May 28, 2009

Could You Use an Inventor Mentor?

Now I know I've mentioned in the past that I don't like to share forum sites for inventors to cut down on the clutter, chaos, and bickering that inevitably occurs on them, but here is a new forum/library where an online acquaintance of mine, Tania Reynaert, is bringing together serious, new independent inventors who can always certainly use a little guidance from those who've already been there with a proven track record. Tania is also currently going through the process and is expecting to see her product on store-shelves soon, with a lot of hard work, determination, and with mentor guidance.

Just as I wish existed, she did too. She also states the objective of this forum is to serve as an inventor resource, a resource that doesn't currently exist, clutter-, chaos-, or bicker-free that is, in the form of a library. You can search through the information already there, and you can help them grow and become more useful to other inventors simply by asking inventing-related questions.

You ask a question, and a mentor or two will respond. Those questions will remain for browsing by others who will inevitably have the same question another day. It's brand new, so check out "the new place to learn without chat" at The Inventor's Mentors Forum!

I look forward to learning.

Nincompoop Corner - Bed Sizes

So both hubbie and I wound up in the nincompoop corner, but oh well, it made for a great laugh.

I bought some new Thomas the Tank Engine sheets for my 3-year-old's new big boy bed, which is a twin bed. I put them in the washing machine and hubbie promptly pulled them out to make that bed for the anxious toddler who nagged and nagged for his bed to be made while waiting for them to finish the cycle.

He came out and announced they were the wrong size and that I should've purchased the "single" size. I asked, "What's the difference between a single and a twin? I thought they were one and the same. He proceeds to explain to me, "No, single and twin is not the same, and in fact, there is such a thing as a double bed." I respond that I'm aware there is a double bed. We're now walking toward the bedroom so I can assess what is wrong when he announces, "Singles are for 1 person and smaller than a twin, which is for 2 people." I start laughing hysterically asking, in between laughs, "Twins for 2 as in twins?" Oh brother.

When I arrive to the bedroom, I can clearly see how large this sheet set is so I set off to locate the package to see what I've done.......aaaahhhh, in my haste I interpreted "full sheet set including pillow cases, fitted, and top sheet" to mean "all the parts." Now I'm laughing hysterically at myself.

By the way, don't buy character bedding. It is more expensive, obviously, but the quality is about the worst I've ever had the displeasure of lying in. The baby doesn't seem to mind, but the sheets, in all their colorful decor, are still practically transparent, rough, and don't make for that wonderful cool-sheet feeling you may like in the summer. Also, please note that even if it does indicate it is a "full" set, it does NOT include a bed skirt. lol.

May 27, 2009

MT Independent Contractors

So, as an independent contractor (IC) you have a couple of options. You can decide to either work directly with the providers for whom you transcribe as an independent contractor as direct clients or you can choose to work for a transcription service in the capacity of a subcontractor (SC). Either way, YOU are your OWN business.

As an IC it is not your client's responsibility to ensure you bill them on time or that they ever even receive your invoice, and as an SC it is not the responsibility of the transcription service owner to contact you looking for same.

In either position it is also up to you to determine if you are invoicing your client, be it a provider or a service, appropriately. This means that it is not up to them to contact you and tell you that you shortchanged yourself on your invoice by omitting a job or a typo in your line count numbers that shorts you a couple hundred lines.

You should also have a basic understanding of what an invoice number is and apply it to your own invoicing system. When you contact the person in charge of seeing to it that you are paid, it is much easier for them to locate the invoice in question this way. Invoice numbers can look like this: 3100-09, 3101-09, 3102-09. The -09 referring to the year. The first half of the invoice number being a customer number assigned by you that compounds by 1 with each invoice created. The client assigns you a vendor number in their system that records your invoice numbers and amounts accordingly in chronological order. The first invoice next year, if 3102-09 had been the last in 2009, would be 3103-10. Now when you call this person, you can reference an easy-to-note reference number instead of saying or typing, "My invoice for period May 1, 2009 through May 15, 2009." or "05/01/09-05/15/09," or worse yet, "the one for $635.00." It also makes for easy entering into their payment system, whatever that system may be.

For those needing clarification, if you are a subcontractor, the transcription service for which you provide services is your client.

May 26, 2009

Random Thoughts About Feet

Why is it that you wouldn't dream of putting on the same pair of socks 2 days in a row and yet you think nothing of putting your feet into the same pair of shoes day after day after day?

I've been putting my feet into the same set of sneakers for over 1000 days now.

Summer Crazies....

This is how I refer to it. Even though school is still in, when the weather warms, my home becomes the child magnet. It seems much more difficult with a 3-1/2-year-old however I have to say. He wants so badly to play with all the bigger kids and to keep up.

Back when my first two, now 9 and 11, were this young, my home was completely child proofed. Not so any longer. It is to a certain degree--to keep him out of harm's way--but I guess catching his antics and behind-the-scenes sneakiness is much more difficult with everyone running in different directions.

Lately, he's been giving me a real run for my money, so much so, I haven't blogged in a while. It's been compounded by the end-of-the-school-year madness such as helper breakfasts, VIP lunches, field trips, softball season, etc.

Last week, my youngster walked around the corner with a freshly cut strawberry in his hand proudly holding it up with one hand while holding out the empty hand and wiggling the fingers announcing, "See mom, I didn't cut my fingers off!"

I have to admit he did a really great job at it, but once discovering his hands were in fact still intact to find the large serated bread knife left next to that stawberry top, I set off trying to locate a new container in which to put the sharp knives atop the fridge like the old days. One of the drawbacks of having much older siblings to watch and to learn from and to having a 3-year-old the size of a 6-year-old. He can reach everything.

This week he has become more determined than ever to go potty all by himself. He comes out and announces that he has done so. I want to encourage him to continue, but.....he won't cave on calling for backup to wipe after a poopie. @@

He has cleaned all of his dresser drawers out 3 times in the last 10 days or so in order to locate a hoodie sweatshirt and jeans or sweats to wear. He has suddenly developed a true love of these clothing items, regardless of how hot it is now outside. I have now hidden the sweatshirts and he has now moved onto long sleeve shirts. Don't know what I'm gonna do with him, other than continue to force him to help me clean it all up.

One day last week, he announced that he pee-peed on the potty and poo-poo'd too just as proud as can be. I asked him who wiped his bum to which he replied, "Nobody." I took him into the bathroom explaining that bums always need to be wiped after a poo-poo because some gets stuck in the crack. I said, "Here lemme show ya. Bend over and touch your toes." He does this and I wipe. I then show him the remnants left behind on the paper to which he dramatically and disgustedly yells, "Aaaaackkkkkk! Don't show me that again, K?!"

Now, this week, after a dresser-emptying episode, that my husband discovers and overreacts about, we hear "Eeeeew! There's poo-poo on the floor!" to which my husband also overreacts about (he shoulda won an Oscar - really). Turns out that in his attempt to put on some new clothes with an unwiped poopie bum, he left a pretty good skidmark on the area rug in his room. Instead of yet again being able to explain it to him as to how he should have called for backup in wiping, he can't hear me as those eyes are watching my near-hysterical husband ranting and raving like a lunatic....."I can't do it Chris. I just cannot clean up any more poop. You're gonna have to do this!" (We've both been driven to the brink by our dog's bodily fluids from either end, but that story another time. We're wondering if she isn't the next Marley).

The other day, as I'm working on the couch with my laptop, he comes around the corner and announces "Don't see me mom and cover your ears." (This is how he announces that he is about to do something he knows he doesn't want us to see.) So I oblige him, purely for the memory of it. He walks away out of sight but pops his head back into the room and asks, "Can you hear me?" I don't answer him and keep looking at the computer with my ears covered. Next I hear a sliding chair across the tile floor and a loud noise with it. He comes running back around the corner and asks again if I can hear him, to which I again do not respond. He does this yet once more. Finally, I don't hear anything, so I stand up and walk into the kitchen to find him standing on the very heavy dining room chair that is now at the other end of the kitchen reaching into the cookie jar for a granola bar. "Wouldn't it have been easier to ask for one?" I asked him. He answered he wanted to do it by himself.

Being a work-at-home mother means that work tasks you are trying to accomplish with a toddler nearby take quadruple the time it should!

My parenting tips within - find a decorative container/vase in which to keep your sharp knives atop the fridge out of reach of toddlers. Tying a rope around your kitchen table chairs works well for preventing toddlers from climbing but does absolutely nothing when that toddler learns how to untie that rope. I'll never figure out why the phrase terrible two's was ever coined, as the age of 2 never posed any problems for us. It was the age of 3 that kept us on our toes that requires constant reinforcement and lessons to be taught.

May 7, 2009

Handmade Tea-Light Candle Holders

My 3-year-old made this candle holder. All the kids enjoy making these to give away as gifts. They make great gifts for grandparents, aunts, and uncles, etc. Great project idea to offer up to Dad for making mother's day gifts as well.

You'll need a small GLASS jar with an opening large enough to accommodate a tea-light candle. Dijon mustard jars, maraschino cherry jars, and babyfood jars are perfect.

If you've been saving the gift tissue from gifts, you are all set. If not, you can buy some if you need to. The more colors and patterns, the better. My child chose to stick with one pattern, and for his age of 3, I chose to keep the pieces more square for ease. Cut up your chosen tissue papers into irregular shapes, and store extra in a baggie for the next time. Each time makes for a unique gift. Multiple colors gives a special stained glass effect once the candle is inserted and lit.

You will also need glue. I have not investigated flammability of craft glues of any sort, but I know you can use what we do--regular ol' white school glue. You can thin it out a bit with water if you like as well. We don't. To apply the glue, you'll need a child-style paintbrush or foam craft brush. It's probably best to ensure minimal glue gets on the inside portion of your jar.

Paint one side of the jar and apply your tissue paper, and repeat all the way around. Overlapping is great. It's okay to go over the tissue paper with the glue to help flatten out any wrinkles. Imperfection for toddlers is sweet in my opinion.

It's obviously best to keep any tissue paper from overlapping into the mouth of the jar as well due to flammability. If your jar is tall enough, then you really won't need to worry about this due to the height of a tea-light candle. Do NOT use votive candles in your handmade candle holders. You may also embellish your handmade candle holder externally with a variety of items, foam shapes, sticky letters, glitter, etc. To add glitter, paint a layer of glue over the paper and sprinkle it on. Glitter should only be used for children who are able to handle their creation minimally, as the glitter will get on their hands. You don't want glitter to get into a youngster's eyes, so use with caution.

Allow to dry, and you're all set.