Yeah I know, it's been awhile.

The title should suffice. After a very long hiatus I'm fairly ready to jump back in and write something. I will start this tirade by sharing a bit of personal information. We bought a townhouse six months ago mostly motivated by the recently enacted First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit Horse Pucky. We knew that we could afford to be buying instead of renting if we had that sweet, sweet cash to pay off a couple of other debts that have been eating our income since the dawn of time. What eased our apprehensions were the stories of others we knew who did the same thing and got their fat-daddy checks in the mail within weeks.

I think it's obvious where this story is heading. Long story short (which I will promptly make long, again): we haven't seen hide nor hair of that coveted, life-saving, and, more importantly, promised money. Now, I'm not a sniveller, a whimperer nor a whiner (I am a recovering murmurer, but that's different), but I am, as they say, a little put out. I haven't taken this lying down, though, before you read this and think, "Get off your keister and go get those benjamins!" and have spent hours upon hours on the phone with the government and minutes upon minutes talking to an actual person (all whom live up to the stereotype of a government worker). But, oh, how we packed those minutes clear to the rafters with the most mind-bogglingly idiotic conversations. Seriously. I have a facial tic, now.

And here is where we see the purpose of this prose. The last call I made bore this precious little nugget. At the end of the conversation, which (pardon my inelegance) could be considered pillow talk for how taken advantage of I felt, the young lady on the other end of a very long and impersonal line told me that I could take my case to the Tax Advocates. Now my gut assumption was that this was a not-for-profit or small-fee organization that offered help to the average tax payer in the event that the government was acting governmenty (yes, I made it up, that's what I've been doing in my long absence, making up words). But to my astonishment, the Tax Advocates are a government institution set up by Congress to help tax payers deal with the IRS. Ok, maybe the absurdity is a little vague at the moment, but let me put it this way.

Imagine, for a moment, that you have a decent sized home sitting a mile from the road. It's quiet, it's peaceful, it's serene and it has that long tree lined driveway that film companies rent from people and put in movies. One day, in all of your majestic genius, you decide you're going to start parking your car at the end of the driveway, closer to the road. After all, you think, the pretty little leaves keep getting stuck on the windshield of your ego... er, car. It takes exactly one hike up that looooong driveway for you to decide that it's just not prudent for someone important like you to spend all that time and energy just going from your car to your house. Now that trip would cause any normal person to slap his or her forehead and exclaim, "Goodness! What could have I been thinking? I'll have to find a way to deal with the leaves." But not you, no siree. "Common sense," you say, "is for the commoner. And I am above such simple thinking." You, in a not-so-rare show of superhuman reasoning, decide to buy another ego... er, car to get from your house to your other vehicle. This is not so different from what's happening with this Tax Advocates business. To put it another way, in case you've seen the movie Office Space think of Tom Smykowski (the "Jump to Conclusions Mat" guy)... it's that ridiculous.

So there's my latest frustration. I hope this didn't paint me, in the general opinion, as a pessimist because it's not as dire as it sounds. We're surviving and we're happy. We're making sacrifices and that's what it takes. At least, when all is said and done, I can look anyone in the eye and say, "I have people skills!" (If that's not funny to you then you need to watch the movie... then go back and read the last sentence again.)

"He made a million dollars!"

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