Saturday, July 19, 2008

Relief for California Taxpayers

We have seen a pretty steep drop in property values here in California the last two years and we are starting to see a increase in foreclosures, bankruptcy, etc. But if you bought your house on the high end of things and you can still afford to stay in it but could use a little relief, there is help.

First of all, not related to buying on the high side, if you are living in your home and haven't filed a home owner's exemption form, you should do so. It will result in a $7,000 reduction in the taxable value of your home. If you are a veteran, there is also a veteran's exemption for most honorably discharged veterans as well as for spouses and/or parents of deceased veterans who were honorably discharged. Sometimes you can't get both exemptions, so contact your tax assessor's office for details!

Additionally, if you did buy your home when prices were higher, call your assessor to find out if you qualify for a reduction in your taxes based on the new, lower property value. We did that this year, signed and returned a form that the Assessor's office sent us, and received a refund of around $1700 as well as a reduction in next year's taxes.

Note: this is only a temporary reduction. When prices go back up, so do the taxes. But for now, with higher gasoline and food prices, it is a huge help!

This message only applies to property taxes in the state of California. But if you have experienced a drop in value where you live it might be worthwhile to check with your local assessment agency (or agencies if you're in Texas and some other places) and see if there is something similar available to you!

No reason to be sending more of your money to the government than you absolutely have to!

Help for People with Disc Injuries

I hear a lot from people who have herniated discs and their doctors are advocating the use of either steroids or surgery to alleviate their pain. Well I have a herniated disc too. It probably happened in an auto accident in 2003 and for the last couple of years it has been causing me a lot of pain! I tried the epidural. Worked great for about a month and then the pain came back. I was told that surgery only had a 50% success rate. Then a Naturopathic doctor I was seeing referred me to a Chiropractor who was familiar with the Disc Pump. After a few months of treatments, I feel better than I have in years!

If you have a disc injury, please check out their website and see if you are comfortable with the idea.

Disc Pump

If you are, find a practitioner in your area who uses the device. What have you got to lose?

If you are interested in getting paid to do the same thing you can do on social sites such as MySpace, check this out!

Best Social Site Ever

Solution to Inappropriate Cat Urination

Got a couple of old blogs out there about my new cat Oreo. He was an outdoor cat who adopted us and, despite Richard's protests, he ended up being an indoor cat. He still wants to go outside, but it's funny, he will run only so far and then he will let somebody pick him up and put him outside. I don't want him outside because of diseases and predators and fleas and so on.

When we first got him he wasn't neutered and there was male cat smell in the house. I guess this stressed one of the other two cats, Tiger and Sunshine, out because somebody started peeing in an in appropriate place. We had already lost a love seat to this behavior last year and we thought we had stopped it. We protected the remaining two pieces of furniture with heavy duty plastic covers just in case! But it started up again, on the plastic covers (thank heavens for the plastic covers), and again we didn't know which cat was doing it.

We got Oreo neutered and cleaned the smell up, got some pheromones that were supposed to keep the cats from stressing, put new litter boxes down, put "keep off" at the spot they were going to, etc. Nothing worked. Richard was talking about getting a "nanny cam" and putting it in there so we could figure out who the culprit was.

Last time I had gotten some products from to clean up and get rid of the odor. I get e-mails from them periodically and one came right when I really needed it. It was advertising an electronic device that is triggered when the cat crosses an infrared beam. It sets off a high pitched sound that humans can't hear (or just barely) but the cats can't tolerate. So we set one up in the room where the peeing was occurring.

I am happy to report that it worked. There has been no more inappropriate peeing anywhere. Hooray! If you ever run into this problem and are at the end of your wits and really don't want to get rid of your cat, give this one a try!

A funny footnote - the new cat, Oreo, can walk right into that room and the sound doesn't bother him a bit. The vacuum doesn't either. He's either the mellowest cat on the planet or there's something not totally right about his hearing!

PS if your cat starts peeing all over the place, not in one spot like was happening to us, it could very well be a medical problem. Have him checked by a veterinarian!