Friday

Save money & conserve your natural resources




Save for the Future

Now I’m not exactly sure when or what prompted this behavior to start in our life. Since my wife and I joined in the togetherness adventure to Love, honor and be faithful to, have and still do maintain thru hard work and diligence have managed to not have to worry about making ends meet. Retiring did require some rethinking about our life style but that didn’t hardly cause a ripple in the way we have always enjoyed living together. I guess we started to realize that surviving as a human race is a joint venture and all of us should play our part by conserving our natural resources rather then being wasteful by not doing our part.

We Moved to a Warmer Climate

Today like most of the country were experiencing the effects of winter. We used to live in Michigan where the winters were more harsh. Now were enjoying the fair State of North Carolina. Where Hi is Hey and Pop is Soda. Some of my friends in the north say they couldn’t stand the heat in the summer if they lived here. I on the other hand couldn’t continue to tolerate the cold in the winter in their part of the country. I would rather be warm then cold.

We Use the Value of the Sun

Our home is well insulated and has storm doors and windows. The suns natural path is to rise in the back of the house and when its not cloudy we open the widow coverings and let the sun shine into the house and when it stops shining in the back we close the window coverings and repeat the process in the front of the house. Since doing this routine and reversing the routine in the summer time when it’s hot and other tiny adjustments we’ve lowered our electric bill by eleven percent. Our heating and cooling is created by using a heat pump system. I guess in the scheme of things it doesn’t seem like much, but it makes us feel were doing a small part in trying to do our part and conserve.

We Practice Water Conservation

I forgot to mention in conjunction with the window covering routine we also have made changes in the way we consume the hot water and cold water in our house. For example; when were soaping up in the shower and general hand washing we turn off the hot water till were ready for it to rinse off. And hand washing is generally done with cold water. We also understand by using the dishing washing heat switch that saves a little energy too rather then having the hot water run till it gets hot enough before starting the dishwashing cycle to begin.
When you start paying attention to your water consumption and how you use it, its amazing how little changes in usage can make a big difference over the long haul.

Showers are Quicker

I used to stand in the shower for the longest time and just let the water run over me. Now I’m get down to the business of washing right away and when done, I forgo the old routine and exit quickly and strangely enough feel just as ok with the shorter shower process as I did with the longer routine.

We Use Less at the Meter

I’m sure as ideas come to our attention we will continue to make changes where we can to continue being better caretakers of our naturally resources. We in our home realize the precious value of each unit of things we consume and try to act accordingly. Were all wasting our natural resources and don’t realize that a small change on our part can make a big change at the meter.


Don L. Terrill

photo by Anosmia

Wednesday

Free Live in Healthcare; offer ownership in your home to someone to care for you, till your last moment




Wanted to Go Home

While supervising a high-rise rental facility I had the pleasure to meet many well-informed and compassionate people. One such lady was the daughter of one of my tenants. Our first meeting was when she stopped in the office to pay her Mothers rent and introduced herself in the process. It was friendship at first sight. On this visit she stayed thru the winter months helping her Mother settle into a new life style that was being forced upon her by physical issues that were happening in her life. Her Mother was now confined to either the wheel chair or the bed and both of these choices didn’t agree with her, but she put the best face on it she could. She still wanted to be independent and had every intention in her mind to return to the way she used to be. Driving wherever she wanted to go and taking care of herself. So she kept her car as a goal to return to, when the time was right. But sadly that wasn’t going to be in her future. Every time I saw her she appeared more frail then the time before.

Her Mother still retained ownership of her family home and rented it out only to keep the bills paid and upkeep done till she could return home and resume her normal life again.

Offered Home for Care

Before this winter was over her Mother was one hundred percent bed ridden. During that period of time her daughter stopped in the office and indicated her Mother was dying and wanted to go home and spend her remaining time with the memories of her loving husband and children. She said her Mother offered the family home to her if she would care for her till she passed away. She the daughter with tears in her eyes told me she had her own family in California and they were pleading with her to return home and bring Grandma with her to stay with them. She said her Mother smiled because they wanted her but insisted on spending her last days in the only home she has ever known. When she and her husband married they moved in with her parents and then eventually gained ownership of the house.

Partnership with Care Giver

My new friend gave her Mother the last wish she wanted and arranged for someone to live with her in the family home. The lady that agreed to care for her Mother was well known to me and was a wonderful person for the job. This caregiver had the patience of Jobe and the soul of a person dedicated to God. The daughter wanted her Mother to experience the best and because of that offered the caregiver a deal she couldn’t refuse. For everyday that she cared for her Mother she received a certain percentage of ownership of the family home. She was required to live in five days a week and then got two days off to return to her apartment. A temporary caring service provided someone on the weekends.

She Got to Go Home

This arrangement lasted six months and ended one day when she was found dormant in bed with a picture of her husband laying at her side. He daughter returned to handle the final arrangements and we had an opportunity to talk, hug and say good by to her Mother.

I have come to the conclusion that creative compromise is the greatest approach to leaving this earth.

Don L. Terrill

photo by KaCey97007

Tuesday

Save Money by learning & do things yourself




We Don't Farm Out as Much

Years ago unless we had the skill we farmed out many tasks around the house. Especially plumbing and electrical. Now days unless you have more money then you need, you do it yourself. And I think there are two reasons for this phenomenon. One there’s easy access to information on the subject matter. Like television for example we have cable and there are numerous channels at any give time talking about and showing in great detail how to fix all faucets of our society. Secondly I think people are taking pride in their accomplishments in doing things that don’t fall in the area of their profession. Like my family doctor at my last visit he told me he just constructed a wood patio on the back of his house. Me being a nosey person said why didn’t you farm it out? His response was, I just wanted to see if I could do it? And he did because he showed me a picture of it. I think at that moment he was more proud of doing that then being a doctor. That’s kind of cool when you think about it.

Our Family Works together

I used to be and slightly still are a person who when asked, will generally shy away from doing plumbing things. Recently I made an exception to that rule. Not too many months ago my lovely wife and I decided we were going to help refurbish her Mothers bathroom as a Christmas Present. She lives in a duplex that used to be army housing during WW2. These units had cement floors and exterior walls made of cement block and the blocks were filled with a strange mixture of cement and etc. I on a couple of occasions during the renovation had to drill into the wall and the stuff in the block cores was more difficult to drill thru then the block was. It was kind of a mixed color that mostly resembled black. No one that I met living there knew what this mixture was, but they also talked about how hard it was when they had to deal with it.

Nothing Was Square

This job was made especially difficult and frustrating for me because nothing was square or level; which in laymen’s terms means nothing you do is going to look right or fit properly.

Repaired the Stool

Are first order of business was to fix the stool which slightly dripped water from the lower area of the water tank. Someone had at some point repaired it and didn’t do it correctly and used putty to make it not leak. Over the years the putty decayed, like (one of my teeth recently) and wha la a tiny hairline leak was formed. We the doers were temporarily challenged, but with assistance from Lowe’s and a tiny sip of the grape all was corrected properly.

Replaced the Floor Tile

Next we chose to tackle replacing the tile on the floor; that’s when we really observed how crooked and wavey all the walls were. Since we couldn’t and wouldn’t fix the walls we did the next best thing we could. After installing the tile on the floor we glued a rubber type molding on the wall that overlapped on the floor one half of an inch. This nicely hid the irregular tile cut on the floor. It was nowhere perfect but it was in the ballpark and that was ok with us.

Caulked

Then we replaced the vanity and experienced a challenge connecting to the drainpipe in the wall. Luckily we found a pipe adaptor that connected to the new plastic pipe and then made it possible to connect to the metal pipe in the wall. We then caulked where perfection wasn't achieved and then cleaned up our mess and finger prints on the new mirror cabinet. I’m glad to report that no leak developed and her Mother at least in our presence was over whelmed with her new slightly used bathroom.

What my wife and I did was made in part possible by the helpful information we viewed on this Old House and programs like that.

Learn and Then Use

So may I boldly suggest you consider learning something, then use that knowledge to fix something yourself and then save a few coins in the process. The goodness you feel when your done will be your reward.


Don L. Terrill

photo by skidrd

Money Rules, get better mileage




We Just Start & Drive

Most of us hardly ever give a second thought to the needs of our vehicle. We jump in, turn on the ignition and if the car moves then that’s all the thought we give to it; that’s till the gas gauge says I’m hungry. Then begrudgingly we fill the tank and moan about the price of gas. Of course we do the same thing with ourselves three times a day and give little thought to that process because we feel were worth it. Imagine what your car would think of you and the way you treat it. When’s the last time you changed the oil and filter on your car and had all its lube receptors injected with the yummy stuff called grease?

Car Doctor

I’m sure you make regular visits to your family doctor; when's the last time you made an appointment to have your traveling friend visit his doctor? If your like most of us that only happens when a wheel goes flat on one side or the S.O.B won't start and your already on notice that if your late again your favorite pencil sharpener is going to be extracted from your desk and given to the new guy; that fancies replacing your fat behind with his, because being late upsets the guy that signs your paycheck.

Schedule Maintenance

I don’t think we give our vehicles the proper credit and value they should receive. Just imagine how difficult it would be for you to do the things you do if your traveling companion wasn’t there to move you from place to place. Maybe its time we say thank you to our trusted traveling vehicles and give them the attention that they rarely receive during their tenure as your chauffeur. Get that calendar out which contains all those selfish deeds that you cant avoid because you deserve them for all for the sweat that has crossed your brow. Now talk to a car expert or view the maintenance book that came with your car. Determine your cars maintenance needs and schedule them on the calendar.

Find a Good Car Care Facility

Maybe if your lucky like me you have a family member who works in a car maintenance facility and have them help you or give you a call when maintenance is required on your vehicle. I’m lucky one of my stepsons works for an upscale car care facility and nudges his Mother or me and nags us till we do the thing he suggests we do, to keep the car running properly like it should. Thru his guidance were getting the best gas mileage our car will provide for us. Just recently he suggested we replace the two from tires because of lack of tread and put proper air pressure in all four which will give us better gas mileage.

Vehicles like people require certain considerations and products to keep working to maintain a good level of production.

Only Added Oil Never Changed it

A good friend of my brought a new van a couple of years ago and never replaced the oil in it. He would check the dipstick and add oil when he needed it. He felt that’s all he needed to do and wasn’t going to waste his hard earned money to just fill the pockets of those working in the car maintenance business. At some point the van started making funny sounds and he took it to the car dealer where he purchased it and the first thing the dealer did was check the dip stick and observed the dark water like oil on the measuring stick. They drained the oil and there first thought was that water was somehow gaining access to the oil system in the motor. But then after closer inspection and talking to the owner they discovered he the owner never changed the oil or had the van per his service agreement taken care of via a described plan he agreed to. Then if something would happen they the car dealer would have taken care of it. Since he didn’t follow the service agreement plan he had to bare the whole burden of paying to have his van fixed. According to is wife who was ready to divorce him said that the motor overhaul cost them thousands of dollars.

Some Lessions in life are learned the hard way and this was one of them.

Keeping your car well cared for via your owners manual and having regular predetermined maintenance requirement checks will get you the best mileage and least amount of costs to maintain the car. Then if you’re lucky you might be able to enjoy one of the benefits of life. Like fly fishing in you new boat or a newly remodeled kitchen depending on who’s next in line for a newbie thing?


Don L. Terrill

photo by Brave New Films

Sunday

Save Money/Join Cosco's as a member




Joined Sam's Club

Have you every noticed how life takes you under its wing and makes good things happen for you? Recently we were members of a wholesale house called Sams and we enjoyed saving money buying things we needed from them. They offered four types of membership we chose the cheapest one, it was called the Advantage Membership and cost forty bucks. We quickly saved enough to justify the membership card and then it was clear sailing from there. My wife and I enjoy saving money, isn’t it great to live in American and enjoy all that life can create?

Switched to Cosco, Membership Free

Then just before it was time for us to renew our membership Cosco’s another wholesale member organization moved in our community and thru a promotion offering, we acquired a membership for nothing. The only thing we had to do was apply and receive a membership in the American Express Card. The card was offered to us at a no annual fee. So we became members of Casco’s, oh and did I mention they offered cheaper gas, which Sams didn’t offer at that time. Also they were closer to our home and were located with an easier entrance and exit configuration. Were currently getting better savings from Cosco’s then we did from Sams. Also my prescriptions are a little cheaper and their pharmacy has a faster processing system. Cosco’s is a win win for us. Oh and I forgot to mention that they have a small snack area where the food is good tasting and doesn’t cost an arm and leg. Just a couple days ago I enjoyed a polish sausage with the works and the wife chose a slice of pizza. The food tasted great and the food area was clean and nicely organized.

I Love Competition

I realize the store is brand new and that creates an environment that makes me feel good. Also having more competition in the area helps keep our benefits as a member even better. Between Baby Showers and other family events were keeping many of our costs to a minimum. Just recently the wife has purchased on numerous occasions large tray arrangements of foodstuffs for snacking while the main course is being prepared.

Don't Like Waiting in Line

I realize the newness will eventually wear off and services may change in the future as their membership increases. They also don’t force you to stand in long lines to pay your bill and then do the same before you can leave the building. Standing in line to pay for something has always griped me. It has always seemed to me that getting your money should be a high priority for businesses. After all it’s the one thing they want to do and that is to fill their coffers with your money. So why don’t they make the process faster and that would also make the customer smile more. Have you ever noticed how the vast majority of people waiting in line to pay for something aren’t smiling much if at all?

Collect Money Quickly

I remember working at my parents amusement park and how important it’s was to collect money from riders and get them swiftly placed on the rides so their experience would be a good thing for them.

So know matter where you buy make sure your getting the best deal in town and remember a dollar saved is a dollar earned.


Don L. Terrill

photo by greggoconnell

Saturday

Rent Cheap/ Have someone move in with you




Rent Out Your Extra Bedroom

I bet if you gave it a little thought, you probably know someone that’s experiencing the same circumstance that you are. Costs of things are rising faster then your income is increasing. And maybe right now your one person living with two bedrooms and the second bedroom is just gathering dust. Just imagine this, rent the other bedroom to someone and cut your housing expenses in half. How would that work out for you? If I could cut my housing costs by fifty percent I would be more then just a happy camper. But I’m happily married and wish to remain that way, so this option isn’t open to me.

College Kids Do It

College kids make these kinds of arrangements all the time. Just up the corner from our home four soon to be doctors, layers, etc. are renting a house. This house is owned by one of the parents and they allow their son to live there while going to college. The son pays the rent by allowing some of his classmates to rent space from him. The house has three bedrooms and a full garage which has been converted to a make shift bedroom. The person with the lowest seniority living there is forced to take the garage bedroom. If someone moves out, the garage person moves into the house and the new renter takes his place. The owner’s son advertises for a new renter by word of mouth. According to his Father theres always seems to be a handful of students standing in the wings to join the group.

Saved Money by Burning the Trees

Not too long ago the owners of the house had numerous trees cut down in the back of the house. The tree cutting service sawed the trees in what they called bite size pieces and then the current tenants one weekend had a huge fire, which was started by a large pile of leaves and then the tree parts were added. The fire probably extended forty feet in the air and any normal person would have feared that everything in the neighborhood would go up in smoke. The boys started the fire and then just left it for Mother Nature to take care of. The fire started just as the sun was setting and it truly was a marvelous and intimidating sight to see. I still wonder why no one called the fire dept? I guess they assumed the boys were inside the wood fence that surrounded the back yard and they were monitoring the fires progress. Not so according to the owners who came to see their son the following day and viewed the still red-hot ashes in the back yard. A reliable source told me that the parents told their son that if he didn’t shape up they would insist he live on campus, which know good beer consuming college student could tolerate.

Choose Your Rentor Wisely

I’m in no way suggesting you rent to a college student unless he’s sworn to celibacy and doesn’t drink. Even then I would be hard pressed to rent to the college minded person.

So if your sitting on an empty bedroom put it to good use and find a suitable person to help you make ends meet. There are people all over the place looking for ways to cut their expenses and find a companion in the process. Maybe that could be you?


Don L. Terrill

photo by emdot

Wednesday

Prescription Samples don't be shy about asking for them




Ask for Free Samples

Your doctors whether you realize it or not are given free samples on a regular basis. And the prescription people are doing this to promote the sale of their products. Your doctor can give these samples to anyone he pleases that generally includes new users, so the new bee user can try them and see if they work for them. And they also share them with the regular patients that are already taking them.

Complain But Do it Nicely

Now here’s how I look at this freebee sample stuff. Alls fair in love and war. Think of all the times you go to your doctor and then you will sit there till the cows to come home to get to see him. Or lets look at it another way, when’s the last time you remember getting to see your doctor on the time reserved for you? If you’re like me, never would be your answer. My previous doctor made me wait two hours to see him and that’s why he’s my last doctor. Now don’t get me wrong I understand that doctors confront situations that compel them to spend more time with a client then they normally would. I know this because I was one of those people just recently and because of that I’m ok with a max waiting time of one hour, then I complain nicely of course.

So this Waiting Madness is my justification for asking for Free Samples from either the doctor or nurses on his staff.

Here another excuse or reason why asking is ok from my point of view. Now I have three family members who are involved with doctors. They all tell me that doctors like the airlines over book to compensate for those patients that forget their appointment or just don’t show up because they decided not to. Now when everyone shows up in the airline business that will generally cause the plane to be over booked then the airlines solves the problem by offering specials for those who will agree to take a later flight. Doctors like the airlines need to in some fashion compensate patients when they have to wait so dam long. Just think of the mental stress this causes us all and also exposes us longer to people who are carrying the flu or etc stuff while there sitting in the same waiting room with us.

No Shame in Asking

My Father was one on the smartest and wisest people I have known and I loved him dearly. He always said there’s no shame in asking for help as long as you’re willing to help yourself. So because of that I take the posture that asking is right on and I do it all the time.

Posted on My File, Any Samples Today?

So here’s what I did; I asked my family doctor who I am extremely pleased with to do the following thing for me. I asked him to post a note on the front page of my file, which said can you spare a sample today? To my amazement he posted it on the front of my file folder. I would estimate that fifty percent of the time I receive a free bee of one of the two prescriptions I take. I don’t view this has a free bee I view it as compensation for having to wait so much longer then I should, most of the time.

So go ahead and ask, your results might surprise you.


Don L. Terrill

photo by kissthis

Monday

Save Money by watching your water useage




Way to Save Water in the Shower

Savings 1. Most people including myself use more water then we should. Recently I started paying attention to the way I use the water in our house. I discovered many ways to lower our water usage. I’m a shower using person and always leave the shower running all the time I’m in the shower. After talking to my wife I discovered she uses the shower long enough to get wet and then shuts it off while she soaps herself up. I tried that and it works for me.

Savings 2. I also noticed I wasted a lot of water while brushing my teeth and shaving in the morning. The waster me mostly lets the water run in the sink most of the time. Quite frankly I was astounded how much water I used to throw away everyday. I think I’m like one of my grandchildren he like me, likes to play in the water too much. Now I turn it off the water whenever I’m not using it.

Savings 3. My lovely wife is a great cook and unless I’m left to my own resources she cooks all the meals. I wishing to do my share try at least in part by cleaning up the stuff needed to make the meal happen. Here again while rinsing plates and etc I would constantly leave the water running. Now its on when in use and off when its not.

Savings 4. There’s an extra washing cycle on the dishwasher that I generally use because I thought it killed the germs better. My plumber neighbor told me this isn’t necessary because the germs get eliminated during the first washing cycle because of the water being the proper temperature. I stopped doing the second cycle thing.

Savings 5. When your water bill arrives and your water usage is up more then usual that’s maybe a warning sign that something has gone amuck and your paying the price for it. When we moved into our current home our first water bill was seventeen hundred and some odd dollars. My wife immediately contacted the water dept and indicated that couldn’t be right because were only two people. There first suggestion was that we monitor the meter for a few days and write down the reading roughly the same time each day. They also suggested we may have an underground leak and may need to contact a plumber for their advise on what to do. We monitored our daily usage for a few days and gave that information to them over the phone. They sent out someone and discovered that the previous meter reader had read the meter incorrectly and added a few digits. It was corrected and all was well. Its not a bad idea to read your water meter on a regular basis and then if something happens you can fix it before it gets out of hand.

Saving 6. During this last summer we left the hose in the back of the house connected to the outside faucet and part of the hose went under our back wood deck. Apparently I didn’t close the faucet properly and then a leak developed in the hose under the deck and water wastefully just leaked into the ground. We luckily discovered this when replacing some deck boards. It only raised our average bill by a small amount, had it gone undetected it would have cost us a great deal more.

Saving 7. Also bathrooms are great wasters of water. Toilet tanks when not working properly leak water and it’s not generally obvious to the user. Sometimes you can hear the water running all the time or in the summer the tanks may sweat which is a sign that the tank in running all the time. Sure it’s maybe a little leak and you don’t think it matters much. But a little leak adds up when it happens twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.

Savings 8. Also if you’re of a mind don’t flush all the time when you’re only doing a number one. That will save a great deal of water. Also make sure your toilet tank water level is as it should be and not higher, thus using more water then it should.

Be wise and keep track of your water usage and look for the warning signs, wetness in or outside your home.


Don L. Terrill

photo by JaseMan

Sunday

Seek help from your religious organizations




I Started Mowing Grass

When I was seventeen I lived in Long Beach California. I was drawn there by an acquaintance of my youth for the purpose of working in his lawn maintenance business. When we first talked he gave me the impression his business was booming and he had more help then what he could do on his own. Having no job I accepted his generous ticket, hopped the greyhound bus and spent three days getting there. When I arrived at my destination I called him and he picked me up in a four door Chrysler car. While driving to his apartment in his car, I discovered it served as the family transportation and lawn business vehicle. while driving to his home I got the entire picture which should have been explained to me before I got on the bus. There were numerous flaws and outright lies presented to me over the phone. Here basically was the phone pitch and what I observed when I arrived. I was told he would house me in his home and I would have my own bedroom; reality my bed was in the garage. I was told his wife knew of his arrangement with me and was ok with it. Reality she didn’t know the deal till he told her the day I arrived. I was told he had a booming business; reality he was barely getting by and was receiving aid from his church to make ends meet.

I Found Most of My Work Thru the Church

Needless to say I was shocked by my circumstance but played along hoping things would work out. While working for him and having nothing else to do I started going to his church to satisfy his wife and fill the time. The church members accepted me as if I was one of their own. In short time I became a member. Then like magic work popped up everywhere. At one time or another I probably worked for half the congregation doing something for them. Mostly service type work like yard work, parking cars, cleaning windows and walking their dogs. Then one church member who was a firer fighter told me of a job as a live in lawn maintenance person at a well to do person he knew. I met the gentlemen and was offered the job. The owner’s house was a mansion to me and build in the form of a Mexican home like I had seen in the movies. It was a two-story structure and I had my own apartment up stairs. The job paid fifty dollars a week, free rent and his wife would allow me to make a grocery list each week and she would have it delivered and placed in the refrigerator or where appropriate at no charge to me. They were so good to me I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I also paid no utilities and could use their phone if I asked first. I had routine things to do which generally only took four or less hours to do five days a week.

I Was Working Full Time Doing Part Time Jobs

They would at times have parties and paid me extra if I wanted to help them. I enjoyed doing this and met many of their friends who were also churchgoers. In time people would call and leave messages for me to call them. They wanted me to help them with parties they were putting on. My boss approved of me doing this if I wanted to and if it was on my time off. I did and boy did I fill my pockets with wages and tips. I did all kinds of duties like parking cars, washing windows, catering help and a whole lot of other things. One time I remembering hanging up coats and got a one hundred dollar tip. I told the gentlemen I thought he had made a mistake and given me too much. He smiled and just walked away.

I Will Never Forget The Kindness I Received

I have many wonderful memories of living in California and will never forget the kindness of the church I joined and the members that helped me. If you need help I highly recommend going to your church or one near you and I’m sure their help and generosity will help you, like it did me. There’s no shame in asking for help, as long as you’re willing to help yourself if you are able to.


Don L. Terrill

photo by sillygwailo

Saturday

Don’t waste food, repackage and eat it tomorrow




A Two Person Restraunt

I meet this gentleman who owned a small fast food establishment. That used to be a hamburger place not unlike McDonalds. It was located in a town that posted a sign on one billboard leaving town which read, if you’re the last person leaving town please turn out the lights. I’m reluctant to mention the town because it already has enough notoriety about being a failing town and I down want to add to the pain it already has.

A Friendly Place to Eat

This gentlemen cranked out fast Italian food for eating in or take out. I was astounded how fast he could prepare and deliver it to the consumer. And he accomplished this by generally only having one person working with him. His weekly menu only had three to six selections. And his food always tasted great. People would come from other towns just to enjoy the food, stories and his singing. There was never a time when he didn’t have time to say hello and extended his hand in friendship.

She Needed Baby Milk and Food

One day when I stopped by for something light I noticed he was the only person working, luckily it was mid afternoon and I was his only customer. I asked him where his help was he smiled and said I guess they couldn’t get out of bed. Since I was his only customer he said down and we talked or I mean he talked. The first words of his mouth were the kids in this town are just waiting to get welfare, sell drugs, rob someone or get placed in an early grave. He said he’s owned this place six months and has already been robbed twice. He said I gave them the money freely and even offered them food. While I sat there one of his helpers who was supposed to have come into work earlier. Stood at the counter and waited for him to talk to her. I wasn’t listening but I couldn’t help but hear the conversation. She said she couldn’t come in earlier because her drug using boy friend threatened to kill her and her baby if she didn’t fix his breakfast and then lay with him in bed. She said she needed food for her boy friend and milk for the baby. He took some money from the till and then scooped up some food and give it all to her. Then like a dead person walking she left apparently to go home.

He Wouldn't Throw Food Away

He walked over sat down and with tears in his eyes said, that young lady is a born winner she’s the best helper I have but I can't seem to break her away from her drug using looser of a boy friend. He then like magic snapped out of his downer and asked me if I would like a tour of his kitchen? I said yes. It was highly organized and he showed me how by acting out how he prepared quickies and got it to the customer. I was impressed. I then asked him what he did with all the left over food? He said if I can I will save it for tomorrow, if I can't I would give it away to people walking around or take it to a food shelter just down the street.

A Fathers Lession

He told me my Father always taught me to never throw good food away so before doing that I find someone that needs or would like to have it. For some reason this lesson of getting the most use of your food got stuck in my brain and I hardly ever throw anything away that still has value. Since my wife works outside the house three days weekly that gives me numerous opportunities to concoct combinations of things that I enjoy eating. Yes some of my combinations are questionable but they all generally taste good. It’s seldom necessary for me to dump my brew and give something else a try.

We Do Likewise in Our Home

I don’t do this because I have to; I do it because like my mentor Italian guy, I realize the value of food and don’t throw it away till it's bad.

Maybe things are tight for you right now? If that is the case take my mentors advise and never throw anything away and just repackage it and have it for lunch tomorrow.


Don L. Terrill

photo by meshmar2

Friday

Barter and trade services




Bartering

Bartering was probably the first method of exchanging goods and services. For example maybe you grew apples and needed milk. You would go to a central gathering place and find someone with access to cows and make a deal to give up some of your apples for a certain quantity of milk. There would be no exchange of money just things. In this scenario the things would be milk and apples.

Got Three Quotes to Cut Trees

Let me share a bartering situation that occurred between a tree person and my wife and I. We used to have over thirty pine trees on our property. One day we noticed three trees with small holes in the four or five feet off the ground. This indicated the trees were being destroyed from within by tree bores. Luckily for us there were three persons cutting down some pine trees just down the tree from us. We got quotes from them and two other companies. The three working close to us were about fifty percent lower then the other two bidders. They cut down the trees, removed them and cleaned up after themselves. We were extremely pleased with their work.

All Bids Were Too High

During this tree time we decided to remove all the pines in our area for fear they would hit the house if a huge storm came our way. If I remember right we had thirty-three trees to remove. The bids we received were too high for consideration at that time.

Put Van Up Forsale

Then we decided to sell our van and become a one-car family. We did this because we only seemed to need one. We had a 95 GMC conversion van in close to mint condition. We placed the van in the front of our home and posted a for sale sign on it.

Traded Van for Cutting Down Trees

We had numerous people look at the van but wanted to pay a lot less then what we were asking. Then one day the doorbell rang and there stood the tree guys that removed are first batch of trees. He offered to remove all our pine trees for an even trade for the van. If the van ran as good as it looked. He and his family took it for an extended ride and return with smiles on their faces. We shook hands and I wrote a contract we both signed it and he promised to remove all the trees over a period of one month. After 75 percent of the trees were removed we agreed to turn over the title to the van to him so he and his family could take a trip somewhere. They returned from their trip and couldn’t say enough good things about the van. They were involved in helping raise children that didn’t have parents that wanted them. They greatly needed the van to shuttle their new family members around. Having been raised in a non-parent family I was greatly impressed with their willingness to help these young people.

We Both Solved Our Situation by Trading Van for Trees

Both them and us used the barter system to solve a problem each of us had. They wanted the van and we wanted our trees removed. It was a win win situation for both us.

He Washed Windows and That Paid Part of Her Rent

You’d be amazed how many people and companies use this method to get things done. I used to have a gentlemen wash windows for us at a high-rise apartment complex in return for getting his Mothers rent paid for a certain period of time. He helped his Mother and we got our windows cleaned. A fair deal for everyone involved.

I would highly recommend the barter method but make sure your getting what you want, sign a contract and don’t make the transfer till both sides have completed their end of the deal.


Don L. Terrill

photo by Monkey [20after4]

Tuesday

Senior Centers help people




Reasonable Meals and Activities

At my last position before opting out to retire I managed a High-rise Complex in a small Michigan town. And five days a week the Senior Center would send transportation over and pick up prescheduled tenants to spend the day at their community center. And some riders actually helped in preparing, serving and cleaning up after each meal presentation. The center was sponsored by local, state, federal funds and small charges we made to individual who would go there. Other individuals in the area would also make generous contributions to help support their activities.

Thought I have never visited the facility I have talked to many individuals who used the facility on a regular basis and talked highly of what they did there and how it made them feel better.

A Newbee I suggest She Visit the Senior Center

I remember one new tenant who recently moved in and I suggested she sign up for a ride to the center and see what the facility had to offer. Months later her daughter came in to the High-rise and stopped in the office to offer her thoughts to me. First she asked what have you done with my Mother? At first I thought something was wrong. She said her Mother prior to living at the High-rise was a loner and couch potato and did drive but seldom went anywhere. Now she said her Mother goes to the Senior Center five days a week and now drives other tenants wherever they needed to go. She said before Mother moved into our place she was a loner, seldom went anywhere and never called her for anything. She the daughter smiled and said thank you for playing a part in transforming my Mother from a loner to a social participant. I told her I was happy for her Mother and enjoyed being a traffic coordinator in helping to direct tenants to helpful environments.

Many Activities for Seniors

Here in my current community they have a Senior Center that's probable three times the size in Michigan. I recently visited the center. I was there to have my taxes done, which was free to participants that qualified. During this visit I took the opportunity to view the facility and was greatly impressed with what was going on and the events that had scheduled for the future. In one area they have a dozen computers and offered classes on how to use them. They have an exercise room and also offer classes. One such class was going on while I was there; it shows people how to stretch and relax while lying on the floor in different positions. It must have been a popular course because the floor area was entirely filled with people.

Helpful Group Presentations

Also while I was there they we putting on a Housing Presentation which involved different rental facilities in the surrounding area to help people understand whats available in the area and how they can apply for a rental unit.

Dancing to a Live Band

Another large area was being prepared for a dance on Saturday evening, which was two days away. A live band would be performing and line dancing would be part of the festivities.

I left remembering my small part and felt good about that. Give your local center a try, you might find the something special about it to, like so many others have.


Don L. Terrill

photo by soundfromwayout

Monday

Buy a small economical car two years of age with good gas mileage.




Van Maybe Twelve Miles to the Gallon

About three months ago my lovely wife and I decided to do our part and try to lower the gasoline consumption in this wonderful country of ours, The United State of America. Before changing vehicles we were driving a late model van and a four-wheel terrain vehicle. The van if we were lucky and with a tail wind gave us twelve miles to the gallon. The four-wheeler got one mile more. We really liked our cars that’s why we kept them so long. The van was a virtual trove of wonderful memories. Like hauling family members to and from college. The late night call early new years day asking with friends in hand if they could get a ride to their apartments; not wishing to encounter the lights flashing behind them.

The Van Was Family

Our children and their friends enjoyed the van and tons of them would pile in and release body gas, giggle and blame such activity on each other. The kids and all their friends kidded us unmercifully to sell the van and drive something sporty. But when they needed the van it was a loyal friend that responded by always working and always came with a tank of gas.

Vibe Thirty Miles Around Town

Finally we purchased a small Vibe and enjoyed the thirty miles to a gallon of gas around town. Also we decided to see if living with one car was an option for us. My wife works two or three days outside the home and I work entirely inside the home. So far with modest adjustments it’s working well for us. Were trying to do our part and make this country less dependent on gas from other countries.

We Stopped Being Option One

Also I must confess that helping others move is a more enjoyable thing for us since were not option one anymore. We like helping and wouldn’t miss it for anything because we love being around our children and now grand children which pleases us to no end. Being nana and papa is the greatest titles we have.

Weve Lowered Our Transportation Cost by Sixty Percent

Having one car also gives us other savings. Our insurance is roughly half what we paid having two cars. This smaller car came with a partial warranty and we had it extended. Now we have hardly any on going costs other then occasionally changing the oil and in the near future we will be replacing the two front tires, which are starting to show wear.

Savings are EveryWhere if Your Looking

I have come to the conclusion that frugalness begets frugalness. Recently Coscos moved roughly four miles from our house in the direction we frequent follow to get the needs we require. We became a member only because it was free by signing up for the American Express Credit Card. They offered a special and we took them up on their offer. Our current Sam’s Club Card was soon to expire and that cost us forty bucks yearly. So the Cosco membership was a win win situation for us. We liked Sam’s Club but Coscos is equally as good and in some ways its even better for us.

Being Frugal is Good

Now here’s the added kicker they sell gas cheaper then anyone else in are area as far as I know. So were saving gas, living cheaper and life is going well for us. Maybe lowering your gas consumption will bring added benefits to your life to. I’m not sure if frugalness is a legitimate word but it works well for us.


Don L. Terrill

photo by marstheinfomage

Sunday

Dying Cheap/ go Wal-Mart Style




I Want to be on the Ground not in the Ground

Having not been exposed to religion seems to make my life a little less complicated then others that I know. I have one family member who has planned her departure in great detail and I respect her wishes as I hope others will respect mine. According to some I’m not giving proper respect to my process of dying. I see dying as a natural process and doesn’t require costly items to make it more right. I wish to be cremated and my ashes scattered along a sunny hillside. Some people have told me I’m being selfish and aren’t taking into consideration how my actions will affect those who care about me. Yes this aspect of thinking has given me great concern. I do not wish those that I love to be disturbed by my decisions concerning this matter. But putting myself in the ground doesn’t create an image in my mind that works for me.

Might Donate My Body to Science

Currently I’m considering also having my body donated to a medical institution first and then cremated. That’s not cemented in concrete yet but it up for consideration. Should I follow thru with this two part plan the cost would be as reasonable as one could do, short of leaving the costs to those that are left to pay your passing bills.

It's My Decision

Getting married and dying can be very expensive activities. Recently a good friend of ours married off her first daughter in high price fashion. Yes I like and approve of marriages but common sense and frugalness seem to take a back seat to the madness. The girls parents are divorced and aren’t in the best posture to spread the loot but they did it anyway and that I’m sure it put them both behind the eight ball or at least closer to the median line and that’s a sad picture when your facing retirement. But this is their decision like mine is mine.

I Started Simple and I Want to End Simple

I have spent my entire life pretty much living day by day and view life as it really is. Just a temporary adventure that in time will result in dying. When I die I no longer are required to maintain my body and foremost I’m not there anymore. In my thinking I’ve exited my body and am now living in a different format and my body is know longer required and should be returned whence it came, to nature and nature will make good use of it.

It's Our Last Right

I respect everyone’s feelings concerning this issue and like all Americans I would defend to the death like my forefathers did. I am of the opinion that if your religious beliefs promote as it highest goal Love then you are on the right course regardless the path you have chosen to get to the promise land.

The Wal-Mart Plan

I think of my departure as the Wal-Mart Plan. Its probable the cheapest plan in town. Dying in my mind is a good thing and thought I will miss those I love I except it as inevitable and that’s that. So if your ok with it consider the Wal-Mart plan and make sure your parting decisions are well written out when you’re ready to move on.


Don L. Terrill

photo by Will Ellis

Disability Benefits may help you make ends meet




In the 1930's Congress Started Social Security System

In the nineteen thirties the United State Congress created the Social Security System. Which was formed to develop a pension plan for senior citizens. As an American citizen when you reached a certain age you qualified for a monthly pension to help in your golden years. As the years have progressed the system has taken on numerous changes. One such change was that if you became physically disabled or handicapped you qualified for early retirement benefits.

American Disabilities Act Passed in Congress

In 1990 the United States Congress passed into law the American Disabilities Act. This law covered a whole range of issues concerning a person’s disability and how the country as a whole had to accommodate a person’s disability or handicap. As the process moved on the word disabled was more favorable received and became the norm rather then handicapped.

Because of the ADA Law a persons human requirements like bathrooms, entranceways and etc. were required to be changed to give them the ability to get around like anyone else.

This Law Brought in Emotional Issues

But the law was like opening Pandora’s box and created interpretations that slowly moved the country and its citizens into a whole new ball game. Now the courts were required to enforce this law and since it was a new law judges winged it for a while. When Social Security first started a disability was pretty much limited to a physical aspect of the human body, like loosing an arm or leg. Now with the ADA Act mental issues became the order of the day. Now presiding judges or those assigned to represent them have flexibility in approving benefit seekers for all real or perceived mental conditions that appear to hamper the applicant from living and working in a normal fashion. And this greater interpretation of the ADA Law has opened the door for a common practice of trying to defraud the government and thus get benefits that they really don’t qualify for.

All applicants applying for a Social Security Disability must go thru interviews with qualified doctors and their evaluations will be taken into consideration before Judges rule on the merit of their case

If you believe you have a disability whether on physical or mental grounds contact your local Social Security Office and make arrangements to meet with them and fill out the necessary applications to get the help you need.

You May Apply by Yourself or Hire a Lawyer to Represent You

Some applicants hire lawyers to represent them and they will guide you thru the process. The lawyer will of course require a fee and that charge is determined by the Social Security Guidelines and will be automaticly deducted from your first payment. And at some point you will be required to appear before a judge or their representative, this will be a casual affair and won't seem like a real court situation. You will be asked some questions and then you will be notified by mail whether you were approved or not. If the answer is yes don’t count your chickens yet because months may pass before the first check is issued to you. No matter what people say or you feel don’t give up, nor should you think the process is going to move at the speed of light. Some applicants wait a year or two before receiving benefits if there approved. But there is one upside if you get the ok they will pay you benefits back to date when you applied for help. So should you be approved a one-time lump some check will be coming your way.

P.S. Should your Application be Denied you have the right to Appeal for Reconsideration.

I wish you well in getting the help you need.


Don L. Terrill

photo by rileyroxx

Thursday

A Helping Hand from the State you live in




Social Services

Every state has an agency dedicated to helping those who are in need. It's called Social Services. Many moons ago these agencies were referred to as welfare. Which most recipients objected to because it implied at least to them a negative thing.

Everyone Deserves a Helping Hand

Everyone at times needs the help and kindness of others. I view this as a helping hand and not a free lunch. For myself when I was a young sprout I received and was grateful for the generosity of others. Were not for them I would have been less clothed and a tad more hungry then I was.

Find Agency Location and be there First thing in the Morning

Find out where they are located and go there and fill out an application. You will be assigned a caseworker who will help you. They would gather all the pertinent information they need and will evaluate the services you would qualify for. If you qualify they will sit down with you and develop a plan that best meets the circumstances you were experiencing. For example maybe your basic concern was for additional foodstuffs and help doing certain activities in your home. Maybe you would qualify for food stamps and a cleaning/cook for two hours five days a week.

Here are a Few Pieces of Documentation you Might need at your Meeting

  1. Social Security Cards of those your representing or other proof of same
  2. Address
  3. Telephone Number or place you can be reached
  4. Current Earnings
  5. Assets like money in bank etc

Now before going any further I want you to know that I’m by no stretch of the imagination an expert on this subject matter. But I did view this process while being employed by the local government where I lived. Every day I would see Case Workers enter and leave a facility I managed. All of them when they entered the building would stop by my office and indicate who they were and would say they were going to visit a client. Their clients would sometimes stop in my office and speak to me quite freely about their circumstance and sometimes they would asked me if I could assist them with something. Most of the time my contribution to their life was simple like having something fixed in their apartment. Most of their concerns were about being cold, something not working and other tenants slamming their doors all hours of the night.

The Wheels frequently move Slowly

In North Carolina where I currently reside this helping agency renders a basket of helpful services. Which include but are not limited to nursing homes, being blind, mental health and vocational training and much more. Getting help will require the patience of Jobe and the perseverance of a bounty hunter. So don’t expect things to proceed at the speed of sound because the system doesn’t work like that.

Seek Help from Someone Currently Getting Help

May I suggest the following first get someone who is already receiving some program and get advise from them. Hopefully that will give you some insight as to how to proceed. If thats not possible call a number listened in the phone book or use the internet if thats available to you and just make a call and ask to speak to someone concerning your situation. They will probably make you wait on the line till the cows come home but don’t let that bother you. Use a speakerphone if you have one that way you can do other things till someone says hello. When you get them on the phone don’t let them rush you, take your time, because this is your government and this is now your turn to get help. After all you have supported this institution thru your taxes, etc so don’t be shy about taking up their time. That’s there job.

Ask Someone to Speak for you, like a Friend or Family Member

If you’re not up to this get someone to be your spokes person and give them permission to pursue this course of action for you. You maybe required to briefly speak to someone giving your permission to have your person get the information your looking for. So prepare yourself for a long haul, but help is coming if you qualify for it.


Don L. Terrill

photo by rieh

Seek out help from family members, neighbors and others




Help is Everywhere Just Ask

This is a good subject matter for me to write on primarily because I’m a helper person. I like and enjoy helping other people. That’s if it’s in my realm of understanding. I grew up and eventually worked in numerous occupations that allowed me the opportunity to learn and help other people including myself. At one point or another in my life I washed windows, clean carpet, helped install windows, made burgers, car hopped, mowed lawns, helped maintain a roller coaster, fixed hospital beds and etc. There are some things I would rather not do like hanging wallpaper and fixing water leaks, but I will if necessity calls me out of retirement.

We Renovated Her Bathroom

Recently my Mother In Law who lives in a two-bedroom duplex was in need of a slight up grade in her bathroom. Now once again I’m not a water fixing happy person but my lovely wife who frequently helps me asked for my assistance in upgrading the her Mothers bathroom. I resisted for a while by giving lame excuses, but love prevailed and we replaced her vanity, repaired her faulty stool, tiled the floor and caulked where needed. I reluctantly must confess that moaning and sometimes slight bitching was noticed exiting my mouth but my wife knows my behavior and just ignored same. Pampering, neck rubs and praising my accomplishments kept the work moving to completion. Also when the sign on my forehead blinked I’m quitting, my wife took over and finished what I was currently doing. This may sound like I did all the work, not so. My wife supervised, offered positive corrections when needed and did all the fine-tuning including the caulking. Without her like most men I would have partly completed the job and hacked the rest. Once again in defense of my reluctance to do the job I don’t like water-fixing situations. I try not to get mad but I do have a tendency to whine a lot. But my wife’s persistence prevailed and the bathroom looks great and her Mother is a happy camper.

Now you can sit on the stool and it doesn’t wobble. The vanity faucets both work and the tub faucet doesn’t leak. Every time I use her facility I leave smiling and that’s a good thing.

More Then Likely You Have Helped Them, Now it's Your Turn

Here’s the point I’m trying to make most people have family members, friends and neighbors that have skills that maybe of help to you. Yes I can hear what your probably saying I don’t want to bother them, their too busy or some other thought maybe preventing you from giving them a call. Here’s the deal we all have areas of expertise and your no exception to the rule. Maybe you have already helped them or will someday. Everyone needs help from time to time that’s the way the universe works. You help someone and then someone helps you. Maybe you don’t think you have worth or your effort is equal to theirs, well guess what it is and you just don’t realize it. Think of all the times you fixed a tire, baked a cake or worked at the soup kitchen. Or how about now when you make donations to the person ringing the bell at the local store.

Help Please? and You'l be Surprised by Who Steps Up

Were all just one big family that’s called the human race and giving help and getting help is the way the system works. So ask or help and just be glad to be part of the world.


Don L. Terrill

photo by Urthstripe

Consider a Reverse Mortgage?




Reverse Mortgage

Maybe life is dealing you a bad hand and you need help making ends meet and your running out of options short of selling your home. Sure you could sell your home but then what? Many people have opted to take out a reverse mortgage. If you own your home and are at least sixty-two years of age, you qualify for a reverse mortgage. In laymen’s terms here’s how the mortgage would work. You as the homeowner can receive monthly payments for life against the equity you have in the your house. At your death or if you move out the banking institution would sell your home and satisfy the loan requirements. It’s a great way to increase your income while still having the opportunity to live in your home.

There Gaining Popularity

These types of loans have been around since the early sixties. These types of loans have not been widely used but are gaining some popularity in recent years. Like all loans there are good and bad things to take into consideration. Here’s one down side to this type of loan. At the loan conception the financial institution making the loan will take a percentage of their interest upfront and just for an example lets say it might be twenty thousand dollars. Here’s the downside if you should decide to change you mind the holders of your loan may by the agreement you signed force you to sell the home to satisfy their twenty thousand dollar upfront interest money.

Two Happy Doers

I have personally viewed two couples you have signed reverse mortgage agreement loans and both are pleased with their decision. They like the idea of having a life time home to live in and the additional monthly money they receive.

Good Idea or Bad Idea? Get Good Advice

I personally don’t think I would take this path without giving a great deal of thought to it. Mainly because there’s always more options in life that were not privy to. I would talk to everyone I could and find out what other choices that might be available to me. Heck I have one lady friend that added an addition on to her home and let her mother occupy it. In turn her Mother sold her home and paid for the house add-on costs and paid additional utility charges. It was a good idea, but her mother passed away shortly after moving in with her daughter.

Seek All Your Options First

I guess I’m trying to make the point that life’s problems can almost always be solved many different ways, so don’t back yourself into something and then find out a better idea was just around the corner.


Don L. Terrill

photo by james.thompson