I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reasons to Rescue: Angel

I'm a big advocate for animal adoption.  There are so many shelters and rescues out there with animals that need good homes, so I urge anyone considering getting a new pet to check one of these out first.  Even if the shelter is no-kill or the animal is living with a foster, that doesn't mean that they have a good life ahead of them.  Despite all that shelters do to try and keep the animals safe and happy, their space is VERY limited and no animal gets the amenities that they would have in a good home.  And even though a foster home provides a good environment, an animal waiting to be adopted is keeping that foster from taking in another rescue that could be on death row at a kill-shelter. 

There is my appeal to everyone who has room in their heart for a new pet.  Now here is my example:

I currently have four dogs, three of which came from my favorite rescue group.  One is a puppy mill survivor, one was found as a stray and placed in a (kill, I believe) shelter and the other is Angel.  The reason I am choosing to write about her over the other two is because of how drastically she has changed from the day I picked her up to now and it has only been a few months!  Although back stories with dogs can be akin to playing telephone, where the truth becomes warped into "based on a true story," I do think that the basic story can be somewhat the same.  Angel was at a no-kill facility that was getting ready to be closed down and PNC Midwest stepped in to find her a foster and put her up for adoption.  I agreed to foster her.  She was taken directly from the shelter by another volunteer to meet me and I took her home the same day.  According to the shelter, she came from a breeder that would leave his dogs in the house for days at a time while he would drive his truck driving routes.  The story was that he died on one of his routes and the dogs were left in the house for awhile and when they were "found," they were sent to various shelters that were willing to take them in.

When I received Angel, I was informed that she could not go outside as she would foam at the mouth and that she was paper trained to go inside.  She had a "hot spot" near her tail that bothered her and she had to be picked up a certain way.  That was about all I knew.  I had never heard of a dog that could not go outside, so I quickly filed this in the nonsense category.  She seemed to have a hard time walking as if she had some serious hip problems going on and she was very sensitive to being touched.

Upon taking her to the vet, it was discovered that the hip problems were due to extreme flea infestation that caused an allergic reaction in two spots on either side of her tail and it was causing her lots of discomfort.  She was spayed, had to have a couple teeth extracted and sent on her way.  Her age was estimated at 8 years. When I got her home, I bathed her, trimmed her up a bit and began my foster mommy job.

Fast forward to now: I decided to adopt Angel because once she learned what TLC was and that not all people are scary, she showed that she is an incredibly sweet and mild mannered pekingese!  The foaming at the mouth was a nervous thing that went away completely after a week.  She loves taking walks outside, but also has no problem being let out in the yard.  She is housebroken now although we do leave a puppy pad down for when some of the dogs just can't hold it in apparently. 

Angel is a snuggler, loves lying on the couch and will put her paws on your legs and go to sleep.  She has no issues with being bathed or shaved/clipped and enjoys napping with me on the bed.  She is a little timid with the kids, but who wouldn't be?  They scare me sometimes.  She is an absolutely fantastic addition to our family!  And the best part is knowing that I am able to give her the life she deserves.  She no longer has to be afraid of her surroundings, in pain due to lack of care or overweight from lack of exercise.  It is a good feeling knowing that I could do that for her.

And it is for reasons like this that I urge people to adopt animals, not shop for them.  And if this story inspired you enough to find a rescue group that needs fosters, don't hesitate to do so!  There are rescues all over the country for all different breeds and there is never an end to the animals that need to be saved and given good lives.  Just thinking about how you have the power to change a life for the better, that is one of the greatest feelings in the world.  That's how you can find YOUR "Angel."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Review & #Giveaway: T-Rex Trying and Trying by Hugh Murphy

 I have been completely infatuated with the T-Rex meme craze since I saw my first one.  I loved it so much that I bought my husband a tee shirt that says "T-Rex hates push-ups."  Any meme that shows up on my feed about the many struggles of T-Rex, quickly gets shared!  Well, imagine my thrill to find out that someone took that idea and ran with it... in a book!  I missed out knowing that Hugh Murphy published T-Rex Trying, but was fortunate enough to receive a gratis copy of T-Rex Trying and Trying: The Unfortunate Trials of a Modern Prehistoric Family.  And it is absolutely adooooooorable!

Of course, one must feel sorry for poor T-Rex and his family, but it is hard not to let a giggle escape when we see pictures of T-Rex trying to do such simple tasks as trying to hula-hoop or even when poor T-Rex tries to spoon She-Rex in bed at night.

Poor T-Rex can't even Trick or Treat!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:  Hey, I don't have to hog all the laughs!  One of you lucky readers can win themselves a copy of this book too!  (Or if you can't keep your pants on, go buy yourself one!)  This would be great to hog all to yourself, or even be a great gift!  Heck, buy 50 and give one to everybody you know!  Anywho, enter below, but only if you live in the United States.  Sorry, rest of the world!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

#MoneySaving Post: Forget layaway for Christmas, use these ideas instead!

Why didn't I think of saving spare change??
I've tried using layaway twice in my life.  I didn't like it.  The last time was two years ago with Walmart.  I know Kmart does layaway also, but I'm not positive the other major retailers that do.  I found this list, but I don't know how current it is.  I know that all of these tips will apply to using layaway at Walmart, but some of them should work for the other place, if not all.

Why use layaway?  I guess the only good part in my mind is that you don't have to worry about hiding the gifts, cause the store is basically doing that for you.  The whole point of layaway is based on the (mostly accurate) assumption that people can't afford to pay for all their gifts at once.  So, layaway gives them the chance to make payments over a certain amount of time, with the final payment being when you pick up the merchandise. 

However... I think it's better to buy a couple to few things here and there as you have the money, which eliminates taking in the payments for your layaway.  This also gives you the chance to decide whether you can afford more or less than what you would have spent doing a bulk layaway.

Start with a list.  I like to start thinking ahead to holiday shopping towards the end of August in order to get a jump start.  What I like to do is start a list where I write down the name of everyone I have to buy gifts for and start listing ideas for them.  As the time goes by, your list will transform quite a bit with things being added, crossed off or purchased.

I actually like to keep a running cart on Amazon and Walmart so that it helps me keep track of the things I was thinking of getting and also helps me have the prices right there to compare when I'm ready to buy.

Organize your list.  I'm a proponent of fairness when it comes to gifting.  As kids are younger, they don't so much realize the value of things, but they can count.  So I like to do one "big" gift from Santa and then a set number of gifts from us.  I set the number of gifts and start to make purchases here and there to meet the "quota."  If I meet my quota and run across something here or there, I either add one more for everyone or save it for birthdays.  (Three of my kids have birthdays within 3 weeks of Christmas.)  As the kids get older and start to understand the cost of things, I intend to spend approximately the same on each, so no one feels like I'm playing favorites or that it isn't fair.  Cause, really it isn't.

Don't forget when making your lists to include the other people you might have to gift for such as nieces, nephews, parents, in-laws, etc.

Spend reasonably.  Let's be real.  Ghetto fabulousness is sooooooo disgusting.  If you are unfamiliar with the term, it's one that's been around for decades.  The theory is that people can't pay their bills, but will buy big screen TVs.  They can't feed their kids on their own, but they carry a Gucci handbag.  It happens with people more often than you'd think.  Just because it's a holiday, doesn't mean you need to drop a couple thousand on your kids when the month before you were getting shut off notices.  Kids don't need that much, and if your kids are the kind that will throw a fit if they don't get the $300 X-Box, you might want to rethink the values you are teaching them.  Just saying.

Comparing prices.  Okay, so you're ready to buy.  You've checked your list and you're ready to commit to some of the items that you had already intended to get.  Now to find the best price.  Here's the three websites that are always my go-to when it comes to finding the best prices:  eBay, Amazon, and Walmart.com.  Let me tell you some things I've found.  There are A LOT of things that are actually cheaper on Walmart.com than in the stores!  For instance, YESTERDAY I had to go to Walmart and I thought that since I was there I'd knock a couple things off my list.  I went to my shopping cart on my phone to compare prices and out of the three things I found in the store, ALL three were cheaper online!  So, I didn't buy them.  (Those dollars add up.)  I compared the prices in my cart between Amazon and Walmart and everything had the exact same price except one thing: a play kitchen.  It was $20 cheaper on Amazon!  And of course I check eBay for everything before committing to those prices.  Case in point, one of the best sellers expected for this year are LeapBands.  They are selling for $39.99 in stores and online, but I ended up getting two brand new ones on ebay for $30 each.  It's about persistence, people.  It pays off.

But what about shipping?  You may be thinking that if I am buying stuff online, I end up paying more with shipping.  But you would be wrong.  Walmart.com has free shipping for orders over $50 and most items are free shipping if you do site to store.  Amazon has free shipping for qualified items when your total is $30 or over.  Otherwise, if you haven't done it before, you can sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime.  Members get free 2 day shipping on all items, no matter how much the purchase is.  And of course, eBay items let you know the shipping when you bid.  The LeapBands I mentioned were $30 total.  That includes shipping.

Other ways to save.  I use Swagbucks.  It's a website that you earn points from searching, buying things, signing up for things, etc.  A lot of times you can just earn a few points here and there easily, without using your email and ending up with junk mail.  You can earn points from watching a 2 minute commercial, etc.  In the end, your points can add up to gift cards.  I usually have no problem earning $5 Amazon or Walmart gift cards on a regular basis.  I can apply those to any orders I make.  Also, when I make a purchase on Walmart.com, I go to the site via Swagbucks and I get 2 points for every dollar I spend, which then gets me closer to another gift card!

There are other ways, such as watching ads, online sales, Black Friday (which I loathe and never partake in) and don't forget Facebook or second hand stores!  I know there are a lot of people out there that don't believe in using second hand items for gifts, but again, many kids don't really care.  I frequent the buy/sell/trade pages on Facebook, as well as craigslist, and just recently I found a toy that I had in my online cart that was $30 and I got a like new one off Facebook for $5!  Yay! 

Anything to add?  Since I'm all about saving money, did I miss anything?  Sometimes Target has things that are out of stock online at Walmart for a comparable price.  So if you are having a hard time getting it elsewhere, check out Target.  I think they have a free shipping for $50 and over free as well.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Do you ever really get to retire (unless you're a hermit?)

Some people love their jobs.  I'm going out on a limb saying most people don't.  But at some point in life, if we are lucky, we are able to retire.  And what is the purpose of retirement?  The purpose is that at a certain age people should be able to enjoy the life they have left.  If they are lucky, that could be several more decades.  There's also perhaps the theory that as people get into their 60s, their bodies don't function as well as they did when they were younger.  Either way, there is a reason that we have systems in place in the United States that allow previously employed people to retire.

The question I have is, "why can't retirees every really retire?"  The answer is because friends and family won't let them.  I think that when people are retired, that is when they should never be EXPECTED to do anything.  They've earned that.  But I think that oftentimes friends and family take advantage of the fact that when someone is retired they have "nothing to do."  Whether they become homebodies, volunteers or active in their community or socializing, the point is that these retired persons should be able to CHOOSE what they do with their time.

But when you have the pressures of friends and family thinking that you have "all this extra time," they assume that you should have no problem doing what they want you to do.  Oh, you had plans to swim with your aquasize group?  That's not important, you should help me do a, b, or c.  I know you'd rather drink a gallon of paint than do X, but you're retired, so really there is no excuse for you to do X.  And hey, remember my point about the theory that as people get older, their bodies don't function as well as when they are younger?  But, I think other people forget that.  But they are retired, why can't they help me push a school bus up a hill?  It's not like they have anything better to do.

I have kids, I love my kids.  I have friends... probably won't have them all my life, but I might have some at the age of "retirement."  But, guess what.  If my friends or family are selfish enough to think that MY golden years are meant to be spent doing all these things I don't WANT to do, they can go F themselves.  And I think people should respect that.  Retired people don't need you to find ways for them to spend their time as if retirement means you sit on your front porch in your underwear watching traffic go by.  Retirement is meant to be the years where you get to do the things you've always wanted to do.

Keep that in mind when you decide how retired people should spend their time.