April 15, 2009

God, I suck

The current issue of Esquire is all about what it means to be a man, especially in this post-industrialized age. I'm only a few pages into it, but several things said have struck a chord with me. Sometimes I don't feel like a man. I don't feel like a man when I'm sick. These last couple weeks I haven't felt like a man, because I haven't felt like I have good time or money management skills.

Which is to say, I haven't run since Cooper River Bridge run because I've been up to my eyeballs in work and doing my taxes. Yeah, as unemployed as I am, when I do have a gig, it's an all-out thing, spending 12 to 14 hours a day in the theatre preparing the lighting for a show. In the middle of all that, I am kicking myself for not having completed my taxes in February and March, when I was sick and had more time.

I am mostly kicking myself for not keeping my receipts wrangled last year. I HAVE them all. But sometime around early April last year I stopped sorting the minor receipts (work-related expenses, groceries, etc), though I did keep up with sorting and filing the major receipts. But I hadn't entered any of it into my spreadsheet after March. Dammit.

As it turns out, it was easier than I thought, it just took many hours. First I downloaded my bank and credit card statements into my accounting software and started reconciling line items receipt by receipt. I matched up every credit and debit card charge with paper and online receipts (which I'd printed to PDF or kept receipt emails in a separate email folder). This wasn't too bad. I'll be better at it this year, I think. The important thing is to reconcile at least once a month because, frankly, I had several receipts for charges which didn't show up on my statements. Here's a receipt saying I spent such and such at this place using my debit card, but nowhere does it appear in my bank statements. Weird.

This year, I must keep better track of my non-deductible expenses. I don't have to keep those receipts permanently, but I do need to keep them long enough to enter them into my software.

So. Moving from reconciling receipts and accounting for all major expenses, I could start plugging numbers into TurboTax. All my expenses are categorized in my accounting software, so I just have to find where each number fits correctly. This was not easy this year, as TurboTax changed the flow of the interview questions, leading me to have to backtrack several times; and also leading me to believe I may have screwed up in previous years with how mortgage interest is handled. Maybe not --- the bare numbers on the final paperwork didn't change much. My income last year was down from the year before, but not by much. My expenses were up, but not by much. Frankly, when you pay as much mortgage interest as I do, that one number kinda overwhelms all the others. Long story short - I'm getting a small refund (very small), which is a relief, since I have no money to pay if I'd actually owed.

So...having finally gotten my e-filing done at 3:49 a.m. this morning, I was able to get out of bed and go for a run! It was a short run, I'm afraid, as I'm dealing with gout again. (This bout has been going since Saturday, though it has settled down to being merely uncomfortable when walking and only mildly painful when running.) I ran harder than I usually would, since I knew the run would be short -- and also because a couple blocks out, it started to rain. For some reason, I welcomed this. Maybe it helps I knew I was going out for only a mile, if that, but I was able to keep a good pace the whole time. Once I got back home, I tacked on extended stretching of muscles that are sore and creaky from sitting at a tech table for a week and two sets of 15-pushups with my feet raised up on the steps. This is hard! I will have to do more of it.

So. I have two goals over the next six weeks: work back to consistency: a 20-30 minute workout each day. Short, brief, nothing major; just get the blood moving. Some of those should be on the stationary bike or eliptical at the gym. When I do go to the gym, extended time with the foam rollers and such. Second goal: get one mid-week run and the weekend long run mileage back up there so that I'm racking up at least 20 miles per week, with 9 or 10 of them being the long run. This is important, as the Brooklyn Half is at the end of May.

And that's the big update. Sorry to have been so quite - just been busy. Staying busy, too. Gotta fix my bike and then I go out to New Jersey to light The Diviners. In the middle of that, I have to come back to New York for my first appointment with the diabetes doctor.

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