Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Getting Mocked by Mother Nature

As a part of my job I do observations at schools/centers. This involves going wherever the kids go for the time that I'm there and accessing playground safety. Yesterday it was a sunny 76 degrees and during my two 40 minute spans on the playground I thought things like:

-This is the best time of year for my job
-I'm so lucky to get to spend time outsidewhile working days
-This is a great part of the year.

I'm guessing you can see where this is going. If you're not, take a look at the picture up there*. To be fair, that's an hour from my house and 1,700 feet higher. But I still contend that I should not be able to take pictures like that on May 13th. :)

Our upstairs windows are single pane and very drafty so the winterizing plastic stays up as long as possible. After three weeks of good weather and a really warm night this weekend I decided it was safe to rip down the plastic and open the windows. Mother Nature then gave a chuckle and said I know just the combo- rain, snow, and a wee bit of hail.

In other news I've driven an inordinate amount in the past 24 hours. Yesterday's post was inspired by a trip to the gas tank. I reset the trip function on my odometer with every fill up to track mileage, so I was horrified to look down and see that I've driven just over 100 miles since then. The bulk of it will be reimbursed by work for today's observation. The remainder involves getting home from house hunting yesterday and meeting with a kid I tutor.

After seeing the scary number I started wondering of ways to reduce my expense, specifically if the mileage is tax deductible. I was paired with the kid through a local nonprofit that I do other volunteer work for. My thought process went something like- you can write off miles you drive for personal business, you can write off non-profit donations and expenses incurred while volunteering, volunteer miles are deductible right?

A quick visit to everyone's favorite federal agency let me know that, yes, volunteer mileage is deductible. I'll be adding the specific number of miles I drive while volunteering to my planner and the spreadsheet I use to track all of my side jobs**. The specific info is on page 5 under 'Out of Pocket Expenses' but if you do an itemized deduction the publication is worth a skim.

*Sorry for the poor camera phone quality. One of these days I'll get around to using my birthday money to buy a digital.
**I could have sworn I wrote about this but can't find the post. I'll share more info later in the week.

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