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StephanieZ last won the day on January 10 2014

StephanieZ had the most liked content!


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  1. You allow yourself at least one full year before asking yourself to do much of anything at all. You just go through the motions to bury your parent, settle the estate, and fulfill your basic duties to family and/or work . . . You cry when you have to, and you scream when you have to, and you work hard to be gentle with yourself and your loved ones . . . and you just put one foot in front of the other. Give yourself a full year. Then it starts to actually get a little easier. The crying fits come less frequently, the intensity of the pain subsides a bit. You never actually get past it, but you learn to live with it. Holidays will always hurt. Great news will always feel a little less great. You'll always miss your parent. ((((hugs)))) and comfort during this time. Be gentle with yourself and those you love.
  2. It's cool to see this thread still helping each other so long after I started it! As my last kid is wrapping up her last year of high school doing nearly 100% dual enrollment classes at our local uni, I am now "retired" . . . but I thought I'd add a review echoing others above ... Human Geography with Gillespie: F I signed up my youngest for Human Geo with Gillespie for 2017-2018 school year. It was an unmitigated disaster. After her doing some advance work over the summer (including that book we had to buy from Gillespie), I withdrew her within days of the official start of the class. The other criticisms above echo my own complaints. Another real issue for me that came up was the teacher's clear political/religious agenda. She was, at that time, teaching at Liberty University as well as PAH, FWIW. Among other things, she directed students to a "free course on the constitution" that was by a very political (right-wing) organization. My kids took many courses through PAH and were/are accustomed to having challenging communications with classmates, as we all know homeschooling is a diverse community. This class was totally out of bounds and awful. Sorry for the long lapse in sharing my experience. I hate to give negative reviews, but that class was nuts, IMHO. Just don't do it. Pick another class!
  3. I'd drive to the destination and rent a nice cabin ON THE SLOPES that is EASY to ski to for lunch. Get a cabin with your own hot tub (plus or minus your own heated outdoor or indoor pool depending on how big your group is and how much money you've got to burn.) If you live in driving distance from a ski place with nice outdoor hot springs, personally, I'd feel safe going to those at non peak times, unmasked, and I love them. Ice skating would be another fun activity for evenings for non-skiers. Bring your food for lunch at the cabin. You could bring chili and have it warming in the crockpot or just bring easy stuff to make sandwiches, etc. Don't share chair lifts or gondolas/trams with anyone outside your party. (So, don't use the gondolas/trams unless they have such small ones that your party could fill it, and they are allowing folks to do that.) Don't go into the lodges or restaurants. I'd plan on either cooking dinner in or getting take out. I like bringing already prepared meals frozen, ready to go for trips like this. (Lasagnas, soups, chili, casseroles, "Dump" meals for the crockpot, etc.) Or, if you or someone else really doesn't want to ski then they/you could stay at the cabin and cook up a storm of whatever you enjoy. That's pretty much my plan for ski trips from here on out -- if my adult kids want to ski -- I'm fine with staying at a nice cabin cooking and babysitting future grand babies. (I'm DONE skiing after ds fractured his tibia 3 years ago at Mammoth and dh fractured HIS tibia 2 years ago at Steamboat. Two major orthopedic injuries in the family with two surgeries and years of post-operative issues, and I am DONE with skiing!) If you can actually follow those guidelines, it'd be totally safe, IMHO. (And I'm a COVID safety freak.)
  4. FWIW, my 18 year old is a pianist (very seriously) and since March, all her lessons have been on ZOOM. She is even taking her Royal Conservatory of Music Level 10 performance exams virtually in December. Those exams are usually not only done in person, but typically only in about one location per state. We had to drive out of state one year for them. It's a big deal and costs several hundred dollars at this level, which makes sense since they bring in out-of-region judges and the exams are lengthy and require a very high level pianist as judge. So, that's to say that you can TOTALLY take lessons virtually these days. Even pre-Covid, my eldest took harp virtually from an out-of-state teacher during her last year of high school when we had decided her local teacher wasn't a good fit any longer (too much pressure to enter conservatory/major in music, which wasn't what my dd was aiming for . . . Indeed, she graduated in Computer Science in May and has a fantastic job in her field . . .) Many teachers (like my daughter's) are ONLY teaching virtually, and considering that many are surely hurting for income right now with most live music not happening, I'd imagine it'd be pretty easy to find a teacher who is willing to teach virtually. So, anyway, that's an option. That said, if you don't want the piano, just give it away if someone will take it. Post it on facebook/craigslist/whatever. If not, you can hire a junk hauler to get rid of it. In our years of piano ownership, our first we got free from a family friend whose only requirement was that we hire a professional piano mover to get it out of her house (to protect her house, I'm sure), that one was happily used for several years, then stored in a garage where it went BAD, then junked to the landfill. Our second piano was very cheap ($200? $500?) from a friend, and we happily used it until the big upgrade to the grand piano, at which time I posted a "free to good home" on my personal facebook and quickly found it a good home. FWIW, my dd's piano is in a dedicated music room that we added on 5 years ago for the purpose -- it also houses other instruments and a massive closet to store MORE instruments and all the music paraphernalia, but it was purpose built for a big piano. We had an upright before, but needed to upgrade to a grand piano for her at that point because her skills were (and are) pretty serious and she needed a better piano. So, now we've got a music room, and we got the piano right after the room was completed.
  5. A large portion of pet families include both cats and dogs. You're a serious dog trainer, right? You can train your dog to be nice to cats, just like you train them to be nice to toddlers. Of course, if you're not confident you can train your dog to be nice to a cat, then don't get one just yet. Wait until your not-cat-safe-dog has passed away (hopefully not for a long time), then get a cat FIRST before getting a puppy. I've never heard of a puppy who couldn't be trained to be kind to cats, chickens, etc. I'm sure it could happen, but it'd be very rare (and worrisome) for a young dog to be untrainable in that area. You'll need to have some aversion at the ready -- a noise maker or a shock collar or whatever works well for you. Keeping the dog on a leash and you at the ready to train/correct . . . at all times when in the same space with the cat is probably important for the first days/weeks.
  6. Some ideas: High quality knives and a sharpener An ice cream maker (there's one that is an attachment to her KitchenAid). If you got that, you could continue the theme with a set of cute ice cream bowls and an ice cream scoop. A food processor with various attachments.
  7. Got mine today. I'm usually flaky about doing them -- got them when my mom was elderly and frail -- to protect her. But other than that, it's been really rare for me to get them, mostly just because it was a very low priority for me. I was at the dr today for something totally unrelated, and I gladly accepted their offer of a flu shot as it was high on my priorities to get it done in October. Why? Because COVID19 is already swamping our urgent/ER facilities, several areas in my state (WV) are already having to divert critically ill patients to other parts of the state or out of state because their ICUs are at capacity and/or their medical staff has been impacted and so they're short staffed. If me getting a flu shot can reduce the chance that someone else will die due to lack of access to medical space and/or help reduce the incredible pressure on our front line medical workers, then that's good enough for me. Right now, I think we all have a duty to try to minimize the risk of getting or spreading any serious illness, especially flu that could cause "double infections" with COVID and dramatically increase fatalities. WV is already one of the sickest and poorest states in the country. We really don't need any more problems. So, I got the shot. And I wear my mask. And I stay home as much as possible.
  8. It's a thing in the USA. It's essentially a scholarship program based largely on testing high on a standardized test - the PSAT - that is administered to pretty much all 11th graders. The top 1% of students become semifinalists. There there's an application process that winnows those semifinalists just a bit (16,000 to 15,000) to become finalists (essentially, they have to have strong, consistent grades, and they have to get a comparably high score on another standardized test - the SAT, and you have to fill out forms with their transcripts and get a recommendation, etc.. (I know the process well enough that I know my kid checks all the boxes and will be a finalist.) Some colleges offer really excellent scholarships based solely or partially on being a National Merit Finalist (or Semifinalist.). Those are mostly big state schools that are trying to attract those top students to improve their student body's academic tilt. Elite schools, of course, don't offer money for National Merit Scholarships (maybe a token amount), because a large portion of their student body are that elite. My eldest attended University of Alabama on a huge National Merit Scholarship -- saved us as much money as a pretty nice house over her career there. I actually was also a National Merit Scholar, too, a lifetime ago and also got a big scholarship to a state school, so I knew well what the possibilities were with this program. Since we aren't eligible for need-based college aid, and full price college is insane, these scholarship opportunities open a lot of possibilities for our kids.
  9. Thank you all for the kind, kind words. I'm so happy for her, and I am proud, too. It's easy to dwell on my parental shortcomings these challenging days of parenting young adults, and I have to say it's really nice to have a reminder of some of the things I did right. DD's pretty much 100% schooling on her own, transitioning to college courses this past year, so I'm pretty much DONE homeschooling. This sort of feels like the last task I had undone ... from being a homeschooling mom. And, now, it's really pretty much all over other than checking the boxes over the next 9 months. I guess it sort of feels like I just "graduated" from my own homeschooling journey.
  10. Can you please indulge me in a mama brag? I can't/won't do this IRL, but I want to share it with someone. My third and final child . . . just got official notification of being a National Merit Semifinalist. (And her score is very high, and she will no doubt be a Finalist and then a Scholar.) Both my older two kids did the same, so I'm 3 for 3 for nailing this particular achievement. I've screwed up a lot. But, at least I did educate them well.
  11. Random ordered thoughts . . . Sooooo many nuances to this decision. Usually, owning two houses at the same time isn't an option financially for most folks. So, you've gotta sell first, then buy. + Don't pay extra on your current mortgage right now. Save the cash. That's a no brainer. + You should sit down with a knowledgable realtor for an hour. That would answer most of your questions much better than I can. + Answers depend a lot on market conditions. In some towns, it may be that things are so "hot" that no seller is going to accept an offer with a contingency to sell your current home. You may have to be able to make an offer w/o that contingency, which means you'd need to be pretty flush. If you're not that flush, then the only option is to sell first, THEN buy, meaning you might need to stay in a rental or crash in your parents' basement or whatever for a few months between homes. + Answers depend a LOT on your financial situation. If you can qualify for a good mortgage on purchasing another home while you still own this one, then that's an option. (I.e., your household income is enough to cover both mortgages at 25% total or less of your gross monthly income. And TOTAL debt payments on ALL debts are under about 35% of gross monthly income.) Talk to a mortgage banker (or three) to find out your best options based on your finances. If you easily qualify for best terms while owning the current house, then that opens up a lot of options. + Another financial issue. Do you have cash on hand (or easily accessed) to put 20% down on the new place before selling/cashing out of the current one? If not, then you probably need to sell first. + Could you comfortably leave your "old" house vacant for 6-12 months, still maintain it, and cover the bills? If so, that opens up the option of moving out to your new home. If you can't comfortably do that, then you should likely go ahead and sell "old house" before committing to a "new house." This means you likely need to be comfortable putting your stuff in storage for 6 months and getting a short term rental between homes. + Answers depend on if you are staying in the same area or are moving away. If moving to a new area, I'd advise selling your current house, then moving to a rental for 1 year. During that year, you can get to know the area and nail down your new home to purchase. It's worth the extra expenses and hassles of a temporary rental because you get a lot of benefit of the time to get to know the area before committing to a house purchase.
  12. I do understand that it's hard. That's why I suggest "reminding yourself," of the reality of the situation. As long as they are mentally fit (legally and medically), you are NOT responsible for their problems. If/when they both become unfit (or one is a danger to the other), then you may have to take control, but that would require a lot of legal guidance. As long as either of them is still mentally fit, then you have zero power in this situation, and IMHO, you're best off learning to handle your lack of control and limit your own vulnerability to pain/trouble/angst. If you need therapy to help you do that, then you are in good company, and you'll be well served by getting these skills on board now. You may have 20-30 more years of managing your relationships with your aging parents. Get the help you need to come up with a plan you feel good about and stay strong in implementing it. If Adult Protective Services or whomever decides at some point that they can't stay in their house the way it is, then that would be a "crisis point," at which time you'll have to lay out boundaries and offers based on the specific needs. A crisis point may happen when one gets injured, ill or dies. The nature of the crisis will determine your options. It does no good to agonize about things you can't control.
  13. I'm sorry you're experiencing this. Sounds really rough. (((hugs))) I'd remind yourself that you may owe your parents some degree of caring, but you owe NOTHING to your parents' crap. Humans =/= their possessions. When "you have to deal with it," you can choose to simply A) decline being executor of the estate and just let the state take everything they own or maybe set it on fire or whatever. or B) If there's enough money available to make it worth the while of dealing with the estate, just spend as much as is needed to hire help. Go through it as much as you wish (or not at all), take what you really want, and just have some charity and/or GotJunk company take the rest. It's your CHOICE whether the "stuff" is worth the strain of dealing with it. You have the power. Is it worth a year of your life going through all that crap to maybe clear $10k in worthy stuff? Or if it's 100k? Not worth it, then don't do it. That choice is 100% on you, not on whoever left the crap. Clearly, the crap IS worth it to your mom. She chooses to live this way. You get to choose whether it's worth it to you, WHEN it's your choice. Likewise, you can choose what and when kind of help you are willing to provide during their lives. You can say, "I can help you get a dumpster delivered. It's $400 for 30 days. What credit card do you want me to put it on?" or "I can give you three numbers of organizers/cleaners/junk haulers . . . Here they are. I'm available Saturdays and Wednesdays in July if you'd like me to come over and help supervise." . . . etc. You can say NO. That's on YOU.
  14. What you describe is the PERFECT home to buy IMHO. Good bones, needs cosmetic updates. Go buy it. Update as you can.

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