Friday, December 21, 2018

Fly On The Wall During The Christmas Holiday

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, four bloggers are welcoming you into their homes for a glimpse at what goes on behind closed doors.

     The fly buzzing around the Doyle house has witnessed a frenzy of holiday activity in preparation of Christmas Day. We've been shopping and baking and decorating like crazy, but more importantly, we've been spending time together in appreciation of who we are as a family.

     This year, Christmas is extra special with the addition of my second granddaughter. I was blessed to have my sweet Isabella, but now I am doubly blessed with angelic much to be thankful for this holiday season!

     I've spent a few weekends baking with my family (and making a sugary mess of things):

     Got in some Christmas shopping and lunch with my oldest daughter. She brought Alessandra, who passed her first shopping excursion with flying colors!

     We did quite a bit of decorating----no small feat with the 23 large containers of holiday items that I had stored in the attic:

     And then there was one particularly poignant moment when I took a break from cookie baking to watch my oldest granddaughter playing in the backyard garden. She was wearing one of her mother's old dresses and when she stood under our arbor, I had to catch my breath. It was as if I was looking into a crystal ball, and there was my Izzy, twenty years from now on her wedding day. My eyes blurred with tears as I said a little prayer of thanks for the gift that is my granddaughters.

     Family is everything to me, and the people in these photos are the reason for my joy during the holiday season. They are my sanity when life becomes messy, and my heart when I feel their love surround me.

     From our house to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas, a peaceful holiday season, and a happy New Year. See you in 2019!

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado        
Menopausal Mother          
Never Ever Give Up Hope 
Spatulas on Parade         

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ways To Hire A lawyer When You Have Low Income

     Today on the blog I have guest writer Will Bail, a freelance link-builder and web developer, here to share his advice on hiring a lawyer if your income is low. As we know, lawyers are very expensive. If you do a little research and use the connections you have, you'll find one who is affordable.

Ways to Hire a Lawyer When You Have Low Income

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for working with my hands. So, when my uncle approached me at the age of 19 to start a residential construction company with him, it seemed the perfect fit. 

To make sure I was a qualified business partner for him, I enrolled at the local community college. Being one of the only women in my classes was one of the largest issues I faced; the actual course work came rather easy for me. With some additional real-world lessons working alongside my uncle, I felt confident that going into business with him would be my answer to fulfilling the American dream; I'd be a young business owner, calling the shots on my schedule. 

What I didn't realize at the time was that construction would not be the only industry knowledge I'd need. The logistics of starting a business, making sure we had proper contractual agreements and legal documents to protect us were among the many key considerations that I had not previously explored. It was clear to me that we needed professional help to navigate the legal side of our adventure. 

By this point I had student loans, a minimum wage job and only a few thousand dollars that I'd managed to save as my contribution for our start-up. As I began researching lawyers, a large pit grew in my stomach; there was no way we could afford the help we needed. Luckily, the determined entrepreneur in me found some creative ways to not let this be the end of our new venture. 

There is one key factor to remember when seeking a lawyer on a low income: It is all about who you know. 

If you have a close friend who is a lawyer or have one in the family, don't be shy to ask for their time. In most cases, they are technically not allowed to sell you their services. Buy them a meal while you talk business and you both get out pretty cheap. 

For me, I knew students, and a handful of them were paralegal assistants or soon-to-be lawyers. I asked a lot of questions, was given the inside track on creating my own documents and getting them notarized to save money. One student even suggested a law firm that he knew of who specializes in Construction Law (if you'd like to take a look visit Roberts Legal lawyers Newcastle). I used this and similar websites to better understand what we needed and what questions to ask when interviewing lawyers. 

Yes, that's right, interview lawyers. Shop around to find out rate information, gauge their customer service level, response time and make sure your personalities are a good fit for a working relationship. 

Knowledge is power. Ask questions. Use internet resources. Once you've done the research and completed all possible forms and documents on your own, you can cut down on the face time you pay fees for when meeting with a lawyer.

Will Bail is a freelance link-builder and web developer. He has an adventurous mind but seldom travels as he would rather stay home and make client's business websites more visible on the internet. When not working, you can find him playing nintendo games or hanging out at the church.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Life In The Old School Lane: Things Our Grandkids Will Never Know

     When I remind my kids that my generation grew up without microwaves, cell phones or cable TV, they pretty much envision me being raised by a pack of wolves in the forest. They have no idea what it is to WAIT for things, because instant gratification is the name of the game nowadays. Sure, I enjoy the convenience of text messaging, Netflix and Uber Eats, but there is something to be said about the good ol' days when anticipation led to a deeper level of appreciation.

     Millennials are probably relieved to have missed out on many of the things that we once considered a convenience, just as our Baby Boomer generation is thrilled that we grew up with modern washing machines and didn't have to scrub our clothes on a board like our grandparents did. Or do our business in an outhouse at 3:00 in the morning!

     If my future grandchildren ever want to know what life was like in the 60's, 70's or early 80's, they'll have to go to a museum just to see how it felt to dial a rotary phone, write in cursive, wind a clock or adjust the rabbit ears on a sketchy black and white television set.

     I'm guilty of digging my heels in when it comes to modern technology. I was the last person in my family to own a cell phone, and I completely resisted the idea of buying a home computer until it was obvious that my kids needed one for school. More importantly, I didn't take kindly to comparisons of our family living in the Dark Ages, or that our level of technological communication was on par with early cave drawings.

     Life without my cell phone or my trusty laptop is unimaginable now. When the power goes out and the Wifi is down, I feel as if I've been cut off from civilization, stranded on an island with two tin cans and a string for communication.

     A quick trip down memory lane serves as a perfect reminder of what will forever be lost on future generations:

*The thrill of renting a VCR tape from Block Buster to see the latest movie release (which was usually six months past by the time it was available). God forbid if you returned the tape late or---the horrors---you forgot to rewind it!

*The joy of receiving a 10 page, handwritten letter in the mail from a friend (Emails lack that personal touch). I really treasured those long letters and anxiously waited by the mailbox when I heard the postman's truck down the street.

* Flipping cards in a Rolodex to find a phone number. I also kept a small address book that contained every phone number I would ever need in my purse. This was accompanied by a pocket calendar and a notepad.

*Airplanes had wider seats, served full meals at no cost, and your baggage amount was unlimited, free of charge. I know this because I traveled frequently and carried enough luggage on my trips to open up a clothing boutique.

*Using cassette tapes to record our favorite songs off of the radio. This enabled us to pop our favorite tunes into the car stereo system for road trips. A few diehards stubbornly stuck to their 8 track tapes, but I loved my cassettes and kept dozens of them in a large carrying case the I dragged with me on every trip.

*MTV was actual non-stop music videos, not freakish reality shows featuring Botoxed women sipping champagne and complaining about their sugar daddies.

*Passing private notes that were folded into paper footballs across the aisles in both junior high and high school. Of course, there was always the risk of getting caught by the teacher, but it was a helluva lot more fun than texting.

*The sheer anticipation of waiting for your camera film to be developed at the Photo Mart Kiosk. It usually took 5-7 days to process, but if you were super anxious, you could pay extra and have those glossy prints in your hot little hands within 24 hours.

*Full service gas stations were THE BEST convenience. You never had to leave your car to use the pump or swipe your credit card. A nice man with his name stitched across the front pocket of his shirt came out to fill your tank, wash your windows and check your oil while you waited. If you had car troubles, the garage for repairs was right there. No mini grocery stores, though. If you were hungry or thirsty, you had one vending machine for sodas and one for candy bars and chips.

*Research of any type was time consuming. If your folks didn't own a set of World Books or the Encyclopedia Britannica, you had to trudge to the local library and spend hours searching through the card catalog or scanning microfiche film to find the information you were looking for. Siri and Google have made this practice pretty much extinct, THANK YOU JESUS.

*Road trips were quite the adventure in cars that didn't come equipped with GPS systems, electric windows or even seatbelts. This was great when I was kid, because my siblings and I could crawl to the back of the station wagon and build a fort with suitcases while Mom and Dad argued over the directions on a road atlas.

*No television remote controls, so we got our daily exercise by getting up from the couch numerous times to switch the dial around the only three channels available. You could lose five pounds in a day if you changed it often enough.

*Phones were attached to the wall and placed strategically in busy areas of the house so that everyone in the family knew your business. If you were lucky, the phone had a long, curly cord that could be dragged into the bathroom for private conversations.

*Automatic ice makers were not part of the freezer. If you wanted ice, you bought several metal ice trays, filled them with water and waited several hours before being able to chill your drinks. Something that could be heard nightly in every house in America: "WHO LEFT THE ICE TRAY IN THE FREEZER WITH ONLY ONE CUBE LEFT?"

     Our generation survived just fine without ATMs, Alexa, water purifiers, craft beer and Starbucks. The list goes on and on, and although I'm incredibly grateful for my espresso machine and Bullet blender, I still prefer a handwritten letter and a bowl of popcorn that was popped on the stove, not in a microwave.

     Now if you'll excuse me, someone is calling me on my princess rotary phone and I can't miss the next episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? You can catch me this week on The Sisters' Hood with my humor post on The 10 Commandments of Middle Age.


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