbird feeders yesterday. April 11. I should have hung the feeders not later than the last day of March; earlier would have been better. But I was lazy, as usual, and kept putting it off. I’m sure several dozen birds decided to move on to more lucrative airspace while I dilly-dallied. But already this morning, I’ve seen two birds partake of the nectar. Hummingbirds, along with pollen that coats the entire universe with a yellow shroud, provide unmistakable signs that Spring has arrived. Now is the time of year that I should be outside, enjoying the cool early morning temperatures and listening to songbirds and to the protestations of cattle in the fields below the house. The lowing cows claim not to have been fed since the early nineteenth century, if one believes their plaintive cries. Their artificial expressions of mistreatment and forced starvation should be enough to convince even the most passionate bovine-loving supporter that cattle lie; they have been fed, and recently. But they attempt to convince the world otherwise with their noisy moo-chatter.


Today is the day that I’ll finally get down to business with regard to my taxes. I must. If nothing else, I need to complete a filing extension form and calculate how much, if any, taxes I might owe. And I need to send a check, if I might owe something. Otherwise, I can put off the inevitable until May 15, the extended deadline this year (courtesy of COVID). I haven’t done taxes since before I was married (which, as of tomorrow’s wedding anniversary, would have been forty-one years). My wife was always far more organized and more capable of understanding the tax codes and their affects on our financial situation. I simply signed forms she placed before me. I never questioned whether they were done properly; if she completed the forms, they were de facto perfect. There was no question. She was such an incredibly detail-oriented person, with regard to anything related to money and math. Her undergraduate degree was in mathematics; that, a woman pursuing a degree in mathematics, was almost unheard of at the time she finished her four-year degree. I may be wrong about that; but I think it was, at least, rare. As was she. Rare and wonderful. I miss her so much I can’t keep myself together even through this single paragraph. Ach. But, back to the issue at hand; today is my day to focus on taxes.


My guest/friend is back at work, using my dining table as a desk and her cell phone as her office voice communication device. She has been working at home (in the DFW area) most of the time since the COVID pandemic began; as long as my wifi signal is sufficiently strong, she can do just as much work here as she can at home. I wish I could be paid for working from home. Although I’d really rather not work; I just want to be paid. The idea of having deadlines, work obligations, etc. turns me off. Doing my taxes at home is a reminder to me that “working” at home would be just like that; I do not like being forced to live by someone else’s rules and schedules. I do not mind paying taxes; in fact, I consider it an honorable obligation. I just don’t like having to calculate it. Someone else who’s better at it than I and who enjoys working through labyrinthine rules is better suited to it than I, a slothful unpaid word gigolo.


Two minutes to start-time. I promised myself I would begin the tax process by 8:30. That would have fine, except that I slept in this morning; I got up after 7:00 again. Fortunately, I awoke to just-finished French-press coffee waiting for me, so I got a reasonable start on the day. And, now, onward. I’ll take on the IRS for as long as it takes, or as long as I can stand it, whichever comes first.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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