By Bill Oakey – March 26, 2014
Within just a matter of days, something will happen all over Austin that must be approached with utmost caution. That thump and rustling sound that you hear outside your front door could evoke a cold sweat and the starkest feeling of sheer dread and fear. “Could it be out there today?” you might wonder. “Was that really the mailman, or just a bird trying to make another nest?” “Should I actually go out there and look?” “Do I have to?”
All of those are perfectly legitimate questions. But sooner or later, you are going to have to open that door. You are going to have to stick your hand in the mailbox, and find out if this is the day that you were hoping would never come. But I have a few suggestions that might help you get through the process. There may be a way to do it and remain in one piece.
1. With any luck, the “bad envelope” will be buried inside a bundle of junk mail. Grab the bundle and squeeze it tightly, so that you can take everything inside without looking at the envelopes.
2. Once your are safely inside the house, it’s OK to look through the envelopes. But make sure you are sitting down first.
3. If you even think you see an envelope from the Travis Central Appraisal District, don’t open it right away and don’t panic! Take a few deep breaths and look at the envelope again. Make absolutely sure that you saw what you think you saw. Our brains can play tricks on us sometimes.
4. If you are positively certain that what you are holding really is your tax appraisal notice, then you will have to make another decision. When and how are you going to open it?
5. My advice is definitely not to do it alone! If your significant other is not home yet, wait until you can share the memorable experience together.
6. If you don’t have a significant other, or if he/she is out with another significant other, just call a good friend.
7. Depending on your situation, you might want to pour a glass of wine or have some medication handy if needed. I’ve always heard that aspirin is good for a stroke.
8. If the battery is low on your phone, plug it in. You might need to call 911.
9. When you and at least one other supportive person are sure you are prepared, go ahead and get ready to open the envelope. Do not attempt it with a sharp object like a knife or a letter opener.
10. Open your tax appraisal notice.
Sorry, I can’t help you any further. We will all miss you when you leave. Take those fond memories of Austin with you, and come back and see us sometime!