Don’t Fall!

Well, fall is here and with it, in my area, the rain. And an increased awareness of slippery surfaces, which ice may add to in the coming winter months.

And an increased risk of slipping and falling. Of course, there is always a risk of falling, but, I’ve become aware of surfaces when the weather turns wet.

Now, the reason I am more aware of this is, I distribute flyers door to door and I come across all kinds of surfaces once I leave the common sidewalk. Many people have wooden steps, or brickwork, or painted surfaces.

During the drier summer months, there are fewer slippery surfaces, and my shoes will grip the vast majority of these different surfaces just fine. But in wet weather, this can change. And, while most of you may not do as much walking on the job as I do, you will still be walking sometime, and in wet or inclement weather eventually.

So here’s what I found to watch for.

Wood. As I now tell myself, “Watch out for that wood!”. I’ve found that wet wooden surfaces can be as good as ice when it comes to slipperiness! Now, a lot depends on the type of wood used and how, and with what, it was treated. Sometimes there’s no problem, and other times, I really have to watch my step. So, when I see a wooden surface on someone’s walkway, I step over it, or, if I can’t avoid stepping on it, I test it out with one foot first and walk gingerly and slowly.

Painted surfaces. Again, it depends on the kind of paint. Even stepping on a painted curb where the paint has not yet begun to fade, can be very slippery. So can the painted stairs of older houses. And, you don’t have to be entering a person’s residential property to encounter this. Some malls and shopping centers and other entertainment venues can sometimes sport decorated sidewalks that are smoothed out with paint. A shopping mall I know of had to change its sidewalk design because it was very slippery when wet!

Brickwork. This can vary, too. If the bricks are smooth and new, they can also become a very slippery walk when wet.

Extra smooth concrete surfaces. Sometimes people’s driveways are like this, or they may have a walkway that is made to be like cobblestones, with the stones rounded and very smooth. This too can be very slippery.

Moss or leaf covered surfaces. I’m in an area where the leaves fall in the fall, and where moss is prevalent. And, these, too, can create slip and fall hazards. Also, so can sidewalks under fruit bearing trees.

And just so you know, I usually wear trail runner type shoes when I walk on the job. And I have nearly slipped and fallen a few times.

So, if you’re out for a walk, on a short shopping jaunt, or visiting a friend’s house, just be aware of what you’re walking on. After all, it’s your feet that belong on the ground, not your backside!

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The Best Cell Phone Plan?

Like just about everyone these days, I do have a cell phone. I started out with one of those large Motorola phones that came out in the mid 1990’s. You remember those? They were state of the art and, by today’s standards, they were big and bulky.

The plan I was on, I stuck with, through changes of phones and also my provider being changed and bought out. My plan was grandfathered, and was pretty good if I didn’t use my phone much. But, as I became busier and ventured into new things, I found that I was using my phone much more often and, those minutes’ charges were making my once great cell phone plan not so great or cheap.

I’d seen those “pay-as-you-go” phones, as well as the minute and money cards for them, but thought that they would be too limiting for me. All of this was assumption on my part. But finally, when going over the bill I had last December, and really going over it with a fine toothed comb, I found that, on some days, my calls and minutes added up to $18 in charges! For one day alone!

I thought about the pay as you go plans and decided to investigate. There are several plans out there, depending on what company you choose. I was with Verizon Wireless and they’d always treated me right, so I went to a Verizon Store and asked about the Pay as you go plans. The one that suited me was the $1.99 per day plan.

This plan charges you only when you use the phone or receive a phone call on a particular day, and, only charges you $1.99 for that day. It doesn’t matter if you are “roaming”, or make or receive one call or 100 calls, or if you are calling next door or across the country, you only pay $1.99 for that day. Texting is 2 cents per text. Other than that, unless you do other things like going online, those are the only charges. Of course, there may be an activation fee, but this is the case with all plans, and it’s also no more, and often less, that with regular plans. And, you do prepay, usually with a credit card or phone card that you can buy in any store. Most require putting at least $15 on the phone, and usually have a $100 upper limit. This gives you a balance that you use, and also a time amount. The time that any amount of money you put in is pretty generous. $100 for me gets me a whole year before I have to use up any remaining balance. I often use up the balance well before the time is up. If your time expires or your balance is exhausted, you may lose your number if you forget to add money to your phone, but your phone will tell you when you’re getting close to having to add money. Your phone will let you know your remaining balance and time left. And, when you add money to your phone, any remaining time and balance is added, so you lose nothing and you don’t have to wait till your balance or time reaches zero before you can add more money and time to your phone.

There are no contracts or monthly bills and in most cases you can keep your cell phone number. And you can get off the plan by simply not adding money to your phone, however, in order to not lose your phone number, you would need to go to some other plan.

The most you would spend is $63 a month and for that you would have to use your phone every day that month! And, if you were to come down to say, $4 left on your balance, you would still be fine and not have to worry about inadvertently running out of money that day, as you only get charged when you use the phone!

To be sure, I went home and looked over my bills for the past year and made note of how many days I used my phone and what the total charges for each month as well as for the entire year were. then I made a hypothetical list, showing what I would have paid if I’d been on the $1.99 per day plan. I was astounded! My bills would have totaled about $300 for the year under the $1.99 plan, while my actual bills totaled over $700 under my grandfathered plan!

I was convinced and switched plans in January. And I’ve been satisfied ever since. My first month, I only spent a little over $17, and I’ve been averaging $25 -$30 a month since, even when I went out of what would have been my service area under the old plan!

Under my old plan, I often had bills from $40-$70, and occasionally, over $100!

To find out more, go to a cell phone provider or ask someone in the phone department or at a kiosk inside a big store or mall, and don’t let them sell you on some “grand plan” that could cost you considerably more!

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And thanks for reading!  🙂

Why I Prefer Small Cars

When I was a kid, I liked big cars and sports cars. Sports cars looked good and were fast. And large cars were roomy, impressive, had the most options, and suggested wealth and prestige.

I thought that small cars tended to have fewer options, were clunky and clangy, and weren’t fun to drive.

But, having gotten older and now that I drive, I’ve certainly revised those opinions. Especially since visiting an annual auto show every year for the past 8 years.

Some of the opinions I had were true, such as large cars being roomier, and sports cars being fast. But I also have seen that larger or sportier isn’t always better.

However, large cars use lots of gas. Ever hear the term, “gas guzzler”? Large cars of the 1970’s often had this label once gas prices started surging after 1973.  They’ve gotten better over the years as surging gas prices have helped put pressure on automakers to increase gas mileage, but a smaller car will still use less gas and often have the same, or even longer, driving range than many larger cars.

Large cars also take up more space. This can mean a more difficult time trying to find a parking space or, for some drivers, like me, a feeling that the car is too wide for the lane. I can cope with the “too wide for the lane” feeling, but some drivers may have more trouble with this. The term, “boat” comes to mind. I find that smaller cars are just far more maneuverable in tight spaces and, while driving, I don’t feel as if I will sideswipe the cars on either side of me if I drift so much as a micron to either side.

What about options? Well, it is probably still true that the larger a car is, the more options it will offer, as the “flagship” car of nearly any automaker tends to be the largest car that automaker produces, and will be the most expensive, and so will offer the most options.

But, automakers have come to realize that many people in these gas price and mileage conscious times are opting for smaller cars, and so, smaller cars are now coming with a greater offering of options once reserved for the larger models. These include moon-roofs, advanced stereo systems, power door locks and windows, electrochromatic mirrors, and gps navigation units, among others.

And of course, the smaller cars still get the best gas mileage, for the most part. After all, gas mileage has been improved in all sizes of cars, so that now, while 20-25 mpg for larger cars is not uncommon now, small cars can often do 35-40 mpg!

Then there’s handling. Small cars do tend to handle better and are less likely to have that “heavy” feel on corners or when braking or accelerating.

What about sports cars? Well, yes, they are small, but, in compensating for horsepower, they, too, suffer in the gas mileage department. And, they can be very cramped, low, and uncomfortable. Plus, they can be very expensive, especially the exotics from Europe.

Small cars that are not sports cars are not as cramped as sports cars are, though they still don’t have the interior room of larger cars. However, where interior room is concerned, some small car models are, and have been, better than others, and many small car models have been greatly improved in this area.

And where insurance is concerned, the small cars usually come out best as well. After all, how often do people race Corollas and Civics and VW Beetles?

All of the cars I owned were small cars and I’ve been satisfied with all of them. And as the years have passed, it seems they’ve gotten better and better. So, next time you are in the market for a car? Check out the smaller models. You may be very surprised.

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Keep driving and thanks for reading!  🙂

Should I Put Out a “Shame” List?

As you probably know by now, I put resumes together for people on the side. By and large, most of them pay me when the job is done and, if they have any issues, they let me know. But then there are some that don’t pay.

To let you know, I’m definitely not the kind who will start hounding a customer for payment as soon as the job is done!

I know that checks in the mail can be delayed, and computers do go down or come up with issues, as do websites, so a PayPal payment can also be delayed. And sometimes things come up and a client may not be able to pay in a timely manner.

I generally let them know, once they are satisfied with the resume, how to pay me, and a reminder of how much. I always tell them my prices before anything is done, so that they can decide if they still want me to proceed with their resume.

Once they know of how to pay me and how much, they usually acknowledge that they will send a check, or pay through PayPal, and so on. I then give them a full week (Though I don’t tell them this!) before I start inquiring, and no, I don’t angrily charge like a mad bull when I contact them. I usually send them an e-mail or call them, framing things so that it appears that I am more concerned that they may have had an issue or that their check could be lost in the mail. (I figure that, if they think I’m concerned about them, they will be less defensive.)

Some of the people I had to contact admitted that they got busy and forgot, and they quickly paid after my inquiry.

But others aren’t so honorable or innocent. They simply don’t want to pay. They’re thieves, plain and simple! On top of this, they run and hide when I try to contact them! One guy kept telling me that he was going to send a check, but never did after repeated calls. Oddly enough, one of the points he had me list on his resume was “Honest”. I should have changed it to “Dishonest”. Others were obviously screening my calls and so left their phones on voice mail and never called me back. One answered, then immediately hung up when he heard my voice. And of course they don’t answer my e-mails. I only wish I could foresee the employers they were going to send their resumes to, so I could forewarn those employers!

I’ve decided not to pursue future scofflaws beyond a certain point, but I have been thinking of creating a “Shame” list. This could be a Craigslist post, or a post on this blog, a separate page on this website, or even a new website, dedicated to this “List of Shame” Of course, I would have to be sure of what I can or cannot do legally, as I certainly don’t want to be in any kind of legal trouble, especially when it involves people like these thieves who clearly aren’t worth it! But it is nice to think about such a list, accessible to those who might employ or deal in business with these people. (I’d love to be there, in person, smiling as the interviewer tells “Joe Blow”, “Oh, no, we can’t hire you, Joe, you’re on the List of Shame! You never paid that person who did your resume! How do we know that you’ll even do the work we give you while still collecting a paycheck from us!?”)

I wonder if just the threat of putting someone on such a list but not actually doing it or even creating said list would be fine, legally, and if it would work. But all that aside, some advice. Many of these people who don’t pay may have it, or their tendency for dishonesty, come back to get them in ways neither they, nor I, could guess. I’ve told people in casual conversation at times (Without naming names!) about some of these scofflaws. Who knows that one of them may mention it to the person who is going to interview one of these scofflaws! Or the scofflaw will be stupid enough to brag about not paying me. And the people sitting at the next table may just hear him. Including the guy who will be interviewing him for a job the next day.

Who are these people who don’t pay, and run and hide like the cowards they are? They can be any age and gender and race. The latest one is an older man, well into his 60’s. Not exactly a punk wise guy kid!

Don’t be one of these types of people! If you agree to purchase something, pay your bill when you get the product or service! If you’re selling the product or service, deliver in full and on time! And, if you have an issue and have to delay payment or product or service, let the other party know, dammit!  Believe me, I would have a lot more respect for someone who, when they first inquire about my resume service, tells me up front that they cannot pay full price. I might even be willing to give them a break!

Now I know, I could ask for payment in advance, and I’ve been thinking of doing that. After all, if I don’t do any work or spend any time on something until I am paid, I won’t have expended any time or energy for those who don’t pay me! The only reason I haven’t is to create good will with customers, but sometimes measures like advance payment are necessary for one’s own protection.

I know this is a rant, but I hope you will still tell people of this blog and website, and will follow this blog. I promise not to always rant! (Just had to get this out of my system!)

Thanks for reading! 🙂