So, I’m sitting here when I really should be sleeping, and I’m staring at my blank computer screen trying to find some inspiration.

Sorry folks. I got nothin’.

See, it’s been a long week here in Casa de Romano. Our lives have been completely hijacked by potty training and taxes.

The good news is that Cadence is doing amazing with her potty training. She is rocking the big girl unders, and we just completed Day 3 with no accidents…well, at least no #1 accidents. Since accidentally peeing in her snowboots on Thursday (which were a logistical nightmare to actually get clean again), Cadence has been pee-free except on the potty. #2 though, is still a work in progress. We’ll get there though, as long as we keep the Peanut Butter M&M’s flowing as rewards.

The bad news is that after getting excited about getting a decent return back on our taxes, we get hit with the news that we owe the federal government $7500 to repay the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit we took advantage of when we bought our house in Arizona.

Damn that house.

See, a few years ago, the government started giving away up to $8000 to first time homebuyers. It was their way of stimulating the housing market and giving people an incentive to buy when everyone was starting to realize that the market had gone to shit. Then suddenly, the rules changed, and instead of giving the money to people, they started giving it as a “loan” that had to be paid back in $500 increments for 15 years. Of course, home sales started slowing down again, so the government decided to reinstitute the free money campaign.

Unfortunately for us, we fell in the short period where the money was a loan.

We weren’t irritated about that…okay, so maybe we were mildly irritated. I mean, it’s just our luck that we somehow buy a home in the 3-month span that the goverment decided to change the rule to our detriment. But we decided that a $500 a year deduction from our tax refund to pay the loan back wasn’t going to kill us.

Then, we moved, and the government found a way to screw us again.

See, there are all sorts of “what if” scenarios floating around regarding our credit/loan. If you get divorced and sign the house over to your spouse, you’re off the hook. If you sell your house for a loss, you’re off the hook. If you foreclose, you’re off the hook. If your home is condemned, your off the hook. If you home is destroyed, you’re off the hook.

But, if you relocate because you find a new job that is going to give your family more opportunities, if you do the right thing and find a way to keep your house and continue to make the payments without fail, if you are a responsible citizen who tries to do what you can to make sure you’re playing by the rules, what you get is a whole bunch of attitude from the holier-than-thou IRS agent you go to talk to at the local office, and a big f*%# you from the federal goverment in the form of a $7500 bill, payable upon receipt.

Seriously? What the hell is wrong with this system?

In 2009, big banks and corporations and corrupt executives were handed billions of dollars–dollars gleaned from the little guys, the hardworking taxpayers that do more to keep this country running than any of the politicians or wealthy CEO’s that look down on everyone else from the windows in their big offices. If you ask me, it would have been a whole lot smarter to invest the money in the hardworking American people, than to hand it over to the greedy SOB’s who got us into this economic crisis in the first place. Hand a nice check over to the members of the hardworking middle class or the struggling lower class, and you might have actually seen a positive change in this economy already. I mean, these are the people who would probably end up spending that money to pay down student loans or mortgages, to put food on the tables for their families, and maybe, just maybe, even invest in themselves or their own small businesses. Instead, the big fat checks lined the pockets of the greedy and got flushed down the big toilet we call corporate America.

Don’t get me wrong, Steven and I take full responsibility for the money we owe. We should have known what we were getting into taking a handout from our federal government that seemed too good to be true. I guess, overall, we’re just really disappointed.

We’re disappointed that the system in the country is so broken that hardworking, responsible citizens routinely get raped even when they try to do the right thing and get their hands on a piece of that ever-elusive American Dream. We’re disappointed in ourselves for trusting in a system we know is broken, even when our guts were telling us not to. And we’re disappointed that there seems to be so little that we can do to change it.

Instead, we will tighten our belts and find a way to repay what we owe. And we’ll continue to pay our mortgage and hold onto our house in Arizona until the market picks up enough for us to be able to sell it and at least break even. We’ll continue to pay our taxes. We’ll pay our bills and our student loans. We’ll put food on the table and buy treats for our dog and continue to build a future for our young daughter. We’ll scrimp and we’ll save and we’ll treat ourselves when we can because life is short and we want to enjoy it now instead of regretting later. We’ll do it all because that’s just how we are, and because we truly believe that, eventually, the good you do comes back to you.

Sometimes, it just takes awhile.

About the Author Lori Romano

I am a writer, photographer, wife, mother, dog owner, half-assed housekeeper and a self-proclaimed coffee and chocolate addict. One day, I will write a book.

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