Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tax Widow

As I write this, I am in the midst of a glorious Winter break.  In my high school years, this was called "Ski Skate Week" - because we lived in the snow, and could use the week to ski and skate.  I think people in the Bay still call it that, but I don't - because we don't live in the snow!  It has to have a new name.  I just call it vacation now:)

However, my vacation would be doubly more pleasurable if my wonderful husband wasn't in the midst of the complete opposite of vacation: busy season.  Every year for the last five years, my wonderful Mike has been shoulder deep in taxes, from mid-January to mid-April.  For the last five years, I have had two week-long vacations right in the middle of that time that we are unable to enjoy together because of the demands of his job!  It is around this time (after about 3-4 weeks of this nonsense) that I start to resent taxes, the IRS, PP&Co, and anything else that explains my husband's absence from our house for more than 12 hours a day.

Don't get me wrong, I am beyond thankful that we are both gainfully employed.  However, living solo a quarter of the year is no fun!  He is sorely missed.

In other, happier, news, Mike and I are putting the finishing touches on a vacation we will be able to spend together, and one that we have been saving for and dreaming of for a few years now.  In June, we will take off to Europe for a 3-week trip to five different countries!  We will be visiting Italy, Spain, Turkey, Greece and Israel!  For the first part of the tour we will be going on a cruise, which will take us From Rome to Naples, to Athens, to Hypha, to Ashdod, to Cosadasi, to Rhodes, to Chania and back.  Then, we will meet up with my mom and sister in Rome, and travel around Tuscany, (including back to my beloved Siena - I get butterflies even writing that!), and then fly over to Spain for a few days, then home.

This trip is beyond special for many reasons.  The first is that Mike has never been to Europe before, and I am so excited to share that experience with him, including showing him my old stomping grounds in Italy.  I can't wait to be eating gelato in the middle of the piazza at sunset.  La vita e' bella here in San Jose, but la vita e bellissima en Italia!  I can't wait.  Seriously.  My sister, also, has never been to any of these countries, and I am really excited to be there with her.  I haven't been back to Europe since college, and remember it as one of the highlights of my life so far (among other amazing experiences such as marrying Mike - it was that good!)

We have also been planning on and trying to go on this trip for a few years, but something always seems to come up - finances, events, weddings, etc.  All worth the postponement, but we are thrilled that the trip is finally on the dockets.

I am mailing out my passport today - one of the final documents to undergo the name change, and the travel agent is working on the airfare.  Yahoo!

Other fun happenings in the Fujii household are that we recently celebrated our first Valentine's Day as a married couple.  Very fun!  We are not huge Valentine people, and usually think of some low key thing to do to avoid the ridiculous crowds.  This year, we went out to Dim Sum for lunch on Sunday and the Monday night, I made dinner for us at home, and we drank champagne and enjoyed Mike coming home from work early!  We also agreed not to do any big gifts, but on a whim, I stopped by the Smoke Shop and picked up 2 "sticks" - or cigars - for Mike.  Recommendations from the store owner, because I sure as hell don't know anything about cigars, let alone enough to pick them out for Mike!  This is not one of my favorite hobbies of Mike's, but it brings him pleasure and relaxation, and so I enjoy that aspect.  He got me a gift certificate to a book shop - not one of my favorite hobbies either.  I thought that captured what a perfect match we have ;)

For the next couple of weeks, it will be pretty quiet around here.  But then we are off to Kauai.  So I really can't complain.

Things have been going well in the world of yes - my NY resolution.  I am struggling a bit to find a balance between my "yessing" and being an effective teacher - but I guess that is real life.  Trying to give to the things that are most important to you, and still be effective at everything.  It's a continual struggle for me, but I think I am getting better every year.  I figure by the time I am ready to retire, or die, I might have gotten close to figuring it out.

The name change has turned a corner recently, and is becoming easier.  I am moving away from the no man's land I occupied for some time, and have moved to looking at my old name, Stephanie Griesmer, with a kind of interest - cocked head, furrowed brow, pursed lips.  It's hard to put into words the feeling, but it seems to fit me less and less.  As Emily predicted, the more times I hear it, the more I sign it, it becomes more and more a part of me.  And that is good.StumbleUpon

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