Fund Raising Efforts

October 10, 2015
The shopping area near my childhood home.

The shopping area near my childhood home.

Over the years… starting as a young child selling hand made pot holders door-to-door so I’d have money to buy Christmas presents for my family, I’ve been involved in many fund raising activities.

In high school, I was a member of the Key Club (a junior Kiwanis club) and distributed local phone directories in exchange for donations. I also helped sell Christmas trees to raise money for our charitable pursuits.

During my college years, I volunteered as a tutor at the local high school, but my fund raising activities were focused on paying my tuition, room and board, and occasional glass of beer.

After college, I got involved with the LIONS club and sold brooms, light bulbs, fruitcakes, pancake breakfast tickets, and raffle tickets among other items.

At church, I’ve been involved with yard sales, Irish dinners, auctions, and numerous other fund raising efforts.

Is it any wonder that somehow I got snookered into being the Fund Raising chair of our local Family Promise affiliate? Family Promise is an organization whose mission it is to help homeless children and their parents get back into a home of their own. For more information on Family Promise, I invite you to visit the Family Promise web site.

My past endeavors were small potatoes compared with my current challenges. In the past, the most money raised by any of the things I worked with was a few thousand dollars. Now I’m faced with raising at least $50,000 to get the program started and then meeting an annual budget of over $125,000.

Our fund raising committee has started a number of things to get that money flowing. We have Club 180 which encourages donors to help turn a life around (180 degrees) by pledging and donating $180 per year. We’ve also placed donation canisters in many local businesses. (One of those canisters was stolen. It probably contained less than $20 at the time. It’s sad that people would steal from charities, but maybe they needed the money more than our homeless children. Another story for another time!)

In less than a month we will hold our first major fund raising event. It will be Bed Race & Festival. On November 7th, we’ll welcome local citizens at 9:00 AM at Forsyth Central High School where they can visit at least 14 booths selling various items, have their child’s face painted, or let their child create a work of art that will be donated to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for another fund raising event.

The bed races will begin around 10:00 AM. Each team will compete in two heats and their time will be recorded. The two teams with the fastest combined times will then compete in the finals at noon.

While there will be a trophy for the team with the fastest bed, the big prize – the coveted Brass Bed award – will go to the team that raises the most money for Family Promise.

In case you’re wondering why I bring this up…

My entry in the Bed Race

My entry in the Bed Race

As of last night, my friends and family have donated almost $900 to Family Promise in support of my bed entry. I’ve given my bed the title of “First Day of Retirement” and it will be pushed by a group of retired senior citizens. Our goal is to prove that old age and treachery can defeat youth and enthusiasm any day of the year. If you like that thought (regardless of your age) I’d appreciate your demonstration of support… in terms of dollars donated to Family Promise.

You can make a donation to my bed or any of my competitors by going to our local local Family Promise Bed Race page.

Obviously I feel very strongly about Family Promise. Forsyth County, Georgia is one of the wealthiest areas in the country and yet, as of this past Thursday (October 8th) there were three hundred forty-three children considered homeless since the beginning of the current school year. A child is considered homeless if he or she is living with friends or relatives, living in an extended stay motel, living in a tent or camping trailer, or living in the family car.

You can also help the cause by buying any of my e-books that are available for your Kindle or Nook. I’ve stated that I will donate half of my royalties to Family Promise. If need be, I’ll give it all to Family Promise.

Pure and simple, I cannot do this alone. I need all my friends, family, readers, casual acquaintances, and everyone else to chip in. We have almost 200,000 people living in Forsyth County. If I could find a way to obtain at least $1.00 from each of them, we’d have the money problem solved. Sadly, I have yet to figure out how to do that. So, I’m reaching out to everyone I can think of.

I already received backing from a friend in London, England. Let’s see if we can get donations from other parts of the world!

Please spread the word! Thank you kindly.


What Makes Something “Newsworthy”?

November 24, 2012

Our church is trying to collect food and blankets for the people left homeless by Hurricane Sandy. In the past we sent aid to the victims of Katrina (food as well as laborers) and figure the people facing a cold winter needed our help even more.

So, I submitted information to various community newspapers and bulletin boards, but the information was never made available to the people of Forsyth County, GA. Many service and social events are listed, but the publishers haven’t found room to let people know about our efforts.

Perhaps I’m not doing it right. Any thoughts or suggestions?


Another Busy Weekend

September 26, 2012

Looking back, my bride and I first got to know and like each other while camping. We both enjoy spending nights listening to the tree frogs, crickets, and other night creatures.

When we first married, one of our first joint purchases was a pop-up camping trailer. At the time we had a Ford F-150 pickup truck that was more than capable of pulling that trailer anywhere we wanted to go. But then the cost of gasoline began to skyrocket. (Obama said that skyrocketing is necessary!)

We decided to sell the truck and buy a fuel-efficient Toyota Yaris. The car is five years old and we’re still getting around 40 miles to the gallon. However, we had to sell the F-150 to pay for the Yaris. Without the tow vehicle, it soon became necessary to sell the pop-up. We did.

A couple of years ago we replaced a Mitsubishi Diamante with a Ford Ranger. That little baby truck is a 1997 model and had around 77,000 miles on it. We now have it up to over 90,000 and were concerned about its towing capacity.

But, we bought the 4,200 pound travel trailer anyway.

Our new travel trailer.

Since we had nothing better to do, we took four grandchildren along for the ride when we went to the dealer, Peco Campers, to pick it up.

Some of our future camping buddies.

Thanks to good friends, Ed and Carol Terry, we learned of a camping resort, Unicoi Springs Camping resort and are now proud members of the place.

Yesterday we hauled our new baby up to Cleveland, Georgia and left it at a storage place that is much closer to the resort. Eventually, we’ll be able to leave the trailer at Unicoi Springs and won’s have to haul it anywhere until Lu is fully retired and we hit the road to look for America!

In the meantime, while all of this was going on, I published the first two chapters of my family history book “Quakers, Politicians, and a Pirate (or two)” as an e-book.

It is available at Amazon.com for Kindles or Barnes & Noble for Nooks.

 


The Supremes

June 28, 2012

Interesting that President Obama looks down on those justices when they rule against him. Today, he lauds them as the HIGHEST COURT OF THE LAND.

In truth, my hat is off to them, although I totally dislike their ruling. I can’t say I disagree because they based their ruling on the laws of the land – not their personal opinions. That’s what the Supreme Court Justices are supposed to do.

There are any number of points we can argue – regardless of our side of the political spectrum. BUT, they ruled based on the Constitution and precedent. That’s what they are supposed to do. Therefore, I applaud their decision.

Our president will speak highly of them until they do something he disagrees with. Then he will speak with disdain as he has done in the past.

There are many points with which I disagree with this President, and the way they passed the Healthcare bill is the biggest. However, the point they made that I will never forget is that none of our representatives bother to read bills prior to voting on them.

It makes me wonder why we are paying our representative and senators?


A Month to Forget

May 24, 2012

So far this month, we’ve lost Internet service at our home and five hens.

On the plus side, I’ve sold almost 40 books. I’m continuously surprised that my murder mystery is, by far, outselling my travel book – that can save you lots of money and time while planning any kind of trip, my romance novel – that includes a bit of science fiction, and my collection of short stories that would give you something to read while doing “other” things in the bathroom.

By the way, if you buy a copy of my travel book for the princely sum of $2.99, I’ll donate 50 cents to charity.

If we can sell a bunch of copies of “Ready, Set, GO!” in the next week, we can turn this into an unforgettable month.


A GREAT Deal

May 1, 2012

In my book, “Ready, Set, GO!” I talk about finding a good travel deal and turning it into a GREAT deal. I figure people who spend $2.99 to buy the book can easily save hundred of dollars on travel based on the advice in its pages.

So, why not help people save even more?

From May 2nd through May 4th, people can download the book to their Kindles for FREE! All I ask is that those of you who take the time to read it, spread the word. Encourage your friends to download it – but if they want to get it for free, they have to do it before midnight on Friday. Just go to Amazon Kindle Books to order.

Don’t have a Kindle? You don’t need one. You can download the Kindle software for free and let your computer act like a Kindle. Now that’s a GREAT Deal!!!


Email Memory Tests

April 25, 2012

I long ago lost count of the “older than dirt” type quizzes that get passed around by people of all ages… I think. I could be wrong on that. Younger folks may be embarrassed by their low scores and simply hit the ‘delete’ button.

In any case, I received another one today and decided to expound on it. (In truth, it has been a while since I’ve added a post to my blog – that brags about something new every day – and this is basically writing itself.)

We begin with Blackjack chewing gum. Do I remember it? Of course. I also remember Bemen’s Pepsin, Clark’s Teaberry, and my father telling me about how he and his friends chewed on tar.

By the way, this “quiz” was a simple one. Do you remember it? Yes or No?

Next on the list was wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water. I don’t know who puts these lists together, but this confection is still available, as is the next item on the list – candy cigarettes.

Now, soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles are from the past, but why stop there? What about the coolers that were filled with icy water and rows of bottles. To purchase a beverage, you reached down and grabbed the bottle by the top and slid it along the metal guides to the point where it could be removed. Inserting the ten cents released the lock so you could pull your choice up and out of the cold water.

Coffee shops or diners with table-side juke boxes? Why is this on any list? They are still in use in various locations. (Of course, with my short-term memory fading fast, I can’t recall where I last saw them, but I know they are still there!)

Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers are easy to remember. My uncle worked for Meadow Gold. They delivered every other day. In between, the Otto milkman made his rounds. If we ever ran short, he was glad to sell us any of his products.

Party lines on the telephone are another thing I remember vividly. To take things a step farther, I wonder how many of my grandchildren have ever seen a telephone with a dial.

I vaguely recall the newsreels before the movie. But I do remember that every movie was preceded by a cartoon and selected short subjects.

My P.F. Flyers were high top. In fact, until I was in middle school I don’t think low cuts had been invented. I could be wrong on that one.

Any one who had a flat top haircut knew Butch wax. Many of us also were very familiar with Wildroot Cream Oil and Bryl-creem.

TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning were there to help us fine tune our set. In addition to the rabbit ears, there were several knobs for vertical and horizontal hold, focus, brightness, and contrast. When we got our first TV, we could watch channel 3 – the Dumont Television Network, or snow.

I don’t know of anyone who ever had a professional model Peashooter. Straws and paper wads served the purpose for us.

Howdy Doody was one of the few TV shows way back then. My favorite show was Captain Video and the Video Ranger. Rocky King was a favorite of my parents.

One should not mention 45 RPM records without talking about one of two associated devices. In order to play those records with the big hole in the middle, you had to either place a plastic disk into each record, or put a large adapter on the spindle of the record player.

S&H green stamps are the tip of that iceberg. We had merchants giving out Plaid Stamps, Blue Stamps, Yellow Stamps, dishes and glasses, dish clothes, and other freebies. Of course, filling up at the gas station meant having a person run out, pump the gas, clean your windshield, check your oil and tire pressure, and offer to walk your dog. (Just kidding about the dog,) All of that service for 18 cents a gallon at the cheap “Fair Price” station. My older brothers always got upset with me for not paying 25 cents a gallon for the ‘good’ stuff. (They fell for the Atlantic Gasoline ads.)

Hi-fi’s were the forerunners to stereos, which were the forerunners of the surround sound, which were… you get the idea. High fidelity sound was a step above opening the louvers on the Victrola.

Metal ice trays with a lever were pretty handy if the freezer in your refrigerator was large enough to handle them. Our freezer could barely hold a half-gallon of ice cream (when it really was a half-gallon).

Mimeograph paper is one item that illustrates the ignorance of teenagers. There never was such a thing. The paper used in a mimeograph machine was plain old typing paper. Calling it a mimeographed copy would be more accurate. And I never knew anyone to get high smelling their test papers.

The blue flashbulb was supposed to reduce the glare caused by the older version of the flash bulb, which was much easier to use than the flash powder of earlier photography. My favorite thing about flashbulbs is that you could peel away the covering after the bulb had been used. It felt like plastic, but I really don’t know what the substance was now why it was used. Perhaps someone who reads this knows and will be kind enough to leave a comment.

How can we think about Packards without mentioning all the other car companies that have gone out of business over the years? Fifty years from now these quizzes will be asking about Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, Plymouths, and who knows which car might be next to go away.

Roller skate keys might still be around. I’ll have to take a closer look in the toy stores.

Cork popguns were one of the many ways mothers thought boys could put their eyes out. We also had guns that fired Ping-Pong balls. Of course, BB guns were on the top of many Christmas wish lists.

Drive-in movies bring back many memories. Many teens went there to watch the submarine races.

Studebakers – refer to Packards above.

Wash tub wringers were a step up from finding a good rock along the river.

And that was the last item on today’s list. That’s good because I didn’t get upset with the mistaken belief that the Ink Spots had a hit recording of “Cab Driver.” For the uninformed, it was the Mills Brothers who made that record.

And now you know that at least one of the answers on those quizzes is most likely wrong. Makes you wonder about others.


We’re Debt Free!

April 5, 2012

This is OUR Home - not the bank's!

It’s taken a lot of years and a lot of fiscal restraint, but it has been worth it. There is a great feeling in being able to say “We’re debt free!”. If you’ve ever listened to the Dave Ramsey show, you’ve no doubt heard the exuberance in the voices of those who are able to say it.

My eyes were open to the evils of debt back in 1992 when I left my job with IBM and sat down with a co-worker with whom I was considering partnering in buying a business. He had been a manager – I had not; yet IBM saw fit to pay me a higher wage. Therefore, I had to be better off financially – right? Wrong! DEAD WRONG!

He and his wife lived with a simple plan. If they couldn’t pay cash for something, they didn’t buy it until they could. The only exception to that rule was their home, which was modest by most IBM managers’ standards.

Bottom line: he had almost a half million dollars of assets that could be liquidated. I was lucky to have one hundred thousand.

It made me look back at all those minimum payments on credit cards. I figured I had given the banks over two hundred fifty thousand dollars in interest payments over the years. Had I not wasted that money, it could have been invested and paying me interest.

Ever since that time I’ve worked to reverse that trend. I’ve driven cars until they fall apart and then replace them with new used cars. I take my garbage to the dump and pay 50 cents per bag rather than paying some guy in a truck $20 per month. I could be considered cheap in many ways, but I really don’t care; I am out of debt!

And that does not mean we are now rich. It simply means we do not owe anything that cannot be paid in full to avoid interest charges. We still have to pay the electric bill, the phone bill, the water bill, and the credit card bills.

Yes, we still buy things on credit, only so our money can gain interest until we need to pay the bills.

More importantly, we are now working on building our emergency fund and putting money away for our retirement.

One of my main reasons for reaching this point in my life is based on seeing elderly folks forced to move in with their adult children because they are no longer able to live alone and cannot afford to live in an assisted living facility. I’ve also seen elderly people who have made the effort to cover their own “end-of-life” expenses. They made it much easier on their children.

My bride and I both have long care insurance to help pay for nursing care as needed. We’re also building up the funds so we can afford to live on our own as long as possible.

Someday our children might thank us for being so frugal.


Let ‘er Rip!

April 2, 2012

I’m sure I’m not alone. Many of us have written things over the years and looked at getting it published as a losing battle. Today’s technology has changed everything.

I now have four books available online. Three of them can be downloaded to your Nook. All four are there for your Kindle.

Take a look and see what is involved. You can do it too!

This is a collection of articles I’ve written over the years/

This is a “how to” book encouraging people to travel. It has a ton of helpful hints so you can take that dream trip without it costing you your life’s savings.

A murder mystery that should make every parent and grandparent more aware of the importance of keeping an eye on the children.

And every writer has to write at least one romance novel.

Using the latest technology to get your materials published is fantastic! No more messing around trying to find an agent and no more paying a vanity press thousands of dollars so you can store stacks of unsold books in your garage.

Visit amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Learn about the e-books that are available at very reasonable prices and learn how you can add your works to the libraries.


Travel Tips

March 5, 2012

For the first twenty-three years of my life, I knew very little beyond the confines of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ours was not a well-traveled family.

Every few years my parents, brother, and I would travel to Wooster, Ohio to visit friends of my mother. On a more regular basis, our family traveled to New Jersey to visit my father’s relatives. On our trips to New Jersey, we’d often pass through Delaware.

My older brothers took me to Syracuse, New York and Morgantown, West Virginia to watch the Pitt Panthers play football. Other than that, the only other state I visited in my youth was Maryland.

That all changed after I reached adulthood. Since the age of 24 (when I went to work for IBM), I’ve traveled to all fifty states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. While some of those travels were paid for by IBM, most of them were on my own.

I’ve also been to four Canadian provinces, two Latin-American countries, and six European nations. (Two of those European nations were at IBM’s expense.)

At the age of sixty-seven, I realize there is much more of this earth to see and I am diligently working to do so.

Over the last ten or twelve years my bride and I have been most fortunate in being able to travel both here and abroad. Those trips have provided many opportunities for us to learn better (interpret that as “cheaper”) ways of traveling. In some cases, we are deeply indebted to travel agents. In other cases, our gratitude is aimed at the Internet, TV travel shows, and various magazine articles.

 * * * * * * *

 A number of people have suggested I take the time to write down what we’ve learned so that others might profit from our experiences. My initial thought was to aim such a document at senior citizens who need to get all their travels in while they’re still young enough to do so. For many senior citizens on fixed incomes, being able to do anything as inexpensively as possible is almost mandatory.

The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that my advice would be valid for anyone who wants to see the world in the cheapest ways possible. Cheapest should not be interpreted as staying in flea bag hotels and eating all of one’s meals at greasy spoons. I simply want to demonstrate that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a most enjoyable trip.

So, while my basic emphasis is directed toward older folks, younger people should take note, and take trips in “economy style”. In so doing, the younger set can take their children along for the ride. Travel is one of the best educational tools available… regardless of the age of the traveler. Senior citizens might also consider taking grandchildren along for the same reasons. Of course, many young parents might prefer to leave their children with their grandparents so they can enjoy more adult adventures. If those grandparents are anything like my bride and I, they’d welcome having the little ones around for a week or so… but no longer. We want to hit the road too!

 * * * * * * *

 As you read through this material you’ll find that each section contains my “formula” – the steps I use to find and improve on good deals. I also try to include some personal experiences so you can see the results that are possible from using the formula. I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same outcome, but I’d hope you’ll be able to save some money. Bad experiences are easier to cope with if they didn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Before moving on to the “meat” of this subject, let me say that I’ve heard of modes of travel that are cheaper than the ones I discuss. Since I’ve never taken a cargo ship cruise, nor stayed in a youth hostel, I cannot speak from experience on those things. While the youth hostel doesn’t interest me in the least, taking a “cruise” on a cargo vessel might be very entertaining, but I doubt they’d have a social director to keep things lively. To me, it would have to be a real bargain!

A quick search of the Internet provided me with three links:

http://freighterworld.com/

http://travel.spotcoolstuff.com/cruise/freighter-cargo-ship-itineraries

http://www.cargoshipcruises.nl/english.htm

There were a number of others, but the information I gleaned from these reinforced my belief about the lack of a social director. I also learned that a cruise on a freighter is not the great deal I thought it would be.

According to Freighter World Cruises, Inc., there are no buffet meals, no swimming pools, and no evening entertainment, which isn’t at all surprising. What is surprising is the fact that these “cruises” cost between $90 and $130 per person per day. The cruises my bride and I have taken were much less expensive and included all the bells and whistles. So, aside from the “adventure” of traveling with a group of professional seamen, you’d be better off on a ship filled with everyday people rather than cargo containers.

Of course, you could always sign on as a deck hand and get paid for the cruise, but that might not qualify as a vacation.

* * * * * * *

 A final note of introduction: Much of the information discussed in these pages revolves around the use of a computer and the Internet. Without a doubt, the World Wide Web is your best source of travel information – from airlines, hotels, and travel agents to the weather you can expect at your destination. You can buy a computer for less than $300 and hook it up to a high-speed Internet connection for about $50 per month. If those costs are prohibitive, use the computer at your local library.

Please keep in mind that you’ll see references to many web sites in every chapter of this book. The ones I name are in no way meant to be seen as all-inclusive. New travel sites come to life almost daily. There’s no way I could hope to list them all. In fact, by the time you read this, some of the sites I mention may be gone; that’s the way the web works.

Use the web sites I list as a starting point. Use the available search engines to find more. The only caveat is the “Buyer Beware!” that not all web sites are as they seem. Never provide any personal information – bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or anything else that could enable someone to steal your money or your identity. Unless you have thoroughly checked a company’s credentials, don’t even think about giving them more than your name and email address. Even when you know you’re dealing with a reputable outfit, always deal with your credit card. NEVER provide your bank account information or use a debit card on a travel related web site.

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What you just read was the introduction of a book I’m making available on Amazon – to download to your Kindle – and eventually to Barnes & Noble for the Nook owners.

I explain how you can save hundreds of dollars and enjoy wonderful vacations simply by taking the time to find the deals.

If you’re interested, let me know – and tell me what such advice would be worth to you. $25.00? $10.00? How about $2.99?