Every Second Counts

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This statement can be taken in two completely different ways:

Don’t waste a ‘second’ of the time you have left.
Castoffs and reduced price ‘seconds’ never go out of style.

Some people get hung up on labels. They won’t take generic pills or eat store brand foods or wear anything but designer clothing. What a waste of your hard earned money.

Time and time again we’re seeing that you don’t always get what you paid for. I saw an interesting report this morning about sunglasses. Several pairs (from high-priced name brands to dollar store rip offs) were put to a test. All reportedly gave the consumer 100% UV protection. So why would anyone buy the pricier brand?

Medicines are so expensive that we’ve grown accustomed to the generic brands that the pharmacies dispense. We don’t even question it anymore. We’re just happy to pay less for the same exact thing.

If you’re vain enough or it’s imperative that you show off to your friends and family, then continue paying outrageous prices for the same items that the rest of us happily engage discounts. At the end of the day, those ‘seconds’ will have saved us enough money for a second pair!

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Ways And Means

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What’s the best way to make money after you retire? Well – you could take part in online surveys, you could sell digital photographs, you could trade items on eBay, you could teach an online course, you could write an ebook

After I stop laughing, I have to remind myself that:

  • My parents don’t own a computer
  • My parents don’t know how to use a computer
  • My parents can, therefore, do none of the above-mentioned

Okay, they can still invest their money the old-fashioned way and they could look through their old crap (sorry, stuff) and find out if any of it has any real value whatsoever.

Or… they can continue to complain about the rising cost of gasoline (they don’t own a car), keep cutting out coupons and only shop for sale items (whether or not they need them) and, like the rest of America, decide how the country ‘should’ be run – if they were actually in the driver’s seat!

Pay It Forward

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We all know about the concept of ‘paying it forward.’ Whether you’ve been on the receiving end of it or you initiated the action, it’s a positive phenomenon that can be a real game changer.

But it has its drawbacks, too.

The other day, while out shopping with my Dad, I let someone (with only two items in their hands) go ahead of me in the checkout line. Not only was he holding a place in line for someone else but that person eventually showed up with an entire full cart. Now, he could have explained that he was waiting for another person or he could have declined the offer but, instead, he pretty much guaranteed me never doing that again.

Another time, on the road, I let someone cut in front of me. One person inside of one car. As a result, an entire line of cars then proceeded to fly right through a stop sign (behind that one car) and try to squeeze in front of my car. Never again.

Yet another time I held open a door for a woman using a walker and also holding onto a dog’s leash. By the time I got to the elevator (after quickly checking my mail) she had already gotten into the elevator, closed the door and gone up to the top floor of the building – not even bothering to hold the door an extra second for me.

So, what’s the bottom line? Never go out of your way to help another human being? Only think of yourself in any and all situations? Do unto others… just don’t expect them to pay it forward (or back)? Or maybe it’s a simple case of nice guys DO finish last!

Sell By Date

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Whenever I look in the refrigerator and see something that I’m pretty sure belongs in the garbage can, I know it’s time to call the expert on all things date-challenged… my Dad.

Somehow, he has this uncanny talent for distinguishing between freshness and over-ripeness. Sure, I can see mold on a strawberry or on a loaf of bread. And I don’t even need to smell the milk once I see it curdled on top. But it’s the ambiguous items I have trouble with.

I tend to rely on terms such as:

  • Expiration Date
  • Sell By Date
  • Best If Used By Date

But, as my ‘advisor’ has advised me on many occasions, canned foods and boxed foods have different freshness standards. Stale cereal, for instance, won’t harm you but it might not be the crunchy consistency you desire. And I remember all the people stocking up on canned beans and tuna during the days preceding the millennium. Would those foods still be edible today?

I will always have my suspicions and will continue to throw out perfectly good food (like millions of others) because, “why take the chance?” That said, on any given day, you can still find me pulling out all the milks in the store till I get to the latest date at the back and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring back any moldy food (even if I’ve already eaten some of it) for a full refund!

Rainy Day Saving

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When I finally convinced my parents that it was time to move out of their 3-leveled townhouse (after both of them had fallen) and into a condo without stairs, the fun had only just begun.

It never occurred to me that this almost 60-years-married couple could not (and would not) part with a single item… many of which had not seen the light of day in more than half a century.

We all love our memorabilia and no one would ever suggest throwing out an original photo or a special letter. But 70+ year old school report cards, brittle clumps of no longer fine, baby hair and (there are no words) what appear to be baby teeth in little plastic treasure chests are NOT items that need to be saved and moved to yet another home.

Sometimes, ‘out with the old and in with the new’ has tremendous merit – especially when not doing so turns a home into a hoarding house!

Read My Lips

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Have you ever yelled at the driver in front of you (when they stopped short for no reason) from the safety of your locked vehicle? Did you ever curse out the person in line in front of you (under your breath, of course) when they asked the cashier to check the price on several items or to ring up a few items separately for another purchase?

If either of these scenarios happened to you, did you really think the intended victim could ‘read your lips?’ And what would you have done if they could…?

I’ve thought, on more than one occasion, that another human being was:

1) Stupid
2) Illiterate
3) Entitled
4) All of the above

It’s amazing to me that people consider themselves above the law or think that somehow rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve seen people smoke in front of NO SMOKING signs; use cell phones after NO CELL PHONES announcements are made; talk when NO TALKING has been instructed and play loud music (with or without headphones) when there’s a clearly marked sign telling you that it’s NOT PERMITTED.

So, what makes some individuals decide that rules apply to everyone BUT them? I don’t have an answer to that. But I do know that, next time someone takes it upon themselves to ignore such warnings, I will not hesitate to speak my mind, loudly and clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding MY words!