Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spring Break, Taxes, Vonnegut, Baby Eaton

Horror movies are never as frightening as their literary counterparts. The imagination, however rusty, still outperforms an SGI. -- Liza Daly

Stacey went with her mom for Spring break, for the first time that I can recall. Spring break is a time that Stacey and I usually travel, to the beach, to Washington D.C., to visit relatives, to amusement parks, museums, etc. This year, Stacey and her mom went to Las Vegas, and apparently had a really good time. I did nothing but clean my house, play with my dog, and eat TV dinners (more on that later, as the astute reader will know that this goes contrary to some statements I've made before).

This year Westerville's Spring break was also during Easter week, rolling into Eater Sunday. Stacey has long since given up belief in various supernatural gift-givers, such as a certain pagan deliverer of eggs, but she still likes to get Eater baskets. I put together a basket for her as a surprise when she got back, with some dyed eggs, a couple nice chocolates, peeps (of course), gummy rings, and some generic jelly beans. My recent purchase of a double boiler came in handy, the bottom pot easily boiling a dozen eggs at the same time for dying.

[--Curtis' simple rules for egg boiling: Let the eggs sit at room temperature while the water heats up. Get water to rolling boil. Add eggs for exactly 13 minutes for a nice yellow yolk. Plunge eggs directly into icewater to pull the albumen away from the shell. Easy setup, perfect eggs every time.]

Stacey liked the basket, and was happy to get something, since she and mom had (understandably) spent Eater Sunday recuperating from the trip. The gummies went fast, as did half the chocolate, but the jelly beans, peeps, and eggs were mostly uneaten. I had 8 of the eggs as a lunch additive the following week, Stacey only being able to get through 4 hard boiled eggs before getting tired of them.

My tax returns netted me a whopping $119 dollars, which is great. I've been adjusting my W-4s over the last couple of years to try to maximize my paycheck, and get my tax returns as close to 0 as possible. The reason is simple, and I've gone over it here before: I want more control of my money. I want to get all I'm owed, owe nothing, and not have a big check once a year to go nuts with. I want to correctly spend my money, save for retirement, save for my kid's college, and pay off my last two remaining debts, my car and my house. Once-a-year mad money is counterproductive to all those goals. So this year I came real close to hitting the mark, off by a scant C note.

Kurt Vonnegut died. If you've ever been a literate rebel, this isn't news to you. The man's writing, and some films based on his writing, have evoked great emotion in me. Mother Night, for instance, caused in me a great sense of hopelessness for mankind. It was beautiful.

Most of my reading of his work was done when I was too young, and I found it "cool", but somewhat incomprehensible. The good news of his death, is that I'm spurred into picking up his books again, and this time around I'll better enjoy the bitter vitriol.

A man's death spawns in me anticipation to read things that will make me miserable. So it goes.

In better news, Stacey's second cousin Brian and his wife Tabitha are going to have a baby, making Stacey an "aunt" at 11 years old. Actually, they will be second cousins once removed, as shown in the (abbreviated) chart below:

She's due in November, so hopefully when Stacey and I head down for Thanksgiving, there'll be a new baby to play with, and a new great-great-grandmother in the family.

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