Cruz Diary: Entry Three

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March 3rd - 20th, 2005

Talk about being anxious! It has been so difficult to wait to see this wonderful house. I can't help but tell my good fortune to everyone I meet. I have called just about everyone that I know. I have even called old friends from childhood with whom I had lost contact for years. Everyone I have spoken to has expressed such joy for us.

I have been anticipating beginning this Winner's Diary. When we finally received the instructions, it was difficult to find time for both my wife and I to sit at the computer and type. My wife still works full time during the day and is usually tired when she returns home. I cannot spell or type, so I cannot do this myself. Plus, we have been busy taking care of various things between family and all of our animals.

Not only will my wife be joining me for the Winner's Weekend during the last weekend in April, my son, parents in-law, sister and brother-in-law, and some close friends plan to come with us. We are still figuring out the details, but it will be an awesome weekend to have so much family to share in the experience.

My wife has read some of the message boards on HGTV.com and was really happy to tell me about all of the well-wishers. There have been some really wonderful sentiments expressed on the site. There have also been many questions and concerns.

One of the questions my wife read to me is easy to answer: How many times did [I] enter? My wife told me the contest had started for the Dream Home and that it was really beautiful and she really liked it, so I told her to enter me as many times as she could. She explained that I could only enter once each day, but that she would try to enter me every day of the contest. Unfortunately, she was unable to enter as often as she wanted. According to the representatives from Scripps Networks, she entered my name 19 times.

Some of the other questions on the message board have reflected some of our concerns. Of course, I realized immediately that the 2005 tax return was going to be difficult to digest, let alone pay. But, immediately, I started thinking and asking questions toward making the property work for me. I have made a lot of phone calls over the past couple of weeks. I have spoken to the IRS about tax payments and how much I will be required to pay immediately versus how much I must pay before April 15, 2006.

I have spoken to the tax assessor for Tyler as well, to find out how property taxes are figured and when they are due. I have spoken with the developer for the Reserve at Lake Tyler, Mark Mahaffey, and obtained permission to run both a Bed & Breakfast and to keep running tours of the home. And, I was happy to learn that the Mark Mahaffey is very eager to work with me and has ideas of his own to raise more money, so we can keep the house.

One of his ideas includes giving tours on the lake. And, if my knees hold up, he has offered me a job selling real estate in the new subdivision. But, with sitting for long times and all of the walking, I am not sure how well I will do. I have also contacted my tax accountant and discussed my situation in depth. I have full trust in his abilities and am glad that he will help me to work through these numbers...

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