I'm conflicted over even posting this because I don't want to start a Big Thing On The Internet. But there's something I feel like I need to get off my chest. Confession is good for the soul, right? So here goes.

Yesterday, the title company for our house sent a local, independent notary over because they screwed up filing some piece of paperwork for the county. We've been in the house ten years and refinanced five years ago, yet this is the third time we've had to refile this paperwork (which will make it the fourth time we've filled it out) because some under motivated employee somewhere made some mistake that no one can explain. Every year and a half, the title company contacts us again and explains that the form was rejected by the county and if we don't fill this form out again as soon as possible, we may be required to immediately pay out of pocket all the taxes on the home since we the refinance because escrow would not cover it (did I mention that was five years ago?). Why one single form cannot be filed correctly at least one of four times over the course of five years is beyond me, but I'm not all that confident that there's a single competent person working in the government offices of our county or at the title company, so it's not completely surprising. I was told that someone put White-Out on the last form we filed and that was why that one was rejected. Oh that explains everything.

Apparently, it's not that big a deal while we're living in the house (obviously, since it takes a year and a half each time to even tell us that the form was filed incorrectly) but if we were to ever try and sell the house while this form is not... I don't know... pristinely hanging, framed, on the wall of the country finance office, and kissed by a virgin on the first new moon of the year... it may cause a problem and keep us from selling the house. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have bothered to be concerned, but since we came pretty close to moving a couple of months ago and were not aware that this was not correctly done after the THIRD time we filled out the form and sent it back to the title company for submission to the county, I got a little pissy about it when they called.

One lesson learned: If you call people at a title company "incompetent" enough times, they will give you $100 for your trouble and pay for an independent notary to come to your house at their cost after regular business hours because you refuse to inconvenience yourself and take time off work to do this again. Take that THE MAN!

So yesterday, the notary they contacted called me on the phone to make an appointment to come out (keep in mind, she has never met or seen me or my family before) and asked what my address was.

I told her and she said,
"Oh, I grew up in the house across the street from you."

Me: "Really? Small world."

Her: "I still live in your area on Xxx Street."

Me: "Well, you're very close then."

Her: "Yeah... I spent almost my whole childhood in that house across the street from you. My parents were the original owners. It used to be a beautiful house and we put the fence in ourselves. I hear it's a huge mess now and is everything is falling down because they don't ever keep it up. The owners must be Black."

*insert screeching breaks noise here in the conversation*

Nice, huh? This, in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the US. Now, I realize that despite the fact that I'm half Polish and often try to convince myself I don't fall under the "Caucasian" category (and yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds), I look about as white bread as they come. My Irish-heritage-husband doesn't help matters any. But this exchange was completely over the phone. She didn't know me from Adam's house cat, nor had she even spoken to my husband or anyone else in my family to develop an opinion about what we might be, think or look like.

I responded with, "Well, I don't think their race has anything to do with it - the owner is a very nice lady who is older and in poor health. She can't do many of those projects herself and she doesn't have the money to hire it out because of the medical bills."

She was smart enough to clam up at that point and just made the appointment to come by in a couple of hours. But today, I'm pissed I even let her come to my house after that comment. I think I caved under the "you might have to pay five years of taxes if this doesn't get done and now" cloud and lost the presence of mind to do what I should have done in the first place: call back the title company and request a different notary. When I do call back the title folks to report that we are sending the paperwork back, I plan to report my experience to them. This is not their employee, but I think they should be aware that this person they're sending to people's homes is not representing them in a way that they probably want to be seen. Ultimately, it feels like I just didn't do enough.

It never surprises me so much that there are people who think like that out there... what I am surprised by is that those people automatically assume everyone else thinks like they do.