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7 Ways Your Bathroom Is Making You Sick

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Your bathroom is easily one of the more problematic places in your house as far as the potential for getting diseases is concerned. This is called a “disease vector” and any time you expel any material from your body, or anyone else does, there’s a potential for diseases to be spread around as a result. This means that it took through your bathroom for potential problems concerning s a very good idea to make sure you look through your bathroom and regularly monitor it for different signs that something bad might happen from a disease, mold, or other contaminant.

1. Moisture
Your bathroom could definitely end up with serious problems if you let too much moisture build up in it. This is because mildew and then finally mold can grow in your bathroom if you aren’t careful. There are hundreds of thousands of types of mold on the planet, and it’s all but guaranteed that you don’t want any of them to take up residence in your bathroom.

2. Fans
Similarly, if you don’t constantly change your fans out to make sure they don’t get stuffed up with moisture or other dangerous contaminants, then they are simply going to blow these contaminants all around your house and make you sick with allergies or mold.

3. Cleaner Chemicals
Sometimes we get a bit too over exuberant in our fervor for getting rid of mold or other problems in the bathroom. If you overuse chemicals that have ammonia or chlorine in them, then that stuff an get in your lungs and make you sick all by itself.

4. Faucets
It’s easy to forget to clean faucets since it doesn’t stand out at you as a problem when you go about cleaning the bathroom. But everyone in your house is going to touch the handles every time they go in the bathroom, and often before they wash their hands. This means that it’s a prime location for germs to collect. If you clean the faucet constantly you’ll prevent this from happening.

5. Shower Curtains
These tend to collect moisture during showers, and they also tend to not dry off easily. That means that mold will grow on shower curtains pretty often. It’s also a good idea to swap vinyl for something more washable like nylon because vinyl can have phthalates in them, which can also affect your health all by itself.

6. Chlorinated Water
It’s a surprising fact that normal tap water can sometimes have chlorine in it. You can breathe those toxins in when they vaporize. That’s why a whole house water filter is a good idea to make sure these toxins are filtered out.

7. Old Paint
If your house is old enough, it could have paint that still has lead in it from before the ban on lead paints occurred. So if your house was made before 1978, then any paint in or near the bathroom is something you should remove.

If you look for these threats you may very well be able to prevent your bathroom from making you sick, or eliminate the cause if it’s already happening.

 

Ashraf Pistawala is a blogger and writer for AQVA Bathrooms, the on-line bathroom store in UK. You can interact with AQVA Bathrooms on twitter @aqvabathrooms

Clean House And Burn Calories

Woman-Cleaning

The long winter takes a toll on your house and your waistline. As the weather warms up and you start noticing the dust bunnies in the corner, you may also be seeing a few extra pounds on the scale. The good news is that you can clean the house and shed a few pounds with the right spring cleaning habits.

Increase the Speed

Move through the cleaning chores faster and get an aerobic workout by increasing your speed. Put on some fast-paced music to help you pick up the pace and move through the house faster. Whether you bounce to rock and roll or shake it up with some salsa music, you will have a sparkling house in record time and get your heart pumping.

Think Slim with Tight Abs

Crunches may be great for shedding pounds and revealing tight abs, but you cannot do crunches and dust the ceiling fans. You can, however, tighten your abs while working. When you reach up to get the spider webs out of the corner, take the time to clench your abs and give yourself a workout. When you’re standing in the living room polishing windows, make the chore more entertaining by also flexing your abs and giving your belly a workout.

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Whittle the Waistline

Stretching is good for your waist, so hold your feather duster closer to the end and reach higher. You should feel the stretch along your sides, and that’s good news for creating a slimmer profile. You can also reach a little higher to take down the curtains for washing and wipe down the Venetian blinds.

Squats are Always Good

Squats work the muscles in the back of your legs and help battle cellulite. Incorporate them into your cleaning routine by going for large up-and-down motions. When you are scrubbing the shower door and walls, reach up high to get the top, squat low to clean the bottom, and then repeat the process.

Housework

Lunge While Vacuuming

Why walk softly forward with the vacuum when you can lunge? Vacuuming is already a good workout, but you make it even better when you use lunges to move around the room. Be sure to keep your toes pointed forward and limit your knee bend to 90 degrees.

Use the Stepladder

It’s as good as a step class, so you can clean the higher shelves even while you get a workout for your legs. Carrying the ladder around will also help you build up your arms, particularly if you do arm curls while you are moving it from one room to another.

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The Full-Body Mopping Workout

Give yourself a full-body workout by using a rag to mop the floor. When you are moving around on your hands and knees, you will burn more calories and shed pounds. You can also get a good workout by getting on your hands and knees to pull items out from under the beds.

Spring cleaning is important to make the house clean and help you prepare for the warm months. It may feel like you were hibernating all winter, but now it’s time to get moving and start working again. As you clean the house and work around the yard, think of ways to make the chore more physically challenging. Doing things like adding squats to your vacuuming, mopping on your hands and knees, and just tightening your abs when you are scrubbing windows will help you slim down and shape up for the spring and summer.

Rhonda Best is a freelance health and beauty blogger.

What The Color Of Your Bedroom Says About You

Bedrooms are often the most personal rooms in peoples’ homes and color choice is a key factor in its design. It can also reveal plenty about peoples’ personalities. A dull person for instance, would easily settle for gentler color shades while boisterous and active individuals might go for the brighter bedroom colors. To help you choose a perfect color for your personality, here are common color themes and their corresponding symbolism:

Orange

Orange is mostly regarded to be the symbol of fire and warmth. Being one of the lightest colors, it is mostly used by cheerful people to signify their happiness and optimism in life. It further symbolizes an effervescent, welcoming individual who is glad to host other people within his/her room.

Blue

This color is often associated with water in the sea, pools and lakes. It therefore signifies coolness and calmness. Due to this, the color is especially suitable in areas which are generally quite warm and experience prolonged summer. Most people who choose this color are often calm and laid back.

Yellow

Yellow is a perceptively loud color. Everyone who walks into a yellow room always has a fuzzy feeling of warmth because of the luminous and reflective characteristics of the color. It is often regarded as the color of the sun, and therefore translated to symbolize light and warmth. People who use it as their main bedroom theme are considered to be quite playful and humorous. If not used on walls, splashes of yellow can be accented in the room on furniture such as bedroom chairs and tables.

Red

Red has always been used as the main attention grabbing color. Since it is associated with blood, most people use it to signify danger or caution. Despite being known for this, the color is exceptionally catchy and effective when it is used to enhance the decor. It is a favorite mainly due to the fact that it is one of the few colors which can be easily doubled and matched with other primary and secondary colors to complete an elegant bedroom theme. It is especially idyllic for confident individuals.

Green

This is the color of nature. It signifies utter freshness and life. It can therefore be efficaciously used by lively people who want bedrooms are seemingly full of life, freshness and optimism. Green may not be the easiest color to work with but when used with care it have a subtly powerful impact.

There are many other colors which can be effectually used in enhancing the overall bedroom decor. It is, however, advisable to contrast different shades to make the bedroom as appealing and restful as possible.

 

This article was written by Johnny P, a leading lifestyle blogger.

How The Air In Your Home Is Killing You

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The Good and Bad of Indoor Air Quality

When you own a home, there are a lot of things you have to worry about. From basic repairs to home security, it can be tough to keep up with everything. There is one thing, however, that should never fall off your radar: the quality of the air in your home. Good air quality can lead to healthier lungs and an overall better quality of life, but bad air quality can have disastrous consequences.

Good Items for Indoor Air Quality

UV Lights: Getting UV lights installed in the air ducts of your home helps to destroy viruses and bacteria. Ultraviolet lights are powerful enough to kill viruses and bacteria that the human eye cannot see. What’s even better is that purchasing UV lights is not extremely expensive and they are easily installed in your duct work.

Filters: If you look around your home, you probably have several different types of filters. There is a filter in your vacuum, in your pool and even screen doors are a type of filter. Your air conditioning system and your furnace both uses filters too. How are these filters good for your indoor air quality? Well, the filters remove larger particles from the air and prevent you from breathing them in.

Vacuums & Mops: Anything that is used to clean your home almost always improves the indoor air quality. Vacuums are a great product to improve the indoor air quality because they help to remove allergens and dust flying around your home. Mops help to kill bacteria and viruses that could also affect the quality of air that you breathe.

Bad Items for Indoor Air Quality

Cleaning Products: One reason so many families are switching to non-toxic cleaning products is because of the toxins in many cleaning products sold on the market today. When you use strong cleaning products it can harm your ability to breathe correctly indoors. If cleaning products don’t completely eliminate the bacteria they can create new viruses that are immune to cleaning products.

These products also irritate your eyes, face, and skin. If you are going to use these types of products, then you need to ensure you are mixing the cleaning products correctly. Also, make sure you are using proper ventilation while cleaning.

Smoke: Smoking inside of your home can really create bad indoor air quality. Smoke stays in the home for long durations of time. It also affects everyone in the home and not just the person smoking. Even with proper ventilation, smoke has a way of staying inside the home and affecting the air quality.

Carbon Monoxide: An invisible gas that reigns in the home of many people is known as carbon monoxide. If you have this gas roaming in your home, then your indoor air quality is compromised. Placing carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home could be a lifesaver. Homeowners that suspect carbon monoxide should have their home inspected by a professional.

Conclusion

Quality air in your home may not be something you think about each and every day, but maybe now is a good time to start. By replacing the bad items in your home with the good items such as ventilation, plants, and non-toxic cleaning products you can dramatically increase the quality of your indoor air.

Written by Blake Quinn.

10 Ways To Keep Your Home Cool Without A/C

Woman-Sweating

Keeping the home cool during summer can be very challenging. Today, most people use air conditioners for their homes, but not all people can afford them. So if you want to keep your home cool without air conditioners, there are many options for doing that. Let us see what those options are.

1) Allow the movement of air in your home. The basic thing you should remember is that hot air must be allowed to go out of the home and allow new and fresh air to come into home. While building the home itself, you have to build it in such a position that it allows sufficient movement of air.

2) Windows: Your home should have windows in every room. There should be at least one window in every room and they should face the back or side of your home rather than road, because cooler air comes from sides, not from the roadside.

3) Have a fan in your home. Ceiling fans are better than table fans as they consume less electricity and besides that they also give a decorative look to the home. They don’t consume useful space inside the home. So have a ceiling fan in every room of your home.

4) If you have a table fan, there is another wonderful option for you to increase the coolness of air coming from it. You can place a jug of cool water or ice in front of it to get cool air.

5) Identify what are the things that are responsible for excessive heat inside the home and try to avoid or minimize their use as much as possible. Fireplaces, electric stoves etc are the main devices which make the home warmer. So use them only when it is absolutely necessary and otherwise don’t use them.

6) Minimize the usage of any electronic equipment as much as possible. If you have incandescent bulbs in your home, they surely increase the room temperature. So replace them with CFL tubes.

7) Humidity of the atmosphere is another thing that keeps the home cooler. So if you want to do laundry or want to take a bath, do it early in the morning. It creates humidity in the atmosphere and that keeps the home cool the whole day.

8) Insulate the attic place very well. Selecting the kind of material for the roofs is also important for keeping the home cool. It is always better to choose materials coming from plant source for your attic, as they are natural and keep the entire home cool all the time.

9) Maintain a garden in the surroundings of the home. There are different kinds of trees which keep the entire environment cool. Trees like neem, mango, jack tree etc are the important trees that you should have in your garden.

10) Keep some small flowering plants inside the home in pots. Basil, rose etc are such important plants. They provide you double benefits. Along with cooling the air cool, they also give out wonderful aroma, thereby refreshing your mind to a great extent.

Josie is a business blogger passionate about home improvement ideas. She works as a supplier of ducted air conditioning.

Top Story – 5 Dangerously Amazing Natural Cleaning Tips

sodaWater

Sometimes the best cleaning tools are items you have around the house. You’ll know as well as I do how expensive cleaning products can be, from carpet cleaners that don’t work properly to strong bleaches that leave a nasty smell for days after cleaning. Save some money by using every day home products that often work better than the expensive chemical options. Here are ten natural cleaning options-

Remove Lime scale With Vinegar

Something that almost all of us have around the house is white vinegar, and something almost all of us struggle with is lime scale. It can look unsightly and stop your shower head from working properly. Many of us throw away lime scale ridden shower heads and opt to buy a new one rather than tackling the build up. Removing lime scale couldn’t be easier though.

Heat a pan of white vinegar and pour into a bowl. Submerge the shower head and leave it for about an hour. Remove the shower head; the lime scale will now be loose. Use an old tooth brush to scrub off the lime scale. Rinse the shower head and buff with a dry cloth. You should now have a shower head that is as good as new.

Remove Red Wine Stains With Soda Water

Red wine is notoriously difficult to remove. No carpet cleaner seems to budge it and you are always left with a faint red stain on your carpet. If you can as soon as the red wine is spilt cover the stain in soda water. Dab the stain with paper towels until the color no longer transfers onto the towel. Avoid rubbing the stain as this can force it deeper into the carpet. Dabbing it should remove the stain nicely.

Reveal Clear And Sparking Windows With Vinegar

I find no matter which window spray I use I am always left with at least a couple of smears and marks. Instead use vinegar and newspaper! Mix one part vinegar with three parts warm water together in a bowl. Using a cotton towel dip into the mixture and using a little pressure wipe the windows. Then use a balled up piece of newspaper to dry and buff the windows removing an excess liquid and buffing out any marks.

Revitalize Old Pans By Putting Them In The Freezer

At some point all of us will have tried to budge burnt on mess from pots and pans. After soaking and ten minutes of scrubbing it seems impossible to budge. We often end up throwing away pans as they look dirty and we cannot remove the burnt patches. Put your pans in the freezer for half an hour and you should find the burnt on bits peel right off, you may not even need to scrub them. It’s really that simple.

Avoid Oven Stains Using Salt

We all know how easy it is to spill food and sauces in the oven when we put something in or take it out. Because the oven is hot we usually leave it and it burns on making it very hard to remove. Before the oven cools sprinkle the stain with salt. This will soak up any liquids, then allow the oven to cool and simply wipe up.

Eilidh MacRae works for Creese Cleaning Contractors who are cleaners in Bristol.

 

The Top 10 Unwritten Laws of Public Bathroom Usage

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1. The bathroom stall walls are not there for artistic expression. Bathroom graffiti has lost some of its outlaw edge, due to places in many cities that allow outdoor graffiti. All bathroom graffiti does is demean you art and make the bathroom look filthier.

2. It is best to keep your eyes forward at every urinal. There may be some people who have no problem with it if you break that rule, but you should never make that assumption. Really, even giving someone the impression that you were looking in his direction in that context can be problematic.

3. Bathrooms serve a utilitarian function, and that’s all. It is always best to go inside, perform, and leave with as little other interaction as possible. Most people do not want a conversation at a urinal.

4. If there is any sort of line forming to use the urinals, it is best to never cut in line. It may seem as if these social conventions can be violated in the case of something as potentially urgent as bathroom use, but really, that only makes it more important to follow them.

5. When using a urinal, keep your hands at your sides. Flailing them about will only make your temporary neighbors nervous. They may stand in fear of coming into contact with your hands, or worse.

6. Hand washing is not optional. People really do notice when you leave the bathroom without washing your hands, and if they know you, they incorporate it into their general opinion of you immediately. If you do it at the office, you will quickly develop a reputation centered on your lack of washing habits. It will affect everything, from handshakes to coffee breaks.

7. Do not pick change off of the bathroom floor. If someone has left paper money there, it may be worth it, no matter how disgusting the floor is. For anything less than a dollar, it just isn’t worth it. Picking up a penny regardless of the circumstances involved probably is not going to give the impression that anyone wants.

8. Try to avoid setting your belongings on the bathroom floor. Really, the bathroom floor has a reputation of its own, and it isn’t the best place for anyone’s briefcase or suitcase. Sometimes there are shelves available, and sometimes there are not. If there are any other options for what to do with your belongings, take advantage of them.

9. In the cases of clogged toilets, it is best to inform the maintenance staff. They don’t need to know who was responsible for the clog, and it is usually quite possible to hide any responsibility, if applicable. Some public service opportunities present themselves.

10. If anyone is seen violating any unwritten laws of public bathroom use, there is no need to tell them personally. Being silently irritated is encouraged, but people can get strangely touchy about their bathroom performance. Some ideas have to spread organically.

Tauseef Hussain is a media blogger and writes for AQVA Bathrooms, the on-line store for designer shower cubicles. You can follow AQVA Bathrooms on twitter @aqvabathrooms

Do Men Spend More Time In The Kitchen Than Women?

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If you believe the traditional stereotype, the kitchen has always been a woman’s territory. Advertising has reinforced this image by using female characters to demonstrate everything from food to domestic kitchen appliances.

Times are changing, however, as several recent studies reveal that modern women actually spend a little less time in the kitchen than men. As unimaginable as it may seem, according to the studies’ figures, men now spend around fifteen minutes more per day in the kitchen than the women in their lives.

A Shift Towards More Equality

Of course, what men do with this time is open to some debate, but it would appear that many men now have no qualms about taking on their fair share of the food preparation, cooking, washing up and cleaning.

There is some evidence that the majority of the time that a man spends in the kitchen is related to eating food rather than cooking it. However, it seems that there has been a definite shift towards a more equal distribution of domestic and cooking responsibilities in today’s households.

Psychological research has shown that when viewing a kitchen for the first time, a woman will look at the potential for it to be used as a family room. She will try to get a picture of how well she can work in the room and consider the ease with which complex meals, such as those required for entertaining, can be prepared. Men on the other hand, tend to look at the gadgets and regard the potential for quick meal making, relaxing and indeed, eating.

Changing Social Trends

It is likely that several social trends are the cause of this turn around in male attitudes to domesticity. The kitchen is now seen much more as the hub of the family home. A return to the consumption of a traditional evening meal means that men are now playing a key role in the resurgence of cooking meals from scratch and sharing them together around the kitchen table.

The rise in two-income families also makes an enormous contribution to the change in household dynamics. In many families where both partners hold down full time jobs, a more even allocation of the domestic chores has resulted. It is no longer the case that the man’s job is considered more time consuming or demanding than the woman’s and that this should exempt him from doing his fair share.

The average husband and father of the 1960s and 1970s would not have been seen donning an apron to take on kitchen duties, but the rising popularity of male television chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay have helped to dispense with the traditional cookery stereotypes. Celebrity chefs are perceived to have given cooking a more masculine image and have consequently encouraged more men to pick up a wooden spoon and pitch in.

It may also be thanks to these famous foodies that men are now taking an interest in sourcing, or even growing their own, ingredients, which is having a knock-on effect in the kitchen. Men now see cooking as fun and this is demonstrated by their willingness to participate in, or even take over, the food preparation duties.

Lloyd is a freelance writer and blogger. He is currently writing for his own culture magazine as well as working with various home and travel related clients. This article was contributed on behalf of rangecookers.co.uk.

5 Creative Ways to Hide Clutter

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It’s easy to accumulate clutter in your home irrespective of its size. Whether you live in a one bedroom apartment or a five bedroom home, at some point you will have a build-up of unnecessary clutter. Even the tidiest of homeowners can suffer from an overcrowded counter or messy closet. These five simple tips can help you get organized and live clutter free. 

• Clear the counter tops- When it comes to the kitchen counter tops, less is more. Even though the trend is to display colorful appliances on your counter top, it can make the kitchen look messy. Clear the counter top by taking advantage of your cupboards. Be sure to store your most used kitchen items where they are easiest to reach. Seldom used appliances can be moved out of the kitchen and stored in a hall closet or in a storage unit. Organize your cupboards for maximum storage with shelving and plastic organizers. 

• Organize your closets- Closet organizers of all shapes and sizes are the key to a clutter free closet. Organize any size closet space by using fashionable boxes and baskets as well as over-the-door shoe racks and other hanging organizers. Be sure to take advantage of unused wall spaces by hanging belts or accessories. Another quick and easy way to minimize clutter is to store unused clothes in the off season; there is no need to hang your tank tops and sundresses in the dead of winter. 

• Use multipurpose furniture- A great way to avoid clutter is to buy multi-purpose furniture that can function as storage. Many different types of furniture, from a fashionable bench at the foot of your bed to a plush ottoman in the living room, can also serve as storage for just about anything. If you have the room in your foyer, build or buy a storage bench that can serve as a place to take a seat as well as storage for linens and other household items. 

• Buy fashionable baskets- By far the easiest way to remove clutter is to use baskets. Baskets are a great way to hide small items such as umbrellas in the foyer, small toiletries in the bathroom, linens in the closet, tools in the hall closet, and gadgets in the kitchen. Fashionable baskets of all shapes hide well in plain sight. You can even place baskets in an empty fireplace or on top of your kitchen cabinets for everyone to see, just be sure nothing is sticking out the top. 

• Take advantage of the walls- Just as you would hang items on a closet wall, take advantage of dead space on all your home’s walls. Walls aren’t just for artwork and mirrors any more, there are many ways to decorate your walls while creating functional storage space. Minimize clutter by hanging shelves, creative hooks, modern pot, and fashionable utensil racks. Taking advantage of empty wall space and clearing counters and tabletops will help make your home look bigger. 

Employing these five simple tips will help your home to be more organized and clutter free. A clutter free home can feel more inviting and peaceful. Make your home the oasis of organization you deserve and don’t settle for a cluttered home.

Author Byline: K.M. is an associate with EZ Stoarge, a facility for Boston storage units with three locations in Framingham, Newton and Natick. 

What Really Grinds My Gears: Unflushed Poop in the Toilet

You know what really grinds my gears? When people don’t flush the toilet after they finish using it. I’m not talking about public bathrooms, I’m talking about residential here. Oh, and I’m way beyond being merely annoyed at seeing yellow water in the toilet. After being accused of not flushing during a social gathering at a total stranger’s house, seeing an unflushed toilet brings out the worst in me. 

Recently, I went to an outdoor get-together at someone’s house out in the woods with a cousin of mine here in Alabama. There were lots of people, lots of food, drink and music. I hate when primates get together They do it differently in the South, so I had to keep my eyes open. It was nice to know that despite being secluded, the people there had heard my music before, so that loosened me up. There was even a real-life Grandma there. Her feet shuffled when she walked and everything. It was awesome.

My hands were getting sticky from the food I was eating, so I asked the real-life Grandma if I could use the water hose to rinse off. She insisted I go inside the house and wash my hands in the bathroom. When I walked in the house, there were kids running around everywhere, and I noticed a couple of guys around my age playing a video game as I walked down the hall.  I walked into the huge bathroom .  The toilet was damn-near around the corner.  I washed my hands and then dried them.  I looked in the mirror.  I played with my phone.  I spent a nice little while in there.  Little did I know, there was a massive pile of poop in and on the side of the toilet.  

I obliviously left the bathroom as Video Game Player One passed me to go in. 

I walked back outside to where my cousin and the real-life Grandma were talking. Shortly after, kids started pouring out the house yelling, “ugggghhhhhh, boo-boo!”, repeatedly. Since I didn’t know who this “Boo-Boo” person was, I turned back to the conversation. The kids ran up and starting pointing at me saying that I boo-booed in the bathroom and didn’t clean it up. Then Video Game Player One walked out telling everyone that I pooped all over the real-life Grandma’s bathroom and didn’t care enough to clean it up. I was crushed. I tried defending myself but it didn’t work. A feeling of defeat came over me as I went from Mr. Chap, that guy who made that song about Walmart that people like so much, to Mr. Poopy McDoo-Doo: Bathroom Defamer.

I couldn’t help feeling like I did the first day of Second grade when I pooped on myself and got found out. I was six years old, fresh out of Kindergarten. I had skipped First grade and I was at this new school around all these older people. Before I did it, I was afraid to ask to go to the bathroom. I don’t know man, I just shat my pants. What do you want from me? I was six…in the second grade.

Anyway, I made it through lunch and everything.  I made it through the second half of the day, even got on the bus to go home. Of course the bus smelled like s***, but I played it off. At least I tried to. Pretending to help, I fanned my own essence around. As long as they didn’t say it was me, I was okay. We were just a couple of blocks from home when one of the neighborhood kids pointed at me and yelled, “it’s him!”

That same feeling I had on that first day of Second grade was the feeling I had walking to the car.

Since then, it really grinds my gears when people don’t flush or wipe the seat before they leave, so I look for  violators. When I go to use someone’s bathroom, I’m going straight to the toilet, and if there’s anything other than clear water in there, I’m letting it be known. I’ll never be done the way those people did me again.

Have you ever been accused of something like this? Have you ever outed someone who left a present in the toilet?

Random question: what’s your favorite TV show?

Get Ready for Winter-Six Important Steps

Did the black fuzzy caterpillars look more fuzzy this year?  Does your dog have a heavier coat?  These are supposedly the natural signs of a bad winter on its way, but whether or not they have happened, and whether or not they work as harbingers of a cold winter, it is always a good idea to take certain precautions to get ready for cold weather.

1. Get your chimney and heating systems inspected. Many companies offer plans where they check that the chimney on your heating system is clear.   Often, birds and other animals find it an ideal spot for nests in the spring, giving you a real messy surprise when you turn the heat on for the first time in the season.  Check with your utility company to find out if they offer a maintenance plan that includes seasonal inspections.

2. Put your storm windows up. Taking down summer screens and replacing them with storm windows is a long standing fall tradition.  This process will not only keep your home warmer in the winter, since the storms add an additional layer of insulation to your windows, it will prevent the screens from becoming damaged in the cold, and have them ready for you to enjoy the spring once it arrives again. 

3. Check your windows and doors for air leaks and install insulation if necessary. Your utility company may offer a free “energy audit’ whereby they check for air leaks, but you can also do this yourself. On the first cold day of the season, stand by each exterior door and window and feel for drafts around the outside.  Felt weather stripping or canned caulking can be applied in areas where air is felt. 

4. Drain and disconnect outside hoses.  You should remove all of the water from outside hoses and spigots.  Hoses that have water left in them over the winter will probably tear and have to be replaced. As an added precaution, disconnect the hoses; this will make sure that no water is in the line, which can freeze up and end up bursting the pipes within your home because of the backup.  

5. Check fuel levels.  One of the most annoying, and sometimes tragic things, is to run out of fuel on the coldest day of the year.  If you have propane gas, make sure your fuel level is at least at 60% before the start of the cold weather.  If you heat with coal or wood, make sure you stock up on supply early in the season. The law of supply and demand will guarantee that fuel deliveries will be scarce, and there will be no coal or firewood when the really cold weather comes.

6. If you have a fireplace:  You have probably not used the fireplace all spring and summer, so make sure the flue is clean and the damper is working properly.  You should always use a fire screen, and make sure the rug in front of the fireplace is a fireproof one.   

Now you can enjoy those warm winter evenings at home, secure in the knowledge that your home is safe as well as cozy.

Thanks for reading. If you ever wanted to do criminal background check on someone, feel free to read my article.

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