Straight Eye For the Straight Guy

Last week I wrote the single largest check I have ever written to pay for anything, and it was both painful and rewarding, but mostly painful. For the first time ever, I had the delightful opportunity to take a purposeful stroll through the lovely and scenic downtown Fort Worth all the way down Main Street to the courthouse annex where I had the dubious pleasure of handing a clerk a check for an incredulous sum of money to satisfy my obligation to fund a portion of my community's schools, hospitals, staff, doughnut breaks, and beautification programs due to the simple fact that I am a property owner. We manage our own escrow account for property taxes for control as well as the little bit of interest we make versus letting some mortgage company dictate how much money we need to send them each month so they can make money off of our savings and then at year end say "Oops, we made a mistake in approximating how much your property taxes will be so you need to send us an additional $800 by tomorrow as well as an extra $100 each month, every single month this year, just in case we screw up again." HA! Wait a second...who are you calling cynical!?

Anyway, it was rewarding to be ABLE to pay that large sum of money, but it was painful to realize we now have ZERO DOLLARS saved for 2006 property taxes, due in one year. However, the pain is eased somewhat by 2 positive facts. The first is the homestead exemption that we now qualify for, thus reducing our tax burden for 2006. Secondly, we have the entire year to save for our reduced tax burden, unlike 2005. You see, when we closed in mid-March, the builder gave us his share of property taxes for Jan 1 through mid-March, but it was wrapped into the closing, not cash in hand. Therefore, we only had 9 months to try and save for a full year's worth of taxes!

A side effect from this monumental moment in life occurred Saturday morning while fighting my conscience (whom was urging me to be responsible and get out of bed to tend to our hungry children who were at the side of our bed imitating baby birds at feeding time). After paying so much for property taxes, I wanted something new to show for. I mean, I love our house and am very content with it, but this whole property tax thing made me want to invest in something nice for our house. So in between all the little birdies chirping for pancakes, eggs, bacon, or chips (?) I told Jennifer I wanted to decorate part of our house that we haven't done yet, and I want it to be a very noticable change. She starts kicking and screaming and begging me to please not spend any money decorating our house. OK, just making sure you are paying attention. Anyway, we decide to get up, eat breakfast, and load the family up for an excursion across north Fort Worth to Garden Ridge, which is a heaven-on-earth when it comes to house decorations. Can I lose my man card for saying that? Anyway, an hour and a half later and 427 reprimands to our cherubic children, we leave with a picture frame for our bathroom and curtains for our living room (it only took us 10 months!). The curtains were normally priced at $30 each, but were marked down to $5 each, so we saved $75!! After buying the sheers (?) and curtain rods, we managed to dress up our windows for a mere $50! WAHOO!

By now it's lunchtime, but our decorating craving has not been satisfied, so we stop for a break at McDonald's. Funny story - as we walk in, a young couple compliments my Brett Favre jersey. They just moved here from Wisconsin, home of the Green Bay Packers, so we exchange our mutual compliments of Favre and the Packers before I catch up with the family to order lunch. Afterwards, Jenn and the kids went to the play area, so I get our food and start towards the play area, but I'm so excited in my instant bond with the Wisconsin couple that I have to go back and talk to them more! HA! What? I'm crazy? Whatever. I find out that they have been to Lambeau Field for Packers' games many times, and I can't help feeling like I am in the presence of 2 higher beings. OK, that's a little overboard. But really, it was exciting knowing that I was talking to two people who had actually seen Brett Favre play with their own eyes. It was also fun to talk with people who were on the same wavelength in terms of Favre and the Packers. They gave me some pointers on how to get tickets to a game. Jenn realizes I may be awhile, so she comes and gets the food so our kids can eat - HA! Knowing I must part, I welcome the couple to the area (they literaly had a map on the table looking it over) and go join the family. I apologize Jenn, but during the entire lunch conversation, I was sorely distracted with dreams of Lambeau Field and Brett Favre. :) If he doesn't retire, and I think we'll know within a week or two, Jenn and I will see him play at Lambeau Field this fall.

We leave Mickey D's and go to Wal-Mart to buy some paint for our dining room and kitchen, which is enough to satisfy our decorating binge. We buy a deep red, along with some supplies, and finally make it home safely for a fun-filled weekend of painting. UGH! I'd rather someone tear my head off and throw it in my face than paint! In fact, reliving the whole painting experience this weekend is making the pit of my stomach turn in circles, so I'll skip the details. However, I'll include some before and after photos of the living room windows and the dining room/kitchen, and hopefully the photos won't be too dark. Try clicking on each one to blow it up - that might help see them better. We didn't clean up before I took the pics, so don't mind the mess. :) I'll close by saying that I really like our new decorations a lot! Our home feels cozier and while the red paint was very bold and scary at first, now that we are finished - I love it! Of course, we may wait 2 years to do anymore painting... :) Next month we will buy wall decorations for the kitchen and dining room.








Kelly said...

Wow - I'm impressed! Especially with Kirk's desire to decorate!

I love the red walls!

Jennifer said...

The kitchen is a lot darker in the evenings now. Kirk thinks we might need recessed lighting. His desire to decorate is great...how long it takes him to decide on something is horrible!! Love ya.

Alyssa said...

I like I like!! Kirk you might as well go kiss a guy b/c you just got your man card revoked! JUST KIDDING!