When dinossaurs and I ran around Texas college campuses in granny dresses and fringed leather vests, searching for meaning behind the words of Vonnegut , Lennon and Dylan, my nightmare was that one day, I’d wake up to find myself in suburbia with the average 2.3 children, member of a civic association and married to a certified public accountant.
Forty years later, 2009 happened. The year’s horrible events so far have quickly put things into perspective. I am now fully aware that being a middle-class American — even a calculator-pushing accountant — isn’t the worst of all possible outcomes. In fact, a former and current CPA, along with my supportive former coworkers, have been my lifelines as I continue my freelance work and search fof a real job.
Let us review:
January: 2009 — or as I now call it, the Cursed Year from Hell –begins.
February: I turned 60, an event that all by itself is proof of life’s injustices.
Mid-March: My cat, Elmo, dies after 16 years as my foot-warmer and best feline friend, leaving me haunted and reaching down to pet thin air. One week later, my wheelchair-bound mama gets an intestinal ailment and is rushed to the hospital, the first of three home-hospital-nursing home cycles.
March 24: “Black Tuesday”: I ‘m called into an office and told that I am laid off from the Houston Chronicle, along with 200 other loyal, dedicated, brilliant reporters, editors, clerks, pressmen and other jobs that enhanced the sixth largest newspaper in the U.S.. It isn’t our fault, the human resources counselor says, but due to the economy, drops in circulation and advertising.
April: Spent in shock and anger (see entry for March 24) except for a photographer friend and former CPA who sets up this blog for me and single-handedly forces me to start freelancing as a writer/reporter for hire. My sisters, who worship at the alter of Martha Stewart, tell me now — at the very moment I have lost my job, income and identity — that I am doomed to a failed life of chaos as long as I remain a messy housekeeper. We part ways in a manner that a sit-down over vodka sodas, even with Joni Mitchell on the stereo, won’t fix.
May: I continue to send out resumes and samples of my work — news and feature stories published under my byline — like little messages in bottles tossed onto the ocean, with as much result. I also learn that journalism has changed to “citizen journalists” who write for peanuts from all over the world, even places where peanuts make up major banquets.
June: Just as I am thinking that life cannot possibly get any worse, I receive a letter from IRS, informing me that I owe back taxes for the past three years. It seems that I wasn’t supposed to use the E-Z form, the only one I know how to use, because it didn’t include spaces for me to declare the pittance–per-month royalties from a 1/36th interest in an oil and gas well (a bequest from a great-aunt who mistakenly thought she was spreading joy with this gift)
It was at this point that my photographer-former accountant friend suggested I find a current CPA, and so I discovered the world of Maximilano Jambrina on Westcott Avenue,. I simply asked them to help me fill out the more-complex tax form — the 1040A, but instead, they made magic.
They re-submitted all three years of my taxes, actually itemizing things, a feat I had never accomplished in this lifetime so far..
In what has been the first damn good thing to happen so far this year, they told me that I don’t owe the IRS money, they now — as accountant Brandon-something figured — will be sending me a check for a hefty chunk of change, more than my freelance career has provided thus far.
I now love CPAs.. I wouldn’t mind waking up and finding out I was married to the entire team at that firm. Especially Maximilano Jambrina, the most gorgeous CPA, with the sexiest accent in the entire world. (He can make “Thank you for your business” sound like pillow talk).
Brandon also told me that if I did have to move to Bulgaria or somewhere where living is inexpensive, there could be tax breaks ahead on my U.S. returns.
Isn’t that cute?
I never would have guessed that the one bright spot of 2009 — so far — would be brought by CPAs, a much more creative, imaginative bunch of folks — artists, even, with beautiful souls beneath those button-down shirts — than I would ever have guessed.
Love and peace to you, too, guys!