Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I have a close acquaintance who is a fitness instructor at a health club where I often work out . Two years ago , I saw her at a local peace parade and got very worked up over something she wrote on the signs she was wearing . I became so crazed over it that that I forgot myself and said some awful things about her . I also stopped going to her workout classes for a month and deleted her Facebook pages . Then I found out her husband had had a stroke the day of the parade . 
I realize how hideous my behavior had been I returned to her workout class and intended to apologize profusely to her , but she wasn't there that day . When she finally came back , I told her I'd been praying for her and her husband .
Sometimes it seems she has forgiven me and everything is the same between us but on other days , I'm not so sure . I apologized to her in a general way , in a holiday greeting card , not mentioning the parade . I've lost countless hours of sleep crying from quilt , shame and regret . I've finally decided I have to do something . Please print this so she can see it and we can talk about it . She reads your column .
Dear Distraught ,
Printing this in my column  and  hoping  she  sees it  is  a cop-out.  You need  to work up some courage  and  talk to her directly .  It is hard to atone for a wrong-doing and harder to apologize for it. A semi-apology in a greeting  card doesn't  cut it  and  telling  her  you will pray  for  her is  kind ,but  insufficient .
Ask your  friend  whether  she  is  available  for  coffee, or  find a time  when neither of  you  is  rushed  and  can spend a few minutes privately . You need  to tell you how  sorry you are for  your  behavior  at the  parade  and  afterward . She needs to know  that you are ashamed about the things you said  and for waiting so long to apologize .  Let her know you value  her  friendship and  that you hope she will forgive
you . Whatever  happens after that , at least  you will know  you did the correct thing and tried  to make  it  right .

Dear Maxy ,
"Grandma" has every right to be concerned about her stepson's nearly 3-year-old child who barely speaks . She should follow her instincts and strongly encourage that the girl be assessed by a speech therapist. The lack of expressive language could be a sigh of autism . 
While the suggestions to spend more time interfacing with the child are great , professional intervention might be necessary . It is deplorable that the pediatrician has not caught this , an early intervention can change the trajectory of a child's life .
As a special education teacher over the past 10 years , I've seen the terrible repercussions caused by the lack of early intervention and the overworked school systems that regularly miss identifying these needs. 
Special Ed Teacher 
Dear Teacher ,
Several  readers  pointed  out  that the  lack  of  speech  could  be a sign  of  autism . Others  told  me  that their  kids  didn't  speak  much  at that age  and  turned  out  just fine . There's  no way  for  me  to evaluate  what's  going on , but  I absolutely  concur   that the child   should  be  evaluted  by a  speech  therapist  to find  out. 
Unfortunately , that is  Dad's  call , and  he  seems  disinclined  to do anything . If "Grandma " can convince the father to let her take the child to a specialist for an assessment,  wonderful . If  not , talking to and reading to the little girl will definitely help . Even children's television programs can provide stimulation.
Engaging the child's mind in any way, with crafts or drawing or picture books and encouraging verbal responses from her
is beneficial . Socializing with other kids her age may be the best way to draw her out.

Dear Maxy ,
My cousin lives in the Caribbean with her family . She and I are pretty close , so we've emailing back and forth all winter . Normally she is very friendly and thoughtful but for some reason this year she got kind of mean with her commentary about the weather . While we was having the worse snow and cold you could imagine , she was having sunshine and 80 -degree temperatures .
That's not news , but more the way she  rubbed it  in  , I'm thinking she  really didn't  know how  bad  it was for my family . We had a few power outages .We had so many missed days at school that the family couldn't have any kind of vacation time off.  I don't mean to be a complainer , but I really want my cousin to know that she was horribly insensitive to us and I don't appreciate it . Am I being too sensitive ? 
Deep Freeze --- Boston 
Dear Deep  Freeze ,
I think you are  being overly sensitive. It  may seem justifiable to you, but I think your cousin was just pulling your leg or trying to tease you. There is no way for her to really understand how bad your winter was. Your  state  got  brutal weather and record low temperatures this year, like so many northern  states and also Canada. We are all still recovering  from that frigid reality. People living in tropical climates don't have a clear sense of what we go through in a particularly nasty winter. 
Don't scold her; just explain how extreme your weather was and how much snow and mind numbing cold you had to deal with. Also tell her how lucky she is that she doesn't have to endure winters like that. Ask her if she would like to trade places next winter so you can torment her  from a nice warm Carribean island. Treat it with humor and tell her quit the weather comments.
 It is not worth jeopardizing a great relationship over.

Dear Maxy ,
I have hired a baby sitter for my son ever since he was born . He is now 6 years old . I never reported this to the IRS because I wrote a check . I didn't pay illegally . Now I have learned that I am suppose to report it . My son's babysitter is upset because it means she will have less take home pay , but I don't want to have a problem with the government . What should I do ? 
Paying Taxes , Baton Rouge , La.
Dear Paying  Taxes ,  Baton Rouge , La.,
The law is pretty clear; you have to report your expenditures and the baby sitter must declare all her income. You need to explain to her that you wish to abide by the law and that she really should be paying income taxes on her earnings.
The federal requirement is based on amount earned per year. If you pay a sitter as a subcontractor,  you must file a 1099 at end of the year if  she makes more than $600. You can read IRS Publication 926 which breaks down household employment liabilities.
 If you pay someone for work in your house and pay more than $1000 per year,  you are required to do payroll. This is from information on the IRS website.  This means you have to with-hold some of the pay for expenses like unemployment, social security and medicare and you pay the employer portion of said expenses. The up side is that it doesn't cost much, it is the right thing to do and you do not risk being fined. The fines can be high for non-compliance. You can get some of the money rebated by claiming for child care on your tax form.
There are no such corresponding requirements for reporting income: a baby sitter has to declare all of her income, from whatever source, unless it’s otherwise excluded.

If  you have  the resources and are able to  give her a little extra, by all means do so . 
It is up to her whether she declares  her income or not.  You are not responsible . You are doing the right thing by reporting your expenses and explaining the situation to her.
I hope she complies and you don't lose a good baby sitter.

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