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Archive for the 'Advice' Category

Help! I have a new pet and I kind of want to get rid of it….

Friday, June 10th, 2016

As you read this post you are probably thinking he is referring to a dog or a cat but unfortunately that isn’t the case. Over the past month I have noticed a bunch of holes and what I thought looked almost like hoof prints. Was it a Coyote? Deer? Elephant? Nope, nope, and nope! Well the answer to the question has been answered – it is a somewhat small but prehistoric looking Armadillo that I have named Alfred. No idea why I chose that name or if Alfred is even a male, but it kind of sounded right so we will go with it. My partner in crime (MD) discovered our little Alfred walking around the pool in the middle of the day. He actually came within 5 feet of her….Much to her surprise.

Yes – he is interesting to look at.

Yes – I have done some research and he is pretty much blind.

And Yes – I want him to go away.

I don’t want him to be hurt.

But he needs to go away!

  • So help! How do I get rid of little Alfred?
  • Have you dealt with a similar problem?
  • A friend of mine mentioned pouring mothballs down the hole – has anyone done that?

I look forward to reading your helpful comments.

P.S. Please stop laughing – I need him to go away!

I think it is time to buy my Mom a ….. ?

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Many of you know that my dad isn’t doing great but my mom (although she recently fell) is still amazing at almost 80! A few months ago I bought my girlfriend M.D. a Fitbit and I decided to purchase one for myself as well. I must admit I love it and being as competitive as I am I track it very often.

Since all of us live a plane flight away from my parents, I am seriously thinking about buying my mom a Fitbit as well. Even though my mom isn’t the most technology savvy individual in the world she would wear it and sync it pretty regularly. If she had one my sisters and I could track how many steps she takes in a day/week which would let us know how active she is on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and also let us know when she is starting to really slow down.

I need your help with this.

  • Is this kind of spying on my mom?
  • Have you done this?
  • Do you think it is a good idea?

I talk to my mom every day for a few minutes and I know what she is doing but not really sure how much she is moving around.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Time for you to brag – I will go first!!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Last week I received a note from one of my kid’s school and was pleasantly surprised. As we know notes from school always aren’t the best! If you don’t believe me just ask my parents!

After reading it I am so so proud of my son! He is very respectful, a leader, smart, conscientious and I am so glad that he carries those traits with him all the time!

I just wanted you to know that Riley has been chosen as the winner of the January Citizenship award for 6th Grade. We are very proud of him for being a leader and for setting an example for other students. He will receive his award during the morning announcements, tomorrow, January 29th. He will need to be at Room D205 by 8:30am. If you would like to be there, please check in with the front desk and you can come to the room with him.

This is the nomination(s) he received from Mrs. Sparks, Mrs. Newsom and Mrs. Drenka.

I would like to nominate Riley Dubrow (6th grade) for the December Citizenship Award. Riley has been a leader in the Recycling Club for the past year and a half. As a 6th grader, he has taken charge of training and guiding the new 5th grade students. He is kind and understanding, yet decisive enough to ensure that our recycling duties are completed each week.

Riley also took a lead role in creating our Certified National Wildlife Garden. He planted many of the plants. Weekly, he ensures that the garden has water and food for the birds. He is also not afraid to get dirty. He helps the fifth graders decide what is a weed, and what belongs in the garden as they do their weekly garden maintenance.

The following is from Mrs. Newsom, Dyslexia Therapist, who regularly works with Riley:
Enthusiastic would be the word I would use to describe Riley Dubrow. He loves challenges, and is willing to try just about anything. When I decided to donate some extra bulbs I had from my yard to the school, Riley jumped in and planted them without hesitation, even though I’m pretty sure it was his first experience planting flowers. He also comes in early regularly to work on his reading ability without being asked. Riley has a happy, positive disposition and is a pleasure both in and out of class.

And from our Librarian, Mrs. Drenka:
It is my pleasure to support Riley’s nomination.
Riley does a fabulous job mentoring 5th grade students in the Recycling Club. He takes good care of the library by being sure that the club always stops by. He is careful to make certain that the many library bins are retrieved and emptied. In addition, Riley is always extremely polite and respectful. He is a delight during library class and a great asset to the Recycling club, too!

In talking to his other teachers, they all agree that Riley exhibits five good citizenship themes—honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, and courage.

Officer Hill

I couldn’t be prouder of my son!

Now you’re turn – time to brag!!

Feel free to brag about yourself! One of your kids! A friend of yours! Your parents!

Let’s make today National Brag Day!

I look forward to reading your comments.

According to my son……..time to read on to see what rating he gave me.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

A few weeks ago my son said I wasn’t a nice dad. When I asked him on a scale of 1-10 (I guess I am always the researcher) with 10 being the highest, what rating would he give me – his response was a 4! I then said, I am just curious what could I do to improve that score and his answers were:

  • You could let me drink soda in my bedroom
  • You could let me stay up as long as I want too
  • You could let me eat sunflower seeds all over the house

Apparently, if I did agree to let him do those things I would improve my “nice dad” rating to about a 7!

  • What do you think of my sons’ requests?
  • Do you allow your 14 year old to do these things?
  • I am just curious what rating do you think your children would give you?

I look forward to reading your comments.

P.S. Without hesitation I said no to all of his points and have agreed to stay with a 4 rating!

Time to let me know what are your expectations….?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Let me set up the situation correctly. You are having dinner and really looking forward to a nice cocktail after a hard day’s work or a challenging week. You are getting ready to sip that perfect looking glass of red wine and low and behold the waiter makes an awkward move and the beautiful glass of Pinot Noir is firmly placed all over you! Yes all over you… clearly an accident but the end result is your white top, camisole, and jeans are soaked. The red wine is everywhere and, in fact, the glass broke and the small glass pieces are actually in your lap, on the table, and everywhere.

You are in a nice restaurant where the average entree is about $22.00. You don’t get upset or make a huge scene but as a customer what are your expectations of what the restaurant should do to make it right?

  • Do they comp the entire meal?
  • Do they buy you a new glass of wine?
  • Do they pay for dry cleaning?
  • Do they buy you new clothes if they are ruined?
  • Do they only charge you half price?
  • Do they buy you a dessert?

I really look forward to reading your comments and hearing your expectations.

P.S. This exact scenario happened less than a week ago to my girlfriend M.D. and it was interesting what the restaurant did.

Time to be nice and just ask….

Monday, October 19th, 2015

A few weeks ago my cousin A.L. and Brother-in-Law A.B. were in town and besides having a great time visiting (that’s what we do in Texas) with each other a number of things happened that were interesting and all led to the same suggestion/strategy which is… be nice and just ask:

  1. On our way to park at Global Life Stadium (Ballpark in Arlington) a number of the streets were blocked off and controlled by the police. There literally was fans everywhere – some going to the Rangers playoff game while others were leaving the Cowboys/Patriots game – regardless it was very crowded. At the upcoming intersection where I normally can and need to take a left the police were asking everyone to go right. When it was my turn I rolled down my window and showed the officer my parking ticket to go into a certain lot which I could see and he was very kind to stop traffic and let me go left as opposed to going around the block and being in traffic for another hour.
  2. My Brother-in-Law needed to buy a Dez Bryant shirt for my niece so when we were at the checkout counter at Kohl’s I asked the cashier if she happen to have a 20% coupon that he could use and without hesitation she found one and applied the discount.
  3. The last example was at Chase bank where I needed to wire some money and the customer service rep mentioned there was a $30 fee for wiring. I mentioned I was aware of the fee since I had wired money a number of times during the year. For some reason I decided to ask if she good waive the fee and without hesitation she actually said “all you needed to do was ask”. She was so kind and not only waived that wiring fee but also remembered what I said and actually reversed 4 other fees from earlier in the year and called me to let me know! She didn’t need to do that but it certainly was great customer service in my mind!

Moral of today’s blog is be nice and just ask!

  • Remember it doesn’t hurt to be nice!
  • It doesn’t hurt to ask!
  • Sometimes good things might happen!

Okay, now your turn:

  • When was the last time you were nice and asked?
  • Were you successful?
  • I look forward to reading your comments.

They say what you measure improves…

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Over the years we have all heard the saying what you measure improves. Without question I have found that to be true in business. Today’s question is does that apply to your personal life.

I actually tested that question. I figured out what my average monthly American Express bill had been over the past 12 months. Let’s not debate how many of those dollars are wasted but rather what would happen if I logged onto my account every day and saw the balance and transactions from the day prior.

The rules I set for myself was no game playing. Meaning, if I normally charged an expense to this card I would continue to do it, I wouldn’t use a different credit card. I also said not to change any behavior meaning just pay cash instead. That would not make the test valid and I was really curious on what would happen.

Daily I checked my balance and transactions and at the end of the month I actually had a bill which was half of what I normally spend. I must admit I was shocked. It is possible that July/August I spend less than normal and although that is true it isn’t even close to this new lower balance. I also looked to see if I traveled less and at the end of the day it was about the same.

In discussing this with my buddy (R.H.) he brought up a great point which is… what categories did I save in? I couldn’t answer that question right away and decided to keep the test up for two more months and see if there was savings and what categories they fell in.

So I ask you?

  • How closely do you keep track of your expenses?
  • Have you tried a similar test for yourself?
  • If not, what do you think might happen if you did?

I look forward to hearing from you and reporting back in two months.

Time to get in a cab…ugh…help!

Monday, August 24th, 2015

All of my close friends know I get motion sickness. On a boat, train, or cab the end result typically is the same which is I just don’t feel well and sometimes worse happens!

Well a few weeks ago I was in New York and I must admit really dreading a cab ride into the city. I find most… (not all cabbies) like to do the old, start and slam on the brake routine and all of those types of people seem to find me! Well this time I was going to try something different. I made a decision to not check emails, texts, or call anyone but rather put on my headphones and listen to music. As luck would have it – it totally worked! I was singing to myself, enjoying the loud music and it distracted me so I felt great for my meetings.

  • Do you ever get motion sickness?
  • What do you do to overcome it?
  • Have you tried music?

I look forward to hearing from you and letting me know if you have any ideas that can help me!

Help….I am trying to communicate with my son and don’t understand!

Friday, August 14th, 2015

I pride myself on trying to be a good communicator and certainly many times I fail but it seems with my son I tend to fail more often. A few weeks ago I was having dinner (thanks M.D.) with my kids and I asked my oldest son a simple question:

Are you done with dinner?

I would have thought of a number of answers he could have given me and never would have thought of the answer he did give me. Here is the actual conversation (not even sure that is what we had) that took place:

  • Me: J are you done with dinner?
  • J: around
  • Me: around what?
  • J: What?
  • Me: What are you around?
  • J: Dinner
  • Me: I have no idea what that means?
  • Me: Is that a yes I’m done?
  • J: Dad……please I’m eating.

I don’t even know what happened or took place and then less than 10 minutes later I am pumping gas and this next discussion took place:

  • J: Dad can we go to Market Street (grocery store) this weekend?
  • Me: Sure
  • Me: Is there something specific you would like?
  • J: Yes
  • Me: Can you give me an idea what it is?
  • J: Cereal
  • Me: What kind of cereal
  • J: Cereal
  • Me: I get that but there are 125 different cereals anything specific?
  • J: Yes

Are you kidding me!!!! Help!

  • Am I asking difficult questions?
  • Is there a code book that I can buy to understand what he is saying?
  • Are you going through similar conversations with your kids?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Here is a little trick that can save you some time and aggravation!

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

A few weeks ago I was at a conference and had the pleasure of visiting my sister. On the way back to her house she called and asked if I would stop and buy Monopoly Empire for the kids. Of course I would do that and asked her where I could find it, quickly she googled it and told me the store and said the price online was $16.88. A quick good bye and I was on my way to the store.

I found the game with no problem but noticed the price was considerably lower than what my sister said and it gave me reason to pause. For some reason I decided to take a picture (perhaps because I was in the farthest part of the store away from the registers) of the item and the price just in case there was any issue at the register which unfortunately there was. I mentioned to the cashier that the price listed was $9.84 instead of the $19.84 she rang up (I assume whoever priced it just left off the 1), she asked me how I knew that and that she needed to see it – at which point I showed her the picture on my phone.

Case closed.

New price inserted into the register and I was on my merry way.

  • Have you tried this before?
  • Has it worked for you?
  • If not, do you think you will use it in the future?

I look forward to reading your comments.