Sunday, February 14, 2016

A "Taxing" Adventure

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Well, it's my favorite time of year again.....NOT!   Last year we sent all our information off and had someone in Arizona do our taxes for us.   It was quite a challenge making sure that we got everything back to us in time to get it filed, so, in  moment of brain freeze, I suggested to Elder Ashton that I would do them this year using Turbo Tax.   I really thought it couldn't be that complex since we are just living on retirement income....I was mistaken:/   Last Sunday evening I decided I would spend 1 hour each evening (beginning on Monday after work) working on taxes.   I did - but I also spent an additional 2 or 3 hours per evening working on taxes.  I was struggling with a misunderstanding of Turbo Tax's questions about Required Minimum Draw down and ended up having to call Arizona State Retirement System to get that straight in my head.....but that happened after I lost about 4 hours of sleep one night trying to figure out what I had done wrong.   FINALLY finished them on Friday evening but have not hit the submit button yet.   I'm waiting until at least the end of February to make sure we have received our interest statements from the few places we have a few dollars scattered round.  At least that is one chore off my mind for now!

We went to the office on Monday expecting we would have a meeting with the president and Sister Baker and I had stored up several questions I needed to get their input on.   About 9 a.m. we got an email from the President saying that he had some kind of "crud" and didn't want to get any of us sick so they would not be coming into the office.   Well, for those of you who know Elder Ashton, he can't stand to sit around and he didn't have much work that he could move forward on until he could talk with the President, so when the Toyota dealership called to tell him the third car had arrived, it didn't take him 5 minutes to decide we take a longer lunch that day and go over to Greenbriar in Chesapeake to pick up the car.  It was a cold, but partly sunny day and I was ready to see a little sun so he didn't have to talk very hard to get me to go along with him.

On the way there, we crossed what is called the "high" bridge - a draw bridge that is quite high above the branch of the Elizabeth River.  

I liked this picture of the river flowing and the clouds floating :)

I dropped Elder Ashton off at the dealership, talked with On-Star and headed back to the office on my own.   I stopped at the apartment for a few minutes so was surprised that Elder Ashton was not at the office when I arrived back there.....he had taken the car down to U-haul to try to get a bicycle rack receiver put on, but they didn't have one.

This is the pretty red car her drove up in - going to the two Sister Missionaries that serve here in Portsmouth.

Since it was a nice day, Elder Ashton decided he would take advantage of that and get the TIWI (Tattle Tale Box) installed in the new car.

Tuesday and Wednesday were relatively quiet days in the office and Elder Ashton couldn't get outside and work on cars or bikes much because the weather was just too cold.     Tuesday the high was fifty and it was partly cloudy and Wednesday the high was only 45 with wind.   Since we have lived in the dessert so long we have become real wimps when it comes to the cold!!!!  Anything below 65 seems too cold to us ;-)

Earlier in late January and early February we had some pretty nice days and they kind of faked out the plants and flowers.   As we were driving home on one of those cold days this past week, I noticed this little bunch of daffodils braving the when Elder Ashton jumped at the chance to go over to Hampton on Thursday with Elder Wright and put a desk together, I had a vehicle to drive home and I could stop and take whatever pictures I want.   The first picture I took on the way home from the office at a little after 5 was the cold little daffodils.

I didn't get this picture centered very well, but the wind was blowing so hard I was having a hard time standing still, bent over to take the picture!   The heavy wind reminds me of sitting out in a cold wind in St. Johns several times for baseball games or track meets :)

I took the back way home and discovered a richer area along the river right close to our apartment.   Fancy houses and fancy cars with a river view.....who could ask for anything more ;-)

I really liked this next house set beside the is clapboard with what looks like a rock addition.   With the garage for at least 4 automobiles and the size of the house, I'm thinking this family is pretty well off.   I also like the detail along the roof line of the house next door.

Friday we had a couple of Elders that were supposed to move into a different apartment in the same complex and about 11:00 I got a call from the apartment complex and they said the Elders could not move because the new lease had not been signed.   The Elder in charge of housing was out of the office for the day and I don't have authority to sign leases.   The President could sign but he was not available either.   I tried to work out something so we could speak with a supervisor to see if they would take my signature as a temporary thing and was waiting to hear back from them.   About 2:15 the Sisters called to ask me if I could go out with them at 3:00.   Elder Ashton agreed to man the office because I knew most everyone would be gone by 3:30 so the Sisters came to pick me up and off we went.   We visited Brother Thomas who says he wants to come back to church but is finding it difficult to take the step.  He's a really nice guy who is living in his mother's house and the house is going on the market so he was feeling stressed about the situation.   It always makes me feel sad when I can't help people resolve their problems so it was really nice when I returned and found this cute little valentine gift on my desk.It is a package of Rolos with the Valentine message and was made for the office staff by the mother of one of the missionaries that serves here.   Pretty Cute.

Cute Valentine idea.......if someone didn't go overboard and think it was a real explosive.

This is the snow that was on the ground when I returned from the teaching appointment with the sisters.

Another view of the skiff of snow.

I just had to include this picture.....for those who know Elder Ashton you can imagine how he is cringing at the state of the pretty red truck.   Around here if a storm is predicted, they start spraying slurry on the roads and particularly on the bridges - it is a mixture of salt and water - and we think one other ingredient but we're not sure.  This picture was taken about noon on Saturday when we returned from the grocery store and as you can see the snow is still on the ground.....but it was only a few hours later that Elder Ashton got the salt washed off his truck :)

Saturday afternoon and evening I again heard from the Elders who were waiting to move.   We still had not been able to get in touch with Elder Wright so I suggested that the Elders ask the apartment management office for an extra day in the old apartment - which they did and it was granted.   When I saw Elder Wright at church this morning he said he was working on resolution to this and hoped they would be able to move tomorrow morning.   Fingers crossed that works out for those Elders....cause Friday was a hard day for me - I couldn't help Brother Thomas and I couldn't help the Elders who were trying to get moved.   

It's a good thing my dinner I cooked for the Sister Missionaries on Saturday evening was successful.....and we had enough leftovers that I didn't have to cook today!  Double Yea for that!

I'm hoping it starts to warm up here soon.....I don't think my body could stand the shock of going from 26 degrees for a high to 84 degrees for a high......that is what it is predicted to be in Chesapeake and Gilbert, respectively, today!

Today Elder Ashton was invited to participate in conferring the Priesthood on a man who was baptized in about September.   It has been interesting and fulfilling to watch the major change that has occurred in his and his wife's lives as they have joined and remained involved in the church.   I rarely see either one of them without a smile on their faces - which prompts a warm spot in my heart and a smile on my face!

We are anxious to see the President and Sister Baker on Monday and hopefully hear some more about possible replacement couple for us.   The weeks go flying by and I am hoping they get someone here soon enough for us to train them.

Happy Valentine's Day from Virginia......may you feel my love for all of you across the miles!


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