My son telephoned me on Monday evening to say he was calling to brag on one of his children. I asked: “Which one?” He said, “It is Jenna. Tomorrow Becky has doctor’s appointments lined out of the kids. Jenna took it upon herself to notify her teachers that she’d be out and asked for the class assignments in advance. I am amazed. In all of my years of schooling I never opted to do anything like that.”
I guess I hadn’t given it much thought before, but Craig has a few of his father’s characteristics. His professional background in logistics may equip him with the knowledge that you have to plan ahead and have all your ducks lined up in a row, but he, too, can rely confidently on the last minute to get it done.
I haven’t asked him, but I’d bet you dollars to donuts that his wife prepares their income tax returns or that they outsource it. I can almost promise you that Craig doesn’t have that responsibility. Consequently it was probably ready for filing by the first week in February. I’ve gotten as far along as buying turbo tax for 2016. I haven’t yet downloaded it in my computer. Already, the warning light (AKA – The General) in my house has been going off. She takes a subtle approach? “So when is your ski trip?” I don’t always pay attention to my calendar or to the details. I responded: “I think it is the second weekend in April. No, on second thought, I think it is the third. I don’t really remember. I will fly out on Wednesday and return on Saturday.”
The next thing I know she is standing next to me with her calendar in hand. The calendar is turned to the month of April. She points out the four square blocks on her calendar that represent the days she thought I’d just articulated that I’d been gone. Okay I get it. “Seeing is believing”. I responded: “Yes, those are the four days.” Actually, I had wanted to go skiing the week before, but work related commitments have a way of getting in the way.
Somehow it was clear to me that our conversation was not over. She was invading my space with her open calendar, but she wasn’t budging. “Did you know?” are the three magic words that always indicate she believes that I didn’t know, but that I should have known. I could have predicted those three words as easily as suggesting to you the sun will rise this morning from the East. “So what was the big deal?” I wanted to ask, but thought I’d wait it out. Whatever it was, I could rest assured that the message would be communicated in short order.
I was wrong. She wasn’t through with the questioning process. “So, are you flying home on Saturday?” was her next question. The General was on a roll. I didn’t know where she was going with this conversation, but I was certain full disclosure was imminent. I had already told her that I was flying home on Saturday. Somehow I had the sense that I had messed up, but I still wasn’t sure how. That, too, would be highlighted with her next question. Truthfully, I didn’t see her next question coming.
“Did you realize that the Sunday following your arriving back home on Saturday is Easter?” “Are you kidding me?” was my next thought, but I didn’t verbalize the question. Instead, I responded. “Great, I’m grateful I’ll be back in time for Easter. That wouldn’t have worked well had I planned otherwise.” How’s that for expressing the “I’m on top of my game” confidence that I didn’t really feel?
Without any intentional disrespect on my part, I may have even suggested that,
“Good Friday would be doubly good this year because I’d be on the ski slopes”. On the other hand, maybe I just thought that? Other wise I might have gotten boxed in the ears and there would still be ringing inside my head.
“So tell me again what day you are you flying home?” Obviously, I am not the sharpest Crayola in the box. I was missing something that should have been abundantly clear to me, but for whatever reason I was clueless. What was the point she was driving?
I guess you could say I am a visual learner. With the calendar still in her hand, she was pointing to the square box on the calendar that represented Saturday. After all, that was the day I was flying home. The numerical date of the month was the fifteenth. I was flying home on April 15th (AKA – Income tax day). So now she had my full attention! What was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn’t, but I was grateful for the heads-up.
My, “I had no idea” response didn’t fly particularly well. She mumbled something under her breath about my need to pay attention. “All it would take for anyone with have a ounce of sense was to look at the calendar”. That’s not what she verbalized, but I read her mind. Didn’t Jesus say to think it is the equivalent of doing it? Gratefully, the “April 15th thing” was good information for me to know. Obviously, I’ve got to make some almost immediate adjustments in how I used my time over the next several days.
Did I mention that I’m in Washington D.C. for the majority of the next week and back in Houston at least one or two days the following? How do you hit the pause button and slow things down? Uncle Sam waits for no man. “April 15 is April 15”. Just writing it down made me feel brilliant. Actually, since the 15th falls on a Saturday, I bet we don’t have to have the return posted before the 17th, but I could be wrong.
However, if I’m counting on that, I could be dead wrong because the General hasn’t verbalized it, but I’m fairly certain that she anticipates I will have the check in the mail to good ole Uncle Sam before I get on my plane to Denver.
So if my speculation is correct that my son probably doesn’t have to worry about income tax returns because his wife has it all under control, how did he orchestrate that? I’ve been wanting to pass that over to the General for years, but she adamantly refuses.
For about two months in our beginning marriage years, I balanced the checkbook. I thought that was a guy thing. My dad always did that when I was growing up. Two months was about the length of time needed for the General to figure out that I don’t figure well. Consequently, almost by default, she took it over and I haven’t had to worry about it for the last forever.
I really do lead a charmed life, adventurously dependent on last minute venues and the confidence that, “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute.” I borrowed that line from my son. However, I’ve shared it more than once. Consequently, I could say: “Like I’ve always said, ‘If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute’.”
All My Best!