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Tag: household

Techno-whipped? I pity the fool

In our eighth month of bouncing about this expansive and expensive country, Ace and I seemed headed for our most frugal stretch yet – thanks mainly to lucking out and finding some free housing upon our return to Baltimore.

For the first time, in our continuing effort to see America while spending less than what we were while sedentary and housed – about $1,500 for rent, food and utilities – we were looking at a three digit number instead of four.

Now, thanks to my stupidity, and with an assist from Verizon, we’ve blown it, and somebody has some explaining to do.

Before we left on our journey, I canceled my home Internet service (through Verizon) and signed up for wireless mobile broadband (through a different part of Verizon), allowing us to get online no matter where we were for $59 a month – the package they suggested for a heavy user.

It worked pretty great. There were only two or three locations in our 22,000 miles of travels, where service was non-existent or spotty.

I was so pleased, I even eventually sent Verizon the payment they were seeking from me for home Internet service for the month following the date I moved out of my house. It was basically a choice between paying the money I didn’t really owe, being regularly harassed by the credit agency to which they turned the matter over, or spending far too much time on the phone, holding and then some, to try and straighten it out.

All was going smoothly with my wireless mobile broadband — or so I thought until last week, when Verizon informed me that for the past two months I’d gone over monthly limit, and that I owed them more than $400. Read more »

Half consider their pets full-fledged family

Half of all American pet owners consider their pets as much a part of the family as any other person in the household, according to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll released this week.

Another 36 percent said their pet is part of the family but not a full member, according to the Associated Press.

Most pet owners admit to feeding animals human food, nearly half give the animals human names and nearly a third let them sleep in a human bed. While just 19 percent had bought an outfit for a pet, 43 percent felt their pet had its own “sense of style.”

Singles were more likely to say a pet was a full member of the family than married people — 66 percent of single women versus 46 percent of married women, for example. And men were less likely than women to call their pet a full member of the household.

According to the survey, slightly over a quarter of pet owners celebrate their pet’s birthday or the day it came to live with them, and a third have included a pet’s photo or name in a holiday card.

About one in five respondents take their pets to work, and 42 percent of pet owners have taken a pet on vacation, usually the family dog.

The AP-Petside.com poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media from May 28-June 1, 2009. It is based on landline and cellular telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,110 pet owners. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Wanted: Unwanted items for BARCS yard sale

If you’re doing your spring de-cluttering, keep BARCS in mind.

The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter is holding its annual fund-raising yard sale this weekend, and organizers are looking for gently used items to be donated. They can be dropped off at BARCS on Thursday and Friday, June 4 and 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All donations are tax-deductible.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably be in need of some household items. So we’d suggest a visit to the BARCS yard sale. It’s Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., rain or shine, at the shelter grounds, 301 Stockholm St., behind M&T Bank Stadium. (Directions can be found on the BARCS website.)

Items for sale will include infant’s and children’s clothing, household goods, toys, sports equipment, kitchen ware, books, furniture, knick-knacks and collectibles, as well as movies and music CDs and more.

Since 2005, BARCS has operated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. During that time, it has increased animal adoptions by more than 2,000 percent.

For more information on the BARCS Yard Sale, contact Frank Branchini (410-385-4695, Ext. 5, or at Frank.Branchini@baltimorecity.gov).

Chicago looks at 5-dog limit

A Chicago alderman wants to limit Chicagoans to five dogs per household.

Alderman Ray Suarez, having reined in 27 co-sponsors, introduced his legislation Wednesday — designed, he said, to reduce sanitation and odor problems, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Neighbors have been complaining about the unsavory sanitary conditions,” Suarez said. “It stinks. It’s terrible. They don’t pick up after their dogs. Their backyards are loaded with dog waste. We have to call Animal Control, the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Board of Health. You have to take ‘em to court. It’s just not right.”

Actually (opinion alert) we’d argue that it is, and that there is a system in place — as he notes — for dealing with problems. Some people can handle six dogs. Some can’t handle one. But rather than deal with cases as they arise, here’s another city, yet again, as with pit bull legislation, setting arbitrary rules and limits based on what irresponsible people might do, as opposed to what responsible people (pun alert) do do (end pun, end opinion).

Over the years, aldermen have repeatedly called for a three-dog limit, only to be shot down by Mayor Daley. At Wednesday’s meeting, Suarez said he proposed a five-dog ceiling to ease opposition from dog owners, who have tended to mobilize when a three-dog limit is proposed.

“We’ll try and we’ll discuss it,” Suarez said. “If it doesn’t pass, it doesn’t pass. But, I wanted to bring it up.”

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