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Saturday, August 18, 2007

House Hunting: Not recommended.

It has been quite the harrowing week of house hunting. If we hadn't had a referral for some childcare for the Little Ones, the search probably would have put us over the edge. The kids went to Deb, another military spouse, so readily you'd think they were old friends. Speaks to the kids' adaptability and amiability; also to the strength and reliabilty of the referral. Thank you, Donnetta!

By Wednesday the kids were tired, we were tired, and we had looked at probably 30 houses without one screaming out, "You're home!" And we belatedly learned that we were looking at the tax figures wrong. That is, we understoond what the figure was, but not the frequency that figure was due. In Las Vegas we are not. Ouch.
The timing for a break from race-car-speed house hunting worked out because Deb the babysitter found out Tuesday night that her husband is due back from his deployment on Thursday. So, no more babysitter. We definitely slowed down, but we looked at enough the next two days to show us how impossibly exhausting it would have been had we had the two- and four-year-old along with us the whole week. We already had an 11-year-0ld whining at us "How many more houses?" and, "What time will we be done?" and "Where are we going now?" Like, duh: there's kind of a trend here of looking at houses.

So we were not feeling a particular affinity toward each other or Uncle Sam: He moves us to Ohio, he wants to gank us for over $300 a month to own a house here, and -- to top it off -- his cousin in Maryland tracked us down right before we left Italy and told us -- again -- that John still owed taxes from when we lived there seven years ago.

Because John had dealt with this Maryland tax problem twice before, we figured it was a matter of dealing with it, again, and getting, again, the same result: "Sorry, our problem, not yours". (Albeit without the sorry part.) Except this time they say it never was John that owed but me. And didn't we mention that before? And oh, by the way, we've shredded any papers that might have proved you've talked to us about this before so now it's on you to prove we're wrong. Too bad we caught you in the middle of an overseas move with all your records in a box somewhere on the Atlantic. (Does anyone else move with seven years worth of tax records in their luggage?)

To say this came at a bad time makes the cliche of saying that would be an understatement sound like an understatement. It's like we're on this sinking boat and everytime we think we've found the source of the leak another one springs up out of nowhere until it dawns on us that someone had retrofitted the shoes we put on our two-year-old with ice picks in the soles. I mean, really: you can't make this stuff up.

So after this grueling week in this hotel room full of snapping turtles wondering if we should just rent a house and be done with it and pay Maryland $600+ we don't think we owe ... John looks around and starts to say, in that goofy, Southern-jive way he has, "I love this Fambly"...only before he can go on to wax poetic about how it's a soft place to fall and he's so glad he has us despite everything, the Accidental Comedian (aka Conner) strikes again: " . . . not much of a choice, though, is there." With no trace of irony in his voice whatsoever.

It was just the comedy break we needed. Conner looked a little confused when John and I burst into laughter, all but falling on the floor with how funny it struck us. The little ones were just glad the Grumpy Parents were gone and not yelling at them for doing kid things so they joined right in, never mind they had no idea what the joke was. And Conner either got it or, what the heck, at least they're not yelling at me, and ended up laughing, too.

Anyone knows a good tax attorney, you can pass him our way. Even if we ended up paying him what we "owe" the State of Maryland, it might be worth it. Did I mention that school starts next week? And, even if I knew what town we'll be living in, I still wouldn't know which school zone it would be ... Oh, and John starts work on Monday, and we're a one-car family until our 4-Runner gets here sometime in September...

One positive note (there is one!) is that we are looooving our van!

********Time elapse************

John read most of this during one of the many interruptions while it was in-process and said that he thought it was a bit "dark". (This coming from him!) I said, yea, so was our week! I promise no more rantings (or at least not for awhile) -- and I'm going to try to find the camera cable so I can download some pictures soon, too.

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