Sunday, March 08, 2009

This post may start with the usual complaints about Daylight Saving Time, but I promise it complains about several other things as well.

Is it my imagination, or is this "Spring Forward" thing happening earlier than usual the past couple years? Don't answer that, actually. It is not my imagination. Starting Daylight Saving Time three weeks early was yet another brilliant idea from the Bush administration, and now as a result, every spring and fall when I make the tour of my house to reset my clocks, I say a special thank you to my least favorite ex-president as I reset the ONE clock that previously was smart enough to reset itself on its own. That would be my VCR's clock, which, while an ancient and archaic appliance according to most people, was actually advanced enough to know when Daylight Saving Time was supposed to start and end and adjusted its time automatically. That is, until George W. got his hands on it. (Daylight Saving Time, I mean. Not my VCR. Even now that he's out of office, I'm pretty sure Bush has better things to do than rifle through my humble home.) This may be the least of the legacies of the Bush presidency, but it's an especially annoying one to me. Grr.

Speaking of annoyances, I started my weekend off on a fantastic one by getting into a car accident on my way out to meet friends Friday night. I am fine, and I'm well aware that is the most important part, but it's unsettling anyway. The jerk who I hit was making a left turn at an intersection where I was proceeding straight from the oncoming line of traffic, and he claims that since the light was yellow, HE had the right of way. I don't actually remember learning that rule in driver's ed; I'm pretty sure that in lieu of a green arrow signal, the rule is always "Left turn must YIELD," but this guy also said it was legal for up to two cars to turn left on a red light if they don't have a chance to make their turn before the light changes, so clearly he's working off a different manual than the one I received. Let's just hope our insurance company goes by the same manual I'm familiar with and not the wacky "make your own rules" one that jackass seems to own.

On the up side, while the delusional jackass's fancy silver Mustang has a giant dent in its right side, my car sustained almost no damage at all. People may malign my aging Saturn, but I'm telling you, it may in fact be invincible. The bumper is clearly made of titanium, as it has sustained notable impact and force from other vehicles at least four times now and has nary a crack or scratch to show for it. My license plate is mangled, yes, and there's some silver paint from the jackass's side body mingling along with the red paint I still hadn't touched up from that mishap last summer. But actual damage? None, as far as my untrained eye can see. So... GO Saturn, I suppose. Could the Honda Civic a friend of mine recently told me I should be driving instead promise the same?

While I'm looking for silver linings, I could also mention that I finally figured out how to file my taxes almost for free this year, and I was happy to see that my refund was already in my bank account, mere days after clicking "Send return." I saw that, and I promptly did the least fun and most grown-up and responsible thing possible with it--I made a second payment to my credit card bill this month, and I paid my $596 medical bill in full. And then I transferred the rest to savings, because my savings account and I have had a rather unbalanced relationship lately, and I thought it would be nice to give a little for once instead of always being a "take, take, take" sort of girl.

The medical bill, by the way, was for an echocardiogram I had back in January, which I don't think I actually blogged about, despite the fact that a strangely flirtatious Middle Eastern cardio technician slathering goop on my chest and then fondling me with a plastic wand while making uncomfortable small talk would ordinarily spell prime blog fodder. If I worked for a larger company (or lived in Canada), that test would have cost me nothing, of course, but since I do not, $596 was my portion of the bill. Frankly, I am tired of all the criticisms about national health care. In this case, Socialism sounds like a fine plan if you ask me.

I did allow myself at least one small impulse purchase knowing that tax return was in my bank account, though. I've realized it might be time for a new handbag, but rather than let one of my experienced handbag mentors guide me to a proper all-leather investment with a three-digit price tag, I bought this one at Target instead. Carrie and Angela, I'm well aware that neither of you would approve of this PVC, polyester-lined purchase, but at a mere $19.99, I promise I'm not opposed to investing in something more appropriate under your guidance as well.

Let's see. What else have I been up to lately? Well, Tuesday I put on my civics nerd hat (kidding; I actually look terrible in hats) and went to my precinct caucus. I wasn't feeling committed and ambitious enough to volunteer as a Ward or City Convention delegate, but I did volunteer to help with some data entry work this weekend. My friends Amy and Mark, who live 12 blocks and one precinct away, are both delegates, and had I been in the same room as them, perhaps I would have stepped up to that plate as well. As it happened, the only one egging me on in my precinct room was an egg-shaped guy in an R.T. Rybak shirt, nodding and pointing at me in a strange but encouraging way as our caucus leader asked for delegates. Naturally I assumed he thought I was cute and wanted me to be a delegate simply so we'd find ourselves in the same room again sometime soon, but alas, it quickly occurred to me that he probably saw the Rybak sticker on my sweater and was just trying to load the delegation in his candidate's favor. Pish posh.

So I will not be attending this year's Ward 1 or City convention, but I did spend most of the day yesterday helping to enter caucus attendee details into the state voter database. A surprisingly small number turned out, and a few hours in, the woman in charge started slightly badmouthing a few other active party members for transgressions during the caucus. When I said goodbye that afternoon, she thanked me for my help and said that she hoped her catty talk didn't dissuade me from getting involved in additional future events. I didn't have the nerve to say, "Au contraire! If anything, cattiness makes me MORE inclined to participate!" but the sentiment was in my head nonetheless.

And I guess that's about all I've been up to lately. Please tell me that your weekend was more positively eventful than any of that.


Miss Pants said...

Glad you are a safe after your accident! The guy sounds like he was a total jerk. Meh.

Jess said...

That guy is on crack. What he means is, if you want to turn left on a green light, you can pull into the intersection so that you have ENTERED it BEFORE the light turns red. Then you have to WAIT until all cars going straight the other way have either gone through the intersection or stopped. THEN you can turn. NEVER NEVER NEVER do you have the right of way when turning left without an arrow. I sincerely hope you got a police report that clearly states this. No way in hell can someone who turned left in front of you when you were going straight through a yellow light try to blame YOU.

I mean, I'm glad you're OK. But really I'm just infuriated at this guy. I'm GLAD his stupid Mustang has a dent.

steve said...

Just wait until your VCR sets itself an hour ahead in three weeks. You'll get to be angry at Bush all over again.

Glad to hear you and the Saturn are ok. Would hate for all that good A/C recharge labor to go to waste so soon. ;)

Also, your doctor's visit sounds a lot like mine. Except the technician I got fondled by was a Korean woman and I only had a $20 co-pay. I trust your test results turned out well.

plumpy said...

For the record, that energy bill was passed 74-26 in the Senate. Barack voted for it. I'd hardly say it was all W's doing.

I'm also glad you're okay, but I like to think that goes without saying. :)

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

I thought it was four cars on a red light, clearly that is the only fair wait to do it. Good lord, I'm scared of the stupidity of people.

3carnations said...

Glad you're okay. That guy IS making up his own rules, isn't he?

I like the daylight savings change, but don't worry - If President Obama shares your disdain of it, there was a clause in the bill that allows it to revert back to the old timing. Maybe you should email him. ;-)

nancypearlwannabe said...

Thank goodness you and your car are okay! Obviously, that dude also thinks it's okay to be smoking crack while driving because those rules he just made up are totally insane.

-R- said...

If you are getting that much money back from taxes, you need to change the amount that gets taken out of your paycheck every month! I'm glad you got the medical bill taken care of though. I just paid my hospital bill from having the baby. Ugh.

lizgwiz said...

I'm glad -r- said something, 'cause I was sitting here thinking "why does she get so much more of a refund than me?" Hee.

I don't care whether we're on Daylight Saving Time or Daylight Wasting Time, but let's just keep it the same all year around and stop this crazy back-and-forth. It screws me up for weeks! What's the point?

This weekend--I bought purple sunglasses at Target. Whoo hoo!

courtney said...

You can never turn left on red! Did he tell the cops that same story? Because I would have liked to see them laugh over that one.

I wish we could keep Daylight Savings Time all year round. I like it, personally.

Shelly said...

Whew. Glad you're okay after your wreck. That guy is totally in the wrong, as everyone else has pointed out. And no, sadly, a Honda Civic would not have been undented in that wreck. It would, however, have kept running after that wreck and many, many, more. But your Saturn sounds lovely!

badger reader said...

Hearing your car tales and having my first Civic smashed multiple times (including once getting the hood completely rammed underneath a giant Escalade) I am thinking you should hold on to that Saturn as long as possible! Glad you are okay!
Also - how did you manage to file taxes almost for free? Please share!

Mickey said...

Courtney was in a wreck one time in her Civic. The other car was totaled (Ford Taurus), but the Civic just had the front bumber knocked off.

And your guy is a moron.

Alice said...

omg what a DOUCHENUGGET. i hope they make his insurance pay in full, and then also make him pay a Stupidity Bonus.

this weekend i went to williamsburg to visit a friend and her son, we had a picnic OUTSIDE because it was 80 AMAZING DEGREES OUT, and i got a SUNBURN. this is 3 days after i had to get an extra comforter for my bed because the wind chill was in single digits. insane, but i'll take it!

Stefanie said...

Pants--Maybe he wasn't a total jerk, but he was totally delusional (traffic rule-wise, anyway).

Jess--I love that comment. You sound angrier than I was. I wish you had been in the car with me and could talk to my insurance company. :-)

Steve--Good point. Although, I changed the Daylight Saving "On/Off" setting to "Off," so I'm *hoping* that means it will just ignore DST and just let me adjust the clock on my own. You know, just like if I lived in Arizona or Indiana.

Plump--Fine, fine, if you want to rely on FACTS! (Can't I just have this one more reason to hate that guy anyway?)

Dutchess--Why stop at four? Why don't we just ignore the lights and all fend for ourselves? Total anarchy! Woo!

3Cs--You know, someone told me a while ago that Obama said he wanted to get rid of Daylight Saving Time. I thought they were just making stuff up and perpetuating rumors, but maybe that bill was all they were talking about. Hmm. (Actually, Plump, are you the one who told me that??)

NPW--Thank you. I thought so too.

R--I'm afraid to claim another deduction because I had to pay in one year and that sucked. Plus, I sort of like knowing that at the beginning of the year I have this chunk of money coming to me. I know it's my money and I should have gotten it spread out throughout the year, but I suck at squirreling away savings, so this is sort of a built-in savings plan, which every few years I let myself blow on something fun like a trip or a computer. (I am doing neither of those this year. Boo. My shower is still held together with duct tape, and I should probably take care of that.)

Liz--Well, first off, I own and you rent (right?), so that makes a huge difference in deductions and money back. And secondly, see my comment to R. Free money! (That's already mine! Um, yeah...)

Courtney--The cops wouldn't come out since no one was hurt. Apparently Minneapolis police have better things to do on a Friday night than write reports for minor accidents? (On second thought, that's probably a good thing, I guess.)

Shelly--Well, I will keep that in mind when my Saturn bites the dust. Maybe I can get a Civic but have a Saturn bumper installed on it? :-)

Badger Reader--I Googled "File taxes free online." Then, when a bunch of companies came up that I haven't heard of and didn't know for sure if I could trust, I clicked on this page through which the government actually helps you locate companies that will help you file for free. (Did this exist in past years?? If so, how did I not know about it???) I found out that H&R Block's TaxCut (which I've used the past five years or more) has a free online version you can use, provided you make under a certain amount of money. (Finally! For once a reason to be glad I don't make enough money!) So I did that. Even eFiling was free! All I had to pay for was the State component ($29).

Mickey--OK, so it sounds like a Civic/Saturn hybrid might actually be the world's most invincible car. You think?

Stefanie said...

Alice--Whoops. I didn't scroll far enough and totally missed that last comment. I think a Stupidity Bonus is an excellent idea. I'll be sure to tell the claims adjuster you suggested that. :-) I am ignoring the 80 degrees bit, because we have a winter storm warning tomorrow. Then again, you live in a place with wacky extremes, too. You might have snow by the weekend as well! (Let's hope not.)

Stefanie said...

A post script to my comment back to Badger Reader. I just went back to H&R Block's site, and the income number they have listed there now is significantly lower than the one on the IRS site and on the page I saw when I first found the TaxCut deal. So, um, believe the IRS number, not the H&R Block number. And now I am going to stop almost telling the Internet how much I do or do not make.

badger reader said...

Wow I even got a clarification post script? You rock!

Noelle said...

Hi Stef! Nothing brings me out of commenting retirement like a chance to co-bitch about DST! I've actually heard that Obama might get rid of it, and if that's true, it's really all he had to do to earn my vote. I'm still exhausted from my schedule being tossed around like a dingy in a hurricane.

And hold on to that Saturn! They really are the best. Mine's almost half paid up, which is probably where most of my tax return will go... Actually, I just realized that my return is just a fraction of my new credit card debt, and it made me sad. I think I'll treat myself a trip to Target to feel better.

flurrious said...

Mustang Guy is a fool, but in a hilarious sort of way. He probably also thinks it's legal to drive twenty miles over the posted speed limit if he's running late.

I had no idea that DST was such a controversial topic, but since we're talking about it, I have to say that it's always seemed backwards to me. If we're going to have an extra hour of daylight, we should have it in the winter when the days are shorter. There's nothing I hate more than leaving the house in the dark and coming home in the dark. Sometimes, the best you can do for natural light in the winter is to step outside at lunchtime and look around at all the other pasty, blinking mole people.

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