Friday, April 27, 2007

taxes increased again

Recently we received a letter from the city assessors office telling us that the assessed value of our property has risen. This is the second time in the last 4 years that values have been changed. Our value was increased by 8% from the last assessment.

Last night I cruised the cities assessor's web page looking at the value of the homes around us to see if were being screwed on our taxes. One new thing I noticed is that they have the owners names on the web site now. I have to admit that I checked out everyone on the streets around me and the assessed value of their property. It was kind of nice matching up the names with the faces of the people I see in the neighborhood all the time. I am really bad at remembering names, so this web site may come in handy someday. I'm not sure yet if it is a good thing to have this information out for everyone to see or not, especially with the way things are today with people stalking other people and things of that nature. It may have been available if you went to the assessors office, so maybe it's no big deal. I just think it may not be wise to give the crazy people any help finding you.
My personal save the planet program is working really well for me. This week it's the bus in the morning and a walk home at night. The rain all week hasn't been a problem as long as I remember to bring an umbrella.
Good news on my health. My cholesterol has come down to 201. That's still on a high side as it should be 200 or lower. Compared to a year ago when I was over 300, I think I'm doing well considering I'm off the cholesterol lowering medication. The doctor said if I lose some more weight it would make him happy. It would make me happy too!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Personal Save The Earth Program

Today was the first day of my personal save the planet program. My goal is to walk, bike ride or take the bus to work. This morning I walked the 45 minute route to work.

Last year we updated all our major appliances. We replaced the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and clothes washer and dryer. I really haven't noticed that much savings in the bills. An old house like ours needs everything. We need to replace the windows, insulate more and eventually update the furnace and central air units. I would like to check into getting a tank less water heater also. The list never ends. Saving the planet is expensive!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Work Wellness Test

Today at work we had a wellness test. It's part of an overall health plan that the company is promoting. After I punched in the numbers this is what it came up with. I sum it up as they think I'm fat and have to start moving more and eating better. How come I didn't think of that?

(from Assessment taken on 4/17/2007)
Thomas, below are some ways you can reduce your risks and improve your Wellness Score. Click on the links below for more details.
Lower your body mass index through weight management. Be conscious of what you eat, and find ways to be more physically active each day.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. By eating just 5 servings a day, you can cut your cancer risks in half.
Be more physically active. Even moderate activity, like walking and gardening, can make a big difference when done on a regular basis.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A singing fool

I've had the volume turned way up on my ipod all morning listening to music. It makes the day seem to go by much faster. After lunch one of the girls I work with told me that they have enjoyed my singing all morning. How embarrassing!

Water for Elephants at Little Bo's

Tonight is my book club meeting. It will be held at Little Bohemia on 3rd street. We read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I really enjoyed this book. I won't get into it as you can read the guide in the link.

After the meeting I have to get home and pack for the trip. Tomorrow I'm working until noon and then Jeff and I will be off to St. Louis! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring Snow Storm

Today is a good day to be at work with the snow flying around outside. Doesn't seem like spring anymore.

This Friday I leave with my friend Jeff for St. Louis. He is running in a 1/2 marathon on Sunday. He had everything booked and asked me if I wanted to tag along. We decided to catch the baseball game on Friday night, but with this snow I'm not so sure that was a good idea. Saturday morning we had planned to attend the farmers market and then see the zoo. Jeff use to live in St. Louis so he knows his way around pretty well. I have never spent any time there and thought it would be fun to go along and see a little bit of the city. This is the second trip this year for us two of us. Jeff's other half was sick in February so I went with Jeff to see The Phantom of the Opera in Des Moines with him. It's fun to get away with a friend every once in a while.

My boss asked us today to have our request for vacation dates turned in by Monday of next week. Daryl and I are planning a trip to Chicago in June. I wanted to see The True Colors Tour, but it just isn't going to happen. I think we are going to be in Chicago the following week. We may head up to Door County a few days before going to Chicago. I'm checking into a bike ride that happens on the 15th of June. Everything is still up in the air right now. I am looking forward to summer and having some time off from work. I always use up all my vacation. I think a person is crazy if they don't!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter 2007

Daryl and I are doing the same thing as we have the past 5 years we have been together. He will be going to his family's place for Easter dinner and I will be going to mine. Usually he has to work most of the day, so I always went to my parents house to spend the day with them and the rest of my family.

Easter really isn't the same for me since I stopped going to church. I always felt secure in going every week when I was a kid. It was an extended family network. Church was a center point of our lives. Every major event was marked by going to the church from birth until death. It was a gradual process of feeling that I wasn't excepted that drove me away and the hypocrisy sometimes with the church. I have tried a few times to find some other church that I felt comfortable with, but it just isn't the same.
Last night we watched The Ten Commandments on TV. It was the first time Daryl had ever seen the movie. I had forgotten how hot Yul Brynner was! I think this is the closest religions experience we are going to have this year on Easter.

Have A Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Tax Time

Today I finished my tax returns and electronically filed them. I honestly thought I would have to pay several hundred dollars more in taxes this year, but it seemed to come out pretty even. The past Three years I had a tax consultant prepare my taxes and that worked pretty well for me. I guess I put off getting the paperwork to the tax lady because I thought, why hurry when you owe money? My tax return really isn't that complicated anymore. I did have some sale of stock, but to my surprise most of the information was automatically transferred over from the brokerage firm after entering the correct passwords. Turbo Tax is very user friendly. I have used it before and will probably use it again. Four years ago I made a mistake on my tax return using turbo tax and had to file an amended return. Of course I got a letter from the government that I owed like $1500 plus interest. Somehow they found my first tax return and didn't have the amended one. I had both copies and sent them back to them promptly. Everything was fine and no mistake was made on my part, except filing the wrong information the first time becasue of a W-2 error. It is kind of scary getting a letter saying you owe money. It's up to you to prove that you don't . That was one of the reasons I had my taxes prepared by a professional. I didn't want to screw things up with the Real Estate business. Now that I don't have as many complications with my return I feel comfortable doing the return myself.
Federal Tax Refund $371

State Tax owed - 301

Turbo Tax Deluxe - 47.20

Electronic Filing Fee - 33.90


Balance $ -11.10

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

work sucks

It seems my department at work has over billed the government somewhere between 3 figures and possibly 4 figures. The witch hunt has begun and things have been pretty stressful. This is an internal audit of the last 6 months. Anyone flagged will be scrutinized as to their work and how their days were spent. Of course it is all the fault of "US" lazy union workers! Yesterday we were all called into a meeting and told to sign a form that stated we had had a training in time charging. Hopefully this is the corrective action the big wigs are requiring to remedy this situation. It is funny to me that the company can figure out how to take out our lunch time automatically, but can't figure out how to stop billing the customer (government) for that 1/2 hour. I know they would catch it if they overpaid one of us for our lunch. This seems kind of intentional to me that they would overlook something that has gone on for over a year with no one checking the billing to the customer.

Monday, April 02, 2007

It's raining 300 men