June 13, 2009 in City

As a cash cow, this house is falling down on the job

By Correspondent

This week I was forced to write a sharply worded letter to my house. You heard me, to my house.

The following is a copy of that letter:

Dear House,

I must write to express my disappointment in your performance this year. We have just received a postcard from the Spokane County Assessor’s Office, which shows that you have squandered – yes, I say squandered – $8,000 in value this year. Do you imagine, even for a moment, that we can afford to throw away $8,000? Do you have any idea what we could have done with 8,000 extra dollars?

For one thing, we could have given you a new roof. For another, I could have had a helluva week in Vegas. The point is, we will be getting neither of those things now. Because of you.

Clearly, I need to remind you of your obligations. About 20 years ago, I agreed to purchase you, based on several key principles. First, you would keep my family out of the rain and snow. But you also took on one other serious obligation.

You were supposed to shoot up in value every year and provide me with my nest egg, my financial cushion, my retirement jackpot, my mad money, my hedge against inflation, my security blanket (in lieu of actual savings) and my 24-hour ATM should I need to borrow some cash for a helluva week in Vegas.

To put it bluntly, you were supposed to be my kaa-ching. You heard me. My kaa-ching.

Now, you’re more like my ker-plunk. You seem to have forgotten that the arrow on the assessor’s chart is supposed to head ever upward, not sideways, not horizontally and certainly never, ever downward. You are behaving – and I say this with all due respect – like some kind of crack house.

And now, on top of this dismal performance, you have informed us that you need to be painted this year. Of course, you never came right out and said so. You’re too passive-aggressive for that. Instead, you said it with your body language, your peeling paint, your gaps in your caulk, your general hangdog attitude.

Give me a break. You just cost us $8,000 and now you want me to spend $4,000 on you for a complete paint job? And if I do it myself, it’ll probably cost $6,000, factoring in the emergency room visit after you “accidentally” make the ladder slip.

Forget it. All you’re getting this year is a power wash and you’re lucky to get that.

Awaiting your reply,

Your Owner

So, the next day, a reply appeared in my mailbox. I can’t say I was pleased with the snotty attitude, but I reprint it here anyway:

Dear Owner,

You’re crying because I was down $8,000? Are you kidding? If I were in your precious Vegas, I’d be down, what, $800,000? You don’t know how lucky you are to have me right where I am.

Yes, I’ve seen the assessor’s report. I saw the part where it says I’ve gone up something like $150,000 since we entered this partnership. And now you’re whining over $8,000? My foreclosed friends are loaded with sympathy over your little plight.

And finally, dummy, everybody knows that a lower assessment is a good thing. It means lower property taxes. You are – and I say this with all due respect – a total moron.


Your humble abode.

Hmmph. All I can say is, I expect to see an attitude improvement before one drop of paint hits you this summer.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email