December 23 , 2003
Home for the Holiday's
It's been a while since I last wrote and well, there has been a lot of things going on other than working on the house. After Thanksgiving, I spent a couple of weeks at the house making holiday gifts for family and friends. The house has quite a bit of open space so it makes for a great "Santa's workshop". (Unfortunately, I cannot reveal what the gifts are at the moment. Maybe after the holidays I'll share Santa's secrets.)
While I was working on the holiday gifts, along came a "holiday gift" from our county's assessors office notifying me that our property taxes were going up 35%! After making a phone call to our assessor, I learned that the increase was due to the value of the land and because of improvements—namely the building of our cordwood house.
I guess I could understand some of the increase, but our land was being taxed as recreational property. (I don't ever recall "recreating" on our property.) After much discussion, the assessor informed me that if I spent the majority of the time living at the house, I could claim a partial homestead tax credit. Well, partial is better than nothing and since I do spend more than half my days working and living at the house, I was eligible. The only hitch to this was that I had to have a Minnesota driver's license, a Minnesota voters registration card and a Minnesota mailbox by December 15th. This only gave me a few days to complete this, plus I had just learned that my mother-in-law had become quite ill back in Illinois.
The fun part was obtaining my driver's license. Depending upon what day it was determined where you must go to get your license. La Crescent, which is the closest town to me, only gives exams on the fourth Thursday of the month. Of course, that wouldn't work because of the deadline and the fact that no offices would be open on Christmas Day. The county offices where I had to go to prove that I was a Minnesota resident gives exams on Thursdays, except the fourth Thursday of the month when they are busy giving exams in La Crescent, except for December because the fourth Thursday falls on Christmas Day. (Follow so far? If you are, you are better than I am.) Of course, I could drive up to Winona on a Tuesday, or Preston on a Wednesday...etc...etc...etc....
It ended up that I drove to Rochester to get my driver's license and then drove to Caledonia (county seat) to get my voters registration and then down the hall to meet with the assessor. It was quite a fun-filled day, but I must admit that every government official was quite courteous and believe it or not, had a personality. I hope our tax bill will be less because of it.
Deep Peace to You
The last few weeks have been rather tough for Jo and I. Jo's mother caught pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital in early December. The doctors tried to do everything they could for her but unfortunately it was just too much of a struggle for her. She peacefully passed on the evening of December 20th.
Although it has been a difficult experience for the family, we knew her wishes and Jo's family was able to say there good-bye's beforehand.
We will miss her chocolate pie, applesauce cake and butterhorns. We will miss her ability to always order the largest item on a restaurant menu (she was quite petite.) We will miss her complaining about the Chicago Cubs. We will miss her love for the game of tennis. We will miss her love for her family and love of life. We will miss everything about her. Her passing comes during a time filled with celebration and although it's hard sometimes to understand why things happen the way they do. But, in our hearts and minds she is still there and always will be.
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace to you.