A year ago I absolutely swore we wouldn’t be in this position, again. Yet, here we are, shuffling through stacks of invoices, searching for receipts and trying to update software on laptops that should have been replaced three years ago.
Tax time is comparable to working cattle in that it typically doesn’t bring out the best in husband and wife. Like working cattle, tax preparation rarely goes as planned. It’s about teamwork, and coordination and patience. It’s basically thirty-five years of marriage wrapped up into several short days, tied with an ugly bow of procrastination.
In an effort to appear to be a well put-together couple, my job is to coordinate records and compile them into presentable form to encourage minimal questions on the day we meet with our accountant. It ain’t easy.
Two weeks ago we began sorting through invoices, many that Cody was certain would never see the light of day.
How many gates can one guy buy in a year? A lot.
How many fence posts can cover the exterior boundaries of our place? Even more.
What day did 608 leave our place? What state did she go to? And how much did she sell for? Cody can tell you within seconds.
I don’t really remember 608. Probably because she looked a lot like 606, 607 and 609: Big, black, four legs and a tail with a switch.
One evening Cody came in the house as a man on a mission. He asked, “I put a stack of diesel receipts on the microwave in October. Where did you put those?”
I laughed.
Oh, I don’t know.
In a folder labeled “Diesel Receipts?” No.
In your office under a paperweight? Nope.
In the junk drawer? More likely.
In Caroline’s “Keepsake” (finger paints) folder? Getting warmer.
Inside page 68 of the Thanksgiving issue of Country Living that was tossed under the spare bed because someone unexpectedly showed up at the door the week before Christmas? This was the most likely place of all.
But they weren’t there, either; and this is why tax time on the farm shows a resemblance to my own personal hell.
Early last week, I found myself updating software on a laptop that 1) I’ve never used before 2) is about 10 years old 3) is not a Mac. This is just asking for trouble.
“I’m trying to update our Quicken records. What is your password?” I asked Cody.
“Bull……I think,” he said.
I typed it in:
“Try Angusbull.”
I typed it in:
“Nope. It probably has a digit in it.”
I typed it in:
“You can’t be serious,” I finally responded, already knowing fully that he was. When the time came to call the help hotline, I left it to Cody. Only he would be able to answer his security questions. I have no idea what his first pet’s name was, but if I had to guess, I’d say Bull.
We met with our accountant – a friendly, patient, man with a head full of grey hair – last week. There were plenty of questions from him, explanations from Cody and note taking by me. Mostly in the side margin of my legal pad: PULL YOUR LIFE TOGETHER!!!
No doubt, a new system brought on by the development of Sankey Creative will force 2018 to be better, but that does nothing for what our marriage experienced in the last month.
What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. And hopefully more organized.

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