The tax man

Like most people, the whole tax thing scares the crap out of me. I don’t get bitter about having to pay it – I accept that it’s part of living in a society. The bit I hate is having to figure it all out. The task of filling out about 20 pages of questions that I don’t understand is all a bit daunting. The language doesn’t even make sense to me. And the biggest joke of all is that the help guide uses exactly the same words reordered. I bet tax geeks laugh their asses off when they write them.

I don’t have a huge annual turnover. I don’t have partners. I don’t pay wages or ACC levies and I’m not an LAQC, whatever the hell that is. I just write websites for christs sake.

So last night I sat down to do it. I got my income figures off my GST returns and added them together. I calculated 33% of that. I just about puked on the ground. But it was done. I was as happy as any person could be, when faced with a monstrous tax bill that they didn’t really think about over the year when they were happily spending their income.

Then Shaun asked me if I’d taken into account the mortgage and the materials I’d bought. What the…? It doesn’t even ask about those in the return. How the hell am I supposed to know to take those into account?

So now I’m not feeling quite so good about the whole thing. I’m thinking it’s going to be easier to just fork out for an accountant. I guess that’s what they’re for, after all.

The good oats

My paternal grandmother died when I was 15. I remember it clearly. It was July 7. She had gone into hospital for ‘some tests’. She was a bit of a hyperchondriac so no one was that concerned – they thought she had the ‘flu. She died the next morning, while my dad was on his way to the hospital. It was the first time I ever saw him cry.

I was grandma’s favourite. I remember feeling very proud of that. My parents didn’t feel the same way. They worked very hard to make sure that there were no favourites in our family. Everything was always perfectly fair. But not with grandma. She’d give the others $5 and me $10 and tell me not to tell. I told. Mum took the money off me and distributed it evenly. I never told again.

Grandma was an amazing looking woman. She was exceptionally tall and slim with completely white hair. She used to rinse it blue. As a child I found that completely fascinating. I guess I still do. Why would you? Mum says that I’m going to have her white hair (although how the hell she knows that is beyond me). I can tell you right now that there will be no blue rinsing.

I miss grandma. I think about her a lot. The thing I remember most vividly about her was her cooking. She was a terrible cook. She would boil vegetables until they were virtually unrecognisable. As a child I didn’t mind. Veges are better if you don’t recognise them. She used cook a lot of meat. I have no idea how she stayed so skinny. But the thing I remember most was her porridge.

She’d cook porridge in a pot on the stove every morning. It was a painstaking process. She’d stir it with a wooden spoon forever. It was worth it though. She’d put so much brown sugar and cream on it that any goodness from the oats was negated, but boy did it taste good.

I’ve loved oats ever since, but I very rarely have time to make them. Most mornings I eat breakfast at work, so I’ve always eaten dry cereal. But now I’ve discovered microwave oats. It’s my new addiction. I have modified it slightly for the times though. Oats and protein powder. I don’t know if grandma would have approved but I think of her every time I eat them.

I miss you grandma.

Cough up

People used to be really good at paying me. I’d send out my invoice at the end of every job with a note saying that it was due for payment by the 20th of the month following. I copied that off someone else’s invoice. It was working for me.

I would listen to other people complain about not being paid and they would ask me if I had the same issue. I’d shake my head at them (not in a condescending way of course…) and tell them that no, people always paid up.

But that was the olden days. Things have changed it would seem. This month, the 20th came and went and no one paid! Not a single invoice was honoured.

Bastards!

I was put in that awful position of having to chase people up. I decided to leave it one day in case they paid online and it was clearing or something. I assumed that was what everyone was doing. Surely they wouldn’t have forgotten me. Or worse… They had.

So I spent ages trying to think of the best way to word the email. I decided in the end just to reattach the invoices in question and put “Invoices due for payment” in the subject line. No one responded. What the…? I waited another couple of days. Still nothing.

Double bastards.

So I emailed again. This time I spent longer trying to figure out what to write. Some of these people are personal friends, as well as business associates. That makes it messier. So with them I made a joke about debt collectors. They all apologised profusely and said that they would transfer the funds straight away. That was on Friday. Today there are still no funds.

Big fat bastards.

Lest we forget

Today I am in the most amazing mood. I am positively glowing. Tomorrow is a public holiday and I’m planning on spending the day doing pretty much nothing. Oh, life is good.

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. It’s purpose is to remember the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in Gallipoli during World War 1. Over ten thousand soldiers lost their lives. Although most (if not all) of the surviving soldiers from that war are now dead, it is still celebrated with dawn ceremonies and parades all over the country. I have never been to one.

I have never been particularly interested in history. It’s my worst Trivial Pursuit subject (followed closely by geography). People that remember dates that have nothing to do with them fascinate me. I could tell you the date that my grandmother died 15 years ago, or the date that we moved into our first house. I can list every public holiday date throughout the year, but I have no idea of the date that WW1 started. Or WW2. Or any war, for that matter. Those dates just don’t stick.

Still, that won’t stop me from making the most of the day off. It’s the last public holiday until Labour Day in October. It’s always frustrated me that they are all grouped at the start of the year and then we have a long winter with no breaks. I suppose on the up side, we get to make the most of the good weather during summer.

So that’s tomorrow. You won’t be hearing from me. With any luck I’ll be reading my book on the couch and stuffing myself with Anzac biscuits.

Thinking on the up

I know I’ve ranted about this before but it’s on my mind at the moment and it can’t really be said to much. I believe that people can be categorised one of two ways. Those who help themselves and those who don’t. I think we understimate the power of the human mind. It’s not that difficult to see how you can sabotage something by thinking about it in a negative way. You don’t give it a bloody chance! In fact, I think there are people that sabotage their whole lives in this way!

I was talking to my acupuncturist (it still feels weird saying that) last night about the power of positive thought. She commented on how refreshing she finds my positivity and how lucky I am to be like that. I thought for a while about whether it’s luck, or whether it’s a choice I make. I think it’s both. Some people are naturally positive thinkers. Other people work hard at it. The more positive you are, the easier it becomes and the more fulfillment you get from things. Difficult experiences (infertility, epilepsy) become manageable parts of life.

I know people who have a very different approach to life. The glass is always half empty. When something happens they immediately look for the negative. They start to wonder what bad thing could be about to happen as a result. They waste time worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet – and may never happen at all! I am unsure as to whether they are aware that they do it and choose to continue, or whether it is just inherently programmed into them.

One of the nice things about being a positive person, is that you attract other positive people. People don’t much like hanging around with doom-mongers. Life just seems more fun when you spend it with someone that is excited about living.

So smile. The world will smile back.

It’s all about the liver

This post is a bit of a follow on from yesterday. It’s coincidental that I went to a seminar last night all about food, stress and hormones. I dragged my husband along. I did that for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because I’ve been trying to advise him on how to eat sensibly for years and I figured that if he was to hear my advise from an actual doctor that it might sink in. The second reason is that I am considering nutrition as a career once my yet-to-be-born babies have started school.

I think that one of the most confusing subjects when it comes to eating these days is carbs. We know we need to eat them for energy but we also know that they make us fat. I have taught Shaun not to eat cereal without yogurt and fruit. What I hadn’t managed to teach him was that half a bowl of cereal is two servings. Most people know that starting their day with an energy drink probably isn’t ideal, but they don’t necessarily realise that they are then setting themselves up for a day of bad eating. Sugar laden food is poisonous. The more of the crap we dump into our bodies the more our bodies fight back in order to try and protect ourselves. The cycle becomes incredibly hard to break. Just because you’re not getting fat doesn’t mean that you’re not damaging your liver. Just because you exercise every day doesn’t mean you can eat what you want. It’s not all about calories in vs calories out.

Food is supposed to be fuel. Think about what you put in your mouth.

The more we sabotage our bodies with sugar and refined carbs, the harder we force our livers to work. The harder our livers are working dealing with that stuff, the less time they have to deal with other toxins that occur naturally within our bodies. The reabsorbtion of cholersterol. The conversion of estrodiol. Those kind of crucial functions.

Add to all of that the effect that the environment has. Eat a few pesticides. Inhale a few chemicals while you’re painting your nails. Smear some fake tan on (and if you don’t think we absorb that kinda crap through our skin, how the hell do you think nicotine patches work?). Those things are POISONS.  While some of them are necessary poisons (medications for instance), the majority of them are avoidable. I need my liver to metabolise my hormones at the moment. It would make sense for me to give it a break from the pesticides.

So to yesterday’s sceptic… there’s proof alright. You just have to be willing to listen.

Going all organic

I spent the majority of this past weekend at markets. Farmer’s markets (and the odd supermarket) to be specific. I’ve decided recently to try and eat more organically. I used to disregard it altogether because organic food wasn’t that accessible. It wasn’t as easy as doing all my grocery shopping in one place. But I’ve seen the light.

There is a farmer’s market in the stables of our local racecourse. I made the mistake of walking there. By the time I walked back with my bags of veges I was stuffed. I looked at the time and realised that I’d been walking for 2 hours. Come to think of it though, who wants to live closer to a racecourse than that?

I’ve been buying all our fruit and vegetables from the markets, as well as nuts, bread and other random stuff, like peanut butter. Anything that tastes as good as the commercial version. I’m not going to take the healthy route at the expense of taste!

Speaking of expense, those farmers sure know all about it. They charge through the nose for their insect ridden fruit. It seems that if you let a couple of catterpillars at your corn you can charge twice as much for it. Seems strange, considering how much money they must be saving on pesticides. Still, if it’s going to stop me from getting some terminal illness and keep the planet viable for longer then I guess it’s worth it.

I went to the markets up north in real farmer country as well. They were pretty much the same, only with just the one coffee cart (no decaf) and some authentic looking wild ducks wandering around. At least they looked authentic. Turns out they were some guys pets.

So I’m a market convert. It’s a great way to spend your Sunday and it makes you feel like you’re doing something good. When that happens to me I grab it with both hands!