March 18, 2003
Taking It Out on Al

Last night when I got home from work I found that the closing documents on my Truckee house had arrived from the title company. In the course of checking boxes and signing on solid lines (they're never dotted anymore), I discovered that the IRS does not think of my house as I did: that is, as a primary residence.

For the past two years I lived under the illusion that 10172 Thomas Drive was my primary residence because it's where I got my mail, paid my bills, kept all my stuff, and spent as much time as I could... and because it was the only house I owned. The IRS, however, has a different idea. Basically, I needed to spend more than half my time there, which wasn't possible for various reasons. One of those reasons was Al, and the fact that he had his own house in the Bay Area, two cats he had to take care of, and a girlfriend he wanted to spend time with (me). So of course, I immediately felt hostile and resentful toward Al. "If it hadn't been for him, I would have been at my house all the time!", I reasoned.

Of course, if it hadn't been for Al, I wouldn't be the happy, loved-and-cared-for person I am now.

I did say I was reasoning, but I didn't say I was rational. If I was rational, I would have thought, "oh well, no tax break. Bummer." Instead, Section 121 of the Internal Revenue Code challenged my delusion that I had a home of my own, and we all know from television movies of the week that delusions are dangerous things to challenge. I came out screaming.

Now, for Al, having all this hostility and resentment directed at him was extremely uncomfortable, but the fact that it was directed at top volume rather than stony silence was probably for the better. When you hear yourself shouting irrationally, it tends to burst the bubble of illusion and bring you back to reality. The scene wasn't pleasant, but it was like ripping off a band-aid instead of prying it up The pain was over quickly. By the time we made it to the Nob Hill Foods to stand in front of their store manager/notary public, I'd come to accept things the way they are. The IRS can't tell me what that house meant to me. It can only tell me what it means to them.

Posted by Lori at March 18, 2003 12:36 PM