Welcome to Curious Business
Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Water, Water Everywhere
After at least six nibbles in as many weeks, I finally landed one of those golf ball tournament inquiries that I keep mentioning. The "extra" $600 makes up for the business I lost to vacation and gives me a shot at hitting my mark for July. Thanks to a price discount, buying the merchandise will eat up 60% of the windfall -- but, as we learned a few weeks ago, cash flow trumps profitability, and this money will stay in the plus column for a full month before the piper must be paid.
That means that I can pay myself on Monday and cover all or most of my Mastercard bill this month, assuming that next week stays on track. So it's sunshine and lollipops at last, right?
Well, no. Not to be ungrateful, but it was just a welcome drop in a leaky bucket. I plugged a couple of holes in Curio City this week: I spent most of one afternoon tracking down a vendor's $220 overcharge. The Commonwealth accused me of shirking my $456 excise tax last year; it turned out that I had paid for 2015 instead of '14, so I had to spend time straightening out my own mistake.
Our personal financial bucket is leaking faster. The IRS sent us a $250 tax penalty for "failure to file" because our CPA's deadline extension request apparently got lost in the snail mail. I've previously complained that our 1040-ES payments for the rest of this year shot up from $600 to $1,040 per quarter and this new penalty just adds more injury to injury. At the moment I don't know if the accountant's explanatory letter to the IRS will get us off the hook or not. Property taxes are due this week, too.
The house painting went $1,500 over estimate due to more carpentry repairs than I had expected (hello, termites!) and some contract changes. At least the house is painted. After 25 years, it looked pretty shabby.
That week in the Berkshires drained our vacation account and we're locked into a September trip to Michigan for a family wedding. I have some money earmarked for that, but not enough, and of course Curio City will be out another few hundred dollars when I shut it down. I've never closed in the Fall before because the stakes are higher than in July. Maybe someone will buy another $600 worth of golf balls.
My $650 dental emergency almost ballooned into $1,000 until a series of phone calls persuaded the dentist that their up-charges were illegal under our insurance plan. Have I mentioned that Anne needs $4,000 worth of long-delayed and increasingly urgent dental work?
To mangle the watery metaphor, we're drowning in bills...but at least Curio City is still afloat.