Love and Taxes
>My first words to your mother when we ment were, "Lady, ain't no Collins man ever paid his taxes, and I ain't gonna be the first!"
>Of course back then she didn't know that great granddaddy had run with the mob, and old Pa was a drifter
>See she was an IRS auditor, and I was man tryin' to run a business
>so she comes in reading me the riot act about accounting. Me, who's never balanced a checkbook in my life!
>I do what any sane man would do, and you remember this, I tell her "I dare you to prove it"
>I was expecting her to either show some smoking gun and haul me off right there, or if not then to leave
>clearly I had no experience with an Anubis
>what does she do instead? She smiles her business smile, says "That's okay, I've reserved six months"
>Six months! Can you believe it? The last time she took a vacation that long was when your sister was born
>So now I'm stuck. If she didn't have evidence before, she'd have it by the end. I'm not that smart
>What? Don't give me that look, you think I paid? That's crazy, it's blood in the water!
>put it this way, what was your first reaction to that Hellcore band's "apology" online?
>No, what you want to do is keep 'em off balance, get on their good side while you figure out how they tick
>and if there's one thing I knew about the IRS, it's that they're penny pinchers to the core
>I told her forget the crappy roach motel stay, stay with me!
>She hemmed and hawed about "inappropriate gifts", but dammit we've got rights in America, a man's gotta be free to treat a woman right
>Now I know you like to go in with a plan, but here's the trick: guess a little and you can
>Here's how it works
>Your mother's adamant, if it's over $50, $100 tops, it's a bribe
>So I tell her, look it's my house, no price tag unless you're a realtor
>and if you're auditing me, won't you need to look into it anyhow? this way you get more time
>besides, I built it, me and the boys. If you're looking into my costs, you oughta see the raw materials
>All that that you plan just from a job. Auditors need to audit, like lawyers need to be pedantic pricks
>I see her nodding. Time to close, and this is where it gets tricky. Is she single? No ring. I guess yes.
>I say look, if you're taking six months for one job you oughta get something nice, because you're worth it
>And that's my next bit of advice: if a guy doesn't believe you deserve his best, drop him. Because you do
>I'm not saying you need a prince, I'm saying if you pick a punk rocker, he damn better write you a song
>Your mom's not buying it. You know how stubborn she is about this stuff. It's time for the final twist
>"I've got some old lego sets in the attic."
>What happens in a six month audit?
>Well if it's your mother, everything
>she talks to all the boys, all the contractors. Carpenters, plumbers, architects, suppliers
>at the start it's still winter and she's out there in wind and hail as we lay out foundations during thaws
>at the end we're building in the middle of a heat wave and she's there like it's a day at the beach
>when she's not surveying or interviewing, she's tabulating with real weapons-grade autism
>Now how we go from there to tying the knot instead of the noose? You'll like this: more plannig
>See what your mother will never admit is that she wanted to be proven wrong
>You work as an auditor, you see scum of the earth. People who'll sell their clients into debt for a buck
>the wagie cagie is real, and it was invented by people like that
>She wanted to bust those guys, send 'em where the sun don't shine, but nab one and five more spring up in his place.
>It gets old, and it fucks with your mind. Like that for cops too. Does anyone not abuse their spouse?
>do that for a few years and you want so damn bad to just see someone decent for once.
>And you know what helps? Having someone to talk to about it
>Now I'll be honest, when it started I was fishing. Hear how the other guy got dinged and I can avoid it
>but then you start listening and you feel sorry for her
>I could hear how tired she sounded, and this from the woman who worked 11-hour days and then woke up fresh
>I'm thinking geez, if I went through that I'd hardly last a week
>One night I decide to surprise her, make an excuse about a call from a client then grill up a rack of ribs
>actually did talk to an old client, a Kitsune dame who gave me a tip: fried tofu ain't just for foxes
>It was perfect, because ribs give you plausible deniability. Bribery? Naw, I just cooked too much!
>well, dinner leads to talking. And funny thing, we weren't such polar opposites!
>Yeah, I'll never be a numbers guys and she'll never be a people person, but Dwarf Fortress is universal
>she also knew some actually cool sci-fi, which back then I'd written off as nerd bait or capeshit
>And let me say, that's a big one: in romance, go with what you've got
>Chasing a tough guy? Pretty sure you can convince him that Dark Souls is badass and impress him there
>After a quiet nerd? Take the lead, but then ask him to show you what he's interested in
>Really I'm saying is this: look at me, look at your mom, take the good stuff, and do your own for the rest
>Anyways, this continues, and as weeks go by we fall into a pattern. Lego night, movie night, game night.
>even end up with a 'guy's night out' on Fridays because she insists on scheduling it
>we get a system down, first one home cooks if we're separate, 50/50 split on normal days. Enjoy our nights
>can tell she's not faking it by the way her tail starts wagging when we finish dinner
>If you ever do end up like your mother, hide your tail when you're on site for an audit!
>Five months in I think things are going great when she drops a bombshell
<I'm going to have to write you up if this keeps going
>I'm like What? Why? This was in the ruins of the 20s housing bubble. Far as I knew I was still in the red
>she takes out the thickest binder you've ever seen, stuffed to the guts with printouts and annotations
<I-I hate to do this, but after careful analysis I can only conclude these months have been a sham
>I'm crushed. Did she just secretly hate ribs and never feel bold enough to say anything?
>She gets all flustered by that, ears drooping
<N-no, they were great, your barbecue sauce is delicious! I mean no! This is about the business!
>Oh, that's what you meant. Phew, actually had me worried there
<This is serious! How can I trust your intentions when I have proof you lied about your finances!
>Strong words. Gonna need to see that proof.
>So your mother spreads out the entire binder, covers my whole drafting table. Charts for everything!
>We go through them
>Failure to select best contractor for equivalent services
>Failure to negotiate industry standard prices with contractors
>Failure to apply for government incentives even on publicized programs like the Monster Housing Act
>Excessive "freebies" given to large or repeat customers in ways bordering on inappropriate
>Excessive overhead cost due to material delays thanks to lack of a good internal inventory system
>I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting. If you really care, ask your mother
>Me, I'm gobsmacked. 'Noobsmacked?
>ask her about the details
>So the buildings meet all the codes?
<Yes, and in most cases exceed them by an admirable degree
>And no worker or safety violations?
>So in five months you learned the business, AND figured out how to save me half a million dollars?
<That is the bone of contention here, yes
>Kiddo, times like thems is when you throw out your plans and act
>I hired her on the spot
>Oh she resisted at first
>Improper offer? So finish the next month, file your report, then quit
>Hardly have a plan for how to make the transition? Fine, I'll help you, just tell me what you need
>But construction is a cyclical business, not a thing you build a life out of. Taxes, at least, are certain
>I could tell she wasn't going to budge on this. You don't end up working at the IRS unless you hate risk
>besides, by now I knew her little tells, the way she'd stiffen up and raise her chin before a fight
>and I knew I wasn't smart enough to persuade her on the facts of it
>I try other approaches. What about as a consultant? Part time even? She's still having none of it
>strangely seems more and more disappointed with each suggestion
>What if I branch out? Or, and you know how loathe I am to even suggest this, find a buyer and cash out?
>now she's getting annoyed
>She cuts through it with a simple question: what if she just gives me a copy of her notes?
>Takes a minute for the gears to click, but now it hits me why I was relieved when it was just charts
>It's not about the business at all
>It's her I don't want to lose
>"What if it was with your boyfriend?"
<But I'd do it if it was my husband.
>She sticks her tongue out and turns to leave
>tail's wagging a mile a minute
>Only one thing to do in a situation like this. I chase after her.
>And one day after we were married, cleaning out the old office I found a chart she hadn't shown me
>A timetable from the first dinner, tracking ways and progress towards getting me to confess
>Yep. She'd been sitting on that binder for over a month hoping she wouldn't need to use it.
>Still, I'm thankful that she did, in more ways than one!
>And you know what else?
>I never did pay taxes for that year. Technically still don't. Your mother does all the paperwork now!
>So go out there and grab yourself a boyfriend! And if he's as dense as I was, just remember what your mother taught you.