Grandparents by the numbers
* The average age of a first-time grandparent is 50. Some can be as young as 38.
* Grandparents are more likely to work than people in their same age group who don’t have grandchildren.
* On average, grandparents spend about 7.5 hours every week with grandchildren. If they live within 20 miles, they spend 12.6 hours per week.
* About a third of grandparents provide financial support for their grandchildren. The closer they live to their grandchildren, the more they provide.
* Grandfathers provide more financial support than grandmothers.
* About 70 percent of grandparents plan to purchase something to help their grandchildren. Among the top purchases: car seats, cribs, chairs, and clothing.
* Grandparents are happy. About 3/4 of grandparents say they feel fulfilled in life.
Stats: AARP, 2020
How a fence can increase the value of your property
Installing a new fence around your home has many benefits, including increasing the value of your property and making it more attractive to future buyers. Here’s why.
• It delineates your property. A fence visually outlines your property to give potential buyers an exact idea of the size of your yard. Remember to always double-check your property lines before installing a fence.
• It increases curb appeal. You can increase your home’s curb appeal by installing a decorative wooden or wrought-iron fence. A well-placed fence can also block unsightly views.
• It adds privacy. If you want to create a visual barrier around your home, a fence is a great way to shield your yard from the gaze of strangers.
• It improves security and safety. Installing a fence keeps would-be thieves and vandals out of your yard and home. Enclosing your yard with a fence can also help keep young children and pets from escaping into the street. Safety and security are significant features when selling a home.
Lastly, always opt for professional installation to avoid future problems and hassles. Additionally, invest in regular maintenance and repairs to ensure your fence looks and performs its best for years to come.
Make sure you purchase fence materials that are of high quality and attractive. For example, wood, vinyl, and ornamental iron fences are more beautiful than chain-link fences. However, keep in mind that they’re more expensive and require more maintenance.
Enjoy (sort of) the Orb Weaver in August
Here you are enjoying your late summer walk through the woods when, eww, you walk right into a spider web.
The web is everywhere! Is the spider on you? Yuck!
It’s not your imagination that spider webs are everywhere in August into September and even October if the weather is warm. That’s the time when many spiders weave their webs, especially the large Orb Weaver, a spider of extraordinary art and grace.
Their complicated, many-layer webs are a work to behold. The spiders themselves are not dangerous, and they won’t bite you. The spiders can be pretty brave. It’s a game for country children to find Orb Weaver on the web and tap his yellow back, making him bounce on the web.
The webs can sometimes be enormous, more than three feet in diameter, yet weirdly invisible. To best admire the web, take a hike after a rain, and you’ll see the droplets glistening on the complicated web. The rain brings out vegetation and insects, and the Orb Weavers will be out in force, spinning to net their prey.
Orb Weavers are part of the Araneidae family, a large group of spiders with many colors and shapes. The daytime Orbs are brightly colored with orange or yellow patterns on black. The spiders you see weaving their webs in the fall are females.
The spokes of the web are roads for the spider to crawl on, but the loops of the web are covered in a sticky substance that is perfect for catching insects. It can also catch small birds. Gardeners have seen birds the size of sparrows caught haplessly in the Orb Weavers web.
Micro-volunteering: Be someone’s eyes for two minutes
Here is a fantastic way to help people wherever you are, whenever you have the time — by micro-volunteering.
Be My Eyes is an app that connects sighted people to the blind. Using video calling technology, volunteers can answer simple questions that require a pair of eyes.
Hans Jorgen Wiberg, a Danish furniture craftsman who is visually impaired, realized that blind and low-vision people often needed help with everyday tasks. He also knew that video calling was already being used by the blind. They typically called friends and family by video for help with simple questions like What is in this can? What is the expiration date on this food? Is this a red or a black sweater? Being able to easily get answers to these simple questions offers a lot of independence.
The problem is that regular helpers are not always available, and there is the issue of wearing out one’s welcome. What Wiberg realized was that the world was full of people who could help at times. So in 2012, he launched his Be My Eyes startup to connect people with volunteers from across the globe.
Today, nearly 6 million volunteers help with questions from about a half million blind and low-vision people. The app is available in 150 countries and 180 languages.
Anonymous sighted volunteers can take a call whenever they have time. They can pass if they don’t have time, and another volunteer gets the call. Meanwhile, anonymous users can ask simple and fast questions.
Be My Eyes has also started ramping up specialized support. One of the top areas is tech support, which sometimes requires knowledge as much as sight. Microsoft, Google, and others are helping to solve issues like broken screen readers or setting up email accounts.
But there is also support for more personal, sensitive questions that the caller may not want to ask a family member: The results of a pregnancy test or fertility test, for example. The Clearblue Careline can step in to help privately in those cases.
Pasta maker Barilla uses the app to help with pasta questions. And Rite Aid pharmacy answers questions about prescriptions and helps people read medicine bottles.
4 clever tips for organizing your locker
Back to school means getting a new locker, especially in high school. If you’re a student, here are four suggestions to help you organize your locker.
1. Choose sturdy accessories. Use sturdy storage containers you don’t have to replace every year. This way, you’ll stay organized and won’t have to spend money on new ones next year.
2. Buy shelves. Some shelves are designed to hang from the permanent shelf in your locker. You can also get ones made of fabric, which have extra pockets on the sides to maximize storage. Additionally, metal or plastic ones can be placed in the bottom of the locker to keep your bags separate from your boots and shoes.
3. Maximize door usage. Magnetic accessories are extremely practical. For example, you can use baskets to organize pencils and other small objects. A dry-erase board or magnets can help you keep important notes like appointment times and exam schedules in sight.
4. Arrange supplies wisely. Keep binders for each subject in alphabetical order to find what you need at a glance. Keep the matching textbooks nearby to save time before class.
Visit your local shops to stock up on everything you need.
There’s a song in your heart! Sing it out!
It’s Saturday night, and a guy who calls himself Mr. Charley is belting out Frank Sinatra tune, telling us, “That’s Life.”
After Mr. Charley sits down, a young woman with purple hair gets up to sing an Adele song.
She’s followed by a lady yodeling, “I Wanna be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” — it is so unexpected and well done that the crowd goes wild.
Welcome to Karaoke. If you have a song in your heart, you can sing it out. Or, you can just be a fan.
In every city and every burg, there is someplace you can sing along to your favorite tunes — or watch someone else do it. There are good and bad singers, familiar tunes and some you forgot or never knew. Regulars fans get to know the singers and each other. It is like a weekly social event.
If you haven’t been to karaoke, you can search online for events in your area. Smaller venues, usually bars, have a more intimate audience. Bigger venues tend to attract better singers but can be more impersonal. Show up early to get the best seats. When the show starts, applaud every singer and give newbies encouragement.
If you want to try out your vocals, practice at home first. Rehearse a high-energy song and a slower song. The later it gets, the less likely that a long, slow ballad will be appreciated. You can listen and practice your songs on sites such as Sunfly or Ameritz.
You will give your name and song to the karaoke DJ when you get to the venue. These days, most every song is available, but in some cases, the choice can be limited to songs listed in a book.
When you are called to the front, sing with confidence, and when finished, go immediately to your seat. Making a speech to the audience or lingering up front is frowned upon.
Love deserves a bit of work
People sometimes feel that they have lost control of their relationships, either following the birth of a child or simply because time has passed. Therefore, it’s very important to take the time, as a couple, to stop for a few minutes to discuss the situation. Investing in your relationship can only bring positive results.
Establish your priorities first. You should both make a list of what is essential to your happiness and the things on which you refuse to compromise. Then specify what would be a bonus to your well-being. When you know exactly what you want, you can sit down together and discuss what improvements can be made.
Keep in mind that in a couple, one party should never have to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the other, nor feel a need to demean the other to enhance their own image. Maintaining the three fundamental basics of a strong relationship is vital: You, your partner, and your couple. These three different entities each have their reasons for existing. Everyone has his or her own individuality, and your relationship has its own personality. It is important, therefore, to maintain your own distinctiveness and not let the other rub off on you.
When a problem becomes apparent, instead of blaming your partner, first look at yourself. People often accuse others of being something they are themselves. The term for this is projection. Couples should always avoid engaging in this type of behavior.
Finally, don’t hesitate to meet with a mediator or a marriage counselor. They have the necessary expertise to help you find concrete solutions.
You should never be afraid of investing in a relationship to help it be happy and successful. Take the necessary time and make use of available resources.