Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Awaiting the end of tax season

The Chief is a tax preparer.  He just started his business a few years ago, with about 6 or 8 clients.  This year he picked up several more, with 4 of them calling him just this week.  (Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?)  Tonight he took 15 minutes to grab a bite of dinner after the first client left, and before his next 2 appointments.  His clients are stacking up like planes over LaGuardia!  He's glad to have the additional income, of course, but it would certainly help him if people would call him in February or March instead of waiting until April.  Bringing all their paperwork when they meet with him would be useful too.

Allow me to brag a little.  If you want a conscientious tax preparer, the Chief is your man.  He has spent hours and hours poring over each return, making sure he didn't miss any potential deductions or penalty-inducing errors (it's surprising what some people's accountants have missed or mis-entered).  He makes sure he knows the tax code citation or court case to support every deduction, just to be sure.  He pays for a subscription to a tax advisory service and has used it an average of once or twice on every account, clarifying issues open to interpretation or confirming that he was handling something correctly.  He's found cases where an amended return earned the clients several hundred dollars in refunds.  He has literally lost sleep because he was ruminating on a particularly complicated tax issue for a client, or woken at 4 a.m. with an idea that could help them.  You want meticulous, painstaking, thorough, and scrupulously honest?  The Chief is the one to call.  If you incur penalties as a result of an error he made, he'll pay the penalty.  He even throws in free tax planning advice.  I worry that he's wearing himself to a frazzle ("They had to wait until ONE WEEK before the filing deadline to call you?!?") but I'm very proud of how well he does this.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

This painting thing is kinda fun!

In today's Fundamentals of Theatrical Design, we finally got to the part I'd been dreading - painting!  They started us off nice and slow, though - basic color mixing, painting on a grid with the combinations labeled for us (e.g., "red + yellow").  Then it got a little harder - "approximate your skin and hair colors on those 2 faces (on the handout, next to the color-mixing grid); you get two tries."  Yike!  To my relief, however, I managed to come reasonably close.

The next step was to pick one of two costumed figures on a second handout and fill in colors matching the colors in one of two sample photos.  I decided against the pretty green bird only because there weren't enough different colors to suit me. ;)  Instead, I went for the autumn leaves against the old blue door.  Sadly, my palette doesn't include turquoise, only darker blues, so  couldn't use blue for my figure.  That still left me a greenish yellow and a variety of oranges, so my 18th-century court lady was all in autumn tones, including her orangey-red hair. :)  The instructor who's a costume design MFA candidate was complimentary when I handed it in, so I'm hoping for a decent grade.  (I was very surprised to get full credit on the design copying exercise we did last week.)

What I've learned this semester in my Scene Painting class came in handy, especially the color mixing exercise (even if it did kick my butt).  Nice when things overlap and reinforce each other like that.  However, it didn't prepare me for the difference between acrylics (Scene Painting) and watercolors.  I quickly learned the hard way that you don't need very much water at all.

I decided that this painting thing is actually kinda fun!  I wouldn't want to try starting from absolutely nothing, but coloring in a design someone else came up with is just playing with colors, which is always fun.  Maybe after the end of the semester, I'll get one of those adult coloring books and use up my watercolors on it (now that I know the dangers of too much water).

Monday, April 04, 2016

In case you were wondering...

... whether I got into those classes I had to audition and interview for.  I'm waitlisted for the Alexander Technique class, but got into Voice for the Actor.

The latter class is at the same time as the costume construction class I wanted to take, but the instructor told me today that "you're probably too advanced for it."  It's for rank beginners - sewing terminology, how to use a sewing machine, a few very basic projects.  Too bad - sounded like it would be fun.  I wonder what the homework would have consisted of?

I came to a fork in the road...

... but I didn't take it.  A few weeks ago, coming back from the choir trip, I was walking from the bus to my car when I saw a cafeteria-issue fork just sitting there on the sidewalk.  I immediately thought of Yogi Berra but didn't take his advice.  About 10 days later, coming back to classes after spring break, the fork was still there.  No one else took that fork in the road, either. :)

It's the little things

The other day I removed Dad from my phone's contacts.  Actually, I could have done it a year ago, or whenever it was that I realized calling him was just frustrating him, so I started writing him little notes instead.  Every so often I still start to head down the greeting card aisle in the store to look for a card for him, then stop myself.

The inurnment ceremony was short but very nice.  The "family priest" (cousin of Mom's) did a lovely job as always.  He shared a memory of Dad.  Father M was at Mom's bedside when she died and told us of Dad holding Mom's hand that last time.  The Army also sent a bugler to play Taps (I think we all started "leaking" at the first note) and two NCOs to do the flag thing.  Dad would have been so pleased and proud.

M&D have two side-by-side slots in a "quadruplex" at the columbarium.  When the cemetery rep asked if we'd like to have the divider between their slots removed, we said "Yes, please!"  It won't make any difference to them, of course, but we love the idea of their "dusty boxes" (as Sister3 christened them) side by side.