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The tax program that I had used for free last year, even though I had 1099-MISC income then, too, has now decided to charge me $30 to use their program because I have 1099-MISC income and therefore my taxes are not “simple.”  However, they let me go far enough into the situation that they did all the figuring I needed to prepare a good, old-fashioned paper tax form, which means I cannot file electronically, and so have to pay the bank $2 for a money order to send in for the self employment tax I owe. This was because the only people hiring transcriptionists these days will only hire you as a consultant, meaning you are “self employed” and all they have to do is send you a 1099-MISC, thus dumping into your lap all the hassle with the FICA and withholding and quarterly payments, etc.  Which means I had to pay self-employment tax on the money I made transcribing for that jive outfit in New Mexico, and that if I make more than $400 working for that jive outfit in San Francisco, I will be in the same boat with them.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that starting last year, $1248/year is being subtracted from the already minuscule income I get from Social Security to pay for Medicare (which I don’t understand because they have been deducting from my income to pay Medicare all along, and now that I’m retired, they take MORE?).  So I ended up having to pay $166 in self employment taxes, instead of not having to pay anything and picking up an extra deduction for being 66, and having no cap on my earnings anymore.  (If you start drawing Social Security at age 62, you have a cap on your earnings, meaning that if you earn over $15,000 a year, they decrease your Social Security payments accordingly until you turn 66, at which point the cap is removed and you can earn as much as you want, now that you’re retired . . . . .)  I couldn’t live on the income I was getting from Social Security BEFORE they started taking out Medicare premiums.  I’m about to the point now that I’m going to go see if the Whataburger up the streetis hiring. . .

The garage sale last Saturday was a big success from my standpoint — I made $200, which leaves me with $34 after taxes (see above) to blow on groceries. I brought knitting (what a surprise!) and sat and knitted all day on the scarf below.   My dishes didn’t sell, though.  We’re going to have a second go Saturday week.

This week, I locked horns with Suddenlink, my ISP.  I got another notice that I had exceeded my allotted gigabites of data again.  Don’t know why.  I went round and round about it with them, and they suggested maybe somebody had hacked into my modem, was stealing my internet and was using up my gigs, so yesterday, I hung fire all afternoon waiting for the (short skinny Hispanic) Suddenlink guy to come by to switch out my modem, which he did (giving me a new password).  He also made changes on my computer — he had to ask me how to get to the control panel — which he said were necessary to make it work with the equipment.  Hardly had the dust of his passage settled before my computer started dropping the internet connection and giving me “cannot find DNS server” errors.  It took four phone calls and another wasted half a day hanging fire waiting for the (quite rotund and rather tattooed Anglo) Suddenlink guy to come change out the modem again, problem solved.  By yesterday evening, I was starting to feel like Cleese in the Dead Parrot sketch.  So now I have to go change the password on my two internet radios and my Kindle, for the second time in two days. . .   Stayin’ sane’s a full-time job. Welcome, hoss, to Babylon. . . . .

2016_04_14-03 2016_04_14-04 2016_04_14-05 2016_04_14-06In the knitting news, yrs trly, the Queen of the Asymmetrical Scarves, came up with another asymmetrical scarf pattern, which I’m calling Rolanni‘s Necklet, which I’ll be posting shortly on my knitting blog.  I’m on the last (bind off) row of it.  There are things I like about it, and things I don’t like about it, and there will be another iteration/pattern coming out of it at some point changing the things I don’t like about it.  As with any scarf in this style, the tricky bit is getting the pattern established.  After that, it’s the same two rows over and over until the finishing bit.  The edging bit is formed by a little “motif” that begins the odd numbered line:  K3, (yo, K1)x3.  In the next iteration, the K3 band will be wider.  The body is largely stockinette, with a little edging formed by yo, ssk, k2tog which gives it a nice “eyelet” effect which I like.  I think in the next iteration it will have two repetitions of that little bit with about 6 stitches of garter stitch between them, because stockinette is notorious for wanting to curl, which this does.  The yarn is the last ball of the Red Heart Gumdrop color Grape, “Medium 4”, 4 oz/113 g, 240 yds/187 m.  I’ve got a ball of Deborah Norville Collection “Everyday” color Lagoon, “Medium 4” 3.5 oz/100 g, 180 yds/165 m yarn for the next iteration.  It’s the first Deborah Norville yarn I’ve used.  It’s a variegated yarn and I must say the color pattern of aquas and blues with white is lovely, and the hand is very nice.  Stay tuned.

2016_04_14-01The fat(cat)boy has been sunning his head in the window of late.  Now and again I will hear him chattering at the birds.  The weather has been warm enough that the kids have been playing out on the lawn, which gives him something interesting to watch when he isn’t blissed out in the sun.  I’m beginning to suspect that cats may be  hybrid vehicles that run partly on solar power. . .   Despite how uncomfortable the position looks, he lies like that for hours.  There’s about a 4 inch step-off between the sill and the top of the chest, and the sill is only about 4 inches wide, just wide enough for him to get his shoulders onto.  Inscrutable creatures, those cats.  Not scrutable at all.

It will be a year Sunday since I lost the white boy. He was my wingman for almost 16 years, and I miss him.