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I just read that it costs $222,360 to raise a kid born in 2009.  Now, I’m not shocked.  In fact, I thought it would be higher.  But, it made me think … what else could I do with over $200k? Well, I could …

… buy a Lambo Gallardo Spyder.

… I could eat dinner at the infamous El Bulli in Spain everyday, for almost 2.5 years.

… I could buy this BlackBerry.

… I could stay in the Bahamas at the Bridge Suite in Atlantis for 8 nights.

It only took 4 1/2 months or so, but it has arrived.  That is, our first-time homebuyer tax credit check!  It takes less time for a bald eagle to go from egg to feathered beaut.  In less time, we also could have birthed an emperor penguin or a litter of puppies.  Oh well. 

As soon as we got the keys to our new home, dropped off a couple of boxes and got robbed (ahhh, the image of the footprint on my freakin’ pillow remains … at least now I can brush it off as a life experience! ha!), we amended our 2008 taxes to get the $8,000 credit.  From our mortgage lender, we heard the checks were arriving in the mail within 4-8 weeks.  And, at the time, that was probably true.   (Currently, the IRS Web site says: Keep in mind, however, that it is currently taking longer than normal — about 12 to 16 weeks — to process 2008 amended returns.)

By January, we started asking other people who we knew recently purchased a home and were eligible for the tax credit if they had received any good news.  No.  Well, any news at all?  Nada.  Zip.  So, we put on our Inspector Gadget hat and called. 

IRS: We have you in our system, and I’m seeing that your account has been credited.  I’m not sure how long it will be before it’s completely processed, though.  Call back in two weeks.

Two weeks later, IRS: Check your mail this week.

And, there it was.  Huzzah!  So, keep your head up First-timers!!

When I was in the 7th (or 8th?) grade, my basset hound Snoopy had puppies.  (Side note: They were the cutest freakin’ things in the world.  We had tri-color and brown and white ones!  The neighborhood girls would knock on our door and ask to play with the puppies.)  When we sold the puppies, my brother and I split the profits.  Get money!  I thought it was going to start raining Nintendo games and Z. Cavericci jeans.  It didn’t.

Instead, my mom made me put 1/2 the money into a mutual fund that she found out about.  The company literature looked like a Highlights magazine had swallowed it and spit it out complete with games and cartoon-y pictures.  It showed me how much money was in the account and how much it was growing (this was in the good ol’ market days, I guess).

And grow it did.  I think only put like $250 in there, and when I graduated college … I emptied it.  It was enough to buy me a return ticket to Rome, Italy; a Eurorail pass; a lot of hostels; my first Birra beer; one night at an amazing hotel in Venice (we splurged); a rental apartment in Cinque Terre, Italy for two days; a ferry trip to Corfu, Greeze.  It was amazing.  I learned about culture.  I learned about food.  I learned about traveling, and my friends, and myself.

I’m not really sure how to bring this together … but, anywho, I was reminded of my Europe trip when I read this article about McDonald’s taking their corporate stick and pushing it into the mouths of the Italians — Italy minister defends boost for McDonald’s burger.

I know the locals need their fast food … but, why don’t you see chain restaurants from Italy, or Japan, or Australia, or wherever, infiltrating our market?

Where to start?

Well, I just (literally, just, like two minutes ago) stumbled on the blog Eating The Road and found this chart hysterical.  I guess I like eating gravel.

My hood is popping up with new businesses, too.  That’s gotta be a good sign, at least for Lake Worth.  First, a new tattoo shop on Dixie and Dartmouth.  Sol Ink, I think.  Or, 561 Ink?  Graffiti is awesome, but sometimes hard to read.  A new food joint on Dixie and Gregory looks about ready to open its doors as well – Darbster?  I’ve been watching the construction progress every morning on my way to work.  Should be interesting.

Thanksgiving is around the corner.  Yaaaay!!  Can’t get enough mashed potatoes.  And sweet potatoes!  My heart breaks for people who don’t eat carbs — they’re so glorious.  I’m still in the air about what I’m going to make this year.  Last year I made a stab at apple pie; this year, I’m thinking maybe something along the savory line ….

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