The set up...
From the night I met Charli I knew she was a "type A" personality.
I knew this because when it came time to walk her to her car later on, I had to drive her to it instead, because she had left it on the shoulder of the interstate after it had run out of gas. This is the kind of person she is - go go go 100 mph right now and worry about the little things later. This contradiction to my relaxed "plan everything to death" personality is what attracted me to her in the first place - and is one of the reasons we make such a complete and compatible couple.
So naturally I'm not surprised 20 years later when tax time comes and we're finally getting around to starting our tax return at 6:00 p.m. on the last night possible. This is just the way she rolls folks, and if you've ever met her you know what I'm talking about.
I knew the day she mentioned that she was going to open her own scrapbooking retreat business two years ago that we were in for a record-keeping challenge.
"But sweetheart," I said calmly. "You do realize that when you run a business you have to actually keep track of things - you know, in an organized fashion with file cabinets and such?"
"Don't worry honey," she assured me. "This will be different. I even bought this accounting ledger so all my transactions can be written down here."
"Um... you mean you don't want me to teach you how to enter all your revenue and expenses in Quickbooks so you can assign categories and tax codes? It'll make it simple to interface with Turbotax so you can easily import your blah blah blah blah blah..."
So two years later as she's sitting at the kitchen table on the eve of tax due-day sorting through her shoebox full of receipts - I'm looking at my watch and starting to sweat.
"Oh quit pacing honey," she says. "We've got like 7 full hours until midnight."
6:00 p.m. After Charli had sorted through her paperwork and backlogged her 2006 entries into her ledger, we were good to go. We saddled up to the computer, fired up TurboTax and began our journey into the land of 20 (million) questions.
9:00 p.m. Only a mere three hours later we were finished and ready to electronically file our returns. Only one step was remaining... push the "transmit returns" button.
And receive this:
WHAT THE?!!! They're kidding, right? I'm supposed to try again at 4:00 a.m.?
Uh - one little problem with your idea there folks. 4:00 a.m. just happens to be AFTER midnight so I'm kinda thinking that's not going to work out so well for me just now. But thanks for the suggestion anyway!
9:02 - 10:00 p.m. After retrying the transmission every minute for the next hour, it was time to make a decision... either print or get off the pot. I decide to make an executive decision and get the printing started.
10:10 p.m. After 14 pages of 42 have printed, printer issues message that "Black ink is empty." Panic sets in as I realize I have no additional black ink. With time running out I head out to my office to finish printing the returns from there.
10:30 p.m. As I head home Charli calls my cell phone and screams out triumphantly, "DON'T GO TO THE POST OFFICE. I GOT THEM TO TRANSMIT!!!"
So there we were, all set and done with a full hour and a half to spare, which is eons in "Charli time."
Which is what I'll call it while I'm serving in federal prison.
Unless of course the auditors don't notice our refund amount.