23 April 2016

Where Next?

Where next? Well, that depends on When!

When we got back from France, I knew we needed a break from even thinking about travel. But, lurking in the back of my mind was the definite need to get away from winter. We also were so exhausted by the flight logistics that we knew we had to change something - thoughts ranged from "stay in the states this year" to "break up the flights with several days of layover."

I looked into Tucson, New Orleans, the Florida Keys, and the Sea of Cortez (warmer and close). We briefly thought about South America (good exchange rate, but too soon to go so far).

Well, all that took a backseat when we got a love letter from the IRS - it was a "correction" to our tax filing from a few years ago. If we didn't respond within 30 days, that meant we agreed with their assessment, and would owe them a *LOT!* So, we scrambled, and responded. A few weeks later, we got another letter - they would look at our response and let us know "something" within 90 days. Holy Cow! We put ANY planning on hold for 3 months, knowing that they could tell us we have only a short time to respond again or owe big bucks.

We spent a *very* cold December in Albuquerque (yes, this was the year that was 10 degrees colder than normal). We made plans for medical appointments, symphonies, and French classes. We talked about Europe in late Spring (the exchange rate is just too good to pass up), and thought about breaking up that long flight by going via California.

I took a first pass at Greece - flights, itinerary, etc... Greece has been a dream of mine for so long, that Rick and I have never talked about the details as we have for every other trip. Suddenly, we discovered that dreams and realities don't always mesh. We spent some time (and agony) hashing it out; it seems there's no way to island hop enough to see what we wanted to see with a lot of luggage, without seasickness. The nail in the coffin, though, was the reportedly large number of coffin-nail smokers that we saw no way to avoid.

So, no to Greece, but Europe still looked good, and all that digging turned up a sweet flight pattern - Norwegian Air (http://www.norwegian.com/en/) has round trips, Oakland to Stockholm, for ~$400, and Southwest will get us to California at a pretty good price. We nearly bought those tickets, figuring we could decide where in Europe to go later.

Right about then, we got the next love letter... The new "correction" was significantly smaller, but made no sense! We agonized some more, and sent our new response. Then, AGAIN! we got a letter saying it could be ANOTHER 90 days! This one meant we couldn't make any travel plans until after June!

So, back to French classes and medical appointments. So much excitement, I can't stand it.

Well, we finally got a good love letter - we owe zero, the case is closed. The IRS reminds us that this was a "correction" and not an "audit" (which could still happen).

No tickets yet, but we expect to be in California some time this summer, and Europe later this year. Fairly soon, I'll hopefully have the energy to figure out specifics! With no fear of a sudden about-face brought on by a government agency.

Disclaimer - all images were swiped from viral posts on the internet...

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