Random 5 for January 8 – Taxes, aging, gifts, snow, events

squirrel-at-windowFirst snow – We got our first snow (that totally covered the grass). As always, the first one is the worst. Drivers forget how to drive in it. People needlessly stockpile bread and milk (seriously, I can’t remember the last time we were snowbound for more than a day). The first one is done. From now on, it will be easier.

Taxes, yikes! – Our gas tax went up January 1. It is now the highest gas tax in the ENTIRE country. (No, I don’t live in California!) Common sense dictated getting a fill up the day before. The cost was up 20 cents. I thought the gas station had already put up the tax a day early. The next day I saw it went up again. For me it’s not a big deal but for people who have a long drive to work, it is a big deal. The money is to fix our road and bridge infrastructure but I never have a good feeling that’s where it goes. There is a black hole out there with lots of tax money (along with seedy politicians).

That was uplifting! Not! – Our local hospital ran an ad on aging – the hearing loss, vision issues, lack of balance, etc. By the end of the one minute ad, I was ready to call the undertaker. Gosh, couldn’t they have been a little more upbeat about it? There are a lot of good things about aging although I can’t think of any right now.

Gift cards, a gift or a pain? – (This does not include Starbucks gift cards which I ALWAYS use!) I have two gift cards in my possession. Both have all sorts of conditions written in a point size I can’t read without the Hubble telescope. Last year a restaurant closed (unexpectedly) for which I had a gift card. Money lost. From what I hear, it happens often. A few years back I received a gift card for a department store I frequent. I couldn’t use the card to pay on my account nor could I use a coupon with it. I communicated back to the giver (my husband). Neither of us will ever give a gift card from that store. They are easy gifts but it’s important to match them up to the receiver. The granddaughters love either Amazon or Target gift cards. Neither of those cards hang around long. Do you like to get gift cards (except for Starbucks which you can send directly to me)?

Holy cow! – I’m planning a day trip for my birthday. I like museums and exhibits. My favorite was the dead plastic body one. If you get a chance, be sure to see it. No body fluids at all but you can see lots of bones, muscle and nerves and get a feel for how the body works. This year I was looking at a dinosaur exhibit or an art museum that I haven’t yet seen. I was stunned by the cost. It’s less than Hamilton (the play) but more than I expected. It is two hours of entertainment. Spa day or something educational? Costs are the same.

So how was your week?

 

67 thoughts on “Random 5 for January 8 – Taxes, aging, gifts, snow, events

  1. So sorry to hear about your rise in gasoline taxes! It’s shocking, isn’t it? California is actually 5th in the nation, but we’ve been paying them for so long I don’t even think about it any more…and our primary vehicle is a Prius. We save hundreds of dollars a month and that’s not an exaggeration. You’re a confident should to consider “Body Works” as a birthday outing. I haven’t yet viewed the exhibit but I admit I’m curious! And we’ve had a slow-enough week that we went the movies twice! LaLa Land and Manchester by the Sea. Both are excellent, in my estimation!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We haven’t had any snow yet this year, a few flakes but nothing that stuck. On the other hand, my daughter in Eastern Washington had to shovel her driveway yesterday and again today–which doesn’t make sense. She lives in the desert. We used to have snow here. I see pictures of it in my photo albums. I’m not complaining, mind you, except on behalf of the planet and the melting glaciers and the people who live on small islands and in and the lowlands.

    The only gift card I get is from my investment advisor who is smart enough to send me a Starbucks card. Yesterday my daughters announced that they want to stop giving Christmas gifts to the adults. We’ve been drawing names but not sticking to it. I guess they’re right. Next year will be different.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We stopped adult gifts 40 years ago. Occasionally someone will gift someone when they see something that is just right but it’s not necessarily for Christmas. Some people love the gifting. I find it a game of pass the fruitcake (even though there isn’t a fruitcake). I noticed that the neighbors had a huge bag for donations out for pick-up today. I smiled.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that squirrel pix! We’ve had several days of below freezing weather (sleet on day – the plants are outraged) and now they say all we we’ll be in the 70’s. My closet is jammed – no putting up one season’s clothing and packing away another’s this year.
    I go with museums. But we found it was cheaper to get sr. membership than to just pay for one event. Stuff has gotten so expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a gift card to a restaurant we don’t normally go to… since my retirement. I know they meant well (I do like to eat out), but now I’m thinking … use it already! Before they go bust!

    BTW, if you have a museum/museum exhibit you want to see, watch for “offers.” We got AARP $off coupons to the visiting Lego Art show (yeah, it was actually pretty cool) and I just found out our local Art Museum has free-Thursday night to the special exhibit. Very not-advertized! Locally, our Art Council offers 2 for ones to lots of local museums… see if a friend belongs if you don’t want to join it yourself. Groupon, Goldstar, Yipit, even check out local Tourist info… they often offer $off coupons for people visiting. Or consider a membership and enjoy the art museum all year – A friend does that for the Dali in St Pete and goes to every special exhibit. My challenge is often finding someone to play with on these things… so many of my friends are still working and hubby’s taste and mine is often different.

    Happy New Year to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I checked for senior discounts but they don’t do. (I know! Unheard of! What’s the point of aging if you can’t get a discount?) It’s a private museum and the drive is too long for a membership to be of value to us. It’s the cost of a very good dinner so I’m going for it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We give a gift card to CH’s Mom for a restaurant she eats at almost every day and for the local hardware store. She likes them and uses them. I don’t think I have ever received a gift card. I like the idea of a day trip for your birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I like the concept of gift cards more than the gift cards in actuality. I have several unused ones laying around… mostly to places I don’t normally frequent, but some that I just forget to bring along when I go. I do have one for Starbucks, though, and, no, you aren’t getting it. I just spent a delightful b-day weekend that I will write about soon. I’m like you: give me experiences, not gifts. I hope you have a great time doing whatever you choose to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am the same way. The card that I didn’t use (and the restaurant closed) I had for several months. Its wasn’t a restaurant I liked so I kept putting it off. At the end of the day it was like doing something you should do rather than because you want to. Is that really a gift?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I like gift cards if they are for places where I usually shop or eat. This year I got gift cards from my health insurance, three of them, for having a physical, flu shot, and a blood test. Made me happy. This week has been winter! Cold…in 30’s or below, rain, sleet, a trace of snow. By Friday it’s supposed to be around 70*. Crazy weather!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like getting gift cards to places we frequent ~ like the Fresh Market or Season’s 52. Most places we use gift cards treat them like CASH with no restrictions, black out dates, or fine print.

    Glad you got your first snow behind you. It’s COLD here today. But a warm up is on the horizon.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is 48 and windy here in sunny Florida (3:00pm as I type this). I went out earlier to get something from the car and was completely unprepared for the gust of COLD that invaded my body. I know I get no sympathy or solidarity from you northerners in reporting this, so I only mention it for your possible satisfaction. 😉 Except for one or two Starbucks cards, I have never received a gift card from any other store. I’m deprived!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Where can I get a Hubble telescope? Lord knows I need one! That line cracked me up…hahaha!
    The squirrel photo is perfect. Please tell me there is a video of him screaming “STELLLLAA!”
    You are so right about the snow…brings out the best of the drivers doesn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My mom is 93 and loves to go to the movies and to her favorite restaurant to eat but doesn’t like to spend the money on her “fixed” income so we give her gift cards to the movies and to that restaurant. The first time she was a little unsure of what to do but now she loves them. We are in the throws of a winter storm, lots of wind and rain. Thank God we redid the roof last year!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I have a $10 Starbucks gift card hanging around somewhere. No matter many I give away I always seem to have another one lurking. The only time I am forced to buy coffee with stuff in it is at Starbucks as I find their black (the way I like it) coffee too bitter for me. But, no worries, I know plenty of people who would walk a mile in the rain (I would say snow but we don’t get any here) to get their shaking hands on my gift card! To each their own!
    I love museums of all kinds…. I have annual memberships to the Natural History Museum and LA County Museum of Art (LACMA… where some friends and I are going today as it happens) so that way I can see any exhibit for “free.” In both cases I more than get my money’s worth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • For several years I maintained a membership at Longwood Gardens, a really nice botanical garden. The drive is around 1-1/2 hrs and I found that I never got there more than once a year. Entrance for one trip was considerably cheaper than maintaining a membership. When I lived in Delaware it was definitely worth it. You are lucky to be close enough to make it worthwhile.

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  13. I’m with you on Starbucks cards. Bring-em on. I got 5, including one from Tallulah the Bichon who, even though now lives in Atlanta, is still so thoughtful.
    Glad I didn’t see the aging ad. Aye…I would have pelted it with eggs…was it a billboard? It’s bad enough you have to live through it without being reminded.

    I don’t drive much, so the gas thing doesn’t affect me, but the cost of everything is up. My ConEd bill when I don’t cook, use two lights…turn my Mac off every night, is ridiculous.

    That said…love the photo with the squirrel. Aren’t ya glad you got that camera???

    Like the idea of a spa…that’s what I’d do…then, once I came to from such elation, then I’d go to a museum.

    SB

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I only give gift cards to family members who understand how to use them. Learned that the hard way when I found out that in-laws, elderly in their upper 80s, never used the gift cards because they thought they had to spend it all at one time. Now I give them cash, which to me seems less special than a gift card, but they know what to do with it. 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    • You get the point of it all. It has to fit the receiver. My mother wouldn’t have known what to do with one and since she didn’t get out much, it would have been a hardship. She would have given it to me. When I worked there was an “underground subversive group” that exchanged gifts quietly. Red wine for white or vice versa and gifts cards too. I dumped all my white wine there (since I’m female all the guys gave me white) and got people’s SB’s gift cards for others I wouldn’t use. When you think about it, it’s all crazy. One year I asked some friends to take the “gift” money and we donated to a needy employee who was on disability.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I got a group gift card from some coworkers in May. It’s for a gardening store I only use for our Christmas tree. Only we were traveling and didn’t get a tree this year. Hopefully it still works next year. Sometimes companies deduct $1.00+ fees each month if you don’t use the card (looking at you VISA).

    Cards are a total scam. Everyone should do monetary-ish gifting like the Chinese — put some cash or a check in a pretty red envelope and call it Lucky Money!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Or do like my family does. Only gifts for the kids under 20. Locally they passed a law that gift cards can’t have expiration dates on them. Nor can they deduct a monthly carrying fee. That doesn’t stop restaurants from going out of business or making it hard to use them. I try not to keep restaurant gift cards because you never know.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ah, gift cards. I won a £10 gift card at bingo and the first three shops listed where I could use it refused: two no longer took them and the other had gone bust. I ended up going into a store for something I didn’t particularly like for something I didn’t really want as it had an expiry date on it too.
    Supermarket gift cards are restricted to that store, as are vouchers, but there are vouchers and there are voucher coupons! We were given a substantial amount in gift vouchers for Christmas for our supermarket. They are terrific insomuch as you can use them in any of their departments, be it the restaurant, fuel station, or store itself. Even better is that if you don’t spend the face value (ours were four vouchers) you get change! With the coupons you don’t so if you spend less, you lose the surplus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a whole science springing up around these things. Some expire, some don’t. Sometimes you are required to use the whole thing in one visit and sometimes not. I use my lighted magnifier glass to read the conditions and attach a post it note on it. I agree with you that the grocery store ones and perhaps Starbucks for me are the easiest. Restaurants are the trickiest ones. Especially when they go out of business.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think one of the biggest cons is having to spend a certain amount before your voucher/gift token becomes valid! Wine is a classic. We had a voucher for £60 included in my flowers from Other Brother before Christmas. The thing was we had to spend £100 to claim it. Not being drinkers, I took it up to the office and suggested they club together for the Big Spend to take advantage of the offer. They were over the moon.

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  17. I LOL’d at your Hubble remarks, so you managed “uplifting” at this end of the blogging bargain.

    I saw a dead plastic body exhibit about 12 years ago in Toronto – fascinating and just a wee bit off-putting. The one work that stayed with me was the lateral slice of a former roly-poly gent. Meant to look like a slab of bacon. It did.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can do a whole post on how manufacturers in general are trying to squeeze so much “government regulated” info on a small piece of paper that I can’t read the directions! That exhibit was amazing and just a bit weird. I convinced some friends to go along. They had to wait for me as it took me forever. I’ll never forget the liver with cirrhosis.

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