Spring garbage toss

I’ve been feeling very bogged down and tired and heavy-hearted lately. I’m not sure why, it’s just a seasonal thing (I hope). But I’ve had a growing list of to-do items. I don’t normally even keep a to-do list so that shows you just how deeply in to-do debt I’ve been getting, if I feel the need to start keeping track I’ve got too many to-do items, baby.

And the list just gets longer and longer and I just keep ignoring it and ignoring it… and I get tired-er and tired-er and I avoid thinking about why I’m so tired…

It always comes as a surprise to me, then, that actually tackling some of the higher-priority items on my to-do list can make me feel better. Why would that suprise me? The psychic weight of all those things on the list tugging at my brain, waiting for me to give them the (usually) minor attention they require and then move them off the list… it only makes sense, right?

And why do I avoid the items? Perhaps an example will help. Number one on my list is filing my Federal tax return… for 2001.

Before you say I’m crazy (I am, but not because of this) for ignoring the Internal Revenue Service, hear me out. In tax year 2001, I owed both the Feds and the State of Oregon money. I filled out the forms early, even, and knew how much I owed. When Tax Day, April 15, rolled around, I dutifully mailed off a check to each taxing authority… and filed an extension.

I don’t know why I didn’t just go ahead and file. My mental state back then is murky to me now. I do know that I at least sent them the money I thought I owed – I knew that filing an extension didn’t mean you didn’t have to pay. Maybe I thought I could find more deductions or something, and reduce the amount I had to pay? Whatever, I didn’t. And since they didn’t complain right away, I assumed that the IRS’s were OK with that.

Except this year, when I was expecting a nice big $650 refund (which will help pay for my new sexy thing), the IRS puts a hold on it and ask me to file my return for 2001. Ugh.

I have all the paperwork for the past several years. It’s all just jammed into a big box and stored in the bottom of my computer room closet. Which explains (maybe) why I’ve been putting off digging out the paperwork (mostly my W2 forms), filling out the forms, and mailing them off, so I can get my refund finally.

Or, at least, part of the refund. If there’s a difference between what I actually owed and what I sent in, there will be a penalty to pay. And, somehow, I suspect that there will be a difference. Problem is, I don’t remember exactly what I sent them four years ago – that information is locked away in my Quicken data files, from back when I used Quicken on Windows. Of course, now I can dual-boot my new sexy thing, install a Windows-version of Quicken, dig out my backup CDs and find my old Quicken data file… meh. Too much work. I’ll just send the forms and let them figure it out.

So… tick, tick, tick… my $650 refund is draining away, and all I have to do is clean out my computer room closet, find my old forms, fill out the form and send it in, and optionally dig through my data backups and install a program I’ll only use once.

See why I’ve been putting it off?

And in the meantime, while I’ve been stalling on re-filing my 2001 taxes, I’ve gotten another notice from the IRS saying that they’ve lost never recieved my 2002 forms and I need to resend a copy of those. Which is starting to seem like harassment but OK. Not gonna fight the IRS. I’ll just have to find those, too. I know I have them.

At any rate, yesterday I spent most of the day organizing my computer room, including cleaning out the closet, digging through my box, properly filing away all my important paperwork, tossing out the stuff I don’t need, looking through old photographs… I did way more than just find my old W2 forms. It was a happy/sad day. I found notes from old classes I’ve taken, pictures of friends lost and found again, reminders of past mistakes, reminders of past battles…

But this morning I feel better. Not only because I’m one step closer to finishing up this tax thing, but because now my computer room is organized and neat. I tossed out bags of papers and garbage, I have a pile of stuff to sell either on craigslist or at a garage sale, and my to-do list has gotten smaller, not larger, reducing the mental weight holding me down.