April 01, 2019

Taxes & Diet Results

Anticipation was high this morning when the hounds and I started our day. The calendar said it was 'April' and that means spring is here, just as soon as the temperature would climb above freezing and head that 50° they are promising me today. I had a plan for this morning which is rare but that plan changed and it turned into a morning of multi-tasking. So far, all with good results.
I've mentioned before that I keep spreadsheets for normal things and the first day of each month is update time. Some of these are for information, some for fun and all of them are used because I love spreadsheets. It took less than 10 minutes to update, monthly mileage driven, body measurements, financial stats, used electric, and diet tracking.

I caught Stella running this morning but this picture shows I caught her on the downward part of her run as her ears are pinned flat against her head. When the camera focused her ears were flying ... but she was too fast this morning, faster than the camera shutter.
If you remember March 17th I announced I was going to get serious about my eating plan. I'll not review all that I was going to do but will say that in the past few days I have been feeling "lighter". I'm serious when I say that. When I sit at my desk or on the couch I could also tell that my gut was looking smaller ... so this morning's monthly measurements might tell me if my eyes were deceiving me.

It might have been only 13 days ago when I was going to get serious about what I was eating but the tape doesn't lie. The skin calipers don't lie and neither does the scale. It's one reason I always like to record the truth so I can see the real differences, good or bad.
Comparing my measurements to what they were just a month ago on March 1st, I've lost 4 pounds, an inch off my gut, 1/4" of fat on the side or 4mm ... measured by skin calipers.

Although I fluctuated between high and low carbs or fat, all plant-based or fish, meat a chicken ... one thing that I did not deviate on was ... NO Dairy. Also I fought through urges for junk food like cookies, candy and anything else in a package. That continues to be a daily battle.
One week I thought I was going Vegan, Vegetarian or was it going to be Paleo?? Like I posted a few times these past few weeks, I migrated to what I have done before in making modifications to where I was eating somewhere in between all of the diets. Still staying away from dairy, processed foods.

I did not go one extreme or the other but in the past week had decided to lean in the direction of 'low fat', higher carbs and the required amount of protein.

So the bottom line is, in the past two weeks I have decreased my gut, weight, and fat. I have only added sugar to my coffee but no longer use it for anything else. If I had not lost weight this month I was going to eliminate those two teaspoons from my cup of coffee every morning and I still might do that.
Last night after the last NCAA basketball game was over, I was channel surfing and caught the last part of a diet presentation on DrOz tv show. They were explaining THE SAME THING I AM DOING !!!! Where's my commission ???  LOL

They were explaining their reasons for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday would be  'low carb' days. Wednesday and Saturday would be 'high carb' days and Sunday would be a 'cheat day' ... where you can eat anything you want plus add 1000 to 1200 more calories on top of your daily limit. In my case that would put me around 2800 calories on Sundays.
I looked at my Cronometer app where I can see all of my food breakdown by day. It's easier of course to look at that site on my computer instead of my phone. What it showed over the past few weeks was that I was alternating Keto and Vegan diets throughout the week unintentionally. Oh ... that Wednesday and Saturday are basically Vegan days ... meatless on their plan.

I can go to the DrOz website and either see or read the first part of the show I missed last night. The dietitian was explaining the reasons for alternating that way of eating on different days, as boosting your metabolism and burning fat faster, thus losing weight. The Sunday cheat day was a reward plus it would also help change your metabolism.
Yet, like I said the other day after reading this in one of the two books I was reading about food. Someone with an addictive personality (me) might have a really hard time with that Sunday Cheat Day because one day of junk food would be too much and seven days of junk food wouldn't be enough. (that is my saying) ... It's either one extreme or another ... but ... I'm willing to try the cheat day concept and see if it works.  :)
Since it has been possible to file federal and state income taxes online years ago, I have. Every year went smoothly, refunds were received and payments were paid electronically without a hitch. Most of my life is electronic, all of my monthly expenses are paid not only electronically but automatically such as phone, tv, internet, water, electric and insurance. I do the automatic payments just in case I end up in the hospital sometime and can't get to a computer. I NEVER make these transactions on my iPhone.

With my income electronically received and all my basic expenses paid, it would actually be possible to pay those monthly expenses on time and I would never have to be around. A sick side of that story is that I have joked about it to friends, I could die and based on my bank transactions no one would ever know I was gone. Life would go on like always. LOL
Over the years I have used different online tax services from TurboTax, TaxAct and HR Block. In all of those services I have been able to file electronically and if I owe taxes I could pay at the same time, a smooth process.

Not this year.

I get to the point of finishing my state tax and it tells me that my state is not accepting electronic debits. The real problem was I could not proceed past that problem to file my federal taxes nor file my state taxes electronically. The tax service website contact info did not have a phone number and if I needed help I had to pay money for their "free tax advice" with a real person on the phone.
So back in February I wanted my federal tax refund so I went to another online service, filed my federal and received my refund. The online service I was currently using said I could file federal and state separately but after reading their help section and trying to do that multiple times, it wasn't possible. They wanted me to print out my state tax return and mail it in.

I played along and printed out my state return and let it sit to simmer for a couple of months as I decided what my next plan would be.
That one line in my state tax instructions told me I could go to their website and pay my state tax obligation and mail my return separately. So .... long story short ... I only did part of that.

A little break in the action ... do you notice the one on the left is now filled with dirt ??? Just yesterday they were both open and in fact filled with water.
Here is what they looked like yesterday.
So this morning I had a plan, a tax plan. I didn't like it but I was going to do it and get it out of my life and since it was April I wanted to close my 2018 Income Taxes for good.

My plan was to mail in my state tax return WITH a check, certified mail for proof of delivery and be done with it. I was even telling Stella along the walk that I was going to the post office after this walk.
Of course when she heard the word "go" she changed her attention from the back of the field to me and decided to walk with me back home.

I get back to the house. It's funny because Stella hearing that was going somewhere, immediately walks straight to the bedroom and lies down on the floor waiting for me to shut the door. I still had to fill out my envelope and write a check. (I can't remember the last time I have written a check) In fact my checks are so old they have the printed address of what I had prior to my current mailing address, when they changed it for the 911 Emergency System.

That has been years ago !!!
I am almost to the point of writing my check when I catch that one line again "Pay online by visiting 'their website' " I did that without any issues and received my receipt of payment for my records. I still wanted to talk to a human voice at the state revenue office so I called to explain my problem and wanted to confirm as the written instructions indicated ... that I could still mail in my state tax return without a payment.

She said, I can suggest even something better than that if you don't want to mail it. Drop off the return at a district office. Well they have a district office not only in Bloomington but right on the way to Mother Bear's Pizza ... a favorite of mine.

Can I have one of those "Sunday Cheat Days" in my diet plan on a Tuesday ??? Like tomorrow ???  :)
So basically I am finished with my 2018 income taxes with a few glitches this year.
The new and improved Cincinnati Reds this year looked like the terrible Cincinnati Reds of the past FOUR YEARS yesterday as I tuned into their game on tv. They were starting their game in the second coldest temperature in the HISTORY of their franchise (150 years). It was 33° and that is just too cold to be playing baseball. The Reds played like they were freezing, losing 5-0. Wasn't the other team cold or did the Reds just simply suck yesterday??
Luckily the first of two games in the NCAA basketball tournament started within the hour of the baseball game so I was able to limit my misery. It was two great basketball games, exciting but more than anything, both teams I wanted to win did win ... so they have a final four WITHOUT what I call "The Best Teams Money Can Buy" ... meaning, money involved to have certain players show up to that school to play basketball.

There has been a little news in the past month where some assistant coaches and shoe company handlers are going to prison for these illegal payments. The real action will start after the tournament is over on the 8th of April, a week or so later. That is when the NCAA holds their meetings on crap like this and the rumor is many many many coaching job openings will occur after those meetings.
Don't be alarmed with what I am about to discuss. This is just for information for anyone that might want to transfer their WordPress blog back to Blogger. I know, that sounds strange because why would anyone want to do that? I'll not go into the reasons nor compare the two but I have found a valuable tool that works perfectly in the process of importing your WordPress blog into Blogger.

The issues have always been that they don't play well together, even when you want to transfer a Blogger blog to WordPress. It's possible but a lot of extra work and on a level where you have to know what you can do behind the scenes.

Most of the time over the past five years, I could find a converter tool for the .xml file imported from WordPress but every time that tool no longer worked. There were no updates.
Yesterday through internet searches I thought I had found one but when I clicked on the link, it would return me right back to the WordPress blog article I was reading. It described the process. So I made a comment about the problem, asking if the converter site still worked?

Within the hour I had a reply and was told they were fixing it and were unaware that it did not work.

Long story short ... they fixed it and it worked perfectly and fast this morning.

If you are needing a converting tool online so the WordPress file you downloaded can be imported into Blogger without any problems ... click here for that converter.
So why was I playing around with that, if I am happy with my blog on WordPress? I know it's not much money but I don't like having to pay $96 per year for their Premium account just so I can use my own domain name that I have paid for plus have a few more templates to choose from. In fact I am not even sure I need the Premium account to use my own domain name, maybe I don't.

I'll be reviewing their Premium account info again today. I did read it before I paid last December and for some reason I thought it was a requirement.
Yesterday I started thinking and that is always dangerous when I start thinking ... what if I have to pay that $96 next December to keep my domain name for the blog? What if I don't want to pay that? I know it's not a lot of money spread out over a year but it's close to a $1,000 per year and I could use that much money on something else. For food or fun or even save it.

So the only backup plan would be ... move the blog back to Blogger to my old blog and transfer the domain name for FREE because Blogger doesn't charge me for that process. I just pay for the domain name. Also Blogger gives you unlimited photos for free ... Wordpress gives me 2Tb of photo space before I have to pay for more storage.

Since I have used only 15% of that storage, it isn't an issue.
I set up a free blog on Blogger yesterday "Steve's Test Blog" just to see if I could complete the transfer without any problems. I also found they have improved their customization with more options and I swear I am sure they use to call them templates but they had the word themes listed and that is the same word that WordPress uses.
I have no plans to move ... but I have to admit ... having all the blog posts on this blog from December 9th 2018 to this one, on my old blog, making ONE blog with all of my blogging history with the hounds ..... is very tempting.  LOL
Too much rambling ... too much time ... and Stella wants her lunch ... I gotta go
Spring is here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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