Monday, March 21, 2011

Chugging along on the Bitterness Train

So I’m more pissed off than ever these days. I know, I know, what else is new, right? Well, the more I think about all this IRS crap, the more pissed off I get. Seriously, you people are auditing me because you don’t understand how someone can make so little money in the year they’re diagnosed with cancer and have a bike crash/brain injury and are thus unable to work? Really? And then you also don’t understand how someone could have such high medical bills? Do you people even watch the news once in a while?? You know, to have a clue about those skyrocketing medical costs all of us out here have been yammering about. Apparently not.

So in my mind, they’re picking on the broke person with cancer because, quite frankly, they’re idiots. I mean really. Let’s let Bernie Madoff get away with scamming billions and billions of dollars for years, and let’s see nothing wrong with IL politicians paying zero in their own federal income taxes – but let’s pick on Miss Tasha.

And I have to give credit here to my most awesome friend George from Canada, who tried to help me out by contacting my congressmen to tell them how appalled he was, as a Canadian citizen, that I was having this crap foisted on me. And to the credit of Mike Quigley’s office (current congressman, who I once played ice hockey against!), they did contact me. I sent them the info, they sent off an inquiry, blah blah. Then yesterday I’m toodling around on the Googles, and I’m trying to see if this “contact your Congressman” idea ever does any good – and I find a website where a lawyer is answering a question, and basically says – oh, you don’t want to contact your Congressman except as a last final resort. We consider that – are you ready for this? – the nuclear option.

Fantastic. So now the IRS will be even MORE determined to find something wrong, just to prove they were right.

Tonight I was talking to Normal Brother Andrew from California, and I tell him my latest woes and how I’m basically screwed. Because once they start looking at your bank statements, suddenly everything is income, even if you’re just being reimbursed or paid back for something. And expenses, pshaw, why did you think that was deductible? I tell him all this, and there is…..silence. And then:

Andrew: Wow. Well……so……I guess things really did get worse, huh?

This, from my brother of the “It could always be worse” fame.

So, my friends, in times like these, when your life is falling to pieces all around you and there’s no bright spot on the horizon, not a glimmer, one is left with only a few options.

The first is to hunker down, hide from the world, which I guess is what I’ve been doing, but it hasn’t done much good. Trouble still hunts me down, like the sly bastard it is.

The second is to check out, as in check out. I can’t say it hasn’t crossed my mind, but….no. Not an option.

Then there’s the third option. Oh sure, I guess there are other things one can do – like join a monastery, or go AWOL, etc, - but when everything is scraped down to bare nothingness, this seems like the only realistic thing to do. Yes, the only one.

So yes, I’m doing it. I’m heading to N’Awlins. It’s not quite putting the band back together, because my former fellow NOLA-travelers have full normal lives unlike myself – but rumor has it that Craig can be persuaded to head to the Bayou with me and as many of my awesome CancerChick friends as we can round up.

Or, as I put it on Facebook – “I’m broke, I’m being audited, I’m probably headed to jail – fuck it, I’m going to New Orleans.”

So it has been spoken, so it shall be done. Not tomorrow, and not next week, but soon. Because, as I like to put it, when you’re robbing the bank you don’t worry about double-parking. And because……life is short. And the IRS can just suck it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More job-hunting tips from Miss Tasha

Most of the job-hunting advice out there suggests that you should be focused in your search. Target those companies that interest you, and that have openings that closely fit your qualifications.

To which I say: malarkey! I much prefer what I call the “shoot enough bullets into a forest and eventually a deer will wander in front of one of them” approach. This served me well when I was at (ahem) Wharton, where no job was too out there for me to apply for. After all, what is “obscure”, but just another word for “opportunity”?

Plus it’s not like the companies actually expect anyone to have those exact qualifications –they’re merely guidelines, suggestions, a wishlist. They want ten years of experience and you have two? Pshaw, that’s easy. Both numbers start with the letter “t”, so clearly that’s close enough. Besides, you read these job descriptions that are incredibly detailed while being almost whimsically arcane, and you realize that they can’t possibly be serious. “Must have worked at least 6.3 years in the salt mines of the Congo, and be fluent in 16 out of the 44 known Swahili dialects” – trust me, they’re just testing you to see if you have the boldness and confidence to ignore all that and apply anyway.

You should also make sure that you tell everyone – and I mean everyone – that you’re looking for a job. There’s no pride at stake here, folks – if you’re damn good at what you do (ahem, like I am), then you know you’ll be doing the little people a favor by giving them access to your amazing skillset. In fact, you might want to emphasize to them that they should act fast, as an opportunity like this might not come up again. This is what I do, and we can all see how great it’s been working for me. Here are some recent examples:

At the Village Tap with Diane and some of her friends

Me: So what do you do, Charise?
Charise: Oh, I work for Costco in the eye depa…..
Me, interrupting: Wait. Did you say…..Costco?? As in…Mecca??
Charise: Yes, that Costco! I take it you’re a big fa…
Me: Hire me! Did I mention I’m job-hunting? And I’m brilliant! Talented! Diverse! I got diversity in spades!

I then finish up with the Sad Cancer Face, which is always a great way to clinch the deal. I’m still waiting to hear back from Charise, but clearly she’s just trying to jump some hurdles for me, so that I don’t have to. (Yo, Charise, call me, okay?)

At For Your Canine, with Timmy for his evaluation

Karen: So your schedule is flexible, in terms of bringing him in for classes?
Me: Oh, absolutely, I could bring him in at any time. I’m self-employed, and low on work at the moment.
Karen: Oh, that’s too bad. What do you do?
Me: Marketing, market research, writing, communications, strategy – I’m basically your go-to person in all of those areas. I’m excellent at what I do.
Karen: Hmm….
Me: Aha! You need someone, don’t you? I can see it in your furrowed brow. Unless your forehead normally looks all crumpled and wrinkly like that, in which case, never mind.

Still waiting to hear back from her too, but again, I have faith. (Psst, Karen, call me!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Reckoning, part II

I glare at them as they come in, toting their wheelie bags of torture documents, and as soon as I open the door, I realize – oh yeah, I have Dobes. Big dogs. Oh well.

AMIL: Oh…oh boy….can’t you put them aw….
NO! They’re little lambs, look at them. Konie baby, no jumpies!
Aren’t those dogs mean…
firmly: Lambs. Precious little lambs. Just keep walking to the back room, try not to let them trip you up.

They finally make it back, and to the boys’ delight, I give them big marrow bones to gnaw on to keep them occupied. The interrogation begins.

Me: First, should I put on some coffee? Would you like a brownie? I made them just for you guys, to soften you up.
Oh no, thank you, we’re fine.
Do you guys really operate under a “No Snackie” rule? My friends and I were wondering this.
(speaking at the same time)
Not really…


OMIL: Okay then, so, before we start, do you have any questions?
Well, yes, I suppose. Why are you people bothering me? How did I get picked for this?
It’s a random process…
ranting: It’s not like I make any money! Especially in 2008!
Oh, that reminds me, we’re going to audit 2006 too.
WHAT??? You can’t do that! What happened to the 3 years statute of limitations? I can barely find my papers from LAST year, now you want 2006??
who’s been silent until now: Blah blah random explanation that’s probably made up blah blah can look at returns up to 7 years back blah blah.
muttering: Well, good luck with that.
more loudly: I don’t get it – what’s the deal? Do you think I have a printing press in my basement? Gold brick manufacturing in the garage? What??

Yes, I actually said these things.

OMIL: Well no, but when your income is less than your expenses….
I know, it’s a problem! I’m po’! Everyone knows this!
Well, that’s why we…oh….oh! No thank you, I don’t need that.

Kona has come along and, in showing off his generosity of spirit, has decided that Mean IRS Lady #1 needs to partake of his bone. His slimy marrow bone. Which he’s just placed into her lap, on her black pants. Oh my.

Me, smiling weakly: Heh heh, that’s my boy, he’s generous that way. Umm, where were we?

OMIL starts with the questions, and we’re trucking along, until we get to a question that almost has me burst out in laughter.

OMIL: So, would you say your income in 2008 was typical? Less than other years? More than?
giggling: Oh, I’d say I made significantly less – I did only work half a year you know. That was the year of The Cancer. (Sad Cancer Face)

I go through my spiel – The Cancer, bike crash, broken collarbone which left me unable to type, brain injury that left me stupid, daily radiation treatments, etc. I think this either brings AMIL over to my side – or they’re suddenly segueing into a good cop/bad cop routine.

AMIL: OH! Oh no! That’s my foot!

Timmy has come along and plunked his little head on her foot, as he’s continuing to chew on his bone.

Me: Tim Tim! Move please.
He’s cute. Are you planning on keeping him?
sighing: No, it’s too hard as a single person. Plus it’s so expensive… (Sad Cancer Face)

She reaches out to pet him and he sits there like a good little boy, and I tell her about where he came from, and she tells me about a friend of hers who works in rescue. OMIL can’t get a word in edgewise.

OMIL: So back to these questions!

Me: Oops, sorry. Kona, no!

He’s just dropped his bone on her lap for about the seventh time. This is getting to be a bit Monty Python-esque.

Me: I can see the headline now – “Woman jailed for IRS agent harassment.” Just send me the dry cleaning bill. They love you guys, by the way! I keep giving them bones to keep them occupied.
giggling: That one likes you Yvette – you’ll have to take him home with you!

Kona is now trying to climb into OMIL’s lap. Sigh.

AMIL: Oh, and are those poinsettias? How do you keep them alive so long?

Thus follows a long conversation about how I keep my poinsettias alive, and how hers always crap out by mid-January, but how she’s tried to overwinter them, etc. OMIL manages to break in every once in a while with a question, which I think AMIL finds slightly annoying. We’re bonding here, okay? Hmph. Kona keeps burying his head in my lap, which I figure has to be a good thing, yes? I mean, it’s not like Bernie Madoff had dogs that adored him, right? So according to the transitive function, Kona loves me ergo I am a wonderful, non-tax-evading gem of a person.

AMIL: So if you wind up needing to pay for any of these documents you need, like from the bank, you just call Yvette and let her know – we don’t want you to have to pay for anything. We’re trying to be the kinder, gentler IRS you know….

My eyes widen in disbelief, but somehow, by the grace of god or someone, I manage to remain silent at that.

Timmy then starts barking, loudly, apparently to indicate that this interview should be over. Luckily, they’re wrapping up, telling me what the next steps are, blah blah blah. I’ve been informed that this will “go on for quite some time” – yippee.

Let the drinking commence….

The day of reckoning is here


I get home with Kona from the dog park, and discover a tragedy at home that pushes all thoughts of Mean IRS Lady from my mind: we’re out of marrow bones! I look at my watch, the boys’ beseeching faces, my watch……and head out to the store. Priorities, people, it’s all about priorities.


Whew, made it home in time. I wonder if she’ll show up exactly on time? Damn, I should have made a bundt cake.


Doorbell rings – the boys start going crazy, and I go open the door. To find…..two people? WTF? Aren’t there rules against this?

Me: Wait, there are two of you?

Yvette, aka Original Mean IRS Lady: Yes, is that okay?

Me: Well, I was expecting just you so I’m not prepared for two, but sure.

Addendum Mean IRS Lady: Wait, dogs, you have dogs? I don’t like dogs.

Me: Yes, I have two dogs, but they’re friendly.

AMIL: Can you put them away in a room?

Me: A room? No. No I can’t. They will not be denied.

OMIL: You can’t separate them? She really is scared of dogs.

Me: They’re friendly, and they will NOT take well to being pushed aside.

AMIL: We have rules about dogs.

Me, getting huffy: Well! I told HER that I had two dogs and she said that was fine!

So we’re not exactly off to a great start here. Mind you, they haven’t even seen the boys yet. Oy….

(to be continued....)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bat Girl redux

Oh, where to begin? So much to catch up on – the YSC conference and the awesome pink ribbon balloon I “borrowed” from the Komen people – the impending IRS audit and the potential for an Ativan Bundt Cake – the job tips that include an elevator speech based entirely on statements by Charlie “I’m a rock$tar from Mars!” Sheen. But first, we must go back to a dark day in my past, one that brought me to tears, to laughter, to tears again….okay, but without the laughter or tears. I was just plain pissed off.

I know. Me, pissed off? Nay! But yes, it’s true. I won’t rehash the whole Bat Girl saga from last year – because you can read about it here. My original post where I made my Bat Girl plea…..then my outrage at the end upon learning that it was all about how much one sucked up to Komen, to the extent that the winner for the White Sox was a fricking WALKER, i.e. someone who raised a boatload of money for Komen. But who never had cancer. Which, sorry, just doesn’t work for me, m’kay?

Plus originality and composition were supposed to count the most, and her entry was a poorly written piece of garbage, which offends my wordsmith sensibilities to no end.

Which brings us to this year, and the composition of what I refer to as Tasha’s Opus. Below, my entry for this year’s contest, which is sure to bring everyone who knows and loves me to tears…..

Little did I know those many years ago when I first joined the other women on my hockey team in putting together a team for the Komen 3-Day, just how prophetic this would turn out to be. Little did I know….that just a few years later, in 2008, I myself would be diagnosed with aggressive stage II breast cancer…..and would find myself joining Komen in racing for a different goal – a goal of finding a cure that would benefit the amazing women I’ve gotten to know through this horrible disease.

I don’t recall how many thousands of dollars we raised that first year in our 3-Day journey, but those memories came flooding back to me after I was diagnosed, with the irony of having worked so hard for a cause that was now working on my behalf. That summer of 2008, I found comfort in not just going to White Sox games with my beloved brother, a huge fan himself, but also in my amazing friends who rallied around me to form Team in Bacon for the Komen 5K that fall. Not only was I undergoing cancer treatment, but I had continued to train for an Ironman even after my diagnosis, which was foiled when a bad bike crash landed me in the hospital with a broken collarbone and brain injury. Needless to say, the pictures of me from that race wearing a sling and sporting a badly bruised face were a sight to behold – in part because the smiles of everyone on my team that sunny day were transcendent, as we felt part of something bigger than ourselves. Okay, so I was pretty hopped up on drugs too.

In the two years since then, I have spent countless hours doing what I can to help other young women stricken with breast cancer – from spreading the word about Komen and what it stands for, to volunteering with Imerman Angels, to being part of the local leadership team for YSC, the Young Survival Coalition. And while I am not a mother – yet – I celebrate Mother’s Day in my heart not just with the White Sox, but with all the other young women touched by breast cancer, and I have hope that we will all be given the opportunity to realize our dreams. And in the meantime, I go to bat against breast cancer every day through volunteering and raising money for the Cure, knowing that it would be an honor and privilege to come full circle as an Honorary Bat Girl, going from that traumatic day two years ago when I went to a White Sox game with my brother the day I was diagnosed – to a day this year, returning as a survivor with a message of hope for those just beginning this journey.

….of laughter, yes, because that’s the biggest load of horseshit I’ve ever written. Really. Oh, the whole thing is FACTUALLY correct, but it’s also total horseshit.

It could be my finest work ever.

Now, the super-sad part is that they seriously constrained how much one can write this year, so I had to keep chopping and hacking away at the above, until I had a mere shell of my masterpiece, at 900 characters WITH spaces. Bastards. It doesn’t have nearly the same pathos as the other one, sigh. And they’ve changed the way one can vote, so it’s not even clear where you’re ranked in the voting process – which is fine, because I had my poor friends voting ad nauseum for me last year, and I still lost to a Komen suckup. Who, by the way, entered the contest again this year – apparently LAST year her aunt or someone tripped at the game so they had to leave and take her to the doctor, though she turned out to be fine. And Walker thinks she should get another shot. Which she’ll probably get, considering ALL THAT MONEY she raised for Komen.

So I’ve learned my lesson. The page to vote is here (for Miss Tasha) – if you want to vote for me, please do. But I’m letting the chips fall where they may – and hoping the picture puts me over the top. Who says I don’t love Komen with all my heart??