Tax preparationYes, it’s that time of year. Dammit.

Pulling papers together. Searching through piles for receipts. Shuffling through forms and instructions to take care of taxes.

Funny that we say things are “taxing” when they are endlessly wearying. As language usage, is that the chicken or the egg?

Tax season

When tax season rolls around, I stress. Okay. I’m glossing over the reality. I hide under my covers and hyperventilate. Then I stress. Partly, because my paperwork is always a nightmare. But it’s more than that. I look at what I pay in property taxes and shudder, realizing they’ve increased each year I’ve lived in my tiny home, for nearly six years now. My taxes are just about equal to my fixed price mortgage payment.

Now wouldn’t that drive you to drink, or to bury your head under your comforter?

I cringe when I think about what my city and county taxes are paying for – silly traffic calming projects that do nothing but cause blown tires on jutting curbs and pointless little islands, where traffic humps would have cost a fraction in dollars and time. I pace and mutter trying to decipher the details of the newly planned multimillion dollar renovation to two local schools (already recently renovated), but… some of my tax dollars are assisting with the quality of the schools. And that’s a different matter.

Domestic tasks

Where’s my maid service? Talk about taxing! Fatigue accumulates around my household more quickly than the dust. And believe me, we have vintage dust. Then there’s the bottomless pit of laundry, the stainless sink which is eternally piled high, the icky sticky fridge, the mopping, the vacuuming – oh – and the toxic zones.

Yes. Haul out the yellow tape. Cordon off the area. Boy rooms. And worse – boy bathroom.

Mother or maid service??Despite numerous detailed demonstrations of “How to Clean your Grody Bathroom,” it remains a skill which appears to be out of reach. So I now let them stew in it, so to speak. And when I cannot stand it any longer, I point a parental finger, threaten non-use of parental vehicle ever, and the Comet, Mr. Clean, and Fantastik reappear, much as they did prior to the arrival of a now departed Latvian guest.

Occasionally, I dream of Samantha Service. You know. Wiggle your nose, and the house is clean. Free of charge. (Hasn’t that been invented yet?)

Hauling and lifting

The job description in “Parenting 101” ought to come with specifications for bending, lifting, and two decades of hauling duty. Can you lift up to 40 pounds? (You’ll need to, for taking care of little kids and their assorted things.) Can you bend, dig, rifle through belongings, not to mention load and unload assorted sports equipment, musical instruments, and possibly easels into a small car or van? (Once again, can you spell taxing?)

Next you’ll require a Class C license, of course. And you must be capable of going the distance. Daily driving, with noise and commotion. Oh. That wasn’t in the What to Expect When You Were Expecting book either? Yeah. They forgot a few cogent points. I’m still waiting for that practical followup. You know, beyond Year One. Right. Volumes 2 through 18.

Waiting, worrying, wondering

And speaking of waiting… the most taxing of all?

Kids. The toughest job you'll ever love. The waiting, the worrying, the wondering. At all stages. There’s the waiting and worrying about their latest test, the disagreement with a friend, the first overnight, the first date. Then there’s learning to drive, or taking SATs. The long discussions through all of it, and wondering how much they’ll retain.

At some point, there is both worry and wonder at their futures that seem to be unfolding, despite all the glitches and bumps along the way. And you hope they will find more joy than sadness, more exciting tasks than all those that have taxed you and ground you down a little more than you ever anticipated.

Yet even knowing what you know now, you’d do it again. Despite the fact that the job description is sketchy, the pay sucks, and we know the hours violate federal and state labor laws, you don’t regret a minute of it. Taxing or not.

© D A Wolf



  1. says

    One of the practicalities of still being legally married is that my ex does the taxes. I would totally dread them, so you have my profound sympathy! Is there a way to bribe one of the kids to help sort things out with you?

  2. says

    I hate taxes. It is an all day event in my house. I own my own business, so I must keep receipts, and compile records…BUT I wait until the very last minute to total EVERYTHING together. I combine and calculate and thank goodness hand then to hubby to file for me. With the tanking economy, we had $25,000 in renovations done to our house and our home value went DOWN $10,000. The land here is much more valuable these days than the structures people erect on them. I guess it’s just less taxes for us to pay as long as we’re not in the market to sell. We can only hope by that time the economy will turn around!

  3. says

    Boy bathrooms make me gag. Also, I prefer not to think about taxes, okay? It’s better for all of us, especially since I don’t have any brown bags to keep me from hyperventilating.

  4. says

    Lucky April!
    I’m poor enough to get a refund, so as much as I hate doing taxes …
    But, don’t worry about your kids; for what good? Love ’em, teach ’em, and set them free. Then be there when they mess up, and hug ’em! That’s how we learn …

  5. says

    Ha! I’m with Kelly – boy bathrooms make me gag too. Boy smells. Dirty boy clothes. Boy shoes. Boy backpacks. (Sorry, just thinking about my little brother here. Is it wrong to give him Irish Spring body wash and Febreze for his birthday??)

    This post uplifted me, Wolfie, even though I didn’t expect it to and I don’t think that was your intention. I’m uplifted that your boys actually clean their bathroom when you use “the voice” and they know it’s gone too far. I’m uplifted that you would do the parent thing all over again. I’m even uplifted that tax season will be over in a month – it stinks between now and then, but there is a definite end point.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Sort of a light post, for a scattered day (and my elder son keeps a Febreze in his room!) :) while the other has a “toxic waste” sign on his door. Perfect, no? And there’s not only “the voice,” there’s “the look.”

      And they know…

  6. says

    Oh, the boy bathroom. I so dread it. And the dating … Can’t even bring myself to begin thinking about it.

    PS: My mother-in-law is a CPA. So: Collect documents in file, deliver to MIL, wait for nice, neat, to-the-penny taxes to be filed for me. Hallelujah.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Yep. Potty training trumps teen boy bathrooms! And ooooo all those lucky babes with others to sort through their paperwork! (Maybe the CPAs also do windows??)

  7. says

    Entrepreneur takes care of our taxes. He takes them right over to the tax specialist. Bless her for taking on our mess. As for the other “taxing” activities, it doesn’t get much better when they leave the nest. You still worry, wonder and wait. And then comes the grandkids and it starts all over again!

  8. says

    My life is tax-free — using the word as it applies to the IRS — as I don’t make any money. Gosh, what a relief. . .

    On the parenting front, I think “eternal worrying” is part of the job description.

    Have you considered vodka? I find it often helps.


  9. says

    Taxes were done ages ago. Had my return before mid-February. Then, oops, forgot a huge credit so filed an amended return and am now praying I don’t get audited, not because there is anything wrong as the taxes are legal just because.

    Boy bathrooms – UGH!! I swear, the older they get the more we need a box of Cheerios for the toilet.

  10. says

    “Vintage dust,” ha! Love it.

    We don’t have little or big kids yet, but I have experienced teenage boy bathroom. Actually, 20-something boy bathroom. My husband’s younger brother was living with his parents for a while to save money and moved out just this year when he got engaged. Over Christmas, while we were staying at said parents’ house, we got to use the brother’s old room with attached bath. Yikes is all I’ll say.

    J’ai une réponse à votre question chez moi :)

  11. says

    Where can I get in contact with Aprils Dad?? 😉 I swear I go into a funk for three weeks every year in Feb/March as I dread working on the taxes; my husband is one of those prepare them and then just tell me where to sign kinda guys, so he does not stress about it. At all.

  12. says

    Potty training one small boy here, but he’s still going sitting down. I’m going to hold out for as long as possible – or at least until I purchase an economy-sized tub of Clorox wipes – before I let him go standing up. (Shudder.)

    Taxes almost done here. One treat this year – which touches on two elements of your post – is that we’ll get a credit for adding Tiny Baby to our household last year. So, yes, kids are taxing, but they’re also tax-deducting!

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