Quarantine and taxes

When the first stay-at-home mandates came out, I jumped into it with a “carpe diem” kind of energy.

  • By Will Morrow For the Peninsula Clarion
  • Monday, May 18, 2020 3:28am
  • LifeCommunity

We’re coming up on two months of stay-at-home, and, quite frankly, I thought I would have accomplished more.

I’m certainly counting my blessings — I’ve been in that “nonessential” category, and I’ve been in a position to stay home and not worry about finances. My family is safe, and I’m grateful. I know not everyone can say that.

When the first stay-at-home mandates came out, I jumped into it with a “carpe diem” kind of energy.

I exercised every day — I’ve even lost a few pounds. I took the dogs for long, socially distant walks. My throwing shoulder is the loosest it’s been in years, and my dogs might’ve dropped a few pounds, too.

I resealed the grout and recaulked the tub in the bathroom.

I added an electrical receptacle so we’d have a convenient place to charge the fancy new cordless vacuum.

I upgraded and replaced some components on my mountain bike. I dusted off my junior high school home economics skills and made masks for my family.

I watched “Tiger King.”

In the space of two weeks, I got more work done on the woodstrip canoe I’ve been building than I have in the previous 19 years since I started that project.

I even started on my taxes.

But somewhere along the way — maybe the second or third time that stay-at-home guidelines were extended — I lost some of that momentum. It’s been day to day, not seize the day.

Over the past few weeks, my productivity window seems to have shrunk. I’ve found myself getting lost in YouTube videos for hours at a time — and not even remembering what it was I’d watched. After finishing tax returns for my kids — the “easy” ones — I stalled out on doing my own.

I’ve even had a few days where I’ve just felt mentally and emotionally overwhelmed, and spent the day curled up on the couch. Thank goodness for Tsalteshi Trails and the Kenai beach. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have those places to go to decompress.

And with the projects I have started, I seem to be making more work for myself rather than actually getting anything done.

For example, I thought it would be a good idea to try to fix the springy spot in the floor between the kitchen and living room. Maybe I watched one too many DIY videos during my YouTube binges, but I figured it would be a pretty simple fix.

However, when I cut away the drywall from the ceiling below, what I found was what a contractor friend called “interesting.” I also found a crushed up beer can, which wasn’t a surprise as I’ve found a couple every time I’ve peeked behind the drywall — maybe that explains the “interesting” construction techniques.

Our house isn’t in any danger of caving in, but it will take a bit more that I expected to tighten up the joists, and we might have an opening in the ceiling downstairs for a while. I didn’t see that on YouTube.

And I liked the new components I put on my mountain bike so much, I ordered a similar setup for my fat-tire bike — one more thing for the to-do list.

Even working on the canoe has generated additional work. Because I’ve worked on it so intermittently over the years, there’s some uneven strips that will take a lot of sanding and some gaps that will take some filling before I can move on to fiberglassing.

One thing I have learned from my YouTube binge is all the things I should’ve done differently. I’ve been working on the canoe for so long, YouTube wasn’t a thing when I started. Internet was still dial-up. So I followed building instructions from a book, interpreting and adapting as I went.

As it turns out, at least according to YouTube, there are lots of tricks and techniques I could’ve used that might have helped me avoid some of those gaps and uneven strips.

Which makes me wonder, what does YouTube have to say about filing taxes? I’m sure it’s got lots of good advice. This could take a while.

Lucky for me, I don’t have anywhere I need to go.

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at willmorrow2015@gmail.com.

• By Will Morrow, For the Peninsula Clarion

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