What relief it is to be getting caught up with bookwork. The tax preparer to whom I take my information is indeed a miracle worker. She’s honest, and so am I, but she found things I missed and got one overdue return done overnight. She is working on last year’s now, so the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer just another train.
We also spoke of many things, some not remotely related to overdue taxes. Linda owns a small home right next to her office, and we discussed the designing of little houses.
She was extremely lucky, as she says, “had a serendipitous find…” in that she went into a liquidation type of renovation/builders’ warehouse in Vernon and discovered an order of new windows and doors that that had been unclaimed at another business. So for $700, Linda bought an entire HOUSE worth of windows and doors for her major/complete renovation! She designed her project around her great purchase. If I never travel anywhere, it is unlikely that I will stumble across such serendipity in building supplies, but Linda’s good fortune is inspiring. Some day I’ll go back and view, admire, and be inspired by, that home.
Linda also pulled out what she called a “Doomsday Box”. This is not rocket science, but I think most of us have not made such a thing. This is the container or file or fire safe or bag in which you keep your lists of bank accounts and credit card numbers, original of Will, latest income tax return, insurance papers, property titles, marriage and birth certificates and other important items.
If your house burns, you will either have this Doomsday Box in your freezer, an outbuilding, or in your hands. If you die, your loved ones will have the information they need to sort out all that needs sorting out, at their time of (presumably) grief.
I used to have some kind of envelope or file folder labelled, “Open if I croak”. I don’t know where it is, so I imagine it couldn’t be found for a long time by my Gary or by anyone else. During one of my rare hospital stays in recent decades, I was visited by a minister… a stranger to me, and though I did expect to survive my ailment, we talked about that file. I don’t know why I thought to discuss it, but he was mortified at my choice of label for my important papers, “Just think how your children will feel if they have to open something with that written on it!”.
Now that my little girls are in their thirties, and we are all pragmatic grownups, I rather think they would find the humour in this. Even so, I have not labelled my “Doomsday Box” at all, though it is updated and nearly complete. Humour and pragmatism are important, I still think, and if my tax preparer can use this catchy and light-hearted name for the essential exercise, I will also refer to it as my “Doomsday Box”. None of us get out of this alive… and many of us have had property destroyed by fire, too.
It seems like once we prepare for the end of our life, it seems even easier to live! About twelve years ago, I had a good friend who received a catastrophic diagnosis (yes… a form of cancer). She spoke to me about “getting her ducks in a row”, and teaching her husband where the dog food was kept, and everything from the profound to the trivial. They had recently bought her dream home and were in the process of landscaping, and I remember this because I planted some flowers for her and with her. Joan only lived a matter of weeks after she got her affairs in order, and I would say that everyone in our town was incredulous and devastated.
Most of us will live long (and prosper!) no matter how organized we get. It feels like a weight lifted to designate someone to watch over us if we become incapable of managing ourselves, share our funeral wishes, and indicate what is to be done with our “stuff”. I hope if I can get and stay more organized, I won’t be too much trouble to anyone “if I croak”!
Live well and love lots,