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Sunday
Aug052012

PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM SEASONAL HAZARDS

Power equipment, such as lawn mowers can make a high-speed projectile out of sticks, stones, and small toys.  Be careful to clear the lawn before mowing - and insist that children and pets stay clear. 

Be especially cautious when cutting slopes, to prevent falling and losing control.  Try not to mow when the grass is wet and slippery.  If children mow, be sure they understand the importance of safety.  Power edger’s and weed-eaters should be used with the same care.  Safety glasses are also recommended when using power equipment of any kind. 

After attending to yard needs you may feel like jumping into the pool.  Pool safety comes into play in the summertime.  Make sure everyone knows to lock up the pool area.   Test all children before permitting them to swim and be sure the neighborhood parents know your safety rules.  Go over your pool rules and safety procedures with babysitters and enforce a strict “buddy system”. 

Yes, the summer months are here with the days longer and a lot happening.  With the extra fun of summer be sure to make time for extra poll and power equipment safety.

Sunday
Apr012012

DON’T BE TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS

If you’re fed up with the high cost of keeping shirts starched and slacks pressed, maybe you need to take time to avoid being taken to the cleaners!  With all due respect to any dry cleaner business owners who may be reading this, I’d like to shed some light on dry cleaning do’s and don’ts to keep you from getting hot under the collar.

 According to a report by the Better Business Bureau, consumer complaints for the dry cleaning industry often end up near the top the list.  The main criticisms are: 

  • Stains that remained
  • Broken buttons
  • Clothing that was damaged or that shrank
  • Slow service
  • …and I’m sure you can add your own…I know I can as I recall the one that came home with stains it didn’t go in with!

According to a Gallup survey, 48% found dry cleaning overpriced, and 44% of those who changed cleaners switched because of poor service.  In the survey 63% said they bought an item of clothing recently because it didn’t require dry cleaning.  Dry cleaning has become one of life’s most begrudged bills. 

In the next few blogs I’ll cover a few do’s and don’ts to help defuse some of your frustrations.  One tip today is getting to know your spotter.  Instead of water and soap most spot removal is done by the fast drying compound known as “perc” (perchloroethylene).  It seems that perc performs miracles, however, the employee known as the “spotter” is the one who uses a steam gun and tiny brushes to dab away stains with chemicals such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid. 

Your best bet is to patronize only cleaners with experienced spotters, who keep up with the latest techniques.  If you’ve ever tried to un-spot something, like I have on a relatively new silk dress with a fresh blob of gravy on it, you’ll truly appreciate their expertise and never rely on your own instincts again.  By the way, I ruined the dress. I’m still in morning over it.  I really liked the color, the way it fit, and it was expensive!

Oh yes, I certainly do appreciate a good dry cleaning company!

Monday
Mar192012

TIME TO CLEAN YOUR PURSE!

Sometimes it seems that when God created man, He designed him so that everything he would need to get through life would fit easily into two pockets and a billfold, said Pam McKeon in her article entitled, “When you can no longer lift it, you know it’s time to clean your purse”.  When a man needs money or credit cards, he pulls out his billfold.  Change for coffee?  The left front pocket.  Keys?  The right.

Men have been spared spending half their lives carting around one of the most necessary, but cumbersome, accessories known to humankind:  the purse!  The purse itself isn’t good or bad.  The problem is in the cleaning ritual almost every woman who owns a purse must face. 

Most experts agree that the purse was developed in the Middle Ages.  After hiding all her necessities in her bouffant hairdo, a Renaissance woman rants out of the room.  She tucked away her comb, perfume and pictures of her grandchildren and realized she didn’t have any room for money, lip gloss, postage stamps or sunglasses case.  By sewing two pieces of material together and adding a makeshift strap, she developed the purse. 

Soon, she realized a small purse would no longer do the job.  Where would she put her business cards, pocket Spanish guide, checkbook, aspirin, mail, and small purchases from the department store? 

Today, purses range from the small and dainty to the top-of-the-line heft bags that easily hold two small children with room to spare.  Women pack as much as they can into a purse until it can no longer be lifted, then (Yuk!) they have to clean it.

“I think I need to clean my purse” really means “I can’t lift my hand bag anymore.”  Another signal to clean occurs when a woman roots around for lip gloss and can’t find it.  She digs and digs, tossing aside half-eaten chocolate bars and car titles and find nothing.  Meanwhile, the lip gloss has taken on an integral role in the purse life – the “rotation cycle”. 

As you try to get to the bottom to reach the desired object, the item works its way to the top.  As your hand moves back toward the top, the item travels in the opposite direction, pushed along by other objects caught up in the process, thus the rotation cycle. 

Cleaning most often occurs only after an exhaustive search for an item produces no results.  The cleaning ritual begins with the purse held high in the air.  The owner then dumps the contents onto the table.  Really big purses require moving to a larger dumping area, such as a…pasture! 

While purging the purse of its contents, a woman may discover she’s been harboring souvenir tokens from a past county fair, an unopened invitation to a wedding that took place four years ago, or a pamphlet introducing the “New ’84 Olds”.  A few items are kept, however, as they still may hold a special place in a woman’s heart. 

Photos of children, yellowed and cracked beyond recognition, don’t often get tossed.  Love letters from old beaus almost always have a special place in the purse.  Here, they find safety from present beaus who know better than to snoop through a woman’s handbag. 

Once the ritual has been completed, the woman is wise to remind herself that future purse fodder should be evaluated and given the stamp of approval before admitted.  Even today’s Hefty bags, tough as they are, have a load limit.  Now, I’m sure most of you cannot relate to this description, by Pam McKeon of the state of today’s purse, but for those of you who do I hope you’ve found some insight into purse time management.  Now that you’ve read this, to go over to your purse and, if you can barely lift it, it’s time to clean it!

 

Monday
Feb062012

Are You Ready to Make Some New Habits?

A resolution to start a good habit is easier to implement than a pledge to break a bad one.  The most successful resolutions have both elements combined.  For example, cut back on evenings at the office and volunteer some time at a local charity.  

Substituting habits works best if the two are incompatible.  One woman decided to lose weight and to walk instead of a snack before dinner.  She bought a pair of sport shoes and resolved to walk 40 blocks home from work each evening.  That gave her regular exercise and also got her home just in time to eat dinner instead of snacking.

Use reminders to keep you on track.  If you’ve decided to read a book a week, post the resolution on your TV.  If your goal is to give up late-night snacks, keep a reminder on the refrigerator. 

Never say never.  If you resolve to not buy any more clothes until you’re out of debt, you’ll only set yourself up for failure when you snap up a sweater at that post Christmas sale.  It’s better to adopt a budget that leaves room for an occasional shopping trip.

 And, don’t strive for the impossible.  Pledging a 50 pound shed by June 1 isn’t practical so instead promise a 6 pound loss by February 1.  The far off goal only invites procrastination.  Even with realistic goals, it’s important  to have a strategy to deal with temptation and backsliding. 

Finally, don’t give up!  Every day is a new beginning.  If you have a bad day and yell at the kids, you don’t have to wait until next January to be cheerful again!

Monday
Jan092012

DON’S 10 MOVING COMMANDMENTS

America’s #1 Cleaning Expert, Don Aslett, has come up with 10 commandments to use when moving.  If you are expecting to move soon you’ll want to note these to make for a smoother move.

Don says to always double the amount of garbage bags and boxes you think you will need and it will be just right.  Nothing is worse than stopping to get more boxes when you are on a roll.  This prevents us from over-loading or cramming the wrong sized stuff in the wrong size box. 

Don’t be afraid to GET HELP!  Even if you hate to ask, don’t shy away from asking your friend with that big pickup (besides, they’re usually proud to show them off!) Remember, 100 pound items are reduced to 50 pounds apiece with just one extra helper.

If you’ve never liked to hold garage sales just take a deep breath and make plans for one when you’re about to move.  Just about any neighbor comes by or joins you in the sale can help the move and that’s a deal.

ALWAYS START EARLY.  Nothing is worse than to start moving at noon and finish at 9PM or 10PM when stores are closed and it’s dark.  Get started at 6 AM in the morning and be done at 2PM and you can still have friends and a good attitude.

PLAN AHEAD!  You’d be surprised how many people become ill or get injured while moving.  There’s always the strain, change of plan, plus the stress of time factors.  Emotionally and physically it takes many people weeks, even years of recovery.  Planning ahead of a move instead of during the move is a lifesaver.  Make all the decisions weeks before you start, the rest will be arithmetic.

Meet me here next week for the next of Don’s 10 Move Commandments.