Monday, May 17, 2010

When reactions turn into hurricanes

As usual, it's been quite awhile, and a lot's happened. We've lived through horrible flooding with (thankfully) all of our things intact, including our sanities. We've readied Darren's motorcycle for the riding season, and he's been busying himself with his newfound hobbies of automotive mechanics and carpentry. We've bought out all the Home Depots, Lowe's, Walmarts and Sears in the area with tools and other equipment, and that doesn't even include the online purchases and 35-mile trips to and from the Harbor Freight in South Attleboro. Even so, it's something he really enjoys, and he dives into each new project with a zest and zeal that I sometimes just don't understand, probably because I don't have any talent or interest in that sort of thing.

I've also taken a side job of sorts as a freelance transcriptionist for a company in California. The pay is great, and I set my own hours, which gives me enough freedom to do my full-time job on top of that, get household errands and cleaning done and still have some time left over for weekend plans. If in the far future if I have children and can no longer handle having a full-time job (I'd rather stay home and raise a baby than leave it in the care of an expensive daycare center, because we don't have any relatives around here who could take on the responsibility every day), this is definitely something I would consider doing to maintain some source of income for myself. The pay is awesome, and unlike most people, I'm sure, I actually get a lot of enjoyment out of the work. I used to absolutely loathe when we had to transcribe all our interviews in college for magazine feature articles for class, but that may also have been because I hate hearing my voice on tape. Now, it's like I get a peek into a moment in time in the lives of the people on the recordings I transcribe — people whose names oftentimes I don't even know. That part of it is pretty exciting, and I love typing, no matter what it is, so the job really gives me some good ways to spend some time outside my main job.

Not that I don't get a lot of enjoyment out of my full-time job as well! It's just a great way to supplement my income and have a little more cash to pay down my myriad bills: auto loan and insurance, student loans, credit card, cell phone bill and the like. I hardly live an "extravagant" or costly lifestyle — in fact, I probably spend a lot less than most people, since I rarely find an occasion to purchase stuff I don't need worthwhile. I think my spendthrift ideals stem directly from my parents' lifestyle: We rarely bought anything we didn't absolutely need, and my mom almost always bought the store brand of everything at the grocery store ("It's just as good as the name brand," she'd always say). We rarely went out to eat or got takeout, and as kids we never had video game consoles ("You have the computer. Isn't that enough?" my parents would argue — for us, it was not enough) besides our Game Boys, and we never really asked for toys or anything leisurely like that if it wasn't close to a major holiday or our birthdays, because we knew we wouldn't get it. At any rate, I'm glad I adopted those ideals from my parents; I don't think I could ever live life any other way. Where many people feel a rush at buying a big-ticket item, I feel mostly remorse that I spent all that money. I'm constantly weighing the benefits versus the monetary cost of any purchase: how much I'll probably use it versus how much it costs.

There are some drawbacks to my side job, however, in that tax deductions aren't taken out of my weekly income. I'll have to pay them all at once next year when I file my taxes, and since the company's based in California, I'll have to file taxes in two states. With my extra income, I should hire a CPA to do it for me!