Caution: Turbo Tax hidden fees

For those of you in the USA, it’s getting to be tax season.

I just completed mine and had a horrible experience with Turbo Tax right at the very end.

First of all, I’m not that complicated. I can get by with the Free version. But… one of my documents this year was special and required a special form… oops, there’s $35 to upgrade to the next level. Okay, I can stomach that. But what’s this? Here, AFTER FINISHING ALL OF THE FEDERAL TAXES AND ALL OF THE STATE TAXES, which took me 3 full evenings to complete (and now it’s the middle of the night tonight), Turbo Tax SUDDENLY informs me that to use any of the State information I’ve just completed, I must pay another $37. If I don’t pay, I will have to begin the State Taxes again from scratch, by myself. So shit, fine, take more of my money. [You know, Turbo Tax, if you had been honest up front, I could have made an informed decision to choose your product over another method. I probably would have chosen you anyway. But now you’ve left a bitter, bitter taste in my mouth.]

Here’s where I really got pissed at them. AFTER you’ve elected to shell out a now minimum $71.98 you weren’t planning on spending in the first place, and after you’ve previewed all of your documents and are ready to file, you have a chance to select which method of payment to use for the amount you owe. If you select credit card, as I did, they tell you there will be a small “convenience fee”. Okay, I can stomach a small fee. So you go to the next page and there are all of the typical, happy boxes for filling out your credit card information. AT THE VERY, VERY BOTTOM OF THE PAGE, IN FINE PRINT, AND GRAYED OUT, YOU WILL FIND THE FEE INFORMATION.

NO. IT ISN’T A SMALL FEE. It is something like 2.49% of what you owe. I’m not kidding. I owed over $2000 [that’s less than I was expecting, thankfully], so that was not a small fee. I would have paid a $50+ “convenience fee” just to use a credit card, and they barely even tell you! If you aren’t LOOKING for it, you wouldn’t have seen it at all! (No, I did not choose that method of payment.)

So for those of you getting ready to start your taxes, just be aware. Turbo Tax is not being up-front this year. It did save me money compared with going in to a professional tax preparation company, but I will certainly keep my eyes open for new options come next year.

Journal for tonight, music practice and asperger dx

Yesterday, I played music with someone else after work. I was so nervous but it went very well. There were moments where I lost myself into the music completely, and there was only the music, no bodies or instruments there, no fingers, no thinking to read the notes, just the two different instrument sounds blending and becoming its own entity of music. Hearing but not participating in the creation of it. Wonderful moments that are only possible when the musicians are actively listening to each other (not just for pitch and tempos, but for any spur of the moment dynamics, articulations, and whatnot).

Tonight, I got just over halfway through my taxes and then got stuck needing a copy of a document I no longer have in my possession. I remember copying the document at some point in my past, so I started to search through my very-old-standing email. Oh. My. Gosh.

Such random things appeared. I got side-tracked like you wouldn’t believe. I even found the original date of my Asperger diagnosis, and nearly all relevant conversations surrounding it. Article upon article upon article. Email after email. Random lists after random lists. Discussions after discussions. Ex-therapists, ex-then-friends, ex-high-school counselor. Notes to myself. Notes to other people. It just went on and on. I’ve been side-tracked on this for hours now and still barely scratched the surface of what I found in my email account. There are so many things there that I’ve forgotten. Some, I need to forget again in a hurry.

An interesting note is that two health professionals were stressing OCD and me a lot. I don’t have any recollection of that. I didn’t think anyone had paid any attention to OCD symptoms until this year. I don’t remember it ever being a “thing”. I know for SURE I never told anyone half of what I’ve written here in this blog, so it’s kind of amazing to me that they were stressing it back then.

Another random note is that back when I was dissociating constantly, I was diagnosed with Depersonalization Disorder. This was by an ANP I do not respect so it’s hard for me to take anything he did or said seriously. I saw him twice a week immediately following College, until he randomly quit the practice one day without a word. I say he was terrible because he had a private meeting with my parents that I was unaware of then, and told them some things about childhood abuse that he should not have told them. It destroyed them. My mom is still not the same. He also told them I would never stop dissociating and that I was diagnosed with Depersonalization Disorder. He never told me that disorder name and both of my parents refused to tell me, either. He must have told them it would do more harm than good to tell me? (My mom told me years later.) They walked around in a horrible state of grief for a long time, mourning. They did question me about some childhood things. I was honest about two things and to this day I wish I had denied it all because it was absolutely the worst thing they could have heard. Horrible. I later learned he’d been run out of town. He was not respected as a mental health professional in the community.

But yeah, anyway. Some of what I read tonight was pretty yuck. Better burried and forgotten (it will be again soon, don’t worry). But some of it was soooo fascinating. I even got to read when my dog was first getting allowed to sleep up in my bedroom with me at night!!! Which helped my sleep so much; hearing his breathing and helping put him to bed at night helped me to go to bed at a better time and to fall asleep more easily.

OCD: Contamination: Food, wasting

It’s finally come to me removing food under the pretense that I will eat it when that is not my real intention.

Why has it come to this, you ask?

(Sadly, these stories will involve meat; if you can’t stomach the thought of people eating meat, please don’t read on. There’s a reason I’m not vegan right now but I won’t go into it yet.) I believe it started with some amazingly-cooked turkey legs that were wrapped in foil and placed in the refrigerator on a night I did not eat at home. There were quite a few legs.

  1. Many legs in fridge
  2. I wasn’t home when they were made and served
  3. I barely touch anything in a fridge to begin with; I certainly won’t touch food that appeared without my having been present
  4. Perhaps 3 or 4 days into their existence in the fridge, it was suggested to me that I eat them
  5. I took 2 with me to work and did eat them for the rest of the week, in spite of them being already past my 3-day-old comfort zone. I was anxious but zapped them in the microwave for a long time, and ate them. (i.e. My anxiety of letting down the cook was higher than my anxiety of intestinal issues.)
  6. There were still more legs in the fridge
  7. 1.5 weeks into it, they were offered to me, and I declined
  8. Same for the next day
  9. And the next day
  10. And I’m sweating bullets trying so hard not to offend the cook but there’s no chance I’m consuming these any more! (How does one politely decline food when it is now being pushed at you with a fair bit of momentum?)
  11. Somewhere after they were 2 weeks old, maybe 2.5 weeks old, they finally disappeared. Of course I feel horrible, but also relieved.

Only, there is a lot more food in the fridge where that came from. I’m learning the patterns. There will not be cooked food in the fridge for periods of time. Then the food shows up in high quantities when it shows up. I cannot consume it all within the 3 days. I wish that I could freeze things so I could spread it out better but there is not enough freezer space.

This is so tragic to me, and so wrong, but I finally broke down and took a bag of ribs with me to work, but not to eat. I’d had a couple of them the night before, and got sick later (probably unrelated). The ribs were already past 3 days old then. So I took a baggy with me to work with the intention to place them in the compost bin. >_< It is so horrible and removes the possibility that someone else at the house would eat them, but I just cannot face the inquisition as to why I won’t touch a food that’s in the fridge. There are still tons more ribs in the fridge and nobody is eating them and they get older every day and I’m still expected to eat them.

There are a couple more items that I will be gradually taking with me to work, for the purpose of disposal. I wish this were not the case. I don’t know what else to do.

Maybe I could purchase a small freezer and sneak it into my room without them noticing it… and without them noticing the additional electricity on their bill…

OCD: Living by the Rules: Aligning or Centering Certain Things

Flower

Flower

It’s one of my last OCD topics! ⭐️ I think I have just a handful left to write about after this one.

This is a “small” one but has been sooooooooooooo-oooooooooooooooooooo-ooooooooooooooooooo incredibly annoying over the years. I’m not going to preface this, I’ll just pick one at random and start.

Pens: OMG pens. I used to have these particular pens I “had” to use when writing in a certain journal. That whole ritual isn’t my point; my point is that the pens had a single line of text on them, and the cap had to be removed for use. So to place the cap back on once done using the pen, I had to line up the cap’s pocket-clip-thingy with the line of text on the pen. Perfectly. It could take me 20 minutes, every moment of which I hated. But the anxiety was too high to leave it even slightly not-centered. Of course, you also had to hold it from various angles and make sure it’s really, perfectly as even as possible. Very tough.

Now? I buy pens that either don’t have any markings on the body, or are click-pens (no caps).

Window openers: These are the windows that open by cranking a small lever around and around. Well upon opening and closing, the lever of course has to be perfectly vertical. This can take an enormous amount of time, as well, sometimes meaning that you have to change how far the window is open in order to align the lever.

Sink faucet handles: Turn-knobs are fine because you have to twist them to the point where water stops dripping. There’s no choice. But the type with a single handle that must be lowered in order to stop the water is annoying. They have to be perfectly centered, too, even if you’re in a hurry. And even if you just finished centering it a minute ago between washing your hands and brushing your teeth or whatever. Annoying.

Now: As with all of this type, I don’t let myself touch item if someone else closed it and left it imperfect. All the better. But if I’m the one closing it, it still has to be centered. Someday, I’d like to break this one. It’s sooooooooo annoying and time-consuming and doesn’t accomplish anything. I’m sure if I did it enough times and nobody close to me got sick or died, I could probably keep going with it. But it’s hard to get started because of the risk of someone getting sick and dying, you know? Anyway, it won’t be today. I’ve got a loved one traveling.

Random Additions:

  • I once had to center my drinking glass perfectly within a counter tile any time I set my glass down. But I don’t have to do that anymore.
  • Tupperware lids, typically have to line up the lids to face the same way as the words on the bottom, but not always.
  • Front-facing: Always must face forward any bottles, cans, etc. (this is praised in pharmacy work, at least 😉 )
  • Obnoxious caps: Caps that have a tab or something that can be aligned with the main body labels. Sometimes I can ignore them, but not always.

Hypoglycemia thoughts

I just had a really weird episode of low blood sugar. I was in bed but not asleep yet, and suddenly felt the strange sensation of that lightheadedness/ almost dizziness, and like my face draining of blood (my own anxiety reaction to it). My stomach felt weird, between hunger and nausea, and I felt incredibly shaky inside. I held up my hand but it was steady, so I doubted myself. Sometimes I am told enough times that I’m a hypochondriac (by family) that I start to wonder, you know? So I debated at first, if I should go eat or not. But I did decide to go eat. I felt so weak and shaky, I didn’t know if I could make it upstairs to the kitchen, but I did. I started to get out food but couldn’t think of what to eat because my brain was cloudy. But I did get out food. I sat down to eat it and then the shaking started. My hands were shaking and even my leg was shaking a little.

I thought back, and realized that what I’d eaten for dinner was all stuff that breaks down into sugar really quickly. Normally, I don’t think it would have mattered that much, but since I exercised about a million times more than usual today, it must have turned it into a big deal.

Anyway, I’m back down in bed and it’s been | OMG it’s been nearly an hour since the symptoms started?!?! I’d have guessed maybe 20 minutes. Crazy. Anyway, yeah, I’m back down in bed now and am feeling infinitely better. Sheesh.

UPDATE: It turns out I left the food out afterwards!!! OMFG wasted good food. >_<

Weekend Journal Post

Pedicularis densiflora, Indian warrior

Bad picture of Pedicularis densiflora, Indian warrior. This is a picture of my “real” camera’s display screen – I haven’t figured out how to transfer my pics off of my camera onto my computer (I can’t find the cord).

Preface: If I sound at all negative, it’s just from the exhaustion! This weekend was positive through-and-through.

I haven’t processed this weekend yet. I feel like writing anyway, as I wait for a load of laundry to finish being washed.

On Saturday, I had a wonderful, chill day with “Joe”, and later in the day my brother came over for a BBQ and it all went smoothly. I even got in a small bike ride in the sun.

I feel strange right now. Floaty. It’s not bad. I’m exhausted. There’s the physical exhaustion but it’s more. Today was incredibly stressful socially at times. [I had to take cetirizine earlier because I was allergic to something in the rental car; maybe that’s why I feel a bit floaty now.]

There were six of us total and everybody was extremely nice. They’re from a whole ‘nother world. It’s like this peek into these awesomely accepting, kind, world-wisened people who are completely chill and gentle. I didn’t actually catch which countries everybody was from, and the amount of places the combined total of the six of us has lived was pretty incredible. I definitely felt out of place. It’s the niceness. They weren’t acting contrived in any way; they were genuinely very nice people. I was out of place and the strain to hide it was immense.

Why I’d feel more in place amongst slightly rude people, moody people, people who make jokes I find offensive? People who are embittered and people who judge and people who manipulate? People who won’t notice or care if something really terrible slips out my mouth.

You don’t have to believe me, but there is a pretty fair amount of dark shit that can slip out of me sometimes. I wish I’d just embrace it because the strain of trying to keep it in can be overwhelming sometimes. I think I only let 2 shit things slip out during today, both of which I terribly regret. Two stories. There were a lot of questions during the day (the hike was 4 hours and then there was driving). I suppose I shouldn’t be so upset over just two coming out, but still. There’s honesty and then there’s keeping the social peace, and I am sick and tired of saying things that make anyone’s ears do a double-take. I especially need to work out a more socially-acceptable answer for why I am here and not back Home. My two-sentence answer tends to bring about a very awkward silence. Ugh.

The HIKE was amazing. The weather couldn’t have been much better. The view was amazing. I thought I’d brought way too much water (very heavy) but I ended up drinking every drop. I couldn’t BELIEVE I made it to the top (I did need help getting up part of it; my legs were shot by that point). It was definitely worth it. Great people, great scenery, great weather, great snacks. Some wildflowers and a tree I’ve never seen before.

I’m already sore from head to toe but I’m SO glad I was able to go! I definitely need to keep working out. I’d like to be able to hike a lot more in the next six months.

I have a new current-favorite movie: The Edge of Tomorrow. What’s ironic is that I’ve only seen it in reverse. I saw the ending once, and now I’ve seen it from the early-middle to the end. So hopefully I will catch it from the start some day.

-CUT for IBS TMI (for real)- Continue reading