Tuesday open thread

We have an open thread today.

Any comments on your income taxes?  Did you get your return in or did you file an extension?  Any surprises?

You Probably Got a Tax Cut, Even if It Doesn’t Feel Like It

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96 thoughts on “Tuesday open thread

  1. We received a small refund – perfect amount – not too much where we had too much being withheld and where we did not owe.

    I am looking for recommendations for an instant pot. Also appreciate any tips and recipes. I am also looking for a recipe for italian bread and/or rolls.

  2. We always owe money. We may have owed a little less than last year but it was hard to tell. Oldest kid filed his first return ever. He got a small refund.

  3. DW suggested she & I go to Iceland. This probably would not be before 2021. For those who have been there is the season pretty much summer? We’d definitely want to be able to be outdoors comfortably, i.e. light jacket ok.

  4. Old Mom, maybe I should give you mine. I have pretty much given up on the device. It is too fussy for me.Everything has to be done just so, and you can’t really adjust midstream. The time savings isn’t that great either.

  5. Taxes: we owed, about the same as I expected to. We almost always owe. If we do nothing I think we’ll actually get a small federal refund next year. I’ll take a swag later in the year and if the refund looks like it’ll be too big, I’ll take action.

  6. We owed a lot of $, but we always owe because we don’t like to pay the government until the last minute. We would rather have the use of our own funds.

    I’m at Hudson Yards today. Many years ago, I worked at 33rd and 10th Ave. it was the old Daily News building. It is still standing, but they changed the outside to look like the new buildings. I wouldn’t have recognized it without the street signs. This neighborhood had nothing when I worked here. A McDonalds, gas station pizza place and deli. Very long walk from the subway in Penn Station. It’s hard to believe that this is the same place. It’s rare that I can’t get my bearings in the city since it’s unusual for something so large to open in Manhattan. We have tickets to walk up in the Vessel. It’s so windy that I’m not sure if the girls will go because I’m sure it’s even worse once you go higher in the structure.

  7. @ Fred – when we went last summer high temperatures were consistently in the 40s. We may have hit low 50s a couple of days. We were comfortable but we dressed in lots of layers and were pretty active to get the blood flowing.

  8. I was talking with some of my British co-workers and I was interested to learn about how the British tax system works. Most people don’t have to file a tax return at all. I assume the relevant info (deductions for kids etc) is captured in their version of a W4 and it looks like interest and capital gains are reported by banks and brokers. So you only have to worry about it if Inland Revenue’s computers detect an anomaly and send you a letter asking for clarification.

    Our system is just needless complicated just to annoy people. It seems like so much wasted effort.

  9. Our tax system is complicated in large part because we want it to be. We have decided that the tax code should be used to reward the virtuous and punish the sinners.

  10. Some of you have followed along my saga of dealing with my parents’ estates. This year I took a tax hit because after much discussion with the attorney, financial adviser, my parents’ brokerage firm, and the CPA, it came down to making a decision similar to taking off a bandaid – do it fast and the pain will be over fast or do it slowly and stretch the pain out over time. I chose the rip it off fast approach.

    So in 2018, I closed out their IRAs, consolidated and re-balanced my total portfolio so that the inherited investments are more appropriate for my goals/stage of life, and going forward will have more streamlined tax preparation. The impact of these changes vastly outweigh impact of change in the tax law.

    While it was more iffy a few months ago, this week my boss let me know that her retirement window is between July 1 and September 1 of this year, with the official announcement and exact date going out in mid-May. My organization has a tendency to mold jobs around employees’ strengths and abilities. When someone is in a position for a while, like I was before retiring or my boss is, the job has to be evaluated to make sure it is possible to find more than one candidate. Making it more complex, our department of 4.5 people is the “catch all” department for things that don’t otherwise have a clear home in another department. I am envisioning significant change (more likely a series of changes) and my having to make decisions about whether I stay or not.

  11. Our tax system is complicated in large part because we want it to be. We have decided that the tax code should be used to reward the virtuous and punish the sinners.

    That really has nothing to do with it. That can be done, like it is in most countries, all behind the scenes.

  12. Lurker mostly..dipping my toes into posting now :) I agree with Mooshi the Instant Pot is not revolutionary by any means if you have used a pressure cooker before. There are tons of recipes online and FB groups dedicated to instant pot cooking. One good thing about the IP compared to pressure cooker is that because of it’s depth it has very little, if any, splatter outside the instant pot itself and those with gas stoves will see the benefit of lesser cleanup from such splatter. Also it is very quiet unlike a pressure cooker. I mostly use it to cook soups, beans etc and sometimes chicken.

  13. Instant Pot – We have a small kitchen, so we try to limit the number of small appliances. My prior crockpot was mediocre at best, but then when DD#2 broke the lid, we replaced it with the Instant Pot because it was multi-featured. Agree with LtoC that if you have had a pressure cooker before it isn’t revolutionary. But, the old stove top one always scared me a bit. We use it more as a slow cooker. What I love is that is loses much less moisture than my old crockpot and takes up less counter space. We have a 6 QT, which works well in slow cooker mode. I read a lot of complaints about that mode in the 8 QT and some of the other models.

  14. We pay estimated but we didn’t owe any extra from last year, which is a first in the last 5 years or so. We just switched tax preparers because our old firm got too expensive ($5K last year!) and consistently underestimated what we owed so our April bill always included a bunch of catch-up from the previous calendar year (like 5 figure!) and then the Q1 estimates on top of that. This place is more local to our new neighborhood and much cheaper, plus they better estimated our January amounts. Win win!

    I also saw an article about the tax prep lobby: https://www.propublica.org/article/congress-is-about-to-ban-the-government-from-offering-free-online-tax-filing-thank-turbotax

  15. LtoC — Come on in! It’s great to have new posters.

    DH and I got a sizeable tax refund, due largely to the fact that I over-withheld on income I earned from my law practice. Due to the new tax rules, I was able to deduct 20% of my income, and that new deduction more than offset the deductions we lost under the new rules. If I had had the exact same income as an employee rather than as a self-employed person, it would have been quite a different (i.e. worse) tax result.

  16. Yesterday afternoon, I went to the post office to mail some documents to clients of mine. There was a huge line. “Why is the line so long on a random Monday afternoon,” I wondered. Then I saw that the guy next to me in line had an envelope addressed “IRS,” and I realized it was tax-deadline day. I had no idea that so many people still file paper returns.

  17. You know who is paying higher taxes? Au Pairs! They now have no deductions at all – so a straight 10% is due on April. Mine paid $703 yesterday, which is almost a months pay for her. I think I’m going to offer some tax relief, probably reimburse her for half. In 2018, she would have owed less than $300 for the same income.

    Fairly confident that we are the only country that taxes young people on working holidays.

  18. I think I reported before that our taxes went down as a % of AGI, largely due to the child tax credit. I had already estimated, and I was within $35 of our actual total. I prefer no refund and no payment, ideally.

    Our taxes are quite simple – 2 W2’s, basic taxable investment income (buy & hold stage of life = dividends and interest only really), one dependent, standard deduction (under new tax law), some charitable contributions, etc. We could put it on a postcard if the government allowed.

  19. We could put it on a postcard if the government allowed.

    Just keep in mind that in many countries there isn’t even a post card. You don’t have to do anything at all.

  20. Rhett, I disagree. Both the government and taxpayers want to be out there about tax credits, deductions and penalties. We want to know that the government is creating incentives for college savings or energy efficiency. And now our W-2 forms tell us how much our employer provided health insurance is NOT being taxed.
    I also think that there is a fundamental difference in how the US and say the UK approach tax systems. We still retain a vestige of the notion that it’s our money and we should get to keep most of it

  21. Scarlett,

    We want to know that the government is creating incentives for college savings or energy efficiency.

    They could mail you a summary. There is absolutely no reason for the vast majority of to have enter any information.

  22. We still retain a vestige of the notion that it’s our money and we should get to keep most of it.

    How does not sending out pre filled in tax forms have anything to do with that?

  23. “That can be done, like it is in most countries, all behind the scenes.”

    You think the workers at Goodwill should be reporting your donations to the IRS? The Toyota dealership will inform them when you buy an EV?

    Who, specifically, is doing the work, of reporting that you took the first time homebuyer tax credit in 2008 and have 15 more years to pay it back, and you haven’t sold your house yet?

    The doctor’s office staff should be telling them that certain HSA charges were qualified expenses, and others weren’t?

    Which organization is keeping track of your increasing cost basis on your primary residence? Is every contractor going to report to the IRS how much cost he added at the completion of each renovation?

    Is the clerk at Home Depot going to report to the IRS that you bought paint and it’s a deductible expense for your rental properties?

  24. My return was filed electronically. I still needed to send in payment. I sent mine in last week – certified – but there were a still a lot of people in line doing the exact same thing.

    Like many things the purpose affects the process – the issue is really about whether taxes are solely a means to fund government or a mechanism to incentivize or deter particular behaviors. When it is really just a funding issue, then X % of gross income, even if the system has different rates at different levels of income, doesn’t require much paperwork. When it is designed, like ours is, to influence behavior, it requires a lot of paperwork/hoop jumping to justify that you are entitled to receive the benefit or that you are not subject to a penalty.

  25. “I sent mine in last week – certified – but there were a still a lot of people in line doing the exact same thing.”

    Oh yeah, that was another thing about yesterday’s line at the post office. It moved really slowly because everyone was sending their tax packets via certified mail. I have been making quarterly estimated payments for my business income for over seven years, and I have always just blithely dropped my forms and estimated payments in the regular mail; I have never sent them certified.

  26. Milo,

    If you have rental income you have to file like you would for any business. In terms of cost basis etc are you doin that every year? If you want to track it then keep your receipts for 20 years and claim it when you sell. Things like the EV and Good Will would be reported to a system like PAYE in UK.

    Who, specifically, is doing the work, of reporting that you took the first time homebuyer tax credit in 2008 and have 15 more years to pay it back, and you haven’t sold your house yet?

    The IRS would send you a note in 15 years.

    And again what does any of this have to do with sending out pre-printed tax forms for the people filling out a 1040EZ.

    And you mentioned good will…that’s only if you itemize.

  27. NoB –
    first a question…I thought yesterday was a holiday in MA, so both Fed and State taxes can be mailed today without penalty. (Because the Boston processing center is closed). But the post office was open?

    Second, when I was mailing returns and getting a refund, I always went certified. If I was paying, I also just dropped it in the mail figuring my canceled check would be my proof of filing/payment. Yeah, I was exposed on the ‘timely filing’ aspect if it ever got to that, but it never did. Now I just ACH the payment (well, they reach in a get it).

  28. We wrote an unexpectedly large check to the IRS this year, in part due to tax law changes and in part due to changes in family circumstances.
    1. We had a kid graduate from college, so the $1500 education credit we took for him the last four years went away.
    2. Last year, we had itemized deducations close to $23K, and $16K in exemptions; this year that $39K got compressed to just the $24K standard deduction.
    3. About $2K LESS was witheld this year than last. (We didn’t make any modifications to our W4s; I checked the witholding tables last summer, and it appeared that we would be OK. Oops.)

    The result? Our AGI increased by 6%, but our taxable income went up by 21%. Our bottom-line tax bill was nearly $3K more than last year.

  29. I would agree that, if all you currently need to file your tax returns are your W2s, a standard 1099 int or div, and your family’s Social Security numbers, the IRS ought to have a website interface like Turbo Tax’s that says “Here’s what we have for you for 2018. This is the amount we’ve already collected. We owe you $486. Your refund will go to Routing Number X, Account X. (or you owe $486. We will debit the same account on April 15th). Click “YES” to submit, or click “Amend my return” for any changes or additional deductions.”

  30. Click “YES” to submit,

    Just curious, in terms of our process vs results oriented discussion – What value is that “click yes” adding?

  31. We also had an unexpectedly large tax bill this year, but our overall effective tax rate was 1-2 percentage points lower — which is why the bill fell in the “unexpected” category. I have my taxes withheld on a straight $/paycheck basis, and I didn’t change anything either when I went to 70% or in response to the new tax laws, so I assumed we’d be overwithheld. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that DH’s company did change its withholding. He has always been underwithheld, which is why I finally changed mine to be overwithheld, since we kept flirting with penalties and he kept not getting around to changing anything. But this year, they apparently dropped the withholding even more, and I guess we didn’t notice given all the other paycheck changes (e.g., SS/FICA kicking back in, his raise, etc.). So we got to write a big fat check, which was just lovely and fun!

    We are finally back from the very last college visit, and boy did it feel good to walk off a campus for the last time until DD goes there permanently next fall! I gotta say, the Hollins folks have been amazing this whole time — by far the most “personal touch,” the professors were just great and clearly excited about what they do, and the whole atmosphere was just really inviting. I can’t speak highly enough of them. DD’s knees buckled a little bit during those meetings, but within a couple of hours on the road home, she had reminded herself of how much she wanted to be able to do engineering early on vs. doing a 3-2 or waiting for post-grad work. And then on the flip side, she has weathered pressure from DH and his dad to choose a “real” engineering program. ;-) But I get the very strong sense she is done analyzing and angsting, she sees that Wake is the best compromise for what she wants (even if it’s not perfect), and she’s ready to move on.

    I have to say, I have been really impressed with her maturity through this past couple of weeks. She has listened to a whole variety of different viewpoints — including some not-so-subtle pressures from a variety of angles — and really analyzed the pros/cons of the various options and focused on substantive issues more than fluffy/emotional things. We talked for hours on the way home about things like engineering vs. med school vs. a biotech major in the regular college (non-engineering) program, the different kinds of research and internships that the different schools offered, which school seems to be the best starting point for which kinds of careers, the difference between engineering and liberal arts approaches, and all of this really substantive, forward-looking stuff. And then she did not choose the place she loved the most (Hollins), but the one that she liked a whole lot + seemed to offer the best combination of future alternatives. I sure don’t remember being half that thoughtful!! And she was even very polite to Grandpa, who does tend to be rather convinced that he knows what’s best. ;-)

  32. LfB – I am so glad that your DD has made her choice! I recall having several long conversations with DD#1 at that same point. It is really cool to watch their decision-making processes mature.

  33. Fred — Patriot’s Day is a MA state holiday, but not a federal holiday, so the post office was open. You’re right that MA residents had extra time to file (I think the deadline is actually tomorrow and not today, for reasons I don’t know). I think that a lot of people just have “April 15” drilled into their brain as “tax due date,” hence the out-the-door line at the local post office yesterday.

    And I’m sure you’re right about the wisdom of sending actual returns certified. It all just seems so primitive with paper forms and waiting in line at the post office and getting the hand-stamped certified-mail receipt.

  34. LfB, congratulations! So glad to hear that the process is done and that the outcome is positive.

  35. PS — I bet part of the reason our overall tax rate didn’t change a whole lot or increase is because (i) we have always had relatively low deductions for our income and thus had a relatively high effective tax rate to start with, and (ii) late in 2018 I set up one of those donor-advised funds in addition to my normal charitable deductions — given that we’re halfway through a 15-year mortgage without a lot of other deductions except charity, I am anticipating that in 2019 all of our non-charity deductions will be below the standard deduction, so might as well group several years of charitable donations into one year when I can maximize the value of the deduction.

  36. @Milo – Exactly. It should be pre-populated with the information that they have & make it easy to make changes if needed. The vast majority of citizens have taxes that are not all that complex. Whether or not we should make them even simpler via tax code changes I will leave to the Political thread, but I will say that I am completely against keeping/making them needlessly complex to suit the needs of Intuit or to make people hate paying taxes more than they already do.

    Congrats to your DD, LfB!!! Did you get spirit wear?

  37. @Ivy: We bought her one clothing item at almost all of the places she applied to, so she got a Wake zip-up lightweight sweatshirt. I also got her a tank top, because she found the sweatshirt on the bargain rack for @$45 instead of the $82(!) they wanted for the new quarter-zip ones up front. Given the prices, I was not going to spring for a whole pile of stuff before she had made a final decision! But she does have a birthday coming up. . . .

  38. Mass resident taxes are due on the 17th instead of the 16th because there is a holiday in DC today. Emancipation Day. The only reason I know is that a couple of my friends took their kids to DC this week for the break and some stuff was closed for this holiday

  39. We got a substantial refund this year… our income went up, but our kids are now worth more to us in the new scheme. Super simple taxes now. I didn’t complain! :)

    We got a big bill from our landscaper re: leveling a piece of our yard. Yikes. It’s definitely more than we thought, but it’s worth it. The land will house then new play structure and that needs to be level. Sigh. At least the larger refund will help fund that! :)

  40. LfB, that’s great all around for your DD!

    Fred, if you go to Iceland outside the summer, the weather will be really iffy. Even in the summer you can get a run of cold and rain.

  41. Fred – For someone who is not constrained by high school schedules, I would go in May, but check whether all of the areas of the island you want to see are open for the season. Should be a bit cheaper. May is not going to be much different than July for weather. Expect cool and wet. It is still worth it.

  42. Congrats LFB. It’s so nice when the decision has been made, your kid is happy, and you can move on to celebrating. : )

  43. “I had no idea that so many people still file paper returns.”

    E-filing our state returns via TurboTax would’ve cost $29.99 per return, and we had 3 returns to file. I could’ve filed online via the state website, but that requires pretty much of a line by line entry of data. So I printed our our state returns from TTax and mailed them.

    Both kids owed, so they would’ve had to mail in checks anyway, so I only had to pay an extra 15 cents in postage to mail in their returns (two full returns weighed over 1 oz, mainly because for DS I also had to include a copy of his other state return).

    For DS’ second state return, it was so simple, and I didn’t want to spend pay Intuit an extra $40 or so for another state, so I just filled it out by hand and mailed it.

    DD owed for federal, so we had to mail in a paper form (payment voucher) along with a check.

  44. “I prefer no refund and no payment, ideally.”

    Given the unlikelihood of that exact situation, I prefer a refund, at least Fed, because then I can e-file and not have to mail anything.

  45. For the second time, I have acquired browser malware by opening this blog in the browser on my phone. There is something icky infecting this site.

  46. “standard deduction (under new tax law), some charitable contributions”

    If you take the standard deduction, aren’t your charitable contributions irrelevant for your income tax?

  47. Mooshi, I had that happen today also. I’ve also had it happen before.

    For me at least, it seems to mostly be a phone thing.

  48. AustinMom said (with respect to the Instant Pot)
    “We have a 6 QT, which works well in slow cooker mode. I read a lot of complaints about that mode in the 8 QT and some of the other models.”

    I used to have a wonderful fancy crockpot, the kind that lets you saute in the same device. https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-MSC-600-Central-6-Quart-Multi-Cooker/dp/B008YEXC22/ref=pd_sbs_79_1/141-1526815-1472767?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B008YEXC22&pd_rd_r=d25632db-60a7-11e9-a6d1-89beb44619b8&pd_rd_w=6lh77&pd_rd_wg=roysY&pf_rd_p=588939de-d3f8-42f1-a3d8-d556eae5797d&pf_rd_r=VSBAPR1C4J6ANXWHJ8Z5&psc=1&refRID=VSBAPR1C4J6ANXWHJ8Z5
    I broke it (cord caught in something and yanked out with a bunch of electrical guts) and decided on a whim to replace it with a 8 quart Instant Pot, which was the only size that would work for us (the crockpot was a 7 quart). It essentially does not function in slow cooker mode. I tried once, and after 5 hours, the temperature of the chili had never reached a safe zone, so I had to toss it all. And yes, this was on the correct high setting.

    The thing that was good about getting the Instant Pot was that it led me to switch to oven braising. I had always been happy with the fancy crockpot, but now that I don’t have one, I realized that a good oven braise beats all. You get some nice carmelization that doesn’t happen any other way. And you can open it up midstream, and add a little liquid or adjust spices as you go! You can’t do that with an Instant Pot. I would try things that everyone raved about, and the result would be just meh. If I could have adjusted midstream, I could have fixed the meh recipe, but you can’t do that with an Instant Pot.

  49. Milo said “I would agree that, if all you currently need to file your tax returns are your W2s, a standard 1099 int or div, and your family’s Social Security numbers, the IRS ought to have a website interface like Turbo Tax’s that says “Here’s what we have for you for 2018. This is the amount we’ve already collected. We owe you $486. Your refund will go to Routing Number X, Account X. (or you owe $486. We will debit the same account on April 15th). Click “YES” to submit, or click “Amend my return” for any changes or additional deductions.””

    I was just listening to a show on NPR about this. Evidently, there has always been some agreement with the tax preparer lobby that the IRS will never develop its own e-filing site. This had been informal, but as part of the most recent tax bill (the one that is supposed to make things simpler), this ban will now be written into law.
    https://www.npr.org/2019/04/15/713387973/bill-would-ban-irs-from-creating-free-electronic-tax-filing-system

  50. Just got back from another college tour – this one local – Brooklyn College. I had been there years ago (gave a talk there ) but didn’t remember it. Wow, what a pretty campus. It is a gem in the midst of Brooklyn. My kid was very impressed. He noticed that the student body was largely nonwhite, and thought that was a real feature. To me, the students just looked normal, just like my own campus.

  51. Am I crazy to just have the IRS do a direct debit from our bank account? I don’t mail a check, just tell them what day to take the money.

  52. I want to say that I really appreciate that most people are giving the names of the colleges their kids are applying to and going to instead of hinting around them.

  53. “I don’t think we are anywhere close to electing a single president.”

    So James Buchanan would be unelectable today?

  54. “I set up one of those donor-advised funds”

    How did you fund it? Did you transfer appreciated assets into the fund?

  55. LtoC – welcome! It’s always good to hear a new voice!!

    Taxes – my effective rate was within 0.2% of last year, but we had to pay almost $3K due to higher income/lower withholding. I’m super annoyed because I planned to have the downstairs painted and with that outlay plus our annual car insurance payment this week, I feel like I can’t write another big check. (I know I solicited paint advice a month or so ago, but I decided to paint the kitchen cabinets white in our open floor plan, and then live with that a little while before picking a wall color.)

  56. “Am I crazy to just have the IRS do a direct debit from our bank account? ”

    No worries. I do this all the time for my quarterly payments.

  57. What a crazy amount of energy and resources over a $2700 TV. Good lord.

    If he had simply received the TV in error, and decided to keep it, he would probably be OK. Not stealing per se, but not setting the bar very high for honorable behavior, either.

    But he seems to have become actively evasive and dishonest about it when the delivery company came looking for it.

    Considering all the searchable coverage this generates, he does not seem like the kind of guy whose company you’d want to hire for construction management.

  58. That debate story is depressing – some of the middle schoolers appear to be more mature than the parents and teachers. IMO any coach who actually calls out one of his kids publicly to other team members/administrators/parents should be fired. Your job is to set a good example, not double down on the gossip and bullying that is already endemic in middle school.

  59. What a crazy amount of energy and resources over a $2700 TV. Good lord.

    If I was his lawyer I’d be interested to see what the delivery company’s offer was. Could he just leave it out in the yard? Did they want it in a safe place and they would be by between 12 and 4 on Wednesday? Any sort of inconvience at all and as a juror I’d be leaning toward the delivery company eating the cost of their screw up.

  60. After she arrived, she immediately went to a store and bought a pump action shotgun and ammunition, the FBI said Tuesday night.

    Uh huh…

  61. “Both kids owed, so they would’ve had to mail in checks anyway,”

    We use the electronic option that allows the IRS to electronically dip into our bank accounts. It’s kind of creepy to see the actual transaction when it happens, especially if you forgot you authorized it, but it works out better.

    Interestingly, my D used HER account to electronically accept a refund from the state but OUR account to pay out what she owed on federal. She said she was concerned about having enough funds in her account and assured us she’ll pay us back when we remind her. I didn’t raise no fool, apparently. ;) BTW, for her PT job her state taxes were much higher than her federal taxes, which iirc were zero. At the moment she likes Trump more than Cuomo. :D

  62. I think the coach, parents and kids are taking this way too seriously and forget that in the grand scheme of things, it’s a debate tournament not a life and death situation.
    The same thing goes when things get too heated at youth sports matches. Yelling coaches, upset parents, crying kids…

  63. Are the malware problems on Android? I’ve never experienced that on my iPhone. I do switch off between using Safari and Chrome on my phone, but have not had problems with either. Anyone else having problems?

  64. Wait, is the annoying pop-up that offers a prize/deal considered malware? I used to get that on Safari, but never on Chrome.

  65. Additionally, Tommy would like externship credit for the effort it took him to sue the law school, as well as a letter of recommendation from Associate Dean of Student Affairs Ronette Kawakami.

    Well, he’s got stones, I’ll give him that.

  66. “Wait, is the annoying pop-up that offers a prize/deal considered malware? I used to get that on Safari, but never on Chrome.”
    Both times, it was Chrome on Android. The first time, I clicked something stupidly and it totally took over my browser. This time, I knew better and backed out, but it still appears if I go to this site on my phone. Given that a phone is a horrible interface for reading this blog (much, much scrolling of comments), I will just avoid it.

  67. I used to get the pop up malware on my phone and laptop. Safari. I cleaned up both and installed a new ad blocker. That seems to work and I haven’t seen it since last year.

    The Denver story with schools is nuts. I can’t believe that they closed so many schools, but the FBI must think it’s a very credible threat.

  68. The Denver story with schools is nuts. I can’t believe that they closed so many schools, but the FBI must think it’s a very credible threat.

    The local news is, as you might expect, making a huge big deal out of it. (And it is a huge big deal).

    I assume Denver Dad’s kids are suddenly stuck with a day off.

  69. Yes my kids are off today as is most of the metro area. It actually works out well for us because DD has a 3 hour medical appointment this morning so she won’t miss school now.

    I use firefox on android and I’ve never had any popups or any other issues with this site on my phone.

  70. RMS – Columbine became so seared in collective memory…it’s 20 years but it seems like it’s just happened.

  71. @RMS – It lead our local news here last night, and of course my friend who is your neighbor has been telling us about it too. It’s very scary!

  72. *sigh*

    #Ivy

    I knew I forgot right as it was posting.

    I also let the IRS debit my checking account. It was a very small amount.

  73. I had something similar to the TV incident. I ordered a surround sound system from Amazon a few years ago and I received it fine. Then the next day I received s second one. I contacted Amazon to explain the mistake and they sent me a return label and arranged for a UPS pickup and I sent it back. Then about two days later they gave me a refund for the full price of the surround sound system even though I had only been charged for one of them to begin with. So I ended up with a free surround sound system.

  74. “Given that a phone is a horrible interface for reading this blog (much, much scrolling of comments), I will just avoid it.”

    It’s not a great interface compared to my laptop, but I don’t typically have to scroll through comments since it lets me select the latest one.

  75. I had something similar to the TV incident.

    Mine was getting a check for $5500 from a health insurer that I last had 18 months before. Just a check in an envelope. No explaination, nothing. I called and asked why they sent me a check. They said they had no idea and they’d have someone call back by the end of the week. No one ever called back so I deposited it and it cleared. I never heard another word about it.

  76. July, how are you able to select the last comment? And do you still see the ones before? My problem is that I want to get to the bottom of the 150 or so comments, but not always to the very last one.
    I also cannot type on my phone, which is the big reason I avoid using it to read stuff like this.

  77. I know someone who was overpaid by his employer. He received a check that he assumed was a bonus but then a month or two later was told it was a mistaken overpayment and he would have to pay it back by check. The check never cleared. When he left the company he thought they might bring it up but they never did. The main reason he left that company was because of poor administrative support for his department. As in, here are your goals but we can’t give you the data needed to measure goals.

  78. “July, how are you able to select the last comment?”

    On both Chrome and Safari I scroll down about six latest posts to get to recent comments that I can then select. Maybe it’s configured that way because I’m signed in.

  79. Amazon has changed its return policies to significantly favor the buyers. I experienced this as a seller. They gave a full refund on a product and didn’t require the person to send it back. I contacted her and got it back, though.

    Heard a story this weekend about someone who received 2 paychecks for years from a large multinational company while working overseas….paid in US and Chilean systems. Tried to fix it, but they didn’t figure it out until he retired.

    At my first apartment, I almost got a free couch. The delivery was a total fiasco — were supposed to be there at 8AM on Saturday but got there at 8PM. In the early days of cell phones, so no one could be reached. Weeks later they called me to schedule the couch delivery (a second one). I almost took it but knew I would feel guilt every time I sat on it. Still have the couch 20 years later…..it has moved cross-country 2x, but I will not move it again.

  80. July, it’s nothing to do with being signed it.On my laptop, I see the latest posts on the left side. On my phone, they are at the bottom of the home page.

  81. “Wait, is the annoying pop-up that offers a prize/deal considered malware? I used to get that on Safari, but never on Chrome.”

    Yes. I get it on Safari maybe one out of every 5-10 times I try to pull up this site on my iPhone (Safari). I have learned to just X out of it and start over, because there’s basically no way back to the site once that thing appears.

  82. “BTW, for her PT job her state taxes were much higher than her federal taxes, which iirc were zero.”

    Same for DS, who got back all his fed withholding. Fed rates seem much more progressive.

  83. Rhett – Maybe deranged women kill themselves before they kill 20 people, while deranged men do it afterward.

  84. L, someone forwarded it to me and I saw it shortly before coming on here. That complaint does not deserve externship credit — it has problems beyond the obvious strategic flaw of suing the law school instead of just going to class / studying. (Also, if his social anxiety means he cannot attend class because the prospect of being called on is too frightening, law may not be the career for him.)

  85. OMG, that final exam sounds like DD wrote it in 6th grade — a bunch of disconnected ideas, sprinkled with magic words from the teacher, with little context for each point and no flow from one to the other.

    Although in her defense she at least understood what the terms meant. . . .

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