Thursday, August 26, 2010

End of summer wrap up at My Domestic Church

Since getting or portfolios reviewed last week, the kids and I have been slacking off this week and trying to get some household work done. With five kids from Kindergarten to 12th grade I am really going to have my hands full and am trying to just get the major household projects done.

One of the things I wanted to get done this week was get Sam his driver's license. This part of Ohio is a tricky thing. The big driver's license bureau where he took his test to get his learning license has kids booked ahead for two weeks to take their driving test. So I found an out of the way bureau about 45 minutes from here that made us only wait a week.

Unfortunately, we do not have a small car. I drive a 7 passenger van and Mr. Pete drives a smaller SUV type vehicle for work. But they are both considered to be bigger vehicles for a driving student to drive. Still, Sam doesn't have any problem with them. He drove us out to the test site yesterday in Mr. Pete's vehicle on the express way. Did pretty well too in my opinion.

But at the test site things didn't go too well. Sam had to do this maneuverability test in this, and although the examiner told him it shouldn't matter what he was driving, she was quick to take points off every time he stopped to check himself and when his mirror dinged one of the poles. So bottom line... we have to take the stupid test again next week.

We apparently are a two-test family.

Luckily Sam's kind aunt has given him the use of her smaller car to practice with this week and to take the test. He owes her... big time!

So since there will be little for Sam and Gabe to do this afternoon, I am going to have them scrape the back bathroom wall, the hallway and Sam's bedroom - we'll see if we can have those all patched and painted!

Soccer has started and Sam has been able to do some reffing. He has already made $70 and will make $70 more this weekend. He and Gabe also helped a friend from work do some heavy construction (moving drywall, demolishing and garage and removing rubble) so they feel as if they're rolling in money right now!

Cross country practice has been going on for a while now - that's the one end of summer activity I enjoy though so I don't mind so much. Rosie and I are running too. I run with Rosie. She runs full speed as fast as she can and then she stops dead and falls down on the ground. Probably not the best training method but for a five year old it works for her! She tells me that I cannot run.

"But Rosie, look at me, I'm running!"

"Yea," she concedes, "but you run like this," (insert her version of an old lady trying to move her butt in something that resembles effort), "and I run like this!" as she whizzes by me full out.

While it's not great for my ego at least I am getting in some cross training when I run with Rosie - go and stop.

The last big thing on my plate has been the property my sister and I inherited up in Michigan. The property taxes on it almost tripled. I guess in Michigan they passed some sort of law back in the 90s to keep the property taxes "capped" as long as the owner ownes the land. But when that property transfers, even to descendents, the cap comes off and the state tries to make up for all those years of uncollected revenue in one fell swoop! My first instinct when I figured this out was to place some nice big For Sale signs on the property and be done with it. I even talked to a realtor and we discovered that the quickest sale of undeveloped land in the area took 73 days. The longest took two years. Still we were going to do it but we started to feel some resistance from family members.

By family members I'm talking first cousins once removed and second cousins, some of whom I wouldn't know if I passed them on the street! This particular piece of property was once part of the farm that my great-grandparents had. It passed to my grandfather and then to my uncle, and then back to my grandfather and then to my mom and now to my sister and I.

One cousin wanted to buy it but at considerably less than what the realtor was going to list it for. Wanted it on a land contract too. But as I want less paper work and stress in my life and not more, I took pass on that. Another cousin told me to hold out for six months or a year and he might be interested.

Another cousin suggested that we harvest some of the lumber and use that to pay the taxes! That sounded like a great idea but a lot of cousins had ideas about that too. Go with this company, get a forester, don't rut up the property with big rigs, get the highest price... and for a girl who knows nothing about the timber business, it was enough to make me want to take a second look at the realtor.

Instead I've put on my big girl pants and am trying to figure it all out. I guess if my grandpa, uncle and mom felt this was something to hold on to, I'd like to try, but it has to pay for itself. It can't drain sparce resources away from my family. And since you can only cut and sell a big tree once, I've got to try and get the best price I can for it. I'm sensing this might make a good homeschool project for this year - learning about forests, trees and the timber business.



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