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Everything posted by StephanieZ

  1. This has happened in my house TWICE with the Roomba. (dog poop) It was a mess, but since we don't have carpeting, it wasn't THAT bad to clean up. I still love my Roomba, but I'm relieved that my days of 5 elderly dogs are done . . .
  2. The Bissell Crosswave is THE BOMB for our wood floors as well as tile. I am 100% sure I'd love it just as much if I had laminate or vinyl. Get it. NOW. It will change your life. 😉
  3. Note: 1) Paying you out of "petty cash" is not any different than paying you in any other way other than it's harder to track fraud. The business owner is responsible for every dollar that goes in and out, whatever form it is in. The fact that they can pay you many ($100+/wk!?) dollars in cash with no tracking speaks to serious fraud within the business. If the owner doesn't know he's paying you, you're potentially in big trouble. 2) I'd report all that cash income as taxable income when tax time comes and pay your income taxes and payroll taxes, too. It'll be a PITA if you're not already accustomed to filing independent contractor income, but I'd still do it, because I have a healthy fear of the government & I pay my taxes. Otherwise, you're opening yourself up to tax fraud/evasion criminal culpability. If the TOTAL paid was under $500 or so, maybe I wouldn't bother, but if it was over $500, I'd report it, because whatever that owner is doing tax-wise is seriously dirty and any investigation into him may well expose YOU. If this extra income would impact your tax status or eligibility for various income based subsidies/benefits/etc, then, man, you are walking a dangerous line. To be kind, you should let your employer and your mom know you'll be reporting the income on your taxes, so they can do so on the employer end and hopefully avoid getting in trouble. A short written note, delivered after your last pay day, of "For your records, I've received a total of $XXXX in income from Business XYZ in 2019 -- itemize dates and amounts. I'll be reporting this as independent contractor income on my 2019 taxes. Thanks for the opportunity! - Signed, You." If there are records of the cash you accepted in the petty cash book or otherwise, I'd make copies (or photos) for yourself and use those to confirm your calculations. 3) To clarify, you being paid "under the table" cash by this business is illegal. On BOTH sides -- employee and employer. When this is occasional babysitting or housekeeping between private individuals, well, that's one thing. When it involves a business, it's super clearly sketchy because that business owner nearly always has a CPA who they already pay to do their taxes, so there's no reasonable excuse of not filing the proper paperwork and payment because it's "too much trouble" for a regular Joe. Caesar must get his due . . .
  4. I am doing that now with our in-progress will update. We only have one minor child left, and we'll make our oldest (most responsible) adult child her guardian. Caveat: I'd only do this if you have serious money available via insurance or your own wealth to make sure the care won't be a burden and that all needed financial resources are available to make raising the kid(s) relatively painless. I.e., hiring a nanny, buying or renting a big nice house near the adult child's college if they're in school, etc. We have TONS of insurance, so finance won't be an issue, especially since our youngest is < 2 years away from being in college herself. Personally, if there will be lots of money involved, I wouldn't want a young adult sibling solely responsible for all the money, so we have trusts in place to handle the finances, and another older, wiser, very trusted adult on as a trustee. The trusts are somewhat complicated in that we're setting aside a portion of the money for the kids futures, so essentially locked down until they are 25+, and then another large pot is available for taking care of them meanwhile (with the remainder distributed when all are launched/25-30+, it's a LOT of money because we have a LOT of insurance). So, there'll be PLENTY of money to support everyone through college/grad school, but then even if they blow through it like water -- I..e, one or two of them choose really expensive schooling and/or someone has a medical or other crisis that blows through a lot of the "keep them alive (and OK and educated/housed/fed) until they're 25 money", there'll STILL be SOME nest-egg money for each adult child once they are launched, so none will get "nothing" even if one or two has really high needs. Anyway, it's complicated, but I think if you're putting a young adult in charge, you need a more complicated plan to make sure they have some "guardrails" protecting each of them from making poor choices and also protecting each of them from getting "nothing" if one of the other kids really screws up (addiction, etc). Also, FWIW, if the older/trusted relative who will be trustee isn't personally very well off, if possible, I'd set aside a piece of insurance money to compensate them for travel/etc in addition to the time invested in overseeing matters. If funds are very limited, of course this isn't as plausible. But, if you've got huge insurance policies, it can be very feasible.
  5. FWIW, I did that once. When I called the homeowners insurance, they were really nice and covered everything. They didn't even require photos or anything complicated. Just had an estimate and they wrote a check (around 3-4k IIRC, I drove into the closed garage door . . . from the outside, lol). Apparently, this happens ALL THE TIME. We have had the same insurer decades and rarely make claims (2 ever, I think, each under 6k), and the total damage was light, so that may have been part of it. I'd guess if the estimate was 10k+ there might have been more hassles, but in my case, they didn't even send an adjuster to estimate it or require anything more than an estimate from the handyman we hired. I didn't claim auto because there was no damage to the car (and, like you, I don't want the auto rates to go up.)
  6. Dementia can take off the filters. For sure. Even early on. The best thing to do is likely just be simple and firm in your responses. "I hate to disappoint you, Mom, but I can't do that much driving all at once." Mom: BLAH BLAH BLAH "I'm sorry to disappoint you, Mom, but I won't be able to drive 16 hours in one day." Mom: BLAH BLAH BLAH If you can think of a good alternative, then substitute that in there as an option, because dementia can also make it really, really hard for folks to "figure stuff out," A good dementia management trick is that sufferers nearly always pick the last option offered. So, if you can think of a dichotomous choice . . . and put your preference as the second option, that often works well. I.e., "I can't do all that driving in just a few days, Mom, but we could do the visit over a full week at the end of the month or you could ask (Sister) Jenny to do the return trip driving so you could still go this weekend." At the end of the day, she is who she is, and she won't likely get nicer as dementia progresses. BUT, you can get a lot better in managing her and you might actually have a better relationship than before if you embrace your new role as Chief Manipulator. It's very easy to manipulate folks with dementia. It sounds awful when it's someone you revere, but it is necessary in order to gently guide them towards necessary and good choices.
  7. "paper tape" and piece of gauze. I'm sensitive to all adhesives . . . Anything on my skin for more than a few minutes will leave a welt, and if it's on long enough, bad things happen. Anytime I come out of a minor medical procedure that requires them to slap on those sticky pads for monitors, etc, I end up looking like a leper with all the welts. (I pull them off AS SOON AS they are done with them, lol.) "Paper tape" is what you want, IME. It's all I can use on sensitive areas. (My fingers and hands can handle regular bandaids, but not forearm skin, etc. Just get a non-stick gauze pad or a regular gauze pad and cut to size. Get a range of tape widths, and you're all set. If you need to bandage a large area and/or have it stay on through thick and thin, you might need to cover the bandage with an ace bandage or a sticks-to-itself stretchy wrap such as "vet wrap"
  8. These points about genetic based disease in CKCS (and most/all pure bred dogs) are very well taken. That exact issue is why it took me 2 years to find a breeder. I chose one who is actually a veterinarian who breeds for health, health, health by FAR exceeding the USA-normal inadequate genetic planning. She takes all her breeding stock to Canada (from the SE USA) to get MRIs at age 2 which is the only reliable means of predicting likelihood of developing the disease or passing it on. She also, of course, does all the other recommended health testing. And showing. And only breeds the best to the best to achieve healthier dogs. Over 80% of CKCS carry some degree of the brain defect (not all minor cases cause any symptoms), but there ARE dogs who are much, much less at risk of developing the disease. I feel it's important to support THESE kinds of breeders (only!). If anyone wants the breeder's info, I can give it to you via PM, so message and ask. And, FWIW, this same sort of problem occurs in all sorts of health area in all pure breeds. This is why it's so critical to choose your breeder very responsibly, so you support the "good guys" who are helping create healthier pets vs the "bad guys" who recklessly breed for greed.
  9. I adore dogs and couldn't live happily without one in my home. I've had my "own" dog since my 3rd year in college, and they are a super high life priority for me. Human family comes first, dogs second, cats/money/house/stuff/etc below dogs. So, I clearly believe they're worth sacrificing for, lol. But, not everyone agrees with that. I'm a fan of getting a dog if you really want one and are able and committed to care for it well. Have you owned a dog in recent years? If yes, then you likely already know all you need to know, but if not, you will want to think hard about all the day to day responsibilities and costs of dog ownership. A few considerations off the top of my head: Dogs vary dramatically in needs and temperament, from breed to breed and individual to individual. Do your research! Choose wisely!! You can foster dogs through foster groups. Gives you a chance to remember how much work they are and also to possibly "try out" a dog you might choose to adopt, meanwhile you are doing a good deed. If you choose a pure bred dog, adopt through a rescue or choose your breeder VERY CAREFULLY. Exercise requirements vary widely. Neglect them, and you're asking for big trouble. Large dogs are definitely on average more costly to own than smaller dogs. More food. More medications (the large majority of which are dosed based on weight. So, a 100 lb dog will need 10x as much as a 10 lb dog. This doesn't matter much in really cheap drugs like amoxicillin, but if you are talking about some super pricey drug (LOTS of them are very pricey and are human drugs, so the vet has NO control of that) . . . that could mean that a med for a tiny dog might be $50 for 3 months whereas for a 100# dog that might be $500 for 3 months. So, again, choose wisely. Cheap dog food is a ticket to poor outcomes in health and higher vet expenses, etc. Count on buying high quality pet food. Purina ProPlan is pretty good and readily available. There are plenty of other decent options and plenty of terrible ones. Price PurinaProPlan and if that monthly cost freaks you out, don't get a dog. Routine food/leash/collar/bedding/grooming/etc items add up in cost. Work up a long list on (or wherever) of everything you might need for the entire first year. Look at the price tag. If it freaks you out, don't get a dog. Vet care is expensive. I tell people to budget $1000/year plus $1000 for one-time-only first year costs. That's a baseline. If it freaks you out, don't get a dog. Before you adopt, call a few local vets and ask for an estimate for first year needed vet care. Tell them exactly the truth. Some practices have "puppy plans" or similar with one bundled price for all the shots/tests/etc needed. Ask if anything ELSE would be advised. For instance, at our hospital, I think the Puppy Plan is something around $400 and includes all the basics plus spay/neuter. Then you need to add about $200-400 for the year's worth of parasite medications (weight dependent . . . again, cheaper if dog is smaller, same goes for surgery . . .) So, that's why I tell folks to budget $1000 for year one BASIC vet care. PLUS anything that might happen if they get injured or sick (to be expected). Young dogs aren't as well trained and are thus injury prone and new owners haven't been around the block enough to avoid common injuries, either. Dogs need potty breaks at least every 8 hours (MAYBE 10 overnight if you are lucky). As frequently as every 2 hours when they are puppies. Potty training is a PITA and is pretty much a FT job for a few weeks. Large breeds especially require serious training effort to ensure a safe and good life. Many dogs would be miserable (and may make their families miserable) if they only get 2-5 hours of human contact a day as often happens in busy households. Dogs can be very destructive if not properly housed, supervised and trained. Nearly every "bad" behavior by dogs is YOUR (owner) fault, not the dog's fault. If you can't take responsibility for their behavior, don't get a dog. (I.e., training classes and effort, consult with behaviorist if needed, potty breaks AND exercise needs, etc, etc.) All that said, I adore my dogs and couldn't be happy without them. I have always had a dog or two, even when I was living on student loans and using the shelter's super cheap vaccine and spay services. If they got sick, I simply paid for whatever was needed, on credit cards or student loans. For a snuggly dog, I'd advise a 10-30 lb dog, not a larger one. I LOVE my golden retriever and she's very snuggly and sweet. She sits on my feet (washing dishes, etc), she sits by me, in bed, she "snuggles" by climbing to the head of the bed and stealing ALL the pillows lying cross wise. This is inconvenient but still adorable. I LOVE HER. HOWEVER, my 20# Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) IS THE BEST SNUGGLE DOG IN THE UNIVERSE. He's soft. He can snuggle you anywhere w/o being in the way -- on ONE pillow, in between dh & I (in a Q bed), at our feet, spooning in front or in back with his head on my neck. Sits on my lap or next to me on the couch or even on the office desk chair. Sits up on a stool at my kitchen island to keep me company while I cook (for real). He is the living embodiment of snuggly love. Having had many dogs over the decades from 20 to 70 lb, I am confident in my assertion that if you want a lot of snuggling w/o a lot of inconvenience to you, get a smaller dog. FWIW, I think a CKCS is the perfect "caboose baby" dog. That's what I called Gellie when I got him not long after my oldest left for college. A baby-sized lump of love that wants nothing more than your company and affection. And is that perfect infant size to lay on your chest, too. He lives to gaze lovingly into your eyes telling you with every glance "You are the most wonderful thing in the universe. I live for your love." It's the perfect soothing to a mama-heart missing her babes and saddened by the losses life dealt. Look for a rescue group if you want one. Be very careful in choosing your breeder if you want to go that route, because quality varies WIDELY. I spent 2 years finding the right breeder and drove 800 miles to get my puppy. He was worth every day waiting and every mile driven (and dollar spent).
  10. Are all your boxes in the same area? If so, that's a likely cause. If kitten got scared away from the area by cranky cat or even something random like -- she was in there using a box and a big loud noise scared her . . . General principles . . . you need to: + have at least 3 boxes (# cats + 1) + have at least one on each floor of the house + have them in quiet, private spaces + test out varied designs (covered, uncovered, shallow, deep, etc) + test out various litters + Clean boxes at least daily; ideally at least twice a day. Cats like cleanliness! In your situation, you should get a litter box of whatever design she has shown a preference for (if you know) and put it near your bed in a quiet spot. She's likely choosing your bed because she feels safe there. Alternatively, if you really don't want a litter box in your room, address all the above issues and keep your door shut for a few months until the problem is resolved. Choose box designs and litters that the cat(s) show preference for. Also, ask at the vet for them to check her urine for UTI/etc. Describe your situation.
  11. StephanieZ


    I think he should move out ASAP. I feel for you. I have an angry (with me) 20 year old son. He moved out recently, and that’s a very good thing. I love him, but I don’t miss him living here. When he’s not angry, ready to follow our house rules, and not miserable to be around, I’d welcome him back if he needed/wanted to be here. But, I hope he never needs to move back, because I think he just needs independence from me and living with me = failure in his mind, which makes him mad, and me miserable. So, I’d suggest moving up the move out timeline.
  12. You might be surprised. The 22 year old we hire is delighted with $50/night. It’s about 20 min of actual effort twice a day and another 10 min a couple more times. Great money if you don’t mind sleeping away from home. In your case, if your kid is in charge of any pets, it’s pretty much no work, just the inconvenience of sleeping at your house. An easy $30-40 night would likely be plenty for the right person. In my state, teachers are paid so poorly they routinely work minimum wage second jobs. I’ve never had trouble finding house sitters, even when we had a lot more pets and farm animals (so double the work.)
  13. Nope, not prudent, sorry. 14 is just too young. You could hire someone to stay at the house. Any responsible adult, just to be there for emergencies. A grandmotherly figure, an auntie, a responsible college kid . . . That's what I've done in similar situations. I have a college kid who I've known for eternity, & she's as responsible as they come (and about to finish her education degree). I've long hired her to pet/house sit, and at times, I've added in "putting up with the teens." to her duties. For me, I'd say 16 is as low as I'd go for overnights w/o an adult there, and probably not for more than 1-2 nights at a time until closer to 18. TBH, I barely trust my adult kids alone for multiple days alone at our house. They MEAN well, but they aren't terribly responsible, to tell the God's honest truth. My youngest (turning 17 next month) is actually my most responsible on household type things, so I'd likely leave her alone for a couple nights sometime soon . . . We did leave her alone for ONE night recently, but that was a first at that age for any of our kids . . . Hire a "house sitter" to sleep there at night if you can't comfortably send him to a relative.
  14. I've been trying to fly under the radar academically for pretty much our entire homeschooling career. My kids are super smart. I'm typeA and devoted myself to their education and, frankly, I'm pretty smart too, TYVM, so I did/do a good job homeschooling. So, they excel. It is what it is. I learned VERY early on to keep their abilities and accomplishments on the down low as much as I can bear . . . in the general world outside my bubble of similarly situated families and dear friends who "get it." It pisses me off, but . . . it is what it is.
  15. Black Market, White House. I have 2 pairs that are my favorites. One is dark/slim/stretchy and the other is a bit lighter with embroidered flowers and looser. They're both awesome. The dark, traditionally styled ones are SO comfy because of their stretch even though they absolutely are and look like jeans, not jeggings/etc. They were outrageously overpriced (maybe $85 for the normal ones and $120 for the embroidered ones), and I bought them in desperation (limited time, needed attractive jeans), but I'd spend it again now, knowing how much I like these jeans. If you can even consider spending that kind of money for jeans, I'd definitely recommend going and trying on a pair or two. (I normally will spend maybe $50-60 on jeans if they're perfect (and usually look for sales to pay half that), but I'd never before considered 100/ish.) Considering that I really only need to buy a new pair on average every 2-3 years, and wear each pair hundreds of times, I think I'll now feel liberated to spend whatever I want, as I did with this one purchase last year.
  16. We don't do travel sports, but do do travel robotics. The coaches/mentors travel expenses (except dining-out food) are wrapped into the team expenses -- as are the kids' hotels/travel costs. The team covers all that. We get grants, sponsors, etc, so families don't have to pay, but certainly, I'd expect that coaches and mentors should NOT have to pay for ANY of their reasonable and modest travel expenses.
  17. My piano player is out of the house until late . . . but I'll try . . . I *think* she uses one GOOD "sustain" pedal that we bought separately, to replace the one that came with it. The replacement pedal was a separate purchase -- maybe $30 -- but it had/has fuller functionality/feel more similar to that on the "real" piano. The purpose of the keyboard and the pedal were for her to practice on when away from her regular piano . . . and so "feeling" as close to a "real" piano was a priority. You *can* get an accessory with all 3 pedals: but, when we really needed it for travel practice, my daughter didn't need those other 2 pedals for the stuff she was working on. Now, she just hasn't had the need for it, either, because she really only plays modern type stuff on the travel keyboard which doesn't use those other pedals (which I really don't understand anyway, lol) and she reserves the serious hard core classical stuff with need for all the fancy pedals, etc, for her grand piano (which is in the same room at home). I'm sorry if my wording of how one uses pedals is nonsensical. I am NOT a musician, so I don't have the language to describe things correctly. I just write checks, clap, and drive, lol. (I have always left instrument choice/details up to teachers and the kid/musicians . . . I just write the checks.)
  18. We bought a Yamaha one in 2014 that has worked very well as a travel piano early on (when we used to go away for a month each fall) and now is my 16 year old's "gig" piano, as she can travel with it. The one we got s no longer available but is comparable to this one: We also bought an extra pedal. It's held up quite well and seems as good as it was when we bought it. Probably gets about 50-80 hr/yr of playing time and is otherwise safely ensconced in our pet-free mess-free dust-free music room. My dd has a Kawai grand piano now (which is amazing), so this is just a secondary one for travel. I know nothing about pianos and rely on her teacher and our tuner's advice on these things. (Her teacher had recommended this model back when we bought it.) So far as I can tell, though, the keyboard works well for what it is. (No comparison to her grand piano, but clearly, that's not a realistic goal.)
  19. FWIW, it takes some days/weeks for repellant to take effect, IME. It's definitely not an overnight process.
  20. What horrible people. I'm so very sorry!
  21. Always take the 2nd ABX dose sooner rather than later. It helps get things under control faster to front load ABX. When in a hospital setting/etc, they often do that as a matter of course. It's totally fine. (I'm not a DR, just play one on the internet.) I.e., if it's twice a day and I take the first dose before 6P, I'd definitely take the 2nd dose right before bed -- so 4-6 hours later instead of 12, and then go to breakfast/dinner/whatever the next day. If it's 6P or later, then you could just set an alarm early enough to get it NO LATER THAN the "prescribed" interval (12 hours, 8 hours, whatever.) Definitely don't go longer than the prescribed interval!
  22. I had BAZILLIONS of UTIs before I discovered d-mannose about 4 years ago. Like, I was getting them monthly and the lovely yeast infections afterwards due to the antibiotics. I've only had a couple UTIS since discovering d-mannose, and only when I was not taking my d-mannose. I take a capsule every singlenight. If I'm having tEa, I take one before and after. If I'm at the beach (where I tend to get UTIs), I take it a few extra times daily. It's harmless, very safe, and you really can't over do it. If I DO get a UTI, I take one capsule (or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon) about every 2 hours around the clock. It's MAGIC. TRULY MIRACULOUS. Life-Changing! I take it with water. I drink tons of water when I have UTIs (actually, I always drink tons of water), as it helps flush the bacteria out. I'd RUN to get d-mannose and take it every 2 hours (yes, wake up over night) for a couple days, and then keep taking it once or twice a day for at least a week or two. If you get more UTIs, you can do it preventatively, as I do. It's MAGIC. I use the NOW brand, because that's my go to brand (on Amazon), but you can use whatever brand you like.
  23. We have moles all the heck over the place on our home (2 acres) and commercial property (5 acres). We've been "dealing with them" for over a decade, lol. If you've got a small-ish yard (which you MUST, lol, given the way you're caring for it!), then they're actually really easy to get rid of. There's kid & pet safe castor oil based mole repellant that you just spread out with a spreader and it repels them. My husband does it, and just follows the bag instructions. Doesn't kill them or injure them, but sends them to your neighbors!! We use it on the close-in parts of both the yard at work and our house yard. We just "push them" out into the woods and fields, lol. It's easy. It's safe. Go get it!
  24. The meals you describe are desperately short of good (or any) fats. Fats create a feeling of fullness. I'd add significant fats to your diet for several days and see if that helps. Avocados, full fat dairy, nuts and nut butters, meats -- especially bacon/sausage/other fatty stuff. If you're willing to pay extra, I'd aim for organics/free range for dairy and meats since animal fats accumulate toxins, so if you're upping your animal fats, it's best to avoid those treating with chemicals/medications. If you're willing, I'd cut out as much of the sugars/empty starches (non whole grain starches, sugars, etc) as you can, since you are overweight & carbs drive weight gain. I second Rosie's comment that your body needs extra nutrition and calories to heal from major surgery. I'd buy a scale and/or start doing regular body measurements (maybe waist + thigh) to monitor whether you really are gaining or losing. FTR, I have waffled between 20 lb overweight and "normal" BMI over my adult life. I'm currently near the lowest body weight I've been in my adult life (BMI of 23), and I eat more fat now than I ever did before, and I eat "whatever I want". I just buy full fat stuff instead of lower fat as I did for 20 years or so. I only buy full fat dairy, eat tons of butter, etc. I still eat sugars/starches freely, but I also exercise a LOT. (About 10-12 hours/wk of vigorous exercise.) So, I don't have to "control" my eating, and whenever I'm hungry, I eat what I want. But, if I didn't burn 5000 or more calories a week exercising, I wouldn't likely be able to do that long term w/o gaining.
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