While I didn’t file it just yet, I prepared my tax return tonight. Also, of note, for the first time in well over twenty years, I did not use TurboTax (also previously called QuickTax) as my choice of tax preparation software. I was about to buy TurboTax for 2019 but a quick look at the troubleshooting forum for the product revealed a ton of complaints. There were errors with trying to get an update, forms that were locked preventing people from filing, and inaccurate numbers in the forms that were unlocked. I’m normally a creature of habit but the problems I saw were enough for me to buy and use UFile to prepare my return this year.
Yes, I will admit that TurboTax is a bit prettier when it comes to their UI. The user experience is slicker for sure. I didn’t experience any show-stopping errors in the program however. It’s also at least ten dollars cheaper in most cases. At the end of the day, I finished my return and it calculated that I will be seeing a refund of just under $2,000. This is wonderful news since last year, I had to owed money to the government, to the tune of a few grand.
I’m going to double-check a few more receipts and numbers before doing the actual filing but it’s good news on the tax return front this year. As for what I’m going to do with the money coming back, I’m leaning towards putting it towards my mortgage.
I’m working from home tomorrow and if I gotta be working, it might as well be from home. I’ll be using the time that I was going to be commuting for some extra sleep. No need to change out of my PJs, I’ll just work in those. If I need to poop, I can do it in the comfort of my own bedroom. I can get breakfast downstairs and best of all, I don’t have to eat lunch at our sub-standard cafeteria. Yay!
We’re nearing the end of February and I find that it’s still quite cold. The low tonight is about 4 degrees but it feels much colder. The low for Thursday night is just 2 degrees. I obviously don’t expect it to be shorts weather just yet but it seems like it’s been cold for so long now. At least the sun is still out when I leave work.
I was at Walmart on the weekend getting supplies for my home when I walked by a display of lava lamps. I wasn’t looking for a lava lamp but it caught my attention. I’ve never owned one before but I’ve seen them in other people’s homes. I checked the price on them and they were less than $20. On a whim, I bought one.
It is somewhat calming to watch one in action. The motion of the “lava” lumps is soothing, just like the box says. I’m watching them gently go up and down as write this and I bet my heart rate is relaxing as well. I might get another one for the bedroom.
For about two years now, there has been only one heater in my entire apartment, the one in my bedroom. I had my electric fireplace removed from my living room, which was awesome, but was also the only source of heat for that room and the kitchen. While the plan was to eventually get a new baseboard heater installed in a new location, I admit that I am lazy and a great procrastinator. I was also not missing having a heater since turning the thing on would just burn money. When it got really cold, I’d just turn the heat on in my bedroom, close all the doors, and cocoon.
Alas, it’s time to stop procrastinating. Earlier this week, I got in touch with two electricians for a quote to get a new baseboard heater installed. It’s time to make this happen. Now, I recognize that getting a quote and actually getting the damn work done are two entirely different things but I’m motivated to see this thing through. Let’s go!
As I wrote last week, I took an extra day off so I could have a four-day weekend. That meant that I returned to work today, Wednesday. It turns out, I returned to a plague at work. Several of my co-workers called in sick on Tuesday. Some of them didn’t even make it in today. Those who did manage to return to work weren’t sounding too great. There were a number of people who were not doing so well. The person who sits next to me went home early today because they weren’t feeling well again.
Of course, by the late afternoon, I began feeling not so great myself. My sinuses were acting up. In the evening, they were a bit congested and I can feel a cold coming on. I should have stayed home today and made it a five-day weekend.
I bought a BC/49 lottery ticket on Monday night. It’s been a while since I’ve purchased a lottery ticket, mainly because I have terrible luck and I’m basically throwing money away. In any case, I decided to try my bad luck again. The draw is on Wednesday evening and jackpot, as it always is, is $2M. In this day and age, that’s not exactly enough money to retire if you’re still a few decades away from retirement age. Nevertheless, I think I would quit my job almost immediately if I did win, just to figure out what to do next.
I took an extra day off for Tuesday, so this is a four day weekend for me. I used to never do this on long weekends but I have a good amount of vacation saved up, so I decided taking one day wouldn’t hurt all that much. A three day weekend is great but a four day is even better. I’m looking forward to sleeping in again tomorrow morning as most people return to work.
I bought my current smartphone about two years ago and I know it’s already time for a replacement. I dropped the phone once and there’s a small crack in the front glass. Luckily, the crack is less than an inch long and it doesn’t affect the screen. This is just a cosmetic issue. What isn’t a cosmetic issue and a real bummer is that the main camera frequently has problems focusing on objects. I wind up having to choose either taking a blurry photo or not taking the photo at all. A smartphone without a functional camera really sucks. My phone also has trouble with its one or more microphones. Sometimes when I make a call, the person can’t hear me at all. What good is a phone when you can’t have a conversation with it?
My last phone was venerable Nexus 5, which I had for almost five years. Replacing a phone in less than three years seems wasteful to me but so far, nothing has come close to the Nexus 5 for longevity and value. I am waiting for May, when Google is expected to release the Pixel 4a. This phone will be the latest “budget” version in the Pixel series. I’m hoping this phone will last much longer than my current one and have fewer problems as it ages.