My children have joined the working class. At 13, 11, and 9, they are more than capable of partially earning their keep, so when our neighbor hired them to shovel snow this winter, Checkered and I shouted, "YES!!" even as our children said, "We'll think about it." The 6 year old didn't even get to the thinking about it part.
Our neighbors are truly wonderful. They are kind, thoughtful, compassionate, generous, and tolerant. They also are having some physical troubles which preclude heavy exercise. Enter the Flag children complete with snow gear, snow shovels, and a snow blower.
The deal was that the neighbors would pay $20 per storm. And then it started to snow. And snow. And snow. And snow. One day we had two different storms in one day. We've become so acclimated to the snow that we didn't even know we had a blizzard last Saturday until we read about it in the paper. It was just more snow for us.
Now my father always likes to remind us that in his Kentucky town, every street is plowed after every storm. In my Michigan town, the main streets get cleared, but my subdivision must wait about a week after a storm. When there's a snowstorm every other day, well, you get the picture of the mess my road is right now.
But my sidewalk, driveway, and the neighbor's sidewalk and driveway? Smooth.
Now, back to my point. When it snows for 6 or 8 hours, and the wind is gusting up to 50 mph, more than one shoveling is required. Sometimes it's 3 or 4 times out there clearing the snow. And my kids and Checkered and I are loving getting out there and working.
But my wonderful neighbor insists on paying my kids for every shoveling. Any paying more than the agreed-upon price.
And to compound the issue, my neighbors' snowblower was stolen last week when they moved it just outside of their garage, and spent 15 minutes taking their dog around the block. This IS metro Detroit, afterall.
Sorry for all this meandering. But here is what I am trying to say. I appreciate that my neighbor is enjoying giving my kids a bit of financial freedom. I appreciate that my kids are improving their work ethic. I appreciate that my neighbor does not want to feel indebted to us (even though we would absolutely clear their driveway for free every winter.) But what I've learned is that being overpaid is just about as awkward for us as being indebted would be for my neighbors.
Whew! I hoped if I just kept typing, I would finally say something!