Of course it is tax time. I do enjoy forms, and taxes, I think because as an artist my head is wandering around the ether and my feet are usually forgotten in a crunched up pose, but my hands grab pens, paints, keyboard, pen and paper happily and I like to fill out a form or two. I dig it. Maybe because I'm an artist it validates me to have a Schedule C to frame my life and my supplies, plus a refund..always good. And I feel happy that I understand depreciation. I feel really like a competent adult. Even if I don't know how to do the math per se, I know it's a Schedule 179 and I know there is a time frame for all things. I'm the family peeve calling around making sure everyone's got their money in ...which is funny, as I totally side with my mother-in-law who refused to pay quarterly because "they're just going to buy bombs with it.."
So speaking of depreciation, I had the nice sparkly thought that my marriage is actually appreciating, as my husband apparently knows me quite well and uses this information for good, for which I consider myself lucky. Today I had a little meltdown (it was my day to run errands, get the car dinged hard by a *** boy in an SUV (I caught them, I was sitting checking my mail and WOW did I jump when that door hit mine) (new item on to-do list..I have to schedule some body work for the car)) so Steve told me to go get grounded with some coffee grounds (only he could understand that jacking my head further into the clouds is a grounding thing for me) and that (the car thing) started me thinking how an item begins to depreciate as soon as it "walks off the lot". I happend to be in the Best Buy parking lot by the Lands End with the Most Ill-Fitting and Not-Cheap clothings for womens that when you're heading for rock bottom, stop in there and try to dress yourself like an overgrown mushrooming 80's high school preppy complete with headband Outlet, and I'd just had what felt like a mild stroke wandering around the ill-lit Best Buy, trying to find a myriad of things from Cyberchase DVD's (none) to a simple 9Volt (my husband calls it a "transistor radio" battery) (NOT in the battery section, mind you, but nearer the Bubblicious at the checkout) to a laptop computer. I had been shadowing this nice couple who was shopping for a computer for their daughter entering med school. It was a nice thought. I almost offered to be their daughter for purposes of role-playing, but thought better of it. I've been bold lately and it's been alternately horrid and funny. Demanding a painting audit for payment at Sprout - bad...deciding to use German phrases as IF they were yiddish to get along with my Jewish fundraiser cohorts-funny..ok maybe just to me, but I L-O-V-E-D the A-M/A-Z double-take. So anyway at Best Buy I just kind of loitered and watched. I need a camcorder too so I lost track of them for a while (why do they break? Why do I go back for more? But baby just started walking today!! Hurrah! And so need a camera...because should have made movie yesterday).. Anyway, these were well-meaning, intense and quite linear people who were not picking up what BestBuyBoy was laying down, and didn't differentiate between Mac and PC (I'm thinking they're not going to the HD TV section next). But so I was thinking about depreciation and parents who buy their children laptops for school. I know they want to do the right thing, without considering the educational discount the student will be afforded on a pc AND the MS Office Software (esp by going direct for mac at an apple store or online), and they're unaware of the inevitable sheet of paper the student will be handed on the first day outlining the software requirements for the class. (I don't think I ever mentioned here that Steve and I met as computer lab consultants at Northwestern University ...we used to bring Henry there too..Swiss Family Robinson Computer Lab) I know the temptation to do the right thing and have it all there for the student is overwhelming, but consider this. The laptop starts to depreciate the day it walks off the lot. It's April. School will start in August, maybe even September. The student most likely does not have a paper due before then, but will probably unpack that laptop and load all kinds of cr*p on there in the summer, or at least spill some cr*p on there before August. One or more peripherals will get lost, possibly the USB cable that came neatly tied in a little twisty-tie, and suddenly there is a problemo. Then come to find out that model doesn't burn DVD's, and assignment #1 for the elective is to make a little movie or CD or something...then what? Then student is going to the computer lab anyway, and laptop is back in the dorm serving as a lunch tray or worse, a bun-warmer for chilly roomie or roomie tryst. The laptop is depreciating at the speed of light at this point. Stop the insanity. Buy nice sheets before school, those ridiculous special XLong twin sheets, as those will be needed on the very first day. But the laptop? I'd wait and see the requirements the school provides at Orientation, what educational discounts exist, and what software is necessary to purchase. Ya can probably even check it out online beforehand. A better education for higher education is allowing your precollege kiddo to go to the library and work amongst other people and pay for printing, as the toner on that fancy new printer is bound to run out right around exam time, and that student is going to have to know his/her way around a printing card anyway. And those computer lab people can run the gamut.
Whew. OK. ON the plus side on this depreciation topic, I actually bought myself a computer today. !? It's still in the box. I just finished my paper for class, but see, I'm IN class, and I have all these needs to type things and without deelay (don't, please, note the post time here. Remember all those gentle encouraging coffee ideas? hm, yes. Ask me anything about the brand positioning of donorschoose.org though, I'm all over it). After that kid totally freaked me out (was I SHOT? Was there an accident?) and I talked to my understanding husband, I drove to Bayshore, went to the Apple store, and bought a MacBook with my educational discount and even got a little keyboard skin to protect at least some part of the thing that is going to eat grape juice pdq I can feel it. I have half a mind to wrap it in plastic wrap but have geeked out on reading online and realize it could verrrrry well overheat if I do that. Anyway, so now I have my MomBook as I call it "White, for Easy Cleaning"...I swear I should work there. I would say things that were raucous but right on to people like me who case the place, know that's what they want, but can't get over the whole "Have a Copy of MS Office for PC at Home" thing. Well. Mr. Corey showed me a nice free online interface called Neo Office or something like that (I've forgotten the whole transaction because it makes me lightheaded to think about it) AND I got a free printer (now we just have a ridiculous number of printers) and so there you go. I can't wait to be able to make imovies. I have been supposed to have been making little documentaries of my arts grant for YEARS and I kept whining "When do I get my imoney to make imovies guys?" so now, thanks to doing our taxes, we had a little for me to do that. I now have no excuse. As time is a-wastin, the thing's depreciating downstairs I can hear it. I have to teach some Green next week, so I'm going to head to the Green show at the Woodsomething gallery on Locust this week. I can't wait. Seeing Green I think it is. I'm excited to make fifty recycled paper Earth clocks tick tock folks...but that's next week. Also pending is my grande free Calatrava painting for the Bal du Lac. Nothing like bringing coal to newcastle is there?
IN OTHER NEWS - I have started a LIST of Riverbrook Stories, see to the right here. If you send me a story to my email, ( I will post it anonymously unless you ask me to use your name). I think there are a lot of stories that would lend themselves to a kind of tribute book for them. I would be honored if you would share even a simple memory or idea about the place that is soon to be no more. Something about what Riverbrook (formerly Pig 'n Whistle) is to you, or why you like it, or what funny things happened to you there, please share. This is the time. The time is now. It's being RAZED.