Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday

Jessica and Sergio, eleven months older

Awakened by a phone call from Jessica: she and Sergio wanted to invite me to breakfast. I told her I’d be ready in an hour.

They wanted to take me someplace new, one of their favorite spots: the Willow Wood Café in Graton. Just a few years ago, this town was still agricultural, with an apple-packing plant (and later, winery) at its core. In addition to the winery, the main downtown businesses were a dingy bar and a burger shop. I became familiar with the town while working at Chateau St. Jean. We operated a sparkling wine production facility in the former packing house.

Gradually, professionals fleeing Silicon Valley moved in and changed the character of Graton. There was an effort to shut down the winery because of the smells, noise, truck traffic and flood-lighting. Today, there’s still a winery there. So, maybe a truce was declared.

The quirky, up-scale restaurant is an odd mix of gift shop, old-time candy store and country bistro. Today, it was very busy and they’re not really set-up up to handle crowds. We had perhaps a 45-minute wait. Looking around, I saw many “almost-familiar faces.” It finally struck me: these are people like me. Aging “Boomer” professionals, with a bit of money.

Our brunch was very good and the company, great! And it was my daughter’s treat, which made it even more special! (After all, she has a job!)


It was a sleepy day, but I forced myself out for a hike at Sugarloaf Ridge. Paid the $6 entry fee, headed out onto the trail and promptly stepped into deep mud. Then the rain started and it was a chilly rain. This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I wasn’t prepared for rain. After half an hour, I turned around.

“Can I get a refund or rain check?”

I didn’t think so…


Taxes are so amazingly complicated, as I sift through on-line publications and follow computation instructions. It's a riot, it’s so insane. It would be even funnier were it not for the potential penalties for errors.

But the tax code must be providing all sorts of shelters and loopholes. Otherwise, why would there be such opposition to a “flat tax”? Termed “regressive” by economists, a flat tax would eliminate entire industries devoted to this completely wasteful undertaking. Think of how much more Americans, and our government could accomplish if we were freed from this annual nightmare!

And I dismiss the “regressive” argument. Middle and lower income families already pay a greater percentage of their income to taxes. They are less likely to have mortgage interest write-offs, medical expense deductions; moving expense deductions, donation write-offs, business expense write-offs. Most likely 100% of their income is subject to Social Security tax. (Don’t get me started…)

Actually, a pay-as-you-go “consumption tax” would be the most appropriate tax. No exemptions. No excuses. You consume. You pay. The more you consume, the more you pay. How fair is that!

Went over to my storage unit several times to find missing documents: last year's return, donation records, stock records. Went through nearly all the boxes (again!)


babycondor said...

Finally, I get to see what Sergio looks like! Thanks, Tim!


timtraveler said...

You must have missed this one, before I left!

otto said...

Finally, we get to see what Jessica looks like, Just kidding, they make a cute couple. Otto thinks Sergio is a "pretty good looking guy", should I be worried?

Sis/Aunt Jane

timtraveler said...

Janie, there's something you should know about Otto...