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Archive for the ‘money’ Category

We finally got Ted an iPad, primarily for use as an AAC device, but we knew there were other apps out there that might be useful.  We’ve found autism related apps, educational apps, some really fun apps for rewards, and lots of communication apps.  We also found a fantastic case for it, too!

It’s a shame that insurance does not cover these. An AAC device starts at around 3k.  An iPad with a good case, good AAC software, and some other apps? About 1k.  But the insurance would rather pay 3k and up, because those devices are for communication only.  Heaven forbid someone has something that can be used for things other than the intended purpose. They’d rather throw money away. No wonder premiums are so high.  Insurance companies will not use common sense when it comes to deciding what to pay, and what not to pay.

I hope to be reviewing some of the apps we’re using.  The whole experience is a real game changer. It’s made an impressive difference in my son’s life.

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Has anyone here heard of Angie’s List? I recently joined, and in the Dubuque area, memberships are FREE. Angie’s List is like Yelp, but focuses on contractors and medical professionals. To build up their base, they need more members to write more reviews.

If you’d like an invite (I get M&Ms if you use my invite to join), drop me a line. Even if you aren’t in the area, ask for an invite — your area might also be a charter area, too, offering free membership, or you may simply think this service is worth the fee. Check it out!

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Of all things to write about, I’m very excited about the ‘pay as you throw’ system of garbage collection.  It’s when I noticed how well I was doing with it, lately, that I realized how it can be an excellent way for communities to manage their garbage.

This is how it works in Dubuque.  You pay a monthly fee (under $10 I believe, it is part of the water bill) for garbage pick up. This fee is for one standard sized can.  You can pay extra for a larger can, or if you have the occasional extra garbage, you can buy stickers ($1.25 each) to stick on the handle of another can, or on a bag or larger (within reason) item.

Recycling is free.  There are a lot of items recycled here, we take more plastic than they did in NYC. No matter how much garbage you have to recycle, they will pick it up for free.

They also have yearly yard stickers (that you pay extra for during the spring/summer/fall), or stickers for yard waste.  Some communities have food scrap pickup, but there is a waiting list to get on that.

I come from Brooklyn, where you would have two cans picked up twice a week. Here it is the one can plus recyclables once a week.  I have now managed to consistently stay within my allotment.

In Brooklyn, you got tickets for not putting your recycling where it belonged. Put a soda bottle or box in a trash bag, get a fine.  Here, put that in a trash bag, and waste valuable space.

I never cared much about fines, although I did recycle. I do care about having to run and get stickers if I go over.  I’ve become competent at squishing boxes nicely, and spend more time than I used to contemplating packaging when shopping.  I enjoy my bagged milk, for example.  It takes hardly any space at all, and recyclable!

I know there is a concern about someone using your garbage to throw their extra stuff out.  It has happened, and I’ve seen it happen occasionally. But I am sure there are measures in place to minimize that.  In places that patrol garbage for a can mixed in with paper, they could use those people to fine those who misuse garbage that way. Or roll it out in communities where this is less likely to be a problem.

So, pay as you throw not only has increased my recycling, but it has decreased the amount of packaging I use.  It’s changed the way I think about what I bring into the house.  This is a positive change that is good for me, and my environment.  More communities should look to pay as you throw as a way to increase recycling, and decrease what goes into landfills. The carrot (saving money) works better than the stick (paying fines), I think.

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Earlier this week I woke up to my driver’s side window smashed in (by a spark plug, apparently a common way of breaking car windows quietly and quickly).  My GPS, which I normally take in every night, was stolen.  I was supposed to go out for one more drive, but Ted wanted to walk, instead, and after the walk I put him to bed and forgot about the GPS. (And my backpack AND my radio.)

I have an idea who did it — waiting for the police to finish their investigation.  There was one person who rode in my car, who knew all about it, who was curious about it, and the first day it is left in, it’s gone. A family that always asks for money and items.  Who knew too much about other things. Most importantly, I was woken up twice by noise from their door that night — they claim no one was up and about.  A bunch of other thoughts too, but for now, there is nothing I can do.

The police who responded, and the investigators I spoke to later on in the day, were absolutely brilliant.  They made something scary and upsetting, bearable.  I didn’t expect so much attention and concern, it was a pleasant suprise.

Dealing with Progressive was pleasant too, although my deductible is rather high, and I wound up paying out of pocket. But they found me a local division of Safelite, which is prompt, affordable, and on site.  The GPS was not covered, though, as it wasn’t a permanent part of the car. (That’s being taken care of though, at least.)

I am very disappointed that this happened in a place I moved to that I went in with bright expectations about safety.  I let my guard down a little bit.  I should have known better. What bothers me the most, though, is I’ve done a bit to help this family out, and support them in ways I could, and it felt like “no good deed goes unpunished”.  Plus they knew that I wasn’t rolling in cash.  That I couldn’t help them too much because I had my own tight budget to adhere to.

However, given the outpouring of support from family, friends, and community, if this is my punishment, keep it coming.  Although I am still rattled, and this hit me at a time where I really didn’t need to get a (financial) hit, in ways I’m better off than I was before it happened. I found support and caring from places I didn’t expect it, and had other parts of my network re-affirm how wonderful they really are.

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That was fun! And the minimums are tiny — just $25 to get in.

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Just For the Record. A comparison of facts/numbers regarding the economy, based on party.

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sinkpositive water saving sink

I have an upstairs toilet. My main bathroom is downstairs. Upstairs is just something closet sized, with just a toilet.  No sink. A light, and a very old toilet that needs replacing. It is so old it is Harvest Gold and Avacado Green. Really.

I saw this, the sink on top of the tank, and realized it would make the upstairs emergency bathroom much more functional! It is a sink on top of the tank, uses the water straight from the source, and then drains into the tank, filling it.

So not only do I now have ROOM for a sink, it is a money saver, and it’s green, too!  I’m pretty happy, it seems to be just in the $100 range, which is more than reasonable to add a sink AND save water.

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