I’ve made it far from the days of a part-time waitress in high school and a peon intern in college. I’m proud of the degree of financial independence I now have.
You know who else is proud of my financial independence? Uncle Sam. He’s always been my least favorite uncle; not nearly as fun as my Uncle Jim, who took me on mystery trips to amusement parks as a child, or Uncle Jon, who would take me for rides in his cop car (something I later in life came to realize, is not so fun).
Uncle Sam never took me on adventurous mystery trips or regaled me with cop stories. However, he did once do something incredibly generous, and wholly unexpected. Last year, out of the blue, I received an envelope from the City of Austin. Right as I was about to discard the envelope as junk mail, I had a change of heart and ripped it open, inadvertently ripping the contents inside, in half.
The two halves looked suspiciously like a check; I taped the two together and lo and behold, it was a check for ~$1000! I had absolutely no idea what the check was for (back taxes? something nice I did for Austin as a college student? past scholarship money? a graduation present from the city?), but I have never driven faster to the bank. If there is anything I know about Uncle Sam, it’s that you have to take advantage of his rare generous moods.
To this day, I have no idea what that check was related to…but there are some things in life I simply don’t need to know the answer to (much like “but how does the internet work?”).
This year, Uncle Sam came back with a vengeance! He teamed up with Verizon Wireless to hit me with what I only wish was an April Fools joke. Let me break it down:
Apparently, the U.S. government wasn’t satisfied with the shark-sized bite they take out of my paycheck every month. They want to swallow my income whole, whale shark style. It’s cool, U.S. government, I recognize this is your perverse way of congratulating me for making it to adulthood. Compliment accepted; do feel free to simply offer a handshake next year.
As a traveling consultant, I work from home most Fridays, which is a wonderful time to catch up on errands and see friends . As a consultant in between projects, I have been working from home for an entire month. It’s been a glorious month of not wearing makeup (or, pants), lunch workouts, and complete elimination of 6AM alarm clocks.
However, today I saw the cumulonimbus thunderstorm cloud peak out from behind the sun’s beautiful rays. Today, I received my phone bill. My $394 phone bill, reflecting the hours and hours of conference calls I’ve partaken in, from my home office (e.g., my bed). Ouch. I managed to negotiate the $228 of overage charges down to $60, which I concede, is my own fault. I obviously should have rejected all conference calls occurring before 9pm, or outside of my free weekends.
After receiving these two, slightly mood-dampening bits of financial news, I made myself feel all better by getting free panties at Victoria’s Secret (thanks, VS!). While I was there, I got a new bra. When I was leaving VS, I noticed Express was having their semi-annual sale, so I popped in there for a hot minute to buy a dress and 1 or…5 shirts. Hey, when you give a mouse a cookie…