October 16, 2010

Car Accident 101

Ever have one of those days when you feel so completely blessed to be alive?  This last couple of months has reminded me how blessed I am every day.  

On September 2nd I was in a six car pile-up that totaled my Honda Odyssey.  No one involved was seriously injured, and aside from nightly headaches I am doing really well.  

A HUGE **THANK YOU** goes out to the person or people who invented crumple zones!

The accident has been a good reminder of all the wonderful things we need to have on hand in case of a car accident.  Here is a quick list for those of us who could use a reminder:

  • Car Insurance Info
    • agent's phone number
    • insurance company's phone number 
    • insurance policy number
  • Car Registration
  • Driver's License Info
  • A list of emergency contacts
  • A list of allergies and current medications
  • Pen and paper
  • A camera

I keep all of the information in my glove box in a plastic check holder. Each section is separated out by category with Insurance and Registration information in the front of the file for easy access.  I have other sections to so I can keep track of things like car repairs and service contracts.

I used to keep a disposable camera in the glove compartment too, but since my cell phone has a camera I no longer have a disposable in the vehicle.

It is a really good idea to know what kind of car insurance you have. Check to make sure things like car rentals and property damage (like car seats and computers) are covered. When an accident occurs that involves more than one car the claims will usually go through your insurance first and you and your insurance company will be reimbursed by the insurance company of the person who hit you.  Be prepared to pay your deductible out of pocket and be reimbursed later.

When you are hit, especially if you are on the freeway, STAY in your vehicle and call 911.  The operator will dispatch you to the police department.  In the accident I was involved in, several of the people involved got out of their cars and almost created another accident. 

DO NOT DISCUSS the accident with the other people that were involved.  You can see if they are okay, but if you start discussing the accident, our minds will fill in details that weren't really there and then the police and the insurance company  won't have the most accurate account of what happened.

The first phone call to make is to 911.
Then call your emergency contact and your insurance company.

 Next time I will go over how to keep all the paperwork straight and how to deal with multiple insurance companies (so much fun!)

August 7, 2010

Paper Filing Tools I LOVE!

The school year is almost upon us.  Soon paper will be flowing into our houses faster than Niagra Falls.  So I thought I would make a list of my favorite filing supplies.

Dymo Labeler

Dymo Labeler - It looks cool,  has all kinds of labeling tape (even silver and gold so I can bling out my files!) and makes it so that I don't have to hand-write file labels.  This one even has a magnetic holder so I could put it on my fridge or filing cabinet.  I don't put it there...I am thinking of having it surgically attached to my hand I use it so much.

Pendaflex PileSmart Sorter

Pendaflex PileSmart Sorter- It is colorful and I can put off filing indefinitely but still find what I need.  I love the over-sized write-on tabs!

Pendaflex PileSmart Tabs

Pendaflex PileSmart Binder Clips - These keep papers together and the write on tabs remind me what I was going to do with the papers. ...Now if they will only remind me why I was going to the kitchen!

Straight-Tab Files

Straight Tab Files - I love the extra labeling room on straight tab files.  I don't have to abbreviate.  I also love not having to figure out if I need a right, left or center tab. They come in all kinds of colors too, so I don't have to look at a sea of manila or brown.

Hanging File Folder

Hanging File Folders - These keep my files from flopping around in my filing cabinet.  I love the ones with inside pockets so that small pieces of paper and receipts don't get lost.  Box bottom files are great for larger files.

 Post-It Removable Tabs.  They are made of a thicker plastic and are repositionable.  I use them in my files to separate out categories within the file folder.

Year Labels

Smead Year Labels  I could write the year on all my files, but I like the way these look instead.  Each year has a different color and the font size is fabulous.  I was able to pick some up at a clearance rack for 50 cents.

Knock-Knock and Vanity File Folders 
I just love the look of funny file folders.  Knock-Knock has some of the funniest organizational tool around!
These file folders are for the files that stay in the mail center out where I can look and laugh at them every day.  They are more sturdy than the files in the file-cabinet and some even have erasable tabs.  The ones in my mail center have black and white pictures of places I would like to visit.  

Happy Filing! 


August 3, 2010

It's Party Time! It's Party Time!

This last weekend my 10 year old daughter had her birthday party.  Seven of her friends and her sister were there.  The thing I like about birthday parties is that there is so little I need to do to prep for them.  It ends up being a lot of fun for me and my children get exactly what they want out of a party. 

How do I keep from going completely mad before a party you might ask... (Oh I am SO glad you asked!)

We put the kids in charge of their own party!  This idea came from a Family Fun article about a millennium ago.  In times past, I was not as footloose and fancy free as I am now, no way!  I would spend days, sometimes a month or more prepping for an extravaganza of a lifetime. 

We would invite ALL of the kids friends and create  fantasy birthday parties.  One year we created Thomas the Tank Engine's train yard and had the children (20 of them) move from activity to activity through the train yard.   By the time the party rolled around I was tired, on edge, and just a tiny bit crazed.  Then there was the clean up from these three-ring-circuses, um..I mean parties... that would always take two to three days.

In addition to the friend party, I come from a really big family who all happen to live close by and my husband's family is also here. So we would have the friend party, a family party with his family, and a family party with my family for every single birthday! (That equals out to 18 parties in 5 months for our family of 6.)

One June I realized I had overspent the household budget by about $200. I tracked down the culprit and it was the birthday parties!  That was when I decided something needed to change.

Starting that year I gave each of the kids a $50 budget for their party.  They could "take the money and run," they could use the $50 to throw the party, or they could throw the party of their dreams as long as they provided the funds above and beyond the $50.

I would assist them in coming up with ideas for the party and in making sure no details, like food or activities were missed, but they would be responsible to plan and shop for their party. 

This plan has worked out splendidly!  They get to have what they want and I always stay in budget.  They have learned to bargain shop and have come up with some pretty outrageous parties for $50.  There was this Harry Potter extravaganza that would have blown you away...

We also put a limit on the number of children that are invited.  The kids can invite as many friends as the number of years they have lived plus one, so for instance, with this last party my daughter was able to invite 11 friends.

I also have simplified my preparation for these parties.  Below is the order that I prep the house for a party:
  • Clean the entry way and clear the walk-way. (5 minutes)
  • Sweep the kitchen floor and spot clean if needed. (10 minutes)
  • Empty all the garbage cans. (10 minutes)
  • Spot clean the toilet and  bathroom sink. (5 minutes)
  • Put out new hand-towels in the bathroom and kitchen. (> 5 minutes)
  • Check the soap dispensers to make sure they are full. (> 5 minutes)
  • Wipe down kitchen counters and table (10 minutes)
  • Pick up any additional rooms that activities are going to be in - Spot vacuum if necessary. (15 minutes)
  • Put up decorations 
  • Get myself ready
If there is time:
  • Unload the dishwasher (That way clean up is really easy)
  • Put out food
  • Start some music
The total time to prep is 1-2 hours depending on how extensive the decorations are and how elaborate the costumes are.

The question I ask myself as I prep is, "What will my guests see or use?"  I plan on being completely prepped for the party about 30 minutes before guests are due to arrive.  That way if something goes horribly wrong or they arrive early, I am not stressed out. Then I completely relax.  The point of having a party is to have fun and celebrate! 

Party on Dude!

July 27, 2010

Where my Stuffing got in the way of my Life

Every day we have the opportunity to look at life in a new way.

A couple friends of of mine recently posted disturbing videos to their Facebook pages. The first was a CNN piece about a woman who died in her house and had to be extracted through the roof because of extreme hoarding. The second was about a new show about people who hoard pets.

While recent media is highlighting the issue of hoarding (and I am very grateful they are) most people will look at the videos and say, "That is so sad." and then go one with the day.

I, however can't just move on. I have this thought process that stops me and asks,

"How does this apply to me?"

This is what I know:

Hoarding is NEVER about the stuff, animals, or whatever is being hoarded.

While hoarding is a compulsion, the compulsion is usually triggered through a life event. Hoarding is about trying to fill an emotional space, an unfilled expectation, or a need. The problem is that you can never have enough of what you don't really need.  When the person is willing to look at the thought process or emotion of that life event, then he or she can start healing and will find that he or she is not compelled to hoard as often.

This is how it applies to me:

While I am a very organized person, I stuff in other areas. Usually when I want to say something, but don't feel it is appropriate, I put something in my mouth so the words won't escape. 

All those eaten words have built up into a good fat layer all over my body. That fat has now made it so that I can't do all of the things that I once enjoyed. I am very self-conscious in social situations, especially ones involving swimsuits!

What I am going to do about it:

This is the hardest part. I get to be more social without involving food. Just typing those words makes me want to cry. When I have been blessed to work with people who hoard they say they feel naked when the stuff is removed. Am I willing to feel naked?

What are you stuffing that is getting in the way of your life?

July 22, 2010

Perfectionist Tendencies, Anyone?

I have a confession.  I have been the proud owner of this Blog for more than a year.  


That's right, my first.  Well, that is not entirely true.  I have written a couple of times, then quickly left them in the drafts folder to marinate for a few months...because words typed on a computer could get better with time and no editing.   (psst...Doesn't happen)

Why would I have a blog for a year and never publish?  Well, a few friends asked me to start blogging. I thought it was a good idea, so I got a domain name that fits with my life and philosophy. (More about that later)  Then I sat down to write and panicked.

You see, I am what most people would call a perfectionist.  I would love my world to be perfect.  I would love it if everything in my house worked in perfect order all the time.  I would love it if my children picked up after themselves every day.  I would even love it if I understood Algebra perfectly so that I could get a perfect 4.0 (Did I mention I went back to college recently?)  I would even love it my laundry were done every day and my car was detailed to the nth degree (apparently the Algebra is starting to sink in!)

So, with my blog I did what any self-respecting perfectionist would do.  In this past year I have read blogs, thought about blogs and obsessed about what I would write on my blog.  I completely intimidated myself.  I started thinking about what my blog would be a year from now.  I started waiting for the PERFECT solution.  I waited for the PERFECT topic.  I waited for the PERFECT person to write it.  I compared what I thought my blog would be to all the blogs I was reading and always came up short.

Little tip: 
You can't compare what isn't to what is, you will ALWAYS come up short.

So why did I finally post?  I stopped waiting for perfect to happen and decided that you get me just the way I am.  Imperfections and all, because sometimes good enough is perfect.