Recently, a fund raising focus has been on helping the people in Haiti following the earthquake that devastated the island. The need there is great, and its wonderful to see the outpouring of love and aid that has come from the tragedy.
However, right here in our country, there are many people and organizations that are in need. And as everyone finds themselves tightening the belt on spending, those needs become greater. We find ourselves picking and choosing where we give our support.
For me, I have a few places I feel compelled most to help. At the top of that list is the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
See, my nephew has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), and I have seen the amazing things that MDA is doing with my own eyes through him.
My nephew is, without a single doubt in my mind, one of THE most amazing people anyone would be lucky enough to meet. Why? Simply because of his attitude and perspective on life. He never asks, “Why me?” Instead, he puts his energy and focus on those things he can do.
And his answer?
“When my sister got to have something I didn’t.”
I remember blinking back tears, and my heart filling with admiration. He could have said any number of things. When I couldn’t play baseball anymore. When I spent a week in ICU one summer. When I can’t join in at PE with the rest of the kids playing ball and chase. But no, when his sister got something he wanted.
He has an easy smile and can-do attitude. I have always said it, and I will continue to say it. I look up to that kid; he is my biggest hero. If I can be even half as optimistic as he is, then I’m doing okay.
It is with great honor that I will be joining him and the rest of the family in Dallas, Texas at the new Cowboys Stadium this weekend for MDA’s Stride & Ride to help raise money for MDA. We are Maynard’s Gang, named by Cody. And even though I don’t do mornings (no, really, I don’t; this isn’t just a funny thing to say), I will be there at 7:30 AM with a smile on my face (assuming I have coffee, then it might not be a smile as much as a smirk), ready to support this great cause. Ready to stand there by my nephew and family. Ready to be a part of this event.
(Besides. Dude. The new Cowboys Stadium. Holy Smokes! I can’t wait to see it! WOW! I think this week’s Weekly Winners has a definite theme ahead. LOL!)
I know from personal experience… dollars are very short these days. But if you can give, even just a little bit, please consider helping sponsor Maynard’s Gang.
I still remember my dad doing tax returns out of our living room when I was a kid. He had a full-time job during the day, but would do returns in the evenings between January and April 15th.
As the years passed, the living room office turned into a separate building, and the full-time job for both Mom and Dad became the family business. By the time I was in high school, I was used to having them able to attend countless events due to the flexibility of self-employment. However, in the same breath, I coined myself the term “Tax Season Orphan” as through tax season, I was used to their putting in long hours at work.
I would help out at the office regularly. Sometimes filing. Sometimes shredding papers. Sometimes data input. Sometimes just running errands. I could really truthfully say I’ve worked at the office since high school, its just been a bit sporadic.
I swore I wouldn’t do anything dealing with math, and my love for writing sent me to a Journalism degree. I worked at a newspaper for a year and a half, and, of course, I’ve married and moved to Nashville. Nonetheless, I have continued to help out using my degree for advertising, designing the web-site, etc.
Last year, I spent most of tax season in Texas working at the family business. My husband and I joked that it was my turn to be on the road for work, like he usually is doing his job. I would spend three weeks in Texas, one week in Nashville, and then do it all over again. All the way through tax season.
It worked out nicely! My parents didn’t have to hire and train a new employee, and I was happy to have the work. So, it was pretty much a no-brainer to do it again this year.
Today was my first day in the office for this tax season.
My husband and I drove down to Texas last week, as he has a show in Houston anyway. I was able to come see him at work for the show, and we got to spend a few extra days together going into the season.
He left back for Nashville yesterday, and I teased him that he was a Tax Season Widower.
It is what it is, and we’re good at the long-distance thing. For the next three months, I’m the Musician’s Widow married to the Tax Season Widower. We’re a pair, aren’t we? I think the time apart makes us appreciate our time together all the more… and that makes me grateful.
So here we go! Most of my time in Texas, with trips to Nashville in between. Let the “Tax Season Shuffle” begin!
A very late Weekly Winners submission this week. It was a busy week, and an even busier Saturday & Sunday. But, better late than never!
For more submissions, go visit Sarcastic Mom!
All of my photos on Flickr.
Not much a photo-taking week this week, so very slim pickin’s. For more Weekly Winners peeps… go see Sarcastic Mom, our beautiful hostess.
All of my photos on Flickr.
A snow-filled Weekly Winners! We took a trip to the Smoky Mountains for our Anniversary (3 years!), and then it snowed when we got back home to Nashville! A snowy week for us!!
For many more Weekly Winners participants, go visit Sarcastic Mom!
All of my photos on Flickr.
Read the fine print. We’ve all heard that advice time and time again, but I’m willing to bet we are ALL guilty of not doing it now and then. Most of the time, I read the fine print when something seems too good to be true, and I want to prove to myself I am right. It’s the times I want to believe “too good to be true” IS true that I don’t read it. That, or when I think I already know the fine print.
Within the last few weeks I’ve run into cases where I failed to read the fine print. The first case came out fine, and I think I ultimately ended up making a better decision for my situation than I would have otherwise. The second case… Well…
My husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary this week. We celebrated it in the Smoky Mountains area of Tennessee. We’ve made many trips to the Gatlinburg area, and I think its safe to say that its our favorite vacation location.
This past summer, we got signed up for a three day/two night trip to Pigeon Forge through this time share resort company. Go on our trip, sit through their presentation, and receive gift cards to Bass Pro Shops whether we sign up for the timeshare or not. It was that easy.
Too good to be true, right? We should have thought so, but somehow it all made sense. And somehow we missed the “minimum income required” in the fine print.
Fast forward about six months to this week. Excited for our trip, we’d not been out that direction in over a year, and after a stressful few months we figured a pre-paid vacation would be the thing to clear our minds. We arrived at the check-in location, and it was at that time we were given a “questionnaire” and the one that stumped us was “yearly income.”
See, in both of our careers, nailing down a yearly income is a struggle. We both have income from multiple sources through the year, and usually we don’t know how we came out until we file our tax return. It usually ends up being the surprise that we are never really happy with. So, we opted to go fairly middle of the road in our answer. Enough to live comfortably, but low enough to show we’re not exactly able to have that many “fun times and toys.”
Page two comes. First requirement, a minimum income. One check box above the one we’d checked. We looked at each other with alarm, but I ultimately shrugged it off. Its not like we were drastically below that minimum (Literally could have been less than $100 less given the span of income choices) and we WERE starting a whole new year. Surely this wouldn’t be an issue. The final requirement would be that we both attend the presentation, lest our deal be voided and we’d be charged full price for our room instead of the discounted rate. (After all of the events of our trip, I read the fine print and discovered all of this in there. So they did cover their butt there. Its in the fine print, why should they tell you this from the get-go? Right?)
Our room was very nice. It reminded me of a small apartment, and with a full (small) kitchen we were able to avoid eating out that night. I had brought food along to cook, and we spent the whole evening inside from the cold.
The next morning — our actual anniversary — we headed over to the presentation. We checked in, and before long were called to the front desk. “You don’t make the minimum requirement, you can’t take the presentation. We can’t change the original answer you gave. Call this number for more details.”
We wouldn’t be ALLOWED to sit through the presentation? What did this mean for the room rate?
We found out fast it voided everything. No gift cards and the room price went immediately back to full price. AND we were minutes after check-out time. In other words, “You don’t make enough money so we are going to screw you over and charge you more money.” Kind of like credit cards these days. Can’t pay your bill? OK! We’ll just charge you MORE MONEY because that just makes the most logical sense. Right?
I’ll never be a millionaire because I have too much logic going on in my brain. I can’t think of these ways to make people who can’t afford things to pay more for those same things that I’ll give to a rich man for free. But I digress…
Luckily, at the actual resort, the front desk woman was incredibly sweet and checked us out immediately and assured us we wouldn’t be charged for a second night after all. If more people were as kind as this woman, the world would be a far kinder and happier place.
I’ve carefully left out the name of this resort company all along, and I’ll continue to do so from here on out. However, I will add a link to “Pissed Consumers” page regarding the company… Reading this page made me realize that they probably did us a huge favor in the end. It is also in reading this page that I wish I’d done my homework sooner and known better what kind of company we were dealing with.
My husband and I refused to let it ruin our Anniversary, and in the end we made our way home a day early. Snow and ice that fell over night made us very grateful we HAD decided to come on home, and everything came out all right. We had a wonderful and memorable day. Made it home safely. And didn’t have to sit though some stuffy 90 – 120 minute presentation on our special day.
Oh and the lesson to read the fine print was nailed down even harder.