Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ok - one more rant about CA forms on-line - they don't know how to make their pdfs so that each number fills in a box - instead the numbers write over the lines - you know they wouldn't accept it if it was HANDWRITTEN in the exact same way. The IRS forms on the other hand work beautifully and sometimes even add things up for you (although not as often as you would hope).
We have new mice. Bought 3 females from Petco. Apparently most people buy them to feed to their snakes. 1 died within an hour. I returned it and the lady gave me a *new* one and said to hang on to my receipt - they have a 15 day return policy. Today I returned another dead mouse (almost a week later). It was Greenie. We marked them with permanent marker (which wears off remarkably quickly) as they are all white with red eyes. Red and Blue are still alive. They were out of females so gave us our money back. Need a new mouse source. She reported that they have been getting bad batches with up to 30% loss rate. I dunno - I'm up to 50% losses so far... We do like having multiple mice. It was funny when all 3 would go on the exercise wheel - usually so one could cling on and ride for a whole 360 - then swap out with another one. I haven't fed them any chocolate. Did I mention that the last mouse's last meal was chocolate? He did so love his chocolate (it was far from the first time he'd had some) so he probably died happy. Internet told me (after the fact) that chocolate is poisonous to mice... Apparently no one told the mice. I remember hearing chocolate was poison to dogs too. Our corgi once ate the better part of a large bag (probably a pounder) of Hershey Kisses and lived to tell the tale. I think that was same day she licked the sugar coating off a whole jar of sudafeds.
a rant about EDD - Employment Development Department. I will start with the name. Huh? These are the people I send in my CA payroll taxes to. How is that developing employment exactly? This eve I was going to fill out my DE-6 aka Quarterly Wage and Withholding Report. I have used their pdf before and mailed it in but this eve when I google it I notice that you can now fill them out - and submit them - on-line. This might (or not) be a good option for me. The FAQ says that once I've done it once it will fill in the same people's names and soc sec #s for me in future. Not a huge deal since there are only 2 of us - but could be worth it. Then I read further. Apparently this service only works between 5 a.m. and midnight. Huh? I have never heard of a form that can't be filled out 24 hours a day. Weird. And I'll have to look some stuff up to create a log-in - and it is after midnight - guess I won't bother with that tonight. And I have to do payroll stuff on-line. They have another weird deadline - something like 3 p.m. the day BEFORE the stuff is due. I am actually allowed to postmark an envelope with my check payment the day it is due but if I submit at 3.01 p.m. the day BEFORE it is due on-line I will be penalized (literally - they have sent me a penalty bill when I did this my first month - fortunately after some correspondance they forgave me). Their log-in is abysmal. It is the only website that I can't actually remember my log-in (since I didn't get to choose it). They also have this crazy little thing called a "verification code" that I have to use when I submit. Take the number (total taxes I am paying that day) 12345.01. First you add all the individual digits together = 16. Next you count the digits = 7. Then you add the two together = 23 = my verification code. I can't sumbit my payment until I get this little number correct. Surprisingly it often trips me up. I am also supposed to submit a separate DE-6 for Pete so he doesn't pay Disability Insurance (as owner of company - altho I have to pay it for me - go figure). And hand write on top of the form (since I do it on computer and there is no space for this) "sole owner" or something like that. Then do another form for me. Guess I am supposed to send them both in. Moronic. The little paper payroll forms allow me to fill out the amount I owe for Disability and Employment Training Tax and such things. The on-line version (with the cute little "verification code") does not - it just lets me fill out Personal Income Tax (aka PIT - yes it is the pits). So I just don't bother to pay the disability et al very often. I don't know. Their forms all totally suck and usually seem to have pointless bits in them. You also have to love that if you wait too long between doing your on-line payroll and printing or saving it - it is gone for good. That is rather that EDD has my payment and I can see the date and total $ but I can't get a copy of the specifics (like that little verification code). This is surprisingly frustrating as they don't give you all that long (only minutes) and I work at my laptop and my printer (which I physically plug into) is in another room. The IRS's thing stays available for printing.

Now for the folks over at IRS. They have a much better on-line system going on. This year I was even able to do W2 and W3s on-line. That said, the IRS seems to muck things up relatively often. I say that as I have had a few error experiences so far and I only do payroll once a month. I was treasurer for our school the year the IRS entered our 2006 taxes as 2000 and sent me a bill for $10,000 (penalties for being late you know). Fortunately the people who staff the phones have been universally great. They seem fairly intelligent, speak english well, and actually often have the power to make changes in the computer system which will result in a letter arriving a week or so later stating that all is well and has been corrected. I like those people. The EDD phone people I have less experience with but the ones I have talked to have been like my computer experiences. Less than stellar. The lady I talked to re the 2006 taxes could tell right away that there had been two 2000 year filings with different amounts and no year 2006. Hmm, maybe the data entry person should have caught that?

And now perhaps a tiny rant about corporate taxes. Well not taxes exactly - just reporting. We are a full fledged regular Corp (C Corp not S). I use TurboTax to do the filing (since ours is very straight forward). I have to say with both our corp and the school's non-profit filing that I was rather shocked to discover how much more simple they were than personal income tax returns. Not only that but how much less actual hard data seemed to be needed. It appears to be a bit of an honor system. Now I am sure penalties would be quite nasty if you get audited and can't support what you claim, but the audit rate is very low. How much do you trust those corporations? Fortunately most of them use tax folks who hopefully keep them honest (altho my mind goes to Enron and Arthur Andersen). But my busy mind could think of all sorts of ways to cheat the system if I was a dishonest person. Good thing I'm not.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quincy was supposed to keep a journal while on his trip. He was pretty sporadic about it (basically mostly blew it off) but he did do some work. Here is a transcription from his journal (complete with misspellings).

{Written in the Houston airport during layover}
I had a new flavor icee. It was coca cola.

{second day on the farm}
I rode a horse.
I saw 9 squealing pigs geting fed.
I got to pet an ox.
We saw a dog we named him Box.
We were out on the lake.
I lassoed a few times.

At 6 o'clock am we watched the oxen pull the cart up the hill. The cart was filled with stones. At the bottom of the hill some men pounded the stones with sledge hammers. We went to see the pigs get fed wen ther food came they squeal over it then at Lunch time my mom said "lats wate like 1 pig waits for another.

horse cliping
horse nail
{collected from the ground after the horses nails were trimmed - a chunk of nail is taped into the journal}

At arenal hotel we uesd a masady. {machete}.
We went zip lineing. We saw lots of Agua (water). It was all fun.

{at Doubletree resort in Punterenas}
We saw Edie, Bob but not there dogs. Punterenas had 2 swim up bars. and my favrit dring is (Miramar.) {pina colado topped with strawberry daiqueri} We had some holota. (ice crem) I lernd how to speke some spinis like Mas agua por favor. It mens more water pleas.

We went to Manuel Antonio.
We went on a bote toore to Damas Island.
We went on a crokdile boot toore.
We went in the pool.
We liked the pool
We sew a man feed a crocadile!!!
a moncy stod on my hed!!

The plane is boring.
On the plane there is nothing to do.
On the plane ther is a move.
On the plane my dad slapde.
On the plane my mom did sdoko.

We missed our plane. And had a fined of 150$ witch was a rip off. Then we got a hotal. We went to the bech and saw lots of crabs.

Aidan was willing to do a journal too at first.

Wensday - at 12:35 am as our first plane took off we saw so many colorful lights on the run way. As we neared Houston airpoort we could see so many trees in big patches.

Thursday I went horse back riding for the first time to actally control to horse with the raines and the stirrup. We think we will go riding again Friday.

Friday we saw the dog that followed us on our horse. We saw him sleeping on our portch.

a clipping from a horses nail {huge piece taped in the journal}

At 6:30 am we walked up and saw pigs cages being cleaned an pigs being fed. When he was feeding the baby pigs, they all piled on top of eath outher. At lunch that day my dad was late because he was cleaning our caben so we could leave. When he finally got to lunch, we had all ready started eating. "We wait like one pig waits for anoughter! my mom pointed out. Saterday we also took a row boat out on a lake 1 km from our caben. (La Carolina Lodge) Finally we got to the driveway of our next place - Nuevo Arenal. We started up the long driveway to the house. After 3 min we got to a gate. My mom told me the code to a padalock on the gate. I opened the padalock and found two keys inside. I used one of the keys to open anouther lock witch opened the gate. After sealing the gate we used the other key to open the downstairs door. Serprizingly the downstairs was not coneted to the upstairs. On the table there were the keys to the upstairs. When I got inside, we saw a loft. I climbed up the ladder, on the loft there was one double-bed. Wuincy and me slept there. Quincy on the left, and me on the right. {cute picture illustrating the house}

I can't see you
you can't see me
it's a bad day ovedesly

Friday, April 17, 2009

A poem by Aidan he came up with in Costa Rica while he was off by himself.

If I can see you
but you can't see me
it's a bad day -

later he said he thought of a way to turn it around

If I can see you
and you can see me
it's a good day -