Steady Progress

Dear J-

There are a lot of words you can use to fill empty space until it looks more cluttered and you’re not so intimidated by the blank spots, words that fill only and mean nothing at all, the literary equivalent of junk food only not nearly as tasty. So you use these fillers as a way to measure progress against nothing at all until you’re finished with it, or at least as done as you plan to be. Even if you know you don’t have much to write — or much to say — at least there’s something being produced on the page to think you’ve made some steady progress.

I got up as late as possible and decided not to pack a lunch sandwich, hoping to rely on the kindness of strangers and leftover Chinese food (assuming it hasn’t been thrown out yet). I’ve alluded to but haven’t completely described what’s happening with our taxes; after year upon year of steady refunds, we’re on the hook this year because we made a fairly substantial amount of money, though less than the year before — and I didn’t switch my withholding appropriately. Smart, right? Yeah, I thought so. We’ve had more money during the year but now we’re feeling a pinch, and that’s mainly my fault for not forcing us to withhold more estimated taxes throughout the year.

I’m not completely convinced this was the right thing to do — the idea is more or less to break even or have a modest payment at tax time — but instead of me floating the government a loan without interest we’ll be keeping a tighter eye on what we’ve estimated our taxes to be throughout the year; it won’t be fun to see the money go out more often but better than one big chunk this time of year, I suppose. Steadier losses means progress too, right?


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