Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Taxes, Cruises, and Other Random Thoughts that Somehow Tie Together

Over the past 6 months, my family has been planning to take a Disney Cruise for my dad's 60th birthday. After getting over the shock that my dad is going to be 60 (which not only makes him older, but also makes me not 21 anymore), John and I started thinking, praying, and trying to decide if we were going to go or not. On the one hand, it is probably the ONLY time this will ever happen in my family. My dad is not much of a vacation person - definitely NOT a beach person - and as we all get older and our families get larger, it is not going to be as easy to get all of us to go on one vacation together. On the other hand, cruises are not free and our money is tight. We're not making as much money here as we thought we would and to spend a ton of money on a cruise just doesn't seem like something a wise person would do.

After many months of thinking it over, John decided that I should definitely go on the cruise and we could pay for it with our tax money. We have had incredible tax returns the past 2 years, so he wanted to use part of the money to send me on the cruise with my family. Although he REALLY wants to go, he doesn't feel like it would be a good financial move for both of us to go, so he's going to go to Kentucky to visit his sisters while I am gone - he can fly for free and stay there for free, so no money worries there! I called Disney, made my reservation, and started to get really excited about the cruise. It all was sounding great, until...

John has been using an amazing guy in Miami to do his/our taxes for many years. The guy specializes in doing taxes for people in aviation - there are so many write-offs and deductions that pilots can take and this guys knows all of them. John has been gathering all of our tax information over the past 3 weeks (which in itself was hilarious as I had 4 jobs and he had 3 jobs last year, not to mention all of the other paperwork we have!) and sent it all to Brian the Tax Guy last week. While John was away on a trip last week, he called to tell me that he had good news and bad news. The good news was that Brian wasn't charging us his usual price and we were getting some money back. (Brian is an amazing guy!) The bad news was that it was significantly less than what we expected due to some things that I thought had been taken care of that hadn't (like John's deductions from his paycheck). Not the end of the world, but not what we were expecting (hmmm...this seems to be the theme of this past year)

Of course, being the rational person that I am, I freaked out. After talking me down off the ledge, John assured me that it was going to be okay, that it was still enough to pay for the cruise, and that he did not want me to even think about trying to cancel. He said that he would rather spend the money than have me regret not spending that time with my family.

I talked to my mom about it the next day and was encouraged to hear her say basically the same thing. She's been reading the new book by Kerry Shook and said that it is teaching her how to make the most of each day and to be concerned about how she invests her time, not just her money. I also talked to my good friend, Holly Guyon, about it this week. For those of you who do not know, Holly is younger than me and recently lost her husband to cancer. We used to be close and have thankfully been given another chance to be close again, even though we live very far apart now. She said, "my perspective on quality time has changed so much, seriously, it's just money compared to quality time and memories that you won't ever get back...so if you're ever torn between not going or going you should GO!"

So, instead of feeling like a selfish brat for spending the little bit of tax money that we are getting back (and still trying not to feel like a horrible wife for taking a vacation without my incredibly generous husband), I am looking forward to the cruise again. I am really focused on making each moment count and to come home with a head full of memories and not just a bathing suit bottom full of sand.


THE Christy Music :) said...

I know what you mean about the money bit. We're planning a trip to NH this summer as we always have, but Eric once again won't be able to go with us due to the life of the AF and he'll be in Iraq. Plus I'm headed to a Michelle Rendon's wedding over Labor Day weekend while he's still gone. So I feel bad for sitting and spending the money while he can't enjoy anything, but I know that I'll be making some great memories in the process and ones that you can't put a monetary value on. AND we've booked a trip sometime in the next year to go with my dad, deb and kylie to DISNEY!!! It will be the girls first time but my dad really wants us all to go. I'm SO excited even though it could be a year away:) Have fun on your cruise!

mom said...

I am so glad you are going! I have a feeling that this is going to be a great trip! It is so nice that John is letting you come even without him. See you in a week!

Heather Orr said...

Christy -

WOW - back to Iraq?? I don't know how you do it! I can't wait for John to get home when he is away for just a 4-day trip!!

Oh, your girls will have so much fun at Disney - especially if they are into the Princesses - they have so much new stuff for kids there!!!

Hey - how do I get to your blog???

Alisha said...

And don't forget about having to pay State Tax now as well!!!! That killed us this year.... but we still love it here. I miss you and hope that we can get together sometime soon!

Heather Orr said...

Alisha!!!! Yeah, the state tax has been a little hard to get used to - somehow we got money back - not much, but at least we didn't have to pay! What's killing us is the price of gas - $50 to fill up my CRV!!

I really want to see you! Hopefully when school gets out we can get together :)

Love you!!!