It's been said that nothing is certain except death and taxes. From now until April 15, the majority of law-abiding citizens will be compelled to pay attention to the latter.
I'm no exception. I pulled out my tax stuff last weekend and attempted to make sense of those pesky little things called numbers.
I sat at the dining room table, accompanied by a heaping pile of receipts from 2013, and scanned each slip for business expenses and other tax-deductible items. Along the way, I took a trip down memory lane.
The codes used on cash register tapes to designate individual items tell the story of my year. Some people keep a diary; I guess I keep receipts.
A slip from February 2 listing Fryer Drmstcks, Bbq Sauce, Kidney Bns, Tom Sauce and Shred Ched led to Super Bowl memories. I don't recall the teams that played, but I could describe a commercial or two.
Bx Choc, Grting Crd and Frsh Floral dated February 13 triggered thoughts of Valentine's Day. The purchase was made by my husband, and didn't contain any business related items. I tossed it in the trash - reluctantly.
March 17 - Bleach, Scrub Sponge, Ppr Towel, Wht Vingr showed that someone in my house was getting a jump on spring cleaning. This receipt did not belong to my husband. Wink.
May 3 had me buying Nail Plsh and Wht Sandals in optimistic anticipation of the show-of-toes season, which was soon to come. I hoped.
On May 5, I purchased items keyed in as Avocad, Lime, Tortilla, Refrd Bns and Med Salsa. No one had to remind us it was Cinco de Mayo. Ole!
I let out a mom sigh at the sight of May 31. Deli Trky, Deli Ham, Deli Rst Bf, Hrd Buns, Pper Plates 50Ct and 100Ct Forks reminded me of my son's high school graduation. We used up the last of the forks this weekend when he was home for his birthday (second mom sigh).
Tmto Plnt, Flwr Seed, Veg Seed, Prem Topsoil and 3Pk Gdn Glov were acquired on June 2 in preparation for summer plantings. At this point, I fought the urge to leave my tax work in exchange for perusing seed catalogs.
June 15 showed the purchase of Mrshmalo, Choc Bar and Grhm Crckr and I remembered an evening bonfire topped off with sweet and gooey s'mores.
Mstard, Stadium Brat, Polish Ssg and Pot Chips on a tape dated July 3 conjured memories of fireworks and sparklers. Other summer thoughts were contained within the list from July 22 - Swm Trunk, Swm Hat, Sunscrn.
Ballp Pen 4Pk, Dual Zip Bnder and 12Ct Pencils from August 24 reminded me of the first day of school and the excited (and not so excited) preparation that comes before it.
A receipt from October 31 had just one item listed: Banana Cost. I remember making a last minute dash to the store for a teenage son who decided he had an immediate need for a costume. At that late date, the super heroes and zombies were long gone from the shelves; I was lucky to get the banana.
Winter was looming when I purchased an Ice Scrapr, Snugadoo Socks and an Adlt Hat on November 2. Not much later, on December 13, there is a receipt for Chapstick and Ht Hand, which I remember buying before attendance at a chilly hockey game.
December 15 rounded out the year with Poinsett, Grn Lame, Glitter Bow 2Pk and Shrt Box. I don't have to explain that one.
Most receipts were run of the mill and contained everyday items like Pnut Bttr, Veg Bf Sp, Crckrs, Crm of Mshrm and Toothpas. I learned (although I already suspected) that we buy way too much Froz Pzza. My boys are fond followers. They are also fans of homemade cookies, which I made once this year after coming home with a receipt listing Bttr Qtrs, Ss Morsel and All Purp Flr.
I did find a few items worthy of a tax write-off: Copy Ppr, Print Ink - Blk, Print Ink - Col and Envelop, so my search wasn't a complete waste of time. As for my taxes, well, they are nearly done. I want to make sure I've found every possible deduction. If only I could find a way to write off all those frozen pizzas.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" You can read more and follow her column on the Slices of Life page on Facebook.