The Importance Of Positive Messages

I read a post by Eliza at Happy Simple Life and it absolutely made my day.  She talked about her ‘happy file’ that she started years ago.  Whenever she gets a thank you note or a nice message from a friend or something else that expresses a positive thought from someone else, she puts in her file.  She’s been doing it for years and her file is getting full!

I have never done this, and I imagine most people haven’t, but I have to say that I think it’s a pretty amazing idea.  Think about it.  Anytime you get discouraged or overwhelmed or when you start feeling sorry for yourself or feeling mb-2015-01smilelike you’re unappreciated or maybe even under qualified, guess what?  You have a whole bunch of history that can tell you otherwise.

I can’t imagine any better way to pull you out of a funk than looking back and seeing the different messages that have come your way.

The Fourth Grade Gold Star

Feeling good about yourself is really important.  Want an example of how I know?  I can think back to my fourth grade class.  If my math is right, that was around 32 years ago.  I really liked my teacher and it was one of the better years of my elementary schooling.

Now here’s a memory: One day, I was just killing it with everything goin my way.  I answered questions right, I volunteered to do stuff around the class, I did really good on all the class work, and I didn’t get into any trouble at all (a big thing for me back then if you can believe it *lol*).  Long story short, I was just ‘on’.

At the end of the day, she put a little envelope on my desk and when I looked at it, she’d written a little note for me to take home to my parents.  It was simple, and said that I had a great day in class today, and had a gold star.

That note, that one simple thing, became one of my prized possessions.  Even years later, when I’d come across it, the amount of pride I felt was awesome.

As I’m pretty sure I still have it, I know that if I were to pull it out, that it would still make me feel good, 32 years later.

So just imagine how great a whole bunch of those would make you feel.

Side note: I often wonder if I truly did realize that I was having a good day, or if the positive experience of the note re-shaped my memory over time.  It’s funny how the mind works.  Either way, it ended up being a great day.

Readers, do you do anything like Eliza to keep track of the positive experiences, whether it be at work or with friends or with love?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

I May Never Buy A GE Appliance Again

For years, I’ve followed the trials and tribulations of the front loading washing machine issues surrounding mold.  Why?  Because the washer that we have has been plagued with issues since we purchased it when we bought our house in 2007.

At the time, I thought it was great.  The community where we moved had some of the highest water rates in the area, so it was a HUGE win to save money on the water bill with the new type of machine that used significantly less water.

The honeymoon quickly wore off.

Moldy Gasket

When we first got our machine, we did what any sensible person would do and closed the door when it wasn’t in use.  Sound, reasonable, right?  Well, we quickly found out that was a bad idea when the rubber gasket around the door started getting covered in mildew.

So, we started keeping the door open.  Unfortunately, the damage had already been done and that gasket continued to get mildew and such on it until around 2011 when it finally started to fall apart and we had it replaced.

Second Gasket

The second gasket lasted about three years before it finally started breaking down as well.  Through keeping the door open, we didn’t get the buildup of bunk, but having a door open all the time is not exactly the look of a nice clean laundry room.

Third Gasket

The newest gasket we have has developed a small leak.  Just a little puddle to clean up off the floor that I’m sure will

Where our machine belongs  Image from Morguefile courtesy of johnwollring
Where our machine belongs
Image from Morguefile courtesy of johnwollring

likely grow.  But, for now it’s ‘manageable’.  Or is it?  I mean, here we are looking at something that most reasonable people would probably not put up with, but these hunks of junks have lowered the bar so much, that wiping up a puddle is considered acceptable.  Unreal.

The Soap Drawer

The latest is that the drawer that you pull out to fill up the soap, bleach, and fabric softener now gets mildew all over it.  For quite a while, leaving the drawer pulled out slightly would keep things OK here, but now, not so much.  Now, we actually go through the trouble of taking the drawer completely out most nights when we’re done with wash.  Even with this, mildew still develops and I have to clean not only the drawer, but the surrounding plastic on the inside of the machine,  about every 2-3 months.

Scary Part

You want to know the real scary part of all this?  It’s not that we have to keep the door open and pull out the drawer and scrub the entire thing every three months.  You’d think that’s bad enough, but the real scary part is that we’re only keeping the areas clean that we have access to.  I’m not stupid enough to believe for a second that the inside of this machine isn’t caked with mildew in places that we can’t get to.

And it’s a wonder that I have skin eczema.

Insult To Injury

On top of everything, GE won’t step up to fix the issue.  Amazingly, a couple of companies were sued and settled lawsuits.  Maytag and Whirlpool were the ones that come to mind.

Somehow, GE not only refused to acknowledge any problem, but they actually managed to convince someone that there were not widespread problems with their machines.  There’s simply no way that can be true.  You can’t tell me that our machine is just an outlier.  That’s bologna.

So, I’m hard pressed to think that I’ll ever buy a GE appliance again.  They built a crappy product, they refused to stand behind it (I did contact them), they somehow managed to skirt blame, so they are very low on my list.  At some point this pile of junk will either stop working or I’ll decide I’ve had enough with the mildew, and we’ll end up getting something else.  When that happens, I can tell you what brand of washer we WON’T be bringing into the house.

Readers, have any of you participated in the front loading washing machine lawsuit or had any experience, good, bad or otherwise, with these types of machines?

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Camping 2016 Season By The Numbers

This past weekend, we took our final camping trip of the year, and capped it off by getting the RV trailer shut down and stored for the winter.  We had a great season and I thought it’d be fun to recap by sharing some numbers:

# of Days in the Active Season – Our first night of camping was May 26th and our final day of using it was October 9th.

# of Camping Trips Taken

# of Nights Camping

# of Michigan State Parks we camped at

# of parks that were ‘new’ to us this season

# of Tow Vehicles we used to tow our trailer

# of Miles Towed to get to and from our trip

# of round trip miles to the campground furthest away

# of times we camped there

# of round trip miles to the campground closest

# of times we camped there

# of total sleeping configurations (seven trips had our family of four, one trip had my wife & I as well as my sister-in-law and her boyfriend, and one trip was a boys weekend with just my son and I)

# of times our outside rug got flooded during thunderstorms

# of days we got to spend at a beach while camping

# of birthdays we got to celebrate while camping

# of 30-amp extension cords that partially melted from overheating

# of bottle of anti-freeze I thought I had when getting ready to winterize for the season

# of bottles of anti-freeze I actually had

# of memories created this season

# of days until the first day of camping in 2017

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

If You’re Told To Evacuate, Then Evacuate

Hurricane Matthew hit the United States over a week ago now, but the cleanup and damage assessment still goes on.  One of the things that I saw in the days after Matthew was finding people that had died or that needed to be rescued.  While I felt bad for the people, I had a nagging feeling that many of the people that died could have lived and many of the people that needed rescued could have avoided their harrowing situation had they done what many of their neighbors had done, which was to get out of dodge.

Matthew didn’t come out of nowhere.  It didn’t go wildly off course (and the times it did actually helped things from being worse as it stayed further offshore than anticipated during the strongest points).  So, if it wasn’t a big surprise, how come so many people still ended up in harms way?

Simple, because most of them didn’t listen.

Evacuation was suggested.  In some cases it was more than a suggestion.  It was basically a ‘get out now’ mandate.  The thing is that people can’t be forced to evacuate, so while many smart people got out, many decided to stay and tough it out.

I’m sure that some of these people made it through just fine, but others didn’t come through.  Instead, some people died.  Some people had to be rescued.  Some people lost pets.

Lives and money could have been saved.  Every person that loses their life to a storm like this is a tragedy, but I can’t help but feel that some deaths could be avoided if more people left.

Similarly, every person that’s rescued is a great story, but rescues cost money and they put the people doing the mb-2016-10-stormrescuers in harms way as well.

I’m lucky in that I live in Michigan and we don’t get hurricanes.  The worst we typically get from  a hurricane is once it’s done and finishes its path and we’ll get a bunch of rain for a couple of days.  I get it.  We have it good.  But, I can’t understand why people don’t leave when they ought to and they’ve been told to.  This isn’t 1916 when I imagine hurricane warnings often consisted of someone looking out to shore and saying “Uh-oh, hurricane”).  In those times, devastation and loss of life was a lot more unavoidable.

But we can avoid it now.

And we should.

So the question is, when will we start avoiding it for good?  When will we have a storm that comes and wreaks havoc on buildings and roads and beaches, but doesn’t claim a human life?

It can happen.  But it doesn’t.

Maybe some day.

Readers, why do you think that people choose not to leave in this day in age when forecasting and communication combine to make it so much easier?  Have you ever stuck around in a storm?  How did you feel about it later?

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.