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     In all the years I've been in business...I think 34 to be exact, I've worn a lot of different hats and taken on many difficult projects.  I was never one to shy away from adverse situations, and even welcomed tough assignments...thus my current "Bulldog" moniker!

     With the recent purchase of  the 2 commercial acres, and thousands upon thousands of dollars spent on permits, and paperwork without swinging a hammer, my frustration is starting to mount.  A world class sprinter would find troublesome the hurdles I've surpassed in dealing with the town, and foolish regulations.  I understand that standards must be adhered to, but once you enter town hall, all rationale is thrown by the wayside.  Where it reads Town Hall above the door should read as in Dante's Divine comedy upon entering hell..."Abandon hope, all ye who enter here!"

     The county tax map has the new corporate property listed as 3 acres.  I was thrilled that I had purchased 3 acres for a very reasonable amount, until I had a survey done, and found out it was indeed 1.89 acres...Crap!  I just paid the school tax bill on 3 acres.  Approaching the town tax department I was instructed to file the survey map with the county tax department since they had initially listed the mistake.  After doing so, and hearing nothing for 6 weeks, I decided to visit the town tax assessor .  Yes, they had received the paper work 4 weeks ago, and there it was sitting in the in box...go figure.

   Upon arguing my case, I once again became privy to the most hated phrase in the English language used by a bureaucratic agency to absolve themselves of guilt..."I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do!"  "Did you file a grievence back in June?"  "No, I tell them, I just bought the property in October."  "Too bad, they shoot back...the former owners didn't file a grievence it's too late.  You need to come back in March to file an application to file a grievence in June....and that's not to say you're going to win!"  Incrediuosly I ask, "So you're telling me that even though I proved there's less acreage, I still have to pay on 3....and we demolished the existing barn that I was taxed on as well!"  "Exactly,'ll be taxed in January on 3 acres and the barn because in the eyes of the town, the barn is still there!"

     Truth be told, this was one time that I was truly rendered speechless.  I managed a weak smile, or perhaps more a grimace, and wished everyone a happy holiday and walked out.  What made it more surreal, was most of the staff in the tax department were wearing Santa hats when they should have been wearing ski masks!

     I am getting some education during this whole process...what should be straight forward is turning out to be an exercise in both futility, and humility.  I am acting as my own G.C.  In layman's terms that's General Contractor, when it should be short for "Gutsy Character!"  Makes you wonder why anyone would subject themselves to all this aggrevation.  I went into this with my eyes open, and upon being semi pummeled by estimates from everyone from the concrete guy to the landscaper am crying "Uncle!"  Like Rocky in his corner, I look up in self pity and beg "Cut me Mickey when I should be yelling in triumph...."Adrian!!!!"

     I will win...I have to.  I am in deep...not too deep to float however.  I still have my dream, and a burning desire to be the master of my own destiny.  This time next year, I plan to be celebrating the holidays in the new shop, landlord, and land owner all rolled into one big kinder and gentler George.  All it takes is money...lots of money, and a unique sense of humor.  I need to laugh more during all this contracting nonsense, and I figure as long as my funds hold up, I am the man. 

     For now, come the 14th, I will be sprinting out of the bureaucratic starting bloc, appearing before the planning board for my initial presentation.  I have good people behind me, and am confident we will eventually get the go ahead and break ground this spring. 

     In the meantime, I am planning on how I'm going to get even with everyone who stood in my way, and took unwarranted funds from my anemic bank accounts!  Perhaps I'll sneak into Town Hall and steal all the toilet paper and replace it with 200 grit sandpaper, or even move the handicapped sign to the assigned parking space of the head tax assessor...hey, if you think about that one...if the shoe forth and so on....Oh functioning kegerator, how sweet thou art, and shall continue to be!

                                 "Happy Holidays to all, and keep your fingers crossed"  George