Friday, August 04, 2006

Paint at your peril.

Here we are. It's Friday, after a rather hectic week. We bought a house. A new house, smaller than the home we live in now, but closer to the 'action' for me and my son, namely my office and his school. My wife professes not to care that she will have to drive an additional 20 minutes each way, to and from the school where she teaches, after we move. I will take her at her word.

It is interesting to discover what is important to people when choosing a home. My son's criteria were to have a walk-in closet in his room, a finished basement so he could bring his buddies for sleepovers, and to get something that was as close as possible in size and appearance to Lex Luthor's mansion in the TV series 'Smallville.' My wife insisted that there be nothing painted yellow or green, or even anything mildly derivative, anywhere in the house. I wanted a room where I could hang my guitars on the wall, park my computers on a desk, and where I could hide from reality.

The home we purchased is nice, but bears little resemblance to Lex Luthor's digs. It does, however, have a walk-in closet in the room my son has chosen as his bedroom. What are the odds of finding a closet like that in a secondary bedroom? We were lucky, I guess. I found this particular fixation of my son's amusing because, like most teenagers, he deems the floor to be the perfect spot for his clothes. I wonder what he planning to put in the closet?

Although the home is new, much of the painting had already been completed. Yep, you guessed it -- there were slight tinges of green and/or yellow in the colours the builder had chosen. So, we are paying to repaint most of the house. The colours are almost identical to what are on the walls now, but there will be not the slightest hint of green and/or yellow. Strangely, although my wife and I have rarely agreed on anything related to colour, I agree with her on this one. Here's the problem, though. The repainting is going to cost us approximately $3500.00. The amount will be added to the selling price of the home. Can you guess where I'm going with this?

If you guessed taxes, give yourself a cigar. Because the price of a new home establishes the annual property tax paid on the home, at the current mill rate in effect here in London, Ontario, the fact that we chose to repaint before we moved in rather than afterwards will cost us an extra $56.00 per annum, and then more as mill rates and/or assessed values go up over the years. I don't mind paying for the cost of the work. I sure as hell do mind paying the increased amount of the property tax. Will my garbage collection be more reliable as a result that we have purged green and/or yellow from our decorating palette? Will our local (un)civil servants be more polite and helpful when I call city hall? Will my street be plowed before 8:00 am after a heavy snowfall, so I can get to work at a reasonable time? I somehow don't think so.

All I have to do now is figure out where I am going to install my guitar rack. For the next month or two, please don't be surprised, should you meet me on the street somewhere, to hear me muttering under my breath about that damned 'tax man.'


  1. I'll be singing harmony with you. Why didn't the Beatles sing, 'Tax MEN'? They're everywhere!

    By the way, I find choosing a paint color one of the most difficult aspects of interior decorating. Good luck to you all in your new house endeavors.

  2. I'm an "earth tone" man: If I ever owned a house for a personal residence - as mind-bogglingly unlikely as that seems - the rooms would have to be painted white or sky-blue. There would be deep-pile grey-khaki / green carpet throughout and the furniture would be REAL wood, not that sawdust-and-glue, woodgrain-tape "vaneer" crap that seems to be the curse of our age (God help you if the junk gets wet, or used regularly...It's made for looking at, not setting on)!

  3. You need to paint your house the same color as the emperor's new clothes. That way, you can argue the shade of your new home with the fools that make those rules.

    I hope to someday be as off the grid as I can be. Solar panels, those neat and tidy composting toilets, wells and all. Taxes haven't begun to sting me all that badly yet, but I can understand your frustration as I've heard similar stories from friends. One woman who was told that her own artwork hung in her own house could be assessed and she could be audited to pay tax on the potential of revenue from their future sale.


  4. "You need to paint your house the same color as the emperor's new clothes."

    Now why didn't I think of that, Penny? Brilliant!