By: Ann Davis-Rowe
I recently got to talk about taxes here. Now, on to that other certainty of life.
Information/Paperwork to Gather:
When someone close to you dies, on top of all the emotional labor, there’s a lot of paperwork to go through – or find, or order – too.
Firstly, there are the immediate To Do’s:
[While you are dealing with these immediacies, please enlist help as far as notifying friends and family and arranging for care of pets or other dependents. People will want to help. Let them]. In a perfect world, the above decisions would be known – especially the organ donation part – and in writing and easy to find in the decedent’s paperwork.
Even if not, items you will need to find in order to get this information (and more), include:
As you progress into probate and closing the estate, you will also need multiple certified copies of the death certificate. These may be available through your funeral director, or you may have to go to city hall/a vital records office in your town.
“Probate” is the judicial process of closing an estate. If the deceased’s will specified an executor for their estate, that person would lead this process. The good news is that even if your loved one died without a will – or they had a will and you were named as the executor – a probate lawyer will be able to help you through the details. All you have to do to start is to contact your local courthouse, and they should be able to direct you to an appropriate lawyer.
Part of the probate process is to close all accounts – which is where those bills and asset information listed earlier will come in handy.
If there are bills that can’t be paid by the estate, unless you co-signed for a loan or credit card or own property with the deceased, you will generally not be responsible for paying the debt (unless you are the spouse and live in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington state, or Wisconsin, as they are community property states). Your probate lawyer will come in very handy here.
Note that debt collectors may still try to bother you anyway. Ignore them if they are not going through the proper channels to file a claim. Also note that disbursements from life insurance and retirement plan payouts go directly to the named beneficiaries no matter what, even if the estate has debts to pay.
Besides closing accounts, you will want to notify the following places of the deceased's passing:
In addition, you will want to have the deceased’s mail redirected to your (or the executor’s) address, if necessary, and have their name added to the Direct Marketing Association’s “Deceased – Do Not Contact” list. You can do the former at your local post office and the latter here.
Filing Taxes for the Deceased
Even if your loved one dies this early in the year, you’ll still have to file a tax return next year, for the individual, and, if there are investments or rental properties in play and the estate generates more than $600 in annual gross income, also for the estate. As per usual, it’s always best to speak to a tax professional for this sort of complicated matter.
Handling Online Accounts
In this age of the Internet you’ll also want to make decisions about social media and other electronic communication, such as turning their Facebook page to a memorial, canceling email accounts and websites – or continuing to keep their website open and transferring the payment to you, if they had an active site you’d like to keep as an archive.
For more details, I recommend AARP’s checklist here. And, of course, always defer to your probate lawyer, financial planner, and other professionals.
Preparing for Your Own Post-Life Plans:
Now is a good time for you to examine your own post-life plans.
No matter where you are in planning your estate or dealing with someone else’s, keep in mind that while it’s never going to be the easiest situation, you’re also not the only person who’s ever had to deal with it. Funeral directors, probate lawyers, and even credit card companies deal with death on a regular basis and are there to help. So are your friends and other loved ones. You don’t have to do this alone.
By: Tess Brigham
It’s one thing for you to feel down and depressed but when someone we love is struggling; the range of emotions we experience is overwhelming. Some days you feel so angry your friend or family member isn’t taking action to get the help they need. Other days you feel incredibly sad because you wish you could take their pain away. And some days you feel like throwing your hands up and shouting: “Fine. It’s your life. I’m out.”
When you have a friend or family member who is grappling with a mental health issue, the path forward can seem so simple and clear to you but not for your loved one. Which puts you in a tough position - you want to be supportive, but you also want this person to take action and get the help they need.
We all know the saying: “You can only control yourself, not other people.” One of the hardest aspects of being a friend or close relative of someone with a mental health issue is the ultimate fact that it’s up to them if and how and when they choose to get help. Which is super difficult! However, there are some things that you can do to make this easier for everyone.
1) Understand what may or may not be happening
How do you know if your loved one even has a serious problem? Maybe they’re just a little sad or stressed about work?
As a therapist, a big part of our job is identifying and correctly diagnosing mental health disorders. We use something called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is a HUGE book so I’m not going to bore you to tears going through the whole thing, but I do want to share the symptoms of the two most common disorders people struggle with (not including drug and alcohol issues): depression and anxiety.
First let’s start with the formal diagnosis of depression.
According to the DSM, to be formally diagnosed with Major Depression the individual must show that “five or more of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning: at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.”
Here is the list of symptoms:
There are certainly days when we all experience one or more symptoms of depression for various reasons. Life is hard. It can be overwhelming and stressful one day and the next day you wake up feeling more hopeful. Being unemployed, a recent break-up, grief, can all create feelings of worthlessness.
This is why identifying and understanding depression is so difficult. You want to pay close attention to whether your loved one has lost interest and pleasure in activities that they once loved. Also, if their overall mood remains depressed, sad, and they talk about feeling hopeless.
Anxiety can be a tricky one because we all get really anxious and stressed in various ways every single day. There is the stress about the upcoming presentation at work, there’s the stress of whether he or she text me back, and there’s the stress of simply getting to work on time. We need our anxiety in order to function in society.
There are also lots of different kinds of anxiety from just being anxious in social situations (social anxiety) to being fearful of certain things or events (specific phobia) to having what some think is a heart attack but usually turns out to be related to our anxiety (panic attack).
For this article, I’m going to focus on Generalized Anxiety Disorder. GAD is described as excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days than not for at least six (6) months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance). The individual finds it difficult to control the worry. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following symptoms:
Anxiety may be harder to recognize in a friend or family member because, hey, we’re all super busy and our 24/7 connected world we live in today is tough to manage. Yet, if you notice your friend complaining about not getting good sleep, she/he is snapping at you a lot, complaining about aches and pains in their bodies, or if she/he just seems really erratic, your friend may be struggling with GAD or some other anxiety-related issue.
2) Offer support
If you’ve recognized your loved one is struggling with a mental health issues, start with a simple, nonjudgmental, open conversation. Your timing and tone go a long way when you want to be heard. Pick a time when you and your loved one are alone and have the time and space to talk. You'll want to express what you’ve been seeing in your loved one and also leave the door open to talk more about what you’ve been observing.
Use “I” statements such as:
“I’ve noticed you’ve been cancelling plans a lot lately, is everything OK?”
“I’ve been hearing you say you haven’t been sleeping, how long how this been going on?”
“You’re one of my favorite people so when I hear you say you have nothing to live for I feel sad and scared because it seems like you’re in a lot of pain right now.”
When someone is struggling they don’t want to tell their friends and family what’s really going on because they don’t want to appear weak or to make that person worry. If you’ve gone through something similar, let them know. Admitting to being depressed and/or anxious takes a lot of vulnerability, so if you’re going to talk to a loved one about this issue, you have to be willing to be vulnerable as well.
3) Strategize and help them create a plan of action
The best way to manage both depression and anxiety is by doing the things you don’t really want to do. For someone who is depressed, getting outside, exercising, and seeing friends are honestly the BEST things you can do for yourself, even when it feels like you just want to curl up in bed. Seems a little strange – right? But getting Vitamin D from the sun, connecting with friends which give you a feeling of love and acceptance, and getting a rush of endorphins from exercise are all great (and natural) ways to help manage depression.
Anxiety is about control or the lack of control. Your loved one is feeling anxious because they don’t feel in control of certain situations, events, or people. Strategize a few ways they can better manage their anxiety. Suggest cutting down on caffeine, help identify the people/times when they feel most anxious, help them put together a plan for managing the anxiety, and/or write down everything that is making them anxious to go through the “worst case scenario.” Help them see that what they fear isn’t so scary, and remind them of times when bad things happened and they were able to overcome these situations.
Really important thing to note: alcohol only makes anxiety and depression worse, so try not to invite your loved one out for cocktails and instead do a fun outdoor activity with you and other people he/she loves.
4) Help them get the right help - which may include you also getting help
If you’re overwhelmed on what to do for your friend, don’t do it alone, reach out to someone you know that could help. A mentor, pastor, co-worker, friend of the family, anyone that you feel comfortable sharing this information with and who is always a good sounding board.
If your loved one is ready to get help, then let them know you’re happy to help them find a good therapist and/or psychiatrist. If they make it clear they’re not willing to see a therapist or psychiatrist, ask if they would be willing to see their general doctor instead. Once your loved one is ready to work with a therapist, read my last post and go through those steps with your loved one to help them identify the right therapist for them.
If you’re currently dealing with a loved one who is struggling with a mental health issue, give yourself a huge hug because this is so tough. If you have a loved one whom you’ve tried all of these techniques and they’re still unwilling to get help then you need to find your own therapist to work through these issues.
Tess Brigham is a licensed psychotherapist and Board Certified Coach and specializes in helping 20-Somethings/Millennials navigate this exciting but overwhelming time in their lives. To learn more about Tess go to her website at: www.tessbrigham.com.
If you're ready to stop binging Netflix and ready to master your love life, check out her course, "Kick-Ass Love Life." The cart is closing at midnight on 2/14/19 and will never be this price again! Grab it today.
By: Charla Puccino
Replacing common household items might sound easy, but knowing when to replace them might be difficult. While some items can live long past their expiration date, others become unhygienic. Check out this list to know when exactly to replace your most common household items...The answers might surprise you.
Replacing household items is easy, remembering to do so can be difficult. Some items are more expensive than others, and waiting an extra month or two before replacing them may seem healthier for your bank account, but it’s not healthy for you.
By: ann Davis-Rowe
If you have a large gallery space with a lot of eclectic art, consider any extra open space or things that maybe aren’t in a perfect location to be an opportunity to find more treasures! Life evolves, and so can your walls, even after you hang stuff.
Now, as far as actually hanging things, the general rule is to keep things around eye level. This means making sure the midpoint is at around 5’ from the floor. Feel free to adjust as necessary based on your household.
Other rules of thumb include:
Please note that these are generalities. This is where it’s handy to have a friend take pictures while you hold things as mentioned above. Rules are there for a reason – but they're also okay to break.
It’s great that there now exists so many options for hanging art, especially if you’re hanging on drywall or into wood. You can’t go wrong with drywall nails for hanging smaller, lighter pieces. They are tiny and easy to hammer and don’t leave big holes if you have to move them. For larger pieces, say, over 20 pounds, you’ll want to look into a medium weight anchor or curved picture hook. Anything larger than 40 pounds will require proper anchoring with a toggle or molly bolt, something that will distribute the weight behind your wall. Just because anchors are more heavy duty does not mean they are impossible for a novice! In many cases, it’s a simple as marking your spot with a pencil, using a nail and hammer to gently break the surface, and then tapping in the anchor.
Plaster walls are a bit of a different story. They are prone to cracking, so you will always want to drill a pilot hole first and use special plaster anchors. If you’re hanging a lighter piece, adhesive hangers are a great choice for plaster. For adhesive hangers, 3M’s Command Hooks and Strips are the most easily found brand in general, and are a great option for most wall surfaces. They now come in variety of sizes, weights, and colors for almost any project. These are also great for unusually sized pieces like tapestries on a curtain rod, or large upcycled gold frames someone placed on the curb (both of which are in my own home).
However, adhesive hangers won’t work if you have exposed brick or other textured surface. There are different anchors available if you’re looking to hang on masonry, and even special drill bits for brick and concrete. This is a situation where employees at your local home improvement store are the experts you'd want to consult. They can give specific information on your particular wall; for instance, sometimes it’s okay to just nail into mortar, but if your wall is over a certain age, that might not be a good idea.
Now that you’ve decided on placement and tools, it’s time to actually get your art on the walls.
A great philosopher of our day, Jennifer Aniston, once said, “art is subjective, and people can react however they want.” The art on your walls is likewise subjective. Trust your heart and hang things that make you happy where they make you happiest. Just don’t try to use a tiny drywall nail to hang a big, heavy mirror. Trust me on this.
By: Alyssa Kapaona
It seems like just yesterday your biggest concerns were figuring out your major and making sure you had lit plans lined up for the weekend. But those days are long gone and you’re noticing that finding a night when you and your friends are all off at the same time is suddenly a rare occasion. Welcome to the world of adulting. It’s a transition, but nothing you can’t handle. Here are three tips on how to navigate life with a full-time job, like a boss:
1. Get organized.
Stuff gets crazy when you are working 40ish hours a week. Figuring out how to manage all of your responsibilities can be overwhelming. First, take a deep breath. You got this! Now get started by writing down everything you need to take care of in your life: house/apartment, car, job, pet, kids, health (mental, physical, and spiritual), chores (laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.), budget, etc.
Under each category write down what you need to do to maintain these items. Be as specific and obvious as possible. This will help you remember all those pesky details. For example, for house/apartment write:
For health, you could list things like:
One strategy a close friend uses to manage her responsibilities is to do everything at once. Every October, she takes a couple vacation days to do her annual appointments (OB, optometrist, car stuff, etc.). She gives herself enough time in between appointments so she is not rushed or stressed and makes sure not to schedule too much in one day. She admits it is hard to take vacation for something other than vacation, but at the end of the day the peace of mind knowing that things are taken care of is a little mental vacation in itself. She also tries to have some fun when she can, like enjoying a nice, long lunch at her favorite restaurant or scheduling a facial so it’s not all work and no play.
If you need to remember any deadlines for your responsibilities, then put that down in a calendar or as a reminder in your phone. For example, every year I have an alarm that reminds me to get my car’s safety check. Another helpful tip from a friend is not doing a traditional “to-do” list, but instead just scheduling things in your calendar. This way you make sure you have a time carved out for your “to-do” item. Making sure you have time for all the things you are responsible for is the key to making sure it will get done and that your start to adulting is a successful one.
Real talk: once you have a full time job, it will monopolize most of your waking hours. I repeat: most of your time will be spent at your job. While this fact can be a bit depressing, it does put in perspective how precious your free time is, so start prioritizing!
What do you love to do? What relaxes you? Who do you like to hang out with? What activities do you need in your life to feel fulfilled, balanced, and energized? The thoughtful and reflective answers to these questions will tell you who and what you value. Think about these things and be sure to make time for them. When I first started adulting, I was working indoors most of the day. While I enjoyed my job, I missed spending time outdoors, so I made sure to have at least one outdoor activity planned during the week to ensure that I felt balanced in my new role as a full-time professional. And don’t discount the small things; adulting is a lot about doing what is best for you. My preferred outdoor activity were weekend surf trips, but that wasn’t always financially feasible. So, I also learned to appreciate smaller scale activities like a walk in my neighborhood or a local hike.
In regards to who you value, be sure to schedule time for them as well! If you have a partner, try setting up a date night once a week. If you’re living alone, make sure to set up regular time with your support system aka family and friends. My friends and I have found that regularly scheduled things were helpful. For example, every Friday was our happy hour date. However, don’t be afraid to be spontaneous and change up your recurring event or add something new to the mix. Some of our best times were things that happened on the fly. After you find what works for you and your social circle, be sure to maintain it. Keeping up with your social connections is an important part of adulting and their support will help you both get through the tough times and enjoy the good times.
3. Set Goals.
Now that you are more organized in your adult life and spend your time according to your values, it’s important to think about your future. If you just started adulting, odds are you are dreaming of bigger and better things, whether it’s moving up in your job, owning instead of renting, going back to school, starting a family, etc. It’s important to recognize the things you want to accomplish and start planning on how to get there.
Don’t get me wrong, you should definitely enjoy and savor the moment of starting out, but if you pay no attention to your goals and passions, time will pass and you’ll realize it has been awhile since you moved in a direction you intended to go. You don’t always need to be scheming, and starting small is a good idea. For example, share a goal with a trusted and honest friend. Check in with said friend every few months purposefully about your goal to make sure you are connected to your aspirations for the future. This small bit of accountability could make all the difference of a dream becoming reality or not.
Working full-time while learning how to adult is no joke. Maintaining your responsibilities and relationships is a great way to make things smooth when you are starting out. Narrowing in on your values and goals will also be key to moving you forward with purpose and intention. It won’t always be easy, but stay your course and before you know it, you’ll be full-blown adulting, and doing it well.
By: Dr. Brian Huber
A note from our editor and founder, Lis Huber:
Other than editing my contributors' work and formatting the weekly emails, I typically stay hands-off when it comes to the articles my contributors write. Therefore, I'm seemingly an invisible force behind what The Adult Dish is and stands for. But today's article is bigger than a weekly email, it's bigger than a guideblog post on how to become a responsible, functional adult. It's about our planet, and what we MUST do to change the devastating route it's headed for.
I remember as a kid, I would lay down under the night sky and feel overwhelmed by and in awe of how much is out there. Despite being able to see the spattering of dots above us, it's hard to imagine that there are whole other planets hanging out in space millions of miles away from us. But we know it's true. Science has not only proved it, it has taken us there. Men have walked on the moon. An International Space Station orbits our Earth. A robot has given us live footage of Mars. Outer space exists: outside of our culture, outside of our country, outside of our world.
Things are no different when it comes to climate change. Forget politics. I don't know when and why it became about what side of the political spectrum we're on, but climate change is bigger than that and influenced by each and every one of us. It's time for us to drop the bickering siblings act and work together towards fixing the planet we all are currently working so hard to wreck. Want to know what the climate change discord is really about? 1) Greed - companies don't want to put monetary effort into making safer environmental choices because they want to keep that money for themselves. Not terribly surprising news, as humans (especially powerful ones) have always been greedy. However, all of those companies (big and small) as well as the economy are going to be screwed if investments in environmentally-friendly methods aren't made ASAP. Like buying health insurance; wouldn't you rather spend a little money now to avoid spending way more later? That's what these big companies should be doing and what those who represent us should be advocating for, but instead they are blinded by the here-and-now of greed. 2) Fear - people are naturally afraid of the unknown, so we hesitate to believe in its existence until it's already too late. However, take a look around you. California's worst ever wildfire outbreak occurred last month, resulting in the displacement of over 50,000 people and death of at least 56. Guess what is a huge contributing factor to these wildfires? The fact California has warmed significantly in the last 100 years! And this is only one of the many natural disasters that have intensified because of climate change. At this point, the devastating effects of climate change are not an unknown, they're a reality that we will all face if significant action isn't taken.
In a way, I understand the hesitation to change. Even when we have undeniable proof right in front of our eyes, it's hard for us to look outside of our small little worlds, especially when it comes to catastrophic disaster. We don't allow our brains to conceptualize the terrorism that occurs every single day in countries thousands of miles away from us. We turn off the news when we hear about yet another mass shooting in a different state. And, as the bystander effect through the Kitty Genovese case shows, we even ignore signs of distress from right outside our doors to maintain the balance and false feeling of normality in our lives. However, though climate change is a whole lot bigger than us, we must accept that it will be affecting every single one of us. Do you want to plan for your future like you currently do by saving for retirement or preparing for your upcoming wedding? Do something every day to reduce your carbon footprint. Who knows, if enough of us actually put a minimal amount of effort into this, we could possibly make a change for the better.
Now on to the Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint article by Research Geologist, ancient climate change specialist, and my dad, Dr. Brian Huber.
The potential impact of future global climate warming is one of the biggest challenges of our times. Since 1988 reports from the International Panel on Climate Change have consistently stated that increasing rates of atmospheric and oceanic heating demonstrate that Earth is warming as a direct result of heat-trapping gases released by the burning of fossil fuels. But if seeing is believing, take a look at photographic and mapped evidence for the shrinking of mountain glaciers in Glacier National Park, and as well as those elsewhere in the world.
You might think that as the world population grows, there is nothing we can do to reduce our voracious appetite for fossil fuels. You might also think that it's too little, too late, when considering recent articles that have indicated we have less than 10 years to shape up in order to save our planet from the disasters associated with climate change. But you’re wrong! Choices that you make on how you live your life every day, and your involvement with community decision-making, can result in a huge reduction in your “carbon footprint.” And, the more people around the world that make a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint, the better our chances are of making a positive difference.
What is a carbon footprint?
This term refers to the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels. There are online resources readily available to you called “carbon footprint calculators” that can tell you both how big your carbon footprint is and what you can do to reduce it. A simple search on Google will provide links to these resources, or you can check out my two favorite here and here.
Daily adjustments you can make:
Sometimes these daily habits are hard to change, but once a new habit is formed, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to maintain.
Additional home improvements you can make:
Several additional home improvements can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Though they may have an upfront cost, most of them will actually save you money over time as you will be paying less on your utility bills, so it's worth the effort in more ways than one. Among the simplest improvements to consider are:
A bigger home improvement project that you can consider is adding solar panels to your roof in order to generate solar electric and/or solar hot water heating. This is a big investment, so you will want to look into any tax incentives that can help defray the cost, as well as find out if your electric company has a policy of purchasing kilowatts produced from your panels. Of course, before doing anything, you’ll want make sure that your roof can even accommodate solar panels that would be capable of generating electricity or heat efficiently (e.g., minimal shading during peak daylight hours).
Other options to consider
There are many other simple things that you can do to further reduce your carbon footprint. For example, you can eat less meat (growing livestock requires a high energy investment), avoid single use plastics such as bottled water, plastic storage bags and plastic shopping bags (bring your own reusable bag!), buy products made of recycled material, and use hand tools such as a rake or snow shovel to avoid using power tools.
Finally, becoming active in community planning and helping promote more funding for building bike paths, adding bike lanes, increasing public transportation, and reducing the number of streetlights is crucial to building cleaner communities that decrease the amount of carbon-based fuel usage. By making small daily adjustments that become new habits and by encouraging friends, family, and communities to do the same, you can be amazed at what a big impact you have on bringing about a greener world!
Dr. Brian Huber is a Research Geologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Much of his research has focused on reconstructing Earth’s temperature history during the past 115 million years by analyzing the shell chemistry of microscopic marine organisms called foraminifera.
By: Ann Davis-Rowe
As you may have heard, the midterm elections are less than two weeks away. And by “may have heard,” I mean you’re probably 100% over all the attack ads and mass mailings.
There are a number of reasons for pre-election burnout, whether you’ve been dead-set on your choices from the get-go or you just couldn’t care less. If you couldn’t care less, you’re not alone. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that less than 42% of registered voters – and only about 20% of millennials – showed up for the last midterm elections. This is despite ever-growing anger on all sides about such topics as LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, abortion, and taxes.
It’s easy to feel like your vote doesn’t matter. Trust me, I get it; thanks to the gerrymandering in my state, zero of my representatives in D.C. actually represent me and my morals. And I will admit that in my youth, I didn’t vote because what was the point? But it’s not just about national representation. It’s about state and local races and referendums, too. If you don’t vote, whether it’s because you think that as a middle-class, American-born, straight, cisgender, decently-educated white person, none of this affects you, or because “both sides are bad”, you’re not just “staying out of the us vs. them fighting”, you’re giving up your voice.
I’m not just going trot out the old “if you don’t vote you can’t complain.” I will say, emphatically and with great concern, that even if you are completely apathetic to all these hot button issues: voting isn’t just a civic right, it’s your duty. Our country is based on the ideals that all persons are created equal and everyone should have a say in how things are run. If you don’t participate, you’re turning your back on all those who fought for your right to vote. Not just via Facebook memes, but with their blood and their lives – from the Revolutionists who rallied against taxation without representation, to the Suffragettes who got us the 19th Amendment, to the Civil Rights leaders who faced unspeakable cruelty and still marched on. Still not impassioned? I'd suggest you learn about Rep. John Lewis who was arrested over 40 times, beaten, his skull fractured, and marched on so that everyone would have a voice. He is still alive today and serving Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District.
As an added bonus, when you vote you get a sticker that you can post to Instagram so everyone knows what a functional member of society you are.
Let’s just say my ranting has inspired you. (It was the Instagram thing, wasn’t it)? The midterms are less than two weeks away. Now what? Well, the bad news is that each state has its own separate rules regarding voter registration, absentee voting, early voting, voter ID, etc. The good news is that you can find your particular state’s information here. (If you happen to be reading this as an American citizen living in another country, you can get more info starting here). Once you check your registration, this helpful directory can lead you to your local polling place. It may take a few clicks, but persistence is a virtue! Unfortunately, you may have missed your state’s deadline to register to vote in the upcoming midterms. Have no fear! Complete the application process anyway so that you’re prepared for next time.
And if you’re super inspired, find out how you can get involved on the ground floor, whether it’s making phone calls for a candidate, handing out party information outside polling places, or placing a sign for or against local bonds on your front lawn. If you’re not sure how to do this in your particular city or town, leave a comment below, and I will personally help you find a local group to get involved with.
The Adult Dish is all about helping us be more functional adults. Do this. Help our society function.
by: Allyse harris
If you turn on your TV at any time of day, chances are that you can easily find something to watch that focuses on home renovation, “flipping” houses, buying and selling, amongst other home-and-garden related shows. Chances are even higher that, after binge-watching any of these shows, you find yourself inspired to tackle some home repairs or upgrades of your own!
Some might look for a few easy home improvement projects that can be done on the weekends to increase the value of their house. Others might be ready to put their hard hat on and swing a sledgehammer through the wall for demo day.
The Adult Dish has options for everyone. Below is a list of 9 different DIY home updates, with helpful links, organized from easiest to a bit more labor-intensive.
By: Charla Puccino
Sure, ironing clothes may sound like a fairly simple task, but smoothing out those pesky creases and crinkled collars can be tricky.
For those of us with wardrobes prone to wrinkles and folds that fight back, follow these simple tips and tricks for a smooth ironing process…any and all puns intended along the way.
Don’t toss out your tangled tees and don't press your luck. To avoid getting burned, refer to these tips and tricks for a smooth ironing process.
By: Tiffany Ferrara
Most of us would consider ourselves to be law abiding citizens. When we think about the concept of breaking a law, our minds probably imagine a huge bank heist or a “Breaking Bad” style drug ring. You know, the "go big or go home" type of stuff. However, there are some pretty common laws out there that you just might be breaking without even knowing it. And, shockingly enough, some of these laws actually carry rather hefty fines as well as, in some cases, jail time. I’m sure that we have all watched enough crime dramas to know that ignorance of the law does not make you exempt from the law. Therefore, to keep yourself in check, read below for five common laws that you just might be breaking.
Using an unsecured WiFi network
This may come as a shock to a lot of you reading this, considering that most of our wireless devices often attempt to connect to a WiFi network automatically. The truth is, using an unsecured WiFi network is actually a federal offense. I’m not kidding. Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, someone who breaks this law can face fines and even prison time. So when are you safe?
Let me break this down for you. Using the WiFi in Starbucks is fine, but using your neighbors unsecured network is a no-no. Have you noticed that when you connect to the WiFi at public spot, you get a splash page that asks you to accept their rules for using their connection? That splash page is them giving you limited permission to access their network, (I say limited because you can still get in trouble for participating in online activity that is against the rules of usage listed in their Terms of Service). When you use your neighbors' open WiFi, however, that's called "piggybacking" and it is an illegal offense. This is because, just like entering your neighbor's home without permission is illegal, regardless of whether or not their doors are unlocked, entering their WiFi connection without their consent is illegal, regardless of whether or not they have a password.
In some states using an unsecured WiFi network is actually considered to be a 3rd degree felony and, if found guilty, you can be punished with up to a maximum of 2 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. While these charges are somewhat difficult to prove, it has happened. There have been several people found guilty of using an unsecured WiFi network that were in fact charged. However, they were not punished to the full extent of the law and got away with having to pay several hundred dollars in fines and, in some cases, community service hours.
Using a fake name on the internet
There is also a law that was brought about under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act which prohibits users from providing fake information. The verbiage actually states that you may not use a computer “without authorized access,” which includes violating the terms of service that many sites have.
Next time you are signing up for a site, actually take the time to read over their terms of service and you will likely see a stipulation that states that you may not provide false information. Now, does this mean that going by BabyDoll1234 on Instagram is going to land you in hot water? The answer is, it depends. If your name is Sally Jones and you provide that information at time of signing up, but choose the handle of BabyDoll1234, then you are perfectly within your legal limits. However, if your name is Sally Jones and you make up a fake email address under the name Betty Smith and use the handle BabyDoll1234, you can get in trouble.
Essentially, making up a person or impersonating another person online is illegal. So, for all of you amateur sleuths out there who have considered making a fake profile to check out what an ex has been up to, you may want to think again.
Picture this very common scenario: you’re with a group of friends at a sports bar and you casually say to your buddy, “Hey, if so-and-so makes this next shot then you owe me a beer.” Super common, right? Well, according to the Illegal Gambling Act of 1970 this is a no-no. That’s right, you can actually get in trouble for making casual bets.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example in Mississippi, you can make bets if the money being exchanged is for charity or the gambling takes place on a riverboat. In Connecticut, you can get away with betting if you claim that the person you are betting with is a good friend. Weird, I know (but also kind of useful). Now, while you can get in trouble for those casual one-on-one bets that we just discussed, the real trouble comes when you get five or more people involved and you and your posse of rebels are bringing in a revenue of $2,000 per day. Once this happens, according to the good old Gambling Act of 1970, you are running an illegal gambling operation. Now the fines go up and so does the possibility of prison time.
In fact, if you are caught and found guilty of running an illegal gambling operation you can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Even though most people know the term jaywalking, a surprising amount to people don’t know what it actually means and what type of trouble you can get into if you’re caught. The Cliff’s Notes version of jaywalking is simply this: a pedestrian crosses a street without any regard to traffic rules and regulations or safety.
Before we jump too deep into that, and because I like to know where terms originated from, let’s talk about how the word jaywalking came to be. A common misunderstanding of the term is that Jaywalking referred to the “J”-like path someone would take when crossing the street illegally. While that sounds simple enough to be true, it isn’t the case. It actually comes from the term “Jay” which, believe it or not, was once a pretty harsh term for a person who let’s just say, "isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.” This term came to be widely used by people living in cities and they often times used it to describe those who lived out in the country. The insult “Jay” was combined with the word “walker” to describe people who walked across the streets in an unsafe fashion, thus appearing to be less than intelligent. “Jay driver” is a term that originated out in Kansas and refers to a motorist who does not understand or adhere to the basic rules of the road and, in turn, can cause unsafe situations for themselves and other drivers.
Okay, now back to present day and what it means if you cross the street where you shouldn’t. Basically, if you're unsure, stick to the crosswalk rule. If the state paid to put one up, that’s where they want pedestrians to cross. Sure, it may seem inconvenient at times because using a designated crosswalk could result in you having to pass your destination get to one and then back-track a little, but it’s worth it to avoid getting a ticket.
Each city sets their own penalties for jaywalking and some cities are stricter than others regarding this rule. According to some of the research that I’ve done on Jaywalking fines, New York City and Los Angeles seem to have some of the steepest fines, which can be up to $250.
Sharing Prescription Drugs
Okay, so it goes without saying that prescription drugs can be expensive. Anyone who is on a daily medication knows how much some prescription drugs can affect your bank account. Regardless, it is completely illegal to share your prescription drugs with anyone and, if you’re caught, can result in both the sharer and the sharee getting brought up on drug charges on either a state or federal level. That’s right, you can face fines, and depending on the type of medication, even jail time for doing this.
Medications such as opioid-based painkillers and benzodiazepines face higher penalties due to their incredibly addictive nature. But, regardless of the classification of drugs that you are sharing, you can still get in legal trouble. Penalties vary based on specific situations. For example, the charges would be worse if you were attempting to collect a profit from selling your prescriptions as opposed to just giving them away. But either way, you’d be in hot water.
If you’re convicted on a federal level, you could face up to 30 years in prison under federal controlled substance laws. States, on the other hand, have their own penalties for these types of crimes which may or may not be harsher than federal penalties. In fact, the rules regulating prescription drugs are so strict that you can even get in trouble for carrying your own prescription drugs around if they are not clearly labeled. This means that they must be in the bottle that they were prescribed to you in with your legal name and the name of the prescribing doctor clearly stated.
Sharing or selling prescription drugs is dangerous, not only for legal reasons, but for health reasons. Your doctor has prescribed you a certain amount of medication because that is what they feel you need. Therefore, by giving away or selling some of your pills, you are a) not properly medicating yourself, and b) giving someone a dose of a medication that may be harmful for them. Everybody (and every body) is different, so prescription medications should only be administered under the care of a medical professional who understands the proper dosage and any possible drug interactions.
There you have it, five laws that you may not even know that you’re breaking. Essentially: stop stealing your neighbor’s WiFi, delete those fake profiles, call off your poker night (unless you live in Mississippi and it’s for charity or are in Connecticut with your friends), pay attention to where you cross the street, and don’t ever share your prescription medications.