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The Title Is WORK At Home Mom, Got That?

Renee Yates

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The prevailing vision of the work at home mom is a woman with fuzzy slippers, pajamas, no makeup, with cup of steaming coffee in hand. The reality is that she does indeed have coffee in one hand, but she has a phone to her ear talking to the home office or a client. It’s frustrating. What park of “work” don’t people understand? These are five things every working mom wants their families to know about working at home.

1. It’s Called WORK At Home

By the year 2028, Upwork tells us that 73 percent of companies will use remote workers. Okay, Mom gets a full pot of coffee and even time to drink it. What she also gets is phone calls “wondering” if she can get that proposal out a day earlier and the boss breathing down her neck for the P&L spreadsheet he needs to show the CFO. It’s the same as if she were in the office.

2. Take Your Child To Work Day

Many offices offer this day for kids to see what Mommy does at the office. They help to file, pass Mom something from the In tray, or put someone on Hold until Mom can answer the phone. They suddenly understand why “it’s 5:00 somewhere” has a special meaning to Mom.

When Mom works at home, she has to break up fights, feed the kids breakfast and lunch, throw messy clothes in the wash, and yell a lot. When she gets any work done, it’s sometimes wrong and takes twice the time to get it done right.

3. We Don’t Socialize At Work

We all have that one friend who calls and texts every five minutes to make sure we don’t miss their wonderfulness.  We don’t call you at your office to yak every five minutes. Please show us the same courtesy.

We’ve all seen the clerk at the pharmacy, the dollar store, or the gas station laughing over something on Facebook. We wait until they turn their frowning attention to us. While social media can be a great way to market one’s business, it’s a totally different thing when it puts customers in second place. We have a boss to satisfy, so asking us to put him second would cost us our jobs.

4. Work At Home Doesn’t Mean Housework

Yes, while Mom is getting coffee, she can toss a couple dishes in the dishwasher. Okay, on the way to the bathroom, Mom can pick up shoes, clothes, and toys to put in someone’s room. While it usually takes Mom a couple hours to clean the house, she can’t do that at the same time she’s taking a meeting on the phone.

What Moms want their families to understand is that the housework will still be there at 5:00. Moms working in offices use their early evening hours to clean, so why should it be any different when Mom works at home? Asking her to do the housework in between projects or phone calls is too much. Give us a break, guys.

5. Fresh Air Is Important

There’s a reason people explode out of doors at noon and quitting time. We have to get away from the same four walls day in and day out. When we can, we walk somewhere close for lunch, walk to the post office or the bank for our job, and we walk to the parking area after work. Work at home Moms need to get out more than just checking the mailbox. Getting outdoors for us clears the mind, and the fresh air and sun benefits our health.

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These Hermit Crabs Will Blow Your Mind With Stunning Natural Ritual.

Renee Yates

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If you are like most people then you are likely fascinated with the ocean and all the creatures inside it. While we can talk forever about massive whales, scuttling squids, and scary sharks, we’d rather highlight a cute little crustacean known as the hermit crab. Now, you’ve likely heard of the hermit crab and, perhaps, you even know what it looks like. As a member of the superfamily known as the Paguroidea, hermit crabs manage to stand out all on their own. In fact, after learning about this natural ritual that hermit crabs complete, you might even want one of your own!

In a post shared on Facebook by a user named Melody Flowers, it was revealed that hermit crabs are always looking for bigger shells to live in. While you probably knew this already, what you didn’t realize about this ritual is far more fascinating. According to the post, which has since been backed up by other scientific journals, hermit crabs like to line up next to shells that happen to be too big for them. Hermit crabs can wait for up to eight hours for another crab to come along and try the shell out. Why do these crabs wait next to shells that are too large for them? As it turns out, the first hermit crab is simply waiting for the second crab in line to discard its shell. 

So we outlined a natural ritual that hermit crabs undertake when finding a new home. Why is this so fascinating? While you may have summoned up an image of two hermit crabs swapping shells, that isn’t entirely accurate. As the second crab lines up behind the shell, more will come to follow. Before long, observers would be able to watch as dozens of hermit crabs all trade shells with one another to ensure that everyone has a comfortable home to live in. The smallest shell of the bunch gets left behind while the shell that started the queue will go to the largest hermit crab of the lot. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? The coordination and cooperation that these hermit crabs have to deploy is nothing short of impressive. If only humans could get along so well when it comes to making to sure everyone is comfortable and safe within their home.

Even though hermit crabs will work together in order to find homes, they are still a competitive species. Gastropod shells can become a limited resource due to a variety of natural and unnatural factors, such as climate change and pollution. When hermit crabs are of a similar size, they are more competitive and violent with one another. When hermit crabs vary dramatically in size, there are more resources available for every member of the group.  Hermit crabs are a fascinating sort of creature because they can come in varying sizes with a lifespan ranging between 12 and 70 years.  The next time that you see a hermit crab, make sure it has the perfect shell to call home. Maybe it will remember you a couple of decades later!

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Culture

Stunning Snow Art Created By 60-Year-Old During Nature Walks.

Renee Yates

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Looking at the world from an aerial view can unveil some amazing scenery. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, it is possible to get a birds-eye view of just about everything in life. So when 60-year-old Simon Beck began performing as a snowshoe artist, the world began to take notice. Now, we know what you are probably thinking. What in the heck is a snowshoe artist? Who is Simon Beck? How can any of this actually be any cooler? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers to all of your questions.

Simon Beck hadn’t dreamed of becoming a snowshoe artist when he was a child, it was just something that happened. Beck is actually a former cartographer, a profession dedicated to drawing and producing maps. Beck had earned his degree in the field while attending Oxford for engineering. Working as a cartographer would give Beck the training and attention to detail that he would need to shock the world as a snowshoe artist. 

For the better part of the past decade, Beck has been using his elaborate technical skills to create mind-blowing snowshoe art.  These images can be seen from the air, as well as all over the internet, and Beck’s results are simply staggering. To accomplish some of the more intricate patterns that he develops, Beck can spend up to 12 hours carefully walking through the snow. Beck will end up taking nearly 40,000 steps to create the perfect piece of snowshoe artwork.  The job is as intense as it sounds, and we have to imagine that Beck is physically exhausted by the time that he is done working on his art. While the output speaks for itself, we have to imagine that there is something bittersweet about watching the wind blow it away.

There are many challenges that Beck has to overcome while attending to his snowshoe art. For starters, the elements are always a factor for the duration of the project. As snow and sand can blow away at the slightest breeze, Beck spends much of his time re-working older segments of his art. Other obstacles include the grueling physical work, the massive time sink, and even destruction caused by visitors who don’t realize that Beck is working on something.

Even though Beck has been making a name for himself for years, his work is finally getting even more exposure. Beck as interviewed for a column on Artsy, and he was able to unveil some of his thoughts regarding the art form. Beck admitted during the interview that his work was fleeting, but he countered the idea by pointing to the longevity of a photograph. Beck made the insightful point that the vast majority of people will never see the Mona Lisa in person, but almost everyone has seen a photograph. Beck says, “Most people will only ever see (…) artwork as photographs.” For Beck, the fame is clearly not what he is after. Instead, it seems like Beck just wants to share his passion with the world.

Simon Beck has created more than 300 drawings across Europe. He has used his special shoes to craft artwork in the sand, in the snow, and in countries throughout the world. Each piece of artwork presents a unique challenge to Beck, thus always keeping his craft fresh.

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Delivery Drivers and Their Canine Friends

Renee Yates

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Since the start of Amazon, the number of packages being delivered by United States Postal Service, United Parcel Service, FedEx and other couriers, has skyrocketed. As delivery drivers approach a home (AKA dog’s territory) with a package for delivery they must be very cautious. It’s estimated that there are 52,000,000 dogs in the United States. Annually, there are roughly 800,000 medically treated dog bites reported by the Centers for Disease Control.

As a mail carrier for the USPS I’ve been trained to read a property for signs of a dog’s presence and to practice a variety of safety measures. Carriers are required to carry “dog spray” with which we can use to spray a ferocious dog in the event of an attack. Personally, I believe carrying pepper spray is ineffective, largely because many of the packages I carry to a door are large and cumbersome. I must also carry a scanner so I can scan parcels as “delivered” at the front door. Many carriers must also carry a cross-body satchel.

I’ve never had to use pepper spray to stop a dog attack, but I can’t imagine having great precision or success in dropping the package and scanner, reaching the dog spray, finding the correct position for spraying, and making contact in the dog’s eyes as a snarling, drooling, ferocious beast prepares to rip me apart on his lawn.

I like to refer to my route as “the Golden Retriever Capitol”. My route is peppered with friendly, tail wagging dogs who sometimes jump in my truck to say “hello”. I don’t have many dogs on my route that I have to exercise great caution with. Every dog, however, can have a bad day and just because I haven’t met a bad dog doesn’t mean they’re not around. 

The United States Postal Service prohibits letter carriers from offering treats to dogs. It can be dangerous for the animal, as it becomes conditioned to approaching the truck. Bellow, a light brown poodle mix, has been conditioned over the years to approach delivery trucks to wait for a treat. Bellow was hit by a bus as a result of running into the road to greet the driver. Bo, short for “Beauregard” is an older golden retriever who’s now hard of hearing. Somehow, he hears my truck coming from three boxes away. He greets me at the mailbox waiting for a treat. I no longer give him one, as he has, on several occasions, sauntered down the center of the road to follow me. My concern is that he may be hit by a car while chasing me for a treat.

Despite being forbidden to feed dogs on the route, I always carry dog cookies. I find it a good way to gauge a dog’s temperament. If I approach a house and a dog I don’t know is there, on alert, not wagging his tail, I whistle cheerfully, speak nicely, and make kissy noises before I approach the house. If that doesn’t have an optimal result, I offer the dog a treat. Usually, when a dog sees there’s a cookie, he lets his guard down and gets happy. The cookie can make me the dog’s best friend, at least until I drop the package at the door and make my way back to the mail truck.

If, when I offer the cookie, the dog is still not happy with me, I know that dog isn’t going to let me deliver the package without a fight. I write up one of those peach slips that we give to customers to let them know they need to go to the post office to pick up their package. 

Lucy and Luna are two wonderful dogs who get happy when they see my truck. I put a daily dog cookie in the mail box with the mail. My favorite dog, Piper, is a black lab mix. She loves me because I love her. I don’t give Piper dog cookies. I do get out of my truck when she’s in her yard, even if I don’t have a package at her house. I’m slowly training her to play fetch. When she sees me, she runs to go get her stick. I take a few minutes to thrown the stick three times, then pet her and say nice things to her. I think I look forward to the play time more than she does!  

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Culture

Photos are Used to Capture the Struggles and Rewards of Being a Caregiver

Kelly Taylor

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It is important for everyone to spend time with the members of their family because they may not know just how much time they have. A caregiver who, about ten years ago, realized that time with her ather was coming to an end, learned how to value every moment she has with her family. First, she noticed that something was strange about her father. She says that her face wasn’t as reactive as it used to be. Her father came from Egypt and moved from the United States in search of a better life. He got a job as a successful professor of mechanical engineering. This allowed him to provide for his family. His daughter realized that it was time for her to give something back to her dad who had given her such a great life in America.

At the same time, this young woman also appreciated his smile and laughter as well. She noticed that this was changing. His personality had changed. His vibrant laugh was gone. She was worried that her father had suffered a stroke. She took him to see a doctor and then, about two years after the first event, she finally got the answer. He had Parkinson’s Disease. Initially, the symptoms were relatively manageable. He was stiff from time to time. His emotions were flat. At the same time, he was still himself on the inside. Unfortunately, this was not meant to last. Things started to get worse about two years later.

She learned that she was going to have to take care of her father full-time. The roles of parent and child had been flipped. She would have to bathe him, calm him, and make sure that all of his daily needs were taken care of. This took a toll on her because she saw the person that she had known her entire life was starting to evaporate before her very eyes. At the same time, she still had to take care of herself as well. That is why she developed a few rules that can help her, and others, serve as caregivers for members of their family.

First, caregivers need to take breaks. This is a necessity. Just because she is the primary caregiver for her father doesn’t mean that she isn’t allowed to take breaks. Parents take breaks when raising their children and caregivers can take breaks as well. Research has shown that caregivers can get stressed. When this happens, they also tend to make bad decisions. Therefore, take breaks and time for self-care. This will make someone into a better caregiver because they are going to feel more rested.

Next, remember that there is an age difference. Try to bridge this difference using love. Take pictures. Bring up old memories. Try to find a way to help a parent who is aging. By reminiscing about the good times, those who are being taken care of are more likely to have positive moments and interactions that will make everything else worth it. Try to focus on the positives.

Finally, remember that the disease and the person are not the same thing. The two are different things. By remembering that the person and the disease are different, caregivers are going to avoid placing blame on the person or resenting them. In order to remember that the person and the disease are different, remember the good times that were shared. This is going to help the caregiver fight through the bad times by remembering that their loved one is still in there somewhere.

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Culture

Voicemail from Grandmother is Memorialized in a Tattoo

Renee Yates

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Recently, a story was published about a person who got a tattoo of a voicemail. This young woman received a voicemail from her grandmother about three years ago. This voicemail was left to wish this young lady a happy birthday. Even though this took place three years ago, this lady decided that she wanted to hang onto the voicemail. While most of us simply forget to clear out our old voicemails, this person made an active decision to keep this voicemail. It turns out, she is very happy that she decided to do so. Sadly, about a month after the voicemail was left, the grandmother who left the message ended up passing away.

Similar to how most of us feel when losing a member of the family, this woman was absolutely devastated. She said that she simply couldn’t find the words to describe how bad she felt or how much she missed her. Even though her grandma has passed on to a better place, she still missed her grandmother terribly. At the time, she was still in high school and didn’t have a lot of experience processing loss, grief, and tragedy. Furthermore, she decided to listen to the voicemail over and over again. She could still hear the voice of her grandmother in the voicemail and this brought her some solace and peace during an otherwise difficult time. She wanted to do something more to make sure that her grandmother was never forgotten and that her memory would live in. She eventually found a great way to do exactly that.

She decided that the best way to do this was to get a tattoo; however, while plenty of people have tattoos, this one was a little bit unique. The ink in this tattoo actually allows this person to hear the voice of her grandmother, wishing her a happy birthday via voicemail, whenever she wants. She actually found a tattoo artist who was able to look at the voicemail recording, develop the waveform, and then get apply that tattoo to the skin of the person in that exact shape. She even posted a video on Twitter showing how the tattoo works. Furthermore, it turns out this tattoo artist did a great job with the waveform. By taking the camera of a phone and holding it over the tattoo, the phone can actually place the voicemail recording. The technology, and the video that she posted, are absolutely unbelievable.

Even though the technology may seem unbelievable to many, it is actually a relatively straightforward design. The app that this lay used for her tattoo is able to scan an image wherever it might be, including on the human skin. Then, the app will take the image and translate it into an audio file that matches the video. While the app isn’t reading the sound waves on the skin, it is recognizing the graphic of the tattoo itself. After this, the app plays the audio that is tied to the graphic. Think of this as a phone reading a QR code.

Regardless of how the technology works, this lady now has a powerful way to keep the memory of her grandmother alive. She wants her grandmother to know how much of a difference she has made in her life. This tattoo is a great way to do that. She knows that her grandmother is still looking down on her from above and is blessing her every day. She wants to continue to make her grandmother proud with the long life she still has in front of her.

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