10 Februar 2021

I just learned my wife and I are NOT on the same page once again. She was telling me the temperatures for the weekend are supposed to be in the 20’s. She forgets that we live in Europe and we use Celsius for temperature here. I was ready with the shorts and tank tops. The only problem is that she still has Fahrenheit on her phone. I feel like a fool now! I should have known better, but the weather has been awfully strange this year; so I thought there was a chance.

Ink Jet Toner

So I need my friends in the US to do a favor for me. Next time you are at Target, Walmart, or any place that sells ink for an ink jet printer; look and see if they have HP 62 cartridges. Then just leave a comment on FB or here. I am trying to see if there is a worldwide shortage or just a European shortage.

Knowing that Julie would be working from home for 6 weeks, before we went into lockdown we spent a weekend (well a Saturday because the stores are all closed on Sunday) hitting seemingly every store in the Zürich area that might sell toner. As an old school accountant, Julie prefers to read excel files on paper vs a screen. (I know it is sad.). I knew that we would need more ink, so we shopped and we shopped and we shopped. I think we went to over 50 stores that day. We were able to find ONE black cartridge. We did buy it thank goodness. I got back home and started looking online. I found one online shop that did not specify they were sold out; so I ordered two black and two color cartridges. Well it turns out they were out of stock as well. Three weeks later, I got one black cartridge. The store sent me an email saying they had no idea when the other cartridges would be shipped, and wanted to know if I was going to cancel the order. Heck, there is no way I’m canceling. I do not want to go back to the end of the line waiting.

I have checked websites from all over Europe, and I have been unable to find any more ink. I really do not want to go buy another printer, just for the ink, but we may not have a choice. I’ve got Julie being very careful about what she is printing; so hopefully we will get through the next three weeks with what we have on hand.

Popeyes

There are literally only two other couples we know here. We had dinner last Saturday with one of the couples, and they informed us that there is a Popeyes Chicken restaurant in a nearby village named Pfäffikon. Since it is not supposed to be raining on Saturday we are going to take a drive and get a chicken sandwich for lunch. Personally I’m very happy I always liked Popeyes better than Chick fil A. The town only has about 10,000 residents so it seems like a strange place for an American fast food place, but that isn’t the strangest thing I have seen in Switzerland. :). Maybe I will call Chick fil A and see if I can franchise here. Then we can have the great chicken sandwich debate in Switzerland, and see if it causes the same uproar that it caused in the US. There was a Popeyes that opened in Appleton, right before I came over, and I remember they had to bring in extra employees for a period of time just to direct traffic in the parking lot. I think the Chick fil A opened the week I moved, or the week after I moved, so I never saw what happened with their opening.

Speaking of driving. We are looking to spend a long weekend in the town of Davos in March. Even though they are not having the economic forum so I won’t have a chance to meet a gazillionaire, I still want to visit the area. We are looking at renting another apartment so we can cook for ourselves just in case the lockdown rules are not loosened. I probably should not use the word lockdown. We can still travel any where we want in Switzerland, but I just don’t know what else to call it.

Taxes

It is tax time over here as well as in the US. One of the benefits Julie gets from her company is help with tax preparation. It is a nice benefit as we have to file taxes for Switzerland as well as the US. I have to say one thing I like better about the Swiss system, is that the payroll tax system is much better than the the US. Last year the only reason we had to pay any Swiss taxes at the end of the year was the fact they have a wealth tax. So we had to pay a very small percentage for all of our non retirement investments in the US. This is compared to the US where every year we had to come up with a lot of money at the end of the year, because they never seemed to take enough out of our paychecks. I know the finance people are screaming at me now, because it is always better to pay later, but I have always liked the idea of paying as little as possible in April.

I am still a little upset with the IRS because they charged us penalties and interest on the “quarterly” payments we were “supposed” to make before we moved over seas. I tried arguing with them, that we didn’t even know we were moving until the 2nd quarter of the year; so how could we reasonably be expected to make a quarterly payment the first quarter? Needless to say my pleas landed on deaf ears.

I am very interested to see how the whole tax situation works out after living the whole year over here. Last year it was very tricky, because Julie and I had different move dates, and that made a big difference for the Swiss taxes. The biggest question is going to be state taxes. I know we need to file for WI because WI has some strange requirements for what constitutes your “Domicile.” The question comes in how much will we owe. Last summer as we were finalizing the 2019 taxes, the tax preparer recommended that I make quarterly payments to WI that doubled what we were making to the Federal Government. I tried showing the preparer that we would not owe that much. WI law states’ ” Wages, salaries, commissions, and other income for services performed in Wisconsin.” That would only be the income I make from the App business, and interest from the bank accounts. I guess you could make a stretch that it could also be the dividends and other investment increases, but even then we are not talking very much money. The vast majority of our income is from Julie’s salary. I don’t know of any way that someone could claim THAT was from services performed in WI.

COVID update

Things are still very strange here. In many ways the outlook is good. The number of new cases is well below the peak of the first wave. The number of people in hospital is also well below the first wave. The concerning news seems to be the new strains of the virus keep you in the hospital longer than the first strain. So although the number of people in hospital is falling, it is not falling nearly as fast as it should. The second area of concern is the R rate, or rate of spread. It is still above 1 in the country. (last week I ranted a little that this is because of leaving the ski slopes open.) The government has said that for sure the lockdown will continue through the end of February, but has been mum on continuing on into March.

I was reading today that the UK has informed their citizens to NOT make any holiday plans for 2021. The government was of course talking about taking holiday outside of the UK, but it also made a point of saying not to make any plans for a holiday within the UK either. That is a little troubling to me, because it is a pretty good sign that international travel will NOT be opening up much this year. I know that we have just started 2021, but I keep thinking back to 11 months ago when I was very confident Julie and I would be traveling to Indiana for a wedding. I am having a much harder time being optimistic this go around.



Happy Birthday month to George (Drew) and Kaylee. We were able to talk to the kids on their birthdays; so that was nice.

I hope you have a wonderful week. I’ll talk to you again next week. Hopefully with some pictures of a really good chicken sandwich!

NOTE: I am testing a feature in WordPress that is supposed to post a custom message when the blog posts automatically. So you may see a couple tweets or linked in messages.

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