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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Several days ago I got a refund check for $142 in the mail from the IRS. I hadn't been expecting a tax refund. In fact, I paid $166 when I filed my tax return in April. No explanation came with the check, so I held onto it to make sure it was legit. I know that if you get a check from the government and cash it, and then it turns out to be a mistake — even if it's the government's mistake — you're going to owe them penalties and interest. Plus you have to pay back the amount of the check.

Not wanting to be put in that position, I waited. Today I had to go to the bank, and I was tired of waiting, so I deposited the check. It'll make paying the July rent next week a whole lot easier. Plus, I could buy some corn meal while I was at the store. I don't even remember what recipe I was looking at that required corn meal, but I saw it on the shelf and thought, "Hey! I can buy corn meal with my tax refund."

There's a thought I've never had (or expressed) before.

After I got home and the mail came, there was (of course) a notice from the IRS, in one of their forbidding-looking envelopes with the stylized eagle-and-scale logo. Brrrrr. Creepy.

They tell me that I made a mistake in their favor. I didn't give myself enough credit for the number of exemptions I claimed. Or something like that. It all sounds kind of fishy, as if they're trying to confuse me (and we all know how easy that is). They're going to give me a few days to stock up on corn meal and then ask for their money back. I just know it.

The funny thing is, the same thing happened last year. I paid my taxes, complained about it, and then several weeks later got a refund check. I'd forgotten about that until this check arrived. I guess maybe I'll be more careful next year. That's when the real mistakes happen, though - when I think too much.

24 June 2004

Dandelions add dots of color to the otherwise drab side yard.

Quaker Yellow Corn Meal, enriched and degerminated. Mmmm, doesn't that sound appetizing? I guess I could make cornbread. The recipe is on the corn meal package, and I already have all the other ingredients. Well, except for baking powder. I could use the rest of my windfall on that, I suppose. I'm sure I had something more exotic than cornbread in mind when I bought this stuff, though.

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The Dodgers' closer, Eric Gagne, is Canadian. If you didn't already know that, you'd suspect it from the way he dropped his glove and charged toward Giants hitter Michael Tucker in the eighth inning of tonight's game. He looked like a hockey player spoiling for a fight. All Tucker did was mouth off after being knocked down by a Gagne pitch, and Gagne was in full-on enforcer mode. Nothing came of it except a couple of ejections, and it really had no effect on the Giants' 9-3 win, giving them their first four-game sweep of the Dodgers since 1975.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Fault Line
"The fact that we keep getting late notices and corrected tax returns from the government leads me to believe that the government isn't entirely competent. I have to think that, because the alternative is just too horrible."

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