Matches for: “eyes” …

Moving Out – With Eyes Wide Open!

We are now at the stage when the boys are talking about moving into their own place!

An exciting time for all 🙂

Here is my advice, to ensure eyes are wide open and surprises are minimized.

When preparing to move-out, from underneath the roof of one’s parents, there are a number of considerations (questions to ask, research, thinking and planning to perform), including:

  • Location, location, location
  • What is in vs. what is out
  • Other, related expenses
  • Minimize the drama
  • Scope your options, from afar

Location, location, location

This is the primary consideration as it will directly impact your quality of life, including:

  • The type of people / neighbors you are likely to encounter
  • Safety and security for you, your belongings (in the apartment) and your car
  • Your time “on the road” to get to/from work, school, grocery shopping, etc.
  • Recreation and leisure – Is it within close proximity (walking distance) of “things to do” – a park, mall, downtown, etc.
  • And, finally, the monthly rent

Like many topics, this is a double-edged sword.

The most desirable locations will cost more than the less desirable locations.

There are several other factors related to cost, starting with the funding needed to get into the apartment, including:

  • The security deposit (typically one month’s rent, that the landlord will hang-on to until you move out – with no damages)
  • The first month’s rent (to move in)

What is in vs. what is out

Once you’ve honed in on the location(s) to be considered it is time to better understand the monthly costs, which is more than just the rent payment. To start, it is important to confirm what is included in the rent vs. what you are expected to cover on your own. The “potential” variable items include:

  • Heat and A/C
  • Electricity
  • Cable / Internet
  • Water
  • Garbage collection
  • Parking
  • Snow removal
  • Access to the gym, pool, etc.

In addition, you’ll want to know what furnishings come with the apartment, vs. those you are expected to provide. Considerations include:

  • Furniture – Kitchen table and chairs. Sofa, lamps, end tables, desk(s), beds, etc.
  • Basic furnishings – Shower curtain, window shades, etc.
  • Appliances – Refrigerator, stove, microwave, washer/dryer (typically laundry facilities are available, but this should be confirmed)

As such, when you are checking out apartments be sure to make note of these things during the viewing and ask the landlord (make no assumptions about what you see in the “model” apartment) so you aren’t surprised on day-1 with the things you may need to acquire in order to settle-in.

Other / related expenses

Now that you are moving out from underneath mom and dad’s roof, there are several other expenses that you’ll need to cover, and items you’ll need to provide, including:

  • Groceries – This is way more than food. It includes all the products and supplies that are taken for granted that you happen to find and use around the bathroom, kitchen, etc.
  • Furnishings – Towels and linens (bed sheets, etc.), shower curtain, pillows. Pots, pans, dishes and eating utensils.
  • Your clothing, cell phone bill, etc., if you aren’t already paying these.
  • Apartment insurance to cover your belongings in the event the building burns down or you are robbed. Your landlord does NOT protect you against such events.
  • And, one of the very last things the boys are thinking about. Cleaning supplies 🙂

Now that you’ve considered the cost-related factors, you’ll want to…

Minimize the variables

In my early days I lived in apartments with as many as 6 people (we were ultimately thrown out, luckily without any charges being pressed) to as few as 2 people, and everything in between. I have found that the most “stable” apartment living arrangement is when there are ONLY 2 people living together. It significantly reduces the variables and drama that increases exponentially with the addition of others to your living arrangements.

These variables include, but are not limited to:

  • Varying lifestyles – Work schedules, sleep schedules, partying “habits”, financial habits
  • Sharing – Inevitably, we will have things that are “just ours” vs. those things that can be shared. If there are several people living together it literally becomes a free-for-all. If there is only one other person living with you, you know exactly who ate your food, drank your beverage, used your deodorant or towel 🙂
  • The arrival of the roommate’s new girlfriend (or boyfriend) on the scene and the entirely new set of factors introduced into the equation
  • And finally, like the reality-show Survivor, any time there are more than 2 people, alliances will be formed and there WILL be an “odd man out.”

To keep things simple, identify a highly compatible roommate with whom you work out a few basic guidelines, BEFORE signing a lease. Because, once you’ve signed the lease – you are STUCK. Stuck living in a situation that you may not desire or STUCK making payments for an apartment that you are no longer living in because you decided to bail early. Yes, you remain responsible for your part of the monthly payment regardless of how you feel about your roommate.

Now that you’ve at least thought about all the above and are truly ready to begin exploring, you can easily…

Scope your options from afar

Whether you are looking for an apartment across town, or across the country, a useful service is Zillow.com. They have a website and app that allows you to filter on numerous variables to narrow down your search, view pictures and other details about available rentals and finally, they provide a method to contact the landlord.

Within a matter of minutes, you should be able to identify a few options enabling you to take the next step of setting up an appointment for a viewing.

Just don’t forget this list 🙂

Given that you have the means, taking into account the above considerations will make the big move as seamless and painless as possible.

Enjoy!

Need to See the White of Your Eyes

In a prior post on “How to land that first professional job – The Face-to-Face Interview” I outlined detailed steps to go through when meeting someone.

More specifically, this included the importance of looking the other person squarely in the eye when greeting and speaking with them.

Over the past week I experienced 2 interactions with “professionals” that served to inspire this post.

In both scenarios the individual I was speaking with would not look me in the eye.

The first, oddly enough, was my eye doctor, during a recent appointment.

We were talking about how business was going, my eyesight and corrective lens options (he had the gall to suggest that I am now old enough for progressive lenses 🙂 ), etc.

Instead of looking at me while we were talking he was turned to the side and speaking directly to the wall. So weird. I almost waved my hand in front of his face to see if he was blind, as he was clearly looking in the wrong direction when we should have been eye-to-eye…

The second scenario happened while onsite with a client. A group of us were huddled outside a conference room waiting for our next meeting to begin. I struck up some small talk with one of my fellow meeting goers…

Upon acknowledging my inquiry he glanced in my direction as he gave his response, eye-lids fluttering rapidly. He would not make eye contact.

I have to tell you, in both cases, my first impression was – HE IS HIDING SOMETHING.

Reality: This may or may not be true. It is more likely that they are both self-conscious and uncomfortable looking someone in the eye.

While we are told from an early age to NOT judge a book by its cover, human nature is that we too often do. As such, the trait of not looking another person in the eye during conversation will cause people to doubt, even not trust, you.

So, if making eye contact is difficult for you, get help 🙂

As painful as this may seem, make it a point to make eye contact when greeting someone and maintain the “appropriate” amount of eye contact during conversation.

This does not mean staring wide-eyed at someone and not blinking for the duration of the conversation. It means face the other person, look them in the eye and, as appropriate, glancing away to give thought to what was said and then re-establishing eye contact on an ongoing basis.

Bottom-line: If you want to be acknowledged and respected as a true professional you MUST make and maintain the “appropriate” amount of eye contact. If you don’t do so, whether you are self-conscious (a.k.a. nervous) or truly are hiding something this will serve as a limiting factor for you in terms of your career and/or business.

Let them see the white of your eyes!

Life Is Better At The Lake

It has now been 50 days since we moved into our lake home. And, we couldn’t be happier.

Yes, there was PAIN in the transition. But, we won’t focus on that 🙂

We have been blessed by many family member visits (the 4 boys, my parents, our nephew and his family, my brother and his family) including their help unloading the U-Haul, unpacking, “beginning” to get ourselves organized and tidying up the place.

All we can say, as stated on the set of coasters my brother Roger gave us, is:

I’m reminded daily of what a very good church friend of ours (who owns a home on the water) frequently says: There is ALWAYS something happening at the lake.

To be clear, he isn’t referring to ANY hustle and bustle that can be found in a town or city…

When Cindy and I were on the hunt for our new home we scoped out over 30 lakefront properties inside of 30 days. We had the opportunity to view some beautiful houses with terrible waterfront, some awful cottages with breathtaking waterfront and many properties in between. To be honest, I was prepared to jump on any number of these (projects). Fortunately, Cindy would have none of it 🙂

Finally, we visited what could truly be considered a home. How did we know? Well, after thoroughly viewing the property and being fairly impressed we were struck by what we considered our sign. That is, as we were exiting the basement to the yard, facing the lake, Cindy called our attention to a fox trotting across the property. The way her story goes is that the fox stopped for a moment, looked at her and said, with attitude: “Uh-huh, I’m a fox.” and then continued on its way.

We were sold.

Since moving in we have experienced an abundance of wildlife and natural phenomenon.

During our first night’s stay, Cindy said she spotted a deer drinking from the lake. Unfortunately, she didn’t wake me for this so I had to (jealously) believe her. The next day I was able to confirm her sighting after finding MANY deer tracks clearly planted in the ground along the shore. Since then fresh deer tracks have continued to appear but we’ve yet to experience another sighting.

Until about 2 weeks ago our little cove had been frequented daily by ducks, loons and mergansers.

The ducks show-up quietly by swimming into the cove or by a more pronounced arrival as they come in for a landing, skimming gracefully across the surface of the water. In watching the ducks feed Cindy would comment: Look, a duck. Then, as it plunged its head underwater to feed she would say: Oh no, its a penguin. If you’ve ever seen a duck feeding you might make the same duck/penguin observation 🙂

Our ducks have since flown south.

Surprisingly, even yesterday I heard loons calling in the distance.

And, we are still viewing mergansers, although not up close, as our cove has begun to freeze over.

IMG_3990

To be honest, until we were on the hunt for our lake home, I didn’t know what a merganser was. We had seen them before (at Mooselookmeguntic Lake) but never did the research to confirm the name.

During the viewing of one of the homes we saw a group of them swimming across the surface of the lake and then diving (like loons) for fish. But, unlike loons, they seem to fish in, well, a pack. That is, they dip their heads below the surface in their search of fish. Once spotted the group skims furiously across the water to round up their prey and then they dive to feast. The fish don’t stand a chance 🙂

I asked our realtor if he knew what these birds were called, observing that they were NOT loons. He said: Meganzas in his distinct New England accent. You’ll notice there are no “R’s” in the name…Thinking nothing of this, I later shared the name of these birds with my dad who had (surprisingly) never heard of these (meganzas). However, after he did some research online he was able to make the connection and update my understanding. Mergansers Craig, mergansers 🙂

One of the most beautiful sightings, which we’ve experienced a few times now, is a large bald eagle soaring majestically across our cove. There is nothing like clearly seeing the white head, dark brown body and white tail of our national bird. I would love to get a picture but I dare not take my eyes off of it during its flight for fear I might miss a second of its journey. Our latest sighting was on Christmas day.

Speaking of Christmas…We decided to change things up. You see, our nephew works for a lobster packing company, enabling him to get fresh lobster at “boat price.” So, our Christmas meal was a lobster feast, enjoyed by almost everyone (Cindy, my parents, our nephew and his family and myself). The 4 boys (again) gave this delicacy a try and unanimously decided that they really, really, really don’t like it. No problem! All the more for the rest of us 🙂

After the lobster feast many of us took up the dare of going for a swim. Actually, it really couldn’t be considered swimming. It was more of a leap into the frigid water, feeling the resulting pain and getting out as quickly as possible. Prior to doing so, Ethan was challenging us to swim with him to a rock in the middle of the cove. But, after experiencing the quick plunge he agreed that a longer duration in the water would most certainly result in hypothermia.

Here is a picture of the boys viewing the lake, on Christmas afternoon.

IMG_3977

Now that I’ve shared some of our experiences with the wildlife, I thought I’d share a natural phenomenon that occurred during our first snowstorm since being here.

A few days ago, while the snow was falling, I decided to walk out on the little peninsula jutting out into the lake, from our land. While the lake had not yet begun to freeze over, the heavy snow was creating a layer of slush and ice in the cove. As I looked closer I observed what could only be described as flowers in the ice.

IMG_3989

God’s creation is simply amazing.

Life is good!

Well, it’s time to get started for the day. You see, with ANY home comes maintenance projects to keep one busy. The current one we are undertaking is some minor patching and painting of the interior.

So, gotta go for now.

Happy New Year!