Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Do we need another revolution right now?

Well, 3D television has been launched, I'm sorry to say. It's estimated in five years, all televisions will have 3D capability. Now, all my teen readers are oohing and aahing and dancing and saying "cool!" and such, but wait.

I'm one of those that get a headache from watching 3D movies. Two hours of a film every couple years is sometimes worth the headache. Several hours a day in my own home? That's another thing entirely. And in case you're wondering what the headache is from, I wrote a post on my other site about it. You're actually tricking your brain and your brain is fighting back. Even if you don't get a headache from 3D, can you imagine subjecting a growing brain to it?

I'm no Luddite, but I don't think this is a good use of technology.

One word: Homeschool.

This School in England Is the Worst School Ever

During a fire drill at a middle school in Worcester, England, students aged 10 to 13 looked on in horror as "as a man appeared brandishing a gun and appeared to shoot dead Mr. Kent, their science teacher, as he ran across a field." It was only ten minutes after the shooting that teachers revealed the whole thing to be fake. The exercise was apparently "intended to teach Year 8 pupils how to investigate, collect facts and analyse evidence." They couldn't have just pretended to lose the class rabbit, or something?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Back at the end of the rope

Well, things were putting along rather well, all things considered. True, we had to "eat" the debt snowball, but the new contract hubby signed was more generous than the last, leaving us with a smaller shortfall each month than before. I've been getting numerous assignments, and although several all-nighters have had to be performed to meet deadlines, the cash was handy. We still don't have enough to get new clothes for the kids (and by new I mean Goodwill, not new new.) But, the mortgage is paid and there's food on the table. Hubby's been working 16 hour days, 8 hours on the book that pays the bills, then another 6 hours at night on assignments that have paid the property tax and other once-yearly expenses. We're all pretty wiped out, and most of us are ill. But we're hanging in there. I'd set aside a little money in a savings account for taxes, but didn't anticipate we'd have a big tax bill. After all, in past years, we've always had a good-sized refund.

We did the taxes this weekend and I am swinging between anger and depression. We didn't really think about being "self-employed" when hubby got laid off. We just scrambled for cash. We are still just scrambling. We're sending out resumes constantly, but there are no jobs. It's not like we've started a business, we're just trying to keep the kids fed and stay out of foreclosure.

The IRS doesn't see it that way, unfortunately. They see us as self-employed, and want to charge us a hefty penalty because we can't find employment. Here I thought I was doing a good thing, staying off public assistance. But we'd probably be better off if we were.

The final numbers look like this:

We had $20,000 in taxable income
We owe $6,000 in tax

How is that even possible??? The measly little chunk I set aside is not even going to put a dent in that bill. And we're already late with the first quarter's payment for 2010. We could sell the car and walk every day to the grocery store, forget about church and send David packing the four miles to his work everyday. That would take care of about a fourth of what we owe. We could sell the house, but that wouldn't help because I found out last month we're upside-down in the mortgage (meaning we owe more than the house is worth.)

I'm just beside myself. I am so very angry that I didn't remember the "self-employment tax," that we were so woefully unprepared for this, that we've been scrambling so hard and so fast to wind up so far behind. I'm so terrified about what's going to happen next. I'd rather be dealing with the mafia than the IRS. I don't see any way out of this mess and the hopelessness is dragging me into a very unhappy place.