I read an article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal that said big discounts are headed our way. That would be some good news with gas over $5 a gallon and meat prices going through the roof.
In an article called Stores Have Too Much Stuff. Here’s Where They’re Slashing Prices, reporter Rachel Wolfe shares the good news that items that were popular during the pandemic and were hard to find because of supply chain issues are here two years later. The stores have too much inventory and we should expect “discounts like you’ve never seen before.”
“Retailers are getting ready to cut prices of goods that were popular during the pandemic. Expect ‘discounts like you’ve never seen before.”
The items most likely to be discounted according to the article are patio furniture and sofas — things that take up a lot of room in stores. Other items that will be slashed in price are the stay at home remote working wear like sweat pants.
Target, Walmart and Macy’s announced recently that they are starting to receive large shipments of outdoor furniture, loungewear and electronics everyone wanted, but couldn’t find, during the pandemic.
The problem for retailers—that these goods are delayed by almost two years—could be a windfall for those in the market for sweatpants or couches. Look for prices to start dropping around July 4, analysts say.
Retailer discounts are part of an effort to get shoppers interested in buying things again as Americans shift their spending to concerts, eating out, and travel they missed out on. Deep discounts are expected on oversize couches, appliances and patio furniture that are more expensive for companies to store in their warehouses, analysts say.
My husband asked me to sit and watch a webinar with him yesterday. It was CE credits for him, but he thought I’d find the subject interesting. Begrudgingly, I sat with him. Surprisingly, there were a few tidbits that I found helpful.
The topic was about what makes people happy in retirement. Number one was not being stressed about money. At a certain point, when you aren’t worrying about outliving your money, more money doesn’t improve happiness. Good health is another key item.
I was surprised that friendships were near the top of the list. When people leave the workplace, they often give up their daily social interactions. I thought about this because it’s something I’m dealing with now. Since the pandemic and moving to Arizona, I don’t have the day-to-day interactions with people that I had before. Of course, I lived in California for three decades in the same house, so I had it wired. I had the swim team, women’s club, my kids’ school parents, etc. I stayed in touch with people I worked with years before and we still got together. I knew the postman, the grocery clerk and countless other people.
Moving to a new state and neighborhood, we were lucky to discover friends from Palm Springs who moved a mile away from our new home. It’s refreshing to get a last minute call and be invited over for football or dinner. And we reciprocate.
My husband had one of his closest friends two miles down the road. They were friends from their 20s and we got together every week or two since we moved. But my husband’s friend died suddenly in November from an illnesses that was not COVID. Watching the webinar, my husband muttered a few words about missing his friend.
I haven’t thought much about needing friends or a social life. I’m pretty content to sit at home and watch the birds. Sit outside and read. I didn’t really view myself as a people person. This webinar made me think about the years ahead.
It’s hard to make new friends when you’re older, not in a work environment and in a new state. The webinar convinced me to join book club, which I’ve never done before. I had gotten an invitation earlier that day. It was a sign that yes, I’d better give it a try.
Here is what I found really fascinating about the webinar: most people facing retirement think living close to their children will make them happy. In reality it doesn’t bump the needle like friendships do. It’s not even close.
What do you think will make you happy in retirement? Why do you think living close to your children doesn’t make retirees as happy as social friends?
I wrote this long before the world was in a pandemic. People dropped their kids off at school and went to their jobs in person. Today, that’s all different. Most of us are working from home and our kids are not in school — while we shelter in place. That makes this story about how to juggle parenting and working from home valuable today
When I started my Public Relations business, it was June. By July, I discovered I was pregnant. I did pretty good balancing work and life until my firstborn became mobile. Once he was crawling and spitting up on my keyboard, work became more challenging.
I saw an article in the Citizen Times, a USA network paper in North Carolina, called “Making it all work: Balancing parenting and working from home” by Marla Hardee Milling. She interviewed several families and asked how they worked from home with kids. I enjoyed reading their stories, because I had plenty of my own!
If you are a parent, working from home can rank as a blessing and a curse.
First up — the pros: creating a business at home allows you a flexible schedule. You don’t have to worry about a commute. You don’t have to keep a well-stocked wardrobe for daily appearances at an office (this means you can work in pajamas if you want to), and you may well find that you are more productive when you are working for yourself.
But there are pitfalls.
Interruptions can be aggravating. Neighbors and friends may think they can call at any moment because you’re at home. Kids often have the uncanny ability to need something right in the middle of a business call. And you may be surrounded by nagging reminders of things that need to be done at home — the stacked dishes, the pile of laundry, the accumulating clutter.
So how do you strike a balance between being efficient running a home business and keeping your sanity?
Juggling life and work
Stephanie Carol of Asheville works part-time from home, writing a sewing blog and a travel blog.
“I juggle work at home life with family life imperfectly,” she admits. “My biggest challenge is that I would prefer to work in long stretches of time, but with kids, it’s more like bits and pieces. The two solutions I’ve come up with or used in the past include one, swapping child care with friends so we each get a full or half day to ourselves while the other watches all of our kids, and two: trying to break down my tasks into small chunks so I can dive right back in and out of my list and stay organized.”
It can be even more complicated when both parents telecommute from home. That’s the current lifestyle for Amy and John Saunders who live in Waynesville with their 3-year-old son. Amy’s parents own a highway construction company — A&P Services LLC in Brevard and she serves as the vice president of operations. John is a software architect who works for a company in Chicago.
John’s job is structured in a way that he is required to be at his computer from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. But his home office doesn’t have a door, so Amy has to be creative about keeping their son quiet.
“We leave every morning around 9 or 9:30 and then come home for lunch,” she explained. In the afternoon, she fits in work as she can while her son has some quiet playtime. Once her husband is off work, they have a family dinner at 6, go through the bedtime routine and then Amy can hammer out details of her job that she couldn’t get to during the day.
“As the VP of operations, I do all the scheduling, billing, general project management — I handle everything except estimating and HR stuff,” she said. “As long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter when it gets done.”
When I worked from home I had two major problems: how to turn off work and how to get clients to understand that I couldn’t run over for a meeting at the drop of a hat. It was all about boundaries. I had clients who didn’t respect the hours I tried to set and would give me a project at 5 or 6 p.m. and expect it the next morning, because “I worked from home.” When I was pregnant, I could make it to any meeting at any time. Once I had a child, it was a different story. I tried babysitters and nannies and would make set hours when I was available for meetings and appointments. Invariably, I worked on projects at home while the babysitter was there. As soon as she left, I’d get a call from a client to come over immediately.
Here’s how other families deal with childcare:
What can I put off?
Without close neighbors to rely on for babysitting, Amy and John care for their son almost 24/7 except for rare moments when the grandparents can step in. It’s a challenging schedule and can be stressful, but she says, “I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
What she is trying to change is her mindset that every work detail needs to be handled immediately. “If I get an email, I feel like I have to take care of it right away,” she said. “I’m learning that if I put something off until tomorrow, it’s probably going to be fine. Some things are time sensitive, but the majority of my job is not. I’m trying to find a balance.”
Altamont Inspections is the business of Eddie and Angela Roberts, of Hendersonville. While Eddie is out making the inspections, Angela works from her home office to carry out all the details of running the business: scheduling, billing, troubleshooting, and setting priorities.
“I have a designated office space, so office work stays in the office,” Angela said. “I have set times to devote to work and I make a checklist each morning of the most important things to do.”
Having that list is crucial since they have two very active daughters — teens Anna and Emma — who are involved in band, gymnastics and other activities. “I always put family first,” she said. “If someone wants an inspection time that conflicts with my daughter’s band concert, I’ll offer them another day or time.”
She’s found it easier to keep separate email addresses and phone numbers for work and personal use, and she checks social media during her personal time. Angela also has learned to say “no” when she runs out of time.
“The PTO can find someone else to help with the dance decorations this time, but I’m happy to bring pre-packaged snacks,” she said as an example.
Her daughters are older now and more self-sufficient, but she also realizes the value of getting outside help to keep her household and business running smoothly.
“I hire help like a bi-weekly housekeeper, a lawn maintenance crew, and a caregiver to pick up the kids from school and help them with homework a couple of days a week,” she said. “I will also order groceries online and pick them up or have them delivered through Mother Earth Foods. A family dinner doesn’t have to be home cooked every night. I like to support local restaurants and order to-go or make a list of grocery stores that have weekly specials, like The Fresh Market changes their $20 ‘Little Big Meals’ that feed four each Tuesday and some Ingle’s delis have Friday steak nights.”
With planning, dedication, and creative strategies, working from home can be a fruitful endeavor. And just think about all that traffic you don’t have to sit in day after day.
The final straw in my working from home was after I hired a full-time nanny. I watched as she raised my child. They splashed in the pool and walked to the park to play. Meanwhile, I sat at my desk jealous beyond belief. I quit the PR business and changed my work. Instead or writing press releases and newsletters, I began writing for magazines, newspapers and drafting novels and children’s stories. I squeezed my work in between raising my kids. I made way less money, but I have no regrets.
Now there’s just me and the cat while I work from home.
Have you tried working from home? How do you juggle the parenting responsibilities with your job?
21 Days. Isn’t that something? My daughter came home a few days before we got the order. I’m so glad she made it here. She’s been a joy to have around along with her fur baby Waffles. We have plenty of room to have my husband, me and my daughter all working from home — together — yet apart.
Here’s a few thoughts I have about these strange days:
I go from super calm and productive to anxiety ridden from day to day.
I’m losing track of the days and the time. Twice I have woken up thinking it’s 6 a.m. and started the coffee only to look at the clock in the kitchen that reads 11:40 p.m.
My routine of daily three pages of writing, my three mile walk and Bible readings to start my day are more important than ever. All three help me stay grounded.
I’m reading lots of good books. Sitting in my back yard in the sun reading is one of my favorite things to do.
10,000 people have died in our country. My heart goes out to all the people suffering and losing loved ones.
We are now told to wear masks when we leave the house. I’m using a make-shift one from my quilting supplies. It’s hard to breathe during my morning walks, though, and my glasses fog up.
My writing jobs are completed and turned in and now I’m in uncharted territory without every minute of my day focused on meeting deadlines.
My daughter and I cleaned and organized the food cupboards and the laundry room. It feels good to have clean spaces.
I’m reaching out to family via phone and email. It’s important to stay in touch with your loved ones.
My new morning walk look.
What are your thoughts about sheltering in place during the pandemic?