Friday, January 4, 2008

JANUARY 4, 2008

We've gotten a ton of answers coming in... even from out of state! My friends in Utah who have a morning show put the dilemna to their audience as well! (If you have no idea what we're talking about, scroll down to the blog immediately below this.)

Here is a sampling of some ideas...

First, figure out if it's actually in the counter. Use a metal detector... use a web cam... use an angled mirror with a light and locate it.

Second, break open the cabinet. Take off the paneling in front, cut a hole inside the cabinet, or just remodel the kitchen altogether and take the island out!

It's funny... The guys say tear the kitchen apart. It is funny how the guys believe you need to get the ring back and the women are like "move on". Keep sending in your suggestions...!

It kicks off Monday... and we've got our three teams!

The Skinny Cows... a husband and wife, her sister and dad. Two of them work at Dreyer's, and they love personal challenges and spending time together as a family!

The Food Fighters... a mom, her son, daughter, and best friend. The daughter eats fast food two to three times a day, and the son is looking for a new lease on life.

The Stunners... four siblings who just lost a close family member. They are a family that has struggled with weight and health issues, and one contestant told us she "doesn't want to die" and leave her children behind without their mother. In addition, one member has been engaged for three years and said she wouldn't get married until she could feel good in a wedding dress, so with this competition, it's wedding or bust!

Meet the families and see their original weigh-in on Monday at 5-7 PM at The Fitness Centre. You can also learn how you can enroll in the exact same program!

It's been said that money is the No. 1 cause of divorce. Or to say it another way: Marriage is about love, divorce is about money.

To that we may add that money is the No. 1 cause of turmoil in a marriage. Strife over money can last years in a marriage if not properly addressed and, short of divorce, can drive a wedge between a husband and wife . This doesn't have to be, and so here are eight tips on fighting with your spouse over money.

Honestly examine your own attitudes about money. We all have different views and attitudes about money -- how it should be spent, saved, given and so on. Before raising a difficult money issue with your spouse, honestly re-examine your approach and feelings about the issue. You may just find that you need to change as much as or more than your spouse. And if not, it will better prepare you for an open-minded discussion when you do raise the issue.

Make sure you've identified the real issue. Is the problem that your spouse just bought a $20,000 bass boat, or is it really that he or she will be spending more time on the lake than with the family (or both)? Sometimes our feelings can play tricks on us, so it's important to make sure we know exactly what the problem is before trying to solve it. This process may take some time, so it may be days or even weeks before you raise the issue.

Consider the place and time of the money discussion. Money is a sensitive topic. Raising a difficult money issue as soon as your spouse walks in the door after a long day's work or immediately after dealing with the kids is counterproductive. Raising the issue while the in-laws are in town is not a productive approach either. If life is really crazy, agree in advance when you will sit down to discuss the money matter. Otherwise, try to pick a moment when there are no distractions and you have the time to give the matter the attention it deserves.

Be honest with your spouse. If, after examining your thoughts and feelings on the matter, you conclude that there is a serious money issue, keeping it bottled up inside will do you and your marriage no favors. Discussions about how to handle money are an important part of the relationship. Such conversations may not always be pleasant, but the alternative is often a life of "quiet desperation."

Listen to your spouse. Approaching these discussions with an open mind and a desire to fully understand your spouse's perspective is critical and sometimes difficult. You've given the issue a lot of thought and are convinced that your spouse's approach to the money issue is not in your family's best interest. This makes it difficult to hear why the $20,000 bass boat was a good deal. And it gets even harder to listen if the bass boat is just one of many questionable purchases. Nevertheless, hearing what your spouse has to say is as important as he or she hearing you. In the words of Stephen Covey in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," "seek first to understand ... then to be understood."

Seek compromise when possible. Many decisions about money appear, at first, to be all or nothing. Either buy the new car, or don't. Either remodel the kitchen, or don't. Either go on an expensive vacation, or don't. With some creative brainstorming, however, you just might find common ground through compromise. It may not be the alternative you were hoping for, but marriage is a lifelong series of give and take. So where it makes sense, seek compromise as a means to resolve the money issue. My wife and I did this with the purchase of our home four years ago. I did not want to offer the list price (which was then the only way we would get the home), but agreed to do so because of my wife's willingness to make up the difference through some other financial choices she didn't favor.

See the long term. Over the course of many years, our views about money change. I know that my views and attitudes about money have changed dramatically in the last 20 years. The point is, it may take years for you and your spouse to align your views about money, and even then it likely won't be a perfect alignment. Rome wasn't conquered in a day, and most serious money issues aren't either.

Seek help. Sometimes money issues become very serious. And the failure to communicate about these issues can indicate even more serious issues within a marriage. My point here is not to set off alarm bells if you and your spouse disagree over whether you should take your lunch to work or eat out. The point is, sometimes marriages need some professional help to get through a tough issue, and that issue might just be about money.

All manner of things can go wrong at work on any given day. So here are some ways to handle various office screw-ups...

1) YOU'RE CAUGHT DATING A CO-WORKER. It's never a good idea to have naughty relations with someone you work with. Talk to your boss and say you made an error in judgment... and don't talk about it with your co-workers.

2) YOU MISSED A DEADLINE. Apologize profusely for letting down your boss and co-workers... and then offer up whatever you can to make things right again… so that whatever deadline you missed gets finished as quickly as possible.

3) YOU CAME INTO WORK LATE... AGAIN. If you're always late to work... there is probably no excuse that can help you. Basically, all you can do is talk to your boss... and rarely... or NEVER... come into work late again.

4) YOU MISSED AN IMPORTANT MEETING. Offer to reschedule the meeting... especially if it was really necessary for you to be there. In this age of Blackberries and online calendars... it's a really weak excuse to say you just forgot about it.

5) YOU SPREAD RUMORS. Just face the music. You made some comments that you now regret... so apologize, and hopefully those involved will forgive you.