Friday, February 24, 2012

My Father's Taxes, the Aftermath of Divorce, and Other Things

My father called the other day, worried about his taxes. He recently moved to a  new "home" and the tax people don't have his address. Would I mind picking up some forms and sending them to him? He can't do it because he doesn't have a car. (He totalled his car last month.)

I could do that, I said, but don't the activities people organize trips to the library? You could pick forms up there.

Those trips to the library cost $7 a pop, he said. It's cheaper for you to send me the forms.

Of course it is.

I said okay, though, because I wanted off the subject. I did his taxes last year and all I can say is never ever ever again. He may not have all his faculties intact, but he can argue.

That's not the only reason I called, my father said. You know I've got a lot of bills right now.

I know, I said. (He's been hospitalized three times in as many months.)

So I was thinking I'd give your mother a call. She owes me something, don't you think? Can you give me her number?

Dad, I said, it's been five years. Let it go.

The people here don't think I should be paying alimony in my condition.

But you don't pay alimony, I reminded him.

A long pause. Okay, he said. I didn't think that would work. What about you? You got any money?

No, I said, I don't. I really really don't.

So how is that book coming? my father asked slyly.

I said what I always say, have been saying for years: It's coming.

Well, my father sighed, I guess you'll just be a one book author.

My Mother's Taxes, the Aftermath of Divorce, and Other Things

My mother called the other day, worried about her taxes. She didn't think she could do that Turbo thing and the H&R people were expensive last year. Would I consider doing them? She'd pay me.

I said okay, then asked what else was going on in her life.

Her car broke down.

That's too bad, I said. I do hate it when that happens.

No, she said, it was good.

Good? I asked.

Yes, she said proudly, I handled it really well. Five years ago, after the divorce, I wouldn't have been able to do it. I would have fallen apart. But this time I said to myself, You can do this. You are capable of handling this. It's not the end of the world.

Great, I said. That's the attitude. Where'd you break down?

In the church parking lot.