#361 Dentists and Taxes

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As the end draws near, I’m preparing myself for a big life change. Part of that involves using what health benefits I have while I can.

A little while ago I went to the dentist. What I didn’t mention was that I told him one of my teeth was feeling sensitive and painful. He said it might be because of an old filling. He could drill it out and replace it with a new one. That sounded absolutely horrible. So I decided to wait and see if it got any worse. In reality, I just didn’t want to get my tooth drilled out. This was going to be a novocaine situation. Needles in my mouth freak me out.

But with my insurance dwindling to its final days, I realized how stupid I was being. I should make sure everything was topped off before I quit my job. Who knew how long it would be before I had insurance again? I called for an appointment and they were able to squeeze me in today, knowing that I was practically on borrowed time.

When I got to the dentist’s office, he took a few more x-rays just to make sure that this was the problem. Then he got started. He put some topical anesthetic on my gum and then… the novocaine. I kind of looked away as he stuck the needle into my mouth. I just hate the “squishing” sound as the needle goes in. Of course it doesn’t really hurt but I just can’t stand the thought of a needle in one of my orifices.

Then the drilling. If there’s any sound in Hell it’s that awful sound of a dentist’s drill. It just goes straight to your brain and then spends some time there kicking over trash cans and smashing windows. But luckily there was no pain other than psychological. The whole thing lasted for about 20 minutes. And when it was over, I felt like I had a brand new mouth.

When I got home, I decided to tackle another one of life’s certainties: taxes.

Doing your taxes is not fun. Last year I got a pretty big return. I had no idea what was going to happen this year. I never do. I didn’t have much freelance income which was good. I still had my LLC so I could write off stuff for that. But the tax laws are always changing. With my upcoming unemployment, I was really scared of owing money.

An hour later, I found myself looking at a return almost double what I got last year. Of course given my Asian neuroticism and guilt, I immediately thought I’d done something wrong and would get audited. Well, I did make a mistake. I put down $7200 instead of $720 for an expense. But that really doesn’t make that big of a difference. Especially since I was taking a standard deduction. Still, I got suckered into TurboTax’s “audit protection” service. Basically, if you get audited, they deal with the IRS so you don’t have to. For $40, it assuaged some of my guilt and fear.

After I calmed down a bit, I realized how much this unexpected money was going to help me. Honestly, I could live for a few months off this return alone if I did nothing else at all. Then I still had my reserves and my savings after that. Again, that’s all assuming I do nothing at all which I don’t plan on.

As my last day of work draws near, I feel much better about it than I did. I feel ready for the long haul. I feel prepared. And finally, I feel excited.

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