Thursday, November 21, 2013

One More Week! Thanksgiving Tradition

In my house, and my office and every other aspect of my life for that matter- Thanksgiving tradition will not fall by the wayside! I do not want sales, lists and coupons! I want family, turkey and pies on the last Thursday of November!  The tradition has evolved slightly since its start in the 1600’s- sweets are now a staple, and weren’t available then, and our attire has been updated, and the day is spent surrounded with friends and family. 

Somewhere along the way the tradition of hitting the malls and big box stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving for crazy deals on everything from televisions to blenders- has changed.  It started as a slow change, with the hours creeping earlier and earlier- and before we knew it in the last 10 years we saw the stores start to open at the wee hours of the morning.  Now, this monster we call Black Friday is beginning to get a little out of control.  Don’t get me wrong- I love great sales as much as the next person, but not at the expense of family time on a Holiday!

The very purpose behind current Thanksgiving tradition is to spend time with the ones we love, and to be THANKFUL for all that we have.  Yes, this is already slightly misdirected, because yes we should be thankful every day- but the point is that on this one day we should not be rushing out the door to shop or in many cases, to work! Instead of enjoying the time we have, we are either to worried about getting to the store as it opens- or needing to get there because of a work shift.  In my opinion, Black Friday is plenty long enough and should be kept as BLACK FRIDAY!

Whether you will be cooking or shopping this Thursday, or a combination of the two- just remember where the holiday came from and try to keep sight of it.  At this point, boycotting isn’t going to change the fact that the stores are opening Thursday for Pre- Black Friday.  However, we cannot lose the spirit of yet another holiday and allow it to be completely revolving around gifts and goods!  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Have a SAFE Winter!

Buying or Selling a home can often cause for us all to allow for certain things to slip through the cracks, even important ones.  Whether you are new in your home, or have lived there for decades- it is important to maintain some priorities! One of those key things, that is overlooked much to often, is safety with fire and carbon monoxide.  New homes mean that you need to inventory, check and plan for safety equipment, including detectors, ladders and even a plan of action for exit and meeting.  This is especially important if you have you children, but honestly none of us should be ignoring it!

Most of us are pretty good about having smoke alarms, however how often we check them – could be a different story!  There are two types of smoke alarms, and it is typically recommended that both be in a home (or the combination version) – as they function differently and serve their own unique purpose.  Smoke detectors should be placed on all floors of your home – including in your basement and garage!  Always make sure that if they are battery operated, you are testing and changing the batteries as necessary – some new construction will have the alarms hard-wired into the house electrical system, but battery operated versions are more common.  In addition to your smoke detectors, it is also important that you have an emergency plan in place, and have discussed and reviewed it with your family.  Plan safe exits, meeting points, etc. to ensure that your family understands and can react if necessary in your new home.

Carbon Monoxide detectors are less common, and more expensive- than a regular smoke alarm.  However, since carbon monoxide is credited with being the leading agent in accidental deaths from poisoning, it is something that we should not take lightly.  As most know, carbon monoxide is a result of our appliances that burn fuel in order to function.  Furnaces, stoves, grills, fireplaces and dryers all produce carbon monoxide, with ranges being the most common producer due to the open flame.  However- it should be noted that most deaths and poisonings are a result of carbon monoxide from cars- if a car is running in an enclosed space, especially an attached garage, this can be particularly dangerous.  If your new home has an attached garage, be sure to practice smart behavior, and alert all of your driving-age family members- of the dangers that could result.  It can be easy and tempting, especially here in cold Northeast OHIO to want to start you car and warm it up indoors- but you simply just can’t.

The detectors for Carbon Monoxide can be purchased at any hardware store or big box DIY store- such as Lowes or Home Depot- and they function by measuring the amount of carbon monoxide that has accumulated over time.  Carbon monoxide can be dangerous if you are exposed to low levels over a long time, and also if you have high levels occurring quickly.  Read alarm information and packaging to pick the alarm that is best for you!  It is also important to remember that these detectors run using an electrical outlet- so if the power is out, the detector no longer serves its purpose.  This may also be another great reason to consider getting a back up power source, like a generator, if your new home is in an area that tends to have more frequent power outages.

Winter months mean we are running our furnaces more frequently, and also our fireplaces and warming up our cars!  These both increase fire and carbon monoxide risks- so take the right precautions and keep yourself and your family safe!