We just received a notice in the mail from our county property assessor’s office that we must send them our tax return to justify we are still eligible for the STAR (School TAx Relief) exemption on our home. Seems the county has become aware of information that we make more than $500,000 a year and are thus no longer eligible for this deduction. Husband and I are greatly amused wondering how the county comes to suspect this. Perhaps we should have been less ostentatious about flying our private jet over their building with the tail banner WE’RE BILLIONAIRES AND YOU’RE NOT! Still, I now have to photocopy our last two years’ tax returns and ship them over with a letter explaining that our tax bracket is the same as always: BOCT (Bend Over Clench Teeth)
I’m already dealing with the paperwork on our flood insurance bill generated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Our coverage went from $388 a year to $1690 last year when the county failed to fight FEMA’s directive that our neighborhood that never floods is now in a flood zone. I guess somebody has to pay for Katrina, and the people in actual flood zones are tapped out. After much community activism, FEMA has agreed to review the new flood maps and give us a two year reprieve back to the $388 while they work on it. However, in order to obtain this new/old rate, we have to submit proof that our house used to NOT be in a flood zone and now IS. According to FEMA’s notice, we need to provide copies of both flood maps and/or a signed letter from an elected official authorizing such. If we fail to do so by a certain date, FEMA will have no choice but to continue billing us $1690 a year. Poor FEMA; I can see this is really bothering them.
In the meantime, I am preparing to begin the summer semester at grad school with a pre-1900 literature class called Masterpieces of American Violence. The syllabus quotes the German intellectual Walter Benjamin who wrote, “The history of civilization is the history of barbarism.” The course promises to explore the American sense that the road to perfection lies through violence. Husband finds my choosing this particular class no surprise. He has long been aware of my attraction to film and literature that depicts the dark side of human nature. I read him an excerpt from the course description, which promises an exploration into the work of authors known for their tales of mayhem, as well as other written pieces where the suggestion is more subtle in order “to discern the shaping hand of terror in the most commonplace affairs.” ‘Commonplace affairs’ is something I’m up to my ass in at the moment. Underlying madness, paranoia, and despair? I’m down with that.
Daughter’s Featured Fotos tour The Crazy Monsters Art Show at Toy Tokyo