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The Accidental Coach

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  1. I just bought a wicker table set from the same website. The seller posted, I asked to look, she said yes and gave me her address. I happily drove over. While I was on my way, she texted me and said someone else was also interested and I needed to hurry. I arrived, liked it, bought it. She contacted the other person and said it was sold. She helped me load it in my truck and off I went. Easy peasy. Now I get to surprise my DD and DSIL with a wicker set for their screened in porch. It's a win-win!
  2. I am over my initial surprise but still cannot believe she was so rude. I reread the messages this morning and still have the same reaction. Thank you for the advice. If I list it again I will be sure to put "no popping in the rain", "no holds", and "first with cash in hand". That information would certainly eliminate problems. I really like our Pup and wasn't certain I wanted to sell it. This experience has me questioning the decision to sell even more. I guess I have to do some soul searching and decide if keeping it trumps having the cash on hand.
  3. My DH and I decided to sell our popup camper. As most everyone knows, the weather here in the midwest has been horrible. We've had extraordinary amounts of rain, flooding, high winds, and tornadoes. I popped it up on Saturday to check for winter damage. Nothing, it is perfect. I spent Saturday scrubbing the interior, washing the curtains and mattress covers, and going through everything we would be selling with the camper. Sunday I scrubbed and waterproofed the canvas. When it was dry and nice and sparkly, I took interior pictures. All of this done in between thunder storms and high winds. Yesterday, I closed the camper early in the morning after it dried sufficiently (with a little bit of hand toweling) and scrubbed the exterior and made it shine. Just as I finished, another storm hit. During the storm, I posted the pics online. I received multiple immediate hits. One lady offered full price but then recanted since our PUP doesn't have AC. During that time I received multiple verbal offers and requests to view the camper. Since it was raining and I was unable to open the PUP, I started making appts for today. One man offered me $300 over asking price. Immediately after, the woman messaged back and said she wanted the camper, even w/o AC and wanted to come see it ASAP. I told her she could see it but that I had an offer $300 higher than hers. She went ballistic. She was quite upset that I sold the pup out from under her and that I should have sold it to her since she was first. I told her I hadn't accepted the offer because I was under negotiations with her (even though she was upset about no AC) but that since she hadn't seen the camper and no money had exchanged hands I was still free to look at other offers. She was angry and quite rude implying that she would have already bought it but I was being difficult. She was worried I was going to sell the camper to the other buyer so I put "sold" on the ad and told other potential buyers I accepted an offer. I was losing $300 but I thought this would appease her. I I told her it was raining where I was and I had to go to work but I would try to open it that evening if the rain stopped and I got home in time. I got off work at 9pm so her viewing the camper wasn't going to be an option. I messaged her she could see it today when I got off work; possibly in the morning. I told her I had to go to work and would text her when I got out of my morning meetings. I couldn't get away as I was in meetings until after 2pm. Before I could leave work, it rained two more times. I am not opening my PUP in the rain. She thought I was playing some sort of game because she sent me some very rude messages. Evidently, she bought another camper today while I was at work. She implied I was dishonest and that my camper was trash. I remained polite and told her I was happy for her and that I hope she enjoys camping. She replied with a few more rude messages. So, here I sit feeling awful, like I did something wrong. I'm sorry it rained multiple times in two days (we've actually had 5 inches of rain in the last 48 hours). I"m sorry I have to work. I'm sorry my PUP doesn't have AC. I could have sold my camper for $300 more than what she offered. I might contact the guy who made the high offer tomorrow and see if he is still interested. I'll also put the ad back online.
  4. I just spent months looking at used cars hoping to find a Subaru. A Subaru is my dream car and I would love to own one some day. I thought I wanted an Outback but, after test driving it, I wasn't in love with it. I felt cramped in the driver's seat. Even with a sunroof/moonroof, I was feeling claustrophobic. The Crosstrek was even worse; it made me uncomfortable and I felt like I was only inches off the road. I also didn't feel like there was any headroom; all of this coming from a person who loves vintage VWs and is used to small cars. The Forester, however, was perfect. I liked the size, the clearance, and the interior. I felt comfortable and in control. I can't rave enough about how much I liked the Forester. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one in my price point that didn't have multiple accidents, a salvage title, or 200,000+ miles. Two things I discovered while looking at used Subarus are they hold their resale value and their owners are loyal to the brand. You gotta love the Subaru reputation. For those of you who were gifted with a Subaru, I am envious. Enjoy your ride!
  5. I would wait a few days to see if usage changes. Once the newness wears off, maybe the consumption will change. Give it a week to see if you are indeed going through that much water each day.
  6. Hello, Pamela! It's good to see you.
  7. I would consider it under certain circumstances How close are the relationships with the extended family? Would developing these relationships provide a positive/supportive environment? Is it with grandparents. aunts, and uncles? Would there be a large cousin group? If there are no previously fostered relationships or if there are no family members in the child's current generation, I would have second thoughts. DH and I moved to a town with a large portion of his family - his grandparents, his aunts and uncles, his cousins - but, since he hadn't not grown up around them, there was no shared history, no family traditions. We were more like strangers. It also didn't help when the older generation began to pass or move away within months of our move. We soon found ourselves in a town with no family and so far from our FOO that we couldn't travel for holidays, birthdays, or special occasions. If, OTOH, you would be moving back to one of your parents, siblings, and their children, and have pre-established, loving relationships, I would do it in a heartbeat. That time together is precious. If the move would provide significant financial benefits or professional experiences that would be difficult to find elsewhere, I would consider it. I would not do it if we would have to double living expenses with no opportunity to earn or save more money than we would if we stayed together. I would want to see tangible financial results; ones that indicated we were either putting more in savings, 401Ks, IRAs, or paying off debt faster than if we were together. I would not do it if we would be maintaining the status quo. Unless, and this is a really big UNLESS, the job opportunity is unique and the experiences gained couldn't be found elsewhere. For example, if moving meant I could be a floor nurse in a hospital, a job I could easily find at home, then, no, I wouldn't move. But if it meant being able to work at a nationally recognized neurological research unit, giving me access to patients and colleagues I wouldn't be able to find at home, I would do it in a heart beat. Also, would the potential job opportunity that might arise for the other spouse (the one staying at the current location) be a promotion? Would it give more responsibility and more money? Is it a potential career changing position or is it a lateral move? How long has the person been with this employer? Would it be easy to find another position with similar pay if this spouse followed the other? About the children, it would depend on their ages and how close their relationship is. How often would the family be able to see each other? Would traveling every weekend be feasible? Are the children in activities that would hinder regular travel? If both are in sports, choir, band, clubs, or other activities that have weekend practices and rehearsals, those might conflict and make seeing each other regularly impossible. Would staying with one or the other parent provide that child a different lifestyle than the other? Any perceived imbalance in finances, lifestyle, or parenting style might cause issues and spark resentment, causing a rift that wasn't there before. For the younger child who has had issues - depending on what these issues are, I would consider it. If my child were being bullied and despite my best efforts to correct the situation (which I would be approaching with everything I had before I moved) and I thought my child's well-being was at risk (failing school, ostracism, potential suicide), I would move. If being near family members would give my child a social outlet, a strong sense of self, and a support system that could not be found at the current home, I would move. If it meant my child would be happier, more self assured, and provide an opportunity for success, I would move. But only if these things would outweigh being removed from the other parent and sibling. Another consideration would be how long the separation would last. I could do it for a year anything beyond that and I would have to think about long term consequences. Military deployments usually have a set term. You know that the parent will be gone for 6 months or a year. It is difficult at best but there is an end in sight from the beginning. Even with subsequent deployments, there is typically a stated term of service. Would this separation have an end date? I don't know if I could say "Let's try it for a year and see what happens." What if each of us loves our new job and becomes unwilling to leave at the end of the trial period? What if the newly found independence changes our relationship? How many years would I be away from my high school aged child? What milestones would I miss? Would I be able to trust the other parent to follow our previously established family rules and parenting choices? -- OP - you have a lot to think about. Congratulations on the job opportunities, by the way. It must be exciting to think about the possibilities of what might be.
  8. LOL - I so did not do this. Shredded or burned without reading them.
  9. Closing accounts makes sense to me. How does that effect your credit rating? I opened and Amazon Prime Chase card when we were planning DD's wedding. I have rewards on it. I really should look into what I can do with those.
  10. Discover - the same one the friend uses who claims to have earned over $1000 in rewards. As far as using other cards, I don't have the wherewithall to research cards, figure out which ones would be beneficial, justify the yearly fees, or create a spreadsheet tracking the spending and rewards for each one. Maybe it's a personal failure and maybe there are others with more mettle but, for now, I'm simply to naive about the process. I also have never traveled internationally, have panic attacks when going through airport security, and prefer to drive when I travel so looking for air miles wouldn't be my thing. I was hoping to generate enough cash to pay for the holidays or buy something necessary for our home (like a new front door). With the card I used, there is no way that is ever going to happen. We don't generate enough income to spend the amounts that would bring in thousands in rewards. Since Discover is 1-5% depending on the month and spending category (gas, groceries), a person would have to spend $100,000 a year to earn $1000 in rewards; assuming the 1% on all purchases. Even if the 5% could be used, and that is capped at $75 a month, spending $80,000+ a year isn't feasible for most people, esp when mortgage and most utilities cannot be charged on the card. With the 5% on gas/groceries/dining, that's spending $1500 each month in order to earn the maximum reward. We just don't spend that much. I can't imagine spending $1500 a month on restaurants/dining. (Yes, I realize there are people who do; we don't, we can't.) I'm amazed at how many people are successful juggling the credit card game. To those people I say "Great job! You are awesome." Maybe, one day, I'll look into other reward cards and be able to have an awesome reward too!
  11. Thank you for resurrecting this thread. I thought about doing so myself in January to update how our year went then I didn't do it. We began using our CC for everything except those bills which wouldn't allow it (mortgage, some utilities). We used it for everything else - medical bills, college expenses. The first few months were anxiety producing as we were concerned about accidentally carrying a balance; we never did thank goodness. However, our benefits were much less than we thought they would be. When we received the detailed year-end analysis and saw how much we actually spent on the CC, we were astounded. We also were able to see for the first time exactly where the majority of our money goes - but that's a different thread. Overall, we did not earn the $1000s we were told some people did. There wasn't enough Cash Reward money to finance a vacation. It was nice to have a bit of extra cash in January. We did learn that it is not worth it to put college tuition payments on the credit card. The school charges a percentage fee for use of a credit card; that fee is more than what the card gives back in Rewards. We thought about buying a used car with the CC but opted not to. We're just not that brave yet. We are going to use the CC again this year because we like the ability to track our expenses. We know not to expect a huge bonus at the end but it will help us do something fun next winter.
  12. Okay, now that I read this - my previous response doesn't help. If the person has to be in the office in order to satisfy the demands of the job (meeting the public), then offering flex time will be difficult. I think posting specific office hours (much like a professor does) might be beneficial. This way the public would know when to expect the person to be in the office. It could also be advertised online, via voicemail, etc.
  13. I think it depends on the industry. I fall under the salaried/exempt banner; I am paid to do a job regardless of how many hours are required to satisfy my job needs. Some weeks I work 5 8-hour days in the office. Some weeks I am in the office 2-3 hours a day and doing other essential duties 5-8 hours a day. Other weeks, I'll be in the office 1-2 days. For other weeks I work 80 on-the-road hours with multiple nights in hotels. Due to my job responsibilities the entire time I am on the road, for some trips, counts as on-duty hours. During these trips, I can put in 60 work hours in three days.. My hours in the office will be minimal the day or two following a long trip. Also, due to the nature of my position, there really aren't any true 'vacation' days; at least I haven't found out how to do it that way. I am always available for email, texting, and phone calls. I can't risk losing a contact by choosing to be unreachable. This type of life means that there are days when I pop in the office for 10-15 minutes and leave. Or I choose to work from home in my jammies with a gallon of chai sitting nearby. There are days when I am in the office and the only other person there is our Admin. Asst. Our AA is the only person in our office with a set 35 hour work week and even then she is often called upon to send emails, etc from home. As a group we contact each other via email and texting. We schedule weekly and monthly meetings where we update each other on our progress. There are days when I long for more structure and free time but then I remember I am doing my dream job. Honestly, some weeks may be exhausting but it really is fun.
  14. I wonder - how much of what we are seeing in our pets is due to domestication and selective breeding? Many dog breeds we see today are so far removed from their ancestors they have practically nothing in common. As we have bred for certain physical traits and behaviors, have we altered their inner biology? As we force domestic life on these animals and make it easier for us, their humans, to 'care' for them, are we doing what is best for them? I cannot help but think that those here at WTM are people with the time, energy, and desire to research pet food ingredient lists, which companies have nutritionists on staff, which ingredients may cause which ailments, etc. Many of us also have the financial means to feed higher quality food, have regular vet checks, and provide a higher level of care for our pets. What about those who can't? There is a market out there for the less expensive grain-filled dog foods. A large market. Shouldn't every dog, no matter how much money his owners make, be guaranteed a safe diet? One that will not cause illness? Even if the owner does make enough money for a good quality food, which one should you select? I made what I thought was a good choice and my dog is now suffering from the consequences of that decision. I think, if we look long enough and hard enough, we could find something wrong with every dog food and every manufacturer. Too much protein, too little protein, too much Vitamin D, too little Vitamin D, too many grains, not enough grains, and so on and so forth. I'm not certain there is a Best Dog Food or a Best Way of Feeding. I think we should all do what is best for us in our individual circumstances. I question myself everyday as I give my dog his liver meds. What should I have done differently? The truth is - nothing. The dog food that made my dog sick is consumed by thousands, if not millions, of dogs daily without incident. We just happened to be one of the unlucky ones.
  15. I don't have any advice but I hope your DH agrees to see another doctor and receives a helpful diagnosis. I also hope you find peace amidst the chaos.
  16. TWD - I just lost interest in it. I'm not sure why. -- I grew up near Norad. I just knew if a nuclear war started I was toast. Seeing all of the military transports and artillery was wonderful for an over active imagination. I had to walk every where as a youth (too poor to drive) and I would pretend I was a secret agent carrying mission critical information. I would avoid cars and people and find new routes home from wherever I was. Sometimes I would time myself or give myself little challenges - "If I can make it to that corner before the light turns green, I will have successfully evaded capture." I believe I saved the human race from annihilation at least a few dozen times. You can thank me later.
  17. Re: zombie apocalypse I don't think zombies would be able to run. The zombies in the first two seasons of Walking Dead (the only seasons I watched) are somewhat believable. They have locomotion and are able to ambulate. The zombies in World War Z? Nope, not having any of it. Turbo zombies? I don't think so. I used to surveille my surroundings and determine if the location was zombie safe. Could it be defended? Was significant fortification necessary? Was there adequate access to food and water? Granted, I was hanging around boy scouts between the ages of 13-18 but I found myself going through the process when they weren't around. One time I caught myself wondering how the items in DH's truck could make a Dexter Kill Kit - tape, plastic, trash bags.
  18. I tried this with my DGD after some bullying in her new elementary. There is a Queen Mean Girl in her class and the behavior is becoming unbearable for DGD. I asked her to create a Power Pose and, after she settled on one, I would say "Power Pose" and she would take her stance. After a bit, I told her to every time someone said something she didn't like to get into Power Pose. We practiced for a bit and she said she liked it because it made her feel better. We then moved on to coming up with a "Bully No-Brainer", a phrase she could say to stop them in their tracks. We put the two together and practiced for a bit. I would say things she might hear a bully say: "I don't like your hair cut", "Your outfit is dumb", and "I don't want to be your friend." She would strike her Power Pose and rip off her Bully No-Brainer. She even started coming up with little witticisms on her own that were pretty good. I'm curious to learn if she was able to use these tactics and, if so, how well they worked for her. I hate the idea that she is being picked on at age 7 and want to give her as many tools as possible to defuse a situation and to feel empowered.
  19. Update (mostly for my mental health): my dog had his 5 week follow up appt and blood work yesterday. During this past 5 weeks we went back to his original dog food, he had his teeth cleaned and 4 teeth removed, and he was on medication to promote liver function. We had him groomed to help remove the excessive undercoat and to determine if there were underlying skin ailments. No skin conditions were found and he looks beautiful. Unfortunately, the lab results indicate decreased liver function. His panels went from 140 to 183 (10-120 are normal). It appears his liver is failing. At least we know that the original numbers were not due to the teeth or any underlying issue. Since we have eliminated all other possibilities, the vet believes it was the dog food and the amount of protein he was ingesting. He will remain on the liver medication and we'll go back in 7 weeks for follow up blood work. The vet said he could maintain like this for months or pass quickly since the numbers went up so much despite the medication. Loving an aging pet is difficult. I have to lift him into the truck since he can no longer jump up and he fell down the stairs the other day. We have wooden floors and I know it was painful for him. Last night, when I was experiencing insomnia, he stayed by my side. I have that back of throat pain associated with sadness. I am thankful for his companionship for DS, DGD, and me.
  20. As someone involved in the college recruiting process, I can say, that expenses can be a direct result of having to focus on the physical plant. How a college presents to potential students is a big deal. Dorms, classrooms, labs - all must be up-to-date. Fieldhouses, athletic facilities, art building - all must have something to set them apart from every other school. When I began recruiting, I was naive and believed that a school offering a top notch education, small classes, caring professors, etc. would be what sold the school. I was unprepared for the rejections based on the age of the dorms or the fieldhouse or the lack of assigned parking. I recently had a recruit select another school (with fewer academic options and a lower national ranking) and choosing to pay $5000 more a year OOP because "I liked the pool and the dorms were nicer. Since I'm gong to spend most of my time in my room, I thought it was important to really like where I'm going to live." Schools have to upgrade constantly in order to draw in qualified students. Those upgrades have to be paid for somehow; either through ongoing capital campaigns or increases in tuition and fees. I have noted (and was in a discussion this weekend about this topic) that schools who receive large donations through capital campaigns or by wealthy alumni seem to have an easier time managing tuition and recruiting new students.
  21. I hear you, Jrap. I went to high school in the late 80's and my college application process was nothing like what I see now. Most of the students in my class applied to 2-3 schools after Christmas. The push to submit an application before then was unheard of; unless you wanted to attend a military academy or were an elite athlete. There was really no difference in timing of applications between the Honors students and the regular students. We all began eagerly anticipating those envelopes beginning in late February and going through into early April. There were a couple of students who bought study guides for the SAT and ACT but I can't recall anyone taking a class to increase the score. Most of the students in my friend group didn't talk about test scores. We all signed up together for the test dates offered at our school and did our best. When a couple of students in the group were NMF, we applauded them and moved on. We did think about how to make our college applications look as good as possible by being active students. We joined a couple of school clubs and organizations and did our best at those. There were a few guys who were counting on Eagle Scout to help with applications and a couple who were into ROTC but those were exceptions and certainly not the rule. It could be that, as a first gen college applicant, I was missing the behind the scenes information and was completely unaware of what individual families were doing but I do know that test prep and college application stress wasn't a main topic of discussion.
  22. That is interesting. My DS's awards were all over the place. His merit aid awards varied by $22,000 (from the top award to the bottom award for comparable schools; top ranked LACs). Then, when his in state public awards were compared, he received anything from a Full ride to half tuition. We couldn't figure out a rhyme or reason to how the schools were reaching their conclusions and deciding on awards.
  23. I live in IL and my DS applied to U of I-UC, Even with the maximum scholarships, we couldn't afford it. There have been articles published about why students are leaving the state to attend schools elsewhere. The majority of the reasons given were due to cost/lack of financial aid. Here's a link to an article from 2012. -- The school into which I initially matriculated is now over $64,000 a year. When I entered in the late 80's, it was just over $20,000. The school I graduated from is up from $24,000 in the early 90's to $71,000 this year. This LAC has become a need based school and no longer offers typical merit aid. Both schools have upgraded facilities to be so much more than what was there when I attended. It's astounding.
  24. For me - I received merit and need based aid. I graduated with $10,000 in loans. DH and paid those back within a year. For DD and DS - we have paid as much as we can as they went/go along. It's meant sacrificing retirement savings, home repairs have gone unattended, we drive older cars (2001, 2008 with 150,000+ miles). DD earned some merit scholarships, lived at home, and commuted to school. She also worked PT to help pay expenses. She has a small amount of loans. DS is 1000 miles away so living at home isn't an option. He earned a full tuition scholarship. We also qualified for some need based aid from his school. We are attempting to cash flow the rest (room and board, books, etc). It is not easy and is quite stressful. We let DS take my car to school this year as our jobs wouldn't allow for taking time off during the days he needed to travel. As a result, DH and I have been sharing one car - not an easy feat with this crazy cold winter and two FT jobs. As soon as DS graduates, we have a list of home repairs we need to complete. After that, it will be a car for me. I would also like to help DD pay off her loans.
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