Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Yesterday I had the STRANGEST experience at work.

I had an accounting question on one of my files, so I sent an email to my accounting buddy to ask her to look into it.  I didn't get a response within a few minutes, and I didn't want to move on to another case without resolving this, so I walked down to her office.

Did I mention we have those dreaded glass walls between our office and the corridor?  (Real walls in between the offices though.)

So I could see that another attorney was in my buddy's office, working on his own accounting issue with her.  But she could see me waiting my turn.  And of course when she looked out at me waiting, he turned and saw me, so he knew there was a line.  He got done, I went in.  She pulled up my email, then opened the file on the system.

I walked around her desk so I could look over her shoulder at her computer and show her where I thought the entry issue was.

-- As an aside, I always think of that as the "sexual harasser position."  Too many workplace videos on preventing sexual harassment in the office I guess.  In those videos, things often go south when someone crosses the desk line in an office.  The boss looking over the employee's shoulder starts giving a shoulder massage or something.  Haha. 

I was looking at the screen and my buddy and I were talking about how the funds posted, where, etc.  We'd been working on the issue for probably 60-90 seconds, when this new secretary walks into my buddy's office.  Just hired in the last month (I've never even been introduced to her actually, but I'd assume she knows I'm an attorney, given that I have an office, not a cube, and only attorneys and my accounting buddy have offices).  She just walked right in -- not waiting outside the office for me to finish (with glass walls, this kind of "lurking" is very common in our office). 

And then the new secretary says something like, "Gene [one of the attorneys she handles] is out of the office this week, and I'm trying to set up his new files and his instructions aren't very clear and I don't know how to enter the location code." 

I kind of just stood there in stunned silence.

My accounting buddy sat for a second, also pretty surprised, then she called out of her office to her assistant, who sits directly outside, and asked her to walk the new secretary through location codes.  The new secretary said something to my accounting buddy like, "oh, sorry, does she [accounting buddy assistant] know more?"  My accounting buddy said something like, "uh, well, she can help you with location codes, I'm working on something else right now [and kind of nodded her head toward me]."  And then the new secretary followed my accounting buddy's assistant back to her desk to figure out how to enter location codes.

I was like, "am I invisible????"

It was so weird!  It wasn't like the new secretary poked her head into my buddy's office and said, "sorry to interrupt," or "I just have a real quick question."  Both of those would have been fine, and understandable, particularly if my issue was going to take more than 5 minutes.  But no, she just came in and started talking, like I wasn't there.  My friend agreed it was certainly the weirdest office event of the month, maybe longer.  We laughed for a while and were again joking today about whether or not she can actually see me. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Movie Tonight?

Short notice, but if you like running and you don't have plans tonight, see if the Boston movie is showing near you!  It's in theaters for tonight only.  I'm going with a group of about 20 running friends and am so excited.  To add to the excitement, our office lets us buy a one-day jeans pass in exchange for a $100 contribution to a particular charity, and I bought one for today (since taxes and deductions are on my mind anyway!).  This way I get to wear jeans at the office today (which seriously feels like a huge treat), along with my Boston t-shirt!  And I'm hoping it will be super air-conditioned in the theater so I can wear my jacket too!  Haha.

Anyway, if you're interested in the movie, here's the blurb from AMC's website:

BOSTON: An American Running Story

2 hr 20 min

Fathom Events, in partnership with Runner’s World, bring the first ever feature-length documentary about the world’s most legendary running race, the Boston Marathon, to select cinemas nationwide on Wednesday, April 19 only. BOSTON: An American Running Story tells the story of the oldest annually contested marathon in the world from its humble origins starting with only 15 runners to the present day. Following the tragic events of 2013, BOSTON records the preparations and eventual running of the 118th Boston Marathon one year later, when runners and community gather in support of one another for what will be the most meaningful race of all. BOSTON is more than a running documentary, it is a timeless story about triumph over adversity for runner and non-runner alike. This special one-night event will also feature footage of the Boston Symphony Orchestra recording an original score composed by 4X Emmy Award®-winner Jeff Beal (House of Cards).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Fake Working

As is my usual Marathon Monday tradition, I will be "fake working" pretty much all morning and early afternoon today.  I will be sitting at my desk, watching the live coverage of the race and tracking all my friends, same as I do pretty much every year.  In 2014, when Meb won, multiple people came to my office because I was ... ummm, not quiet.  I was so excited when I realized he was really going to do it. 

The first time I got a BQ was probably the proudest moment of my running career.  Happened at Twin Cities in 2010, and I promptly registered to run Boston in 2011.

It was my favorite marathon by leaps and bounds -- the history, the involvement of the entire city, the runners in town wearing their jackets, and the race itself.  Totally amazing.  I think I've qualified a total of three times (?), but I only ran it once, primarily I think because that day was so perfect that I don't really want another Boston memory.  I don't think it could ever be topped for me. 

Good luck and Godspeed to all the runners today.  May the wind be at your back and the memories among your favorite of all time.  I'll be at my desk and not working. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


So after weeks of austerity measures, we finally got our "real" taxes back (as opposed to my preliminary estimate).

Remember that Monopoly card that said "bank error in your favor, collect $xxx"? 

Essentially, that's what we got! 

Instead of writing a check for our usual insane amount PLUS $10k, we only have to write a check for our usual insane amount.  Which we were 100% prepared to do (we've owed about the same amount beyond withholding for about the last five years, maybe longer).

I looked over our return to try to see where I went wrong.  I was pretty much dead on through the entire calculation of income and our schedule A and deductions, but it looks like I made a significant error somehow in calculating our tax.  No idea how that happened, but that was the only line that seems to be significantly wrong on my draft compared to our pro. 

Oops!  I guess if I had to make a mistake, better to be implementing austerity measures and living lean for a month rather than going along as usual and then finding out two weeks before the money is due that we have to pay way more than we expected. 

Either way, sweet, sweet relief. 

I'm making a list in my head (well, no, it started in my head, now it's going into writing on the blog) of things I'd spend a "free" $10k on:

Travel!  Trips to see my brother, trips to San Fran, trips overseas, trips home.
Crown molding.  Our neighbors renovated a unit in our condo complex and I saw the finished product mid-Feb and I've been coveting crown molding ever since.
A bike.  Right now I'm only running to work one day a week.  If I had a bike, I'd definitely ride one day a week, and maybe I'd even use it on the weekends.
Lasik.  My eyes I think are almost done with the "age 40" change (as in, I probably need to get readers soon).  I've worn contacts at least 20 years, and I think I'd like to stop.  Not sure if they can fix my original issue (can't see far away) as well as my new issue (starting to not be able to see super up close). 
Mattress.  We got a mattress for our guest bedroom about a year ago, but we're still sleeping on a mattress older than our marriage (8 in a week!).  I think it's probably time for a new one, since I can't even remember when I got the mattress we have.  Anyone tried Casper?  I've heard a few people mention it.  Anyway, anytime I have a restless night lately, I blame it on the mattress.  But the "if it's over 8, it's time to replace" is probably just "big mattress" trying to keep us hooked...
Fridge.  Our fridge is fine, but it has lately started to kind of "hum" louder than before.  We should proactively replace so we have ample time to shop and we don't end up with a melted ice cream tragedy. 

But umm, actually, there's no "free" $10k and I have zero bonus money to spend.  Instead of having to take it out of savings, we'll just leave it there.  And the whole point of savings is to save it for when we need it, not to spend it on fun things like we would free money. 

Oh well, it was fun to dream! 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Large Book

My passport expires this summer, so I'm in the process of getting a new one.  I fully intended to do it last week on my day off, but that didn't happen.  And knowing that we are about to buy international plane tickets for the Fall (after my passport will be expired) is starting to majorly stress me out!  What if the State Department staff all gets fired, or they stop renewing passports, or renewal suddenly starts taking 6 months instead of 6 weeks?  Those are all fairly remote possibilities, but the idea of having to eat a couple thousand dollars of air fare because of the US government is not appealing.  So finally I got on the ball this week, and started doing the application in order to renew my passport that expires in a few months. 
Aside from all the usual background stuff, I saw  something very interesting at the top of the application:  a choice between a regular book and a large book passport. 


Having that option kind of boggled my mind.  I have no idea what is true about this large-book option:
  • Fees have changed (and I'm cheap), or
  • I never read the choices fully, or
  • I didn't think I'd travel as much as I do. 

For whatever reason, I've always just gotten the standard passport in the past. And I've traveled enough on each of my last two passports that I've needed to get extra pages (which is a moderate PITA).  This time, I'm going for it!  The large passport book will be mine in about two months!
Unless of course any of the out-of-my-hands governmental failures occurs. 
So now, assuming I manage to get this application into the mail within a few days (another pain because I can't just mail it, they recommend sending it in some track-able form), the question is:  do we go ahead and book plane tickets for September, banking on having a passport again in my hands in less than five months?  Or do I wait 6-8 weeks, see if have my new passport, and then book tickets, and risk that the price will be higher?  And what do we do if I wait two months and still don't have it?  Hmmm....

Monday, April 3, 2017

Useless list

Recently, I took a vacation day and stayed at home.  I literally don't think I have ever done that before.  Since we take one big trip per year, I usually use all my vacation for that, then finish off any extra days around the holidays.  But in 2016, I hit my five-year anniversary with the company, so my vacation increased by one week, but I didn't know exactly how that would work -- did I get one full week on my anniversary, or would it be a pro-rated part of the week, since I started the job mid-year, not Jan. 1, when vacation starts.  And it wasn't until late January that HR advised that I had three remaining days that I could use by March 31. 

So March 28, I stayed home!  And I had big plans for the day.  The week before, I jotted down a list of what I hoped to accomplish:

Sorry for the grainy pic.  But I had four things on my to-do list:
Renew my passport 
Organize my drawer with running shirts 
Order a cake for our rehearsal dinner anniversary party 
Register for a race

I also had a few other things in my head that I was going to aim to do, including cooking a somewhat ambitious dinner.  But instead, as of 5:00 on my big day off, I had accomplished zero things on the list.  Gah!!!!! 

Instead I filled my day doing the following:
Supported a friend for a medical thing (but I was home by 9:40 a.m., so don't think this is a good use of my day).
Watched bad TV (Hoarders mostly, and it's true, watching that does make you feel like your house is so clean!!)
Read a magazine
Made lunch
Organized a pile of stuff on my dresser (mostly greeting cards, programs/ticket stubs, race bibs)
Dusted my dresser
Organized the jewelry on top of my closet dresser (I seriously had about a dozen necklaces piled up, instead of where they belonged)
Organized my hanging clothes
Organized a drawer in my husband's dresser

Wrote results on the back of old race bibs (I have grand notions of someday doing a race-bib-wallpaper type thing)

Since my husband had a meeting that night, I abandoned the idea of cooking anything that took effort for dinner and instead just ate whatever.  Finally at about 7:00, I realized that I hadn't really gotten anything done, so I decided to work on organizing my running clothes.  Purged exactly one shirt, but managed to rearrange sufficiently so tanks and shorts share a drawer, and all short sleeves are in a drawer.  Works much better, and I'm glad I got it done. 

So one thing done off my list.  So defeating! 

I feel a little guilty though because when I got to work the next day, I saw my to-do list, and immediately proceeded to order the cake and register for the race -- basically doing at the office things I fully intended to do at home, which pisses me off because I prefer less time in the office as opposed to more time, but each of those tasks seriously took less than five minutes.  Still mildly frustrating that I didn't just do them on my day off.

Anyway, the day off was a very nice treat, even if it was wasted in many ways.  Man, I love napping!!!