This weekend I did my own taxes for the very first time. I'm 47 years old and not proud.
When I was a kid, I assumed I'd grow up and rule the world and never need anyone to help me reign. Maybe the thought exhausted me before I even got started because ten days after graduation I moved in with my college boyfriend and three years later, I married him. I worked, of course. I had a kick-ass job in television, but I was spoiled and knew that I could choose whatever career I wanted without thinking about the money. I had a decent inheritance and Bill had enormous earning potential and would always be there to pay for everything. Or so I thought. It's one of the reasons I married him. I was 25 (which I don't recommend).
"I do" might as well have been, "I do agree to let you take care of everything." Well, everything except for the things I felt compelled to control. I was completely in charge of choosing the food we ate, the house we lived in, the vacations we took, the friends we had, and the movies we saw. I allowed Bill to manage everything else – lawn mowing, pool cleaning, and the stress of paying the least bit of attention to how much money we spent. It wasn't until I left him nearly 11 years ago that I was forced to learn any of those things and I'm still playing catch up. Luckily (?) that pesky pool-cleaning problem is out of the way. But now I change lightbulbs; put together furniture from Ikea; pay bills; make a fire; grill a steak.
The one thing I've never tackled is filing taxes. My sister-in-law has done them for me since 2002. I just assumed I was incapable. But this year I was tired of asking for help, and I'd successfully filled out financial aid forms – could a 1040 for someone with no discernible assets be much more complicated? Turns out it wasn't. The forms were easy – it's the amount I owe that's hard. So, I've taken a vow to update my W-4 with fewer exemptions on Monday and in the meantime, I'll make some cocktails. It is Oscar night after all, so I'll immerse myself in Hollywood fantasy, watch the red carpet, and drink these:
Silver Linings Playbook – Boston Style
Created by Steve Walton, head bartender at High West Distillery and Saloon in Park City, Utah, and adapted by me from pbs.org.
I took the time to squeeze fresh juice. It's more expensive (i.e. money I should have sent to the IRS, but worth it). The original recipe called for High West Silver Oat Whiskey, which I actually found at Brookline Liquor Mart, but it cost $43, so I went with Bully Boy Distillers White Wheat Whiskey, which is handmade in Boston. I have no idea what the difference in taste between oat and wheat is, but I'm happy with my local and wallet-friendly ($27) choice.
18 oz white (un-oaked) whiskey
12 oz fresh grapefruit juice
6 oz fresh lime juice
6 oz simple syrup (dissolve 6 oz sugar in 6 oz water and cool)
24 slices of fresh ginger
Muddle fresh ginger, grapefruit and lime juices and simple syrup; add whiskey; shake and pour over ice in bucket glass. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.