Tuesday, March 06, 2018

And So the Tax Follies Begin!




I answered a call from my tax preparer this morning.  They'd left me a message saying they had "a question."  I had already dropped off my information for them to work on.  There was no question they wanted to ask.  They warned me that I need to withdraw $920 immediately from my Health Savings Account because, according to my HSA statement from the HSA bank guys, I had paid in far too much, and if the IRS got wind of it they were going to want to PUT ME ON THE RACK AND TORTURE ME WITH HOT POKERS. 

Now, this is IMPOSSIBLE because I always put the exact amount of my insurance deductible in there -- about half of the yearly maximum contribution -- and I generally use it all up by July, so that when the next January comes I can start over fresh refilling the empty account.  My first, worrying thought was that I'd somehow SCREWED UP my yearly enrollment paperwork at the office.  There's a box to check and a row of empty slots to fill out on your computer regarding this sort of thing, and I wondered if I'd asked my employer to deduct money from my paycheck and route it to the HSA without realizing I'd done it.  I've even done this once before in the past, so it seemed possible despite all my doublechecking.

Nope.  They printed everything right out for me, and it all matched up with my information.

So I went to the HSA bank's web address and -- after a desperate search, because they keep rearranging the site so you can never find anything -- looked at the contributions made in 2017.

It said exactly what it should say.  I paid the full deductible amount in November and that was all the money I had in there.  Minus a few shekels, because I've already used some of it.  There was no thousand-dollar surplus.

So all I could think of to do was click on "Contact Us" and tell them what was going on.  They claim they will respond within 2 business days.  You click "SEND" and it vanishes; there's no way to document that I contacted them at all, which really grinds me.

So now we wait.



Friday, March 02, 2018

Why Wait Until Next Year To Post This?



I finally got around to observing my sacred New Year's Eve ritual of watching The Poseidon Adventure last night.  I know, I know, it's March!  But that's just another way of keeping things CHAOTIC around here, am I right?

I adore this movie.  It's so rich and complex that I get something new out of it every time I see it.  And this year the detail that popped out at me DIRECTLY CONCERNED THIS BLOG, so here I am reporting it to you, just as if it were something you needed to know.

Remember the scene right after the ship capsized, when Gene Hackman suggested using the Christmas tree as a ladder to escape the ballroom?  OF COURSE YOU DO.  Well, I've seen this movie and this Christmas tree many, many times but this is the first time it really registered on me that between the ropes of tinsel garland, you can see the other Christmas ornaments on there:


Row after row of these GOLD SATIN BALLS.  The kind you never see anymore in the stores.  They were nearly INESCAPABLE at Christmastime at the time this movie was made.

And -- VERY interestingly! -- those ornaments, resembling outsized GOLDEN APPLES, kept appearing and disappearing when you looked at the tree.  There were tons of them at the moment the tree toppled, sending injured partygoers scattering in all directions.  

It was such a nice image of DISORDER, symbolized by Golden Apples glittering on a tree in a room -- a world -- turned UPSIDE DOWN.

(Just an aside, here:  THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN was also supposed to be the 4th book in the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles by prominent Discordian author and Erisian saint Robert Anton Wilson, but he never got around to writing it.  Such a pity.)

Then a bunch of the men got together and stood the tree back up so they could use it as a ladder to escape the ballroom.  Suddenly, there was hardly a golden ball to be seen on the tree, as if the disorder were in retreat for a moment.  Undoubtedly because the survivors had made a plan and were now working together to achieve it.

And then the water poured in, and people started scrambling up the tree in terror, and hey, look at all the golden apples on the tree!  They appear at the moment CHAOS RE-ENTERS THE ROOM.

And then the tree was submerged and the moment passed.