Monthly Archives: June 2013

A very important relationship that lets us do our work

A few months ago, I was conducting a leadership workshop with senior managers of a large bank. We were doing a session on Relationship Networks. Each person was asked to map out all ‘relationships’ – the people at work and outside who contributed to their success on the job and examine the nature of their relationships with them. I was happy to note that many of these men acknowledged the contribution of their wives to their jobs. “Because she manages the house and children so well, I can work 12-14 hours a day,” said one. “I am the AGM at office but my wife is the General Manager at home,” remarked another. All of them laughed indulgently. Because these men do not have to worry about clean bathrooms, laundry, ironing, fresh vegetables, getting the milk, children’s homework, cooking, fixing the leaky tap and caring for the elderly grandmother at home. They can focus on their jobs, chase that promotion and go for a ‘team building’ drink after work. Lucky! Where are the wives for the women? Do the working women have a General Manager at home?

When I drew my own relationship network, I realised that there was a critical relationship that enabled me to work and yet I did not even consider it as such. Women at my stage of life can manage quite easily without the husbands for a week or more. Many would cook just one meal, the kids would happily eat pizzas and maybe some other girlfriend whose husband is travelling would come over for a glass of wine and gossip. But if the maid does not turn up for a single day, it is a problem. For a woman who works, it is a catastrophe. These are the managers of our home, the caretakers of our family. If these women did not come in to work at my home, I could not do my work outside it.

It is not only an important relationship but also one that is among the most stressful to handle. Even if we don’t do the actual work ourselves, the responsibility of managing the staff falls to the woman of the house. If we are to be General Managers of the house, these are our team members, the valued subordinates to whom we have the delegated the responsibility of the household. Like any Human Resource manager, we struggle with acquisition, retention, motivation, training and compensation of our staff. I guess there are many examples of a happy and peaceful coexistence, where the two are genuinely fond of each other as individuals but these are more of an exception than the norm. In today’s world, it is a relationship fraught with tension. It requires finesse, tact and a fine balancing act.

Having a maid is an advantage that many in the first world do not have. If you are reading this in India, you have definitely grown up seeing a maid work at your home. None of us, the urban educated, are used to doing manual labour at home. One of my friends was unhappy that her husband had accepted a posting in London. ‘Now I will have to give up my job and become a maid,’ she complained. While the software engineer, the Call Centre executive and the plumber who goes to work in the Gulf are respected as professionals, the domestic help is at the bottom of the rung. It could be a coincidence that most of them – the kaamwalis, the baais, the cooks, the nannies and the ayahs are women. They do women’s work inside the house. It is ironical that this is what enables both the master and mistress to do other work, work that is more exciting, creative and remunerative than washing dishes, mopping floors and dusting shelves. I don’t think we respect the work, therefore it is difficult to respect the person who does the work. It seems to be low skilled work done by uneducated people yet, I am sure a avvy investment banker wouldn’t be able to sweep and swab the floors to a smooth clean shine in an hour like a good maid can.

Most of us use the word servants to describe the domestic help. There is an inherent quality of service and subservience in that word. We expect the help to be humble, loyal, hardworking and undemanding rather like the devoted Ramu kaka or Kaaki of the early Bollywood movies who had brought up Chotte sahib since he was a baby. The days of the grateful family retainer are long gone but the feudal expectations remain. Added to that are all the class and caste differences that lurk beneath the surface. Factor in the fact that the help is a woman who is not expected to assert her rights but sacrifice her needs for the well-being of others. It is difficult to think of her as a working professional who is paid a wage for her services. Many of the urban maids at least, have a mind of their own and are confident women who are just there to earn a decent living. There are those who answer back, who may argue. Many a maid has been sacked for ‘giving attitude’. I can take that from a subordinate at work but the ego comes in the way of accepting any such behaviour from a mere maid.

With working women, the equation becomes more complicated. We veer between aggression and appeasement. A reasonably efficient maid who is good with the kid is pampered and pandered to because it would be difficult to find a replacement. I know of someone who overlooks minor pilferages because the child is very fond of the nanny. Someone who doesn’t meet a standard is admonished harshly. We have high expectations that they will be committed, proactive and take ownership of their tasks. Sometimes, we take out our own guilt at not being the perfect domestic goddess on the maid. Sometimes, we over compensate. We want to be compassionate but are wary of being taken advantage of. We want to trust but cannot quell the subterranean suspicion that rises up from time to time. We cannot relate to them as a customer and service provider or a boss and subordinate, not even as one working woman to another.

I have a part-time cleaning maid and a live-in cook. My cook cum housekeeper is a dour lady from Jharkhand, given to mood swings, sudden pains and sullen silences. She is finicky about her food and firm in her opinions. She is also hardworking, reliable, trustworthy and honest. She supervises the cleaning lady, picks up groceries and takes my daughter to her classes when I am at work. She has learnt to make crunchy crisp dosas and fluffy idlis. I don’t have family in Gurgaon. My husband has a hectic 12-hour day. I can travel out of town because I know that my home and child are in her care. When she goes on her annual leave, I take off from work. When my maid complains of any illness, I immediately medicate her. If she continues to complain, I drop everything and rush her to the doctor. Yes, I am concerned about her well- being which is essential to my own well- being. Sometimes, I resent that dependence. Though I give her the daily instructions, she behaves as though she is the boss of our household.This technology allows high volume Testimonials mvpcleaning production at low cost. We both believe that we are putting up with each other – I think that she won’t get a better, more lenient and understanding employer, she believes that we won’t get a better help. We have survived each other for six years based on the ‘known devil’ principle. There are days when I come close to firing her and days when I am just humbly grateful for her presence. Like the facebook relationship status, ‘It is complicated’.

But no matter what the nature of the relationship is, the one thing that is true is that the maid is definitely worse off in life as compared to the memsahib. Yes, there are maids who are rude, sloppy, liars, thieves and cheats and they should be dealt with just as we would deal with any employee. But the vast majority of them are poor uneducated women whose life is a struggle. They leave their own family to live in a stranger’s home. The part time maids have to rush back to their own family and do the same chores all over again. They are vulnerable outside their own home and often subject to abuse and violence within it.

There are more than 9 million domestic workers in the country and they have no legal rights as workers. They do not have a minimum wage, they are expected to work long hours. We all have heard horror stories of abuse and harassment of these women and girls at the hands of their employers or agents. The National Policy for Domestic workers is still being discussed in the Cabinet. Some states have passed laws relating to minimum wages for domestic help. I doubt anything much will come of it. Few people care about these poor marginalised women. The thought of strikes by maid unions fills us with dread. Most of us do not want them to get above themselves and use their combined bargaining power.We Best Carpet Cleaning Services with competitive price and first-class service.

I wonder how many generations it would take for the domestic help situation in India to become like that in the western world. My guess is that it will take quite a few years because of the sheer number of poor people who need to eke out a livelihood. The heat,dust and grime here ensures that once a week vacuuming will not do to keep our houses clean. What would be welcome is some kind of organisation in this sector. I wouldn’t mind paying well for a good efficient maid who would take ownership of her job. I would be happier with clearly laid down norms that are universally applicable instead of wondering if I am overpaying her or underutilising her. If we could elevate this job to a higher level and bring some kind of professionalism to it, both the women who go out of their homes to work and those who come into could be more productive, prosperous and peaceful.

A thankless job — but someone has to do it

THE sight of parking marshals in bright-yellow windbreakers is common on the streets of the Johannesburg CBD — even though the system has some residents up in arms.

“I have been working in the city since this company [Ace Parking Services] started here and I think the people are getting used to it,” said a parking marshal, who had just been in an argument over fees with a BMW driver in Fox Street.

Ace Parking owner and MD Juliet Paulsen said parking marshals sometimes came to her “beaten up and bleeding”. Their only recourse is to ask the metro police for Cleaning sydney.

Ms Paulsen said that, in the two years since its implementation, the system of paid parking has eased congestion.

“Paid parking is not a new thing. Johannesburg has had it for years with the parking meters. This system is just replacing that old system,” said Ms Paulsen, whose company won the tender in early 2010.

When approached by a marshal, a motorist estimates the time he or she plans to be parking and pays a fee of R4.50 for 30 minutes or R8.50 for an hour.

Ace Parking has shown a strong climb in revenue, from the R87000 collected during its first month in January 2011 to more than R1m a month now. Of this, the City of Johannesburg is paid 25%. Ace Parking carries the cost of renting the technology and all other overheads and risks.

Many people are unhappy because the rate for parking on the street is higher than at the average mall. Covered parking at the Rosebank Mall costs R6 for the first hour and R40 for nine hours or longer.

Ace Parking’s contract with the city is due to expand into more Johannesburg areas — Rosebank, Corlett Drive, Melville, Emmarentia, Norwood, Parkview, Greenside, Craighall Park, Northcliff, Sandton and Fordsburg.

The biggest grievance was that minimal public consultation took place. The unhappiness has delayed the further roll-out of the project by two years, pushing Ace Parking’s finances into the red, according to Ms Paulsen.

“We have received a lot of negativity in rolling out this system in the suburbs. I think people compare us with these e-tolls, but that’s not what we are. I have worked in the parking industry for over 20 years and have a passion for the business — and the new system is able to create easy entry-level jobs.”

Parking marshal George Goitsemedime* took home only R900 last month because he struggled to get people to pay their fees in Parkhurst.

In an attempt to appease suburban residents, a decision has been taken to tweak the paid-parking model. DA councilor Nico de Jager said further roll-outs of the paid parking system would take place in coming months, but motorists would not be charged for the first 15 minutes.

“If the City of Johannesburg gives the green light for the roll-out to the other areas, we estimate that this will add a further R1.5m to R2m to the projected parking revenue,” the company said in its operations report.

Sierra Club members Ladd and Gail Seekins, of the San Gorgonio Chapter, will present the slide program, “Little Known Gems of the National Park System” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 2 when the chapter has its monthly meeting at the San Bernardino County Museum.

Many have probably visited the great national parks, such as Yosemite, Sequoia, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone. But lesser-known places like Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Minuteman National Historic Site, Ft. Bowie National Historic Site, and Agate Fossil Beds National Monument and also great attractions.

The Seekins’ slide show will introduce the audience to 20 of these less visited national historic sites and monuments, all west of the Mississippi and all worth visiting. The sites represent the archeology of ancient Indian cultures, more recent Indian history, the American Frontier and westward migration, important fossil sites, Cold War defense, and much more.

The Seekins just completed their sixth major recent trip visiting units of the National Park System. Their goal is to visit all of the more than 400 of them and now they’re more than halfway to their goal. Most of the major parks were visited decades ago but their travels in recent years have been targeted to visit the “minor” sites. Only about five park service sites west of the Mississippi are left for them to visit.

The Seekins have presented many slide shows at past chapter meetings, covering their travels in the United States and abroad, but the July program will not duplicate anything from previous programs.

Ladd Seekins is a 35-year chapter member, current chapter treasurer and program chairman, past chapter chair and outings chairman. He’s delegate to the California Conservation Committee and California Population Issue chair and past Sierra Club California treasurer and California Executive Committee member. He is a wholesaler/distributor of cut flowers and florist supplies.

Gail Seekins is also a chapter member for nearly 35 years and is a past outings leader. She is a retired public health nurse with San Bernardino County and is very active with the Girl Scouts, her church and her folk dance club.

Deep Space Nine

One of the things nobody tells you about relationships: When the person you love suffers, you suffer too. In theory, this should be obvious. You care about someone, be it your lover or your best friend or your father, you want them to be happy, and you get bummed when they aren’t. But it’s more insidious than that, because when you watch someone else be depressed or stressed or frustrated, you not only feel bad for them—you feel like it’s your job to do something about it. Even when, as in most cases, just being supportive and kind is enough, you want to find some concrete way of relieving that misery. You’re helpless, because you can’t force someone to be in a better mood, no matter how much you might want to. (With the best of intentions, of course.) When Jake sees his dad all tied up in knots, obsessing over the various angles of the Dominion threat, he gets upset about it, like any loving son would. And when an opportunity presents itself to add a little brightness to Benjamin Sisko’s day, he jumps at it; and he keeps pushing forward, even when common sense (and maybe even a few laws) suggest he should let it go.

But there’s wisdom in his desperation, and it’s the wisdom that pushes us towards the episode’s unexpectedly warm conclusion. “In the Cards” is a “comedic” episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a designation that tends to bode ill for the Cleaner sydney. We talked about this some in the last Ferengi-centric entry, but to reiterate: It’s all about stakes. The problem with intentionally setting out to write episodes that are funny and episodes that are dramatic is that you’re telling your audience from the outset that some storylines count less. I’m not saying drama is more important than comedy; I’m saying that in narrative television, the “serious” entries are usually the ones that have the most story movement, where the big twists happen, where the consequences live. Recognizing the signs of a jokey storyline (and they aren’t that hard to recognize) takes the pressure off, which kills a lot of the comedy. At their worst, “funny” Trek is a waste of time, and it must’ve been a bummer to get some of these episodes when the show was airing week to week. Nothing kills laughter like disappointment.

Thankfully, “In The Cards” is pretty great, largely because the humor rises from deeply serious, even terrifying, concerns. Sisko’s worries over the future of the station, and the threat the combined forces of Cardassia and the Dominion represent, aren’t paranoid fantasy. Slowly but surely, the past season has been tightening the noose around all of our favorite characters’ throats, and now that the end is coming, there’s no more denying the inevitable. There will be war, and if our heroes don’t find a way to fight it, things could go very badly indeed. The Jem’Hadar are a formidable fighting force; the Vorta (Weyoun is back this week, huzzah!) are brilliant diplomats and manipulators; and the Founders themselves have an uncanny knack for planning out strategy multiple moves in advance. This is not something that can be handled in a two-parter and then never spoken of again. Big, bad news is coming no matter what Jake, Nog, or anyone else does.

Almost paradoxically, the seeming pointlessness of Jake’s quest makes it that much more entertaining to watch. Which would seem to go against all that stakes talk I mentioned above (it wouldn’t change much of anything if Jake never got that card), but the thing is, the stakes are still important, even if Benjamin Sisko’s son can’t really do much about them. More importantly, the immediate stakes for Jake are utterly critical. There are dire times ahead, and the boy’s desire to brighten, if only for a few moments, his old man’s day, creates a pressing goal for the story to resolve, one that fits in with the episode’s major theme: How important are the small moments? If it takes this much out of us just to get through the daily business of being alive, how do you find the strength to keep going? What makes this work is how, for all the aliens and forays into mad science, this is a fundamentally simple tale. It’s a bit like one of those point-and-click adventure games: Jake sees something he wants, and then has to go through a series of seemingly random tasks in order to get it. But those tasks, in part because they’re motivated by a sincere desire to make someone’s life better, ripple outward.

So there’s a Willie Mays rookie card at an auction at Quark’s. Jake browbeats Nog into giving him the money to buy it—it’s a nice touch that Jake doesn’t really take his friend’s reluctance seriously, since it’s easy to be selfish when you’re trying to do something nice; besides, Jake grew up without a concept of money, so it’s likely he considers the subject a bit less weighty than a Ferengi would. Not that it matters in the end; Jake and Nog lose the auction when a mysterious human bids exorbitantly against them. So Jake and Nog go to see the human, a scientist named Dr. Giger (Brian Markinson), to see if they can purchase the baseball card directly from him. (The card was part of a larger lot of antiquities.) Dr. Giger rejects them initially, then changes his mind, and gives them a list of items he’ll take in exchange for the Willie Mays. Which is great, except there’s a pretty good chance Dr. Giger is completely mental.

Trek shows are often filled with wonderful, bordering on magical technology; it’s a tool to make certain kinds of stories possible, and it also adds to the escapist vibe all these shows share, the suggestion of a remarkable place you’ll be more than happy to spend hours visiting. But just because the future is apparently full of all kinds of wonderful toys (warp drive, replicators, the mindfuck that is the holodeck) doesn’t mean that everyone’s going to have everything they want. There are still going to be people pushing the boundaries of accepted knowledge, and some of those people are going to be crackpots, even if they’re right. Dr. Giger’s “cell entertainment is the key to immortality” theory is loopy. It’s possible it’s true (the episode never confirms this one way or the other, although I’m leaning towards “no”), but the idea is so fringe-level goofy it’s hard to take seriously. And Giger himself doesn’t help, as he rails to Jake and Nog about the dangers of the “soulless minions of orthodoxy” (band name!) he believes are working to destroy him. The guy’s a nut, and it’s refreshing to see this kind of batshit science on a show that reveres the pursuit of knowledge when it isn’t preaching the heaven of agrarian, rural utopias.

By the end of the hour, Jake gets his baseball card, although it takes some doing to get there, including a completely ill-advised attempt to strong arm Kai Winn (for a kid who works as a reporter, he’s weirdly naive), and a confrontation with Weyoun that almost, but not quite, turns into a total disaster. Winn and Weyoun are on the station to discuss a possible non-aggression pact between Bajor and the Dominion, a possibility which raises still more potential problems for Sisko, but in the episode’s closing moments, he’s smiling. Partly because Jake gives him the card, and partly because so many members of his staff seem a little happier, due in large part of Jake and Nog’s willingness to do favors. Too often, good intentions lead to bad news, but just this once, a sincere desire to make someone else’s life better managed to have a larger, more positive effect than intended. The key, I think, is recognizing that even when you can’t fix everything, the desire to help the people you love is a noble one. And hell, maybe Dr. Giger is on to something after all. You can’t stave off death forever—but if you can keep yourself entertained, you’ll better enjoy the time you get.

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Consumer Research Paper Finds That Credit Cards Weaken Impulse Control

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research and written by economists Manoj Thomas, Kalpesh Kaushik Desai, and Satheeshkumar Seenivasan has evidence to show that shoppers paying with Cleaner sydney find it harder to resist indulgent purchases such as fast food or unhealthy treats. The study concludes that consumers are much more likely to buy junk food products when paying with credit cards as opposed to paying with cash and are therefore more likely to gain weight as a result.

The study attributes this to the fact that credit cards weaken the impulse control of consumers, making it more difficult for them to rationalize that something is not a necessary purchase. The three economists that authored the study compiled their research and tested their hypothesis by studying the contents of shopping baskets. Consequently, they found that shoppers using credit cards purchased a greater proportion of unhealthy food items, demonstrating that the ease of paying with plastic had an influence over the consumers’ judgment regarding choices as well as total amount spent.

With credit card debt on the increase, consumer finance and short term loan comparison site encourages consumers to pay for food purchases with cash or debit card only, forcing them to be mindful of their wallets as well as their waistlines. Sam Milo, spokesperson for the site, responded to the study in the following statement that was released to the press:

“Credit cards are synonymous with a ‘buy now, pay later’ mentality. This intriguing study published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that this way of thinking also applies to the contents of the shopping trolley being paid for by plastic – the consequences of certain purchases are just not being thought through. We encourage consumers, especially those living on tight budgets, to use cash only when shopping for groceries and foods and to stick to a set shopping list. This will make it harder to splurge on expensive, bad junk food or not consider the necessity of certain additional items that are not on their list.”

A career felon whose resume includes the attempted stun-gun robbery of an 83-year-old man is headed back to prison for up to 25 years after he pleaded guilty this week to stealing more than $30,000 from a prominent Des Moines plastic surgeon.

Khan Kenyatta Elamin, 39, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering as part of a plea agreement to spare himself a possible 70 years behind bars.

Polk County court papers say Elamin pocketed $30,040 in October, November and December 2012 from cash advances against a corporate credit card issued to him by Heartland Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Documents say at least $12,000 more was spent on unauthorized purchases at Von Maur, Brooks Brothers and other local retailers. Police allege in paperwork attached to a search warrant that part of the credit card advances went for down payments on a 2009 Volkswagon Passat and a 2010 Mazda CX9.

Elamin, a former West Des Moines Vally High School basketball standout who completed his last parole in 2008, was hired originally as a personal trainer to work with surgery patients. Documents say he was promoted to office manager in August 2012 after Heartland owner Dr. Eugene Cherny voiced concerns to his personal lawyer about some potential embezzlement in the Heartland office. The attorney was Alexandra Nelissen, Elamin’s wife.

“She said, ‘He’ll wow you,’ ” Ruth Ann Cherny, the doctor’s wife, remembered Tuesday outside the courtroom. “And when I saw how much money he took, I said, ‘Wow!’ ”

To date, no charges have been filed against Nelissen, despite court documents saying that she was driving one of the vehicles allegedly purchased with Dr. Cherny’s money. Before that point, documents say, Nelissen and Elamin had tried unsuccessfully to get a Heartland bookkeeper and office manager to sign off on company purchases of two vehicles that Cherny had never authorized.

The surgeon’s attorney declined comment earlier this week. Nelissen referred all questions to the lawyer for Elamin.

Elamin defense attorney Chris Kragnes said he knows of no plan to charge Nelissen. A Polk County prosecutor, citing a blanket refusal to discuss ongoing cases, declined to comment.

Court records show Nelissen and Elamin have been sued nine times by debt collectors since 2007. The list includes three filed-but-dropped foreclosures, an unpaid $4,120 tax debt and an unpaid dry cleaning tab totaling $656.

Documents attached to a January 2013 search warrant allege that Elamin improperly bought clothing for himself and others, photocopied employee personnel files and grossly inflated his overtime on Heartland paychecks. At least some money from the thefts apparently went to a woman who told police she had been “involved in a romantic relationship” with Elamin.

Until Tuesday, Elamin’s most recent conviction not related to a parole violation had stemmed from a February 2001 attack on William Joseph, then 83. Court records say Elamin, carrying handcuffs, was a convicted of assaulting Joseph in a Des Moines parking garage by pressing a stun gun into the man’s neck. Joseph, a former owner of Josephs Jewelers, had sold his stake in the family business roughly six months’ before.

With internet speeds increasing and the success of some Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network games beating out the profits of some of the big games and big names out there, we will see this market expanding. Soon, we will see full fledged games being delivered digitally. You could preorder your game and your Xbox One or PS4 downloads it in the background over the next day or two and then waits to download the last bits until release day. This means at 12:01 am on release day, you could have your game ready to play. Both Xbox One and PS4 have shown features that make this possible, WiiU will likely also. If you wanted to buy my “used” copy of Diablo III, you couldn’t. I went to the store, and what they sold me was a plastic card with a download code on it. They had no DVDs at the store. This revolution has already hit PC gaming, and it is coming to consoles soon with the 8th Gen.

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Financial counselor helps low-income move out of poverty

There’s a truism that says, “It’s expensive to be poor,” said Sandra Suarez, who helps low-income families move out of poverty. As part of her role as a financial counselor at Compass Working Capital, a Boston-based non-profit, she helps break the generational cycle of poverty by helping build savings, repair credit, and achieve financial goals. Suarez, who grew up on welfare, said that the disenfranchised are more susceptible to unfair or deceptive practices such as check cashing services, payday loans and other lending methods that prey on poor people.

The only thing I knew about money while growing up was that my family didn’t have enough of it. My mom was a single parent who lived off small welfare checks in subsidized housing. I wanted a better future, so I became the first person in my family to attend college. But I was still struggling financially, so I took a financial coaching program through Compass Working Capital. I found out how to save money, improve my credit score, increase my wages and even was able to eventually buy a house. Having been in my clients’ shoes, I am in a unique role that allows me to understand the challenges low-income families face and how to help them navigate their way out of poverty.

It’s usually because of lack of know-how and lacking the right financial skills.
Finances are taught at home, and for low-income families, this isn’t a priority. It becomes a vicious cycle – people are just thinking about getting by month-to-month. It becomes a matter of “Do I pay the gas or groceries this week?” They’re not thinking about “What’s the interest on my credit card?” or “Should I be saving at a different bank?” These bad habits and lack of knowledge is passed on.

Some recipients of food stamps or housing vouchers think they can’t have any savings. So they literally put money under the mattress; in a jar or coat pocket; ask another family member to hold it, or send it to their country. But eligibility for the housing voucher, for example, might only take into consideration the interest earned during the year, and not the amount of actual savings. I also show people how little interest is actually earned while savings can build, and also how it might be worth paying some income-based rent because of the value of having the housing itself.

Yes, people have big dreams or aspirations such as “making a lot of money” but they don’t know how to achieve these goals. I tell them to think “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Target Date. For example, if a goal is to start saving money towards homeownership, a small, actionable and measurable step is to open a savings account and have $25 dollars or some other amount automatically withdrawn from your paycheck.

Low-income people might be using check-cashing services, where a high percentage taken out to cash each check. Or perhaps they’re renting-to-own, which ends up costing three to five times more than an item is worth because of interest and charges. Or they might be late paying their credit card bill – and interest hikes up if you’re even just late one time in payment. Finally, someone might be struggling to get by, but still have internet, cable, and a cell phone – and still eating out. I show them how all these expenses add up.

No, because after contributing your set amount to everyone else in the “circle,” often by the time it’s your turn to get the money, the other lenders often disappeared or defaulted. Many of our clients are Latino, and lending circles were a common practice between Dominican Latinos, but it’s of course it’s better for money to be banked with a reputable lender.

With the entire country spreading out from West Coast to East … this is the best you could do, Show? Really? As a resort town, AC is like Vegas had a quickie wedding with a tired, run-down beach town who’d had one too many, way before the ceremony was even in the works. What’s next on this glamorous around-the-world trip? Peckham in London? Wait. Did you guys consult Bachelor Sean on this one? Because that would explain a lot. “Yeah, I was thinking it would tell me a lot about the women to see how they responded to being accosted and mugged in between losing a lot of money shooting craps and drinking too much.” That must be it.

Other Single Dad Brad gets the call. And I kind of loved the editors for showing all the guys in the house talking about how they like the guy, but he’s way too reserved for Des. While he’s all “let’s do the scary rides on the boardwalk!” and they’re screaming and laughing. Heh. I do like that Des’ dates stay pretty down-to-earth and normal. Ride some rides, get some saltwater taffy, “discover” the pre-determined chocolate-covered pretzel factory and pig out. And then we’re back with the Despondent Dozen who are left behind, watching the events unfold 44 floors down on the pier below that is right in plain view of their window. (Coincidence? Oh, I think not.) Though how they are making out details from that high up without binocs, I have no idea. (Ha! I mention this to my son as he strolls through the room, and he says, “Well, I’m guessing they’re tracking the camera crew. They’re kind of hard to miss.” He so smart.) Naked Zak is downright depressed when he spies the happy couple on the merry-go-round. “Things happen on the merry-go-round,” he says in disgust. That they do, Naked Zak. That … they do.

After a walk on the beach, it’s time for dinner, and while Des is attracted to Brad on multiple levels and has a lot of respect for him as a man and a young dad, she doesn’t quite know where she fits in with what he’s looking for. And he’s not exactly an easy conversationalist. So … it’s tricky. I do think there is a possible good connection that could grow with time between these two, but in this warp-speed setup, I seriously doubt Brad will be able to make the quantum leap in the time he’d need to, to make her feel comfortable keeping him away from his son. So, if he doesn’t get cut loose from this date, I still think he’s not making it much further. Also — I like that the guys have enough respect for Des to know that she wouldn’t keep him around and away from his son if she didn’t feel there was a solid chance. I think she has more solid ground elsewhere already to keep him hanging. And …

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Launching today, the new Nexia? Property Intelligence solution from Ingersoll Rand, a world leader in creating and sustaining safe, comfortable and efficient environments, combines advanced, cloud-based software with electronic door hardware to provide a multi-family credential management solution that is flexible and future-ready. For an annual fee, multi-family property owners/managers can manage credentials and user access for all of their doors, in one or more properties, from wherever they can access the internet.

With Nexia Property Intelligence, multi-family property owners/managers can gain better control of perimeter, facility, amenity and common areas even when off-site. Through the web-based Nexia Property Intelligence, greater efficiencies can be gained when adding, deleting or editing credentials.

Owners/managers can even set up temporary credentials for contractors and visitors. The owner/manager can access audit trail reports and analytics with a click of a mouse, whenever convenient.

Nexia Property Intelligence eliminates the need for traditional mechanical keys– reducing associated costs such as cutting keys, tracking keys, replacing locks, rekeying locks and managing keys in the traditional manner. This eliminates the need for owners, managers or staff to contend with the frustrations of maintaining key registers and frequent key duplication for misplaced keys or when residents move.

A wide range of electronic credentials may also be used with Nexia Property Intelligence, including a proximity keyfob with iButton, which provides a credential migration path to a complete electronic access control solution for the entire property. The solution can also manage traditional proximity card and smart card credentials. Nexia Property Intelligence manages the credentials for both common areas and the resident’s door. A single credential can be used for multiple access points, from the front gate or front door to one’s individual apartment, the pool, other common areas or special access rooms. As a result, the property achieves a smooth and secure flow of people, vehicles and other assets.

Nexia Property Intelligence works with Schlage electronic door locks and aptiQ readers to provide a complete property access control solution. The Schlage Programmable Deadbolt is the ideal product to control access at the individual resident door. The Schlage CO Series Offline Locks and AD Series Online Locks provide a commercial-quality solution for perimeter entry and common area doors. aptiQ multi-technology readers read a variety of card credentials, providing another solution for common area openings.

The Nexia Property Intelligence solution features a web-enabled, cloud-based platform that provides remote credential management for multiple buildings from the internet, better control of perimeter, facility and amenity openings and common areas, simplified management and usage and increased cost savings over the life of the facility with decreased operational and maintenance time.

“Credential management is one of the most important security elements of any residential property, yet also the most timely and costly,” explains Chris DeSchamp, portfolio leader of electronic security at Ingersoll Rand. “Nexia Property Intelligence leverages electronic locks and cloud computing, transforming credential management into a simple, streamlined system.”

As March blended into June, Bishop admitted he saw “the writing on the wall.” The Packers re-signed Brad Jones at $11.75 million over three years. They restructured A.J. Hawk’s deal to $10.6 million over the next three seasons. And Bishop — a player returning from a torn hamstring tendon with a $3.464 million base salary — became expendable to general manager Ted Thompson and the Packers.

Soon after Thompson informed Bishop he’d be released, the 28-year-old said he didn’t necessarily blame the Packers for the decision. He was, in fact, returning from a very serious injury. Once Thompson decided to cover his bases with Jones and Hawk, Bishop’s future became murky.

Two seasons ago, the 6-foot-2, 238-pound Bishop was arguably the Packers’ best player on defense, a head-hunting presence in the middle of the 3-4 defense. The 2007 sixth-round pick out of California spent three frustrating seasons on special teams, paid his dues, became a starter and emerged as possibly the unit’s best blitzer and run defender.

Along Green Bay’s 2010 playoff run his shoestring tackle of Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson keyed a wild-card win and his fumble recovery against Pittsburgh was the turning point of the Super Bowl. In 2011, Bishop totaled 115 tackles and five sacks through 13 games.

First, Green Bay had three inside linebackers making starter’s money. By releasing Bishop, the Packers shed his $3.464 million base salary, part of the four-year, $18 million deal he signed Jan. 1, 2011. The linebacker counts only $1 million against Green Bay’s salary cap — an $800,000 prorated bonus this year plus a $200,000 workout bonus. Bishop also has an $800,000 prorated bonus next year that must be accounted for.

Add it all up and a team with $13.144 million of salary cap room before releasing Bishop has more breathing room. Green Bay has several 2014 free agents such as B.J. Raji, Jermichael Finley, Sam Shields and Evan Dietrich-Smith to address.

There also was the injury. While Bishop assured the hamstring tendon tear suffered in last year’s preseason opener at San Diego is fully healed, he did have a muscle strain on the inside of the hamstring that sidelined him through organized team activities and minicamp. Bishop admitted he probably tried to run and cut prematurely, saying, “that wasn’t the smartest thing to do.”