Friday, February 06, 2015

When all else fails, start in on your tax return.

Yeah, that is what I did from about noon on today with a few meal breaks.

Unfortunately, my tax return is still complex due to many ventures.

Don't I sound like a millionaire?

Far from the truth. Way far. But I rent out bits of my property in tourist season, I prepare a few other tax returns, not many. I glean a few dollars from writing and sale of my cards and I conduct workshops and oh yes, I'm one of those trusted citizens who can sign off for your passport or legal documents for a small fee. And marry the pair of you if you want, though that hasn't been requested yet.

All that is to say I have to track the income and expenses of each entity separately which is a right old nuisance when the total doesn't amount to a hill of beans and I slide up and down over the official poverty line all year.

So this morning I had a chimney fire. Pretty scary. The wind was savage and blew open the door of my stove while my back was turned and next thing.....

The sound inside the chimney was fierce and I ran outside (I admit to panicking a little) and there was a mass of black smoke pouring out of said chimney but fortunately no flames. The stovepipe went red with the heat and the brick and plaster chimney breast on the second floor was so hot I couldn't touch it.

And I never thought to phone the fire department. Imagine. I calmly called to cancel an appointment I had with a client I am training and then sat frozen in the house. Now I see I should have called the FD for they have special powder/salt they throw down the chimney to kill the fire. I am hopeless at this unpredictable stuff.

Now it is 10 hours later and the chimney breast is still warm to the touch.

But hurray for social media. A friend in Ontario (a chimney expert) gave me instructions - number one being 'do not light your stove under any circumstances as the bricks and liner are compromised now' and 'find yourself a chimney expert to install a new liner'. He came through on FB also and he's coming on Monday to sort me out.

And then I unclenched my mouth and flexed my paralyzed body and began the 10 hour job that is my tax return.


  1. Oh my goodness - talk about it never rains...

    I'd only been living in my house in Larrikin's End on the wild southern Australian coast for a few weeks when a terrific storm sent two large trees in my garden crashing through my front fence. Since they'd conveniently fallen on the road rather than on my house, I called the State Emergency Service, reasoning that someone would attend because the trees were blocking the road. Not only did they appear promptly and cheerfully, they chain-sawed the fallen trees into stove-sized lumps and I had firewood for the winter. Insurance paid for the fence.

    I think the fact that I'd come so recently from living in a flat in Central London aided me in the decision. My first thought was, 'I should call someone to fix this.'

    Six years of sole responsibility later, I might react more like you have, thinking I should sort it out myself. But, I've also learned that in our part of the world, some emergency functions are carried out by volunteers-slash-people who do get paid if they're called to a job.

    If I'm ever in doubt about my ability to deal, I'm calling the emergency number.

  2. 20 years ago
    living in my old far house
    experienced a chimney fire.
    Very scarry and did call fire department.
    This 100 year old home
    made it but I learned that this
    chimney needed to be cleaned once a year.

  3. yup, time to do my taxes also. I only do the prep and hand it over to an accountant but ours are small business complicated also!

  4. That's very scary. The house I lived in (and helped build) as a kid had a similar furnace malfunction that burned the house down to the ground.

    I need to do my taxes, too, but am still lacking some of the information I need.

  5. Goodness, Glad the fire stayed in the chimney.

    Chimney fires were an annual event at home when I was young despite the regular visit from the sweep. Mammy stayed cool, she put any lighted coals or turf in a metal bucket and carried them out doors. Then she got a bin lid and wet sacks/fabric/paper and used them to block the air flow up the chimney from room level. It was always mammy who dealt with the fire. daddy managed to be busy or out of the house.

  6. Wow, that stove fire must have been really frightening. We used to have an open fire when I was a kid but nothing like that ever happened, I'm glad to say. How lucky that your friend could give you some useful advice on what to do next.

  7. Chimney fires are no laughing matter. No wonder you panicked just a tad.

    My first impulse is always : GET A MAN IN, NOW. In physical, practical matters I am the least able person I know and I MUST have an expert, otherwise I’ll never sleep again.

    Good luck with the tax return. I too have a barely-taxable income but because I get a small non-UK pension I need to fill in reams of questionnaires. A multinational, that’s me.

  8. Phew! What adventures you end up having! I used to have problems like you have with my tax returns till I simplified the whole lot under one account and one accountant. It costs me a bit to retain the accountant but I think that the refunds I get from credits against advance tax deducted at source more than compensates for the charges.

  9. hello, i'm here from friko's on a whim.

    i am doing my taxes also today and they are complicated like yours. i am hoping in a big way that i don't owe a cent more than i've already paid.

    the chimney fire sounds very scary. you sound like a calm person! that liner may be a half a day's job but no doubt worth it for years to come.

    best wishes

  10. Wow! And who says life in out of the way places is dull?

  11. Whoa! A chimney fire is really scary. I'm glad that your friend gave you some advice about it, and have come to help you with it. By the way, how was your tax return? I hope that you were able to settle the issues about it. It really requires a lot of time and information, but it'll surely be worth the effort in the long run. I hope to hear about it soon. Take care!

    Tracy Frazier @ Sunnen Law Bankruptcy Firm


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