Scooping the ringing telephone from its charging station, I sank down on a dining room chair and greeted my daughter. “Hi Tammie. It’s nice to hear from you. How was your commute to work this morning? Was it snowing?”
Tammie lives west of my Central Wisconsin home. The weather she experiences, frequently arrives at my home in Marathon County three hours later. My daughter explained, “It started to snow right after I arrived at work. It doesn’t look like it will be stopping anytime soon. I had a meeting that lasted until noon, so now I’m going home. I can finish my shift remotely. Hopefully, at this time of day, the traffic will be lighter than when everyone else goes home.”
Looking out the window at the swirling flakes and the ever-deepening snow in my yard, I offered, “It began to snow an hour ago and it’s coming down heavy. You know how I like to say it isn’t really winter until the snow drifts have snow drifts? Today, it’s really winter. The snow falling now, is drifting alongside the mound of snow plowed aside after last week’s snow.”
As we ended our conversation, I asked Tammie, “Will you please give me a call or text when you get home? I’d like knowing you made it back to your house safely.”
I had a job waiting for me in the office I wasn’t eager to work on; gathering tax papers. Pouring myself a cup of hot tea, I slowly wandered into the living room and stood sipping tea as I gazed out the big window. Nuthatches, chickadee and junco were flitting about, gobbling sunflower seeds. A gust of wind shook snow from the pine tree near the feeder. Thankfully, I looked up at the swaying branches. Last week the snow had been heavy and clung to the boughs, breaking some with its weight.
Persuading myself to return to work on gathering my income tax information, wasn’t easy. Finally, I decided to reward myself with watching a special movie if I completed my search for certain papers.
Stepping into my colder-than-the-rest-of-the-house office, I stopped at the doorway and eyed the drifts of papers on my desk. Having already gone through my ‘bills paid’ file, stacks of papers separated into different categories completely covered the desk.
Like snow drifts next to snow drifts, some stacks of papers weren’t from the file cabinet. They were forms that had recently arrived in the mail, such as W2, 1099 forms and contribution receipts.
One thing that entices me to thoroughly record my finances every year is a special sheet I make for myself. I list all the home improvements and big trips I’ve taken in the previous twelve months.
In the past, when someone asked me when I had replaced the shingles, put in the new septic system or had visited Rome, Assisi and Orvieto in Italy, I’d been frustrated not to know. Those dates, though very important, aren’t like the birthdays or the anniversary dates of family members I have memorized.
The file which records my yearly expenses and home improvements only dates back to the year 2010. Which, incidentally, is about the same time I began to write the dates of purchase on owner manuals. I keep asking myself, “Why didn’t I start doing this sooner?”
It is the middle of the winter and still early in the income tax preparation season. Although the drifts of snow and banks of papers are plentiful and deep, with any luck they should both disappear by April 15th!