Archive | May, 2009

Small Businesses Penalized

May 12, 2009

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Ouch. It’s a bad time to be a small business owner in this country. Not only do we have no real voice in our government (compared to the heafty lobbying power of the big corporations), we are being penalized for our success. The Washington Post reports that small business owners are going to see a big bite of their earnings taxed.

Gail Johnson doesn’t think of herself as wealthy. The former pediatric nurse has spent 20 years building a chain of preschools and after-school programs that accommodate sick children so working parents can keep their jobs.

But, like most small-business owners, Johnson reports her profit on her personal tax return. In a typical year, she and her husband make more than $500,000, according to her accountant, a figure that throws them squarely into the ranks of the richest Americans — and makes them a prime target for the Obama administration’s tax policy.

Since last year’s campaign, President Obama has vowed repeatedly not to increase taxes for families making less than $250,000 a year. That pledge, while politically popular, has left him with just two primary sources of funding for his ambitious social agenda: about 3 million high-earning families and the nation’s businesses.

19% tax is way, WAAAAY too much. I have always been against the income tax, anyway. People, we are being robbed.

And the government is getting pretty smart about their taxation methods. Did you know that your barterings are taxable? Yes! For example, if you trade Joe Plumber a Moen faucet for watching his kids for a weekend, the government says you have to pay tax on that service, by estimating the dollar amount of the trade. Ridiculous!! And here in New York State, the state requires us to incriminate ourselves by estimating how much tax we owe on supposedly non-taxable Internet purchases (from other states). Outrageous!

The taxation is getting way out of hand. What would happen if the government taxed us all and nobody paid?

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Have a Great Garage Sale

May 12, 2009

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Did you realize that hosting a great garage sale is an art? Yes, indeed! Some people make a LOT of money from their garage sales, enough for them to consider it a part-time job! The buying and selling of used stuff can be a very lucrative business– IF you know how to market it and present it right. Nobody likes shopping at a shoddy garage sale site. And nobody can shop at your garage sale if they don’t know that you are HAVING a garage sale.

Here’s a little tip for your next garage or yard sale: GarageSaleTracker.com. It’s a website dedicated to the garage and yard sale, for buyers and sellers. It’s loaded with tips and advice, like how to barter a good price, how to run a successful garage sale, and how to advertise your sale on the Internet. Actually, you can list your garage or yard sale at GarageSaleTracker.com free right now, for a limited time!

Listing your garage sale on the Internet is a good idea. For one, it’s less expensive than having the local newspaper print out your ad; two, it reaches more people, especially those people who don’t get the newspaper; three, it’s more interactive than the paper– for example, at GarageSaleTracker.com, you can embed driving directions to your sale! And GarageSaleTracker.com allows unlimited word count– so you can list all the gory details of Aunt Bertha’s old flat iron or list every title to all the books you’re trying to sell. Nice! GarageSaleTracker.com also has a search engine where you can search for sales near you. Check out the website- this is DEFINITELY a site to bookmark.

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More on the Tempurpedic Mattress and Box Spring

May 9, 2009

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In October, my darling husband purchased a Tempurpedic mattress set to help alleviate my back pain. I did an initial review (you can read that here), and I wrote an update after a few weeks when the split box springs, or “foundation set” started to squeak like all get-out (you can read that here). (Tempurpedic calls the box spring set a “foundation set” since there are no springs in the “box springs” set, btw.)

Mattress Layers

I am inspired to write another quick update after reading a comment on my blog:

I was just searching for information about noisy tempurpedic box springs when I found your review. Ours is a king size mattress with a split box spring that groans every time you get on it!
I would like to see what your results are with customer service…

After reading this comment, searching around for others’ experiences, and after my own experiences, I have determined that there is a defect with the split foundation set for the tempurpedic mattress…

Split Foundation

Last month, I finally called the furniture store where we purchased our mattress set. I complained about the horrid noises the box springs were making. A customer service guy (sporting what looked to be some very nice north face walking shoes, btw) was sent out to inspect our foundation set and take photos. I was with the representative while he inspected our foundation set. Since the Tempurpedic mattress and  foundation set are brand-new (only a few months old), and since the squeaky noises are all around both split foundation boxes, it was determined by the company that the foundation set was defective. We received our two new split foundation set two weeks later, and they were installed by the furniture company again. I have no complaints with the furniture company (a local business, Joe Tehan’s, out of Rome, NY). They were professional and courteous.

It was GREAT sleeping on a quiet bed once again. But, two weeks later…. the squeaking has begun again. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! We paid over $1,300 for this mattress set (and that was a discount) and while I LOVE the tempurpedic mattress, I HATE the foundation set. It’s awful. I am going to have to call the furniture company again and have them re-inspect the foundation set.

Apparently, the foundation set is constructed with cheapo plastic strips all around the top perimeter. These strips are adhered (I don’t know if it’s stapled or glued) to a wooden rib construction along the sides. The plastic strips bend and warp with any movement, rubbing against the wooden ribs and causing that horrid squeaking sound. I have a Queen-size split foundation set, my commenter here who I quoted above has a King-size split foundation set. I have no idea if this is a foundation set defect or a split foundation set defect. But I would think that for $1,300, I could get a quality split foundation set.

Anyway, that’s my update. I have a 10-year warranty on our mattress set, so if this has to go on for 10 years, then so be it. I just hate waking up to the horrid squeak everytime one of us rolls a little on the bed, or gets out of bed. Some people have ditched their foundation set and use a flat board, which is a great idea. But we paid for a foundation set, so unless we get our money back, that’s what I’m going with…

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Kitteh vs. Fan

May 6, 2009

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Ooooooooooo!!! If this isn’t adorable, I don’t know what is!! This kitty looks exactly like my beautiful Livvy when she was small (she has grown so much!). And Livvy would do dumb stuff like this, too, haha! This is just too cute, tooo cute!

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Cat in the Garden

May 5, 2009

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There’s no need for a piece of sculpture in a home (or garden) that has a cat.

I saw my cat, Fuzzy (who is completely recovered!), sitting in the cool garden bed today. Just thought I’d snap a few photos.

Fuzzy in Garden 1

I assume he was aware of my presence, but he never turned around to see.

Fuzzy in Garden 2

Is he hunting birds? A mouse? (He’s a terrible hunter, btw). Provoking our other cat, Milo? Or just taking a late afternoon siesta?

Fuzzy in Garden 3

We like to think perhaps he is enjoying the flowers. He’s a quirky cat. He sometimes pads his way to a portion of our lawn dense with violets, and plunks down in the soft grass. As if intoxicated, he breathes in the flowery perfume with deep cat sniffs. He’s such a corker!

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Nice Decorative Items For the Home

May 4, 2009

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Hey, looking for that extra-special decorative vase, jar, or statue or other ethnic gifts for your home? Take a peek at CulturalElements.com. Free shipping in the continental U.S.! The items are beautiful! These products are actually made in their country of origin, and then shipped to the United States for sale, so what you get is a real item true to the country of origin. I’ve seen those tacky Dollar Store vases and clocks and they may say they are Bulgarian tea pots or Italian jugs, but flip them over and they all say “Made in China.” And they don’t even look like the real thing, either. CulturalElements.com offers beautiful items from the real McCoy, and the prices are very reasonable. They make great gifts!

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Spring Time Chores

May 4, 2009

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As we Northeasterners have been crawling out of our hibernation, spring slowly arrives. My spring flowers are now blooming. Spring came early this year for Upstate New York– i.e., no snow in April! Usually, we don’t allow those sporadic 70-80 degree days to fool us. We know a snowstorm could (and has) happened. But this year- nothing! What a treat! Still, most of April was chilly, and I balked at doing anything outdoors.

But now it’s May. And we’d better get going on the growing season or else nothing will be ready. Autumn’s frosts are just a few months away.

Lilac buds! At last!

Lilac Buds

And tulips! Beautiful!

Pink Tulips

The kids and I have a few projects set up for this year. For one, I have GOT to get my dining room, kitchen, and bathroom electrifed. *sigh* Even if I have to use conduit. I have been waiting until I can gut the walls to run electric wiring… there is NO WAY I’m going to snake wiring through these plaster-and-lathe walls. But right now, I still can’t gut the rooms (not unless I win a million bucks or something!). And I can’t have wires hanging all around us. So I may just grab some conduit and plug things in, until I can renovate. I’m not too pleased about this choice, but we’ve been without electric for almost two years now, and it’s getting kinda old.

We’re also enlarging our vegetable garden beds.

Enlarging Garden Beds 1

Enlarging Garden Beds 2

Garden South Side

As you can see, we have two large beds surrounded by gravel. We used to have four beds, but it was impossible for me to maintain it. I was gardening more square footage than my house– too much for me! Well anyway, I surrounded the beds with gravel for a few reasons– to keep the zillions of weeds at bay, to help with drainage (our property has an underground stream and it is always soaking wet), and to retain heat (slightly increasing our growing season time). Now that the kids are older and can help with the gardens (plus, they eat a lot more!), we’re widening the beds. This means that they have to dig out a linear foot of gravel all around the beds. I will install new boards to enclose the beds and we will add more soil. Those old boards are 150 years old, having been taken from our attic floor for the garden, lol! Yeah, we sure do know how to recycle.

The extra gravel that we are getting from the garden will go toward our next project- a new drywell system on the other side of the house. Like I said, there’s a lot of water around here and we experience flooding in our basement. It’s gotten better since the my town cleared out a drainage pipe across the street, and since we installed a drywell on the other side of the house. You can read about our project here and here. The kids found a few old coins during their dig. This side of the house we’re going to conquer may reveal even more treasures, as this side of the house was traditionally the well and garbage heap.

So that’s all I have on my plate for this year. I work at home now, leaving me very little time to devote to renovations. I’m still hoping to renovate the whole house, but especially the kitchen, which has fallen apart (literally). More to come!

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