Most every individual and family is acutely aware of the substantial loss of free time since the late 1990’s. We call this the 21st century illness. Symptoms:
*Frantic overworked employees who believe this is the path to the true American dream. The offset: No time for much else, even participating in family events.
*The All-American family that must have everything and be everything. Primarily a mother’s activities, a non stop movement to keep the home looking great, the kids’ activities involving the mommy mobile, community organizations, schools, etc.
*Community activities have gotten completely out of control for many families in matters of time and financial commitments. Join one and the invitations become never ending. If you perform, you’ll be lucky enough to become a hard working volunteer member on the Board.
*Note on little league sports: Big problem, and lots of pressure on dad and mom to participate.
This may be just exactly what you want and represents an important ingredient in your work ethic and sense of self worth. Now what happens to the “lesser” to dos? OH MISS Concierge will gather those that you are less inclined to do and find the alternative solution. You are now on your way to finding the time for what is really important and can not be retrieved once gone.
Having experienced lives with little or no balance, we have become seriously aware of what we call the 21st century illness: the lack of time to recreate, to rest, to nap, to love and enjoy time with your family.
Let OH MISS manage lesser issues that don’t involve you in your fundamental careers or group activities. Take time to recharge your batteries-read a book, go on a cruise, take a week to visit your children or grandchildren.
OH MISS can arrange the most desirable transportation, watch your home by doing all the ancillary things such as bringing in the mail, newspapers, pay bills, care for pets by visiting during the day, assuring your home is secure and giving the appearance of being occupied.
It may be that you are an adult child, who needs to help your parents downsize and move or you need to move from your large home to one that is smaller. Is it overwhelming to think about starting the process of downsizing and relocating? Wouldn’t it be easier to just toss it all out in the trash and start over again? Many seniors and their adult children are faced with the task of downsizing and relocating to a smaller home, apartment, or retirement community. Instead of throwing all of your precious memories in the trash, make a plan to start the process.
If you have several years of accumulation, it can be emotionally and physically overwhelming. Remember when you moved in and thought I could never fill all this space? Now it is an attic, garage or basement that hasn’t been emptied for decades. This can be a daunting task. It is an issue facing many seniors, baby boomers, and healthcare providers. Adult children may be geographically distant or part of the sandwich generation that area overwhelmed with trying to manage their own lives while raising children and managing careers. As much as they would like to help their parents, they may not be able.
Consider these points when starting the process of downsizing and moving on:
• A good way to start is to get someone to help you through the
downsizing process because it can be overwhelming. You need help and support.
• Think about starting now, even if you don’t plan on moving for a while. It can take some time to sort things out of your attic, basement, garage, and the rest of the house.
• Consider the amount of space you will have in your new home.
this will help eliminate moving items that will not physically fit.
Think about what you will really need. Will you place settings for 12 or will 6 or 8 maybe work? Do you really need 3 turkey roasters? When was the last time you made Thanksgiving dinner?
• Why not give pieces of furniture or other possessions to family
or friends who have admired them for years? If your granddaughter has admired your china hutch for years, why not give it to her now and see the joy and happiness that it brings her today.
• Adult children need to pick up their stuff, whether you have it in a spare bedroom, attic or garage. The days of rental storage business is over unless you have decided at this time to go in to that line of business. Again, the kids need to get their stuff out of your home. Set a time frame and stick to it.
• If you feel overwhelmed looking at a pile of papers that you need to sort through, start with just 15 minutes. Set a timer for 15 minutes, sort through the pile, and then stop working when the timer rings. Remember every item you own requires your time, energy, maintenance, and money. Decide if the item is worth keeping.
While downsizing can be emotionally and physically overwhelming, the process can be achieved through planning and organization. Taking it one step at a time can not only make the downsizing process easier but rewarding as well as you move to your new home.
If you’ve just filed your taxes, chances are while preparing your documents you also found piles and of papers you don’t need to save. You probably thought you had it under control. You own a shredder, so it should be easy, right?
Wrong. Many of us find ourselves too busy to sit down weekly and shred those statements and papers with personal information to keep our desks and counter tops clean. So the papers that should be shredded pile up week to week, in some cases month to month to the point where we can’t even see the top of our desks or counters anymore.
The great news is we don’t have to stare at those piles much longer. Gather up those documents and head out to the Tampa Bay Professional Organizers‘ Shred-a-Thon May 7, 2011 at the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Fletcher Avenue from 9 a.m. to noon– or when the professional shredding truck is full. There is a $10 donation for each box. All shredding is being donated and the money received is going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay.
We at OH MISS are proud members of the National Association of Professional Organizers and the local Tampa Bay Professional Organizers. We support the Shred-a-Thon by volunteering our services. On a daily basis, OH MISS helps people get organized when they feel overwhelmed by all the clutter around them.
An uncluttered space can lead to an uncluttered mind, allowing you to become clearer in your thinking and in turn reducing stress. If you need help with the paper overflow, call OH Miss at 813-636-9700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 813-636-9700 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to make an appointment.
What happens when you get an eclectic group of women CEOs at a dinner table? If you guessed spirited conversation from travel around the world, cruises, beach life in Florida, jewelry to the Farmer’s Market , throw in the latest gallery opening with the next great artist and you would be right on.
This group met on Fat Tuesday at Donatello Italian Restaurant in Tampa, Florida for a little Mardi Gras, Carnavale food and entertainment experience. The dining room was abuzz with the latest political gossip behind the masks of the diners. Some were dressed in their best Mardi Gras costume. Others opted for just a mask and the beads they had so coveted at the last Gasparilla pirate parade along the Bayshore Boulevard a few weeks ago.
We were entertained by the magician who had the coolest neon lighted glasses performing a bit of magic with the crowd. You could not miss him with those glasses in the dimly lit room. There were belly dancers and fortune tellers all roaming from table to table with the background of the music from Venice. All this added to the spells put on the individual tables and their patrons.
The food was plentiful and even the direct Italian descendant could find little to complain about amidst all the revelry of the evening. One of our table guests won the artist’s mask had carried by the proprietor from the last trip to Italy. The service was attentive and not intrusive to the multiple conversations going on amongst the diners. The Tiramisu was the hit desert with a bit of chocolate to make a girl feel like princess no matter what her age. By the way have you heard or tasted chocolate wine? Now that is putting two good resources together!
Join us in conversation with suggestions of your favorite haunt to grab a bite. Are they female friendly? You might be surprised. We would love to have you as a part of our conversation as we check out the dives to 5 Star eateries in and about Tampa Bay. Who knows, maybe we will do a whole tour just of chocolate? What’s not to love with that one?
Remember “F” doesn’t have to mean bad, wrong or fat when it comes to this group of Femme Fatale Foodies on Fat Tuesday.
Till we eat again, we will be out finding the best for you!
Fantasia Femme Fatale Foodie
It is all too soon the middle of July. Where has the year gone? Before we know it , we’ll be discussing the upcoming holidays. Hard to believe when our temperatures here in the Tampa Bay area are hovering in the low to mid 90’s with the humidity to boot.
If you have not taken your summer holiday yet, be prepared for the new restrictions and procedures at the airports. Allow yourself plenty of time and just put your mind to the fact that you will not allow yourself to be rattled. When you are away make sure that someone is looking after your home. It can be a neighbor, a friend or contact your local concierge service. They can assist you with either a person to house sit or someone just to check in on things on a daily or weekly schedule for you. I can’t tell you how many people I have known over the years that have gone away on holiday for a couple of weeks or a month and received a phone call that the water heater failed, the dishwasher pipe broke or the ice maker pipe sprung a leak. A flooded home is not what you want to come home to any time much less after a holiday. If you leave a copy of your insurance information/agent with the person taking care of the place, you will be much better off. Mold can grow quickly when it is warm and dark. Finding the mold later and having it remediated is a task few want to follow.
I have a situation in my own home that we have been dealing with for over 6 months that involved a slow leak from a repair that was not done correctly. Unfortunately, we have had to go to court to get the situation corrected properly. I don’t wish this on anyone. No wonder there are so many attorneys in the US. I shall leave it at that and hopefully by the next time I write, I will be able to say that we have hada positive outcome and are not still waiting around for judgement.
On to some more lively news, as many of you who read my blog on a regular basis may know, I am in my second year of having a butterfly garden. It is truly one of the best mental health activities I ever did for myself. It is amazing to watch the cycle of the butterfly especially the Monarch. I have learned so much. As we are now in to the middle of July the butterflies are starting their 3rd generation, egg, caterpillar,chrysalis,adult butterfly. The butterflies that are born now will live an adult life of only 2-6 weeks. The next generation that will be born in Sept/Oct will live for 6-8 months. Why the difference? The ones born in the fall will be the adults making the migration to Mexico for the winter. Butterflies can not tolerate cold weather so they have to go where it is warm. While in Mexico they will live off the fat in their abdomen and huddle around each other to stay warm. If a butterfly falls away from the huddle it most likely will die as it will be too weak to fly up to rejoin the group. Then once the warm weather starts again in February/March they will begin to awaken and mate thus laying their eggs. Withered and tattered from their hibernation and migration, the adults will die. A whole new generation cycle will begin once again.
My garden is in the direct migratory path of the Monarchs this year. I have had to go to my local nursery numerous times just to get food for those cute little caterpillars. I finally was able to get some seed pods and have started my own nursery of butterfly weed so the Monarchs can lay their eggs under the leaves and start the cycle egg,caterpillar, chrysalis, adult. The caterpillars once they hatch from the egg just eat from morning to night. It is like they have an internal clock that keeps telling them to go, go ,and go again, chomping away at all the butterfly weed vegetation they can get. They will do this for about two weeks until they are about 2 inches in length, then they will crawl away creeping ever so purposefully to find the twig,plant or whatever suits them to shed their skin and make the chrysalis. The chrysalis will be a beautiful jade color with a little thread that looks like gold towards the top. It will stay that way as the pupae generates it’s wings and turns in to a beautiful butterfly. Just before it breaks out of the chrysalis, it will become almost transparent and you will see the butterfly inside. Then in a day or so it will break out and let the blood fill the veins on its wings. The butterfly will stay put for a while as its wings dry and it gains the strength to fly away. It is a beautiful sight to see. I just learned how the scientists and butterfly followers are tagging the butterflies so who knows, next year you may reading about how I tagged butterflies.
Speaking of breaking out, I have to tell you about this physician who is only one of two in the entire state of Florida that is certified and licensed to do work with adult stem cells and T65 to help heal sport’s injuries an make you feel a bit more chipper. Dr. Dennis Lox has an office in Clearwater and in New Port Ritchey. He is on the cutting edge of some fabulous technology that will become almost a standard for medicine 10 years from now. We are lucky to have him in the Tampa Bay area. I will be telling you more about him and his practice as well in the days ahead. Pam Butler of LifeReflections LLC taped a talk by Dr. Lox last week so you will be able to see it on Youtube soon.
Take care of yourself and stay hydrated. Let your body dictate your progress and your tempo. Will be back with you soon with some other exciting news!
Noteworthy Latest OH MISS News
We were just voted for the third year in a row as Best of the Bay in Personal Service. So now that is 2008, 2009, and 2010!. Way to go OH MISS team members!
Also Carolyn of OH MISS has been chosen as an international relocation destination specialist consultant for Tampa Bay by DWELLWORKS .More news later but couldn’t let the day go by without spreading the news.
Greetings one and all. Can you believe that SUMMER is here? now I know i have friends in Colorado where they had sleet just two weeks ago. but we have been baking here in Florida. Being on the West Coast of Florida we are also paying very close attention to the fact that hurricane season is now upon us and of course the major story of the last 70 days, the horrific environmental catastrophe in the Gulf with the oil spill that just keeps on giving. I know that we all have our opinions on the handling of the oil spill so will not address that directly here. I just want everyone to be vigilant in what you do and how some of the least expected action can have lasting repercussions.
Now for those who live in the land of Hurricanes, I realize that it has not yet been quite a month. But it doesn’t take long for the tropical storm to turn to a hurricane make a blip on that weather radar and then you are SOL.
There are some necessary protective measures that you should do before you need to do them.. Get your hurricane survival suitcase(s) and backup plan together. Do you have an elderly person living with you that has home health care that needs constant supervision, oxygen, monitoring of different sorts. Check with your doctor, your social worker, your county, your home health service. They can assist you with the paperwork so you can have a plan in place. What shelter or hospital will they need t o go to in an evacuation? Will you or another relative, or caregiver be allowed to accompany then? Remember your animals. Even if you go to a medical shelter or hospital you will not be able to take your pets unless they are a guide dog. Find a temporary home where they can go so your furry children won’t be lost, stranded or perhaps killed due to lack of planing and horrible circumstances.
Make sure you have copies of your insurance information, medical information and identification in a zip lock bag. Also include your medications-30 days supply is great but if it is only a week’s worth that is better than nothing. Include bottled water-gallon size is good, canned goods, perhaps if you have space , your grill with an extra container of propane. That may be the only way you will be able to get hot food for a few days. Don’t forget your toiletries, a couple of changes of clothes, Not to be forgotten-an EXIT PLAN.
Do you know where you are on the evacuation map? Are you in an area of mandatory evacuation? Level 1 or is your number higher say 5 or 6.? Important information to know. Also pick up your hurricane guide at your local market or ACE Hardware store. You can also download them. All the major media networks put one out . If you have seen the weather alert radios they aer an excellent source of information when a storm is coming your direction. It will alert you and tell you what the alert is. You can get those at the local grocery stores now as well as home Depot, Lowes, Target and many other business locations.
Some insurance companies are now offering a preregistration form for use during the hurricane season at no extra charge. With your written permission they can have adjusters to your home site as soon as possible. Sure it take a couple of minutes to fill out the form, but in the event that your home suffers damage, do you want 5 minutes of form filling to be replaced by 5 days of waiting for an adjuster of some sort to show up? Water is the worst damage followed but wind, smoke and fire. I am not going to lecture anyone but say just be prepared and let your family know the plans, where are you goingto meet if you live in the same area, how are you going to communicate? Make sure that your car’s gas tank is filled. Check the oil, air in your tires. You would do this if you were going on a motor trip for vacation just as a safety precaution. Why wouldn’t you do it on a regular basis for your family’s safety and yours as well.You don’t want to wait in line when you could be loading that same care and heading out of dodge. The same for preparing your home. Get the plywood and any other protection that you would need to prevent glass damage to your home. Your favorite orchid plants and hanging plants need to be brought in to the garage or home. Remove items that could become flying weapons through your windows. That includes bird feeders and other such feeders as well. Have a swimming pool? Dump your patio furniture in it, No harm to the furniture or the pool and one less flying object.
If you are going out of town, let a neighbor , friend or hire a service to check on your home while you are away especially should a storm come up while you are gone. We never expect these things to happen but mother nature sometimes has a strange sense of humor and really does get a laugh by throwing you off guard. There are some concierge services and others that will look after your home while you are away for a minimal cost. OH MISS does a house/pool/mail/plant check. Do you know if your lawn service is cutting the grass as they should? What about the pool? Is that where anything green is growing? Peace of mind can be a wonderful thing. If there is no time to get ready-where is the saferoom in your home? Don’t forget to fill the bathtubs and sinks with water. You may not have water service or electrical service when you first get back to your home. So as I go to start taking my own advice with Alex out in the Gulf, I hope that you will as well.
Stay tuned for some exciting news about OHMISS and the growing butterfly population right here at home.
Spring is in the air and if you live in Florida and or most of the United States, your allergies have already informed you of the season. This year was almost a perfect storm in Florida where we had much colder weather for a lot longer than even close to normal and it appears that all of our pollen laden plants and trees are blooming at once! Yikes. As one who suffers this malady, the only advice I can give is to see your Dr if you have severe symptoms. If you are just on the slightly miserable side, make sure to keep the windows and doors closed. I am hearing screaming now as that is what you want to do. So do I. I love getting fresh air in the house after being shuttered all winter, but that just brings more of the pollen in and ads to our symptoms. Wash the linens frequently, wash yourself and your hair before going to bed and be extra careful about exercising early in the morning or late at night when the pollen in the air can be at its worst.
Not all is bad news, the birds are chirping in the trees, the bird feeders are out and filled. It is such a joy to see all of the different ones as they migrate from the South to our Northern states at this time of year. Some will be staying longer and having families, so be on the lookout as the new chicks start to learn how to fly. We have our pair of ducks that have been making their annual pilgrimmage for the last 10 years at least. You might ask how can we tell that it is the same couple? We can because the female has a malformed left foot so she hobbles as she waddles around. It does not impact her with her swimming or flying that we can tell.
Another wonderful thing is that the butterfly garden is coming in to full bloom. I love to watch as the different butterflies flutter about sipping the nectar and laying their eggs. Soon we will have baby catepillars chopping away at the variety of host plants that we have in our garden. Sometimes it seems like we can’t keep up with their appetites. Once the catepillars have matured, they will start migrating to a place to build their cocoon. Some cocoons are so beautiful, it is a joy to watch. Then in about 10 days to two weeks a new butterfly will emerge and the cycle will begin once again.
This leads me to a butterfly blog that I want to share with you. The address is http://lepcurious.blogspot.com. It is a blog about one of Tampa’s treasures, the Museum of Science and Industry or MOSI. They have their own butterfly garden for everyone to see, just in case they don’t have the space, time or energy to have one at their home. I have to be honest, it is addictive. This is my third year of being a butterfly gardener. They become just like children that you want to protect. Click on their blog and enjoy.
Last week I mentioned that I would let you know what papers are needed and for how long when it comes to your tax returns.
For items concerning your income you will need these basic records: Form W-2,Form 1099,Bank Statements, Brokerage Statements, Form K-1.
For items concerning expenses : sales slips, invoices,receipts, canceled checks or other proof of payment,written communications from qualified charities.
For items concerning your home: Closing statements, purchase and sales invoices,proof of payment,insurance records, receipts for improvement costs
For investments:brokerage statements, mutual fund statements, Form 1099, Form 2439
Now how long do you have to keep these records: Guidelines to follow
If you owe additional tax then the period is 3 years
If you do not report income that you should and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return the period is 6 years.
If you file a fraudulent return , it is indefinite
If you do not file a return, it is indefinite
If you file for a credit or refund after you have filed your return, it is 3 years or 2 years after you paid taxes, whichever is later
If you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities, it is 7 years
For more information on record keeping, the IRS has put together a handy publication on record keeping for Individuals. For any other questions consult your tax professional.
Now that you have done all of that, isn’t time to get rid of some of those papers? You have kept them organized by year, I am sure. So following the guidelines above shred the papers and receipts you no longer need. The Tampa Bay Professional Organizers are having a Shred A Thon on April 10,2010 at the corner of Fletcher and Dale Mabry in Carrollwood. Pro-Shred will be on hand to professionally shred all the documents and papers you no longer need. You will also be issued a certificate of shredding for your peace of mind. The event is a fund raiser for the Children’s Cancer Center with a suggested donation of $2.00 per box of papers shredded. Pro-Shred and the TampaBay Professional Organizers are donating 100% of the donations to the Children’s Cancer Center. Come on out. You’ll be able to enjoy more of our beautiful weather and not spend time in front of your personal shredding machine.
The weather here in Florida is finally starting to act like spring instead of old man winter’s stepchild. We have had the coldest winter weather this year as long as they have been keeping records. Now the sun is out, the sky is clear and one can feel the renewed energy in all living things around them.
Now is a really good time to go through that closet of yours as you prepare to put the heavier weight clothing away(that is unless you are headed North or to go sking in the next few weeks, I just heard yesterday that they are still getting snow out in Colorado. Now back to the point. First weed out the winter clothes that you did not wear this season. See if they fit. If the clothes don’t fit put them in a bin,tote or basket to prepare to give to a local thrift store. It is always easy to say if I just lose those 10 lbs. or more(?) then I can wear them again. Let’s face reality, you most likely will not wear those garmetns again no matter how much you loved them when you purchased them. If you moved to Florida from the colder climate and still have a winter coat that fits, you might want to keep that in the chance that you go visiting there again. If the coat doesn’t fit and you can not see visiting the cold weather cities in the near future-get rid of it. At this point I am going to be proud of you because I know that it is important to have all those pretty spring and summer clothes hanging in your closet. Bring those out of hiding. Make sure they fit, are clean , and don’t need any repairs such as a button replacement. You know just as well as I do that when you go to wear that piece of clothing that if the button is still missing, it will only add to a headache and put you in a foul mood.
You don’t have to do all this by yourself. If you have a husband , significant other or a girlfriend, borrow them for an hour or so to help you through the process. Then being the wonderful person that you are, you will offer to assist them in the same process. When this is all done, put the clothes in one of those black lawn or large trash bags and either take them to the thrift store of your favorite charity or arrange for pickup. Here is also another idea. Let’s say that you and your friends are doing the closet dance at the same time, have a clothes swap. The beautiful sweater that you always admired may not want to be in the owner’s closet anymore. It is a great way to pick uip some gently worn items and accessories while keeping within budget. When I just mentioned accessoriies, I mean the same for accessories as I do for clothes. If you don’t wear them, move them on it. The Universe abhors a vaccum so they will be replaced in some manner. If your clothing is such that you never wore it, or hardly wore it and it is still in style, you might consider taking those items to your local consignment store. Granted you will not come away with the amount of money that you originally paid, but most likely you will get some money. Then go shopping for something new and exhiliarating. This step will also help the bottom line.
Now that you have your closets cleaned out and straightened, you will feel so much better-lighter in fact since you won’t have those clothing items weighting you down. You also don’t have to stop at the closets. Go through your cupboards and throw out expired spices and food items. How many plastic containers do you realistically need to have? Are you and your family the ones who will eat left overs or is it the guilt of throwing something out that makes you put that stuff in the fridge until the smell is so bad or it starts turning green, that you then toss it. Be honest with yourself. Actions speak louder than words.
If you dont want to odo closets, ok. Maybe you are so totally together that you have the perfect closet. Bless you. You also might just be able to shop in the closet. Wouldn’t that be fun? Oh, did I mention that in 5 weeks the taxes are due? How about those papers and supprting documents? Are they in piles on the desk that is buried under them all? Are they in a laundry basket for safe keeping? Just like the closet go through them , make your files for the receipts that you will need if or should you be audited. The shoe box can be a wonderful thing but the IRS auditor does not find this filing method amuzing.
Now that you are feeling glum about the upcoming tax return deadline-maybe you have a refund coming this year. Go through your stuff and see if you can itemize your deductions, or have had a major change in your life this year, relationship status, move, job, lack of job, medical. Take the time to talk with a professional to get the best advice possible. Another sidebar, did you know that if you file electronically that you most likely will receive your refund sooner? Another thing, if you think that filing for an extension will be the easy way out so you don’t have to be in any sort of sprint to get the taxes completed, you will need to pay the amount of tax owed if you are most likely to owe the IRS .
If you live in the Tampa Bay area, the Tampa Bay Professional Organizers are having a Shred a Thon Saturday April 10. I will get back to you with all the details in the next couple of days. I will also supply you with the list of papers and receipts that need to be kept and for how long. After the time period has elapsed , they can be thrown away or shredded. We have all heard the horror stories of stolen identity so just throwing in the trash can is probably not your best option. We will have a professional shredding truck on site who will provide you with a certificate of shredding for your records.
Enjoy the beginnings of spring, the official solstice is March 20. Daylight Savings Time starts this coming weekend. So don’t forget to SPRING FORWARD . Set your clocks an hour ahead before you go to bed Saturday night. It will eliminate the confusion in the morning. Just think there will be an extra hour that you can walk, jog, or sit outside and enjoy your favorite beverage at the sidewalk cafe. In case you did not do this on New Year’s Day , you might just replace the batteries in your smoke alarm and how about changing those air filters? With alll the pollen and dust in the air, the filters are taking a beating. If you have allergies, iti s the worst.
Until next time, enjoy life and savor the moments of silence, the singing birds the beautiful spring flowers that are starting to sprout their little heads. This is all a part of the fabric and texture of life.
If you are overworked, stressed out ready to run a way but have no place to go, think of hiring an assistant for a day or even a few hours to help take the load off. Life is meant to be enjoyed not dreaded. What the catepillar sees as the end of life , the Master sees the butterfly as a beginning.