Friday, February 05, 2010

Hard times and windfalls

I realize it isn't the wise thing to do, but we have always aimed at having a good-sized income tax refund.  Yes, we're letting the government use our money, and we're not getting paid any interest on it.  Whatever.
Actually, these days there's no need for us to have a large refund.  Thank God we aren't living paycheck to paycheck like we used to.
I guess we want that big refund for old times sake.
We had no health insurance at all, for much of our married life.  Cliff worked for a small, family-owned butcher shop; there was one stretch when the boss told Cliff, "I'll supply your insurance out of my own pocket; it's cheaper that way than paying for insurance for your family."
He ended up paying for our son's month-long hospital stay when he broke his leg and had to be in traction; as far as I remember, that was it.
We were amazingly healthy, and it was a good thing.   
For three years, we had great insurance, while Cliff worked for R.B. Rice.
Our kids were both gone from home when R.B. Rice moved to Tennessee, with Cliff and me in our forties.  We went totally without insurance during the years after he lost that job.  Scary.
We've always maintained good credit; it's been a priority of ours to pay our bills.  There were years I don't even know how we did it.
During those lean years, the one thing that often bailed us out was that income tax refund.  After a winter of buying propane, after real estate and personal property taxes coming due, that check was like manna from heaven.
We'd watch the mailbox eagerly, and what a joyful day it was when that wonderful check arrived.  It usually came on a Saturday for some reason, and we'd hop in the car and go buy Cliff three or four pairs of Levis: enough to last him until tax time the next year.  We'd call our propane company and have the tank filled, and actually pay when it was delivered.  We might even take the kids to McDonald's as a treat; we didn't ever eat out, because there was never extra money to do that.
Now it's just me and Cliff, and for now, we're making ends meet pretty well.  But it's the memory of how welcome that refund used to be that keeps us going for a large refund every year.  Even if we're not, at present, going through hard times.


Remo said...

Same here. I started my taxes and so far I owe about $5K. WT? Someone at work said the Fed's changed the rates vs. withholding levels and no one ever mentioned it.

Now I'm pissed.

Midlife Mom said...

I'm here in the sunny south getting a nice fix of warm breezes and blue water. Here on business with Hubby but lots of fun time thrown in too. Just got caught up on all your posts since we've been gone. Always makes for good reading. A couple of questions. How did you get the weight thingy on your side bar? Also did someone write about staying at Ree's?Sounds like it was pretty mean spirited to me. Sad. I'm with you on the noise thing. After just so long I have to turn everything off and have some quiet. I hate having my teeth worked on, they are ultra sensitive! Thankfully I have never had much trouble other then a few fillings but that's bad enough for me, I'm a wimp! Will be home Monday. We are watching the track of the big snowstorm as we change planes in Philly and they are going to get hit bad so it looks. Prayers would be appreciated!

Donna said...

Midlife Mom, if you click on the weight thing, I believe it will take you to the site where I got it. I found it on another blog, and that's how I found the website, I think.

Fernan said...

I might be speaking from the wrong pew but here I go just the same.

People places and things have changed so much faster in the more recent years I can neither keep up nor contain my amusement even passing through a neighborhood I've missed seeing in just the last year or two to speak of.

I think I remember things remaining the same during the dreaded WWII days. No road improvements. No new houses. the only one new house I remember the family built it out of wooden pallets. That project had to have been done by some real determination.
Even when the war had ended new cars looked like the old ones made before the war years.
The biggest change was all the row upon row of new homes built along side Woodward Avenue (US10) running NNW out of Detroit, Mi.. Called shot gun houses all of them built near looking alike, a body could shot through the front door the bullet missing everything having
gone out the back door.
Of course too, being a youngster viewing the world as I was seeing it at that time I spent most of my time waiting: for dad to come home, Saturday morning, Xmas, my birthday, first bicycle, just a few of the waits growing up.

One more wait, was my driver's license at the age of 14 years.

tipper said...

Love your Hard Times Come Again No More post about money : ) I guess me and you have been on the same wave length-neat!

We are always holding out for the tax refund to pay something off-usually taxes.