Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Progress Report

So, it's been a while. Nice to see that the hit meter has been pretty steady over the week or more since my last post. Gee thanks, guys! Nice to be appreciated. Your reward is a longer post than usual!

Much and little has happened. The big event of the last week for me has been surviving Vacation Bible School. Many people (parents, fellow workers) commented on how well the whole thing came off. Which is good, because the conceit of play-acting like ancient Israelites in the city of Jerusalem around the time of the Crucifixion was certainly something that could be fraught with peril.

My own role, which was that of a Rabbi teaching in Synagogue was apparently a big hit. I'm not sure how much of that had much to do with me or the fact that for part of three days the kids got to practice writing Hebrew letters (on tablets I made out of oil-based clay and heavy posterboard. Oil-based clay won't dry out -- at least not easily). That activity was surprisingly popular.

I had to do my thing outdoors, which was mostly just as well, since the younger kids tended to leave bits of clay scattered about. Mostly just as well, since it was pretty warm, and several days saw me with a soaked shirt by the end. The way we did things was thus: I'd bring them in, make them wear their yarmalukes, ask what they had done that day, and do a reading from the "Torah" (I made a scroll out of heavy dowels, stained them, and wrote the OT verses we needed for the week on the paper), which I kept in an "ark" made from a nice wicker chest, covered in burgundy cloth. I'd give them the meaning of the Torah reading in words of one syllable, then follow up with a story of some sort, and describe some experiences a temple or synagogue goer of the time might see.

At times, either via my script or because of comments from the kids, I was called to upon to talk about Jesus. Credit to the script in that it said I should be hesitant and uncomfortable about how to deal with him -- though it didn’t go so far as commenter Dave suggested it probably should. Frankly, I was uncomfortable with that part of the role. I've no clue to what degree the kids saw me as a real authority figure, and how much stock they put into what I said, but while I desired to be true to the role, I didn't want to come across as too down on this Jesus fellow. I mean, I am, and we all there were Christians, after all (probably. I mean, I suppose its possible some of the kids were Hindu or something, but that strikes me as unlikely). We were there to present a Christian message, albeit in a different way. I suspect I'm worrying too much. Moving on…

I don't know if we have a house or not. We thought we had a contract on the place by last Thursday. But in the intervening time, the wicked stepsister (a realtor in California) has intruded, and is apparently berating the local family members (the house in question belonged to their parents, now deceased) for being too accommodating. Granted, it’s an unusual situation, which I'll spare you more details of, but I thought we basically had a deal (admittedly very skewed in our favor, but we weren't going to screw anyone) and she's interfering. Anyway, we're adjusting our terms to satisfy the other folks.

We'll walk away if we have to, but it’s a bit frustrating to me. Whups, while typing this, I just got an email from our realtor, including some new document. Hmm, seems computer error made things a wee bit more complex than intended, but they are now getting sorted out. The seller's realtor thinks things will be okay. Well, we'll see.

As if that weren't confusing enough, I've been trying to sell and buy some land on our ranch down below San Antonio. The lady I tried to sell some land to told me she already owned it! It took me a week between Bible School and the house business to get back to them, but I finally called the County Clerk and the Tax Assessor. Neither one of them is sure who the land really belongs to. In '56, Some family we call "Z" paid the taxes. In '58 it was my family (my grandfather and his wife). Then in 1960, someone else (who we'll call "X") did. In '61, both my family and group X paid taxes on it. In '66, Another outfit, "Y" paid. In '69, It was my family and "X". In '82, it was definitely my family (in the person of my dad). From at least 1992 onwards, both "Y" and my Dad were paying. Got all that? Now, I'm assuming here I didn't miss something while the Tax Assessor was telling me all that, and we both suspect that "Y" and "Z" are actually relatives, quite possibly a father and daughter.

I'm entirely willing to believe that my Dad or Grandad sold this piece of land in the ancient mists of time, and that it was somehow missed on our deeds. It would be easier than you think for that to happen. Our land, all 1200 acres of it, is subdivided into 10 acre tracts (well, most are 10 acres. A handful are slightly larger, another handful much smaller). The plots were often bought up piecemeal, over a period of 40-odd years. I have deeds referencing single tracts. Other deeds deal with 20 or thirty. Anyway, the point is, I'd wouldn't make a fuss if it looked like that was the case (I've already composed the apology letter in my head). But I want to know for sure, and it may take a full-on title search to determine that. What we'll do if it turns out we probably own the land and the other person chooses to fight, I don’t know.

One final note. I'm doing better about getting things done this summer than last. Not great, but better. Not sure what the difference is. Maybe more things that are urgent in character and need doing right away, so they get done. Some of my longer-term projects are still kinda stuck. So we'll see what happens next, but I’m writing July off as far as productivity goes.

Till next time I get some time, have a good one!

No comments: