Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Seasons of the Year: Spring, Summer, Tax

Here it is April 17th, and Tax Season is not over.  Just one more way our government has screwed us over.

The End of Tax Season has been a mythic event in our family for the past 25 plus years, since Rob gave up the crazy world of food service management for the wonderful world of public accounting.  He arrives home very late, we hug, congratulate each other for surviving another one, he tells me Maria has made plans to close the office for a day later in the week, we decide where we are going for dinner the next night to celebrate, he shares stories of the last stragglers, we laugh, we yawn, and we fall asleep.  Well, he falls asleep, I'm still an insomniac, tax season or not. Few things compare with the big sense of relief we all feel when Tax Season is over, because from mid January until mid April, life as we know it comes to a standstill.  No travel, no rest, no relaxation.  And that's just Cory and me, Rob has it ten times worse.

Having had to take a course on Federal Income Tax in law school, all I can say is he can keep it.  Numbers make me break out in hives (don't be fooled by my brief foray into the world of fractal geometry.)  Combine that with the Federal Tax Code, and it's enough to put me into a coma.  But Rob really likes accounting and tax work.  Lots of people think I'm crazy for working in an area of law where my heart gets ripped out on a fairly regular basis.  I can't imagine doing anything else, and I suppose he feels the same way about his work.

This year the Feds extended the filing deadline until midnight on Monday, April 18th, which totally screwed this weekend and interferes with the first night of Passover.  It's bad enough that we can't ever go to Vegas for Spring Nationals ... why the extension?  I don't know, maybe they're making up snow days or some other nonsense.

Speaking of Passover, I've bought one box of egg matzoh, so I'm ready.  I can't remember the last time I prepared a seder ... wait, yes I do, it was three years ago, and I combined it with an Easter celebration.  Matzoh ball soup and glazed ham.  I think I may have pushed the envelope just a little too far.

Cory has expressed a desire for some charoses, which is easy enough to make.  Charoses is one of those foods that is drenched in sweet kosher wine and deep religious symbolism, because it is used during the reading of the Haggadah to represent the mortar that the Hebrews used to build for the Pharoah.  Other symbolic foods are the bitter herbs, usually horseradish, the roasted bone, the hardboiled egg, the parsley, and the dish of salt water which symbolizes the tears shed by the Hebrew slaves.  A better explanation can be found by clicking on this link.  The best part of the seder is making the Hillel sandwich - horseradish and charoses piled between two pieces of Passover matzoh, sort of an other-world bruschetta or the tea sandwich from hell.  Wash that down with a big gulp of Manischewitz Concord Grape wine, and all will be right with the world.

The symbolic foods are placed on a special Seder Plate.  I have several, some very elegant, others not so elegant but very precious to me.  One was made by Robert's Grandma Blanche, and another was made by Cory while he was in Hebrew school.

Cooking and especially baking for Passover are very different than everyday food preparation.  Leaving aside the facts that I do not keep kosher, nor kosher for Passover, and that I do not get rid of my chametz (leavened foods, like bread and cake), and that no one in my family has the patience to sit through a reading of the Haggadah, I still enjoy making some of the traditional foods.  Since Passover lasts for seven or eight days, depending on whether you live in Israel or are a Diaspora Jew or you are Reform or Reconstructionist regardless of where you live ... don't worry about the details, the point is that Passover will last long enough for me to blog about how we celebrate it, and what foods I will prepare.

Before I even make it to Passover, I realized I have little in the way of cooked food in the fridge.  Saturday I was washed up and passed out from slogging through two killer weeks at work, but today I'm going to have to do some serious cooking, and that means a trip to Publix.  Woot woot!

The Orlando Magic played with irregular brilliance on Saturday, and lost big time to the Atlanta Hawks.  No wonder I am living on Zantac.  Boys, you know I love you all, now bring it home for Mom!

Checking the news (no, I don't really sleep, get over it) and saw this headline:

"You don't have to be a celebrity to be bipolar... but boy does it help!"

I'm not sure what it is supposed to help ... acceptance of bizarre behavior?  Better access to treatment?  Less stigma than attaches to us noncelebrities?  I've had severe, sometimes crippling depression and anxiety since I was fifteen.  I can't imagine that being a celebrity would have made that road any easier to navigate.  And then for almost nine years, I was a defense attorney representing parents who had lost their children to foster care, many because of mental illness.  Would being a celebrity have quelled that pain?  Does celebrity status somehow stop that terrible inner dialogue that drives some people to acts of violence against themselves or others?  Well, I don't buy it.  In fact, I think that mental illness is the Great Equalizer.  It makes us human, albeit in a terrible way.

Here is my favorite article from the Orlando Sentinel, today's column from Scott Maxwell.  Let's face it, we've all been saying the exact same thing:

Rick Scott is enough to make me miss Charlie Crist

"Father, forgive me for what I'm about to say … but I miss Charlie Crist.  Oh, I know he had faults as big as the San Andreas. The guy switched positions more often than a weathervane. His vision rarely extended beyond the next election.  But he also had a heart.  Charlie never targeted the disabled.  He never would've made it easier to abuse and neglect the elderly.  He never promised gifts and breaks to corporations so that he could cut funding to veterans and schools … all while doubling his own office's budget.  For all his many imperfections, Charlie had concern for his fellow man.

And compared with some of the nonsensical and truly damaging actions we are seeing from Rick Scott nowadays, a little naked pandering looks downright refreshing."

As the Wicked Witch cried out as she melted, "what a world, what a world!"

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