Full Disclosure: The Disposable Income Tax

Thanks to consistently irregular weather and our nonexistent winter, I have ceased to embrace nature’s concept of “the seasons.” The only season that I can truly rely on is the town’s budget season, which always arrives on time and is reliably turbulent. 

Over the next month, the town’s governing bodies, public servants and stakeholders will endure lengthy hearings (along with the occasional heckler) to nail down a complex budget and make sound financial decisions for New Canaanites. 

Concurrently, I, the reluctant and wholly unqualified CFO of my household, will continue to engage in questionable personal finance practices to ensure that my “constituents” also are satisfied. 

When things go awry under my roof (and that’s seemingly a weekly occurrence), I put on yet another hat as a grumpy, de facto facilities manager. In this role, I tackle a staggering, time-sensitive home maintenance to-do list. With each frustratingly new-and-never-before-seen problem or task, I gain unwanted insight into specialized trades and vocations that this lazyperson, I mean, layperson, never imagined. As a result, I have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to cross projects off the dreaded checklist — at any expense and at all costs. 

Living in New Canaan is expensive, thanks to incredible schools, beautiful parks and other public services and resources that are expected of “The Next Station to Heaven.” What is not often addressed is the extra financial burden that New Canaanites endure: the additional 75-ish% upcharge on any service, repair or quote provided by nonlocals who want to cash-in. This “disposable income tax” is brazenly levied by service and trades people who are very well aware that some jobs just need to get done at any cost.

Full Disclosure: A New Chapter

Over the past few years, New Canaan’s best kept secret has been the library’s well-guarded renovation plans. I had been anxiously awaiting the official reveal, after hearing murmurings of its impressive overhaul. Fortunately, the library’s recent video unveiling did not disappoint—I found it more riveting than many of this year’s Oscar-nominated movies. I haven’t been this excited about a library in…ever. The virtual renderings struck me as ambitious, as the broad scope of the plans and campus-like vibe took me by surprise.

Full Disclosure: So Wrong That It’s Right

The holiday party season has commenced and the celebration carousel is spinning—take hold, it’s going to be a long month of overindulging in excesses generously doled out by experienced, unflappable hosts. 

We have seen it all, New Canaanites: elaborate drinks served by bartenders who overtly despise everyone; festive food stations that could satisfy the weekly meal requirements of a Division 1 football team; and merry-ish musicians who would rather you not submit special requests (or touch their microphones). 

Everything is wonderfully over-the-top and I appreciate the extra effort. Yet for me, the thought of hosting more than a handful of people in my home makes me anxious. Unlike most New Canaanites, I lack Ina Garten’s suave, stressless hostessing skills. The entertaining that I do looks and feels the opposite of effortless, which is why it’s so rare. I am the Halley’s Comet of hosting: After a massive amount of time passes, I come ‘round with an invitation to a sub-par event. 

My entertaining phobia most likely results from my upbringing.