Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Public Transportation, Stitches, and Tax Credits - oh my!

It's been a busy week since my last blog post.  Seeing as it's now 2011, I'm trying really really really hard to see the good that's happening rather than letting the bad stuff get me down.  Of course - plenty of good has been happening - so that really shouldn't be too hard, right? I'm not just a glass half full kind of girl - I'm a glass half full garnished with a maraschino cherry kind of girl.
Today hasn't been the best day ever - but I'm going to say, without question, that it's been more good than bad. My morning was certainly less than stellar - after trying to get my car to start for 40 minutes, and then having  no luck finding someone to drive me to work (by the time I'd realized it was a losing battle with the car, everyone who commutes to campus had already commuted!), I remembered what a determined gal I am - looked up the public transportation website and found the bus schedule.  Luckily, the bus stops not too far from my house, so after about a five minute walk and then ten/fifteen minutes of waiting (in the below zero temperature of course) I got to ride on the bus!  A positive thing - because I work on campus, I don't have to pay bus fare! How cool is that? This is only the third time I've ever ridden the bus - there was the time when I was fourteen and I rode the bus to the mall, then about four years ago, I locked my keys in the car at the grocery store and had to take the bus home to get my spare (which, it turns out was actually in my purse the whole time - and I was unimpressed). 
Have you ever ridden the Bat Bus (that's what we call it 'round these parts)? It's not as bad as my middle-class-mentality was imagining it.  It was very crowded - I squished my butt & parka between two friendly young women who looked away as soon as I tried to make eye contact. Seeing that I am me, and not prone to sitting silently in a metal twinkie full of other people, I struck up a conversation with one of the eye-averters next to me.  I have to say, I'm relieved that my car started yesterday - it sounds like waiting for the bus when the wind chill is almost forty degrees below zero leaves a lot to be desired.  The bus dropped me off not too far from my building, and I made it inside.  Luckily - I made one brilliant choice earlier in the morning - I put on one of those therma-care wrap things (the ones you use for back pain) - I'm convinced that therma-care deserves mucho credit for me not being frozen solid huddled in a snowbank at the moment. 
That was my morning - it certainly wasn't great - but it could have been a heck of a lot worse!  Don't worry - I'm not going to say - it could have been worse is why it was a good day - there have been some great things today!!! 
Great thing number one: I got to participate in a taste test for the food science folks - not only did I get to enjoy some lovely fresh tomatoes, but I got a crisp (actually kind of weak and wrinkled, but whatever) five dollar bill for my time! Should I holler "show me the Lincolns"???
Great thing number two: this is actually a HUGE thing for me - as a lower-middle-class slash upper-lower-class single parent - there's one day a year that almost overshadows Christmas in terms of awesomeness - that would be the day I file my taxes. And I got my W2 today!  I had already calculated out what everything would be from my last paystub of 2010 (the only part that really involves math is working out your social security/medicare wages, but I'm a brainy gal and I know how to google) - but I didn't want to file until I was positive about the numbers.  It turns out I was right about the numbers! Yay me! All I had to do was check everything over and enter my bank information - now I just get to wait for my tax return.  I used the Turbo Tax Freedom File - to get to the free filing - go to the IRS Free File site, and pick a link you like.  Note to filers: if you used Turbo Tax last year - make sure you sign up for a new account - you can't use the same account information (read: username) two years in a row for the free version.  Since I'm too cheap to pay for something that I could get free - I just logged into my account from last year - got the information I needed (last year's adjusted gross income) and then created a new account.  Why do I like Turbo Tax so much? Because before I started using it, I didn't realize how very many tax credits I was missing - namely the Student Loan Interest one (got back $90 from that one), and the Retirement Account contribution credit (got back $189 from that one).  Definitely worth it for me!
See - today was a good day!!!
Let's look back over the past week and figure out what was so great there!
Monday, January 24th - even though the wind chill was -40 degrees, my car started! Woo Hoo!  Other positives - I received a prize in the mail that I'd won (cream perfume - melon d'eau - lovely scent) as well as two coupons for free hall's cough drops.  Played a great game of Monopoly with my girl, and relaxed in bed. Very nice!  To top it off, the neighbors brought over delicious homemade lemon bars for Azi and me!
Sunday, January 23rd - lots of lounging in bed (as I do so love to do on weekends), lots of playing Mario Kart, and some legends of Zelda Twilight Princess, on the Wii.  The biggest cool thing from Sunday was that I received notification from Rachel at http://texaskitchen.blogspot.com/ that I'd won a giveaway - a Newman's Own Organic bunch of goodies - I am REALLY looking forward to those - in particular the minty cookies!
New Glasses & crazy eyes
Saturday, January 22nd - Saturday didn't start out as anything really special - we were pretty subdued due to Azi's injury on Friday, so we laid low, and I ended up skipping out on a party I'd planned to go to.  I had an eye appointment, and then Azi and I each picked out our new glasses - and I had them replace the lenses in my current frames as well - since they're the cutest dang frames I've ever had. Around 8:00 Azi and I started really getting on each other's nerves, so we went over to hang out with my fab nieces - Mandy, Ally, and Siearah - and we even got to see Rob a bit too! We played really fun games on their X-Box Kinect, and then had a fierce game of Monopoly.  I'm extremely proud that Mandy has surpassed me in Monopoly awesomeness.
Hand + Steak Knife = Emergency Room Trip
Friday, January 21st - this one was not the best day.  The awesome thing of the day? It was a snow day!! Hooray! Unfortunately, around noontime, Azi was getting herself a brownie - they were really hard, and she was cutting them with a sharp knife - the knife slipped and she sliced right into her hand.  Good thing: for the first time in about a month, my car started on the first try - bad thing: she had to get three stitches.  Bad thing: there was already about 7 inches of snow on the car - Good thing: my neighbor heard the screaming from upstairs and came out and helped me clean off the car.  Bad thing - Azi was in a lot of pain - Good thing - the same upstairs neighbor met us outside when we got home and gave Azi to packs of peanut butter cups he'd bought for her.  Quite the day.  On a positive note, I've given myself kudos - it had been so long since the last time that Azi  ad a trip to the ER that she's grown over a foot since then!!!
Thursday, January 20th - they made the announcement about Friday's snow day at 8:00 pm on Thursday night - how great is that????
Wednesday, January 19th - I had to go to the dentist for a toothache (I was right about no cavities - but unfortunately one of my nerves died, the reason for the ache was that my body was treating the dead nerve like a splinter or something) - the good: they put me on antibiotics, and gave me a referral for my root canal - yay!
WHEW - it's been a busy seven days - I wonder what the next seven will bring!!!

No comments: