My Day in Court

charleston law net

Today is my court appearance for traffic violation. I am a bit nervous not knowing what to expect. Do I get fined $232.00 or something worse?

Two months ago, I got stopped by a cop on my way to take my husband to his kidney doctor. I saw a cop on my left waiting for the light to change. When it turned green, I followed the cars in front of me and crossed the road. Then I saw the cop behind me in my rearview mirror. I kept on going and then turned left to where the doctor’s office was. Then I saw he was still behind me and then I saw his blinking lights. I pulled over. I opened my window as he approached my car. He said my car tag expired. I said I did not know. 

I never checked my license plate. I told him my husband took care of that and he got sick and pointed to my husband sitting on the passenger side. He asked for my driver’s license. I had to get out of the car because it was in my purse which was in the back seat. Then he told me to get back inside my car. It took him a while before he came back with my license and a ticket. He told me to report to the court and if I bring my new registration, he’d cancel the ticket. He let me go and told me to drive safely.

The last time I got ticketed was 18 years ago when I was a real estate agent. I was driving very slow checking on houses to show my clients. That was before GPS. I did not see a stop sign and the cop followed me make a left, then right before he turned on his siren and blinking lights. I pulled over. He gave me a ticket. I went back the next day looking for the sign. It was hidden behind a tree and if you did not live in the area, you’d not know it was there. That ticket cost me $75.00. That was the only time I got ticketed before this one.

When I told my son I got a ticket, he said, “For driving too slow?” I remember years ago, we went to Vermont and he said, “Mom, the farm tractor passed you”. Both my two kids think I drive too slow. Not really. I have seen some drivers drive slower than me. I just follow the speed limit. That’s all. I think if I get a ticket for speeding, my family will cheer. 

Well, today my court appearance was at 10:00 am. I left the house early just in case there was traffic or accident on Maybank Highway. In our nick of the wood, it takes hours to clear traffic once there is an accident. I got to the court house plenty of time so I just sat in my car until I saw the Deputy Sheriff’s car drive in.

When I went inside, I was told to leave my cell phone in my car so I had to go back out and left my cell phone in my car. Apparently no cell phones allowed in the court room.

The court room was small. There were about a dozen people sitting and waiting for the judge to appear. At exactly 10 am, the judge and the sheriff arrived. I was called near the end. I had my ticket and my new registration ready and handed them to the sheriff. He said the plate number is different. I told him DMV gave me  a new plate. My plate expired two years ago, in April 2017 so DMV had to make it a new registration instead of renewal. We might have received the registration renewal form in the mail but I don’t remember seeing it. It was about the time my husband had kidney failure and was sent to ICU.

The sheriff went into his computer and punched some keys. I waited anxiously. The judge and I never talked. After a few minutes, the sheriff handed me my ticket and the registration papers and said, “That’s it. You’re done.” I thanked him and the judge and left. That was it. I saved $232 and the ticket was cancelled.

I learned a lesson not to depend on my husband anymore. He is not well and I have to take care of everything now especially since the car is in my name.

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda Morgan

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Have You Filed Your Income Tax Return?

Income Tax

You only have six days left to do your tax return. So get going. Deadline is April 17. I just did ours.

On April 1, my husband told me he could no longer do our tax return this year. Since the deadline is fast approaching, I then volunteered to do it. My husband, being from the old school, had this puzzled look on his face. Somehow I had this funny feeling he did not think I could do a tax return, not having done it for almost 50 years.

Well, well, well… There goes the challenge and I love being challenged.

I told him if a friend of us who has no accounting background can work for H & R Block to do taxes, I believe I can do my own income tax return.

I did my own tax return before I got married. My husband’s accountant took over after we got married and when we moved from Manhattan to Long Island, my husband handled the tax returns although I handled the household finance. I handled our bank account and paid all the household bills. Do I know how to do a tax return?

I had less than three weeks to do my son’s return and ours. What makes you think I can do two returns in less than three weeks when I have not done it for 48 years? Lack of practice. I could have forgotten how to do it. Besides I’m busy with other things all day long?

Well. . .

For starter, I have a degree in accounting. I passed the C.P.A. board examination on my first try at the age of 21. That was moons ago. I worked in the accounting field for 32 years and I was a company controller when I retired. That was 18 years ago. I retired early so don’t even start counting my age. I’m 102. OK? Really? Funny!!! I’m one of those accountants with a sense of humor. Not many of us do. Believe me, I found most of them boring especially at parties. All they talk about is office talk and numbers. How about some other topics like art? Maybe even dogs or gardening? How about history like WWII?

While I was working as an Assistant Controller and then as a Controller, I prepared Form 1120, the Corporate Income Tax Return and as a treasurer for non-profit organizations, I did Form 990, the Tax Return for Non-Profit Organizations. Also, while I was an Assistant Controller for an insurance company, I also prepared the quarterly and annual financial statements filing for the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) for various states that we were doing business with and they were more complex and had more schedules because of our stock holdings and other investments. Now, I’m really talking about boring stuffs!

Do I know how to do a tax return? It’s like asking me if I forgot how to breathe. Form 1040 is nothing compared to Form 1120.

And so I gathered all the documents I needed for my income and expenses and went to work. I did my son’s return first. That was a snap. Then I did ours which involved more schedules to be attached to the 1040.

During all those years that my husband was doing our tax returns, I never read our tax returns. I mean he told me to sign the dotted line and so I just signed the return. I wanted to read it but he insisted I didn’t have to. Fine with me! I don’t argue with him. Not all the time anyway. That’s why I’m still married. We don’t argue. We just have different opinion. Anyway, he prepared our taxes with the help of Turbo Tax. I’m sure a lot of people use Turbo Tax to do their taxes. I refuse to spend money on things I can do myself.

I started filling up the form with the data I had on hand. Then I reviewed all my entries. When I got stuck with a question, I read the instruction. If you have to do various schedules, I can understand it can get complicated so unless you have an accounting background, guaranteed you’ll get too discouraged to do it. But trust me, you can do it. It just takes patience and understanding on what the instructions say. It needs concentration. I did our taxes in the afternoon when my husband was taking a nap. The house was quiet and my brain could concentrate.

By the way, at some point in our marriage, my husband worked for H & R Block part time. That gave him the confidence he knew about taxes. He also has a business degree major in Finance. I have a business degree major in Accounting. He worked on Wall St. for 25 years and then switched to accounting later on because it was too stressful working on the Big Board especially on a down market. I worked in the accounting field for 32 years until I retired. So who was more qualified to do a tax return? You be the judge.

The key to making your job easy is to keep your tax papers organized. All receipts and expenses that are related to your tax return should be kept in one place. As a former accountant, I have the habit of keeping all my receipts, both income and expenses. I also charged everything on one credit card which itemized my charges for the whole year. All your doctor’s visits should be on your calendar so you can figure out the mileage which is part of your medical expenses. 17 cents per mile can add up since during your golden years, you spent lots of time in the doctor’s office. Stock transactions might have to be itemized so you have to have that handy in a spreadsheet in case your stockbroker does not supply you with the Capital Gains/Losses schedule.

Well, I finished my tax return a week before the deadline. I saved money by not using Turbo Tax or a tax preparer. Both state and Federal returns were mailed this afternoon. Most importantly, I feel good that I’m back at my own game. However, I will only do tax returns for my family. I’m retired you know.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

 

Chronic Kidney Disease

 

Dialysis Machine
Photo Credit – Fresenius Medical Care

 

 

Two years ago to the day, Feb. 1, 2016, my husband was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease. He was not feeling well for months and his doctors could not figure out why. He was so sick that day, that I insisted I take him to emergency.

Within half an hour after he was wheeled to emergency, I was told he had to go to ICU. All his numbers at all tests were out of whack. That’s how bad he was. Long story short, he has been on dialysis ever since. I opted for home dialysis because I could not take it going to the clinic three times a week. This way, I can hook him up to his machine at night for 12 hours straight and I can still have my day free.

There are five stages of chronic kidney disease and unfortunately, he has Stage 5 End Stage Renal Disease. It sounds terrible but it’s the fact. He has no kidney function whatsoever. Death is such a morbid topic but I’m realistic. I told him he cannot go yet. I’m not ready. I stay positive. We used to joke about it. He said he did not think this was part of the deal when we got married. Well, for better, or for worst, in sickness and in health. .  .

Here are some facts about Chronic Kidney Disease per the National Kidney Foundation:

  • 26 million American adults have CKD and millions of others are at increased risk.
  • Early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
  • Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD.
  • Hypertension causes CKD and CKD causes hypertension.
  • Persistent proteinuria (protein in the urine) means CKD is present.
  • High risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension and family history of kidney failure.
  • African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Seniors are at increased risk.
  • Two simple tests can detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine.

 

When we go to the clinic for his monthly check up, I’m amazed at how many people are undergoing treatment. Help us battle kidney disease. Many Americans know nothing about kidney disease until it is too late.

Stay healthy, eat the right food (stay away from salty food), exercise and have a positive mental attitude.

Until next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda

 

Doing New Year’s resolutions anyone?

new years resolution 

Is it that time of year again when everyone is thinking of making resolutions for the new year? How did you make out in 2017? Did you accomplish what you resolved to do?

I accomplished a lot but not all.

I sometimes wonder what’s the big idea behind this resolution thing. Most resolutions are about going on a diet. By the end of January, everything seems to be out the window. I look at those diet menus at some of the weight loss programs. It’s laughable. If I eat those things, I’ll throw up and be so fat, you won’t recognize me. I eat half the food of what’s on the menus. That’s why there are so many obese people in America. Even their diet menus are too much.  

So losing weight is not one of my New Year’s resolutions.

But I don’t want to resolve anything so I’ll call mine my goals for 2018.  

Maybe I can learn a new language. That would be awesome. I’ll try Spanish since I know a few words already. Then I can talk to the landscapers in my neighborhood. They usually gave me a blank stare when I talked to them about what to do. 

I want to learn how to play the piano. But I have no room for a piano unless I get rid of one of my bookshelves. Is that a good idea? Not sure. I need a bigger house. Tell that to my husband and he’ll tell you NO. He’ll tell you I need a smaller house.

What else?

Redo the garden and stop buying more plants which is hard to do. I have too many plants but little space for them. When I was in New York, I wished some roses would die in winter so I could buy new ones.

Stop buying more books and read only whatever I have. My mother told me once to stop buying books since I could not possibly read more than I have now. I think I have about 3,000 volumes in my house. I’m running out of bookshelves.

How about my writing? I plan to edit and finish a couple of my manuscripts. There are too many things I want to write and I get overwhelmed sometimes. I need to concentrate and stay focused. I can do it. I know I can.

Be more organized which is not good because I can’t find things after I get organized. Right now, I know where things are. Every year I said it is time to organize but life gets on my way. I have cut down on my charity work which leaves me more time to organize and do things for myself for a change. I feel liberated.

Looking forward to 2018! Wishing everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!! Cheers!!!

 

Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda 

 

IMG_0944
Veterans’ Honor Rose growing in my garden

 

 

 

 

Do I take the 2017 NaNoWriMo Challenge or not?

nanowrimo-winner-certificate-e1385854627712

I took the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2013 with The Iron Butterfly, a story based on the life of my grandmother, a young widow with nine children to support after her husband died unexpectedly. She was a strong woman of great conviction. I won the challenge and self-published The Iron Butterfly in 2015 after several edits and revisions.

 

In 2014, I took the NaNoWriMo challenge again with Wentworth Hall. I also won and went on to self-publish it in 2016 after so many edits and revisions. I changed the title after finding out that there was a Wentworth Hall book already. Considering the plot of the novel, I felt that The Wentworth Legacy was better title.

 

The entry I had for 2015, Courage and Endurance is the third in the series of Journey to Freedom although it can be treated as an independent book by itself. The Iron Butterfly although published two years after BAHALA NA (Come What May) is the first book chronologically in the series. BAHALA NA (Come What May) is a novel based on my father’s life just before and during World War II. It is the second book in the series Journey to Freedom although it was published first. Don’t ask me why. It just happened that way. It was my first try on writing and wanted to publish it before my mother dies. She is still alive today at 95 years old. Good genes, I say. Courage and Endurance is still untouched after winning the NaNoWriMo at the end of Nov. 2015. It is a novel based on my parents’ life after World War II going into the Marcos era.

 

In 2016, I took the challenge again and won with East of Babylon. I’ve been going through the edits and revisions but has not finished yet. Since my husband was diagnosed with End Stage Kidney Dialysis in Feb. 2016, my writing schedule was turned upside down. Being a caregiver took a lot of my energy and time that was devoted to my writing. On top of that, I am still doing four newsletters, maintaining six blogs and trying to do the marketing for all my books. There is not enough time to do all the things I want to do without putting too much pressure on myself. Thanks for my garden. I take breaks every so often and stop and smell the roses.

 

I also wanted to publish a nonfiction first before going back to historical fiction. I am working on my nonfiction manuscript at the moment and hoping to publish it soon. Shall I go traditional publishing this time? At 73, do I have the time to wait that long? If I am younger, I would have waited but I am a late bloomer. I did not start writing seriously till I retired in 2011. I can try the traditional way and send in my proposal and see what happens. I went into self-publishing because I felt I had total control of my manuscript and I could publish as soon as I could. Going traditional publishing takes years unless you are a celebrity which I am not. I have several thousand followers from groups that I belong to but I cannot consider myself a celebrity.

 

So in view of all that is happening in my life, I am not sure I will do the challenge in 2017. Is that a defeatist attitude? I have known to have a lot of energy and do multi projects at the same time but can I swing it this time. I have two weeks to decide. Shall I or shall I not? What do you think?

 

 

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

 

Women’s March and “The Iron Butterfly”

The Iron Butterfly Cover

When I heard about the hullabaloo about the Women’s March, I could not help thinking about my grandmother portrayed in my book called “The Iron Butterfly”

Unlike the boisterous women some of the marchers were, my grandmother tackled the equality rights silently some 90 years ago when equality rights were still unheard of. She had nine children to support when her husband died and left penniless. She did something about her situation. She worked hard and tackled the business world heads on where men still ruled the business world but doing it with grace and her dignity intact. She did something about it without sacrificing her image, a gentle lady with poise and a determined mind and spirit to do what is right for her family. She did not go out on the street whining and demanding to be treated like men. She was a different kind of feminist.

Using vulgar language and making threats are not the ways to make a point. They make women look bad in the face of the world. Working hard and being the best you can be are the only answers to be successful and be heard. I’m glad I was not part of the Women’s March.

“The Iron Butterfly” is available in print and Kindle at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan. Ibook, Nook, Kobo and other formats of “The Iron Butterfly” are available at www.smashwords.com.

 

Until next time – Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, The Rose Lady

 

Rosalinda Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Blessing

Here is a Thanksgiving Blessing I want to share with everyone.

 Thanksgiving Prayer

Thanksgiving Blessing

 

Bountiful God,

You have blessed us in many ways,

In the beauty and richness of our land,

And in the freedom we enjoy.

You have given us even greater gifts

In our family who loves and cares for us

And in the grace which allows us to know and believe in you.

May we be grateful for all our blessings

Not just today, but every day.

Help us to turn our gratitude into action

By caring for those in need

And by working for a more just society.

Bless the wonderful meal we will enjoy today and

the merriment of those at table.

Be with all those we love who are not with us at this time.

We thank you Lord now and forever. Amen.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!

 

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

www.rosalindarmorgan.com