Monthly Archives: February 2009


My company issued another round of layoffs yesterday. Bottom line is the title of my post, so I’m eliminating all suspense to actually get you to read this post – I am still employed.

But it was touch-and-go all morning.

My manager does not work at the same location I do. Our team is scattered all over the country, though a lot of us are in three locations in the northeast. When I walked into the office yesterday I got word that one of my co-workers (who works in a different location from me) had already been notified he was laid off, and soon after someone else told me that my manager was on his way to my location. I am not indulging in hyperbole when I say I started shaking and sweating.

I was standing up in my cube, talking to a co-worker in the next cube, when our manager walked towards us. We both knew he was there for one of us, maybe both. He stopped in her cube, and asked to speak with her. They walked away. We all knew why. I felt awful for her (as I did, and do, for everyone else who was affected, many of whom I consider friends). At that time I didn’t know if he would be coming for me when he finished with her. She was gone for a long time.

About 45 minutes later, my manager IM’d me to say he was available if I wanted to talk. That was my cue that it was over, and I was safe. That’s the word we use – “Are you safe?” was a question that was flying around over cube walls and IM all morning.

I’ve been with this company for 12 1/2 years. They have been exceptionally good to me, and I enjoy a level of autonomy and flexibility that I consider as valuable as my salary. Although I work 40-50 hours per week, they are not always contiguous hours, and they are not all in the office. If I had to actually be physically present in an office for 40+ hours per week, I would go insane. I would feel like I was in prison, and it would severely impact my personal life in terms of time with my children and drive my stress level off the charts. I am extremely fortunate to have this job. Truly.

And yet, I’m also stagnant. My work is not interesting, and I’m not learning anything new that improves my life in any way. It has decent pay, excellent benefits and an extremely flexible schedule that works for me as a single parent. I’m not knocking it. But if I didn’t have it anymore, I might be pushed into finding something that fulfills my soul, even if it doesn’t fill my bank account.

With the way things are going, I might get to find out in March, May or June, depending on the rumor that turns out to be true (too soon to tell).

City Hall is Right, Damn it!

It’s tax season. Oh glory days.

Last week I got a letter from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. I don’t live in New York state, although I did at one time. I moved from there in 2005, and filed a partial year tax return, just as I was supposed to. This letter, which was so warmly written, informed me that I had made one of four different errors (apparently they couldn’t be bothered to tell me which of the four), and I owed them $120 for the error, plus $30 and change in interest for not paying it all those years ago. I set the letter aside when it came as I had too much else to deal with.

Today I pulled it, and my 2005 taxes, out to see what the heck was going on.

It turns out that they are right – when figuring my NY state deduction, one of the values from my federal form was never transferred over to the state form.

HOWEVER, I used Turbo Tax to do my taxes that year (as I do every year). The program is supposed to take care of that for me, is it not? Isn’t that one of the beauties of using tax preparation software in the first place??

So, I paid the $150+ today, since I don’t want even MORE interest to accrue, but now I have to figure out how to get Turbo Tax (e.g. Intuit) to make this right for me. I’m pretty sure they guarantee their software against math errors, and I think this counts as a pretty glaring one. Anyone ever taken advantage of that guarantee? Will they cover the whole amount, just the interest, or will I end up so frustrated trying to find someone who cares that I’ll wish I’d never even tried?

And a Good Time Was Had by All

I’m happy, and relieved, to report that the joint birthday party yesterday was a success!

Here are the birthday girls in their Patriots jerseys, a gift from my ex-sister-in-law which arrived the night before:


And here they are in their special birthday thrones (Belle has somehow inherited my penchant for always having my eyes closed in photos):


My ex was in town and was actually a big help at the party – it was just nice to have an extra set of hands, even if he didn’t quite come through on taking the blowing-out-the-candles photos I asked him to get since he couldn’t figure out my camera in time. But I’ll give him a pass since he did do some work, unasked, on my front door which has been sticking dangerously.

We served cake and hoodsie cups, but taking a cue from a party we had attended a few months ago, decided against opening gifts at the party. Instead we took them home. I did this for two reasons: 1) it is really boring for most kids (and their parents) to watch the birthday child open gift after gift, and since I had 2 kids, with 2 separate sets of friends, this would be even worse, and 2) kids tend to crowd up on each other when opening, and it makes it a little crazy. I ran it by a couple of parents during the play part of the party and they were in full agreement. Can I also admit that I was planning on possibly re-gifting some of the items, and if everyone saw what the kids got then they’d know?  I know, I’m horrible, you can go ahead and think it.

Also, as I had posted about previously, I didn’t do goodie bags of any kind. I had thought about getting gift cards at McDonalds to give out, but then when I figured out that would still cost me $44 (I was figuring $2 per kid) I decided that was a bit steep for me. One kid did ask about them as the party was breaking up, but I hope no one missed them too horribly.

I’m thinking next year the celebrations will be a little lower key…..

We still have Belle’s actual birthday, two weeks from today, and then we can relax for a bit!