April 15 has, to put it mildly, a terrible reputation. Tax Day (don’t freak out — you have until Tuesday to file) is a near universally dreaded occasion of financial self-scrutiny, a compulsory rite of adulthood whose rank in the boogeyman taxonomy includes root canals and D.M.V. visits. It sneaks in with the rest of the spring holidays, marring an otherwise celebratory season.
Tax Day needs a new public relations representative. I’m not nominating myself for the role — I have received a phone call from my accountant that began “Are you sitting down?” — but I do have some ideas for rebranding.
When Tax Day looms, I print my credit card statement from the previous year. Recently, as I set about examining my year in spending, I began to marvel at the document, at the organized way in which my very unorganized activities can be marshaled into some kind of order: Here are the restaurant meals you paid for (the lobster rolls we ate outside, the dinner in D.C. with my friend from college). Here’s what you bought (so much for decreasing reliance on retail behemoths). Here’s how much you spent on travel (that trip was a year ago?), on gas, on charitable giving.
I found myself reading this spending statement with interest. It’s an emotionless album of debits to anyone else, but, like a logbook, it provoked a torrent of sensations in me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say reading my bank documents was fun, but it was enjoyable to look back on the year, to take stock. What I spent mapped in my memory to what I did and saw, where I went and whom I went with.
There’s no other time when we go month by month, reviewing the year. In the waning days of December, perhaps, but, at least for me, that’s more of a general looking back than a detailed inventory. We’re one-fourth of the way through 2023, a logical time to take a pause. Why not make Tax Day slightly less unpleasant by taking the occasion as one of personal reckoning with the year that was?
We lament years passing too quickly, our inability to account for them. By looking back closely at the days and their details, we can at least try to get a handle on how we’re spending our time.
How to manage money stress before Tax Day.
Here’s what experts say you should do with a tax refund.
From Wirecutter: The best online software and when to hire a professional.
THE WEEK IN CULTURE
Prince Harry will attend his father’s coronation next month. Here’s what you need to know.
Mary Quant, who died at 93, was one of the best-known designers of the Swinging Sixties and defined styles of the era, including the miniskirt and hot pants.
Taylor Swift fans were stunned by reports that the singer’s relationship with Joe Alwyn was over.
“Harry Potter” will become a television series, and J.K. Rowling will be an executive producer of the show.
Ariana Grande posted a video to her TikTok asking people to stop commenting on her weight. The video started a conversation about mental health, The Cut reports.
“Shucked” is the first Broadway show in which the breakout star is a vegetable.
Lady Gaga, Jon Batiste and Shonda Rhimes were among the luminaries named to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
“The Phantom of the Opera,” the longest-running Broadway show, will end its run this weekend. Its devoted followers are mourning.
The Cannes Film Festival announced that movies by Wes Anderson and Todd Haynes will compete for the festival’s top prize this year.
The white suit worn by Justin Jones, the Tennessee lawmaker expelled for a gun protest, has become a viral symbol, The Times’s fashion critic writes.
Fedoras and fascinators: At the Easter Parade in Manhattan, many people came for the hats.
Vivan Sundaram, an artist and activist widely credited with spearheading a transition in modern and contemporary Indian art, died at 79.
Designers have reimagined chairs for Milan Design Week, a furniture fair. See some of the designs.
THE LATEST NEWS
A 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard is facing two counts under the Espionage Act over the leaking of classified documents on a gaming chat server.
The Supreme Court ruled that a common abortion pill would remain broadly available while the justices studied lower court rulings.
Recent data suggests the economy is strong. Yet, for all the good news, economists remain worried a recession is coming.
Four sons of the drug lord El Chapo face new charges in the U.S. related to the trafficking of fentanyl.
Broadway theater owners are trying to block a casino proposal in Times Square that’s backed by Caesars and Jay-Z.
By Gilbert Cruz
🕹️ “Dredge” (Out now): In this indie game, available on every major platform, you play someone in a mysterious archipelago who must pilot a boat around to fish the waters. Pretty soon, in between meeting the often creepy inhabitants of the island towns, you start to pull up odd creatures and artifacts from the deep. With beautiful art and evocative sound design, “Dredge” is pretty chill and subtly terrifying.
📚 “The Wager” (Tuesday): David Grann, a staff writer at The New Yorker, is well lauded for his deeply researched narrative nonfiction, including “The Lost City of Z” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.” His latest book is about British sailors who were shipwrecked on a miserable island off the coast of Patagonia in the 1700s and then turned on one another in a vicious struggle for survival.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
By Melissa Clark
Crispy tofu with cashews and snap peas
Yewande Komolafe is a revered tofu whisperer for those in the know, and her recipe for crispy tofu with cashews and snap peas is one of her most beloved. After a searing in a hot skillet, the tofu is topped with a velvety coconut sauce spiked with ginger, garlic and molasses, which adds depth. Lightly charred sugar snap peas give the dish color, along with a slight crunch that’s underscored by a chopped cashew garnish. If sugar snap peas aren’t available, feel free to substitute broccoli, green beans or asparagus. As the headnote promises, “if it’s fresh and green, it’ll work just fine.”
Aesthetic apartments: These renters are redesigning their homes for social media and making thousands of dollars from brand deals.
“Homegrown”: The television host Jamila Norman transforms backyards into productive gardens. She brought the same can-do spirit to updating her century-old house in Atlanta.
Tiny home: He fit 250 plants into 350 square feet.
What you get for $2.8 million in California: A 1903 Craftsman house in Los Angeles, a Mediterranean-style home in San Rafael or a midcentury-modern retreat in Cambria.
The hunt: A first-time buyer wanted three bedrooms for $350,000 in Minneapolis. Which house did she pick? Play our game.
Skycouch: Airlines are letting passengers book beds in the economy cabin.
Ghosting friends: It can be just as painful as ghosting in dating.
Unpredictable weather: Why the West got buried in snow this year but the East didn’t.
Beginner workout: Kettlebells offer a low-impact, full-body workout.
ADVICE FROM WIRECUTTER
Spring pressure washing
When it comes to getting cleaning outdoor areas for spring, nothing is quite as satisfying as using a pressure washer to, say, scour years of mildew off a piece of patio furniture. I have a small farm, so my needs are extreme: blasting cow manure off tractor wheels and spraying out the sheep waterer. But pressure washers are great for all sorts of outdoor chores, like rinsing the car or restoring the grill to its shining glory. The best models Wirecutter experts have tested are often electric, and some are even small enough to carry around with one hand. I can’t imagine this time of year without one. — Doug Mahoney
GAME OF THE WEEKEND
New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, N.B.A. playoffs: Both squads are looking for their first playoff series win in five years. Keep an eye on the clash between Knicks guard Jalen Brunson and Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell. In their last matchup, the pair combined for 90 points with 13 three-pointers. Once overlooked, Brunson has had by far the best year of his career, scoring 24 points per game and leading New York to its most regular-season wins in a decade. Mitchell, whom the Knicks sought but failed to acquire in the off-season, proved himself again this season to be a superstar, scoring 40 or more points in 13 games and earning his fourth consecutive All-Star nod. Game 1 is tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
The Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves picked up the final two playoff spots with wins last night.
NOW TIME TO PLAY
The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was genealogy. Here are today’s puzzle and the Bee Buddy.
Take the news quiz.
Here’s today’s Wordle and today’s Mini Crossword.
Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa
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