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Taxes and an off-grid commune

February 3rd, 2019 at 06:04 am

I spent 5 hours on my federal tax return yesterday, and I would have been done had it not been for the fact that the ACA/my state healthcare exchange has not mailed me their 1095-A form yet. I should receive it this week.

I completed everything else including a multitude of schedules and forms. I itemized my deductions, which came to "just" $11,200, so I wound up taking the standard $12,000 deduction instead. It looks like I'll be getting about $200 back on the federal, which tells me I did a good job of calculating the impact of certain things I did during the year, like a small ($7K) backdoor Roth IRA conversion and fairly significant healthcare costs.

I figure my taxes without any special software; I just print the tax forms and closely use the IRS instructions. It's an excruciating process, but I feel more assured I'm doing things correctly this way.

Looking forward to a walk with my friend this afternoon and also plan to ensure the rest of the ice is gone from my driveway slope when the sun softens it up.

Dad seems a bit more like his old self each day I go see him. I brought him some black bean and sweet potato soup I made in a thermos to keep it hot, and when i was headed for the elevator going home, my sister comes in with her own homemade pizza. So at least dad is eating well.

I really dislike the rehab place he's in, although I think it's probably no different than most other places. It bothers me he gets no physical therapy on the weekends, simply because it's the weekend, while all the other staff is there 7 days a week. It just slows down his recovery process and it's not good for him to be sitting in a chair all day long.

When you walk down the hall, people may look at you but then quickly look away, or avoid eye contact entirely, because I think they don't want to be bothered by you asking questions. Even my dad observed early on that "everyone is in a hurry." And when you do get someone's attention, invariably they say they aren't the right person to ask. With a revolving group of staff that changes with each shift, it's really hard to form any connections with any of dad's caretakers.

Dad also made the observation that the staff will do what's most convenient for them, not what's best for the patient. After a few hours of sitting in the wheelchair, it gets uncomfortable, and at one point while i was there dad asked to lay down on his bed. The aide wouldn't do it because lunch would be coming soon and then she'd have to get him up again.

I reconnected with an old friend on Facebook. He was from CT, someone I knew in my 20s, but he has been living in southern Vermont for years now, with his wife, on 20 acres on which they have built a "Resilient Cross Generational Neighborhood."

Fully occupied, they will have 18 or so people there, each living in their own "tiny home" enjoying a close-knit, rural lifestyle embracing all ages. They are living off grid; he has a successful solar panel business and so all the homes have solar, plus backup generator electricity. You pay $30K for new construction and then just $130 a month, which covers things like water and firewood. There's a greenhouse and garden, and gray water and composting toilets. Coming soon is a wind generator, pool and hot tub, plus a lodge house.

I am so impressed. He has found a way to put his personal beliefs into action.

The stock market rebounded nicely, at least in terms of my bottom line, which is now back up $30K. It hasn't fully recovered to where it was, but it's not too far off.



4 Responses to “Taxes and an off-grid commune”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I'm glad overall your father is feeling better, but what a sad state of our healthcare that the staff cannot move someone when asked for comfort reasons. Couldn't he have then eaten in bed? That is not right at all. I think the people go into those jobs generally for the right reasons, but they get bogged down with paper and reporting tasks which is what they are reviewed on, and forget the human being with feelings on the other side. Praying for you and your father.

  2. Dido Says:

    Glad your Dad is improving and that you and your sister can spend the time to be with him; sorry that the rehab isn't any better. They are such frustrating places.

    Good job drafting the taxes. If you want a check against your hand calculations, you can draft them online with TaxAct and then just not submit them thru TaxAct. I did that this morning and was motivated to make a $400 Traditional IRA contribution for 2018, wiping out the balance due I would otherwise have owed to the Feds. Still owe $42 to PA tho.

    Your friend's place in VT sounds fantastic. Living in a co-living community is something that appeals to me.

  3. rob62521 Says:

    Glad your dad is improving and hope he continues to do so. You are a good daughter to look for his best interests.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Dido, nice move with the taxes, plus you just boosted your retirement savings. Just sent you a note about the "commune." Maybe a visit there this summer is called for?

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