Taxes & Cactus & Cake

When JJ was a little boy, I used to tell him that sometimes Summer and Winter battled each other–with one day warm and another day cold. The times when they fight is called “Spring” and “Autumn.” In the Spring, Summer eventually wins the fight and the weather becomes warm and green. In the Autumn, Winter eventually wins the fight and the weather turns cold and snowy. Yestereday Summer and Winter fought hard: We had rain all day and then EJ said that it was snowing as he drove home from work.

Yesterday EJ and I went for a walk to the post office and library. We still have lots of snow on the ground, but the patches of green lawn are continuing to spread. There were large pools of melting snow on the sidewalks, and mud on lawns next to the sidewalks so we had to leap from dry patch to dry patch or choose between getting our shoes wet or getting them muddy. Downtown there were sections of sidewalk that were pure ice. We couldn’t go around the ice because of the deep snowdrifts formed along the streets when the snow was plowed throughout the winter so we had to hang onto each other as we skated across the ice. As we walked, I kept saying things like “Wow, these puddles are deep!” or “Eeew, my shoes are getting muddy!” or “It might have been better if we had walked in the street!” EJ said lightheartedly, “Wow! You sure are complaining a lot!” I replied, “I am not complaining. I am narrating our adventurous walk! There is a BIG difference between complaining and narrating.”

Later in the afternoon, JJ and I went for a short walk with me. I am glad he is feeling well enough to walk. JJ said he wasn’t going to wear a hat. He said he didn’t care if people saw him with a bald head (and no eyebrows or eyelashes). I thought that was very brave of him. I was proud of him for being comfortable with who he is.

I am the one in our family who keeps track of our schedules, appointments, and tasks that need to be accomplished. So that we don’t get overwhelmed, I try to give us one or two doable tasks to do each day. EJ usually does our taxes himself each year, although he hates doing it. This year JJ has to file taxes for the very first time. With all that is on our minds and all that we have to do, I suggested we just get a professional to prepare our taxes for us. It’s quicker and less stressful. We had an appointment this morning. We left home a little early so we could stop at the bank on the way. We also stopped at the hardware store to buy some varnish for my two birdhouses. I was hoping to varnish them this weekend so that we could put in posts as soon as the ground is thawed enough and MAYBE get the houses up before we left for Indianapolis so we could enjoy them when we got home. Then EJ told me that it must be warmish if I varnish them outside or we must have windows open if I varnish them inside, and as cold as it is, that probably won’t happen. Bummer.

After the hardware store, it was time for our appointment at the tax preparer’s. While we sat in the waiting area, we admired a very large potted cactus. It was so large that it almost reached to the ceiling. The receptionist then told us the story of the cactus: That it was probably 50 years old. Her sister got it when it was just a little thing and she had it for years, but when she and her husband moved down south, her husband said, “We are NOT taking it with us,” so the sister gave it to the receptionist. When moving it to her (the receptionist’s) house, the sister’s husband accidentally knocked a few pieces off the cactus and he threw them away, but the receptionist rescued the pieces and put them in pots. She gave two away to relatives (one might have been her son or daughter, I can’t remember) and she ended up giving another back to her sister when they came to visit a few years later, even though the husband said, “We are NOT taking it back with us.” When the original cactus got even bigger and the receptionist no longer had room for it at home, she put it in the waiting area at her work, which is, of course, where we saw it. So she still gets to enjoy it and care for it. This very large cactus has a very interesting story. I like collecting stories.

It wasn’t long before the tax preparer was ready for us. She got both ours and JJ’s taxes done within the hour, which was a huge relief. It’s one more task accomplished and one more thing we don’t have to think about. The tax preparer did JJ’s for free because last year he was in high school, and this agency does the taxes of those in high school for free. That was very nice. Since JJ did not accompany us, we had to take forms home for him to sign and then EJ dropped the forms off at the tax preparer office on his way to work.

JJ's Birthday Cookie Cake from last year.
JJ’s Birthday Cookie Cake from last year.

On our way home, we stopped at the grocery store to buy a birthday cake for JJ, whose 19th birthday is tomorrow. Usually I make him my own special creation of Cookie Cake. I make a large peanut butter cookie with a brownie cake on top. He loves it, but this year we are trying to get a lot of stuff done with as little effort and stress as possible, and we really don’t want to have to eat a huge Coolie Cake, so I bought him a smaller heart-shaped peanut butter cake instead. He is fine with that.

JJ's birthday cake for tomorrow.
JJ’s birthday cake for tomorrow.

In our family the birthday person always gets to choose what to have for his/her birthday meal. I asked JJ what he wanted to do this year–if he wanted to go out or stay home, have takeout or a home-cooked meal. He said that since we are going to soon be in Indianapolis for a week, he’d prefer to stay close to home. He wouldn’t mind takeout, but wasn’t sure what. We finally decided we will pick up a pizza tomorrow. We haven’t gone out for pizza in a long time.


4 Comments on “Taxes & Cactus & Cake

  1. Dear Teri again a beautiful way of describes your life and the life of your loved- ones……I wish I could wish JJ happy birthday in person. And this is a special year for him and you both. Because we hope and pray that this will be the year that he is healed completely . That is my wish and that is what I’m praying for. Love you Teri. (((((((Hugs)))))))


    • His birthday is today, Lucindalines, so you aren’t late. Thank you for the birthday wishes. I will pass them on to him! ❤


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