Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Headaches Are Chasing Me

Having three months here, I thought I would have all the time in the world to pursue some projects that I had started long ago, but have been left hanging for quite a bit time. Thus far, it has not happened. There seem to be multiple things that need caring for where we still have ties: Hungary and Florida. These are impeding on my time.

It is with utmost respect that I share that our tax accountant has just this week passed away. Being an expert in ex-pat taxes, we depended on his expertise. Aside from being a tax accountant, having a doctorate in business, he also taught university in Florida. Not only did his death put me in a tailspin, but also having to find a new accountant who is well verses in ex-pat taxes is another ordeal. 

Before he died, our accountant suggested a colleague who was one of his former students. This accountant is in NY. When I wrote him, he was too busy to deal with us so suggested his partner work with us. Well, it was more than a part-time job getting the partner to set a day and time for a Skype call. After my fifth attempt at setting a day and time, that was mutually agreeable, I gave up trying. I sent him an e-mail stating that his lack of professionalism was not something I could abide by. 

He would suggest dates and times for a call and within hours of his e-mail, I responded with my choices. It was only after the entire list of options had passed, he responded with excuses. “I didn’t see your e-mail in time” or “You sent it so late and I don’t work weekends” or “I have been so busy, it turned out none of the dates and times would have worked for me after all.” I did catch him in one excuse. For weeks my computer refused to change over to this time zone, so all my mail showed Hungary time, not Ecuador time. The accountant and I are in the same time zone. 

Nevertheless, it has been a chore writing to various accountants who presumably are expert in expat taxes, and then waiting for a response after asking if they will work with same sex couples. 

Then, there were problems with the condominium in Florida. The tenant’s lease was up, but they wanted new carpeting before renewing the lease. After telling the property manager we would not make any decisions until we get pictures of the current carpeting, we never heard another thing. In the meantime, I thought we would just replace it with tile or pseudo-hardwood. It turns out our condominium association does not allow for anything but carpeting in any apartment above the ground floor due to noise. 

After writing multiple e-mails to various people at the property manager, I never did get pictures of the carpeting, so I decided to wait them out. The lease was over in November. December and January’s rent has appeared in our bank account, so even if I have yet to get a copy of the new lease, they must have renewed.

Today, I received an e-mail from our Budapest tenant. The poor guy just returned from The Netherlands and his heater is not working again. We have had Budapest Repair out there three times for this furnace. The first time we had them come out; they brought a specialist with them who had to replace the starter. About eight months later, we had to call them again. This time the gas lines needed cleaning out. On the third visit, it was something else. We did not go over for the third time, because our tenant said he could be home. I do not remember their excuse for the third time. Each visit was a minimum of $100 and still the thing is not working properly. 

AND I am still the thesis advisor for one last BA student in my previous Journalism program. She sent me two sections of her thesis. I read one, wrote innumerable comments and sent it back. Then I forgot the second part until today.  That took another couple of hours to read and comment on. It is so difficult advising without being able to do a face to face.

I mentioned to Ron, we should sell all the properties and buy something down here instead. Then we would only have one headache rather than three. 

In between all of this, I am trying to fit in culling my photos to be uploaded and we are still managing to get to museums, go shopping at the markets, and have dinner out with friends. More happier news soon.

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