Thursday, January 28, 2010

Best Advice I Ever Got From My Dad (Writer’s Workshop)

The best advice I ever got from my dad was to “Always pay off your credit cards every month. Don’t spend more than what you can pay off each month and save as much as you can.”

I am glad I listened to my dad and had enough wisdom to follow this advice on this! The only time I spent more than I had and borrowed money to do it was when Gerard and I bought a house after we were married. Even then though, it really bothered me that I had a house payment every month and we paid more than necessary each month to get it paid off faster. Gerard still had car payments when we got married, but once that car was finally all paid for, we never had a car payment since.

It is very tempting to blow money on things we don’t really need but it is not a wise thing to do. It’s always good to be prepared for unexpected expenses such as repairs, home improvements, medical bills and costly prescriptions. For years I have arranged for my bank to automatically transfer a certain amount from our checking account to our savings account each month. This way, money gets into savings each month.

When my dad retired, he did not work part-time as some people do. He lived on his Social Security check, a pension and his savings which served him well. However, the last few years of his life he was worried his money may run out before he died because he was spending more than he was getting in. It was during these years that he told me to “save as much as you can.” What I found funny was how he would still buy extra stuff. He always wanted plenty of tools and supplies on hand: scissors in every room, a thermometer in every room, an electric heater for every room, piles of post-its and flashlights all over his house too. It looked like a store!

What do you think of this advice? What good advice have your received?

This post was inspired by a prompt from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop where you can find more.

To find out more about my book and why I wrote it, read the Foreword here.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

10 Things To Stave Off Boredom (Writer's Workshop)

Even though Harry was retired and home most of the time, he always told me he was never bored whenever I would mention it. I guess because when he reached old age (70s, 80s) it took him longer to do things so it seemed he was always busy with a lot to do. Here is a list of ten things he used to do that kept him from being bored:

10. Eat. (It was always quite a production for him.)

9. Write a letter or make a phone call. (Phone calls always were time consuming because he was hard of hearing and letters would take forever because he had arthritis in his fingers and sometimes a lack of feeling so he wrote very slowly. Once he wrote to President Bush with a suggestion for solving the high cost of fuel.)

8. Read the newspaper. (This often took him an hour or two because he'd fall asleep while doing it.)

7. Go shopping to stock up on things you might need some day--walk instead of drive. (This could take up an entire morning or afternoon.)

6. Cut the grass. (Again, he walked very slowly so it took him long to do. He usually only did half the backyard at a time.)

5. Pay some bills. (This took long because again with the writing but also had to find them first! Sometimes he wouldn't get to his mail every day and it would pile up. He always managed to date the envelope though with the date he received it.)

4. Index those magazines and file them away. (He had piles of magazines sitting around his dining room and living room because he had to get them indexed before he could file them or toss them out. He had shelves filled with Consumer Reports and could quickly go to the one he needed because he had them all indexed.)

3. Make some scratch paper. (He always saved his junk mail and then cut it up and used the back for scratch pads by clipping the separate sheets together with a big binder clip.) See post about this and picture: Even Junk Mail Has A Purpose

2. Feed the stray cats and clean the litter boxes for your indoor cats. (Every day he put out food and water for the stray cats in the neighborhood. His porch was a real mess though because not only did the cats eat the food, but so did the birds and they pooped all over the place! In the winter, this really took long because he bundled up in is snow suit first to keep warm--this took him at least 15 minutes to get in and out of.)

1. Fix something or make something. (This was his favorite thing to do, but often ran out of time.)

Are you ever bored? How do you fight off boredom?

This is in response to the prompt: "Write A List Of 10 Things To Stave Off Boredom" from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

To find out more about my book and why I wrote it, read the Foreword here.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Never Get That Kind Again!

If “chewable” means “suckable,” then that’s what they should say! After dad couldn’t drive anymore because the doctor told him he shouldn’t, I used to take care of his shopping for him. One of the vitamin pills he took was Centrum. When I went to get him more, I saw there was a “chewable” Centrum Silver for people over 50 so got that thinking it would be better for him since he was in his 80s. He said okay, he’d try it.
The next day he told me “NEVER, get that kind again! I asked him why not and this is the story he told me:

“Those things are hard as ROCKS! I was afraid I’d break my tooth on it.” (shaking his head back and forth) I tried grinding it first with my pill crusher and was afraid it would break my pill crusher! I finally used a pair of pliers to break off little bits and it took me two hours to get it broken up enough for me to even eat it!“

I said, “Maybe they were old. I’ll return it for you.”

When I asked the druggist about it, he told me they weren’t meant to be crushed. You are supposed to suck on them and they dissolve in your mouth. I decided to try one to see if it worked and found out it did and even tasted good! With that discovery, I took them back to dad the next day.

He was skeptical and I spent about 20 minutes convincing him to just try it. He said, “They shouldn’t call them ‘chewable’ if you can’t chew them!”

I think he had a point. What do you think? Got any complaints you would like to share?

This is a partial excerpt from “My Funny Dad, Harry” as part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop prompt to write about your latest complaint.

To find out more about my book and why I wrote it, read the Foreword here.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

You Want Me To Read About SNAKES? (Writer's Workshop)

I had many books as a kid and enjoyed seeing them again when clearing out my dad’s house after he died. My mom enrolled me in a Children’s book club because she wanted me to like reading and encouraged me to enjoy books. I had a green bookcase, built by dad of course, filled with books but when asked what I would like read I would choose the snake section in The Book of Knowledge. I liked snakes back then but more than that I loved seeing my parents cringe when I’d ask them to read about the different snakes. Although it wasn’t really a children’s book, it certainly was the one my parents hated reading to me the most!

Even today I find snakes fascinating to watch at the zoo when they’re on the go. This is a picture of a Python that I took while curled up on top of a fake elephant's head. I wouldn’t want one in my house though.

Is there something your child likes that makes you cringe? What book do you remember your parents reading to you?

This post is part of Mama Kat’s Workshop: What Children’s book do you hate reading to your child? Go check out more posts there or participate yourself.

To find out more about my book and why I wrote it, read the Foreword here.
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"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.