Monday, March 28, 2022

Death and...


Another Sunday, another outing with Olga. That obelisk behind her is one of the tallest gravestones in all of Hampstead Cemetery, I'd wager, and it's just off the main drive near a roundabout. But it's also inconspicuous, almost entirely hidden by shrubbery. I didn't know it was there for the longest time.


This is who's buried there, in case you're curious. (I'm not saying it's anyone you should know.)

We had a good walk but that wasn't the major achievement of the day. I FINISHED OUR AMERICAN TAXES! Woo hoo! We don't even have very complicated taxes but every year they give me fits. Basically I have to state all our income and then claim it under the foreign earned income exemption, so we wind up paying nothing. (We do pay in the UK, though.) I just have to make sure Uncle Sam knows about it all, and it's a pain in the neck.

I also have to make sure he knows about our bank account by filing something with the Department of the Treasury known as an FBAR, and I do that by going to a web site that looks like it was designed in 1994 and filling out a brief report. Unfortunately, yesterday, the FBAR site wouldn't accept my report; I did it three times and kept getting an error message. So until Treasury gets its ducks in a row our FBAR remains unfinished.

Anyway, it's an immense relief to have the taxes done for yet another year. I'm sure you've heard the famous expression that "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." (It's attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but he was actually quoting earlier sources.) Well, we've had both death AND taxes in this blog post! You're welcome.

I also tried to clean my camera lenses. Remember how I had the camera professionally cleaned last spring? Well, once again my pictures are almost ridiculously speckled with shadows of dust and fiber, and once again I cannot figure out where that stuff is hiding. I cleaned the filter (both sides), the lens itself (front and back) and the mirror inside the camera, and the sensor supposedly cleans itself every time I turn the camera off or on. So where is that pesky dust?

I think I'm going to have to get it professionally cleaned again.



This is the lens paper I'm using. It came from my Dad's darkroom and I'm sure it's from about 1965. (No, despite its age, it is not the source of the dust.) I love the graphics. What is that thing on the front cover, the Sydney Opera House?

(In case you're curious -- and talk about tangents! -- here's what the opera house looked like in 1965, still under construction.)

Last night Olga developed an upset stomach, which became pretty dramatic. She kept having to go outside and then she would not settle down and go to sleep. She usually slinks away to another part of the house when she's not feeling well, often to the rug on the bathroom floor, and that's what she did last night before returning to her dog bed in the living room. I wound up sleeping part of the night on the couch to be near her in case she needed to go out again. Consequently I'm bleary-eyed this morning, but fortunately, she seems better.

50 comments:

River said...

I loved the images of the Opera House. I've sailed past it on a ferry doing a tour of the Harbor when I was in Sydney for a few days long ago, but that's the closest I ever got to it. It's an impressive building.
I hope Olga remains well.

Andrew said...

I've never seen those construction photos of the Opera House, but I suppose I haven't looked. Thanks.

Olga is fine but you are a bit weary today. Happens with children and parents too, so I hear.

While I've had problems with what I call 'birthday cake' on my camera lens, never anything inside.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

What a cheerful blogpost! Death, taxes, a dog with an upset tummy and a camera that resists all attempts at cleaning. A fine start to the working week.

Boud said...

The FBAR sounds FUBAR if you ask me! My brother had similar tax complications when he worked for an English newspaper, but in DC. except both countries insisted they wanted their tax. Endless battles to pay just what he owed.

Ms. Moon said...

I was going to say the same as Boud- FUBAR, not FBAR.
Weird about your lenses.

Jennifer said...

Poor Olga! I hope she's okay and feeling better.

jenny_o said...

I thought FUBAR, too, and it even fits the context!

Poor Olga. An upset stomach is probably the thing I dread most, aside from illnesses causing death. An upset stomach FEELS like death to me, or close.

And poor you, also - losing sleep never bodes well for the next day's productivity. Hope everyone is back to normal by tomorrow.

I know the U.S. tax deadline is April 15, but when is the UK tax deadline? I know, I know, Google could tell me.

Ed said...

I have sometimes taken a picture of a gravestone, gone home and ran it through my genealogy sites just to see who those people were. Unfortunately, I'm not good at ones from foreign countries so I will remain mystified.

Unfortunately I am familiar with the FBAR and foreign taxes. I wish I weren't.

Ellen D. said...

Hope Olga feels better and you catch up on your sleep. I don't notice any dust or spots on your pictures...

ellen abbott said...

Is Hampstead Cemetery next to a church? I always wonder why it is so heavily overgrown.

Moving with Mitchell said...

I’m so glad Olga seems better today. I suppose even a dog has its [off] day. I have lens papers from the 1964 NY World’s Fair. That was a fun sidenote to the Sydney Opera House. I never saw it under construction. FBAR is short for FUBAR. I wish we could have the headache of doing our taxes ourselves. They’re still a bit complicated in both countries. Maybe next year?

NewRobin13 said...

Reading this about filing taxes there made me wonder about the future. If you pay taxes in England, will you be able to collect Social Security from the US when you are 65+?
Hope Olga is feeling better. You are true caregiver for sleeping on the couch to be there for her if she needed to go out. Very kind of you.

Sharon said...

Poor Olga, I hope what was troubling her has passed out of her system.
Taxes yuck, I still have mine to do. I don't know why I wait so long. They aren't complicated and I will get money back, I just hate doing it.

Edna B said...

I finally sent all my tax info to the accountant so I'm done too. Woo Hoo! I'm glad you slept near Olga last night. That's what I would have done. I'm hoping that she is feeling better today. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

Linda Sue said...

Feeling sympathy and empathy for Olga, dang , especially through the night.
1965 opera house looks like a menacing a gigantic insect- glad they finished it. Flying over it, having never actually been in it, it resembled a large winged thing anchored to the ground.
Your photos always look amazing from here, not a speck of imperfection.
Taxes, though more simple now that Dennis has retired, are still a pain- if not for You and Dennis , Dave and i would be in tax jail.

Margaret said...

Taxes give me fits every year too! I pay an accountant so I don't have to worry about anything except paperwork organizing. FBAR is very close to FUBAR which is fitting.

Kelly said...

This has probably been covered before, but do y'all have dual citizenship? (or however that works)

Taxes have been filed at my house. Ugh. My daughter's two dogs had a stomach bug recently (not at the same time, of course) and there were some ugly messes to deal with. I hope Olga feels better soon!

Allison said...

I'm procrastinating on the taxes. My former employer managed to put an old mail box number where our street number should go, and so nothing was coming to me. For the life of me I do not know how that happened. Finally got the 1099, so I guess I'll have to do them and get them in the mail.

My life so far said...

You may have to clean the mirror as well.

Hope Olga is feeling better.

Jeanie said...

Congratulations on the taxes. They're always a pain. I finally bit the bullet a few years ago and went to an accountant who was a retired CPA from the city. Best money I ever spent! Love the cemetery and also hoping Olga is much improved by now. (Those are great graphics on the lens papers.)

James and Brigitta said...

I hope Olga didn't eat 'something dead' at the Cemetery ..

e said...

Poor dog !

Red said...

Income tax gets so nicky picky that it's a crime.

Catalyst said...

Talk about bleary eyed! I forgot to take my "night pills" last night and couldn't sleep until about 3 a.m. when I realized my error and corrected it. Then, of course, it takes about an hour and a half before they take effect and I finally woke at around 8. This afternoon I had a "nap" of about 2 hours and I'm still feeling weird this evening. If I remember to take my pills tonight . . wait, I'm taking them right now . . I should sleep it off. Damn! This taking care of oneself is a pain. Glad you got your taxes (at least partly) done. Mine are so simple it only takes about an hour on the computer. Old age does have some virtues! Sorry for Olga. Old age isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Steve Reed said...

It's on my bucket list to visit!

Steve Reed said...

Olga isn't quite back to normal, but she's much improved. "Birthday cake" -- LOL!

Steve Reed said...

Such is my life.

Steve Reed said...

At least the USA exempts foreign earnings up to a point, so we don't have to pay there -- we just have to file and report our income. I'm surprised he had to pay in both places. What a drag!

Steve Reed said...

The lens thing really is making me nuts.

Steve Reed said...

She's doing much better today!

Steve Reed said...

UK taxes work differently -- we don't even have to file a return here because we don't make enough. They just withhold during the year and that's that. It's all automatic. People who make more (or have diverse sources of income) DO have to file but I'm not sure what the deadlines are.

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I've done similar things here with some of the gravestones in the Hampstead Cemetery. It can be interesting to see what information is out there!

Steve Reed said...

Unless the picture shows a lot of sky, or has a very clear, uniform background, you wouldn't notice them. Besides, I painstakingly remove all the spots in editing before I post the photos!

Steve Reed said...

No! Many older cemeteries in London look like this. It's just the way cemeteries are treated here. They're part cemetery, part public park, part wildlife refuge.

Steve Reed said...

World's Fair lens papers -- I would love to see those! They're probably worth something! I've been to the site of the '64 World's Fair. Somewhere I have a picture of myself posing next to the big globe.

Steve Reed said...

I paid enough taxes over the years that I will get something from SS. I didn't move to the UK until I was 44, so I had plenty of working life in the United States before that!

Steve Reed said...

It's a miserable task. And it seems to come around again more quickly every year!

Steve Reed said...

I wish I had an accountant! One of these days our taxes are going to get too complicated and I will need a professional to file them.

Steve Reed said...

I think it's an amazing structure, and I do want to visit someday. I hope I'm doing our taxes correctly so Dave doesn't wind up in tax jail!

Steve Reed said...

Every year I say I'm going to look into getting professional help, and then every year I don't. Someday things will get more complicated and I'll need it.

Steve Reed said...

We do not have British citizenship -- we've simply never applied for it. We probably should but it's expensive.

Steve Reed said...

Argh! I guess you could always file for an extension if needed, but it sounds like you have everything now.

Steve Reed said...

I did, or at least I tried! This is a job for the pros.

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I usually don't mind paying someone with skills to do things for me (like paint or carpentry) so I don't know why I feel like I need to do our own taxes!

Steve Reed said...

She probably did.

Steve Reed said...

It goes with the canine territory!

Steve Reed said...

It's exhausting if you have a lot of deductions or other minor things to keep track of. We just take the standard deduction, which makes everything MUCH easier.

Steve Reed said...

I hope you got a better night's sleep last night! I need some "night pills" myself!

Moving with Mitchell said...

I’ll dig out the papers and will share a photo. My parents took us to the NY World’s Fair and then we moved to Brooklyn while it was still on. My sister and I took the subway there (she was 13 and brave). That was an amazing experience. The Unisphere (aka, big globe) is still impressive to see.

The Bug said...

Add one extra letter to FBAR & you have the acronym for how I feel about the world these days. Ha!