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NobodysHome wrote:

And LOL. With the 2020 election looming, we're yet again discussing emigrating sooner rather than later. And the Netherlands came up, because they have better weather than most of the other candidates.

And Shiro said, "But I don't want to live there, because I'd have to learn half a dozen languages just to be considered adequate!"

Er... yep...

But... I'm only working on two...


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The language of love?


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I's is happy I spoke one language is good.


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Scintillae wrote:

I'm having my current events class look up a new country each week (some basic demographic info and a current news article) to get them a little more in-tune with geography.

Last week, they pulled Russia out of the jar and decided this was going to be easy.

This week? Kiribati.

They are a mite less enthused.

They are going to have to pay atoll to get the information. ~grins and runs~

Scarab Sages

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So, in the netherlands we call it 'zwart werken'. It means you work of the books, so neither person pays taxes. Or you sell something off the books. Where I grew up it was a way of life, doing a little bit on the side.

Its also where the large amouts of cash money comes from. It cant be traced, and keeps the tradition alive. I have cash from doing something off the books, so if I need work done, I will mostly make a deal with a contracter do do part of it as a normal deal, and part of the work off the books, which I then pay with that cash money.


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Woran wrote:

So, in the netherlands we call it 'zwart werken'. It means you work of the books, so neither person pays taxes. Or you sell something off the books. Where I grew up it was a way of life, doing a little bit on the side.

Its also where the large amouts of cash money comes from. It cant be traced, and keeps the tradition alive. I have cash from doing something off the books, so if I need work done, I will mostly make a deal with a contracter do do part of it as a normal deal, and part of the work off the books, which I then pay with that cash money.

Oh, we *have* tons of off-the-books work available. I think I've mentioned before that we had a nightmare of a time trying to find a nanny who was willing to work on the books.

But around here, the contractors who work "off the books" are typically the ones at the bottom of the pool in terms of quality, workmanship, and materials, so the only people who hire them are cheapskates who don't give a rat's patootie and house flippers who don't have to care.

If you care at all about the quality of the work done, you pay on the books so you can sue the person later if the workmanship turns out to be sub-par.


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Speaking of off-the-books and stupid laws, the IRS has a doozie:

I happen to know that both my housekeeper and my gardener report their income as self-employment. Why? Because they've taken out loans to buy houses, and needed proof of income. My housekeeper is particularly insistent on making sure all payments are above-board so she can report them as income.

Yet the IRS assumes that ALL domestic workers are being paid under the table, so you're supposed to:
- Confess if you have such a person working for you
- Pay full employment taxes as if they are your employee for them, even if they're already paying self-employment tax

So your choices are to:
(1) Lie
(2) Get double-taxed for the person you pay

When your own government is defrauding you, you have no one to turn to...


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Vanykrye wrote:
Scintillae wrote:

I'm having my current events class look up a new country each week (some basic demographic info and a current news article) to get them a little more in-tune with geography.

Last week, they pulled Russia out of the jar and decided this was going to be easy.

This week? Kiribati.

They are a mite less enthused.

I admit it. I had to Google that one. First time I've ever seen the name in print.

I actually had heard of it! I might have a minor Sporcle addiction, and it had come up on some mapping quizzes.


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Your own government is always defrauding you.


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The Vagrant Erudite wrote:
Your own government is always defrauding you.

If you join the FaWtL party we'll defraud your neighbor instead of you!


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Vanykrye wrote:
Scintillae wrote:

I'm having my current events class look up a new country each week (some basic demographic info and a current news article) to get them a little more in-tune with geography.

Last week, they pulled Russia out of the jar and decided this was going to be easy.

This week? Kiribati.

They are a mite less enthused.

I admit it. I had to Google that one. First time I've ever seen the name in print.

I had heard of it, but my uncle was a stamp dealer, and those are the folks to speak to if you want to know about teeny weeny obscure little nations.

It was also probably colonised by either us or the French, too.


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Scintillae wrote:

I'm having my current events class look up a new country each week (some basic demographic info and a current news article) to get them a little more in-tune with geography.

Last week, they pulled Russia out of the jar and decided this was going to be easy.

This week? Kiribati.

They are a mite less enthused.

Well, with a total square area less than a quarter the size of Long Island and a population that could fit in the Superdome, they may be skeptical to how important the current events may be...

...unless it is about rising ocean levels which are threatening to wipe the entire nation off the map.


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NobodysHome wrote:

Proof Positive that NobodysHome Lives in his Own Land of Rainbows and Unicorns:

Our contractor came over on Saturday to finish the job, but as usual ran late and missed most of the 49ers game with his friends. So as soon as he finished our job, he raced off, showered, changed, and went to meet his friends at a sports bar for the last few minutes of the game.

His girlfriend, wanting to do something nice for him, did his laundry... including the $5000 check I'd written him.

He called me and asked if I could cut him a new check, and I laughed and said, "Sure!"

And everyone is totally appalled. Even Shiro insists that I should stop payment on the first check (a $20 fee) and charge him the $20 before I'll cut him the second check, just to "legally protect myself".

Unfortunately, I just have a tendency to trust people I've hung around with for a while, and who know that they're going to get ten times that much business from me over the summer. Why screw me over for $5000 when I've already told him I'm refinancing for him to do my deck, my bathroom, and my kitchen over the summer? It would be a psychotic move on multiple fronts.

"Wait! What if his girlfriend stole the check and she's going to cash it?"

Well, first off, it'll bounce, since I don't keep $10,000 lying around in my bank account, so it'll cost me all of $25 for the bounced check fee. And second off, the contractor would really want to know if his girlfriend was that vile.

So yeah, no. I'm just cutting him the check and trusting that he's honest. Sue me.

as a former bank employee, stop the first check and cut him a new one. It's just saner overall.


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Scintillae wrote:

I'm having my current events class look up a new country each week (some basic demographic info and a current news article) to get them a little more in-tune with geography.

Last week, they pulled Russia out of the jar and decided this was going to be easy.

This week? Kiribati.

They are a mite less enthused.

I had to look that up.

I learned a lot today.

Thank you Miss Scint.


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Vanykrye wrote:
Drejk wrote:

So writing checks for sums exceeding your current account value is not a crime in Cali? Or is that only a matter for specific kinds of accounts?

<.<

>.>

Oh, and those check things? Do you send them via pterodactyls, or is there an option to use pigeon already?

Technically it's a crime. However, realistically speaking, it doesn't get prosecuted unless it's really habitual/serial behavior. If someone has been prosecuted "just for writing bad checks" then they've come to the attention of many, many businesses and banks who have alerted the authorities.

As a former bank employee, relationships between banks have a lot to do with this too. The big boys more or less all play by the same rules, it's the smaller banks that get strange at each other and will make someone's life hell if they try to process a "bad check" at their institution.


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Woran wrote:

Also, id never immigrate to the usa. Id lose so many freedom.

I know a lot of things happen at state level so one states evilness would not affect another. But the usa is pretty much a dumpster fire when seen from here.

but...you get me, Woran.

You get me.


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Vanykrye wrote:

Here's a short article from 2018 summarizing the US banking technology gap with the rest of the developed world.

The article wrote:
The transition to chip-embedded cards in the US started a full decade after retailers and credit card companies transitioned away from magnetic stripe credit cards in Europe, Australia, Brazil, and several other countries. That was because the benefits of changing systems (that is, avoiding the high cost of fraud) didn't quite outweigh the costs of replacing terminals and mailing out new cards, or at least that was the reasoning given by the the stewards of the EMV standard (specifically, MasterCard and Visa). Today, the US is finally catching up, just in time for contactless and mobile payments to make physical credit cards less and less necessary.

it would be incredibly wrong of me to not underscore this post as incredibly true. EMV standard is...I can only say nonsensically powerful.

I'll never forget being in the dealers room when one booth said they only take paypal. You could hear a pin drop.

Then the line formed.


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NobodysHome wrote:

Speaking of the U.S. and the stupidity of absolute lawfulness:

The family agreed to do my shopping for me. Impus Major is home right now. But I am making turkey soup, which requires wine. And Impus Major is not allowed to buy wine. Not even with a note from me that it is for cooking purposes.

Because the standard reaction to all negative events in the U.S. is, "If one person cannot handle the responsibility for doing this, then NO ONE is allowed to do it."

It is perhaps the single-most-frustrating aspect of life in a society: "Willem couldn't handle working from home, so you don't get to work from home. Thomas is an alcoholic father who'd send his son to buy booze for him if he could, so you can't send your son to buy booze for you."

Just SOOOOO frustrating...

strange.

He cant buy cooking wine?


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From season 2 of Fargo.

Skip: I'm just saying, tomorrow has never been closer than it is right now!

Contractor: It's 9 o'clock in the morning.


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Freehold DM wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

Speaking of the U.S. and the stupidity of absolute lawfulness:

The family agreed to do my shopping for me. Impus Major is home right now. But I am making turkey soup, which requires wine. And Impus Major is not allowed to buy wine. Not even with a note from me that it is for cooking purposes.

Because the standard reaction to all negative events in the U.S. is, "If one person cannot handle the responsibility for doing this, then NO ONE is allowed to do it."

It is perhaps the single-most-frustrating aspect of life in a society: "Willem couldn't handle working from home, so you don't get to work from home. Thomas is an alcoholic father who'd send his son to buy booze for him if he could, so you can't send your son to buy booze for you."

Just SOOOOO frustrating...

strange.

He cant buy cooking wine?

Nope. If it has any alcoholic content at all, in California you have to be 21 to buy it. So even the vile dreck some midwesterners call beer at 1.5% alcohol is verboten to him.


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In Wisconsin he can go to a bar as long as he's with a parent.

I used to drag my dad to blues bars.


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OK... I just looked up "cooking wine". Bleah.

No; we use REAL wine in our recipes, thanks! We needed a bottle of Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc for the soup.


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About to clock out. Good night, everyone.


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Our Savage Worlds campaign reached a shuddering climax last night with one party member turning on the rest, then transforming into a colossal sentient undead with skeletal wings. Following that, we ran away; then, those of us with demonic patrons and/or fiancees called in some favours, and battle commenced in the streets of Drakensheim between an army of demons and one of undead, while the small band of unfortunate heroes snuck in behind to strike at the enemy's headquarters. It worked; none of us quite died and the city was kind of saved, which was a satisfying end to the whole thing.

Scarab Sages

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Freehold DM wrote:
Woran wrote:

Also, id never immigrate to the usa. Id lose so many freedom.

I know a lot of things happen at state level so one states evilness would not affect another. But the usa is pretty much a dumpster fire when seen from here.

but...you get me, Woran.

You get me.

Come to the netherlands. You'll get me and cheese :P


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Woran wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Woran wrote:

Also, id never immigrate to the usa. Id lose so many freedom.

I know a lot of things happen at state level so one states evilness would not affect another. But the usa is pretty much a dumpster fire when seen from here.

but...you get me, Woran.

You get me.

Come to the netherlands. You'll get me and cheese :P

Or you could both move to Wisconsin. Then he could have you, cheese, snow, and bike trails.


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Captain Yesterday presents: Words created by accident!

Me (to Crookshanks in the other room): Your Pop Tart parped!


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gran rey de los mono wrote:
Woran wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Woran wrote:

Also, id never immigrate to the usa. Id lose so many freedom.

I know a lot of things happen at state level so one states evilness would not affect another. But the usa is pretty much a dumpster fire when seen from here.

but...you get me, Woran.

You get me.

Come to the netherlands. You'll get me and cheese :P
Or you could both move to Wisconsin. Then he could have you, cheese, snow, and bike trails.

Plus, we're the birthplace of modern rpgs, and I'm pretty sure Al Capone got syphilis in Wisconsin.


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Cap'n Yesterday, FaWtL Tourism wrote:
gran rey de los mono wrote:
Woran wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Woran wrote:

Also, id never immigrate to the usa. Id lose so many freedom.

I know a lot of things happen at state level so one states evilness would not affect another. But the usa is pretty much a dumpster fire when seen from here.

but...you get me, Woran.

You get me.

Come to the netherlands. You'll get me and cheese :P
Or you could both move to Wisconsin. Then he could have you, cheese, snow, and bike trails.
Plus, we're the birthplace of modern rpgs, and I'm pretty sure Al Capone got syphilis in Wisconsin.

So, you give virgins a way to maintain their purity and kill mobsters with sex?


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Who said anything about virgins? This is why we don't like it when people invade us from Illinois during the summer.


This was linked on a Discord server I am a part of by the administrator of Syd server, who wanted to make sure that we all updated our Windows machines because of an apparent major security breach.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2020/01/14/windows-10-extraordinar ily-serious-security-warning-for-900-million-users/amp/

Hope that helps! The short version is the update your Windows machine right away!


Scintillae wrote:

I'm having my current events class look up a new country each week (some basic demographic info and a current news article) to get them a little more in-tune with geography.

Last week, they pulled Russia out of the jar and decided this was going to be easy.

This week? Kiribati.

They are a mite less enthused.

Awesome!


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There is also a high probability that bitters can be purchased in the grocery without being 21.

And look into the rules about issuing a 1099 to domestic help. That way they are only taxed once, but in compliance on both sides of the IRS.

And if it is over 500, you should be issuing any of your contractors a similar 1099 if they are above the table.

This is not legal advice. I am not licensed to practice law in your state. I do not do tax law.


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NobodysHome wrote:

OK... I just looked up "cooking wine". Bleah.

No; we use REAL wine in our recipes, thanks! We needed a bottle of Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc for the soup.

I think he MIGHT be able to buy cooking sherry here, but that's about it.


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Illinois won't let the under 21 crowd by cooking wine/sherry either. Nor will Illinois allow the person ringing you up to be under 21 for that particular item. They can ring up everything else, but then they have to call over someone over 21 to ring up any alcohol.


Tacticslion wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

And LOL. With the 2020 election looming, we're yet again discussing emigrating sooner rather than later. And the Netherlands came up, because they have better weather than most of the other candidates.

And Shiro said, "But I don't want to live there, because I'd have to learn half a dozen languages just to be considered adequate!"

Er... yep...

But... I'm only working on two...

Wrong languages!

*gets dressed*

(I'm working on Spanish and Japanese)

{mi anklyzh's gud eeeenuf]^

^ a helpful translation:

"(My English is good enough)" he says, but it is loaded with irony.


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Feros wrote:
Scintillae wrote:

I'm having my current events class look up a new country each week (some basic demographic info and a current news article) to get them a little more in-tune with geography.

Last week, they pulled Russia out of the jar and decided this was going to be easy.

This week? Kiribati.

They are a mite less enthused.

Well, with a total square area less than a quarter the size of Long Island and a population that could fit in the Superdome, they may be skeptical to how important the current events may be...

...unless it is about rising ocean levels which are threatening to wipe the entire nation off the map.

It's less about "every nation is always super important to current events" than it is "get a little bit of awareness that other countries exist." Their bewilderment was mostly that they'd never heard of it and, in one case, thought it was a Pokemon.


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Grr... morning irritations:
(1) During solar installation, in order to bring the house up to electric code, the electrician had to put GFCI breakers on the bedroom circuits... which are all ancient knob-and-tube wiring. The electrician warned us that this was a really stupid idea because of the current variation in knob-and-tube, but he had to do it as per code. So now that it's winter, whenever GothBard runs the electric heater (another notoriously current-variant device), within about 10-15 minutes the breaker trips. It's like the old joke: "OK, I fixed the wiring so your house won't burn down!"
"But... nothing runs!"
"Yep! So your house can't possibly burn down!"
So she's going to have to run the heater at half power for a while until I figure out a good outlet for her to use that's either not knob-and-tube or not GFCI.

(2) As I've mentioned, once we're all awake I strongly prefer that the house remain unlocked, especially because neither GothBard nor Impus Minor carry their keys in convenient locations, so at least once a week it's, "Out the door in a rush! Realize I forgot something! Turn around! Door is locked! Urgent BANG BANG BANG because somehow, that will not irritate NobodysHome, but rather make him move faster."
If you're not going to leave with your key in your hand, either don't lock the door on your way out or DON'T FRICKING BANG ON IT AS IF I'M NOT 8 FEET AWAY.

Anyway, work...


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Tala now is on leave, because the doctor says she shouldn't be lifting over 15lbs or standing over two hours, and she is a barista, so she never sits, and instead of actually giving her a break every two hours (heaven forbid) they said come back after the baby is born.

In two months.

And the doctors, who probably wouldn't know what poverty was if they saw it on a slideshow, mention up to two more months of recovery. M%$+$!!+$+%@, the rest of us don't have MD money to stack up for this kinda thing you know!

So we're on just my s!&~ty income.

Welcome back to "holy s#@# how will I make it through this month" levels of abject destitution.


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Real Talk that might very slightly offend other parents:

So I know I will love my daughter and all, but...I still hate most kids, so I can't imagine the plus of this will be worth all the negative. So many people say it will, but they're people who WANTED kids, not went along with it out of duty, because they personally morally object to abortion or such.

Teaching RUINED kids for me. I NEVER was the type to awwww over babies, and I would exile every teen if I could. I severely doubt that aside from my own this will change...and even she will, I'm sure, at times annoy me like every other.

So from here on it's a massive drain on my income, and thus standard of living, and this is exactly why I never wanted kids.

And said drain lasts forever. And while amazing moments will probably come, THAT is a guarantee.

So I sorta realized my entire life is pretty much downhill from here. And it hasn't been that great to begin with.

So in other words - abject terror and depression.

Scarab Sages

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I was confused for a second but you dont get maternity or paternity leave


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Woran wrote:
I was confused for a second but you dont get maternity or paternity leave

In most US companies, maternity leave is only paid for what you have PTO to cover. It's generally not an automatically paid benefit. About the best you can say about US maternity leave is that they can't fire her for having a baby.

In a lot of jobs in the service industry...like baristas...they're usually part time employees and don't get paid time off or any other benefits at all. Also, most companies think of maternity leave as no more than 6 weeks. In her situation, if this was a job with benefits, she'd probably be better served by short-term disability to at least get 60% of her earnings during this time, but I'm guessing she doesn't get that either.

Paternity leave is even less of a reality in this country. It's an idea that's been heard of in the far-flung corners of the land (New York, California, Pacific Northwest), but very few have ever actually seen it in the wild. And those that have seen it report that it's treated even worse than maternity leave.


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For the record, everyone suffers the "Oh f~#$, the kid is almost here!! What are we going to do!!!" Anxiety.

My advice, improvise.


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Vanykrye wrote:
Woran wrote:
I was confused for a second but you dont get maternity or paternity leave

In most US companies, maternity leave is only paid for what you have PTO to cover. It's generally not an automatically paid benefit. About the best you can say about US maternity leave is that they can't fire her for having a baby.

In a lot of jobs in the service industry...like baristas...they're usually part time employees and don't get paid time off or any other benefits at all. Also, most companies think of maternity leave as no more than 6 weeks. In her situation, if this was a job with benefits, she'd probably be better served by short-term disability to at least get 60% of her earnings during this time, but I'm guessing she doesn't get that either.

Paternity leave is even less of a reality in this country. It's an idea that's been heard of in the far-flung corners of the land (New York, California, Pacific Northwest), but very few have ever actually seen it in the wild. And those that have seen it report that it's treated even worse than maternity leave.

Both companies I worked for when the kids were born gave me a week of paid paternity leave.

Williamson Landscape and Architecture in Seattle and Steven R. Bassett, Inc. in Madison.


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Timing!

I've mentioned before that I'm an unholy abomination in that I am the only dual-content teacher in the school (English/social studies). I do a lot of history tie-ins with English because I think the skills transfer well.

One of my social studies classes is focused on US history post-WWII, so today, we got to talk about game theory and the prisoner's dilemma re: the arms race.

Today was also when I planned to start my English kiddos on their pre-reading research project for The Crucible, all focused on the Red Scare.

So basically the rest of my week is all nukes all the time.


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From Global Megacorporation's U.S. benefits web site:

Global Megacorporation wrote:

Global Megacorporation will provide up to 10 weeks of Paid Parental Leave to employees following the birth or adoption of an employee’s child.

The purpose of Paid Parental Leave is to enable the employee to care for and bond with a newborn or newly-adopted child.

So we get both maternity and paternity leave for 10 weeks. It's not unknown in the U.S.; it's just as Vanykrye says, it's mostly California tech firms that do it.

EDIT: There's no legal requirement, and anyone in the service industry is treated like absolute dirt for even trying.

"What? You had a baby? Well, that was yesterday! Today you're working a double shift to make up for it."

And sadly, I'm not kidding. I've heard nightmare stories, and in most states new mothers have little legal recourse.

EDIT 2: Here's an article on it. In particular, notice that companies with fewer than 50 employees (such as bars and coffee shops) have *NO* obligation to provide maternity leave at all.


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Give 'em a month of wholesome post-apocalypse fiction and/or a Mutant Crawl Classics game afterwards.


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NobodysHome wrote:

Grr... morning irritations:

(1) During solar installation, in order to bring the house up to electric code, the electrician had to put GFCI breakers on the bedroom circuits... which are all ancient knob-and-tube wiring. The electrician warned us that this was a really stupid idea because of the current variation in knob-and-tube, but he had to do it as per code. So now that it's winter, whenever GothBard runs the electric heater (another notoriously current-variant device), within about 10-15 minutes the breaker trips. It's like the old joke: "OK, I fixed the wiring so your house won't burn down!"
"But... nothing runs!"
"Yep! So your house can't possibly burn down!"
So she's going to have to run the heater at half power for a while until I figure out a good outlet for her to use that's either not knob-and-tube or not GFCI.

*yawn*

Works on replacing old house wiring are in progress right now, started on Monday. Only the shared part of the house will be refitted, as the replacement in the individual flats are up to their owners, for their own funds. So for now we will have new wiring on the staircase and in the cellar, but it's a change we wanted for a long time.


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Drejk wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

Grr... morning irritations:

(1) During solar installation, in order to bring the house up to electric code, the electrician had to put GFCI breakers on the bedroom circuits... which are all ancient knob-and-tube wiring. The electrician warned us that this was a really stupid idea because of the current variation in knob-and-tube, but he had to do it as per code. So now that it's winter, whenever GothBard runs the electric heater (another notoriously current-variant device), within about 10-15 minutes the breaker trips. It's like the old joke: "OK, I fixed the wiring so your house won't burn down!"
"But... nothing runs!"
"Yep! So your house can't possibly burn down!"
So she's going to have to run the heater at half power for a while until I figure out a good outlet for her to use that's either not knob-and-tube or not GFCI.

*yawn*

Works on replacing old house wiring are in progress right now, started on Monday. Only the shared part of the house will be refitted, as the replacement in the individual flats are up to their owners, for their own funds. So for now we will have new wiring on the staircase and in the cellar, but it's a change we wanted for a long time.

Well, hopefully your house was built with more of an eye towards the future than mine; the knob-and-tube is all run through the attic (6"-24" vertical space before the insulation went in) and then down through the lath-and-plaster walls. So removing it would be nigh-impossible, and rewiring would be starting on the south side of the house, running all the wires through the garage THAT I JUST DRYWALLED, running them under the house to the correct locations (easy as pie; the crawlspace under the house is fine), then going upwards to all the outlets.

Every run would be 15-20m, and every split would be a new box and a new run.

Nah; I'm waiting the 10 years until we work on a second story, then they can rip out all the wiring at once and replace it when the walls are off.

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