Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I Got It Done... Sort Of

I think the thing that bothers me most about my life is that I can never get anything all the way done. Part of that is just normal to having kids; when you're trying to do stuff with a kid on each hip, you always feel like you're wading through chest-deep molasses. But I can deal with that part. The part that I have trouble dealing with is the part that I call "the little black raincloud that follows me around and rains only on me."

For some reason that I do not adequately understand, I have a higher-than-normal incidence of things that should by all accounts go right, but manage to go wrong anyway. Just when I think I've dotted all my I's and crossed all my T's, something that only happens to one in a hundred people will inevitably happen to me. A typical example is what happened with our home loan, wherein after spending weeks talking to the loan officer and making sure we had all the required paperwork, a week before we were to close we had to find a different loan because the loan officer failed to pass on an important fact to Underwriting. I believe I inherit this condition from my dad, because it happens to him too.

The result of this condition is that I never get to enjoy finishing anything. So often it happens that it's not over when it should be over, that I just can't deal with the constant surprise, so for my own sanity I have to just assume that nothing is really over until long after the last activity on the issue, at which point there's no joy in celebrating it.

Yesterday, I drove home from Logan in the snow with four children and a ramshackle van with the world's most ancient and humungus rooftop carrier. I filed my federal tax return and paid my state taxes. I made my bank deposit from Baby Animal Days. On Sunday I received the last of the money for my old house and handed over title. But I can't celebrate accomplishing so much, because I'd bet good money that at least one of these things is not all the way done. Here are some of the ways I predict something on this list will go wrong:
  • the bank deposit won't be credited properly to my account. (I already peeked online; it was supposed to be there at the end of the business day and as of last night it wasn't listed in my account activity)
  • it'll turn out I was missing a page or something from my federal return and I'll have to pay a penalty.
  • the state will receive my e-filed return, but for some reason will lose my tax payment and/or not connect it with my return, even though it was paid in a seamless process with e-filing.
  • it will turn out that the guy I talked to at the DMV* about transferring title knew absolutely nothing about what you really have to do to transfer title to a manufactured home, and we'll find this out when the new owners go to get title put in their name.
  • it's still snowing and I can't unload the van because I have to climb up on a ladder to unload the rooftop carrier, and it's not safe to do that in the snow.
I will be highly surprised if the bank deposit shows up, the feds send me my refund without any problems, I don't get a letter from the state saying I have a penalty for non-payment of taxes, the title transfer goes off without a hitch, and the snow stops later this morning and I can get my stuff out of the van. If all that happens, maybe then I'll have something to celebrate-- but it'll take several weeks from now to find out if it really is all done, and by then it'll be anticlimactic.

* Manufactured homes that aren't on a permanent foundation are treated legally as a sort of car. They're titled through the DMV, the loans on them are basically 30-year car loans, and owners of them have very few of the rights we associate with owning real estate.