Monday, February 20, 2012

What Did You Call Me?

I have never been one who calls people by a nickname. I rarely even shorten someone’s name unless I am introduced to them using that name.  If your name is Michael, I will call you Michael. I won’t call you Mike, or Mikey, or any other form used, unless you go by that name full time. For instance, my first husband is Lawrence, but he goes by Larry, and that’s how I met him and it’s the only name I ever called him. The only time I used Lawrence was when I filed my divorce papers.
But that’s not what bugs me. What bugs me are all the terms of endearment that people use for their spouses, family and friends. It’s just not sincere. It wouldn’t bother me if they only used them for that one particular person…but they don’t. They will call others they hardly know by the same nickname.  So you’re going to call me ‘sweetheart’ but then call the waitress at Jerry’s Deli ‘sweetheart’, too? I don’t think so. And please don’t call me by a name you used to call your ex-wife or girlfriend. That would really make me feel so very special. Seriously?

It’s the same thing with people telling people ‘I love you’ way too easily now, to people they really don’t love. The kids say it to all their friends, and some they aren’t close to. It’s way overused and loses its meaning for the people you really do love. I remember my daughter asking me to tell one of her friends that I love her. I said, “But I don’t” and she said, “Say it anyway…everyone does.” I wouldn’t do it. Saying I love you is reserved for those who I really do love. That’s not a compromise I will ever make and I don’t understand why others do.
I remember when I met my first husband and he started calling me ‘honey’. It was so odd to me because no one in my family had ever used terms of endearment. My parents only used their respective given names when they spoke to each other and our given names when they spoke to us kids. Both my sisters’ names were one syllable, so you couldn’t even shorten theirs. Actually, in our family, syllables were added, instead of shortened. I think it was a Yiddish/Jewish thing my grandparents did. I was Jaimala, my sister Beth was Betāmela and my sister Pam was Pamela; although Pamela was actually her real name. But being young and naïve, or just plain stupid, and only knowing her as Pam, I didn’t realize her given name had an –ela at the end. She ‘changed’ it to her real full name about 15 years ago...from Pam to Pamela. I still call her Pam. After 40+ years it’s kinda hard to start calling someone by a whole new name. to me, and not gonna happen.
But back to the endearing terms…and my husband calling me ‘honey’. It took me quite a while to get used to that. And I just couldn’t find a word I wanted to call him. Well…at least not while I was in love. I would practice saying words in front of the mirror. “Hi honey.” “Hi sweetheart.” “Hi sweetie.” Nothing felt like it would just flow out of my mouth naturally. It just wasn’t for me. I felt so ridiculous saying words like that. I guess it’s all how you are raised? I’m not sure, but since I never heard it in my house growing up, it wasn’t ‘normal’ for it to pour out. I just wasn’t feeling it. I did get used to him calling me ‘honey’ and he never called anyone else ‘honey’ besides me, so it was ok.  But I don’t remember ever having a nickname for him. I believe it just remained ‘Larry’.  At least out loud.
My second husband had 80 gazillion names for me.  And every single one of those…he used for others, too. It bugged the shit out of me. You may not call me ‘honey’ if you’re going to call Mildred, the 70 year old dry cleaner lady, ‘honey’, too. You may not call me ‘dear’.  We are not in our 80’s yet. Do not call me ‘darling’. I’m not Doris Day and you’re definitely not James Garner and we are not living in 1963.  And one of my most despised names of all…’Babe’. Do not ever call me ‘babe’. You’re not a construction worker whistling at me as I walk by…”Yo, Babe.” I am not a pig from a movie, nor am I some 20 something starring in a big screen feature film or a baseball player from the roaring 20's. Everyone uses ‘babe’ and it means nothing when everyone is using it. And I find it kind of demeaning for some reason. I want to feel special when someone calls me by a name other then my given name. It should mean something. I don’t want to be mixed in with everyone else you’re calling by that name. You may as well just call me Shirley. (“And don’t call me Shirley).   
I did start calling him ‘honey’ for some reason, and I kept saying it until it felt normal. Or as normal as it was going to feel for me, which still was more abnormal than normal; never natural. I do remember the term ‘shithead’ being used quite a bit. That felt natural. Would you consider that a term of endearment? Probably not, huh? Over the years there were a few other names, but nothing I would post here. But they did flow out just fine at the time.

I had a boyfriend for a while, who I called ‘Weenie’. Don’t ask me why, but that felt natural. He didn’t take to it too easily at first, but when I pointed out that it actually was MY term of endearment for him only, he grew accustomed to it. It had nothing to do with his little pecker…if that’s what you’re wondering. It had nothing to do with him being a pansy. It just felt right and it was indigenous to him only. How special would that make a person feel? cute. 
There are only two people I have nicknames for…my daughters. And it’s the same for both and I never call anyone else by those names…’Sweetie’ or ‘Sweetie-pie’. I don’t know why those feel right but they do. Maybe because most of the time they are sweeties and my love is so deep. Although there are times I’d like to call them by other names…not so endearing…but I refrain because I’m supposed to set a good example. Aren’t I and do I have to? My girls know there are a couple of names I will not answer to. I will not answer to Mama. We are not in Little House on the Prairie nor are we in Tara. Actually, I think Mama is the only one I don’t like. I still love being called ‘Mommy’ no matter how old they get. It will always make me feel warm and fuzzy and that’s exactly what terms of endearment should do.
People have quite a few names for me that are variations of my given name. So that’s ok and kind of sweet. I will answer to Hymie (phonetically spelled for those of you who don’t speak Spanish and who obviously don’t live in L.A. then), Jai, Jaimala, Jame…and most forms thereof. I will also answer to ‘Love of my life’, ‘Woman of my dreams’, ’20 Million Dollar Winner of Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes’.  Or…Jaime, Jaime bo bamey, banana fanna fo famie, fee fy mo mamie…Jaime. 

And that’s the name of the game……Babe.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Filing My Frickin' Federal Tax Forms (A Fare for Frequently Using the 'F' word)

I just finished filing my taxes. As soon as my W-2 came in, I was on it. I used to have my accountant do them, but I decided I would do my own since they were so much simpler now. Simpler? That’s what they call simple? You have to be a f**king genius to know WTF they are asking. I’ve never seen anything more complicated in my entire life. I could probably cure cancer before I could figure out how to fill out a 1040 form.

I believe I am now qualified to work for the Internal Revenue Service. Ok...maybe Turbo Tax is the Einstein, but you still have to kind of have a clue what the hell they are asking. My Google was blowing up with all my questions. I couldn't even get past how many dependents I had. Seriously. In my eyes, my kids will always be my dependents because no matter how old they are...they still come to me for money. Doesn't that make them dependent on me? I believe so. But the government doesn't. I swear...I need to have a talk with the commissioner of the IRS regarding who's a dependent and who isn't.

I think I should be able to declare my dog. She costs me a fortune. They didn't ask about any pet dependents though, to my chagrin. I believe vet bills, pet food, doggie meds, grooming...all should be deductible. We ARE taking care of other living beings, are we not? I think we should be able to write them off. Obedience school should be as big a deduction as college. It's education, right? It wouldn't matter to me, though; because it’s obvious I never sent my dog to obedience school, in case you noticed how not well behaved she is. I don't want anyone disciplining my little makes me too upset. But had I, I would've liked it to have been deductible.

Some of the questions they ask are just mind boggling. I honestly have no clue what they are talking about. They start out saying "TurboTax makes doing your taxes easy, with step-by-step guidance, like a GPS." Like a GPS? I'm thinking GPS isn't an acronym for global positioning system. I believe it's saying..."Geez...Pretty [f**king] Stupid" trying to do your own taxes. But hey...I like to live dangerously. And hopefully legally. I guess I'll find out if they call for an audit. So off I went on the Turbo Tax Highway with my GPS.

I was lucky I could answer the 'Personal info' section. Just barely. "Tell us what happened to you last year." Seriously? You've got that much time to hear about my year? Oh...financially. I get it. I was almost ready to write my life story on my tax forms.
Do you think people lie on 'donations'? Like I can remember how many items of clothing I gave away, what sizes, and what price category they fell into. I've moved and cleaned out so many homes in the last few years, I've probably donated more than my net worth. But, by golly, I'm going to itemize how many shirts, jeans, shoes, purses and pajamas I donated and what were designer and non-designer. I'm sure that has to make a huge difference in my charitable donation deduction. And how many items of each? I admit...I'm a little anal about keeping records, but I have to say...I didn't itemize prior to handing my twenty-five GLAD trash bags full of clothes to the tatted up, long haired, drugged out Good Will guy, nor did he check off detailed items when he handed me the blank receipt for my records. According to my itemized receipt I filled out after I left there…I was the most generous benefactor they’ve ever seen…giving them everything I owned just short of my car.
'Did you have any medical bills?' Really? That's like asking me if I have a bowel movement every day. It's a love/hate thing. Of course I have medical bills. Unfortunately I have way too many and have frequent flyer miles at the doctor's office. Kind of like frequenting the toilet although you wish you didn't have to. This section took me a while, moaning and groaning, if you know what I mean.  
'Did you purchase any eye glasses or contacts?' Of course I did...that's how I can read this mish mosh of a ridiculous tax return. How else can I tell what the hell you are trying to ask me if I didn't purchase f**king glasses? Maybe next year I can get x-ray glasses to see through what you are trying to ask. But thank you so much for letting me deduct them. I appreciate that and find it a little strange that they are deductible, but quite pleased. May I deduct my 10 sessions at the shrink that I will need after having a nervous breakdown from deciphering my tax returns, too, please?  

Trying to figure out my filing status alone scares the shit out of me. It takes me 15 minutes to decipher if I'm still considered 'Head of Household' and every year they send me the frickin' questionnaire to be sure I still qualify. Do you see anyone else in this house who is the f**king head? And if you do...please tell me who because I would happily give up that title to them. In fact, I would be happy to become a dependent, just for a short time. But they don't consider my daughter, who lives with me full time, is a part time student, pays no rent, no food, does absolutely nothing around the house, to be my dependent because she made over $3,700? Are you kidding me? $3,700? How do they come up with that amount of money to give her independence from me? She made out like a bandit on her tax return though...while I got screwed! But again...$3,700? Why so little? $37,000 maybe...but $3,700? I'm stupefied.
The way they determine if one of your children is a dependent is if you can answer YES to six questions. Can I tell you how long it took me to figure out what the questions were asking, let alone if I met all six requirements? There were double negatives that I must have read 18 times to figure out if I did meet what it asked or not. And some of the questions were 3 parts and I couldn’t figure out if I met the one part to satisfy the other parts. And then if you satisfy that one, it had to be in conjunction with the others. I felt like I was doing a Rubik’s Cube. And believe me, I never solved it.

‘Do you own any property?’ If I still owned property I would have many more deductions and wouldn’t have fired my accountant who could figure out how to file my tax returns and charge me the $600 he charged me because he did my taxes because I owned property. Of course I don’t own property. Now I kinda wish I did. It sure would’ve made filing my taxes a lot simpler. At least for me.