Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Elf On The Shelf Is Back...And Causing Mischief For One Family

Dear Tazi:

My husband is driving my crazy with his bathroom toilet seat antics! “Fred” has a bad habit of leaving the toilet seat and cover in the up position after use. I have told him that this is gross and unattractive for several reasons: it is unsanitary; it allows the dog to have a drink from his own private “wet bar”; and it tells people exactly what he was doing in there (#1 or #2) based upon the position of the seat. Fred just laughs off my reasoning.

I have tried putting a fancy, rug cover on top of the cover to weigh it down, so it will eventually close on its own, but Fred keeps taking it off and hiding it in various places around the house (last time, I found the cat sleeping in it!). I have tried a cute, embroidered sign that states “Put down the seat, ladies present! A wet behind is most unpleasant!” but Fred refuses to take the hint. Instead, he hung my bikini bottom from the towel rack with a note about “going swimming”.

Fred thinks his antics are funny, but they wear thin very quickly. It is his latest antics that have sent me over the top. Fred decided to dig through the Christmas decorations and pull out our two-year-old daughter’s Elf on the Shelf. Can you see where this is going, Tazi? Thus far, I have caught “Sparkle” holding a fishing pole over the bowl; sitting on the edge of the bowl and wearing a tiny SCUBA mask (Fred found it among my scrap-booking and shadowbox supplies); lounging on the edge of the bowl with a washcloth “beach towel” and more of my beach-themed scrap-booking and shadowbox supplies, including a tiki bar!

The final straw came this morning when I discovered the entire toilet seat missing and Sparkle sitting on the top of the tank, holding a ransom note that demanded “sexy time for Fred” before the seat would be returned. I thank Heavens my daughter is too young to read! Speaking of my daughter, she finds her “Elf’s” behavior to be hysterical and looks forward to seeing what he will do next. I am a busy Mom, and do not have the time to start Elf on the Shelf throughout the year traditions! I do not wish for Fred’s antics to set this precedent. I do want for Fred to start acting like a responsible adult and put the toilet seat and cover down when he is done using it! Do you have any ideas on how to make this happen, Tazi?

Signed,
All Wet

Dear All Wet:

Your daughter named a boy elf “Sparkle”? Do the other elves tease him about this? I’m sorry; this news just sent me a bit off track…on track to your issue – before the Elf “rears” his head again!

The time and effort that Fred is putting into the creativity he is using to annoy you tells me that this issue is more about having the upper hand and less about the placement of the toilet seat. I have to admit your “private ‘wet bar’” comment gave me a giggle, so I can only imagine how much it amused your husband. I am picturing the tiki bar scene now and wondering if I can somehow incorporate a more sanitary version into my family’s Elf traditions.

You are correct in saying that a closed toilet lid is more sanitary. With every flush, droplets of toilet water can spray up to 13 feet – which means your toothbrush might be getting doused with toilet water. Depending on how often you clean/freshen your bowl, you may be getting more than just water on your toiletries. Even if you clean the bowl regularly and use an in-tank germicide, these chemicals will be in the water and entering your pooch’s system every time he takes a drink from his “private ‘wet bar’”. Plus, you do have a point that nobody wants to know what was last occurring behind the closed bathroom door. Personally, I bury my waste so nobody can see what I was doing; humans have a toilet seat lid and a flush to cover evidence of their bodily functions. Both should be used accordingly. This is my ruling on the matter; now onto Fred and his sophomoric but amusing behavior.

It is obvious that Fred does not like to be told what to do; it is also obvious that Fred is enjoying the attention his antics are getting him. Child psychologists sometimes refer to what they call the rule of the broken cookie: to a child, a broken cookie is better than no cookie at all. So it is with attention, with negative attention being better than no attention at all. It appears that your husband is seeking your attention and is doing it in the only way he knows how – by teasing you. By getting to the root of your toilet seat problem you will be able to solve the much bigger issue of why your husband is feeling neglected (the ransom request for “sexy time” leads me to believe he is feeling ignored).

Being the mother of a two-year-old is a very hard and exhausting job and having to clean up after a husband does not make this job any easier. How involved is Fred in your daughter’s life? It is obvious that he enjoys amusing her. Perhaps he could take on some of the chores that involve raising your daughter in order to give you a break – her bath, getting her dressed, assisting with her meals can all be made fun and amusing while freeing you up to do something else, even if that something else is doing absolutely nothing for 20 minutes.

Once you have been relieved of some of the stresses of being a busy Mom, you may feel less resentment towards my next suggestion: put the toilet seat down yourself. Once you change your response to Fred’s behavior, he may start to change his behavior. Every time you see the seat up, pause to ask yourself, “Is this the biggest problem in my marriage?” If the answer is yes, consider yourself blessed and think of all the reasons you love your husband. Then calmly and politely remind him that two-year-olds like to throw stuff like cell phones and TV remotes into the open toilet bowl.

Snuggles,
Tazi


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Adoption Should Not Be Kept A Secret

Dear Tazi:

Next month is my daughter "Kiri's" birthday. She will be 5-years-old. Next month will also mark the 4th anniversary of the day that I adopted her from a Chinese orphanage. She was only one-year-old when I took her home, so Kiri does not know she is adopted. I know this will sound strange to you, since you do not know me, but I am Asian American so Kiri does not look very different from me. I realize that one day I will have to tell her that she is adopted; do you think she is still too young? Should I wait until she starts asking questions about where she comes from? I was told that her parents were killed in the 2008 Chinese earthquake, only a few days after she was born. Isn't this information a little harsh to tell a young child?

Signed,
Kiri's Mom

Dear Kiri's Mom:

You do realize that not all Asians look alike, right? Because unless you are Chinese American, like your adopted daughter, she has probably already noticed the differences in how the two of you look. Like most parents and children, she will see the similarities between the two of you (dark hair, dark eyes), but you most likely have variant skin tones and facial structures. Although this is not something a 5-year-old can express, it is something they will notice.

My next question for you is, why do you feel the need to keep your daughter's adoption a secret? Her parents untimely demise and the horrors surrounding it, yes, but her adoption? Adoption is a wonderful institution and one should not feel the need to hide the truth about it - especially from the child who has been adopted. Usually when a young child asks about where they came from it means one of two things: it is time to have the "how humans reproduce" talk with them (this usually occurs between the ages of 7 - 10) or they want to know where they were born and/or once lived before living where they are now. I came from the local animal shelter!

If Kiri is not curious about where she came from or why Mommy's face looks different than her own you could institute a new celebration in your home: Adoption Day, to commemorate the anniversary of the day you brought your daughter home. For this first Adoption Day celebration, you can explain to Kiri that she was chosen by you to be your daughter; that you flew halfway around the world to come get her; and that you would go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe and happy. Answer any questions she has with just enough information for her to process, and answer on her level. A 5-year-old processes things differently than adults. If she asks what happened to her real parents, you can say that they are living in Heaven right now, or whatever your spiritual beliefs teach about death.

As Kiri gets older she is bound to have more questions about her birth culture and her birth story. Share with her what you know; research with her what you do not. If possible, contact the orphanage and/or adoption agency you worked with to bring Kiri home to you. In time, Kiri may decide she does not like the idea of celebrating adoption day as it might make her feel different, or she may look forward to it like an additional birthday celebration. Take your cues from Kiri as to how to move forward with any information she seeks, if she seeks any information at all. Know that the longer you wait to tell Kiri she is adopted, the more difficult it will be for her to process this information. I say start sharing this information now, bit by bit until the entire story unfolds.

Snuggles,
Tazi

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: A Happy Birthday Wish To Tazi From His Mommie

Dear Readers:

This is "Tazi's Mommie". I am hijacking this space today to wish my cat a very happy birthday! My "little cat" is nine years old today! Where did the years go? It seems like just yesterday he stuck his paw out of that shelter cage and hooked me - literally and figuratively. One look into that adorable kitten - with his paw-claw on my shirt sleeve and his eyes looking up at me - told me I had to take him home. I have no children, so Tazi became my surrogate.

Few of us know the actual birthday of our rescue pets, and I am no exception. According to the vet, Tazi was born sometime in late June. Tazi was born the year my beloved dog Jellybean died, also in late June. I assigned Tazi this birthday to commemorate the day my Jellybean passed - as one life ends, a new one begins; the circle continues.

Although I grew up with pets, Tazi-Kat has brought more joy to my life than I ever imagined an animal could. He is 12 1/2 pounds of snuggles, adventure, and mischief. (He should be 10 pounds of snuggles, adventure, and mischief which is why he is currently on a diet). Whoever said that black cats bring bad luck has never met my Tazi-Kat. He is the most loving cat I have ever met, and I am blessed to be his caretaker and human companion. I would say "owner", but can anyone ever truly own a cat?

Thank you for indulging me on this special day!

"Tazi's Mommie"


Happy Birthday, Tazi!!



Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Special Edition: Tazi-Kat Takes On The "Bus Monitor Bullies" (And Their Parents!)

[Ed. Note: The YouTube video referred to is below. Understand that it is included for reference purposes only. The language used in it is very raw and not suitable for polite society].



Dear Readers:

My domestic tranquility has been disturbed by recent events, so I have decided that today I am going to use this forum to address the very serious problem of bullying in schools, specifically American middle schools and junior high schools. As a cat, I have a special understanding of bullying – we are the bullies of the animal world! What other animal will casually jump up on your dining table, stick their head in your plate, and start eating your food – and then scratch you if you dare try to push us away?

I understand the craziness of those teenage years; we have all been there. However, the craziness that prior generations experienced has been compounded by technology. Once upon a time embarrassing incidents reached a limited audience and could be quickly forgotten; now, they are videotaped using smart phones and uploaded to YouTube for the entire world to see. Today, I would like to speak of one particular bullying incident that has been uploaded to YouTube. I think you all know which one I am referring to: the bullied bus monitor, Karen Klein. I am hoping this message reaches those who were on the bus that day – those who participated in the bullying, and those who stood by and did nothing – as well as the parents of those students. This open letter is for them:

Hi! My name is Tazi-Kat, and I write an advice column for humans. I have dealt with many letters on various subjects, from how to hang the toilet paper (over or under) to important parenting issues. Today, I have an important question for you: Are the children in this video the type of person you raised your child to be? If so, this must be your proudest hour, and I congratulate you on reaching your penultimate goal of raising a self-centered bully who puts others down so they can feel good about themselves (or, as PeopleIWantToPunchInTheThroat.com would call them, a [feminine hygiene product] canoe. Yes, I was being kind just now; much worse things are being said about your child. Tell me, how does that make you feel? Offer as many excuses as you would like; I have heard them all before. The truth of the matter is that your child’s behavior rains shame upon you. That ugly, angry feeling you have in the pit of your stomach should be directed inward, not outward; there is no defense for how your child acted.

Your daughter called Miss Karen fat? I would like to see her figure after she has grown up and had a few children of her own. I want to be there when her husband tells her that she needs to lose weight because he no longer finds her sexually attractive and is embarrassed to be seen with her in public. If you think that no man would ever have the stones to do that, think again. I have received several letters on the subject, not just the one linked here. Mothers, maybe you should ask your husband what he honestly thinks of your figure. Or better yet, ask your child or any one of their friends who was on that bus – none of those kids seemed to have a problem with expressing their unvarnished opinions. Or is that kind of truth just too painful for you to hear? You may not be overweight, but I am certain you have some tender insecurities about your looks. How would you like it if your child exploited them for entertainment, and then posted video of it on the Internet? Do you now have an inkling of a clue as to the cruelty your precious child inflicted upon an elderly woman?

Before you say that your child would never have participated in such cruelty, listen closely to the video. Is your child’s voice on it? Is that their laughter? Every mother knows the sound of their own child, so do not try to deny what you are hearing. Even if it is not your child that you hear, all that this means is that he or she sat idly by and watched the abuse take place. Either way, you have done a bang-up job raising such a fine, upstanding young citizen! (I do hope that you understand my sarcasm. I would hate for this message to be lost to abject ignorance).

Speaking of this cruel video – which, in case you have not noticed, is over ten minutes long – I would like to know which child filmed it. Was it your child? I am wondering how you have decided to punish him or her. Please tell me that you have taken away their iPhone, or whatever smart phone they used to document and upload the entire event. Please tell me you have revoked their Internet access for even thinking it was okay to upload this type of filth to the web. Most of all, please tell me that you did not raise your child to be this kind of person. To paraphrase a line from the movie Animal House, inhumane and stupid is no way to go through life.

To those of you who sat and watched the bullying unfold, I have a few questions for you, too. Why did you just sit there? Were you afraid someone would start picking on you? Were you glad to see someone other than you was being bullied for a change? It takes a lot of courage to be a hero; courage that none of you have. Please do not try to defend your reputation now; your cowardice is painfully obvious. As news that you were on that bus travels (and believe me, it will travel) this event will become as painful for you as it was for Miss Karen. The world will know all of you for what you are: cowards and bullies, devoid of character. Care to put that nugget of information on your college application essay? I think that is something admissions counselors would like to know, so don’t try to pass yourselves off as anything different, or try to excuse your behavior as the folly of youth. The world looks poorly upon liars, too.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to address the person in charge on that bus. No, not the bus monitor; the bus driver. I want to know what, in the name of all that is sacred, were you thinking! Why did you not stop the bus? Were you in a hurry to get home and watch Oprah re-runs? Miss Karen is your co-worker, your partner in keeping order on that bus! You did worse than those who sat back and did nothing – you just kept on truckin’, like nothing was out of order. You disgust me the most of all, because you are supposed to be the adult, yet you acted no better than any of the children in your charge. You could have stopped the abuse; taken names; and reported the incident to the school principal who had disciplinary jurisdiction over the matter. I guess getting home five minutes faster was more important to you than standing up for your co-worker, who was obviously raised during a time when women were taught to take the abuse rather than stand up to it. Your behavior perpetrates the cycle of abuse that needs to end. How does it feel to be a part of the problem? I hope your employer and union boss both remember this incident when it comes time to renew your contract.

I am fairly certain that my words will not reach the ears of those who need to hear them, and that even if they do those involved will probably fail to recognize their part in this travesty. However, just in case this letter does reach you, I want you to know that even in my anger I have remained relatively kind towards you; telling it like it is without the use of obscenities or sexual slurs (but only because I advertise a family-friendly column). I have said my piece, and am done. The rest of the world is prepared to spend the rest of your lives judging you, and the court of public opinion can be a lot harsher than I have been here. If you think I am exaggerating, think again. Thanks to that YouTube upload, your actions will be haunting you for the rest of your life. For Miss Karen’s sake, I hope that none of you ever decide to run for President while she is still alive because she does not need to relive the horror of that video being played over and over during your campaign, a tool of your opponent to remind the world of who you are and what you did. As it is, I am sure Miss Karen will be reliving the horror of it every day for a long time. The world can be a cruel place, but you do not need me to tell you that. I have a feeling you are about to find out on your own just how much the world hates someone who picks on a Grandma.

I hope that the $500,000+ in donations that Miss Karen has received, offered to finance a well-deserved retirement, is a reminder to her of the kindness of strangers; not the cruelty of acquaintances.

Extra Snuggles to Miss Karen; Paw-Slaps of Disgust to the rest of you (with my claws out),
Tazi
















Photo courtesy of ICanHasCheezeburger.com


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Texas Hold 'Em Player Has Big Dreams Of Success On The Circuit

Dear Tazi:

When I read your letter about the guy who has been hustling pool for a living I knew that I had to write to you. My boyfriend, "Buddy", has decided to quit college and try his hand on the Texas Hold 'Em Poker circuit. I will admit that Buddy is good, but could he be good enough to go pro?

Buddy learned how to play Texas Hold 'Em after pledging his fraternity last year and has been hooked ever since. He quickly abandoned his academic curriculum in favor of courses that improved his poker game - a lot of math classes, a lot of psychology classes, and other courses like Statistics that have helped him to strategize and read people but that will not lead to a degree. Over the semester break this past winter, Buddy started competing in the Texas Hold 'Em tournaments held at the local casinos, and he did very, very well. He has made quite a deal of money, as well as a name for himself, playing cards. However, this success has not been without cost. Every weekend without fail he is in a tournament, which means less time for us to be together. Plus, these tournaments are high stakes, which means he must reinvest a good portion of his winnings, so he never has any money to do anything else after his rent and other expenses are paid. If Buddy were to take this show on the road, I can foresee these issues growing even larger.

I do not wish to sound selfish, because I honestly am concerned about Buddy's future and what is best for him - and I believe that finishing college and settling down are what is best for him! How can I get him to see this?

Signed,
Poker Widow

Dear Poker Widow:

Are you certain that you are interested in what is best for Buddy? Because it certainly sounds like you are interested in what is best for you. You complain that his poker tournaments keep him occupied (read: away from you) on weekends and that the cost of them requires him to reinvest his winnings into the next game instead of into stuff for you. At least, this is what I see when I read in between the lines.

Texas Hold 'Em is a game that requires a combination of skill and luck. The classes that Buddy is taking to improve his game are not easy classes. Psychology and Statistics? Please put me out of my misery...now!

Caption courtesy of 1 Corinthians 15:55
Photo courtesy of www.icanhascheezeburger.com

However, Buddy has made an intelligent choice if he is taking these classes to improve his card playing. Once he masters the art of card counting (which he can easily learn through the study of statistics) and the art of reading another player's physical cues and tics (through the study of human psychology) all that is left up to fate is the luck of the draw, after which he can continue to bid or decide to fold. His chances of making the correct choice will have improved exponentially, though, thanks to his education. Quite honestly, it sounds to me like Buddy has made a career choice and is choosing to follow that path. Competing on the poker circuit is not for everyone, and it can be a hard life full of stress and lacking loved ones; but this is Buddy's choice to make, not yours.

You do not say how long you and Buddy have been together or how serious the two of you are; if Buddy's parents are in the picture and if have any influence over him, or if they approve of his decision - should they even know about it. If you are concerned about losing Buddy or trying to decide if you would want to break up with him should he choose the circuit over you, this is the discussion you need to be having - not the one where you act like his mother and tell him what is best for his future.

Snuggles,
Tazi

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interracial Dating Is Still A Hot Topic For Many

Dear Tazi:

I am in an inter-racial relationship. I am a black woman dating a white man, and my family would [poop] Frisbees if they knew! My father grew up down in the deep South, and just because he now lives in a more progressive state does not mean he is any more progressive than when he lived in Alabama. He hates white people like the Lord hates the Devil. My girlfriends all support my decision to date "Neil" because they know how hard it can be to find a brother who doesn't have a record, a disease, or thirty children by eleven different baby mamas (Yeah, I read that story in the paper. Pathetic!). The black men who do work hard, are educated, and treat their women right are all dating white women, so I figure if one of their men is interested in me, I'm going to give him a shot. That shot was Neil, and he is a wonderful man.

My question for you, little cat, is how should I go about introducing Neil to my family? My Mama is okay about white people, she just doesn't trust them right away. My brother would probably laugh at how I have flipped the script, but Daddy is not going to take it well at all. Neil keeps asking me when he can meet my family, and I don't want him thinking I am not ready because I don't love him. I'm just not ready because I'm afraid Daddy's going to chase him out of the house with a shotgun.

Signed,
Mimosa

P.S. You recently asked what it meant to be the "ace boon kitty". It's a good thing, little cat. It means you are the original and the coolest and the friend that someone wanna ice cold chill with!

Dear Mimosa:

Wow! Thank you for letting me know what the "ace boon kitty" is! I appreciate it. I never know what teenage slang means, since there are no teenagers in my prowling territory. From the sound of your letter, your Daddy does not want any white guys prowling through your territory!

Living up North, I have never experienced the culture of the Deep South, but I have met people who have grown up there. While I stress that 99.9% of the people I have met have been absolute angels, there are a few who are still fighting the Civil War (or as they call it, the War of Northern Aggression). I get the impression that these are the type of white people that your Daddy grew up around, instilling a sense of hatred for anyone lighter than the color of a toasted marshmallow (mmmmm...toasted marshmallows!).

Since you are certain of your feelings for Neil, I would suggest that you introduce him first to your brother, then to your Mama - preferably on separate occasions. By handling things this way, you will be taking the stress off of Neil (it can be panic-inducing to meet someone's whole family all at once) and allow your family the chance to get to know him in a more relaxed setting. Once your family has gotten to know Neil, someone - or all of you, if you prefer - can have a sit-down talk with your father. Your Mama and your brother can explain to your father than Neil is wonderful man who treats you well and makes you happy and is everything a Daddy hopes for in the man who wins his daughter's heart. After that, you can break it to him that Neil is white.

I do not expect your father to take this news very well, so let him let off whatever steam he needs without trying to calm him down (so long as he does not turn violent). Once your father has calmed enough that he will hear you when you speak, tell him exactly what you told me: that you were looking for a good, responsible man with strong prospects for a successful future. Let him know that Neil's skin color is not something he can control; and that you fell in love with what is on the inside, not the outside wrapping. Remind your Daddy that if the situation were reversed and you were to meet Neil's parents, wouldn't he want them to be accepting of you? Then, hope your Daddy understands that your choice of partner means no disrespect to him, that the heart wants what the heart wants.

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. I do hope that you do not have to make the difficult choice between Neil and your Daddy. I have seen this happen to the people that I love. Let's just say that there were no winners; only losers.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Overwhelmed By Overdrafts, Young Husband Seeks Help

Dear Tazi:

I never thought I would be writing to an advice columnist, so I figure if I am I might as well write to a cat, right? I am a nineteen year old man, married six months, and my wife is driving me up a tree with her horrible banking habits.

"Liesel" has a bad habit of charging stuff to the debit card attached to our joint checking account and then not balancing the checkbook. After having to pay several hundred dollars in overdraft fees one month, I decided I should be the one to balance the checkbook. Now Liesel forgets to give me the receipts for the stuff she charges so the checkbook balance is just as messed up as ever. I have thought of applying for a low-limit credit card for her to use, but I hate the idea of having to pay interest on stupid stuff like a cup of coffee or a package of gum. This is the sort of stuff Liesel charges. I have tried giving her cash to pay with, but that just makes her spend even more.

I went to the bank to close our joint account, because I am afraid all of these overdrafts are ruining my credit, but I could not close the account without Liesel's agreeing; and I couldn't take my name off of the account without closing it. Liesel refuses to agree to this kind of solution because she believes that married couples should have joint bank accounts. I love my wife, but her spending habits have got to change! We are hoping to buy a house in a few years, and the money we are spending on overdrafts is sinking that dream. Do you have any suggestions about what I can do to get my wife to see reason?

Signed,
Underwater


Dear Underwater:

I am sure that the first thing you would like to do is take away Liesel's debit card! However, I do not advocate the subordination of one partner by another and this case is no exception. You are her husband, not her Daddy. Because debit card transactions do not always go through right away, a person can continue to charge on the account and rack up huge overdraft fees, which is what appears to be happening. Since Liesel is forgetting to give you her receipts, you may have to go online and view your account through your bank's online banking features. A list of charges will be made available, and you can confirm with Liesel whether or not she made these charges. You will also be able to see your balance and warn Liesel when it is getting low or even transfer funds from savings to prevent an overdraft. It is a lot of work on your part, but this plan should stop the overdraft fees. Don't worry - your wife is not getting out of trouble here!

It sounds to me that Liesel needs credit counseling and some lessons on financial responsibility. I am assuming she is close to your age, which means she has little to no experience with credit and its importance. Is she even the least bit upset about all of the money being wasted on overdraft fees? Because the two of you wish to save for a house, both a healthy savings account and a healthy credit report will be required. I suggest that you both put the debit cards away; agree to a spending budget for the both of you; and stick to it - meaning once the cash in your pocket is gone, that's it until the next paycheck.

Once you are both comfortable sticking with a weekly spending budget, you can try carrying the debit cards with you for emergencies only. If you find Liesel is falling back into her old habits and the overdraft fees start rolling in again, professional counseling may be required as the problem may run deeper than being scatterbrained when it comes to remembering to balance a checkbook.

I wish you both the best of luck, in your marriage and in your goal of buying your own home.

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. With regard to married couples and checking accounts, I have to tell you I have heard of many couples keeping a joint bill paying account but separate personal accounts. Perhaps this is a compromise that would appeal to Liesel?



Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How Late Is Too Late To Pick-Up A "Special Order"?

Dear Tazi:

Almost three years ago, I put some decorative hardware on order at a local, family owned hardware store. Because the items were a special order, I had to put down a deposit of 50% of the total cost of the merchandise. At the time I was making good money and had decided to extravagantly redecorate my entire home, so even though the hardware was rather pricey I did not blink at the cost. The items were backordered from the supplier for three months, but I felt the items were worth the wait.

During the three months I was waiting for my order to arrive, I was unexpectedly laid off from my high-paying job and my mother got sick and I had to use my savings to assist with her medical expenses. It was a rough three months. When I received the call that my decorative hardware had arrived, I was too embarrassed to tell them I did not have the money so I told them I would be in shortly to pick up my items, figuring I would save up for the balance owed and complete my redecorating project since the hardware I ordered was the finishing touch.

It took me almost six months, but between what was left of my savings, my unemployment benefits, and a reimbursement check from the health insurance I did manage to save the $1500 dollars still owing. Then my car dropped its transmission and I had to use the money to pay for repairs. Fast forward through my long stretch of unemployment and low paying temp jobs until I finally got a job that comes close to (but does not match) my former salary and here we are today – three years later!

Tazi, I am very embarrassed about this whole situation, but would like to pick up my decorative hardware just the same. Do you think the store would still have it? I did make a rather large deposit on it. If the store sold or returned my special order, do they owe me a merchandise credit for the money I put down on the order? For the first few months they made several phone calls to let me know my order was waiting, but they never told me what would happen if I did not pick it up within a certain amount of time. You seem to be a knowledgeable kitty; do you know if it’s too late to pick up my decorative hardware or to get a merchandise credit equal to my deposit?

Signed,
To Heck and Back

Dear To Heck and Back:

It does sound like you have been through quite an ordeal! You must also be in love with this decorative hardware to be willing to pay the $1,500 balance owing on it! Laws differ from state to state, with property being considered abandoned from anywhere between 30 days and one year, depending on the item. It has been my experience, though, that most businesses will not just take your money and run. They will hold onto the item for as long as possible, if storage space allows for it; try to sell the item, if there is interest in it; or return it to the manufacturer, often paying the cost of return shipping and a 10% - 25% restocking fee, all of which could eat up your 50% deposit.

I ran your letter by John M., an employee a local family-owned hardware store that has been in business for over 90 years (so they have seen EVERYTHING!). I was told that when a customer special orders something they do their best to honor that order. If the item was to be paid for in advance, they will hold onto it “forever” because the customer owns it, and they will do their best to make sure the customer is aware that it is still there, often calling months or sometimes years after the item has been ordered. John added that a 50% down payment is significant, and they will usually hold the item until it is picked up. As a hypothetical, he added that if the item was sold to another person for full cost, the original deposit should be honored if the customer wishes to reorder; however, if the price of the item has increased the customer will be responsible for paying the price difference.

It looks as though your chances are pretty good that your decorative hardware is still waiting for you! In talking with John, he reassured me that you should not feel embarrassed about your situation that these things happen. You will not be required to give a reason why you are so late in picking it up, so you need not fear anything. Personally, I think the store would be grateful that you have finally come to retrieve your order – in addition to the balance of the sale they will be getting back some very valuable storage space.

Snuggles,
Tazi


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tazi Recommends: Blog Her

Dear Readers:

Last week I opened my email box only to get torn a new one by several Moms, after having recommended Blossom Bunkhouse. As one reader put it, the site was "absurd" and "an insult to hard-working Moms everyone". Another reader said, "Like I am not busy enough running around trying to keep my household running, I am now supposed to find the time to undertake 'Elf' projects for every occasion?" (I believe this one was a reference to St. Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day Elf projects/spoofs). Mea culpa! Not having children of my own (or maybe I do...I wasn't neutered until after I was adopted off the streets) I was unaware of how many hot-buttons a site like Blossom Bunkhouse would push. Have pity on the kitty? Please? Because this week I am recommending

Blog Her
sponsored by The BlogHer Publishing Network


What do I love about Blog Her? In a word, everything. It is a site about women, for women, by women. On Blog Her you will find dozens of blogs on topics of both interest and concern to women of all walks of life. There are serious articles on News and Politics and fun style suggestions on how to dress like Sarah Palin (think what you want about her, she does have some nice clothes!). There are blogs on Career, covering current issues like the fact that a woman has not moderated a general-election Presidential debate in 20 years as well as blogs offering career advice like How to Be a Good Supervisor (Without Really Trying). In fact, there are blogs on every topic imaginable - and as an advice columnist, I can imagine a LOT of topics! Especially the topical How Do You Keep Blogging With Hate Comments? (Yes, as adorable as I am, I get my share!)

Blog Her offers thousands of blogs, including my favorite People I Want To Punch In The Throat, which is being honored at this year's Blog Her Conference in New York City (and no, I have not been paid or promoted to say that! I am honestly love this blog as much as its writer loves Tina Fey. Maybe even more...).

If I can figure out how to post on Blog Her, I may start publishing this column through the site myself...stay tuned, and in the meantime check out Blog Her! I am off to try and find where my Mommie hid my treats - darn woman went and put me on a diet!

Snuggles,
Tazi


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.