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Archive for February, 2022

More Questions

February 28th, 2022 at 05:05 pm

All right, getting through to the IRS by telephone is clearly like winning the lottery.  Odds seem to be greatly against it. I called at 7 am and was already shut out, told my call could not be handled due to high volume and to call later or "next business day."  When it will be so much better?  I've tried several times since then, but it's a brick wall.

SO.... I have filled out the Identity Theft Affadavit (Form 14039) and the Identity Theft Victim's Request for Copy of Fraudulent Tax Return (Form 4506-F).  I was just getting ready to prepare a fax cover sheet when I realized that no fax number is provided, nor is there any mailing address except a generic one to Department of the Treasury in Fresno, which is to be used if I have "no current tax-related issue." Duh. Why would I fill out this form if I don't have a tax-related issue?

Anyway, for my issue ("Someone used my information to file taxes") I am supposed to use the fax number or address provided to me by a notice or letter from the IRS.  I don't have one.  I found this myself online, I did not get notified! They say that I will be sent a notice explaining the reduction in the refund, I am assuming by mail, but who knows if I will get it? If someone stole my SSN to file a return, no doubt they supplied their own address and I will get NADA.

My question is, do I wait to see if I get a notice and then fax these forms to what I think is less likely to be a black hole?  I am already reconciled that this is going to be a long, long struggle and I may never see the money.

If I consult a tax expert, will the fee make it not worth doing?  I don't know what to do.

And There's More...

February 27th, 2022 at 09:04 pm

I wrote a little about my tax problem in comments yesterday, and again I'd like to thank those who have provided helpful information.

I thought I'd just update you all on just how terrible my day was yesterday.  After learning I may be robbed of my tax return by a cybercriminal, I had quite a head of steam and I went to the gym to work it off. I was on one of the machines, when I heard yelling. A member was yelling quite loudly and angrily at one of the workers (someone I know to be very calm and reasonable). I couldn't tell what he was yelling about, but he got louder and louder until the worker told him he had to leave. He went and got his coat and bag, and came back screaming even louder and meaner. His demeanor was very threatening. At that point all the workers told him to leave -- forever -- his gym membership was cancelled, and the police were called.  He did leave. I went to the front desk to ask what it was about and they said they didn't even know, but that he had threatened to come back and kill them all, and so they were waiting for police protection. Yikes! I left, too, after I was sure he was not lurking around. I had no desire to be there for Act Two! No one else left, though, which I thought was strange, but maybe they didn't realize what he had said.

When I was driving away, I met the police car coming in with its lights flashing and siren wailing. It was very unsettling! I was worried about the staff and the people who were still working out, but I heard no news about it, and I have to assume he was just venting and didn't return with a gun.

So I came home, very upset, but my son and grandson came over to play games, and they made me feel much better. Today I'm just hanging around home, but soon I'll head out for a walk. I'm not sure when I'll go back to the gym!

Tax Fraud

February 26th, 2022 at 05:00 pm

I got my state tax refund this morning. That prompted me to check on my federal return, since it usually comes first. To my great surprise, I learned that my refund was changed from $1937 to $537.  I thought I must have made an error, but when I checked the details page, it said the SSN of one or more individuals claimed as a qualifying dependent was missing or incomplete, that the last name of one of those individuals did not match their records, that one or more of those individuals exceeds the age limit, and that my adjusted gross income exceeds $75K.  (I wish!)  FRAUD, FRAUD, FRAUD! I did not claim any dependents at all, and my AGI is $5,377!

I cannot call to complain until 7am Monday morning.  I am beyond furious.  Any suggestions?

PJ Pants!

February 21st, 2022 at 07:41 pm

The PJ pants I got the other day were so perfect, I decided to stock up a little. They are not just PJ pants, but lounging pants and workout pants for me. Since the pandemic began, I've worn PJ pants pretty much all the time. Of course all that wear that has taken a toll on the condition of my supply. I bought three more pairs yesterday for a total of $48.  Now I'm set. I will probably weed out a few of my shabbiest old ones.  Variables are now at 88%. But I think I can stop spending now. Food, gas, meds and household supplies are all good.  I could use a haircut, but I'll put that off till March.

I am getting impatient for my tax refund, and also for the resolution of my refinance. I'm pretty sure it will go through, but I'd like to get the final word.

Oh yes, got the lid organizer today.  I love it! It fits the cabinet well and there is plenty of space for all my lids. I am now anxious for the bakeware organizer so I can feel like everything is in its place -- neatly.

Spending is Creeping Up

February 19th, 2022 at 07:29 pm

Popping in to report yet a little more spending.  Yesterday I went to Walmart (first time in a long time!) and bought two pairs of pajama pants ($30). I also spent $28 on groceries -- things I can't get at Aldi or Sam's -- and $3 on Easter cards.

This morning I ordered two different vertical cabinet organizers -- one for pot lids, one for bakeware -- from Amazon. $42 for both. I had previously ordered a lid organizer, but that shipment was lost and I cancelled it. I think I will like this one better, anyway. It's adjustable. This was a bit of a splurge, but I am so tired of wrestling with things that are improperly stored.

I forgot to mention previously the $40 I gave to the grandkids for Valentine's Day ($10 each).

So with all that, variables are now up to 82%. Eek!

In other news, my refinance is going along well; I will report on that if and when it's approved.

Dairy Relief

February 17th, 2022 at 04:51 pm

I stopped at Walgreens yesterday and picked up two boxes of Dairy Relief -- lastase.  The cost was $21. I bought two boxes because the second was half off.  It's a lot cheaper -- like $0 -- if I get it through my Medicare Advantage plan, but I can't order again until April, and I need it now.

I also went to DSW and picked up the boots which I had already paid for online. I was glad that they fit. I think they are going to be my go-to boots because they are easy to slip on, and comfortable. They'll get a workout later after our snowstorm today.  Right now it's calm and dry, but that isn't going to be the case later. I went out earlier and raised my wipers so they don't get glued to the windshield. I really hope the snowfall is below 4 inches, because otherwise I will have to move my car for plowing.

I read an article that said that our city (a suburb of Chicago) is one of five in the nation to receive an award for excellence in snow removal management.  I have to say they are right -- the snow removal is always fast and thorough.  It's just such a pain to move my car, but I guess that's the price I pay.

Spendy Day

February 14th, 2022 at 08:17 pm

I was due for an oil change -- or my car was, anyway -- so I got that done this morning; also got tires rotated and alignment. Along with an additive recommended by the maker, the whole bill was $124. From the auto shop I went to Sam's to get gas -- I neglected to pick up my receipt, but I think it was about $23 -- and then on inside where I spent $58 on groceries and $59 on medications.  While I was out I got my emissions test done -- luckily, my car passed and so there will be no added expense there.

Variables are at 63%, so I'm running a little high, but I think things will settle down for the rest of the month. 

It's a very cold day and I'm glad to be at home, ready to put my feet up and read a good book!

Experian Identity Works

February 9th, 2022 at 04:38 pm

Remember the Equifax breach? I was part of the class action settlement, and I chose free credit monitoring as my compensation. I didn't hear anything and I forgot about it. Turns out the settlement was tied up by some court challenges (or something) and finally I have received my reward! I signed up this morning. I feel relieved. The scam artist I succumbed to a few months ago has really weighed on my mind, even though he (or they) never got any money from me. Any layer of protection will ease my mind.

My other news -- I was called up for standby jury duty, but I got off -- for life! I am over 70, so I do not ever have to serve on a jury if I don't want to. I called and got my name off the list. Honestly, I think it might be an interesting experience, and certainly a public service, but my one brush with jury duty was off-putting. The criminal court I had to report to was deep in the city, not easy to get to, and the whole process -- standing in line, getting through security -- was not easy to navigate. Parking was a nightmare. I had to spend the entire day there and was never even interviewed. I can't imagine doing that now with Omicron still circulating and its baby brother just getting going.

Relative Warmth

February 7th, 2022 at 03:06 pm

It warmed up enough yesterday to take a walk -- it turned out to be a short one, because my back was hurting -- but it was good to get out and move around.  I stopped at Walgreens (obviously, my go-to store!) and bought some popcorn and a couple of valentine cards. Total cost was $10.  Variables are at 28%.

The reason my back was hurting -- all my fault.  I moved some furniture around and the next day I realized I had done something to my back. It wasn't heavy furniture.  I moved a small chest of drawers into my kitchen because I realized I could use the drawer space in there much more than where it was -- in the foyer. My kitchen came with only three small drawers; it's been quite a challenge.  Then I moved a small nightstand into the foyer. Both moves prompted a lot of rearranging of contents. Then I got inspired to find a space for a couple of Rubbermaid containers that have been sitting out. I got used to them and had begun to think of them as furniture!  Now they're in a closet, which I had to clean out, of course. It was quite a bit of work, but worth it.

I'm looking forward to another walk today, as it will be in the thirties!

Another Winter Purchase

February 6th, 2022 at 05:52 pm

I got a teaser email about boots at marked-down rates from DSW. I don't exactly NEED boots -- I have several pairs, but every pair has something about it I don't like. Mostly about the fit and ease of putting on/off.  So I sprang for a pair that looks like it will work for me.  We'll see.  I know it's a risk, ordering footwear online.  I arranged for store pickup, so I'm going to try them on before I leave the store and return them immediately if they're not right.  The price was good -- $55.  That pushed variables up to 27%.

Today will be unusually warm -- in the 30's, woo-hoo!  So I plan to take a walk, which is something the weather has kept me from doing for several days.

I'll be so glad when winter is over.

Too Much Snow

February 5th, 2022 at 04:48 pm

Snow has been a real issue here lately. My car was pretty socked in on Thursday, when I had to move it for plowing. I realized then that even though I have a snow broom for sweeping off the car, I needed a shovel for moving the snow under and around the tires. (I haven't had a shovel before because we have a maintenance guy who shovels all the walks.) I bought one yesterday at Home Depot for $18. A little high-priced, but I rejected a cheaper one because of the cheaper quality.

I also made a short stop at Aldi and spent $34 on groceries and $2 for little Russell Stover gift boxes that I will give away for Valentines Day.  Supply chain report: I was unable to get lactose-free milk and canned biscuits. I can do without the milk -- I have some powdered milk if I need it for cooking -- and the biscuits are not necessary; I just like to have them on hand for impromptu meals.

My Oregon son's birthday is tomorrow -- on Thursday morning I spent $59 on a couple of things from his Amazon wish list -- unfortunately, they won't be delivered till Monday. Dang! 

Variables are at 20%.

I got my first property tax bill of the year.  It is $516. I thought it seemed high, but when I checked, I found it's only $6 more than last year. Anyway, that will get paid with my next SS payment, which is the 16th.

So far, things are going well this year!


February 2nd, 2022 at 05:35 pm

This morning I ordered a lid organizer from Amazon - $15. I will have to clear out a cabinet to use it, so will have re-home some small appliances - blender, jar opener, hand mixer, hot pot. I can store those under my kitchen benches, but it is open space, so I'll need to get some containers. I'll deal with that after the lid organizer comes on the 11th. I might just use cardboard boxes, as they won't be highly visible.  I just need to keep the appliances covered to keep them from getting cruddy.

I did two loads of laundry yesterday ($4), so this month's variables, so far, are at 2%.

We were hit by a snowstorm last night -- some areas worse than others -- so far I have not been informed of plowing so I'm hoping maybe they'll skip it this time.

Lots of Financial Stuff

February 1st, 2022 at 05:02 pm

First of all, my January recap:

Gifts/Charity: $1200 (college funds for grandchildren)

Housing: $808

Insurance: $727 (Auto; semi-annual)

Utilities: $199

Medical/Health:  $185 (mostly for glasses)

Groceries: $64

Personal: $43

Household Supplies: $35

Phone: $31

Eating Out/Takeout: $23

Vet/Pet Supplies: $20

Entertainment: $16

Clothing/Accessories: $12

Furnishings/Equipment/Decor: $8

Car Repair/Maintenance: $3

Grand Total: $3390

Variables: 51%


A very low-spend month in many ways, but high total due to the college fund gifts and insurance.

I started the ball rolling on refinancing my mortgage. I want to get a fixed rate before the rates go up. I also want to move my mortgage away from the credit union that has given me so much grief over the years over whether my condo building is insured or not. (It is -- it always is -- but my property managment company has a terrible front office, so proving it is always a struggle, and the credit union is NOT understanding). I am hoping that a refinance with a bigger lender will get rid of that requirement. I don't know anyone else who has to do this.

Anyway, I am halfway through the process, just waiting for a callback from the mortgage specialist to finish up.

I did my taxes yesterday, and I am getting $2072 in refunds. I began the process with TaxAct and went all the way through it until it was clear I was going to have to pay for both federal and state. For quite a few years I've used TaxAct and federal was free. This year you have to be younger than 56 for some reason. I stopped right there, sought out a truly free site (FreeTaxUSA) and did it all over again (though it was easier, having done it once already). Taxes filed and no cost.

Hoping my refinance goes through without a hitch. I am not expecting a lower monthly payment, since I'll be switching to fixed from adjustable, but if I come out even I'll be happy. Just don't want my mortgage payment to shoot up. I may also open a line of credit because eventually I will have to remodel my bathroom (many things wrong).