Essay,  Life Story


This blog has been documenting many fun things of a carefree and cheerful nature in the last two months.

I feel the need to tell you that lately, I’ve been walking around muttering, “the luck’s run out.”

It all started with a letter from the IRS. How frequently do you get important information in the mail these days? Never? Me too. Surprise! This was one fat letter from detailing how many thousands (5+) Joe and I owed them from two years ago (when we ran the market as self-employed business owners). Of course if they’d called and asked us for the money when we first screwed up our taxes, two years ago, we would have had it. But now we don’t, not even close. Before you have a panic attack about your own chances at getting audited: ours was an easy screw-up. We did not pay self-employment tax for that year. I definitely cannot blame it on TurboTax, but I will say I will never use their software again. Too easy to slickly answer questions in a different way and think to yourself: “same difference. This is what the millionaires do, right?” I’ll stick with the paperwork, like my grandparents did.

Then while driving back from new jersey we heard the sound of an airplane engine and realized it was coming from our car. The muffler was slowly easing its way off the ol’ exhaust system, hoping to catch a ride to Mexico. We shimmed it back into place for awhile. But our mechanic rather pessimistically gives the ’99 Honda crv another six months or so before it needs a major overhaul that would be more than half the value of the car.

Then, last week at the playground, I lost my favorite jean jacket. At the time I bought it in high school, to me, it was really expensive. And it still fit and still looked chicly cowboy with everything, these 10 years later. How often do I make good buying decisions like that jacket was? Never. Do you have that very short mental list of things you’ve really loved, and lost? Me too.

I want to write all this down, and not think of it any more. Because once you start listing things that weren’t lucky, you see it everywhere. A friend once said to me, “things just always work out for you.” After she said that, I marched forth thinking yes! things always work out for me. And I’d like to go back to that, as unscientific and selfish as it was.

Of course I don’t tell you this because I think I have the worst life ever, plagued by flying gremlins who insert “worst ending here” whenever possible. But just to, you know…balance the picture? On the one side, here I am taking these great roadtrips, baking bread, getting tan, and leisurely eating grapes with Lux. But also, on the other, I’m an old worried wart that can’t let someone else have a jacket for a little while. And when you don’t tell people these things, you don’t have a chance for them to tell you the bad luck they’ve had lately. And then you miss your chance to say, wow, that sounds really tough too.

sincerely, Rachael

Photos by Paul Octavious, who is also fun to follow on Instagram.


  • Allie

    Sorry to hear of all these bad instances. Adam and I have definitely been there over the past few years. At those moments you think to yourself, “So this is what it means when they say ‘when it rains, it pours.'”

    • girlpolish

      exactly. I know you’ve shared about this type of stuff too, and it’s been nice to feel company in the “spending freeze” time of life.

  • Julie

    Oy! We had a similar tax annoyance come up earlier this year (I was an independent consultant in NYC, and we failed to pay thousands in NY state tax two years ago – the bill came in March). Worst mail ever.

    Do you subscribe to the bad things come in threes rule? If so, you are most definitely all set for a while.

    • girlpolish

      oh that’s nice to hear Julie! (though I hate to hear it happened to someone else). I felt like such a fool, like, who can’t do their taxes properly? We went to see an IRS agent in Boston and he said, “self-employment is not an easy way to make a living.” yup yup

  • Erin

    Thanks for sharing. It’s the out-of-the-blue and all-at-once things that really give a worrying mind something to polish. Hopefully the hard edges are smoothed away soon.

    Here’s something: we recently received a cease and diciest letter from a competitor here, threatening to sue if we don’t rebrand. It has actually turned out to be fine, although the expense, hassle and ill-will has confirmed yet again that self-employment is not easy.

    • girlpolish

      wow. That is truly out of the blue, and malicious, right? At least the irs could claim the didn’t mean to ruin our bank account. Thanks for sharing that.

      You girls are the coolest business owners I know.

  • Hannah

    I, too, lost my very favorite, from high school, jean jacket recently. It was just a really great, worn in Levi’s jacket that added a little edge (some might say dorky early 90s vibe) to all my summer dresses. Every time I had on a sundress this year, I got a little upset.

    I certainly appreciate reading about the less rosy moments of your life, but sorry to hear you’re in a rough patch!

  • Al

    Lady, I just stumbled over from your guest post about Boston on Bridget’s blog. Love you already. I like writing that is real, honest, and deep. And you have that trifecta. I am sorry things haven’t been going well, I know that feeling all too well. Hang in there, doll. Hope it has gotten better!

  • mary beth

    Awww…I loved reading through this post of yours, Rachael. {In a bittersweet way.} Blogging about the lucky and unlucky is a hard thing to balance. You do it very well and I will keep reading. I’m you newest follower…found you from Bridget and your awesome Boston tour. 🙂

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