Archive for January, 2011
I’ve never worked in an industry that depended on tips as part of my pay. Therefore, I’m not sure I have the compassion I should have for those who do. There has been much written about tipping, and why a restaurant would not pay the waiter his fair share instead of leaving it up to the diner. Nevertheless, I do have an appreciation for those who take their work seriously and give good service. I am willing to do my part in giving them something extra.
- The grocery-boy/man who loads our car at the grocery store.
- Service people at the Hotels where we stay.
- Then we add the bellman at the door who helps with our bags
- The maid who cleans our room/or the valet parking attendant.
- The people who walk our dog.
- The groomer that grooms our dog.
- Your hairdresser/barber.
- The pizza delivery person (especially if you are going to order from them again).
- Cab drivers who deliver safely.
- The massage therapist.
In general there are times when I think good service is a thing of the past. However when I do find someone who is good at his/her job, I feel they should be rewarded with a token of appreciation.
Whether you’re looking for a home or a community, deciding where to spend retirement is a big decision. Most communities cater to those 55 and older who can live independently. These communities can be condominiums, town homes or even separate houses. Whether you are moving to a new location or staying in the same place, there are a number of things to consider when looking to buy a home for your retirement. Here are just a few things to think about when looking into that place to call home:
- Price: Make sure to take in your savings and realize that your income might be much less than it has been in previous year. Take into consideration homeowner’s association fees, taxes, closing costs and other fees associated with buying a house.
- Community or Neighborhood: Decide whether or not you want to live in a retirement community or if you want your own home. There are pros and cons to both, so make sure to take everything the community or neighborhood has into consideration.
- Facilities: Make sure to check out the facilities in the community. If you want to stay active, you’ll probably want walking trails or a swimming pool. If you want social activities, make sure that the community has group events from time to time.
- Location: Consider the type of environment and the people you might want to be near. Take into consideration what sort of climate you’d like to live in or if you want to be close to family.
- Size: When choosing a home for retirement, its likely that you will be downsizing. Take into consideration whether or not your children and grandchildren will be visiting often and how many rooms you might need.
- Look ahead: Decide whether or not the home that you’re buying is going to be the last home you buy. If that’s the case you might need to take into consideration whether or not the community has an assisted living and nursing facility.
- Don’t settle: Make sure to look around and explore your options. Decide what you want in a home and community and make sure that you don’t give up your needs. Make sure you research all your choices and don’t sell yourself short.
- Buy early: Many people opt to buy their home for retirement before actually retiring to make sure they have an income when they buy the home. Its possible to use the home as a vacation house or rent it out until retirement.
- Features: There are a number of features that the home for retirement should have or should at least be considered. These include having a single story, wide doors and easily accessible cabinets and storage areas.
- Safety: Take safety into consideration when you first look into communities or homes. Find out about different security features, like alarms, guards or a gate. When you’re at home, its important to not have to worry about your welfare.
If you’re looking for a home to spend retirement, make sure to keep these things in mind.
In a day when zip codes rule, it is amazing to learn mail finds its way into the dead box because of not having a zip code or the one entered is incorrect. That being true, the mail has made its way across the country from Arkansas to Arizona and back again.
Now here’s a quick list of 10 reasons mail can be late:
- Zip codes are very important.
- Occupant moving without leaving a forwarding address
- My husband drives a mail truck from one point to another and it is imperative they leave one post office and arrive at their destination on time. Weather and traffic are a contributing factor in delays that cannot be helped.
- With technology being used even in the post office sorting, again a complete address is imperative for the electronic eye to send it to the correct bin.
- Often state abbreviations are written incorrectly. However the zip code should be the deciding factor, a package/letter meant for AZ can wind up in AR.
- The USPS has been labeled Snail Mail because of the route it takes to get from one Post Office to the Addressee. With private carriers doing the distributions from state to state it is understandable somewhat that the many hands a piece of mail has to go through from point A to point B is not a rapid system.
- As a way to cut cost, the USPS is doing away with small town distribution centers. Today a letter sent to me from say – Erin, TN. is post marked in Nashville. Erin being a small Irish town in Middle TN. only collects the mail and it is sent from there to Nashville, delaying it another day before being posted and then distributed.
- There was a time when people lived on Rural Routes. Since 911 – every lane and driveway has an address and a house number. At one time also a rural mail carrier knew everyone on his route. While that may still be true in some areas, we are victims of long time habits, and may not get the road and house number correct – which could cause a delay in mail service.
- I remember my mother placing a letter in our rural mail box with a nickel on it for postage. While that has been done away with many years ago due to fraud and theft, there are occasions when mail goes all through the system before it is recognized as having insufficient postage.
- With the population explosion in the last 50 years the amount of mailings each day is staggering. The USPS is constantly reassessing their system to make it more streamline and efficient – however as long as human beings are involved there will be errors which cause delays. And even though air carriers are used, most often some trucks on the interstate are carrying mail from one state to another.
Remembering breakdowns, weather, traffic, and countless other things a driver has to contend with on a daily basis, we must also look at the local system. From your local post office to your mailbox, your route may be one among many routes your carrier has to do in a days’ time. I understand he sorts his own mail, loads his own truck and then starts his day. Therefore, as important as that letter or package is we are looking for, I think I’ll stop and consider the hundreds of hands it had to go through before it got to my box. It can be aggravating, and we may wonder “why can’t somebody do something?” And I will assure you dear reader, someone is trying to do something about USPS mail delays.
Writing a will is essential to making sure that your family and assets are taken care of after death. Wills ensure that your wishes will be carried on after your loss of life. Unfortunately, many people pass away without taking any steps toward making a will, and many people do not even need a lawyer to draft a basic document. If your estate is modest and your beneficiaries are very straight forward, it is a simple task to draw up a document on your own to make certain that your plans are carried out. Here are a few resources for writing a will:
- American Bar Association’s Guide to Wills and Estates: The guide is available in PDF format and discusses wills, trusts, taxes after death, changing your will and choosing the executor for your will. You need Adobe’s Acrobat Reader to view the guide, but the site includes a link to a free copy of the program.
- Nolo: This website covers a number of different law topics that the average person might need information on, including Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning. There is quite a bit of information on wills, including frequently asked questions, legal updates, blogs and podcasts on the subject. There is also links to different books and software on wills and if you are interested in putting together the will yourself, they have their own online form.
- DirectLaw: If you are interested in working with a lawyer, but prefer to work online, DirectLaw is a great resource for connecting clients and lawyers through the web. There is a price associated with using the site, but there are quite a few other services, besides will writing, associated with the DirectLaw fee. There is also a 30-day free trial available.
- Rocket Lawyer: Rocket Lawyer is another online source for attorneys. The website helps you to find a lawyer in your area, but also includes quite a bit of information on will and estate planning for free.
- Wills, Trusts and Estate Prof Blog: If you’re looking for straight information from a professional, this blog contains quite a bit of information on the subject of wills and estates. It is edited by Gerry W. Beyer, a professor of law at Texas Tech University.
- Free Legal Documents: This website goes through the will writing process step-by-step for those who wish to put together their will on their own. The website makes sure to note that the document needs to be notarized, but otherwise, helps you through the entire process quite painlessly.
- Do your own will: This website is designed to allow uses to compose their own legal will online that is valid in all states but Louisiana. The site uses an interactive questionnaire to put together a document that can be saved to your computer and available on your word processing program.
- Writing your own Will: This blog focuses on different parts of the will writing process including how to write your own will and resources for your particular state.
- The Lectic Law Library: If you’re looking for specific facts, this website discusses the requirements for making a will. The site talks about a number of topics, including, legal age, mental competence, distribution of property, witnesses, written requirements, signing requirements and much more.
- National Caregivers Library: If you’re ready to get started with writing your own will, or discussing your estate with your lawyer, this website gives a list of things to think about before beginning the process.
Writing a will is not something most people think about until later in their lives, but the truth is we never know when our time will come. According to the BBC news, 1 and 7 people fie without writing their will. Quite a bit of headache and confusion can be saved on behalf of your family if you take some time to lay out your last will and testament.
Flea markets are popular places. All you have to do is to try and find a parking place in order to discover how true that is. So what is it that attracts such big crowds to these lines of tables? There are several reasons people flock to the flea market. We’ll look at ten of those reasons.
- Bargain shoppers. This is generally the main reason people will five for going to flea markets. They are looking for bargains. That is the big selling point of flea markets. They’re similar to a giant garage sale with all the items organized on different tables. Some of the vendors are selling new items but many of them are selling used items in good condition.
- Variety. You never know what you’ll find at a flea market but you can be guaranteed that the products will cover a wide spectrum. You’ll usually find clothes, housewares, décor items, tools, toys, books, antiques and crafts. A whole mini-mall made up of vendor tables. What is found on those tables one week will be totally different than what you might find another week. So the variety that exists is also always changing.
- Collectables. Collectors of all types of items will be found roaming through flea markets. They’re looking for rare pieces and parts that can’t be found anywhere else. For auto enthusiasts it may be a hood ornament or another original piece for their current restoration project. Dinnerware collectors are looking pieces to finish out their sets. Art collectors are looking for that rare piece of pottery or a painting of great value that has yet to be discovered.
- Antique lovers. Flea markets are a great place to find antique items. Antiquers are often found wandering through flea markets looking for items. Smaller pieces of furniture, hand tools, dolls, toys and dinnerware are common antique items that can be found at flea markets. The prices are also usually much less than what you’d pay at an antique store.
- Bartering. Flea markets are one of the few places where you sometimes negotiate a trade with the vendors. You might have something that the vendor would be interested in taking in trade for one or more of his items. There are many stores where you can do that but it still happens at the flea market.
- Negotiable prices. In other countries it is common to negotiate the prices of items rather than paying the price marked on an item. That isn’t done in most shops in the United States though. If the price tag says $25.00, then that is what you will have to pay. The cashier generally has no authority to lower the price for you. That is not the case at a flea market. Vendors at these markets are accustomed to people offering to pay a lower price than what is marked on items. Flea market shoppers who are comfortable with dickering on a price can come away with some great deals.
- Socializing. Some people who attend flea markets enjoy the people as much or more than the shopping. Most vendors are friendly people who enjoy talking about their wares and plenty of other topics as well. There’s usually food vendors at the flea market as well. Food lines, of course, become the natural congregating spot where those attending the flea market can chat about what they’ve found or what they’re looking for.
- Curiosity. Sometimes people go to flea markets just to see what’s there. Since the vendors may change from week to week and the wares being sold can also change, it can be interesting just to wander through your local flea market on a regular basis just to see what’s new.
- People watching. Flea markets are great places for people watching. You will see such an assortment of characters at a flea market. Some of the characters will be behind the tables, working as vendors, and others will potential customers. You might see wealthy penny pinchers driving up in their Cadillacs or a homeless guy on his bicycle looking for a cheap pair of boots.
- Handmade crafts. Crafters of many types are common vendors at flea markets. Handmade pine furniture, handcrafted jewelry of many varieties, one of a kind clothing items and many other items can be found peddling their wares. Often times you’ll also find the crafters working on new pieces while they tend their booth. That can be a great opportunity to see how things are made.
There are plenty of reasons that crowds of people flock to flea markets week after week. Usually people go for a combination of the reasons listed above.
When someone you care for is approaching the last days of their life, you will want those remaining days to be as comfortable as possible. That is what hospice care is all about. Whether you are in that position now or simply want to be informed ahead of time, the following sites can provide plenty of information and answers to your questions.
- Hospicenet.org – This site is filled with information. It allows you to search for hospice providers. It has information for patients and caregivers. It also has information regarding hospice for children and dealing with bereavement. An excellent non-profit site.
- Hospicefoundation.org – This is the official site of the Hospice Foundation of America. In addition to providing resources for patients and caregivers, this site has resources, classes and training materials for hospice providers and clergy. You’ll find links to all things hospice on this site.
- Cancer.org – This is the site for the American Cancer Society. Since cancer is one of most common reasons for the use of hospice care, the American Cancer Society provides plenty of helpful information regarding hospice. Information like how to choose a hospice provider, who pays for the cost of hospice and much more.
- Thehomecaredirectory.com – This site allows you to search for home care services by location, first by state and then by city. Once you receive the list of providers in your city, you are able to request information online from the providers. The site provides a very thorough request form that allows you to customize your information request to meet your specific situation.
- Mayoclinic.com – The well known Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota provides some great information on hospice care. The site has a very thorough listing of criteria you should be looking for in a hospice provider. The Clinic also provides information for those wishing to serve local hospice providers in a volunteer capacity.
- Webmd.com – Webmd is a great site for any medical information and hospice is no exception. The sites starts with an overview that explains exactly what hospice is, who it is for and the general services to expect from hospice providers. That is just the beginning to the information to be found on this site. The hospice section continues with more detailed information under additional subtitles.
- caringinfo.org – This is another non-profit site that provides resources for all different stages of life and care. It has information for those simply wanting to prepare for the future, individuals in end of life situations, caregivers and even information for employer’s regarding ways they can be supportive of employees dealing with their own or a loved one’s final days of life.
- nhpco.org – This is the site for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. There is plenty of information for everyone on this site but it appears to have some of the best resources for hospice providers. It includes links to education and conferences and current news regarding hospice care.
- nahc.org – This is the official site of the National Association of Home Care and Hospice. This site is mainly focused on providing resources to hospice providers. It includes information regarding current legal issues, pending legislation and educational opportunities for hospice providers. It does also include information for consumers and media as well.
- Eldercare.gov – This site is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It provides assistance in finding services regarding care of the elderly in specific locations. These service listings include hospice care but also include several other services related to caring for the elderly that may be helpful in a hospice situation as well.
End of life situations are difficult for any family to deal with. Becoming informed about the resources available to you and your loved one can certainly ease some of the stress involved.
Did you know that the term penpal is still in use and relevant in this electronic age? The term penpal has traditionally referred to a person whom you correspond with long distance through the writing of letters, often times a person you have never met. With email, online forums, chat rooms and video chatting, I had assumed that there would no longer be communication that would fit under this term. To my surprise, I have discovered that the idea of penpal relationships has evolved to include electronic communication. There are several penpal websites where you can register and search for a penpal to communicate with meeting your desired criteria.
Some people, however, would like to be a little more creative in their search for a correspondence buddy. The following are 10 really weird ways to find a penpal. Disclaimer: These are NOT recommended ways of connecting with someone you don’t know.
- Public restroom walls. You’re on vacation out of state. During your visit to the gas station restroom you notice the name and phone number of a person written or scratched onto the wall. Having also noticed that people in this locale seem very friendly, you write down the name and number to contact them regarding establishing a penpal relationship.
- Telemarketers. These people must have one of the most depressing jobs. They are bound to need all the friends they can get. Most of these marketers will not hesitate to tell you where they are located. If they are located in another state or another country, they qualify for the long distance criteria of a penpal. The fact they you are willing to stay on the phone and have a friendly chat with them will instantly endear you to their hearts. This is a natural opening to ask about the possibility of establishing ongoing correspondence.
- Phishing for penpals. We all get plenty of spam in our email inboxes. Spamming wouldn’t continue if there weren’t a certain number of people who actually open and respond to some of those emails. So, why not try sending some emails to random email accounts with address extensions from other countries? Eventually you’re bound to find someone to reply.
- Overseas technical assistance. We’ve all talked to these wonderful support people who are located in places like India, the Philippines, etc. They are often quite friendly and willing to chat. Again, you have a perfect opportunity to start a long distance friendship with someone from another culture. By simply taking the time let them get to know you as an individual during your support call, you can create an interest in continued conversation.
- Write a letter to Santa. This may seem silly to some of you but it’s well known that letters to Santa do get read by, uh, somebody. Why not write a letter to Santa describing what you would like in a penpal? What can it hurt? Provide your email address or a post office box that they could write to and give some information about yourself. If Santa can’t find the perfect penpal for you, who could?
- Airport waiting areas. Airports are the great crossroads of international travel. What better place could there be for finding a long distance penpal? You and other airline passengers are sharing in the common bond of travel stress, an immediate connecting point for conversation. Long layovers and flight delays provide the best settings for these opportunities with ample time for personal connection. The face-to-face introduction in this setting provides a unique starting point for this penpal connection.
- National Parks. If you don’t know why this is included in the list, then you have never been in one of the National Parks during the height of tourist season. The National Parks of the United States are favorite destinations for tourists from other countries. They may be traveling as a family or they arrive in a tour bus but they will be there. All you have to do is listen for them to speak to identify them as non-Americans. What a perfect opportunity to show them homeland hospitality by engaging them in conversation and offering a continued connection with one of their new American friends.
- Carnival workers. This opportunity is a little different than some of the rest. Rather than connecting with people from another location, this would provide an individual to develop a friendship with someone who is continually on the road, living a very transient lifestyle. This could be a very fascinating correspondence should you be able to maintain contact with one of these modern day gypsies.
- People search. Many people use the internet to find people they know, why not use it find someone you would like to know? You could pick your location, pick a name or names, and start sending out letters of introduction. If and when someone responds, you now have a new penpal and a new adventure to pursue.
- Message in a bottle. This is a long shot but with amazing possibilities. If you found a bottle with a note inside asking for you to contact them, wouldn’t you do it, just out of curiosity? You’ve got nothing to lose. If someone does find one of your bottles and then contacts you as a result, the thrill of finding out where it ended up would be worth it in itself.
As stated in the title, these are some really weird (and not necessarily safe) ways to find a penpal. Using a penpal internet site would be a quicker and safer means to obtain this objective. In addition, these sites usually also help you find someone who shares common interests with you, which provides additional topics of conversation.
With so many pages (3,000 to be exact) in the new proposed health care reform bill, I stand ignorant of what it contains, as most Americans I assume. There have been some eager souls who venture to read it and others have decided to let the powers that be do the reading and decipher the information to pass it on to John Q public.
For sure it in somewhat disconcerting to the little man who depends on the political arena to inform us of what will be covered and what it doesn’t. Who in the working world has time to read and understand the writing of legal mumbo jumbo?
Being fully covered at my stage in life, I will quickly say there are a couple things that I wish health insurance would cover. I understand there are policies for Dentistry, however for the elderly who are fighting to save their teeth and not have to go the route of their parents who were forced to get false teeth; it is maddening to have a $5000 bill to add to all other expenses that the elderly have to deal with.
Having Dental insurance doesn’t always help. The premiums are high, and what it pays on a root canal is very little compared to the overall charge. Leaving one to consider all he has paid in monthly premiums is much more than what the insurance is actually covering.
What about eye care? A health care policy from our employer hardly, if ever has coverage for eye care.
Preexisting Conditions hang over us when our company is considering a new health care carrier. Once one has had a mental health problem for example, it is on the record for years to come, leaving the patient labeled. The same with cancer. It is forever a preexisting condition.
A few years ago I fell as I was going into a store. It was really no one’s fault; however the impact of falling flat on my face left me with a broken eye socket. A chip from the broken cheek bone got into my sinuses. I carried a black eye for a long time and had to have sinus x-rays for a couple years after that. It was thought I might have to have cosmetic surgery, which at the time no insurance would cover, even with the circumstances surrounding my injury.
I find the best relief for my chronic back pain is the chiropractor. The manipulation of the muscles around the affected area is the best therapy I have found for relief. The same goes for massage therapists. After having my daughter who is a licensed Massage Therapists give me a work over – she knows exactly which area of my back and legs are affected because of the lower back pain which has become Chronic.
In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is an expensive procedure which few couples can afford. My daughter who was barren, but wanted children from her womb, wanted to try the procedure as her husband was very able to have children. However when getting to the office for the procedure, no one had told them of the $10,000 they needed up front. I know there are exceptions to every rule, and personally I wanted her to get her wish. Several years later however, they were able to adopt first a little girl – straight from the Hospital and then about 3 years later a little boy. She brought them both home from the Hospital. She believes she bore these two little ones in her heart if she didn’t get to carry them 9 months in her own womb.
Infertility could fall into the same category with the above IVF.
For many years I have had varicose veins which are unsightly and very bad. Thought my doctors have told me I should have them repaired, Insurance didn’t deem it medically necessary – so therefore our already strapped budget kept me from getting my legs repaired.
Though the very thought of Acupuncture causes me pain, it is an old Chinese remedy for alleviating pain symptoms that is catching on in the US; especially by some Chiropractors. Controversy surrounds the procedure, and as yet no Insurance including Medicare will cover it.
I’d like to think Insurance woes, as we know them will cease at some point in our life. However I need to wake up from dream and work with whatever happens. Bearing in mind the government cannot fix ALL our problems. I wonder if we need to start looking at some of Grandma’s remedies for some of our ailments. Well that statement leaves a problem. Who is left in our land who knew Grandma’s or Grandpa’s remedies? Or wrote down the name of the root that made the tea that made mouth sores go away? Where would we find it now days?
Now that I have sufficiently given us 10 things health insurance does not cover (as a rule anyway), I hasten to add the topic is things Insurance doesn’t cover that it should! Now I’ll have to start taking away from my list that I have searched my brain to find. Seriously however, about asking our forefathers, they had a few things right, albeit possum stew and rattle snake stir-fry, leaves my desire to pay for a few things set on ready-set-go. I’d have to draw the line somewhere, and would probably start there. However a poultice to draw the stinger from a wasp bite, or a bee sting I have seen work.
Those are stories for another time. As for now I’d like to see Dentistry, chiropractic, massage therapy, and varicose veins correction on the list of MUSTS Insurance should pay for. I’d also like to see infertile couples have some help in conceiving. True today the emphasis is on aborting babies, but I am on the side of keeping those babies and helping parents with the tools to raise those children they didn’t plan for.
Guest post courtesy of Doris. Thank you Doris and we hope you feel better soon (she is recovering from surgery)!
This could be a loaded statement in light of the health insurance drama today. Frankly it is a big problem, and coming up with 10 problems should not be a difficult. For from one end of the spectrum to another, there are issues on either side of the program.
- It is staggering to read the statistics of the percentage of households who have no health insurance. Then the number who has coverage but that coverage is inadequate is also staggering.
- I don’t know what the answer is, but I am totally against socialized medicine. From what I read and hear of Europe and England in particular, the country is going broke as the government is the number one employer in the country and the bureaucracy and red tape is staggering.
- There are exceptions to every rule I’ll say up front – however there are people in our society who would rather have a free anything than work a day to pay for it. That includes health care.
- I’ll be the first to agree that the system is broken, but so is our government. Politics aside, get some individual business men and women who have nothing to gain politically and most likely they will come up with a system everyone can live with.
- It is a sad day when my Doctor tells me he can’t do so and so because the healthcare industry forbids it.
- Quoting Ted Rall from CommonDreams.org “Staggering it is. In 2006, insurance premiums for an employer-sponsored health plan for a family of four averaged $11,500, more than the net annual salary of a full-time employee who earns $8 per hour. Americans pay over $2 trillion per year–four times the federal defense budget–on a healthcare system that sucks. And the cost keeps going up, two to three times faster than inflation”.
- Well said, I say. Even those of us in the medium or low income bracket who have insurance find ourselves paying the 20% in installments for several years.
- From the years of 2002-2005 I worked part time but became too ill to work at all and finally retired. I was too young to get on social security and for sure Medicare, so during those three long years of going from one specialist, to another specialist, I think it took us paying our share of the 20% that insurance did not cover about 4 years. That included 16 Doctors, and an almost twice weekly trip to the Hospital Emergency room.
- I’m not complaining for those times. I refuse to think about what I’d have lost, had we not had insurance which was an 80/20 policy. I do think of people who lose their jobs, and have to look at paying the COBRA premiums. “This acronym, which derives from the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, has become part of the lexicon of the unemployed. COBRA is a federal law that allows you to continue your health care coverage after you leave your job. Here’s the part that bites: You are responsible for paying the cost of the coverage, and there is a maximum continuation period of 18 months.” Taken from an internet article by Jeffrey Yamaquchi. “What to do once you’ve been handed a pink slip”
- I long for the times when Doctors and Hospitals become the place of healing and care they once were. Regardless of the financial gains involved, people who are sick need a healing hand and a caring staff who also wants them to be well.
Guest post by: Doris T