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More Work-At-Home Ideas

I’m out of inspiration at the moment . . .

But here is a link that someone sent me, on a few more ideas of how to make money from home.  Some of them are traditional, others a little more creative.

Take a look, add your comments, and enjoy!

Just remember: Working from home isn’t for everybody.  It can be tough.  And as it says in the article, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.  There is no magic money-making formula.

Israel’s Socialized Health Care

israel health card, meuchedet card, clalit card, maccabi card, leumit card, health funds, israel health funds, israeli health care

Israel has socialized health care.  I never realized what it was until a few weeks ago, when I read a couple of articles that gave a name to the health care system.

First of all, some background: Israel has an identification system in which each person has an identity number that is connected to pretty much everything: bank accounts, health care, drivers’ license, passport, places of study, contracts, phones, and everything else you can think of.  When you fill out a form, you fill it out with your name and ID number.  Sounds scary?  It’s not – as long as the government’s files are safe.  And identity theft is incredibly difficult here.

On to the health care system.  Here is how it works:

Each person has to pay premiums to the National Insurance Institute.  If you don’t pay, you get in trouble.  Why?  Because every citizen is automatically insured by the government.

While everyone is insured by the government, the government is not the one providing the actual health care.  There are four health funds: Meuchedet, Maccabi, Leumit, and Clalit.  These health funds are in direct competition for government funding.  They get paid per head.  Each has its own supplemental insurance plan that you can purchase, that is slightly different than the others’.  The basic basket, however, is identical and “free”.  “Free,” meaning, that it is paid for by your premiums that you pay to the government.

Just to be clear, a housewife (a married woman who does not work outside the home) and a child under the age of 18, do not pay premiums.  If you are a student or unemployed, you pay a minimum fee.  If you are employed, it comes out of your paycheck before you even knew it was there, with you paying part and your employer paying the other part.  What this means for us is that only Yitzchak is paying for health insurance now.  If I teach (or get another out-of-the-house job) again, they will take care of it.  If I don’t work outside the house, I don’t have to pay at all.  So, until our kids turn 18, only Yitzchak has to pay insurance.  Pretty good deal, no?

Now to the doctor visits: We are with Meuchedet.  They have a number that you can call to schedule doctor visits and other appointments.  Usually, they will have an appointment free within two weeks, unless you are insisting on going to a doctor who is booked for months on end.  It happens to be that I don’t insist on female religious doctors, so I have never had this happen to me.  Whether for Yitzchak, Shlomo, or myself, there is usually something available for the week you want.

Most medicines are 85% subsidized.  Meaning, you only pay 15% of their cost, if you have a prescription.  If you don’t have a prescription, you pay more, but it is usually not expensive.  I know that there are some medicines that are not covered.  Thank G-d, the only one I have encountered so far is birth control (and I didn’t end up filling it).  Please, G-d, I hope that no one in my family ever needs another medicine that is not subsidized – or any medicines that are, but are not benign.

Blood tests are free.  Urine tests are free.  Doctor visits are usually free, unless you are seeing a specialist, in which case you pay 21 shekels (maybe a bit more now – it goes up a bit every year).  OB/GYNS are not counted as specialists in this regard.

Ambulances and hospital visits, if they turn out to be medically necessary, are free.  If they turn out to be unnecessary (a false alarm for a birth, for example), then there is a co-pay, which may or may not be expensive.

Another bonus: You can go to any after-hours clinic that works with your health fund, and they will have your medical records at a swipe of your card.  If your card isn’t working, your identity number will.  In fact, a “temporary card” is a piece of paper, printed on the spot by one of their secretaries, that states that you ordered a card and lists your ID number.  It’s basically proof that this ID is part of their plan.  That’s all.

In short, Israel’s health care system is not perfect, but is definitely a good model for other countries to follow.

Groceries and Diapers

osher ad, rami levi, supermarkets, israel supermarkets, grocery stores, groceries, shopping, grocery shopping, israel, israeli grocery shopping, israeli grocery stores

Osher Ad

Late yesterday afternoon, Shlomo asked Yitzchak for a nap – and Yitzchak put him into his crib.  Yes, Yitzchak, I know Shlomo wants a nap – he asked me two and a half hours ago.  But, he’s not that tired, and if we want him to go to sleep early, he shouldn’t nap now.  No matter, what’s done is done – no reason to make a big fuss.

We needed to buy diapers.  A few months ago, the brand that we usually buy changed their pattern.  With that change, the amount that the diaper absorbed also changed – for the worse.  Then, almost a month ago, when we had only one diaper left, I asked a neighbor to pick up diapers for us when she went out (obviously, I said I would pay her back), and because she didn’t find our usual brand, she bought a different one.  My neighbor picked up two packages, and they worked great.  So great, in fact, that we decided to only buy this brand from now on.  The problem?  Not every store carries them.  After Yitzchak had checked three stores, I looked at the company’s website. There I found a list of stores that carry their brand.  One of them was out of the way, but close enough to be worthwhile.

The connection between the first two paragraphs?  We were running out of diapers; Shlomo wasn’t going to go to sleep at his bedtime.  So, I decided that we should do our grocery shopping at Rami Levy, instead of Osher Ad (where we usually go).  And how, exactly, do we do grocery shopping?

Well, I’ve decided that we go to the store too often, and would save time and money by following a menu plan . . . and doing supermarket shopping once every two weeks (excluding milk, which almost always expires a week after you buy it).

For vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains (not grain products, grains themselves), we go to the shuk.  Yitzchak studies next to the shuk, so buying whatever we need from there is not an issue.  For everything else, we go to the supermarket, once every two weeks.  It hasn’t worked out perfectly – sometimes I go only after three weeks – but it’s going okay, and hopefully will get better.

We went to the store.  We did our grocery shopping, and our diaper shopping.  We did end up coming back later than we wanted to, but on the other hand, Shlomo went to sleep right away.  And we all know that either he would’ve stayed awake playing, or stayed awake in his crib complaining.  At least we avoided that and used our time for something . . . right?

Don’t Back Down

phone technician, fix phone, cellphone, iphone, smartphone, phone, office phone, phone companies, phone techsAs you know, we have been having problems with our phone and internet.  We finally, thank G-d, got someone to help us fix the problem.  Hopefully, this will be the end of the phone/internet trouble saga.

It is fixed.  Mostly.  It is still cutting out, and still turning off intermittently.  There is one more little section of wire that has to be fixed, and hopefully, it will be fixed on Sunday.  Please G-d, we will not have any more problems like this, nor any worse.  Honestly, as harrowing and stressful as these past few months of phone troubles have been, even though it has cost us stress and a bit of money, it could have been worse.  There are much, much worse problems to have than these.  I pray that the stress that we went through with our phone line filled our quota, and that we won’t have to worry about worse things.  Because, in the long run, phones are phones, and health, life, day-to-day finances, and family are all much more important.

But why the title of this post?  Because of this:

When I went to set up the tech appointment with the secretary, she put the two technicians on the line, with each other.  After a few minutes, she put it on speaker.  It was hilarious.  You could hear the two technicians yelling at each other, arguing, blaming, and somehow having a decent discussion.

It reminded me of the street we lived on before we moved on campus.  It was a two-way street that could only fit one car down the middle.  Actually, it could fit two or three, but one side of the street was legal parking, and the other side was used as parking illegally, and no one cared.  So, it could usually only fit one car at a time.  There were sections where two cars could pass, but they were few and far between.

When two cars going in opposite directions would meet, the drivers would honk at each other.  Obviously, no one moved, because in Israel, you are not allowed to be  a “fryer” (a weakling).  Then they would start yelling at each other, each threatening to call the police.  They got out of their cars, screamed at each other, and called the cops.  In the meantime, traffic piled up behind them.  Eventually, before the police came, and often before they were called, one of the drivers would decide that he needed to get to his destination, and would allow the other driver to pass.  Mind you, if these drivers had met anywhere else, they would have been friends.  And if they meet in the grocery store, after the incident, they will still be friends.  But, you are not allowed to back down.

This is what the technicians’ phone conversation reminded me of.  When the tech guys came, they worked together for over an hour and a half.  Really, why should they fight?  They’re both phone technicians, working on a job and getting paid for it; they’re working together, in the cold, for the same reason.  Neither felt the responsibility was his, but both are working on it, and so each can take comfort in the fact that he’s not working alone.  As a matter of fact, the first tech to come called the other guy, who was late, and say, “Brother (achi), what’s up?  Where are you?”  Then, when he found out that there was a delay, he got upset and asked why he wasn’t informed earlier.  But he took the conversation outside, because it’s not nice to scream at someone in front of other people.  And when he came back in, he wasn’t angry at all.

Israelis don’t back down.  There’s a tough love.  We’re brothers.  Sure, you fight with your brother.  But at the end of the day, he’s your brother, and you love him, and will help him no matter what.  So, Israelis don’t back down.  So what?

Job Ideas

work from home, working from home, home business, home office, no daycare, work at home jobs, work at home moms, job ideasAs you know, I work from home, and the job I have now will not last forever (I am making workbooks, and there is a limited number needed).  So, I am always on the lookout for interesting and promising work-from-home jobs that are not scams.

Last week, someone sent me an email linking, not to ten job offers, but to ten ideas for jobs.  While I obviously would prefer job offers, some of these were ideas that I had not thought of.  So, I am linking to their website (which, by the way, has several other interesting articles as well).

In other news, my phone line and internet are down – again.  I am blogging this from somewhere else.  Some of you may be wondering why I seem to have problems with the phone line and internet so often.  It’s a long story, but it boils down to this: It’s a big job to permanently fix the problem, and the technicians are lazy.  And no, we can’t switch phone companies unless we want a cable connection that won’t work in a power outage.

That seems like a sour note to end a post on.  Let’s try again: If you are interested in working from home, check out the site above to get a few good ideas.

Five Ways to Improve Your Marriage

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To be fair, I got the idea for this post here.  That said, I changed the title – and topic – slightly.  Here are my five tips on how to improve your marriage.

1) Look for the good, not the bad.  Yes, he does things differently than you.  He parents differently, he cleans differently, he thinks differently.  So does everyone else.  No two people are the same.  Forget gender differences.  Just respect the fact that even though you’re married, that doesn’t mean that you’re exactly the same.  You don’t like how he folded the laundry?  Thank him for trying to help and thinking of doing it, with or without being asked.  Sometimes, you can even show him how you usually do it.  That depends on him, you, and your relationship.  But first, thank him for helping you out.  You’re right, he should be helping you.  But you know what else?  It’s not clear-cut and obvious that he will.  Even if it were, we thank people for their efforts.  Do you say thank you to the waiter, when he brings you your food?  Isn’t that his job, that he’s being paid for?  So, thank your husband, too – even if you see it as his job to help you.

2) Admit your guilt.  Let’s face it: Nobody is perfect.  Arguments happen, mistakes happen, miscommunications happen.  Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes it’s his fault, and sometimes it’s both.  Admit it when you are wrong, and apologize.  Tell him that you made a mistake, didn’t understand, or shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.  Usually, if you do this a few times, he will start to do the same.  If he doesn’t, have a discussion about how you feel, without blaming him.

3) Communicate.  I know it sounds cliche, and I know that everyone is saying this.  There’s a reason for that: It’s important.  Really important.  He says, “Can you manage if I leave right now?”  You take offense: “What do you mean, can I manage?  You think I’m a two-year-old?”  What he meant was: “Will you be okay?  I know you have a headache and the flu, and I don’t want to leave you with a colicky baby if you’re not feeling well.”  Just.  Ask.  Ask what he means by “can you handle it”.  Ask what “handling it” means.  Ask why he is asking the question.  Many times, you do not hear what the other person was really saying.  Rather, what you hear is tainted by what you expect to hear.

4) Admit that sometimes mistakes happen, and it is nobody’s fault.  That’s right.  It’s nobody’s fault.  It happened because of a miscommunication.  Accept that.  Laugh at it.  Get over it.

5) Choose your battles.  If it doesn’t really matter, don’t fight over it.  And if it does matter, find a way to communicate (there’s that word again) your feelings without being hurtful.  One of the bonuses of doing this is that when you do argue for or against something, your spouse will take you more seriously (so will your kids, boss, and coworkers, if you apply this to other areas of life, as well).

Bonus:

6) Discuss important issues before they come up.  While you are pregnant with your first, discuss how you want to parent.  Finances and everything related should have been discussed while you were engaged.  Budgeting should have been discussed during your engagement, and it will need to be reassessed every once in a while.  Who cleans the house, does the dishes, earns the money, and changes the diapers needs to be discussed, preferably during dating.  If you didn’t do so, do it now.  It is always better to take care of things later, than to never take care of them, and let the bad feelings grow.  Likewise, breastfeeding versus formula, how many kids to have, and opinions on birth control should be discussed. They are important health decisions.  Your child is two years old?  Good, discuss where he should go to school.  What are you looking for?  You can agree to disagree, but at least be aware of each other’s opinions.

Online Jobs

online job search, google search, jobs, online jobs

So, as I stated here, I have been looking for an online job to supplement the editing job that I already have.  Well, first of all, most of the “jobs” out there are scams.  It gets more frustrating every time I search.  Here are a few pointers for identifying scams:

1) If the site doesn’t have good English, good grammar, or good spelling, think twice.

2) Dr. Google.  Either Google the site’s name,  or Google, “site’s name scam” (for example, “online income solution scam”).

3) Check Snopes.

4) Do they charge you money in order to use their site?  If yes, think twice.  You shouldn’t have to pay someone in order to work for them.

5) Is the site well-organized and well thought out?  Many sites that are run by scammers are, but many are not.

6) What exactly is the job for?  What will you be doing?  If they do not specify what your job will be, it is a red flag.

7) Read their Terms and Conditions.  If they are not clear, take that to be a warning sign.

8) Are they rated by the Better Business Bureau?  If not, why not?  If yes, what is their rating?

9) Make sure any logos or external links that are displayed on the site actually work.

10) If it sounds too good to be true, then it often is.

Obviously, there are some exceptions to these rules.  It all boils down to doing your homework carefully.  For me, the first thing I look at is the level of the English.  In real life, if you don’t have a good reason not to speak or write proper English, I can’t respect you as much.  I know it sounds stupid, but I just can’t.  If English is your mother tongue (here I let all my Israeli friends off the hook – they just have to speak and write a decent Hebrew), and you still can’t speak it properly, much less write it properly, then there is something wrong.  Either you never paid attention in school, or you are stupid.  And by stupid, I mean the common usage of the word: a stupid person is someone who expects that he won’t land in jail if he employs illegal immigrants, or some other such thing.

But, really?  You want me to do business with you, but you can’t even take the time and effort to be professional?  You want me to do business with you, and give you personal information, but you never bothered learning word order?  Give me a break!

See my post on Online Income Solutions and my ideal job.

Online Income Solutions

online income solutions, scamFor the past week, I have been seeing ads for a way to make a couple hundred dollars a day.  Two days ago, it was $379/day; yesterday, it was $250/day.  Whatever.  So, finally, I clicked.  I’ll admit – part of it was my curiosity at an obviously religious Arab woman who was the one claiming she had earned it.  And part of that curiosity was a bit of racism.  Racism is the reason I didn’t click before – I don’t want to join a company that is headed by Muslims.  Finally, though, I clicked.  I wanted to find out what this Arab lady was doing.  I figured it couldn’t be something that I didn’t know and couldn’t do better, since I don’t think she can be any smarter than me, and is probably dumber (IQ again).  (Okay, guys, let’s leave my racist motivations aside here; that is not the point of this post.  I added it simply to explain why it took over a week for me to click, and why I ended up clicking.)

The click took me to their site, which asked for my full name, phone number, and email.  (The page that I got also ended in “/arabic”, so my racism was somewhat founded.)  I believe I but “C” as my full name; the site did not accept it.  So, I ended up putting “crabapple”, the email address I use for sign-ups, and an imaginary phone number that I do not believe anyone has (972-52-000-0000, 972 being the country code, and 52 being a prefix for one of the cellphone providers here).

Then, I was allowed to look at their website.  It looked pretty decent, and much less of a risk than Empower Network, because it was a one-time fee of $19.95, instead of a monthly fee of $25.  Yitzchak thought so, too.  We read the disclaimer, the terms and conditions, and the FAQs.  We read all the fine print.

And then, I Googled it.  It came up as: scam, scam, scam, scam.  And, “Do not do this, they took  my money.”  “Do not do this, it is a scam.”  “These people are scammers, how do I get my money back?”

And the Muslim lady?  Well, two days ago, she lived in Haifa (that is what it said on their site).  Yesterday, I found a link to Career Journal, their fake advertising site, whose comments are closed ‘because of spam’.  It is the same article I found two days ago in my Google search, but then I was only looking at the comments.  The article says that this lady lives in Tel Aviv.  Looks kind of fishy to me.

I am also very cautious about sites that do not use good English, grammar, or spelling.  Online Income Solutions‘ site had errors in grammar and spelling.  That’s a red flag for me.

So, what am I saying?  I’m saying this: Be careful.  In the end, no matter how legit it looks, it might not be.  And while I am kind of wary of Empower, I happen to think it is completely legit.  In fact, I am 99.999% sure of it, after a week and a half of thinking.  I also have no proofs otherwise, other than the fact that almost all of the 78 pages of Google results seem to be written by affiliates.  And that, my friends, proves nothing other than good SEO skills.  So, take Empower Network or leave it.  But stay away from Online Income Solutions, and ALWAYS do a Google search before you put down your money.

Update: Today I Googled both Online Income Solutions and Career Journal, to find their addresses, but I could not find them, or any of their affiliates.  All I am finding are articles denouncing them (and not so many of those, either).  I guess someone put a stop to their game, somehow.  As they say, “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

Update (Dec. 12, 2012): I saw their ad again, and clicked for you.  Here is Online Income Solution’s site (with the addition of a “+ISRAEL” end to the url).  And here is their Career Journal article.  Both pages did not want me to close them, and I have read that the site, as a whole, makes it hard for your computer to close it.  So, click at your own risk.

Textbook for Daycare Teachers

cord in mouth, baby with cord in mouth, kid with cord in mouth, baby playing with cord, kid playing with cord, cord, safety, daycare safety

I am on my daycare soapbox again, after posting our story, and two posts on why I dislike daycare.

We have a college textbook on health, safety, and nutrition.  The textbook was created for daycare teachers.  We have this textbook because my husband started the elementary education track in college [and then got married to me, moved to Israel, and switched his course of study], and he had to take a health, safety and nurtition course.  Since the elementary track didn’t have its own course, students were offered two choices: Learn the course with the daycare students, or learn it with the nursing students.  He chose the daycare course, figuring it would be more practically relevant to teaching.

You know what?  The book looks like it was written for idiots (excuse my language).  He and the other students in the elementary teaching program just looked at each other, dumbfounded and wondering why they had to be there, when they started reading the textbook and participating in the course.  He kept the book, because he’s a book-collecting type of person (so am I), and it has some useful charts.  But seriously?  The book is So. Downright. Dumb.  The pictures are dumb.  The questions can be answered by anyone who has a dictionary, grammar, or a semi-useful vocabulary.  Most of the information is obvious.  Most of the “think it over” or “discussion” sections are dumb.

And this is a college level textbook?  But apparently, it is a very needed textbook.  Because, apparently:

a) Most people do not think about taking care of children until the very last second, and therefore know next to nothing about it.  This I find very hard to believe.

b) People who are looking to be daycare teachers usually aren’t too smart.  This I find very believable, even though I have friends who worked as daycare teachers, and are very smart.

Basically, there are two types of daycare teachers: The passionate ones, who quit after some time because of low pay and bad working conditions (as some of my friends did, and others would do if they didn’t work in the specific daycare that they do); and the ones who are in it for the money, who are simply there because they cannot get a higher paying job, or are not motivated enough to do so.

It scares me that most of America is placing their children in the hands of people who need that textbook to teach them the basics.  It just plain scares me.  Because, in my eyes, someone who needs that course in order to be a safe or effective daycare teacher, is not a good caregiver, and probably has an IQ of no more than 109.  And, for those of you who don’t know, 109 may be slightly higher than average, but it is by no means smart.

College grads usually have an IQ of at least 120, or they would have become college dropouts (the minimum required to graduate college is 115).  I am by no means an “only smart people are acceptable in society” type of person, but I do believe that America’s children – and parents – deserve that caregivers should be able to handle emergencies efficiently, and be able to give children the best. I am in no way undermining parents who have lower IQs and take care of their own children.  They are doing the best they can for their children, just like the rest of us are.  The best thing for a child is to be with their parents.  The next-best thing is to be with a caregiver who can give them the best opportunities for growth out there.

But the minute a child is not with their parents, they should be getting the best quality care possible, in all situations.  If a potential caregiver had to read that textbook in order to give proper care – they are off my list even before they were on it.  And – call me discriminatory, because I am a mother and I am allowed to be as paranoid, discriminatory, and over-protective as I want when it comes to my children – I would not leave my child with someone who I did not think could give the same quality care as myself or my husband.  That includes emergency preparation, that includes CPR, that includes the quality of the attention that they will get, the quantity of attention that they will get, and how that attention is given.  And it includes the caregiver’s IQ.