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My Own March Madness

by Roberta McReynolds

The saying goes that two heads are better than one. I certainly hope the recent trend at my house doesn’t indicate that should be the recommended minimum daily requirement.

Mike and I have our taxes prepared at H & R Block each year. Our preliminary routine automatically divides into unspoken assignments of responsibility. He gathers everything out of the folders in the file cabinet, shreds unnecessary papers and places the important documents into a plastic storage box. I sort through the contents of the box collecting receipts, hunting down various medical expenses, and totaling deductions. Eventually the box will get labeled by year and transferred to another location for storage until the IRS supposedly loses interest in our history.

When I completed my half of the task, I asked my husband if we had received everything we needed from disability, investments, and retirement funds. He said we were missing one item, so I postponed making the appointment with Susan, our tax specialist.

A couple weeks passed without the expected missing information showing up in the mail. Since it was already late February, Mike decided he’d better double check our stack of forms and discovered we had everything we needed all along. That meant the ball was back in my court and I phoned H & R Block, but Susan was booked up for almost two weeks. It shouldn’t have been a big surprise though; we were lagging behind our normal schedule, closer to the April 15 deadline than usual, and Susan’s services are in great demand. I jotted the date and time on our calendar while I was still on the phone with the receptionist, obsessively making sure our communication was crystal clear.

Mike asked me a couple times over the course of those two weeks about the date so he wouldn’t forget, "It’s the day after our anniversary, right?"

Each time I responded in the affirmative. It stuck in my mind that we would miss that friendly little phone call from the receptionist reminding us of the correct day and time, because we were going out of town to celebrate our anniversary. I’ve never needed the reminder, however, since I’m so efficient at keeping things organized on the calendar.

March 10 dawned and I began to think about how we should plan our day by arranging errands around our annual tax meeting. I glanced at the calendar as a matter of habit to confirm the time and realized, with a shock, that we were supposed to be there at 10:00 a.m. instead of 1:00 p.m. like I had believed. Oddly enough, when I tired to casually remind Mike of the time, he questioned me if I was sure about that, because he thought it had been for 1:00 p.m. We laughed it off, relieved that we weren’t going to show up three hours late.

We decided it would be close to thinking about eating lunch by the time our taxes would be completed, signed and electronically on the way to the IRS. While we were out we could stop by Wienerschnitzel, which was fortuitously located along on the route. Then it would be convenient to pick up a special order Mike had placed at a hobby store. I love it when a plan comes together!

I backed out of the garage and as we passed through the first couple intersections Mike asked me if I knew where I was going. Explanation: his favorite routes and mine are frequently different and the passenger isn’t always confident the driver knows where he/she is going. I confidently shared my itinerary and it turned out that, in this instance, I would have turned too soon and missed the office entirely. It was obviously far better to deal with a minor embarrassment at that stage than circling around to get pointed back correct direction, so I humbly thanked my back-seat driver for speaking up and saving us from being late to our appointment.

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