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September, 2012:

One Year

What a difference a year makes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Off On A Technicality

Long long ago in a land far far away, there was a girl – a girl who loved camping. This girl threw out the family’s leaky tent with the blessing of her Husband. The girl then made a reservation for camping :-) The girl was sneaky!

The Husband agreed with the girl that the family should get a popup camper. The Husband and the girl both liked camping in tents, but wanted something with a little more form to it for camping with the bears. A popup was the perfect compromise.

The family got a popup camper. The girl was ecstatic! The girl said thank you thank you thank you it’s just what I wanted!

The Husband said “Yes. Just what you wanted until you want to upgrade again to a hard sided camper.”

The girl said, in front of actual witnesses, that “I will NEVER want a hard sided camper!”

8 days ago, approximately 5 years after said quote about hard sided camper above, the girl and the Husband purchased a different camper.

I think my camping karma is still OK since it’s got tent fold down beds :-) A technicality?

Maybe.

Occupational Hazard

Wanna know something that’s really annoying to technical writers/editors? (besides Chinese food menus – actually, those aren’t annoying – they’re just amusing)

Bad forms.

When I have to fill out a form either on paper or online for school, Scouts, sports – anything – there is nothing more annoying than a bad form.

A form that was clearly created by someone with the last name of Smith who lives in Ead. Not someone with the last name Boedigheimer who lives in Colorado Springs.

A form that was clearly created by someone who doesn’t know the difference between a radio button and a check box.

A form that was clearly created by someone who doesn’t know the difference between multiple continuous returns and paragraph spacing.

A form that was clearly created by someone who doesn’t know the difference between pressing Tab 5 times and setting a left margin.

My new money-making scheme? I’m going to contact all these people who send me a stupid form and offer my services. For $XXX I will create an awesome usable understandable form for you that will make you look like an actual professional¬†running an actual company rather than look like a Tweener typing stuff in his basement.

It’s Not His Fault . . .

. . . that phones are a part of today’s society.

That’s what a wise man said to me and Hubby when we asked him what age he thought was appropriate for a kid to get his own cell phone.

He continued by saying …

“And you don’t want to do anything that will single the kid out. But at the same time, kids need to be able to prove that they are mature enough to understand the responsibility that goes along with having a phone. And they need to understand how much trouble a phone can get them into. They need to prove that they are mature enough to handle all of that responsibility. And also be able to pay for that responsibility.”

And he went on and on and mentioned something about USAA having a contract that parents make their kids sign before they can drive.

Hubby and I just laughed and shook our heads the entire time.

Dude just sat there and rolled his eyes.

Because just days earlier, we had gotten him his own smart phone. And we’d made him sign a contract. A contract that, among other things,:

… started out with him acknowledging how awesome and wonderful his parents were for letting him get a phone and for it being a smart phone to boot ūüėČ
… stated that if he EVER texted something disrespectful to ANYONE, his phone would be immediately taken away.
… started the conversation about thinking long and hard about who he gives his number to because even though he may not make an inappropriate call or send an inappropriate text, others can send them to him and they’re still on HIS phone.
… stated that the minute he walks in the house, his phone is on the counter.
… said he would pay his parents $20 on the first of each month for the use of his phone and that if he missed a payment, his phone would be taken away.

That last one is the only one that gave him pause ūüėČ

There was more – quite a bit more. And it’s not that we actually wanted him to sign the contract, but we wanted him to read everything that we expected of him with regards to his phone. It opened up the door for the conversations we had to have regarding the responsibility that goes along with having a phone.

Why did we ultimately decide to get him a phone? Because we trust him. And for me, I’d always said that when the time came where I was dropping him off places and wanted to make sure he had some way to contact me or vice versa, I would get him a phone.

That time came.

When I bought his phone, I cried when I walked out the door of the store. I didn’t cry because he got a phone. I cried because he’s old enough that I am dropping him off places instead of staying with him, or at least staying in the same venue as he is with his friends, which means he’s growing up.

He’s texting friends on the weekends. And some of those friends are girls.

Yikes!

There Are Some Things You Shouldn’t Tell Your Mother

So Dude comes home from school late last week and says “Well, Mom. I learned a couple things today. One, I learned how dangerous football and rugby could be. One of the 8th graders fractured his neck and got a concussion at the football game yesterday. He was running with the ball with his head down and the other guy hit him and squished him. The second thing I learned is that you shouldn’t run with your head down.”

He starts Rugby today.

I told him there are some things you shouldn’t tell your mother, or she just might wrap you up in bubble wrap before she lets you out of the house.

How About An Email?

So I’ve been silently fighting with the IRS since April. We (me and our accountant) made a mistake on our business taxes when¬†we filed them. Nothing huge, but around the first of May, I got a love letter from the IRS saying I messed up and that I owed them something like $1800 additional. I immediately called my awesome wonderful accountant and said what? Help! What is this? Why? Do I really need to pay this?

He said no, the IRS messed up.

So I told the IRS I own’t pay, you messed up.

They didn’t like that.

Then accountant and I looked closer and we did indeed mess up. We double-counted something or other blah blah blah. So he immediately sent an ammended return.

All was well.

Until I got another love letter.

Then we figured out our other mistake, fixed it, and sent another ammended return.

All was well, really.

Then I got a love letter that said I owed something like $17.49 due to the interest they lost when I payed late.

So I sent them a check, just to get it over with.

A couple days later, I got a love letter saying they owed ME something like $16.49 due to interest I earned from an overpayment.

The IRS was fighting with itself.

The letters kept coming and going and I kept paying and getting refund checks (well, not really – they haven’t come yet, but they should in 8-12 weeks, even though my payments are expected to arrive to them in 8-10 days or I face late fees.).

Then last week, I got a love letter in the mail. It was 4 pages long, front and back. It explained that I owed 17 cents. YES, 17 cents. They even included an envelope with a fancy little window and return address and a payment stub on a half printed sheet of paper that I could cut off to mail with my 17 cents.

THEN, another page said “Payment Due – NONE” because if you owe less than $1, you don’t have to pay it.

Here’s what I think . . . instead of wasting the paper, the ink, and the very cool return address envelope that I don’t need and paying someone to stuff said envelope, how about you just not send me anything? It’s 17 cents. I’d have to use pennies, which the government thinks are useless anyway. Nobody has to pay or receive anything.

Our tax dollars at work.

THEN, a couple days later, I get a letter in the mail. The same 4-page letter as above, but this time saying I overpaid and they owe me $18.14. The check should arrive in 8-12 weeks. In GIANT letters on the very first page are the words REFUND AMOUNT OWED. Yet, along with the 4 pages of double-sided paper printed, they also sent a fancy little window envelope and a half sheet printed piece of paper that is my payment stub. A payment stub for a REFUND I’m receiveing.

REALLY? How about you send me an email that says I’ve got a refund coming and save the paper, the ink, and the stuffer. And, how about if someone is receiving a refund, you don’t send them a payment stub and a return envelope.

Ahhhhhhh – all that paperwork, labor, and supplies wasted when considering that I owed them $17.49 and they owed me $18.14, we were pretty much even anyway.

Our tax dollars at work.

So Long Spy

Last Friday, our beloved Spy went to the giant hamster wheel in the sky. She was almost 2, which in hamster years is like 87. Last Wednesday, we were playing with her in her cage and noticed she was having trouble moving around. Her left hip was HUGE! She was still happy and eating and all that jazz, so we just played with her and left her alone to see what would happen.

On Thursday, we noticed it wasn’t any better. Princess stayed home from school because she wasn’t feeling well. She put Spy in her ball and she ran around all happy, but her hip was even bigger. So Princess and I got online and started reading about hamsters with sudden giant hips. It didn’t look good – apparently small animals are prone to tumors when they get “old.”

So Friday, I took her to PetSmart to the vet area because they do small animals. Why did I take a $15 hamster to the vet rather than just “taking care” of her? Because¬†I couldn’t lie to Princess and say I did if I didn’t.¬†I figured I wouldn’t be bringing her home. The vet confirmed that yes, it was a tumor and because it had grown so quickly, it was probably malignant. She said they could do surgery to remove it . . . um what?! I love her to death, but she’s a HAMSTER! Besides, I just spent $3000 repairing my dog’s ACL!

She said she had to give me the option – which was $247 and I would end up with a 3-legged hamster (they’d have to lop her whole leg off) that would most likely get another tumor within a month.

Um. No.

She then proceeded to tell me that I could take her home and as long as she was happy and eating and drinking she’d be fine. If she stopped eating and drinking, we could bring her back and she’d euthenize Spy. Most likely, we’d probably wake up one day and she’d just be dead in her cage.

I asked how many days that would be, and she said 2-10.

Um. No.

Then I asked if we could just take care of it right then. She said of course.

So I said goodbye, and yes even cried about a hamster, and went on my way.

I was SOOOOOO dreading telling Princess. I thought she’d be really sad. She had read everything with me on Thursday and knew everything I did about Spy’s current condition. But when she got home from school and found out Spy was gone¬†– nothing. A simple pause and then “Can we get another one?”

Um. No.

Payment

Dude and I were driving home the other day, and we drove past the Mining Museum by our house. Every year they have the Haunted Mines that all the kids flock to! It’s awesome and way scary and totally worth the admission fee and wait.

Dude saw the sign for “Haunted Mine Auditions” and started talking about how he couldn’t wait to be 16 so he could audition and work at the Haunted Mines. I said I thought that would be a good idea and a good way to make some money.

He said “Oh, you don’t get paid. You just volunteer.”

I said “I didn’t know that. That’s a lot of time to put in to not get paid.”

He said “Seriously?! Mom. Just being there scaring all those kids half to death is totally enough payment!!!”

Boys…. I sure hope he feels the same way when he’s trying to earn gas money 2 months after his 16th birthday!