Over the years I have shared with my readers the antics of this very special cat.  Yes, I know, everyone says their cat is 'special,' but when you have read about my boy, you tell me!

First of all I must tell you that on my scale of favorite animals, the cat comes in a distant third.  The first, of course is a German Shepherd, second an Arabian horse, and then the cat.  So why then, do I tell people that Bear Kitty Hodges is my favorite animal?  It is because, he is truly one of a kind.

It all began for us in August 1983.  I had moved to Arroyo Grande to make a new life away from Los Angeles, with special friends, with whom I was to form the perfect permanent partnership.  The only thing great about the last sentence is the alliteration! The partnership was soon history, which is a long and very sad story.  I will not bore you with the details. I was in the middle of a drug infested, cult type environment, which for a 'goodie two shoes' did not compute!  I have never drank, never taken an illegal drug, nor have I even tried a puff of a marijuana cigarette.  I don't even know how to spell the word!  Thank heaven for spell check!

As usual I am wandering.  Soon after my arrival I met this very skinny rough looking ranch cat.  He was poorly looking, but I was told he was a very loving cat.  He was 7 years old, and for us it was love at first sight.  Appropriately, I gave him my name, from that day forward he would be known as Bear Kitty Hodges. He was one of about 15 ranch cats.  He appeared to come around about every three days.  One day soon after my arrival I picked him up, and took him to the 20 foot travel trailer in which I was living during the transition.  I brushed him, wormed him, and offered him three different kinds of cat food in three bowls for his approval.  He never left me.  He soon gained weight, his daily grooming made his coat very long and silky.  He was a new cat.  The difference was like night and day.  He only left for short hunting expeditions and would always be lying by my head while I slept.  To this day, 12 wonderful years later, is still his favorite night spot.

The day came when I was to leave this place that I had thought was to be my Shangri-La.  My exit was a very uncomfortable one. The only thing that was gained from the experience was it made me a stronger, better person.  The good news was that Bear was actually owned by friends who lived on the adjacent property.

I went to visit Annie Kirk, Bear Kitty Hodges's original owner.  I said, "As you know I am leaving, and that over the last year I have had this incredible love affair with Bear.  Please may I have your blessing to take him with me."  I added, "Before you answer I must tell you that in the event you so 'no,' I plan to steal him!"  She laughed and gave me her blessing, telling me that she had expected he would be leaving with me.

In 1987, when I went through a major surgery, and I was restricted to bed rest for 6 weeks, he was my constant companion.  At that time my parents were staying with me, and my Father was amazed by Bear Kitty's loyalty to me.  He was such a comfort.  My Mother who is not a great animal lover, was also crazy about him. When God made him, he broke the mold.  I sometimes think that I am not worthy to have such a friend and companion.  What joy animals are -- as I sit here working at my computer, Puff is sitting on the chair beside me.  Baio and Cruise are sharing space under the desk, Bones is lying against the filing cabinet, which is one of his favorite places, and Troy is lying in his "house" [his crate], with the door open.

Every year I hold approximately 4 training classes for teaching puppies and their owners how to live in harmony.  Without exception, Bear Kitty Hodges strolls through the new group of students.  If one of the puppies is a little too inquisitive, he simply swats them.  They soon learn it is not nice to mess with Mother Nature or Bear Kitty Hodges!!  

Good the phone is not ringing I will play my game - I love video games

How Dare they Keep Calling - Don't they know I am Playing Video Games.

As my avid Quarterly Report readers know, Bear Kitty Hodges is in his 19th year, and like all of us, with age we slow down.  I have built ramps all over the house to allow him passage to all his favorite places.  He even has a small ramp leading to the waterbed.  This one he had only recently started using.  He loves to sit on visitors laps, but unfortunately is no longer able to jump up, so he puts his front feet up, and digs his claws in until they pick him up!!  Even though he has reached such a stately age, he does not have a single white hair around his mouth, and he looks great.  No-one can believe that he is almost 19 years old.

Every morning, while I sit on the end of my bed putting on my make-up, Bear Kitty Hodges sits next to me.  He is so close that you could not even put a piece of paper between us.  He just sits there waiting for a little attention, and acting like a coach or director who wants to be sure I do things properly.  Anyway it is incredibly cute.

He is so special!  Last night, about midnight, it was raining cats and dogs!!  He came in soaking wet, jumped onto my bed, shook his long gray wet hair then plonked himself down against my naked warm flesh.  It was just like taking an icy cold shower when you really did not want one.  He seemed to be laughing, could this be possible!  Bear in mind his wet feet left lots of muddy 'gritties' on my bed -- yes, he is very special!

Bear Kitty Hodges has been and still is my loyal  and loving companion.  He is worth his weight in diamonds -- actually one big solid diamond.  The type that even Elizabeth Taylor could not afford to purchase.

This photo was taken 1 hour before BEAR KITTY HODGES crossed over the Rainbow Bridge - he was almost 23 years young.  The photo was taken on my bed.  That is TROY telling him goodbye.  He was a magnificent looking cat even at 22 years of age.


The Return of my Black Stallion 

Over 20 years ago, my passion to own a Black Arabian Stallion directed my travels far afield in search of my perfect, yet illusive dream.  During those travels, I discovered South Winds Stud, an Arabian Breeding Farm located in Santa Barbara.  The owner was Holly Bradbury, and her top Stallion was a picture perfect blue-black Arabian named "Gayronek."  I immediately made arrangements to breed my black mare "Mysharina" [Missy] to this magnificent horse.



One year later, I was the proud owner of a very beautiful black Arabian filly.  I named her "Misironek," and sold to my now close friend Anita, in San Diego who also breeds black Arabians.  It is one of her black Stallions that stars on the Family Channel series, The New Adventures of the Black Stallion.  Anita is a perfect size 3, has natural long platinum blond hair, is Swedish, and was a model.  I decided that if reincarnation exists I want to come back looking exactly like Anita.

I am wandering, how unusual!  I wanted a stallion so I decided to re-breed Missy to Gayronek in the hope of producing the dream black horse.  South Winds Stud had now moved to Goleta.  They were located at a superb horse facility in the El Capitan Ranch.  It was during my trip there that I was to come face to face with my dream horse.  It was love at first sight, his name was "Gayhaazem," he was everything I had ever dreamed about.

Haazem was a two year old colt, and the first time our eyes met, it was a Kodak moment.  He was solid black, no white anywhere, his head was perfect it had a beautiful dish, with the cutest little ears, and his eyes were large, soft and very kind.  His body was correct in all places, his long thick mane and tail, made me feel unworthy to be in his presence.  He was royalty.  I spent time with him, he was a gentle giant with a great enjoyment for my obvious love of him.  I later visited the ranch just to spent time with him.  I became his devoted "groupie."

I spoke to Holly, in a childlike manner, I begged for the opportunity to purchase this great horse.  I was told that he was being kept as a Jr. Stallion to Gayronek.  It certainly was not difficult to understand, but it was not fair, Holly owned the factory [the sire and dam], and could in the future make another just like him -- at least that was my theory!  I even offered to give them Mysharina in the deal, plus money too.  Now bear in mind that I sold Mysharina for $10,000 a year later, so it was an excellent offer.  Holly told me that they would accept Missy [Mysharina] and $5,000.  I asked for 24 hours to think about it.  BIG MISTAKE.....  Now bear in mind in those days' $5,000 was an amount I could only have if I won the lottery!  However, being the type of person who believes that 'you must speculate to accumulate.'  The next day  I called to tell Holly that she had a deal.  In the meantime, Holly and her Mother Dorothy, who was very involved with the horses, had decided that it would not be in their best interests to sell Haazem.  I should never have allowed them time to rethink the deal.  I certainly learned a valuable lesson that day.  I have since then never wasted time making a decision, I commit to paper and sign immediately.  I always follow my first gut feeling.

Missy's second foal was a bay colt, which I called "Mysteronek."  Craig, my roommate at  the time, played and worked daily with Mysteronek.  This was his dream horse, and unlike South Winds, I allowed Craig to fulfill his dream.


Due to my dealings with Holly and Dorothy we had become friends of sorts.  They seemed to understand my passion for their horse and allowed my visitation.  Fortunately, their ranch was located far enough away that I could not be considered a pest.  In fact I took many prospective buyers to their ranch that was now relocated to Apple Valley.  While contract terms were being negotiated with the prospective buyers, I would spend ever second with my dream horse.  He remembered me, and this was one of the few reciprocated love affairs of my life!!

Time passed quickly.  By the time he was 9 years old he had not been broken to ride. He spent all his time in a small darkened stall to keep him blue/black.  He was eating the wood in his stall out of sheer boredom. His teeth were being worn away by the constant chewing.  At that time, Holly had left the horses to try other life experiences.  Unfortunately, Dorothy was at an age that she did not work with stallions.  Haazem was going to seed.  I begged her to let me bring him to my property and care for him.  I agreed to break and train him for her at no charge.  I further promised to return him to her within 24 hours if she so desired, with no questions asked.  She had been impressed by my horse abilities with other horses.  It was an uphill fight, but she finally agreed. He was coming home.  He was not mine, but he was mine to have and to hold.  I broke him to saddle, I broke him to harness, and built him up slowly.  However, nine years of sedentary life had left him without normal muscle development and growth.  He was not a good moving horse, he had obvious major leg problems, but he had a heart and personality the size of Texas.

I recall during that time he was living with me, but he was not legally mine, I received a call from Dorothy.  She wanted to advise me that Corky Randall, the trainer of the black stallion in the original movie, "The Black Stallion," was coming to look at Haazem.  He needed a solid black to use in the sequel.  Evidently they had experienced a lot of problems covering the white on "Case Ole" the stallion who starred in the original movie.  During the many water scenes it became a constant battle to keep the dye from running.  Haazem, was solid black and would not require any dye.  I panicked, I could lose him to Hollywood.  I recall bathing him with tears in my eyes to ready him for his audition.  Even though I hoped and prayed he would not be right for the part, I wanted him to look perfect.  My only hope was that Haazem would not be big enough, I had heard they were looking for a big horse. My friend Sally who kept her horse at my property had a huge thoroughbred mare, who stood almost 17 hands -- that is really big.  We carefully planned the moment I was to take Haazem out of his stall, she would just happen to walk by with her huge mare.  It worked, Corky loved the way Haazem looked, but said he was just too small.  How sad....  

I am not really sure that I remember exactly how I became the legal owner, I must have blocked that experience from my memory.  It seems that two years later I asked to buy him, and was refused again.  Totally frustrated I had no alternative but to send him back to Apple Valley.  If memory serves me right I was not able to sleep, and was tormented by giving him back.  It was no longer a desire to own a black stallion -- I already had one.  Four years earlier I had purchased a stallion from South Winds.  He was a very beautiful blue/black "Gayronek" son called "S.W. Gayjur," who was probably the most talented horse I have ever owned.  At one time in his career he was qualified for the U.S. Nationals in 4 events. {Western, Native Costume, Trail, & Sidesaddle}.

It was simply true love.  Once again I contacted Dorothy, who finally agreed to sell Haazem for $15,000, which was more than his present value.  She knew I would do just about anything to raise the money to own him, we both knew he was not a healthy horse.  He certainly would never have passed a vet check. 

Haazem was finally mine, he would never be a riding horse, but was a capable and beautiful breeding stallion.  His problems escalated in a short time, he needed surgery to cut the check ligament.  This should have given his muscles the opportunity to stretch and develop.  Haazem was taken to the best horse surgeon in California, Dr. Charlie Boles, who is located in Santa Ynez.  His prognosis for Haazem did not look good.  He started to founder seriously, and even with the many many experts to help work on him, his days were certainly numbered.  With all his obvious pain, he still did a magnificent job of servicing the mares, and without exception would get mares pregnant during their first heat cycle.  With very heavy heart, when Haazem was only 14 years old he was put to rest and out of his misery. 

I had lost the fight, the infection in his feet won.  However, I did not give up easily.  Daily he would be soaked, one day Epsom Salts and the next day Betadine solution.  He would be given a pound of carrots each soaking.  During the long soaking time, he would do cute things, such as cock his head to ask for a carrot.  He could pick the hand behind your back that held the carrot.  He was never wrong.  During those days I had help from special friends, especially Pam who was so great helping me with Haz's soakings.  She loved him too, he was such a gentle stallion.  Children could lead him around, walk under his stomach, he was so easy to be around.

I remember just how cute he really could be.  I had trained him to cart, and would go over to Hanson Dam Recreational Center with him pulling my buggy.  We would go around the area looking for aluminum cans and then donate the proceeds to International Guiding Eyes.  Haz was so smart, he would see a can and stop.  I would jump out pick it up and then throw it into the basket in back.  As soon as he heard the clank of the can in the basket he would start off again.  He was such a character.  So very very special and almost human.  Most certainly one of a kind.

You will recall that I had sold Missy.  Linda the wealthy lady who purchased her bred her to only the top stallions in the United States.  She owned a syndicated share of the great stallion "Barbary."  Barbary was being used so much that he only bred mares by artificial insemination.  Linda was being charge over $3,000 per month for care, vet and other costs and two years in a row she had lost her foal.  Linda, being a smart business woman called me, knowing that I loved her and told me that if I wanted her to go pick her up, she would give her to me.  The vet had told her that the only chance she had of conceiving was by natural breeding.  Linda did not have her own stallion, and really did not want to be bothered with the lengthy process of showing her to prospective buyers.


When I picked up Missy it was not the breeding season, However, in view of the fact that she was supposed to be a problem, and that settling her in foal was not going to be easy it seemed that we should try whenever she was in heat.  The first time we bred her was in August 1985 -- Haazem performed like a champ, and she got pregnant on the first attempt.  The following July 23, 1986, a very beautiful black filly was born.  It was a real love affair, so my baby was named "Conceived of Love," and known to my readers as Luvy.  Luvy was the last foal Hazeem every made, but he did get to see his final masterpiece.

Last year,  I learned that Dorothy had passed away, and almost all the horses disbanded.  However, Holly had a ranch in Santa Ynez and had kept a few very special horses at her ranch, one of them was "Gayronek."  He was 30 years young, and still making babies.  I contacted Holly and asked if she would consider breeding a granddaughter back.  She told me that she had had great success doing just that.  I sheepishly asked the price of his stud fee, and was shocked to learn it was only $500. That was a fourth of what I had paid over 20 years ago.  The Arabian horse market is at an all time low, which was a blessing.  Luvy was taken to meet the only horse she will ever know in that special way.  Gayronek had not lost his touch, to my amazement, Luvy was back home vet checked in foal within 30 days.  She was vet checked by Dr. Boles, her father's Dr.  It really was a family affair!

The reason that I wanted to have one more baby by this magnificent stallion was that above all his other great attributes, he produced TEMPERAMENT plus.  I had personally broken 5 Gayronek stallions, and many daughters, and they were all so easy to work with and educate.  Disposition is everything, in people, German Shepherds, horses, and even cats.

Over the last year we have all watched Luvy's bulge get bigger and bigger.  She was due to foal on April 15, 1995. As many puppies as I have delivered, I have a fear of helping in the birth of horse babies -- go figure!!


It was the morning of April 12, 1995.  At daybreak I had gone out to feed the front field horses,  It was not fully light.  Chip and Spot were waiting to greet me for their breakfast, however Shady was not around. I saw him way at the bottom of the field looking at Luvy in the next field.  The next moment I heard the moaning grunt from hell!  I presumed that Luvy was in major labor and having problems.  I waddled at top speed [not very fast], in my sheepskin slippers toward the horses.  As I got closer I was thrilled and delighted to see that Luvy had already given birth and her baby was standing beside her already dry.  I was on cloud nine.  The noise I had heard was Luvy feeling the pain of allowing the baby to nurse.

I ran to the house to call Joan for help in getting iodine on the umbilical cord.  I was so excited and emotional telling Joan that I could hardly speak!  Can you believe with all the foals I have had, and at my age...  It's ridiculous.....  At that point I was not sure if I had a filly or a colt. 

While waiting for Joan I went to find out the sex.  To my great delight I had a colt.  He was perfect -- only white on the face and what legs!  Long, straight and very strong.  I had seen this look before, could it be, only time will tell.

It was a week later and lots of avenues explored that I finally came up with his name.  I had called all my intelligent friends to get Greek Mythology names, Shakespearean names, Arabian names and any and all good suggestions.  Then while going through my San Francisco 49ers Report I came across the name of a football player, Trace Armstrong.  Trace had a good sound.  However, it was not quite right, then I found the word CHASTE that means innocent.  So with the call name Chase, and the registered name "CHASTE OF LOVE," my new dream stallion is growing tall and strong.  Follow his progress.






It seemed like any other fall afternoon when I sent Jennifer down to pick up my mail -- wrong...  Hidden in the stack of mail was an official brown envelope from the IRS.  Not too unusual, such envelopes although not regular were often frequenting my mail.  This one was different.  I was being audited for 1992.

Immediately my body went into major stress.  After all that is what a body is supposed to do at such times.  I faxed the contents to Linda.  I swore that I would never own a fax machine, as I had many years earlier about the prospects of me getting a VCR.  I guess I now understand why I do not believe in the word 'never.'  However, I will probably never fly again.  I am rambling.

Linda, who is familiar with audits, and who always helps me with my returns, seemed to think this could have been worse -- I still wonder how!  Then the long job of sorting, stacking, matching, counting, remembering, and explaining began.  It is amazing how at 50 the gray matter is in control and for me trying to recall my last sentence is sometimes a major assignment.  It was agreed that when I felt I was ready, Linda would come up for the weekend and act as my mock examiner.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.

The first interesting thing I noticed, was that my letter from the IRS was dated August 8, 1994.   I received it on the 29th, and they ordered in the body of the letter to reply within 10 days from the date of the letter.  How!!

I called to tell them of the late arrival of the letter, and to request a field audit.  I explained that it was very difficult to get away from the property, with so many dogs and puppies that get fed and cleaned up after, three times a day.  Sarah, the receptionist, told me that her supervisor, Lisa, would call me back.  I explained that I wanted to wait until after the 15th of September to allow me time to finish and mail the Fall Quarterly Report.  I made a point of asking whether I should call back -- I was told that someone would definitely call me.

Linda and Norma arrived Friday afternoon, and we all relaxed and enjoyed the evening, The audit would start early Saturday morning.  At 8.00 a.m. my mock auditor was ready and waiting to begin.  By noon, I was in tears, and by 10.00 p.m. it was over.  From 7.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. we [Norma, the computer genius] had worked with my computer to get it to print some of the things I needed to show the real auditor.  To this day I cannot get it to do the same thing again.  I know if a genie gave me three wishes one would be to totally understand everything about computers without reading any manuals!

It was now three weeks since my original call to the IRS.  I felt that I should call and remind them.  Linda assured me that one of two things would happen.  I would either get a bill from the IRS for approximately $24,000 which would mean they had disallowed all my expenses, or I would get lost in the system, and good-bye audit.  Even though I felt that I was 100% OK, I still liked the prospect of being lost in the system.  Since I never read, not even the big print, I could be guilty simply by my ignorance.  Leona Helmsley, save a bunk for me, we could be 'roomies'!

While Linda and Norma were visiting me, word came from England that their beloved father had passed away.  It was a sad time, Linda, Norma, and her family are family to me.  My friendship with Linda goes back over 32 years.  We came to America together, even drove across the United States in my two seater sports car with a steering wheel on the wrong side.  Let me tell you there were stories about that journey.  We took Route 66!  Anyway. within days they were on a plane bound for England to be with their loved ones.

Just two days after they had left another brown official envelope arrived.  This one was bulging at the seams.  The heart started pounding, the palms were sweaty.  I opened it, and the bottom line was that I owed the IRS $34,000.  This consisted of the $24,000 they had disallowed and penalties and interest from 1992.  My life was over!  The letter arrived on a Saturday.  No accounting offices are open, Linda my support system was in England, and the IRS was closed.  I called Danielle, Linda's daughter, she was very little help.  She promised to tell Linda when she called, and ask what I should do next.  My stress level was at an all time high.  You know this letter could be coming.  You can prove the legitimacy of all your expenses.  Yet it still is shocking for the IRS to tell you that you owe them $34,000 plus daily accruing interest and penalties.  It is about all that is needed to put you over the edge and into cardiac arrest!!

Sunday was a day that even my dogs left me alone.  They were always by my side, but never being pushy or irritating.  [Not that my dogs are ever irritating -- they just want to be exactly where I am.  Four large and one small makes moving around a mobile difficult.  Also, they sometimes simply bug me for too many cookies.]  What great intelligence to know that I needed their support but not their attitude.  I love my children.

At 8.30 a.m., on the dot, Monday morning I started dialing the telephone number of the IRS.  It was busy, and so I just let my auto dialer do the work.  By 9.15 a.m. the phone  was finally answered.  It was Sarah.  She remembered me.  Could I be difficult to forget?  So I asked her why I got the bill instead of the appointment.  She replied, "It's only a bill."  "Right."  It arrives on a Saturday, allowing the stress level to reach possible disastrous end result.  I took down names and times, and followed my telephone conversation up with a registered letter to confirm I had called.  My bill stated that if they did not hear from me in 30 days the bill would stand!  This would mean life as I know it would be over....  Sarah assured me that a Mr. Hugh Stahl would be calling me before the end of the week.

 Fortunately, for my now current heart condition, Mr. Stahl called me the next day and we set up his first available appointment, which was the following Monday at 1.00 p.m.  I really wanted a field audit, since I felt if they saw the kennel it would explain many things that they were questioning.  I found Mr. Stahl very pleasant, I even offered to bring him chips and salsa.  [That will only mean something to you if you have seen the commercial for Tostitos on television.]  I explained that I had bad legs, and that I would have a hard time carrying all the stuff they were requesting, as well as getting to his office.  He offered to meet me in the parking lot, and help me up to the third floor.  He told me not to worry as they had an elevator.  "Elevator!!"  I explained, I would be brave about the elevator, since it was only 3 floors.  It is amazing how many phobias set in with old age, when you lead a sheltered stay home life.  I guess my fear of heights was derived from riding horses on narrow ledges high up in the mountains,  Elevators from watching too many suspense movies.  Of course, the heroine was always stuck in the elevator with a Mel Gibson type, with my luck it would be the angry auditor!  Also living through several large earthquakes always adds to the total picture.  I think I am rambling again -- something I do well.

I felt that being too pushy about the field audit could work to my detriment.  The appointment was set, now all that remained was some final preparation, and then the long wait.  Seven days on vacation in Switzerland zooms by, yet seven days awaiting an IRS audit seems like a month of Sundays!

The day of the audit had finally arrived.  I got up early 4.00 a.m. and decided to pamper myself.  I got my special bath oil from Switzerland and decided to soak in the tub.  I never was very good at just relaxing, I always seem to be in a rush for one reason or another.  You would think with my metabolism, I would not gain weight -- RIGHT!  Well, I was really going to do it right.  It was early, so I knew that no-one would call and visitors were out of the questions.  Now bear in mind that as a woman of 50, shaving legs becomes a hazard, and one only does it for doctor visits.  I shaved for the IRS audit.  I guess you have to be a woman to understand how special you feel with freshly shaved legs, even though no-one will know or see them.  Perhaps it is the confidence level of knowing that if you get in an accident they will cut your pants off you and find smooth legs.  Only women whose mothers raised them to always have daily cleaned underwear, in case of accident, would understand.

Billy insisted on driving me to the audit.  At first, I said I would go alone.  However, I decided that in my stressed condition, and being so preoccupied, I could hit something just getting to the audit being so pre-occupied.  When the time finally came to leave for the audit,  I was actually really glad that he was driving.  He also was very comforting, and it was relaxing to make small talk.  When we arrived he insisted on carrying my paperwork upstairs.  It was a small confining elevator, and I was glad to have a friend, who although was not Mel Gibson, he would certainly rate higher than an angry IRS auditor!  He took me to the big door with the big handle that said, IRS, Suite 308.  This was it, I had arrived.

I was acceptably five minutes early, and followed the telephone instructions to advise Mr. Stahl that his 1.00 p.m. appointment had arrived.  At 1.03 p.m. he escorted me to his desk. The audit was in session.

The day before I had borrowed Joan's Polaroid camera and had taken two roles of film in connection with areas that were under scrutiny.  They were questioning gardening expense.  I wanted to show the park like grounds.  I even took a photo of all my very expensive gardening equipment.  They also needed to see how much of the mobile is used in the business.  I had claimed 50%,  During the audit, with the help of the pictures, we decided I should have claimed 95% -- it became evident that the dogs allow me to sleep there!

It was stressful, Mr. Stahl was very nice, but my active imagination was wondering if he was trustworthy, and what was he really thinking!  He had told me earlier on the phone that he felt it would only take about one hour.  I found that hard to believe in light of the time my mock audit had taken.  One hour later, we were still on the first item, income.  I had a nagging feeling that his original estimate of time was incorrect.  By 3.15 p.m. we seemed to be rushing through some things a little too fast, but it was time for me to leave.  Mr. Stahl had kind words about the way I kept records, but yet,  was that what he really meant?!

He insisted on taking me down in the elevator, which I thought was very thoughtful.  Billy was waiting for me, and took over from Mr. Stahl, I almost felt like a patient being released from hospital.  I actually felt, and told Billy, I thought it had gone pretty well.

It was business as usual, however, the stress headache busted forth.  It is standard procedure for me to fall apart after the fact.  The headache was so bad that I had to give myself a head massage.  Even that did not do the trick until the fourth massage!!

He had requested, at the time of the audit, additional information on four things.  The next day,  I immediately set forth to prepare and mail this additional information.  It is amazing how much time it takes to reorganize your information at the time of an audit.  I am certainly glad I do not have to pay someone to handle such work, the bill would probably match the one from the IRS!  I am joking of course.

It appeared that all I needed to do was to wait for the final word.  Wrong...  Just two days later yet another official brown envelope came from the IRS asking for further information!  I carefully compiled the new required information, and sent it registered to Mr. Stahl.  Again, I had to wait for his findings.  As of the writing of this story, I do not now the conclusion.  It is almost like a murder mystery.  I will finish my story when I know the outcome.

....It was about a week later when the next brown envelope arrived.  It was in the middle of a big stack of mail.  Everything else was immediately tossed aside.  Even the quick look through for possible incoming checks.  I did not immediately open the brown envelope,  I just looked at it for a while, what did the contents hold?  This could be a major changing point in my life.  Today really  could be the first day of the rest of my life!  This little brown envelope held my future.  Of course, this could be a request for more information.  The envelope felt as though it contained approximately 5 sheets of paper, This was very encouraging since the one requesting more information was a single sheet.

I just could not face opening the brown envelope.  I do not think I will ever know just how much time passed with me just holding it.  I finally took my laser jet paper knife, slowly, and carefully I made a crisp incision in the envelope, by sliding the paper knife along the top of the envelope.  I had very neatly opened the result of my IRS Audit.  I took the pages from the envelope.  The cover letter basically told me that if I agreed with the findings, to sign and return one of the two enclosed copies.  These copies contained a lot of numbers and in some places the word none.  I was totally confused.  I immediately called Linda and at the same time faxed the contents of the brown envelope.  As the pages arrived one at a time, Linda would be explaining what they meant.  The bottom line was that my return had been Accepted as Filed.  It was over, Leona, sorry, find a new roomie, I will not be coming.

On reflection, I do not really know why I got so worried about it.  I was audited back in the early 70's and that ended up in a credit for me.  I never cheat on my taxes, although the first few years, in fact still today, I have a lot of trouble with my computer.  Crashes seem to be commonplace.  Press the wrong button and information is lost and gone forever.  If you were to ever read all the books and instructions that come with each program, you would certainly spend the rest of your life reading with no time for anything else!!  During the audit, I actually found some expenses that during one of the crashes had been omitted and which were actually a deduction.  I also realized that saving every single receipt, even grocery bills, which can fade and die, are most helpful.  I could probably get very rich by creating an infomercial.  I would offer a course in how to avoid stress during a tax audit.  My only problem, how do you avoid the two months of sheer hell.  You know you have done nothing wrong, but in this day and age,  with talk shows that are constantly discussing the many injustices in the world, you have to consider the possibilities.  I really am glad I did a mock audit, I actually think Linda was much tougher than the real thing.

Well, the good news for me is that while all the people in the United States are awaiting their first brown envelope.  I have had it, did it, done it, survived it, and lived to tell the tale. which I hope you enjoyed sharing.

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