Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life in a bubble

It's 7:15 on a Sunday morning and I've been at work for almost two hours.

That pretty much sums up my life every March and first half of April. It's the price tag for being my own boss, able to set my own hours, and having an easy schedule at the end of the year during the holidays.

Of course being able to set my own hours is a joke for this six week period. I am a slave to my clients and the arbitrary March and April 15 deadlines for having tax returns filed or extended with the proper payments.

This time of year is when I most feel like I'm still in college, although college finals didn't extend for six weeks at a time. It's a challenge each year, knowing that it will all get done, but never sure of the path.

Each year has its own priorities. One year it was a new baby sleeping in my lap as I worked. Another year was full of wedding planning that could not be deferred. A few years ago I took my daughter and her friends to San Antonio the weekend before April 15 to watch the women's NCAA Final Four basketball games. Sometimes it's client issues that make a tax season challenging. A couple of years, including this year, IRS audits of my corporate clients have demanded hours I have to pull out of a hat.

The most stressful tax season I had was the first one after my CPA friend died. I added several of her clients into my mix and there was a steep learning curve. Sally had a twenty year history with these new friends of mine and I had to catch up. And every file was full of her notes in her handwriting, a daily reminder of my loss. That was the year I started work at 4:00 am every day. There were days I wasn't sure I would make it.

But I did, as I always do, with family support and the faith that it is not the end of the world if I screw up. I do my best, it will either be enough or it won't.

In many ways, life is simpler during tax season. I get up, work for a while, get dressed, work for a long time, take Wiley from one school to another in mid-afternoon, work for a while, eat supper, then work for a long time. There comes a time in the evening, sometime between 10:30 and 1:30 that my eyes glaze over, and then I'm done for the day. If it's late, and my clothes are comfy, I don't even change before getting into bed. (Pretty romantic, huh?)

Some days I get dressed up for a project I work on at a client's office each year. Every now and then a client stops by. That can be kind of dicey, though, since it usually looks like a paper bomb has gone off around here and I have to allow time to straighten up. Weekends are a little easier, since the phone doesn't ring.

My friends play along with my schedule, for which I'm grateful. They aren't offended if I can't meet for lunch or have a long phone call. My book club is on hold. Church attendance is spotty. I ration out my participation in family activities. Wiley has a soccer tournament next weekend. My goal is to make one of the three games. My daughter is hosting Easter lunch. Last year the boys went, but I worked instead. This year I hope to be there. The family events have the highest priority, even over sleep, but I still can't make them all.

And now I know I can't, physically or mentally, keep up any kind of regular posting on my blog during this time of year. So I'll continue with brief comments and pictures and flits of fancy. I've had several things come up I would write about in a normal month, basketball and politics and aging and teenagers and dogs........but they can wait. They have to wait. I've started several posts when the muse called, but then I laugh at myself. I am so tired I can't finish a sentence, much less a coherent paragraph. If I stop moving to take time to think, my thoughts quickly turn from words on a page to dreams. I even fell asleep in my car waiting five minutes to pick up Wiley one afternoon.

But today, I'm optimistic. I got up early and got stuff done. I have allowed myself the luxury of thirty minutes of posting. Now a quick shower, another hour of work, then off to church. Then back at work for the rest of the day.

It will all get done.


jennifer said...

you go girl!! Can't wait to see your smiling face on APRIL 16th!

Allyson said...

Everytime I read your blog I cry! Can't go down that path at this juncture...I can't wait to catch up on your blog after the 15th.