Day of Good Deeds!

Okay so I know it’s been awhile for TPMHTDM. Like Carolyn has said – facebook is killing my blog. (Softly. With its song)

But Saturday was my “Day of Good Deeds!” As you will see if you read on, it proved to be a good deeds day of mixed success.

The day started out like any other day – we went to basketball, where my son somehow scored 3 baskets! Woohoo! Then we went to do the grocery shopping. While we were at Aldi, after we had checked out and were bagging our groceries I noticed a woman who was using the phone there. She asked if I lived in Pleasant Ridge (the area where Aldi is), and I said no. Upon listening in a bit, I realized that she had locked her keys in the trunk of her car. So I offered to take her to her house and back to Aldi.

So I did – she got her keys, I drove her back, and as we were getting back to Aldi, she offered some money for gas. I told her she didn’t need to do that, since it was like 5 miles roundtrip, if that, but she shoved money into my hand. No, really, she did. So I took it – it ended up being $3, which is some pretty good ROI!! :-) She got into her trunk, and my son and I continued on with the grocery shopping.

We got done and home around 12:00 or so and as I’m eating my lunch there is a knock on the door. I open the door, and it is a guy who tells me his truck has broken down and he needs $16 for a tow truck. He says that he has some money (and flashes it) but needs $16 more. He says that he will give an ID or he has some work ladders in his truck as collateral for it. So eventually we agree on a ladder. He comes back with the ladder, and says that with tax it is $22. I give him the $22 and he gives me the ladder, and says that he will be back in an hour to an hour and a half.

So we wait for him and wait, and… (can you see where this is going?). It was especially annoying because it prevented us from trying for the triple coin cycle since we had to wait for this guy to show up. Lots of different thoughts in our head. We did consider calling the police on Sunday when he still hadn’t shown up, but mostly “couldn’t reach”.

Of course the guy never shows up, so I figure hey on the day I’m out $19 and up a ladder. In the end, no big deal because the ladder will easily sell for that much.

That is, until the police show up yesterday (Monday) night. Apparently he’s been pulling this scam in the neighborhood for awhile and they caught him because some good souls (not us) called the police when he showed up. The ladder? Stolen from a nearby neighbor, of course. So now I’m out $19 and all I got is this lousy story! :-)

And naturally, I feel a bit silly being scammed. In retrospect, there were a lot of warning signs that I should have picked up on. After he had left, I remember thinking to myself that it’s sad that the world has come to this where you can’t trust anyone. And that was even BEFORE he screwed me!

So while I do want to leave you with the point to be wary and watchful for scammers, I thought I’d just mention the other side of things. I shared this story / thought in Bishopric meeting this past Sunday, from Mosiah 4:16-25

…and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

So while I do again want to stress that there is no need to let yourself be scammed, and you should be watchful of this type of behavior, and of course above all else, make sure you keep you and your family / loved ones safe, we are only judged on our OWN thoughts / actions, not the actions of others. And while I definitely do not want to get into things like whether giving money to people on the street is an effective method of “helping” them, I am remembering (only somewhat vaguely so apologies to whoever if I’m misquoting – I tried to think of where I heard this and I am thinking it was at a stake conference but I can’t remember) hearing that if you say, give money to someone on the street and they use it improperly, you are not held accountable for that (Peter Parker aside and I know that’s not quite the same situation but work with me here!).

You could certainly argue that, if we set the safety issue aside which I know that you can’t do in the real world, it would be worth giving money 99 times to people that are going to use it for alcohol or drugs if you could help out the one that was truly in need.

And although I know it isn’t completely the same as our situation this weekend, I’ve always really liked the quote above – “I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give”. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m a cheapskate or use this line of thinking to justify not being as charitable as maybe I could be, but I like it.

In any case, that was the “big news” of what happened to us this weekend. In the end, it was a relatively “cheap” lesson to learn.

In which I was mocked for recycling

First off, I know Carolyn has mentioned this already, but Facebook really does seem to be killing my blog. I guess that’s the way things go – always something “newer” and “better”. Take email – to someone my age or even a bit younger, email is the way to go to communicate things. Someone older will probably call on the phone when an email might be better. But many folks younger than me don’t use email at all – it’s all texting and facebook and other such things. But the blog is back at least for now – 2nd post today (here is the other one if you missed it)

But anyways – the other day at work I was mocked for recycling.

Some backstory – my son is selling popcorn for Cub Scouts. A couple of people here at work had ordered some, so I brought in the popcorn to deliver. It came in big cardboard boxes. So after I delivered the poporn, I had these big cardboard boxes. Our office does recycle cans, bottles and paper, but not cardboard. So at the end of the day, I was carrying them out to my car to take home and recycle.

That is when the mocking commenced. I mean it was good-natured mocking, but it was definite mocking.

I guess I didn’t really understand. I mean I don’t really consider myself a “green” guy or some sort of eco-nut. Even my habit of turning off lights that people leave on is more because I’m the one who pays for the lights if they’re left on than any huge desire to save the environment.

Or maybe I am – I don’t know. I have been known to take plastic pop bottles out of the trash at work and take them to the recycling bin.

I guess I just figure that it is well known that recycling is better than throwing things in the trash, right? I mean this is well established fact, is it not? So if it’s just as easy, why not recycle? I was blown away at the zoo last week. We were there for a “Powered by Popcorn” show for the Scouts, and they gave out popcorn and little bottles of Sunny Delight. So at the end, as we were leaving the amphitheater, there were 2 big boxes. One said trash, and had a big picture of the recycle symbol with a line through it, and I think was even in red letters. Then the other one said recycle and had the recycle symbol. I was BLOWN AWAY by the amount of the bottles that were in the trash one. Cmon people we’re talking like 2 feet here!!!!

But anyway back to my story – I was mocked for not throwing them away. I guess my feeling is that it’s not like it’s some sort of noble cause that I’m doing all this extra work to take the cardboard to my house WHERE I AM ALREADY GOING!

Anyway just thought I’d share.

In the sons following after their fathers department.

Said to me by my 7 year old son

“Next time when you make me math problems, make them EVEN HARDER!!!”
:-)

An interesting perspective on parenting

So, I had an interesting thought on a different perspective on parenting while sitting in Priesthood class last week at church.

Within the past few weeks, Carolyn and I were talking about our kids (of course). And Carolyn was mentioning how you can’t treat kids as “little adults”. Meaning, that you think that you can just reason with them like you would reason with any regular person. Things like “If you continue teasing your sister, you will go to your room and not get a snack” or “If you won’t wear your shoes outside, then it will hurt when you walk across the gravel driveway” or “If you run into me with that shopping cart one more time, then I will take it away from you”. But they just don’t get it, and often do things that are not in their (rational) best interests. And as Carolyn pointed out, it’s because they are in fact NOT little adults, and their minds just aren’t mature enough to grasp that.

So while sitting in class on Sunday, we were tangentially talking about something like this, and I got the insight that this is probably EXACTLY how our Heavenly Father thinks about us, as HIS children.

He’s probably sitting up there thinking “Man these kids are SO stupid. I have told them over and over what they need to do to be happy, but they still do all this stupid stuff! Grr……….: :-)

I gave her the ol’ blood pressure arm switcheroo!

So two things to mention today. First of all early this morning I had a health examination by a nurse? for a life insurance policy. We are getting life insurance policies so we can both bump each other off and roll in the proceeds.

So, she’s asking me lots of health-related questions as well as taking samples and weight and blood pressure and such. So on that note, let me switch gears over to HealthMiles.

At work, they started a new program called HealthMiles. I’ve written about this before but basically they pay you to be healthy. Part of this is that every month you get “points” for going down to a kiosk and having your weight, BMI, and blood pressure at certain levels.

So for blood pressure you have to have it under 120/80 to get the points. This is often very challenging for me as this machine consistently measures my blood pressure at right around there. So I’ll measure it, and it will be 122/75. Then again and it’s 117/81, etc. I have tried all sorts of tricks and such to try and get it to measure under the mark, until finally I noticed that the blood pressure on my right arm was lower than my left one. Apparently this is not unheard of and not a huge deal unless the differences are very large. I also saw that depending on the position of your arm and such it can make a difference on your reading.

So this morning when it came time to do my blood pressure I was seated in such a way that would have made my left arm more convenient for her to test. But while she got out the old sphygmomanometer I rotated 90 degrees to present the right arm. 108/60 baby! Want to be in the best health possible to get the lowest premiums possible.

EFC

So one of the things that they do at work is offer occasional lunch seminars.  They have a free lunch and have various topics.  Some are interesting, and some I just go for the free lunch.  Okay, that’s a lie – I go to all of them for the free lunch.  But nevertheless, some of them just turn out to be interesting :-)

So over the past few weeks, I’ve attended two interesting ones – one was about retirement planning in a down economy, and another was about saving for college.  Of course, as I said to one of my co-workers – the first thing about saving for retirement is taking advantage of free lunches!

The other day at the college one, I learned about EFC.  Now, I think of EFC as <a href=”http://everywhatever.blogspot.com/2007/12/efc-ohio-table-of-contents.html”>Every Freakin County</a> but in the context of college savings, EFC is the Expected Family Contribution.  Basically when filling out financial aid forms, the government looks at your income and assets and determines how much you are expected to contribute to your child’s education.

It was interesting.  There are of course a plethora of online calculators for EFC.  I used <a href=”http://www.finaid.org/calculators/finaidestimate.phtml”>this one</a>.  I just plugged in my tax info and assumed it was 10 years from now (one of the things it asks for is the age of the oldest parent).  It came up with an EFC of $6,000.  So then I ran a few spreadsheet simulations to figure out when different folks would be in college.  Accounting for missions and such, and assuming 5 years per kid, it looks like we will have 3 in college in 2025, 2026 and 2029.  The EFC is not per student but per family, so if you had an EFC of $6,000 and 2 kids, it would be $3,000 per kid.  Though your EFC goes up (but not double) as you have more kids in school.  So with 2 kids in school maybe your EFC would be $7,000.

Anyway, my (really rough) calculations said that 5 kids at 5 years per kid will cost us about $100,000.  And that is just to pay our EFC – the rest would have to be either loans, grants, scholarships, or additional savings.  But it definitely made me feel a little better about things.