In honor of Texas Independence Day…

March 2, 2018

I could think of few better written tributes to our state than this; I first saw it around 2006. It was attributed to Orange native Bum Phillips, but I don’t know if he really wrote it; I’ve seen it around the Web and don’t know where it originated. But no matter the author, no matter if it was written in honor of Texas Independence Day, it rings true today, and every day of the year. Every time I read it, the room always gets a bit dusty…

God bless Texas and everyone who lives here, or wishes that they did.


Being Texan by Bum Phillips

Dear Friends,

Last year, I wrote a small piece about what it means to me to be a Texan. My friends know it means about damned near everything. Anyway, this fella asked me to reprint what I’d wrote and I didn’t have it. So I set out to think about rewriting something. I considered writing about all the great things I love about Texas. There are way too many things to list. I can’t even begin to do it justice. Lemme let you in on my short list.

It starts with The Window at Big Bend, which in and of itself is proof of God. It goes to Lake Sam Rayburn where my Granddad taught me more about life than fishin, and enough about fishin to last a lifetime. I can talk about Tyler, and Longview, and Odessa and Cisco, and Abilene and Poteet and every place in between. Every little part of Texas feels special. Every person who ever flew over the Lone Star thinks of Bandera or Victoria or Manor or wherever they call “home” as the best little part of the best state.

So I got to thinkin about it, and here’s what I really want to say. Last year, I talked about all the great places and great heroes who make Texas what it is. I talked about Willie and Waylon and Michael Dell and Michael DeBakey and my Dad and LBJ and Denton Cooley. I talked about everybody that came to mind. It took me sitting here tonight reading this stack of emails and thinkin’ about where I’ve been and what I’ve done since the last time I wrote on this occasion to remind me what it is about Texas that is really great.

You see, this last month or so I finally went to Europe for the first time. I hadn’t ever been, and didn’t too much want to. But you know all my damned friends are always talking about “the time they went to Europe.” So, I finally went. It was a hell of a trip to be sure. All they did when they saw me was say the same thing, before they’d ever met me. “Hey cowboy, we love Texas.” I guess the hat tipped em off. But let me tell you what, they all came up with a smile on their faces. You know why? They knew for damned sure that I was gonna be nice to em. They knew it cause they knew I was from Texas. They knew something that hadn’t even hit me. They knew Texans, even though they’d never met one.

That’s when it occurred to me. Do you know what is great about Texas? Do you know why when my friend Beverly and I were trekking across country to see 15 baseball games we got sick and had to come home after 8? Do you know why every time I cross the border I say, “Lord, please don’t let me die in _____”?

Do you know why children in Japan can look at a picture of the great State and know exactly what it is about the same time they can tell a rhombus from a trapezoid? I can tell you that right quick. You. The same spirit that made 186 men cross that line in the sand in San Antonio damned near 165 years ago is still in you today. Why else would my friend send me William Barrett Travis’ plea for help in an email just a week ago, or why would Charles Stenciled ask me to reprint a Texas Independence column from a year ago?

What would make my friend Elizabeth say, “I don’t know if I can marry a man who doesn’t love Texas like I do?” Why in the hell are 1,000 people coming to my house this weekend to celebrate a holiday for what used to be a nation that is now a state? Because the spirit that made that nation is the spirit that burned in every person who founded this great place we call Texas, and they passed it on through blood or sweat to every one of us.

You see, that spirit that made Texas what it is, is alive in all of us, even if we can’t stand next to a cannon to prove it, and it’s our responsibility to keep that fire burning. Every person who ever put a “Native Texan” or an “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast a could” sticker on his car understands. Anyone who ever hung a map of Texas on their wall or flew a Lone Star flag on their porch knows what I mean.

My Dad’s buddy Bill has an old saying. He says that some people were forged of a hotter fire. Well, that’s what it is to be Texan. To be forged of a hotter fire.

To know that part of Colorado was Texas. That part of New Mexico was Texas. That part of Oklahoma was Texas. Yep. Talk all you want. Part of what you got was what we gave you. To look at a picture of Idaho or Istanbul and say, “what the Hell is that?” when you know that anyone in Idaho or Istanbul who sees a picture of Texas knows damned good and well what it is. It isn’t the shape, it isn’t the state, it’s the state of mind. You’re what makes Texas.

The fact that you would take 15 minutes out of your day to read this, because that’s what Texas means to you, that’s what makes Texas what it is. The fact that when you see the guy in front of you litter you honk and think, “Sonofabitch. Littering on MY highway.”

When was the last time you went to a person’s house in New York and you saw a big map of New York on their wall? That was never. When did you ever drive through Oklahoma and see their flag waving on four businesses in a row? Can you even tell me what the flag in Louisiana looks like? I damned sure can’t.

But I bet my ass you can’t drive 20 minutes from your house and not see a business that has a big Texas flag as part of its logo. If you haven’t done business with someone called All Tex something or Lone Star somebody or other, or Texas such and such, you hadn’t lived here for too long.

When you ask a man from New York what he is, he’ll say a stockbroker, or an accountant, or an ad exec. When you ask a woman from California what she is, she’ll tell you her last name or her major. Hell either of em might say “I’m a republican,” or they might be a democrat. When you ask a Texan what they are, before they say, “I’m a Methodist,” or “I’m a lawyer,” or “I’m a Smith,” they tell you they’re a Texan. I got nothin’ against all those other places, and Lord knows they’ve probably got some fine folks, but in your gut you know it just like I do, Texas is just a little different.

So tomorrow when you drive down the road and you see a person broken down on the side of the road, stop and help. When you are in a bar in California, buy a Californian a drink and tell him it’s for Texas Independence Day. Remind the person in the cube next to you that he wouldn’t be here enjoying this if it weren’t for Sam Houston, and if he or she doesn’t know the story, tell them.

When William Barrett Travis wrote in 1836 that he would never surrender and he would have Victory or Death, what he was really saying was that he and his men were forged of a hotter fire. They weren’t your average every day men.

Well, that is what it means to be a Texan. It meant it then, and that’s why it means it today. It means just what all those people North of the Red River accuse us of thinking it means. It means there’s no mountain that we can’t climb. It means that we can swim the Gulf in the winter. It means that Earl Campbell ran harder and Houston is bigger and Dallas is richer and Alpine is hotter and Stevie Ray was smoother and God vacations in Texas.

It means that come Hell or high water, when the chips are down and the Good Lord is watching, we’re Texans by damned, and just like in 1836, that counts for something. So for today at least, when your chance comes around, go out and prove it. It’s true because we believe it’s true. If you are sitting wondering what the Hell I’m talking about, this ain’t for you.

But if the first thing you are going to do when the Good Lord calls your number is find the men who sat in that tiny mission in San Antonio and shake their hands, then you’re the reason I wrote this tonight, and this is for you. So until next time you hear from me, God Bless and Happy Texas Independence Day.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. But, rich or poor, quick or slow, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Regards From Texas


In memory of Brandon Jenkins….

March 2, 2018

who died today at 48

Most folks, from what I gather, knew the Bleu Edmondson version of that song, but to my ear Brandon’s was the best. (He was the song’s writer.) Which reminds me of a post 95.9 The Ranch deejay Shayne Hollinger made on Facebook some time ago:

Got a nasty message about playing Brandon Jenkins “Finger On The Trigger”, not because of the message in the song, but because we were playing a guy covering a Bleu Edmondson’s song according to him. I quote “I thought this station played original music. You suck for playing this.”

My apologies Brandon Jenkins for not saying this enough. You are absolutely one of my favorite songwriters on this planet. I feel partially responsible for this.

It’s time for us ALL to educate our listeners better.

He was damn good, and he will be sorely missed.




Friday music musings, 19.1.17

January 19, 2018

You know, this shit is really getting old:

…people hate Walker Hayes because Walker Hayes sounds different. That’s all it is.

Now, granted, Wide Open Country is correct. They’re just not correct in the way they think they are. People indeed do not like Walker Hayes because he does sound different…as in, not the slightest bit country. As in, if there is such a thing as “less country than Sam Hunt,” Walker Hayes would be IT. I mean, they can call us closed-minded and say we like our music predictable, but that doesn’t make it true. I don’t just listen to country music. Hell, the last album I bought was Savatage’s Hall of the Mountain King.

And even if you’re not one who likes all kinds of music, there’s not really anything wrong with that either. There’s only so much time in the day. If you don’t like deep house music or grindcore and don’t care to go explore them, and you wouldn’t cotton to those types of music being marketed as country, that doesn’t make you closed-minded. It makes you someone who has preferences, and that’s OK. I don’t see why these people find such to be so objectionable.

And as I’ve said before elsewhere, albeit with different phrasing, I find it odd that country music seems to be the only genre whose fans are basically told to open their minds when they object to something like Walker Hayes. If he was marketed as, say, a progressive metal artist, or a Texas blues artist, or a salsa artist, fans of those genres would be just as up in arms as we are, and no one would bat an eye. It’s as if country music is the only genre that is not allowed to have an identity. I have yet to figure out why this is the case.

Also, what is this “progressive country” bullshit? That term has a meaning, and a history completely at odds with what outlets like Wide Open Country are trying to redefine it as:

Progressive Country developed in the late ’60s as a reaction to the increasingly polished and pop-oriented sound of mainstream, Nashville-based country. Inspired equally by the spare, twangy, hard-driving sound of Bakersfield country, the singer/songwriter introspection of Bob Dylan, classic honky tonk, and rock & roll, progressive country was the first anti-Nashville movement to emerge since the dawn of rock & roll. Progressive country was rootsier and more intellectual than many of its contemporary genres; it was more concerned with breaking boundaries than with scoring hits. The genre was also songwriter-based. Many of its key artists — Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Tom T. Hall, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock — were not “good” singers by conventional standards, yet they wrote distinctive, individual songs and had compelling voices. By the early ’70s, such artists had developed a sizable cult following, and progressive country began to inch its way into the mainstream, usually in the form of cover versions (Sammi Smith took Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” to the country Top Ten). Progressive country also provided the basis for outlaw country, a harder-edged genre that shook country-pop (briefly) off the top of the charts in the mid-’70s. Even after Outlaw’s five-year reign in the late ’70s, progressive country continued to exist, until it eventually metamorphosed into alternative country in the ’80s.

Put another way, progressive country was OG Texas Country, and Americana and alternative country before those terms came into the American musical lexicon. And it was a reaction to the ’70s equivalent of what people like Walker Hayes are doing now. What was progressive country? It was this…


and this.

It is most assuredly not this:

(Be forewarned, if you click that link, by the conclusion of that 3 minutes and 20 seconds, it will have taken more out of your life than it will ever give back.)


Speaking of Savatage, that album is really good. I’ve been meaning to pick it up ever since I heard the title track on Sirius years ago. My favorites from it are that title track, “White Witch,” and this song right here…

I don’t know if that’s Eddie Van Halen-style two-handed tapping going on in the background with that guitar, but it’s pretty badass. Good stuff, Maynard.

Tuesday political musings, 9.1.18

January 9, 2018

Wow, 2018 already? Man, where does the time go…

So, Oprah Winfrey gives a pretty speech at the Golden Globe Awards and everybody swoons. “Oprah for President!” Yeah, really.

Surely I’m not the only one who sees the problem with this, right? If so, well, let me spell it out:

People bitch about Donald Trump and his lack of political experience, and here Oprah is getting all this attention for what amounts to, again, a flowery speech. Not only that, but it was basically her lecturing everyone else on how sexual misconduct is bad (which it most certainly is, mind you), as she stood in front of an auditorium full of people who helped cover it up for years, if not decades. Motes, beams, and all that.


Also, re: “net neutrality”:

Look, as much as supporters of net neutrality like to fancy themselves as on the side of the angels, the fact is that they’re just supporting one set of corporations over another, which makes their mewling about the FCC and congressional Republicans being corporate yes-men rather hypocritical. Yeah, on one side you have the big telcos, but on the other hand you have…Google, Facebook, and Amazon, all tech companies just as big and just as influential as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. Not only that, their concern trolling about censorship is laughably transparent, considering how they all reacted in the aftermath of Citizens United v. FEC. Apparently telcos throttling traffic that chokes their networks, or alternately negotiating deals with the content providers not to do so, is the end of the world as we know it, but government muzzling corporations’ free speech rights is just fine and dandy.

B-b-but….AT&T! Muh FaceTime!

Yeah, sure. You know what’d happen if AT&T tried to pull that shit today? Its customers would go to Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile, that’s what. Much like we could theoretically vote politicians out who don’t respect the Constitution…

…actually, now that I think about it, that’s probably not the best example, but surely you see what I am getting at.

Sunday music musings, 17.12.17

December 17, 2017

OK, so this piece started out great, but then it went all to shit.

We’ve seen time-and-time again that artists like Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson want nothing to do with the mainstream country music community. Isbell especially has been outspoken about not appearing on stage at places like the CMA Music Festival. This just confuses me. Why would he not want the opportunity to expose his music to a larger amount of people? If Isbell and Simpson truly care about the genre, than they should care about carrying on its legacy.

I am absolutely sure that Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson do care about country music, but I fail to see why they should waste their time catering to the mainstream to do their part, whatever it might be, to carry on its legacy. Even if you could divest it of the (admittedly subjective) quality of being good or bad, the fact remains that the mainstream country music establishment is now catering to people who don’t give a shit about anything before about 2010. You can try to talk about the writers Crowell mentions in that song, or people like Gram Parsons or Billy Joe Shaver, and their place in country music to these people, but you might as well be talking in Portuguese for all they’ll understand or care. Beyond that, mainstream country is arguably broken beyond repair and has been for quite some time, and furthermore, it is less relevant than it has ever been, as evidenced by all those artists and bands in the last few years who have had No. 1 albums and sold hundreds of thousands of copies of said albums all without the benefit of mainstream country radio airplay — among them Isbell and Simpson themselves. They’re all doing their part; they’re just doing it on their own terms outside the mainstream.

Also, history lesson? Waylon, Willie and the boys having to leave Nashville to get the outlaw movement rolling?

But the most delicious irony is this: The author of this piece puts this song on this pedestal, and it IS a fine song…but other than a few mainstream artists having recorded his songs, Rodney Crowell has had nothing to do with mainstream country since 1995. His last top-10 hit on country radio was in 1992. And the albums he recorded after his exit from the mainstream are widely considered to be his finest work.

Really, I should have just stopped at “”.


One of the things I thought was pretty neat as I dug into older country music way back in the late ’90s and early aughts was how the same songs were recorded by a bunch of different artists. And today I found more…

Screwing around on Wikipedia earlier today, I found that on 1973’s What’s Your Mama’s Name, Tanya Tucker recorded four songs that were previously recorded and released by other artists:

“The Chokin’ Kind,” a Top 10 hit for Waylon Jennings in 1968;

“California Cottonfields,” previously recorded by Merle Haggard, an album cut on 1971’s Someday We’ll Look Back;

“Teddy Bear Song,” a No. 1 hit for Barbara Fairchild earlier that year;

“Pass Me By (If You’re Only Passing Through),” a Top 10 hit for Johnny Rodriguez, also from earlier that year.

I think I might like to hear those.


Speaking of Johnny Rodriguez — and songs that have been recorded by more than one artist — as blasphemous as it may be, I think he did the better version of “That’s The Way Love Goes,” as much as I love Merle Haggard….

Wednesday music musings, 6.12.17

December 6, 2017

Browsing the Billboard country albums chart yesterday, and what do I see but this…

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 1.32.50 PM

Wait, what? No. 5, really?

Yes, I know. I have said before that the Eagles, at least their first couple of albums, were more country than a lot of what passes for such in the mainstream anymore, as damning with faint praise as that might be. And make no mistake, Hotel California is a fine rock album, with several of my favorite Eagles songs on it. But Hotel California is not a country music record. It was not a country music record in 1975, and it is not a country music record now. And Don Henley himself would likely tell you as much, considering that he went on record 15 years ago as apologizing for the Eagles’ influence on country music:

“What they call ‘young country,’ unfortunately, is an offshoot of what we used to do. It’s our fault. I’m so sorry. I apologize to the entire universe.”

Still more country than Sam Hunt, though…


Speaking of genres, there was this via Farce the Music, from carpetbagger piece of shit Robert Estell, better known as Bobby Bones:

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 7.08.52 PM

Really now? Those are some big words coming from a dude who might well not have a job, or at least might well have a much smaller bully pulpit, this time next year. (Google “iHeartRadio going concern” for some interesting light reading.)

And even if he does still have a job by this time next year, that’s still not going to make “country” radio any more relevant to a lot of people. Sure, it’s still the only game in town for a lot of people, but there’s still the matter of all those folks discussed in this space before who have No. 1 debuts on the album sales charts and have sold hundreds of thousands of copies of said albums, all without the benefit of country radio airplay. OF course, there’s the matter of the charts being compromised all to hell as in the item above, but the sales are what they are.


For the life of me I can’t find it now, but there was this graphic going round with a text message with the following text:

“Hey, you wanna go see Florida-Georgia Line?”

“You spelled George Strait wrong.”

And there was this comment in response:

“I’ll take Florida Georgia Line. They at least do concerts for ‘the little people’. I can’t afford to fly somewhere and pay for a ticket for George Strait.”

Yup, because George Strait totally didn’t burn up the road for almost 40 years “do(ing) concerts for ‘the little people.'” I mean, really, if you didn’t go see Strait during that time I feel pretty comfortable saying it’s your own fault.

Saturday music musings, 11.11.17

November 11, 2017

Apparently Washington Post music critic Chris Richards is hellbound and determined to throw every bit of his credibility away. First it was “Sam Hunt…(is) far and away country’s most forward-thinking stylist, and he deserves to be recognized as such,” and then it was, “Maren Morris…is a straight-talking, forward-thinking fountain of dash, and she’s funneling it into some great country music.”

And now, there’s this, via Saving Country Music:

not one artist found the courage to say a single word about gun control after 58 fans were shot dead at a country music festival in Las Vegas last month….today’s country stars are singing about an apolitical no-place that doesn’t actually exist.

Apolitical no place that doesn’t actually exist. Apparently this dude has never heard, for example, anything from Jason Boland’s latest album, or the Turnpike Troubadours’ “1968” or “Southeastern Son,” or Corb Lund’s “Gettin’ Down on the Mountain,” the title track to the Jason Eady album When The Money’s All Gone, or…you get the idea. Now, you could very well make the argument that what Chris Richards says is true, but we all know that he’s making this argument for entirely the wrong reasons. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that 2010s country music (the mainstream component of it, at least) is a near-total wasteland, from the whole bro-country business to Kelsea Ballerini, Thomas Rhett, Jerrod Niemann, Chris Lane, Walker Hayes, and, yes, Sam Hunt and Maren Morris. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that someone like Chris Richards would say something like this under these circumstances, but it just rings so incredibly hollow and hypocritical. Small wonder so many people have lost faith in the media, with people like him writing for ostensibly credible and respected outlets.


Well, this was rather disappointing…


Aaron Watson’s a good, good guy from everything I can tell, but to be frank, as an artist, to see him associate with somebody like Granger Smith is rather unsettling. I mean, Watson’s no Jason Boland even on his best day, but he’s still way the hell ahead of Granger Smith for the most part.

But with this latest album, I gotta admit, I wonder…


Trigger posted a fine review of my favorite Lee Ann Womack album. I heard the first single, “I May Hate Myself In the Morning,” and knew I had to have the album; it was a Day One buy for me, and when I heard the twin-fiddle opening of the title track, I knew I was in for something really special. Killer album from start to finish. If I had to pick a least favorite track it’d probably be “What I Miss About Heaven,” but I still don’t ever skip it. I also really liked her covers of “Waitin’ for the Sun to Shine”…

and “Just Someone I Used To Know.”

The latter, of course, was a hidden track; I remember hearing the end of “Psalm 151” and the cd still going, wondering what was next, and BAM! More twin fiddles. “Oh, I know this song!” Gorgeous, gorgeous ending to a gorgeous album. Lee Ann has done great stuff since, but There’s More Where That Came From remains her masterpiece.

On the Texas church shooter…

November 6, 2017

…who shall not be named here…

Apparently he was a violent little punk who should still have been in jail:

According to case records, Kelley assaulted his then-wife and her baby, his stepchild.

The baby suffered a fractured skull in the assault, prosecutors said.

But we need more gun control. You know what people advocating more gun control are advocating here? They’re advocating for more laws to be enforced by a government that couldn’t even be bothered to keep people in jail for cracking a baby’s skull.

More gun control, huh?


Pull the other one. It’s got bells on it.

Friday music musings, 3.11.17

November 3, 2017

When Lee Ann Womack is right…she is right:

“I’m a country singer,” Womack said proudly when discussing her new music with Chris Shifflett recently on his Walking The Floor podcast. “There’s no doubt about that, and that’s what I always aspired to be. It’s odd for me, because real country has sort of been pushed out. . .What I call myself is a real country singer, and [most of] what you hear on country radio right now is NOT real country.

Not really much can be said in addition to that…well, maybe for this.

I saw some of the commenters at SCM bashing Womack for this statement, saying that it was hypocritical of her to bash pop country after having made her money playing it for so long. Which I might agree with, but for the fact that’s predicated on the assumption that pop country has always sucked, and quite frankly that’s a load of shit. I mean, I know there are people who think it has, and they’re entitled to that opinion, but I’ll never understand it. I have heard people, straight-faced and stone sober, compare FGL to the Dixie Chicks, and I was like, “really?” I have said it before and will say it again: Pop country isn’t bad by default; it just used to be a whole lot better, even good.

What I thought really interesting, though, were Lee Ann’s comments on The Song That Shall Not Be Named:

“I was the girl who was writing and singing ‘Am I the Only Thing That You’ve Done Wrong’ and ‘Never Again, Again’ – these really hardcore country songs,” she told Chris Shifflett. “Then all of a sudden, I had this positive message, and I had my kids in the video, and I think that people just thought that I was something that maybe I wasn’t….

Well then. I mean, it’s one thing when a no-name blowhard like me says that song was not the best representation of who LAW is as an artist, but when she all but comes out and says it outright herself (albeit in not so many words), that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. I am well aware that we are almost 20 years removed from that, but I was thinking the same thing back then too, especially after I heard “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good” and “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger.” One never knows, but I like to think she was thinking it back then, too.


I saw this come off the wires earlier today…

The media guidelines were clear: Don’t ask questions about the Las Vegas massacre, gun rights, politics or “topics of the like” at the CMAs next week.

The backlash was swift: Seriously?

The Country Music Association apologized on Friday and said it lifted those restrictions for its awards show next Wednesday.

…and hand to God, the first thing I thought was, “Ohhh, PLEASE let Florida-Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, or Thomas Rhett be interviewed on the red carpet at the CMAs on national TV and talk about how we need more gun control laws. That would be like manna from heaven. Absolute best late birthday present EVER.”

(I turn 40 on Sunday.)


Sabra and I went to see Corb Lund a couple of weeks ago at Sam’s Burger Joint…

…and WOW, was it great. It was an acoustic show, and I was a bit skittish about it at first, because I am not normally that big on just acoustic performances as opposed to full band shows, but pretty much all of Corb Lund’s stuff lends itself very well to that. Of course it helps that he can actually play the guitar and does songs about more than just parties on tailgates and whatnot. (I mean, really, can you picture Luke Bryan taking his dancing chicken act into that environment?) It is one of the true tests of an artist, to see if they can pull off their craft with just a guitar, and Corb Lund passed it with flying colors.

He didn’t play “Student Visas,” my favorite song from him, but he did play “Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!” and that was more than good enough. “Time To Switch to Whiskey” was a lot of fun too. Funny story he told about that: he was playing Odessa one time, and he sang that song, and somebody came up and told him what a great cover of the Kyle Bennett Band song he did. (Lund was the one who wrote and originally recorded the song; the Kyle Bennett Band recorded it a few years later.)

We shall HAPPILY go see him if and when he comes back, full band or not.

So yeah, I am still here…

October 21, 2017

Just been a lot going on. Specifically, WE CLOSED ON A HOUSE!

The actual closing date was September 29, but as I put it elsewhere, it’d been in the works for a while. We have a pretty big family, but the rents for something like a 4-bedroom house were…out of the question, let’s just put it like that. So, Sabra’s best friend Mark and his husband built a house last year and he made it his mission to get us into a house also. Mark put us into contact with a friend of his who works at Gold Financial, and the process was on…

ZOMG. ALL THE DOCUMENTATION. Some of it I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get because of my work’s HR policies. And every time I thought I had gotten everything, they would come back and say, “we need this, this, and this.” I do understand why it’s that way, but to me that was probably the most exhausting part of it all.

That’s not to say finding a house itself wasn’t a real pain in the ass though. We looked at several houses in different parts of the city before making an offer on one back in March, on the city’s east side just off Roland Road & Rigsby Avenue…

…and then the house inspection came back. Foundation issues, wiring, and other stuff. It was so bad that the inspector offered to refund our money or hold it for another inspection. So, back to square one it was.

(Sucked too, because we could literally have WALKED to Whataburger from that house.)

So from there, stealing from Sabra:

Mark has a friend, Kimberly, who works for the city. She is administering a program with a certain local developer who is buying and renovating houses on the East Side. They had a house that needed to go to a low income family, the developer had no idea how to market it, but Mark had made sure everyone knew we were looking. So we got referred.
The developer was nice enough to take my input on the house. We bonded over the awesome tile in the bathrooms and the wood paneling in the family room. A LOT of work needed to be done–plumbing, wiring, roofing, etc. So it was a long wait. But it enabled Erik to build up some credit, and we worked with the city for down payment assistance.

So, to make a long story a little shorter:

We got all the docs, threw all the money, and signed all the papers, and we now have what might as well be a brand-freaking-new house tailor-made for us. And we got a screaming good deal on it in several different ways. I am so happy I could scream. Once upon a time I thought I’d be making $10 an hour and that we’d be renting until we croaked.

I am ever so thankful. God is good.

Now, back to your scheduled bitching commentary…