Category Archive: Uncategorized

A Holiday Wish

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A Holiday Wish

It’s time for the holidays

The house is a mess

You work and you bake

And you shop for a dress

You can’t do it all

To your family’s dismay

If you went without sleep

There might be a way

Don’t worry, don’t fret

Lay down your poor head

We’ll dust and we’ll sweep

Even change that big bed

We’ll wash and we’ll wax

We’ll sanitize and more

We’ll get all those fingerprints

Off of the door

So call us right now

We’ll give you a price

We’re reasonable and fast

And awfully nice

Tell your Santa no perfume

No earrings or blouse

Just give me a Genie

To clean up this house!

We have Gift Cards available!

Cleaning Tip – Cell Phones

Use a clean lint-free cloth to wipe any dirt or fingerprints from the case, keypad, and display. If needed, wet the cloth with a bit of water to clean the display. Avoid getting cell phones wet. If moisture gets under the casing, remove the battery cover and take out the battery, SIM card and memory card. Insert all the pieces into a mason jar or any container with an airtight seal that is filled to the brim with rice. Close the lid and leave it undisturbed for at least 24 hours. Afterward, reassemble the phone, turn it on, and try it out. You may have full or at least partial functionally. If the phone does not work, it will need to be professionally serviced.

 

Thanksgiving

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In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

Check out the Thanksgiving by the Numbers infographic for more facts about how the first Thanksgiving compares to modern holiday traditions.

Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country.

Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.

As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

 

Veterans Day

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Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day–a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

  • In 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
  • In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.
  • Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.

Veterans Stats

The brave men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children and grandparents. They are friends, neighbors and coworkers, and an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the current veteran population of the United States.

  • 9.2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
  • 1.9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
  • 1.8 million veterans are women.
  • 7.8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33% of all living veterans.
  • 5.2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug. 2, 1990, to present).
  • 2.6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945).
  • 2.8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953).
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • As of 2008, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • 5 states have more than 1 million veterans in among their population: California (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1 million) and Pennsylvania (1 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.

Cleaning Tip – Metal Cleaners

Although many metal polishes make broad claims, it’s most likely you’ll get the best result from specialty products designed for a particular metal surface.

Brass and copper can be cleaned with commercial cleaners available in the supermarket. Some of these products must be washed off thoroughly, because they can stain or etch metals if left in contact with them. Others may be wiped or rubbed off. It is a good idea to use a wipe-off polish for objects that can’t be readily rinsed or submerged. Some wipe-off brands may produce a better shine. Wash-off products, however, require less elbow grease to remove tarnish. for objects that may be only thinly coated with brass or copper, use a cloth dipped in a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water. Before ant polish can work, the metal surface must be free of any lacquer. Clean, but do not attempt to polish, any metal that has a lacquered finish. For an inexpensive and handy homemade cleaner for copper and brass pots, you can use lemon and salt. Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle it with salt, and rub it on copper and brass pots to remove tarnish and restore its sheen.

One type of silver-care product removes tarnish and polishes, and it also treats silver with chemicals that retard further tarnish. Another variety cleans and polishes but doesn’t claim to retard tarnishing. Both types of products include a mild abrasive. You rub on the polish, wipe it off, and then buff the finish to the shine you want. There are also one-way products that come in liquid form and are used for cleaning only. They don’t require tedious rubbing to remove tarnish. you just dip the silver in them or spread them onto silver surfaces. Acidic dip cleaners, as a class, have some inherent hazards. Wear plastic or rubber gloves to protect your hands while cleaning, since the cleaner may irritate skin. Be careful not to get any cleaner in your eyes. Since excessive inhalation of their sulfide fumes may be disagreeable and may cause headaches, these cleaners should be used only where there is good ventilation. Rinse silver thoroughly after cleaning with acidic dip products. Three-way products may be higher-priced than others, but they are preferable because they do the job of polishing well, and their tarnish retardant ensures you can wait longer before you need to repolish. Dip cleaners work fast, but you may still need to use a polish afterward, so you’re doing the job twice.

 

Daylight Savings

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Early adoption in law

Daylight Saving Time has been used in the U.S. and in many European countries since World War I. At that time, in an effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power, Germany and Austria took time by the forelock, and began saving daylight at 11:00 p.m. on April 30, 1916, by advancing the hands of the clock one hour until the following October. Other countries immediately adopted this 1916 action: Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, and Tasmania. Nova Scotia and Manitoba adopted it as well, with Britain following suit three weeks later, on May 21, 1916. In 1917, Australia and Newfoundland began saving daylight.

The plan was not formally adopted in the U.S. until 1918. ‘An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States‘ was enacted on March 19, 1918. [See law]It both established standard time zones and set summer DST to begin on March 31, 1918. Daylight Saving Time was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. After the War ended, the law proved so unpopular (mostly because people rose earlier and went to bed earlier than people do today) that it was repealed in 1919 with a Congressional override of President Wilson’s veto. Daylight Saving Time became a local option, and was continued in a few states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in some cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, called “War Time,” from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. [See law] From 1945 to 1966, there was no federal law regarding Daylight Saving Time, so states and localities were free to choose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time and could choose when it began and ended. This understandably caused confusion, especially for the broadcasting industry, as well as for railways, airlines, and bus companies. Because of the different local customs and laws, radio and TV stations and the transportation companies had to publish new schedules every time a state or town began or ended Daylight Saving Time.

On January 4, 1974, President Nixon signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. Then, beginning on January 6, 1974, implementing the Daylight Saving Time Energy Act, clocks were set ahead. On October 5, 1974, Congress amended the Act, and Standard Time returned on October 27, 1974. Daylight Saving Time resumed on February 23, 1975 and ended on October 26, 1975.

Inconsistent use in the U.S.

In the early 1960s, observance of Daylight Saving Time was quite inconsistent, with a hodgepodge of time observances, and no agreement about when to change clocks. The Interstate Commerce Commission, the nation’s timekeeper, was immobilized, and the matter remained deadlocked. Many business interests were supportive of standardization, although it became a bitter fight between the indoor and outdoor theater industries. The farmers, however, were opposed to such uniformity. State and local governments were a mixed bag, depending on local conditions.

Efforts at standardization were encouraged by a transportation industry organization, the Committee for Time Uniformity. They surveyed the entire nation, through questioning telephone operators as to local time observances, and found the situation was quite confusing. Next, the Committee’s goal was a strong supportive story on the front page of the New York Times. Having rallied the general public’s support, the Time Uniformity Committee’s goal was accomplished, but only after discovering and disclosing that on the 35-mile stretch of highway (Route 2) between Moundsville, W.V., and Steubenville, Ohio, every bus driver and his passengers had to endure seven time changes!

The Uniform Time Act

By 1966, some 100 million Americans were observing Daylight Saving Time based on their local laws and customs. Congress decided to step in and end the confusion, and to establish one pattern across the country. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 (15 U.S. Code Section 260a) [see law], signed into Public Law 89-387 on April 12, 1966, by President Lyndon Johnson, created Daylight Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and to end on the last Sunday of October. Any State that wanted to be exempt from Daylight Saving Time could do so by passing a state law.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established a system of uniform (within each time zone) Daylight Saving Time throughout the U.S. and its possessions, exempting only those states in which the legislatures voted to keep the entire state on standard time.

In 1972, Congress revised the law to provide that, if a state was in two or more time zones, the state could exempt the part of the state that was in one time zone while providing that the part of the state in a different time zone would observe Daylight Saving Time. The Federal law was amended in 1986 to begin Daylight Saving Time on the first Sunday in April.

Under legislation enacted in 1986, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. began at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and ended at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. beginning in 2007, though Congress retained the right to revert to the 1986 law should the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant. Going from 2007 forward, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S.

  • begins at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and
  • ends at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November

 

Halloween

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Halloween is an annual holiday, celebrated each year on October 31, that has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.

When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1.

Columbus Day

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Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century, but did not become a federal holiday until 1937. For many, the holiday is a way of both honoring Columbus’ achievements and celebrating Italian-American heritage. But throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy, and many alternatives to the holiday have proposed since the 1970s.

Christopher Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who set sail in August 1492, bound for Asia with backing from the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Columbus intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. Instead, he landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings established colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century.

Later that October, Columbus sighted Cuba and believed it was mainland China; in December the expedition found Hispaniola, which he thought might be Japan. There, he established Spain’s first colony in the Americas with 39 of his men.

In March 1493, Columbus returned to Spain in triumph, bearing gold, spices and “Indian” captives. The explorer crossed the Atlantic several more times before his death in 1506.

It wasn’t until his third journey that Columbus finally realized he hadn’t reached Asia but instead had stumbled upon a continent previously unknown to Europeans.

The first Columbus Day celebration took place in 1792, when New York’s Columbian Order—better known as Tammany Hall—held an event to commemorate the historic landing’s 300th anniversary. Taking pride in Columbus’ birthplace and faith, Italian and Catholic communities in various parts of the country began organizing annual religious ceremonies and parades in his honor.

In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage with patriotic festivities, writing, “On that day let the people, so far as possible, cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.”

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday, largely as a result of intense lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, an influential Catholic fraternal organization.

Controversy over Columbus Day dates back to the 19th century, when anti-immigrant groups in the United States rejected the holiday because of its association with Catholicism.

In recent decades, Native Americans and other groups have protested the celebration of an event that resulted in the colonization of the Americas, the beginnings of the transatlantic slave trade and the deaths of millions from murder and disease.

European settlers brought a host of infectious diseases, including smallpox and influenza, that decimated indigenous populations. Warfare between Native Americans and European colonists claimed many lives as well.

The image of Christopher Columbus as an intrepid hero has also been called into question. Upon arriving in the Bahamas, the explorer and his men forced the native peoples they found there into slavery. Later, while serving as the governor of Hispaniola, he allegedly imposed barbaric forms of punishment, including torture.

In many Latin American nations, the anniversary of Columbus’ landing has traditionally been observed as the Dìa de la Raza (“Day of the Race”), a celebration of Hispanic culture’s diverse roots. In 2002, Venezuela renamed the holiday Dìa de la Resistencia Indìgena (“Day of Indigenous Resistance”) to recognize native peoples and their experience.

Several U.S. cities and states have replaced Columbus Day with alternative days of remembrance. Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and South Dakota have officially replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, as have cities like Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Columbus Day was originally observed every October 12, but was changed to the second Monday in October beginning in 1971.

In some parts of the United States, Columbus Day has evolved into a celebration of Italian-American heritage. Local groups host parades and street fairs featuring colorful costumes, music and Italian food. In places that use the day to honor indigenous peoples, activities include pow-wows, traditional dance events and lessons about Native American culture.

October – Happy Birthday!

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happy-birthday-1

I would like to begin by wishes the Cleaning Genie a Happy 37th Birthday. The Cleaning Genie started into business in October 1980. The Cleaning Genie has an A1 rating with the BBB and is a member of the Sylvania Chamber of Commerce.

 

aumtumn-pumpkins-and-wagon

I can not believe that it is October already. Where has the time gone? Since the children have returned to school, it has seemed like the time has flown by.

With the start of October, comes the cooler weather, changing leaf colors and pumpkin everything. My favorite part of October would have to be the cooler weather. Nice t-shirt weather during the day and by evening sweat shirt weather. My next favorite thing in October would have to be the color changing of the leafs. The browns, reds, and yellows of the leafs are just so beautiful all mixed together. It nice to take a long Sunday drive to no where to see all the beautiful colors.

October Cleaning Tip

Heating Systems – If you have a forced-air system, change or wash the air filters regularly. A dirty filter can prevent proper airflow. Also, make sure that the air filter fits properly. It should occupy the entire filter cavity and prevent air from bypassing it. Vacuum the outside of the furnace or heat pump once every month or so. If there are radiators, clean them regularly.

A furnace should be properly maintained. Consider a service contract that includes an annual inspection of your furnace. The service technician should check electrical connections and wiring and gas piping for damage and leaks. Do not assume that the technician who does the annual or semiannual tune-up of your furnace changes the filter. This is generally considered to be the homeowner’s responsibility. Despite the improved efficiency and comfort of most new furnaces, it’s generally more cost-effective to repair a furnace than to replace it. If a key component such as the heat exchanger or control module fails, you’re probably better off replacing the furnace, especially if the unit is more than 15 years old. The average furnace typically lasts about 18 years.

 

Flu Shot Season

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flu

There are many reasons to get a flu shot. The number one reason is that it can save your life.  The flu is no joke. The flu can kill, and it can kill fast. It has killed millions over the years and will kill millions more.

People always argue that you can still get sick even if you have had a flu shot, so what’s the point? While they’re not wrong, it’s important to know that flu shots can help decrease the severity of the flu, often cutting your down time in half. If downtime from an illness doesn’t bother you, think about the people around you. The more people that are vaccinated against the flu, the less likely it is to spread to others.

The holiday season is right around the corner which means spending time with parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, cousins, nephews, and nieces, all of whom might be of various ages and health conditions. The flu mainly attacks the “extremes of age”, like the very young, (whose immune systems have yet to fully develop) and the very old, (whose immune systems are waning). Protecting yourself means protecting the people around you.

Something that people talk about is, “I’ve heard the flu has nasty side effects.” The side effects are actually very few. And if people do experience them, they are usually mild and can include a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, and mild headache. Basically a mini-flu. The vaccination does cause a mild reaction in some people, but that’s just your immune system reacting to an invader, so when the real deal shows up, your body is ready to do battle and fight it off. It seems like a small price to pay when you look at the bigger picture.

Many people don’t understand why or even know they need a new vaccination every year. The flu shot pinpoints protection. It is specifically designed each year based on the projected strains of the virus that will most likely show up. Although the percentages are not exact, the flu shot usually reduces your risk of getting the flu by 60 to 70 percent. Get this year’s version early and your body will have a better chance of fighting off what comes your way.

 

Cleaning Tip – Disinfecting

The makers of home-cleaning products appear to be committed to making your house not only clean and sparkling, but also downright antiseptic. You really only need to disinfect occasionally and when you do, use products sparingly. In recent years, manufacturers have introduced hundreds of everyday cleaning agents labeled antibacterial or disinfectant. However some cleaners that contain ingredients like dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride may breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Disinfectant cleaners that contain chlorine bleach, quaternary ammonium compounds, pine oil, or ethyl alcohol as active ingredients all work against common disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Bleach and ethyl alcohol tend to act faster than ammonia products, and bleach works particularly well on food or dye stains. Ethyl alcohol is flammable until it dissipates.

When you want instant disinfecting because you need to prepare food on a surface that was just touched by raw meat or meat juices, use a disinfectant appropriate for the surface, preferably a product containing chlorine bleach. Be sure to read the product’s labeling carefully and follow any instructions about use on surfaces that touch food. Ado allow the product to “dwell” for the amount of time recommended in the directions. Or simply wash with soap and warm clean water, rinse, and sanitize using a mixture of one teaspoon of bleach per one gallon of clean water. Allow to air dry.

Normal cleaning is sufficient for walls, draperies, bedding, floors, and other dry surfaces where germs do not survive long. Ordinary cleaners can suffice even for toilet bowls. Unless mold or mildew is a problem, you generally don’t need disinfectants in your bathroom at all. Cleaning thoroughly with an all-purpose cleaner or bathroom cleaner and hot water is usually sufficient.

 

 

 

 

 

White after Labor Day

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Wearing white in the summer makes sense. Desert peoples have known for thousands of years that white clothing seems to keep you a little bit cooler than other colors. But wearing white only during the summer? While no one is completely sure exactly when or why this fashion rule came into effect, our best guess is that it had to do with snobbery in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The wives of the super-rich ruled high society with an iron fist after the Civil War. As more and more people became millionaires, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between old money, respectable families, and those who only had vulgar new money. By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already “in” felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow. That way, if a woman showed up at the opera in a dress that cost more than most Americans made in a year, but it had the wrong sleeve length, other women would know not to give her the time of day.

Not wearing white outside the summer months was another one of these silly rules. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Of course it could get extremely hot in September, and wearing white might make the most sense, but if you wanted to be appropriately attired you just did not do it. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and society eventually adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.

Not everyone followed this rule. Even some socialites continued to buck the trend, most famously Coco Chanel, who wore white year-round. But even though the rule was originally enforced by only a few hundred women, over the decades it trickled down to everyone else. By the 1950s, women’s magazines made it clear to middle class America: white clothing came out on Memorial Day and went away on Labor Day.

These days the fashion world is much more relaxed about what colors to wear and when, but every year you will still hear people say that white after Labor Day is unacceptable, all thanks to some snobby millionaires over 100 years ago

 

Removing Fabric Stains Tips

Once again, the faster you treat a spill, the better your results.

Removing the stain: work from the outer edge of the stain toward the center. Apply a small amount of the cleaning agent to a white paper towel or cloth and gently work it in to the stain area. Problems can result from working with large amounts od cleaning materials, even water, so begin with a small amount and repeat the process as needed. Blot – do not rub or brush. Rubbing too harshly can cause unsightly distortion in your garment’s fabric. For fabrics, place the front face on a white paper towel or cloth and work the cleaning agent into the fabric from the back.

Be patient: Repeat the procedure with clean white paper towels or cloths until you can’t transfer any more stain to the towel or cloth. Do not proceed to the next recommended cleaning agent until this is done. Complete stain removal may require repeating the same step several times. In many cases it will not be necessary to use all of the recommended steps to remove the stain. When the stain is gone, flush with water to remove stain-removal products. Then blot.

If the label of the garment you’re cleaning says ” dry-clean only,” you may want to avoid using water-based cleaning agent. If you’re concerned that your attempt to remove a stain will cause damage, seek help from a dry cleaner who should evaluate the stain and material and inform you of ant potential risks. Tell the professional about any remedies you may have already tried.

Chocolate-covered laundry: Use your machine’s soak cycle and one of your higher-rated detergents that can be used in HE and conventional machines. Then wash. Don’t put them in the dryer until you’re satisfied with the stain removal. If the stained clothes have already been in the dryer, it will be even more difficult to remove stains, so you might have to repeat this process.

Ink and crayon marks: To tackle ballpoint-pen marks, place a clean white paper towel under the stain, then bot a small spot with rubbing alcohol and another piece of paper towel. Keep blotting the stain with a clean part of each paper towel over and under the stain until it is gone, then launder. For crayons, Crayola suggests scraping off as much as possible, then working liquid dish soap into the stain. Wait several minutes, then rub the fabric under warm water to remove the stain. Machine-wash using the heavy-soil setting, with the hottest water the care label recommends, and OxiClean. Air-dry the item and repeat is necessary.

Labor Day

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labor Day

 

Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.

Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Others gave rise to longstanding traditions: On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it.Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later, when a watershed moment in American labor history brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view. On May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives.

On June 26, the American Railroad Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified.

Many credit Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.Labor Day is still celebrated in cities and towns across the United States with parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays and other public gatherings. For many Americans, particularly children and young adults, it represents the end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.

Cleaning Tips for Labor Day on Outdoor Furniture

Molded plastic: Use a mild detergent solution and scrub dirt off with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with a garden hose. Wipe dry with a soft cloth. If there is mildew on the furniture, apply a solution of 1/2 cup bleach in a gallon of water with a sponge. Do wear gloves. Allow the solution a few minutes to work then scrub the area again and rinse.

Cushions: These are commonly made of acrylic, polyester or olefin fabric that is resistant to water, stains and fading from the sun. However, theses can still get dirty. Use the same mild detergent solution and a soft-bristled brush to scrub the dirt off, and rinse with a hose. It’s better to prop the cushions up in the sun to thoroughly dry. If there is mold or mildew on the cushions, first test the bleach solution ( 1/2 cup in a gallon of water) in an inconspicuous place to make sure it doesn’t affect the color. Do wear gloves; apply the solution with a sponge. Allow the solution a few minutes to work, then scrub the area, rinse and dry in the sun.