"They call me a financial bartender," she said.
"When people come to me for help with their taxes, they come feeling very vulnerable. And they tell me everything. They confess to me their expenses, their debts, their financial challenges - that often become emotional challenges - because they need help reporting it all to the IRS. They come to me, and I help them."
I sat in her home office, a spotless space in warm earth tones and a small vase of flowers next to her keyboard. She apologized for the dust on her computer, as if that holds a candle to the accumulated everything in my life. As if dust on the keyboard is something I would even notice.
She was so gracious, so warm. And she stepped right into my mind the very moment I stepped into her home; she had me pegged. The process of filing my taxes was about more than just utilizing a different side of my brain. It is a mental hurdle, an emotional hangup, and a trigger for anxiety.
It's not just something I've never done; it's something Robb always did. Marital responsibilities and duties are divided differently in every home, and let's be honest: anything with numbers - and a deadline - was more his forte.
"Tricia, when you called me, I knew I could help you. And I knew this wasn't about your choosing not to do it. I knew it was more than that, and I knew you needed help. I mean, seriously, for you to wait this long into tax season? You were absolutely living in denial. And as soon as I saw your name, I knew that. You were thinking that if you didn't look at your taxes, then April 15 would never have to arrive."
(Guilty as charged.)
"I have a soft spot in my heart for women in your situation - women who have never handled all of the finances, women who are now learning to figure it out. But, Tricia, I'm also very passionate about empowering you with knowledge. By the time we're done, you're going to know how to do this, and it will never get to scare you again."
I left with a checklist and a plan of attack, not only for this year but also for next. She said no question is a stupid one, I can call her anytime, and she said I am smart enough to do this. Actually, she said, "This is absolutely within your capacity."
And she didn't even blink at the fact that it's all due tomorrow.