Are you being served?
Last year, as always, I vowed to keep financial records up to date so I wouldn't have to go through torture at tax time, but did I do it? Well, in a slight improvement, I did stay current until around June. So now I'm left to enter checking, cash, and investment transactions on Quicken, so I can then do the taxes themselves on Tax Cut. I have piles and piles of papers. Ugh.
The good news is after working on this a while, I'm done with cash, almost done with checking (everything reconciles - woo hoo! - and I just have a few 2009 items to enter which aren't needed for 2008 taxes but I like to start out up-to-date), and just started going through brokerage statements. I'm always SO relieved to finish this (at that point, I don't even care if I'm getting a refund or owe money. I would gladly have the IRS take more if it meant I didn't have to do this).
As mentioned previously, I didn't go to any seders but some of the NYT testers did, so the puzzles were ready slightly late. It was best that I go in Thursday morning, so I just stayed up from the day before (had gotten up at 3:40pm Wednesday). The Sunday puzzle got done and on the Magazine server by 10am. But by the time I'd finished the dailies and the Across Lite files, I wasn't able to load them on the server. I heard rumblings around me that there were major system crashes, and confirmed it with a computer person. By now I was very tired and did not want to hang around longer than necessary. Eventually the server came back and I loaded the puzzles.
Although I really needed to sleep, it was a good time to go to the DMV Express and renew my non-driver's license (expiring on my birthday next week), and I had brought along my ID documents. I'd gotten a letter that this renewal had to be done in person (presumably they didn't want to keep the 1996 picture that got re-used in the other renewals), plus I wanted to upgrade to the enhanced ID that lets you enter Canada (I don't have a current passport).
The DMV is more high-tech than the last time I was there, with large numbers flashing on boards to indicate when and where to go. The receptionist gave me the form for the enhanced ID, I filled it out, and no sooner did I hand it in than my number flashed on the board. A clerk checked my documents (while James Brown's "Sex Machine" played on the PA; this was a swinging DMV) and gave me another number. This wait was longer, but not bad. The next clerk processed my papers, and gave me a news clipping to read while I waited (about a German paternity scandal - don't ask - but it was funny), then asked how I wanted to pay. "I don't need a new picture? That's it?" Yup, I was done. Guess they decided I still looked enough like the old photo. So I was in and out in about a half hour.
Stopped at the PO (where, strangely, they wanted ID in order to pay with a credit card. Lucky I have that non-driver's license), grocery store, and finally home. I had been up more than 24 hours by then. I conked out, only to wake up again late in the evening. So I would not have been awake at seder time.
Once awake and refreshed, I did the last step in the puzzle distribution, noting in the e-mail that with all the system problems, I hoped the files were indeed on the server. I got a reply from the night editor that he wasn't sure if some recent files were lost permanently. Oh great. I have backups, but still. At various times today's puzzle was unavailable, available but unscrambled, then scrambled, then unavailable. Parts of the archives disappeared. You may recall we just lost our main puzzle contact, who used to take charge of this sort of thing seamlessly. Crossing fingers that things don't get worse over the holiday weekend.