Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Tax year with TaxAct

TaxAct has been sending notices since October for specials on their Deluxe Edition software which most people don't need. The Free Edition works fine for most unless you owe money, earn over $58,000 or have a State Tax return. What they didn't tell you is the only software available for download was the 2008 version. Me thinking they'd forgotten to rename it, went through the whole application only to find it could not be excepted because of the date.

Notices since December

Don't download 2008 for 2013

Asking tech support I only got the answer that the IRS is not excepting returns until after the 31st which is incorrect.   They never said 2008 software would not work for 2013 but that is what they were offering.  I went back last Friday and they had the 2013 package available and I breezed through it like I have the last two years.  It's true that the IRS is not processing returns until February but it is accepting early submissions .... so said my acceptance notice. 

The lack of an answer almost had me headed for, the other recommended free to use software for taxes.  Like I've said before, TurboTax cost me what a live human tax consultant costs just because I have multiple incomes no matter how small.   The H&R Block solution is for people that need online help.

Here is the IRS Free File page to let you make your own decision for software.  Income below $58,000: Free File Software

So now it's off to pay yearly property taxes and the city water.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A trip to the airport

I've known Diana was arriving since last October and I helped her get her rental way back then. Anymore 3-4 months is enough time to forget anything resembling a schedule if it's not part of my weekly life. Basically it's all about day to day. Luckily I have people to remind me if they think it's something  important. So I got that reminder mid last week saying she was arriving yesterday about 5PM. I asked Lorena if the family had been to the airport like so many locals haven't .... and sure enough but they did want to go to pick up Diana.

Thought there might be a space issue with the family but dad didn't want to go and teenage son wanted to watch wrestling so off we went with mom and two girls.  We got there early so we could maybe see the plane landing .. but only saw it taxiing off the runway to the unloading zone.  A good view of the activity from the restaurant upstairs.

Yari taking pictures with her Cell

Ready to unload from Phoenix 

Decided not to get pesos at the airport although the machine was working.   A stop at Banamex in Cihuatlan only to find the ATM was broken.  Went over to the Bancomer machine and it was working with a new screen menu.  Non-regular visitors tend to worry too much about the best rate and the safest place to get dollars exchanged ... especially when they first arrive.  Best to use the first available source and get some money in your pocket and then figure out the best routine in the next few days.

We were invited to a wedding last night that happened to be on the beach a block away from where Diana is staying in front of Hotel Legazpi in west Melaque.   It wasn't going to start until 9-10PM so we decided too tired but stopped for a few pictures of the setting.

Beach Boda

Wedding in front of Hotel Legazpi 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Did I say HOT?

Only a couple table spoons of the curry mix was super hot. I had to add more potatoes, broccoli and other veggies to expand the volume. I think I'm set for a few months of cooking with curry. Need to go rice shopping because the normal white rice here is very flat flavor wise. Neighbors had a huge pot of Posole and invited me over last night so only tried a little of the curry and without rice.

Continued from post yesterday below

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beef and potato curry

Linda brought down some odds and ends as presents for helping take care of their house while they were gone for the summer. What I expected was a back scrubbing brush and she brought a nice one. We also talked about fish sauce for an Asian green papaya salad but I don't cook enough Asian to make it worthwhile. What she did surprise me with was this Shan curry mix.

There is a recipe on the back of the box but I decided to look around.  Most online recipes tell you how to make the curry but with this mix I only need to worry about the meat, potatoes, some veggies and eventually rice. I've been warned this stuff is very hot/spicy and enough to make 2-3 decent sized meals. Small sized trial projects are fine with me. I picture it looking like the bottom foto but we'll see.  I have all day to play with it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Computer on a MAC

Linda just arrived from up north for the next 4-5 months and she is a MAC user but not a MAC guru.    The issue is she still has the USB Modem program on the computer from last year, or at least part of it.   Enough of it that inserting the modem does not wake the computer up for a new install.   She came over yesterday and I suggested we look at the USB Modem under "My Computer" and run the install program manually.   Problem is we found no way to look at the whole system.   Searching the Internet and asking on a Message board tells me there is a "utility" called Finder that we need.   It might be located behind that Dock button you see above.   Strange that Apple likes to hide the inner workings of a computer and Microsoft assumes you need easy access.   Time to visit Linda and see what we find.

My new Samsung Laptop has slowed me down a bit with Windows 7 and programs and drivers from XP not compatible.   I finally got my XP machine back and am able to print with my older Lexmark's.   Need to print taxes, kids homework and stuff from scanner on occasion. Being all English makes it easier as some programs will only install in Spanish on a Spanish system.  The keyboard switch utility works well as I prefer an external keyboard and mouse.

Was thinking of getting a group together this weekend for the Pro Animal Melaque Bike-a-thon since it passes through Pinal but Jimmy and Sandy just took off for Mexico City, Danny and Linda have a bike problem, Mexican friends don't have the 200 peso entrance fee and if I could borrow my bike back for a day I don't think my bum would be all that happy.

Foto is from late last Sunday afternoon to let you know we still use the beach and the water is not freezing yet.  About 10 of us plus a bunch of kids sitting in Sirenitas restaurant as usual.   Ron and Dora are here till the end of the month and got a bite on one of their lots.   We've been going over the logistics of selling, transfer, building, etc .... but really have to relax and let it happen.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Three Kings Day

Three Kings Day or El Dia de Reyes is tomorrow, Monday, and without going into any religious significance .... for us it's just a day for cake, coffee, get together and fun. The fun comes from discovering who gets the plastic baby Jesus in their piece of cake. The person that finds a baby has to buy or make tamales for the next party. Actually there are usually more than one baby in the cake which spreads the responsibility.

 Rosca de Reyes or kings' ring

The cake we bought yesterday looks very similar to this but is still double wrapped to keep it fresh until tomorrow night.   Gonna have to make sure I have enough good coffee (no Nescafe) for some cake dunking.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Winter rains and swallows

The weather sites said no more rain after all we've had and lots of sun coming later in the week but it had to go out with a bang and we've had thunder and rain all afternoon.  I know it won't last forever but has sure been hard on the roads and holiday vacationers.

What the rain brings is puddles in the street which is not real common this time of year.  The swallows are not always here either and combined they made a real show the other day.   I've seen swallows skimming over a lake or pond trolling for bugs but never over puddles.  They were following the streets, turning at each corner and turning around doing it again.   All this activity at just a foot above the ground and I expecting one to fly between my legs as I watched them.

I don't have a camera that would capture this and evidently no one else has seen something similar so I just decided to use an attractive Japanese print.

With road conditions, overcast and rain we didn't even try to see the fireworks last night.   Fireworks at Grand Bay and probably a few more hotels in Barra or Melaque but we'll do it when it's easy.   Instead many neighbors used my garage for carne asada, music and party very late into the night/morning.   We had our own fireworks that we bought at the tianguis days before.  

A good new year to all !!!

The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

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