Monday, May 5, 2008

Law and Order Strikes Again

The news that yet another episode of “Law and Order” would be filmed on my favorite parking block on Monday morning was not as devastating as it might have been. I saw the sign when I gave up my spot to go out to Rockaway on Saturday, and realized when I got back that rather than let the police tow my car to a legal spot yet again, I would do better to look for a Tuesday-Friday spot, as I am leaving town tomorrow. I found a nice spot at the far end of the first leg of my usual rounds: good till Tuesday at 9:30 A.M.

Before I went to Cinque Terre, I meant to get my taxes done—by which I mean sift through all those receipts and add everything up and get the figures to my accountant—but I failed. So I'm trying again, and while pondering whether membership in AAA is deductible (is it not a professional organization?), I remembered that a while ago I vowed to keep track of all my automotive expenses.

So here goes.

Insurance: $1,276

That’s up $124 from last year, whether because I filled out a questionnaire and overestimated the amount of miles per year I drive—I said ten thousand, but it’s not even half that—or because I used my insurance to have the glass fixed, or for some other reason, I don’t know. Should I shop around?

AAA membership: $48

EZ Pass: $250

I have not gotten regular statements from the folks at EZ Pass, because they send them to Rockaway (I have Rockaway Resident status, so one bridge over Jamaica Bay is free and the other is half price), but they generally charge my American Express account $25 per month. Unfortunately, I’ve misplaced several American Express statements.

Repairs & Maintenance: $833

This includes a major tuneup last spring and new tires and tire rod ends last summer, as well as one sideview-mirror replacement. It does not include oil changes, emissions inspection, or duct tape, and makes me realize that I hardly ever wash the car.

Parking: $150

That’s $75 for the six times I gave up and took the car to the lot by the river, at $15 a day, and $75 for a permit to park at a certain beach all year round.

Parking tickets: $180

$130 of that was reimbursed by producers of “Sex and the City: The Movie.” I can’t remember what the other $50 was for.

Total: $2,607 (plus gas)

That “plus gas,” of course, is incalculable. I heard on the radio this morning that gas had gone up fifty-five cents a gallon, to nearly four dollars a gallon, in the past month, or since the last time I filled the tank—just in time for the summer driving season.

I succeeded in adding up all my receipts, etc., for the accountant, by the way. Now I can leave town with a clean conscience and hope for a big fat refund.

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