I love traveling with my wife, Jan. I don't think there is really anything better than packing up and going on a road trip or flying to another country. There's something so special about experiencing new cultures, food and new geography.
But, I was recently speaking to a buddy of mine named Winston who lives in England. I was talking about scheduling a time to go visit him, and he let me know that now would not be a good time. Apparently, England has had unseasonably low temperatures and wet weather.
Winston also said that because of this, he and all his friends have been running to hardware stores to purchase electric heaters. he read that sales for this appliance were up almost 900 percent!
I was shocked. I couldn't believe what bad weather the country was having and that so many people were waiting until this chilly weather to buy such a useful appliance.
I've had my electric heater for years now. I can't tell you how many times it's helped keep my family and I warm. Few things are better than walking into my home after a cold day outside shoveling snow and curling up with a good book next to this appliance.
Winston was considering going out to buy an electric heater and I encouraged him to do so. He was originally skeptical, thinking that the minute he went out and bought one, the weather would turn nice.
I told Winston that even if that were be the case, there's certainly no reason why he can't use it next year if England experiences another cold and wet winter and spring.
A while ago, my wife and I traveled to Australia on our second honeymoon. I cannot tell you how much fun we had. Although the flight was a little long (17 hours!), all the cool things we did and saw while we were there made up for that incredibly long flight.
After lunch one day of our trip, we went to our hotel for a little nap because we were so jetlagged. But before getting into bed, we turned on the news and saw two little baby kangaroos, or joeys on the screen. I couldn't believe how cute they were!
The news reporter said that apparently, a Sunbury, Australia IT in security expert named Karl Dawson created a rocking humidicrib, used at Kilmore shelter named Wild About Wildlife. This device is made to simulate the inside of a momma kangaroo's pouch. Apparently, the device uses a rocking motion that the joeys are used to in the wild while they are being carried around by their mom's.
I thought this was such a perfect invention, especially because just a couple weeks ago, my daughter bought a humidifier so she could create an ideal environment in the baby's room. The family pediatrician recommended that she get one after my daughter noticed dry skin around Katie's eyes and nose. The humidifier was the perfect little machine to add some warm moisture to the nursery.
After the news story ended, I called my daughter to let her know what I just saw on an Australian news station. I even said I might start calling my granddaughter joey!
I love winter. There's nothing like playing with your kids in the snow, skiing and being inside your home and watching a storm rage on right outside your window. Yet, despite how cozy winter can make us feel, there's one thing I find extremely annoying about this season: the static electricity.
When it's cold or dry out during the winter, I always find myself getting shocked. When I was a kid, I used to think I had magic powers, and these tiny shocks were just emblematic of one of my many superpowers. Then, my older sister crushed this belief and quickly let me know that it was just static electricity that was causing my hair to stand up on my head.
But despite how cool I thought static electricity was back then, I sure don't feel the same way anymore. In fact, it downright annoys me, usually because I'm not prepared for it. In fact, it began to get on my nerves so much, that I decided to do a little research on how I could put an end to these annoying shocks.
One of the articles I read said that static electricity was so prevalent, especially during winter months because the air was so dry. To add some moisture into the air, the author recommended I buy a humidifier.
Boy, am I glad I did! I can't even begin to describe how helpful this appliance has been. Long gone are those winter days when I would shock myself every time I walk barefoot on my rug or touch a doorknob. My wife is equally happy. She used to hate getting shocked as much as I did!
Just a few days ago, my son and his wife told me they were expecting. My wife and could not believe it. We've always wanted a grandchild, and although we were overjoyed, I must admit we were also nervous.
A baby is a big responsibility and not to mention, expensive. I worried about how my son and his wife were going to be able to afford it and how they were going to adjust to life as first-time parents. During one night that I couldn't sleep, I began doing some research. It said that being prepared and having all the necessary baby items before the little one arrives is the best way to alleviate the shock of having a newborn.
On a list that detailed what all parents-to-be should buy was an electric fan. Many times, the pajamas that parents dress their little ones in can be extremely uncomfortable and hot. But an electric fan is sure to keep babies cool all night long.
Another interesting benefit to having this type of appliance in a newborn's room is that it emits white noise that can be very soothing to a cranky baby trying to fall asleep. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the setting to the fan should not be on high. After all, the idea is not to block out a baby's cry so parents can't hear, but rather simply provide light background noise that makes it easier for the baby to catch up on some much needed zzz's.
One of the most useful appliances I have in my home is an electric fan. My family and I have used it for almost everything ranging from keeping our pets cool to clearing smoke out of a room after a cooking mishap, which is usually the fault of my daughter or wife.
But, from time to time, like most things, our electric fan breaks. I used to get so frustrated when this would happen. Then, she suggested that I do a little bit of research to figure or talk to some people I know about on how to fix this appliance when it malfunctions.
I thought that was a great idea.So one morning, I woke up and went over to my neighbor Paul's house to see if he wanted to grab a cup of coffee at the local doughnut shop up the street.
Paul is an electrician, so I figured he was the perfect person to sit down with. I told my buddy that when my electric fan usually broke, it was because there was a rumbling sound coming from inside of the appliance.
Paul assured me that he sees this problem all the time. He said that when this happens, I should unplug the appliance and remove the grill. Then, Paul advised using a screwdriver to detach the nut and spinner so that the blades could be removed more easily. He then told me to clear the shaft and the motor housing and put the blades back in place. Paul said the last step was to tighten the hubs and bolts to prevent the blades from shaking.
The minute I got home, I followed Paul's advice. And I am proud to report that my electric fan is working again and I can barely hear it!
My wife, Jan, and I love our church. When we moved into our community, we found the Sunday church services that were held at the top of the street to be so comforting. Some of our closest friends are parishioners there. Our priest conducted our son's wedding and will baptize our granddaughter when she is born.
The other day, I was catching up with my friend, Sam, on the phone. He lives in Mississippi and we've known each other for years. In fact, we met at the church my wife and I currently attend.
I was asking my buddy how everything was going and he told me he was settling in just fine. But, he did say that he heard about one story that occurred in his town that made him a little nervous to go back to the church he had attended services at since he moved to Jackson.
Apparently, thieves broke into and stole the air conditioning unit in The Cathedral of Faith Church at Siwell Road and Highway 18. Sam said that the news report mentioned that it appeared as though the robbers backed a truck onto the church's property and cut through bars to get to the appliance. What's more unbelievable is that the tubing that connected the air conditioner was also cut.
My friend also mentioned that other churches in the Jackson area have had their air conditioners stolen.
When Sam finished his story, I couldn't believe it. I don't know anyone that would steal anything from a church! During dinner that night, I told Jan about my conversation with Sam. She was equally enraged and we even discussed buying Sam's church a new unit.
Throughout my adult life, I've been involved in charity work. It feels so rewarding to give back to my community. Through my work with various organizations, like the ASPCA and Best Buddies, I've been able to meet some really great people.
On Sunday mornings, when I have some free time to myself, I like to devote some time to looking for new ways I can help others. I've found some really great events to volunteer at, like the March of Dimes Walk, just by looking in our local newspaper.
Well, just a few days ago, I was talking to my sister, Allison, who lives in Texas. She is also quite involved in various charities around the Lonestar State.
Allison was telling about how the United Way of Amarillo and Canyon is holding an electric fan and air conditioner drive that is starting Tuesday, May 14. United Way is a great charitable organization that is committed to making positive changes in communities through partnerships with government agencies, educational institutions and businesses.
My big sis told me that the drive is being held in order to help provide the elderly, handicapped and families with infants with electric fans and air conditioners in an effort to help them stay cool during those hot summer months that are notorious for plaguing Texas.
This drive sounded like such a good idea and I immediately wanted to know more information. Allison let me know that last year, this United Way drive helped provide over 100 families with cooling appliances.
I was so impressed with United Way's efforts that when I got off the phone with Allison, I went down to our church and spoke with our priest about starting a similar drive.
A few nights ago, my family gathered at my house because my oldest son, John, told me that he and his wife, Sue, had some big news. When I heard this, I immediately began to panic, especially since John refused to disclose any type of information that would be shared with everyone during dinner.
Since I'm such a pessimist, crazy and negative thoughts began racing through my mind. Were John and Jan moving across the country? Was one of them suffering from a chronic and fatal illness? These are all things I thought of before my wife, Jan, told me I was ridiculous.
Finally, the day came for our family dinner. Jan made John's favorite dish, skirt steak and caesar salad. Everyone at the table was getting along great, but we all wanted to know what the big news was. Then, about 20 minutes into the meal, Sue announced that had and John were going to be parents! I can't tell you how thrilled my wife and my other two kids were. We had always hoped we would be grandparents.
That night, I couldn't sleep because I was so excited. I woke up and decided to do some research on how to create the safe nursery (God forbid anything happen to the baby). I came across an article on the internet that talked about how one household appliance could pose a potential danger to little ones: a warm-mist humidifier.
When I read this I was shocked, especially since my family has been using humidifiers for years. The article said that cool-mist humidifiers are much safer because those that shoot out warm-mist can cause burns and the screens can become very hot.
It was almost 4:00 a.m., but this article had me incredibly intrigued. I emailed John and Sue the article and told them to stay away from warm-mist humidifiers once the baby was born. I was feeling so generous that I even offered to buy them a cool-mist humidifier. They are such a nice couple that they thanked me and told me that all they wanted was for me to accompany them when they go to buy the appliance.
Before my wife and I had kids, we decided to get a cat. We always loved animals and we grew up surrounded by these adorable and furry creatures. After some careful thinking, Jan and I decided what type of feline we were looking for. Our biggest requirement was that the cat was friendly because we knew one day, we'd have children.
I clearly remember the day we arrived at the animal shelter. There were so many adorable cats to choose from, but after what seemed like hours, we finally decided on adopting a two-year old orange tabby that we quickly decided to name Schmool, which was a name of a character in one of our favorite movies.
Schmool's a little bit older now. But, that doesn't mean he's slowed down one bit. Still, when Jan and I leave for work every morning, we like to make sure "Schmoolman" doesn't become overheated, especially during the summer months that are quickly approaching.
Our friend, a veterinarian, suggested that we put a couple electric fans throughout our home. These appliances don't just keep humans cool, they do the same for pets!
We've put fans in various rooms including our bedroom, where Schmool sleeps for about sixteen hours a day, the living room and the attic, which becomes notoriously hot in the summer.
After a long day of working, Jan and I come home, only to notice Schmool with more energy than a kitten! Our vet told us that cats are typically more alert the healthier they are, although she stressed that some cats are just lethargic no matter how healthy they are. Now, when we are gone for the day, we can be sure "Schmoolman" isn't overheating!
Over the years, our family's thermostat has proved to be incredibly useful. After all, during warmer months, I don't know what is much better than walking into a perfectly cooled house after a run. At the same time, it's so comforting to relax in our warm living room once winter is in full swing.
However, with all the use our manual thermostat has seen over the years, it has broken down from time-to-time. My wife and I used to call an electrician to come and fix it, but that would usually cost us a couple hundred dollars.
The two of us made a resolution that next time the thermostat didn't work properly, we would do our best to fix it on our own. So a few days ago when I noticed it wasn't calibrated properly, I decided to do some research. I found some information that explained how to get it working again.
First, the article advised that I purchase a glass thermometer that uses mercury. I was to tape this on the wall next to the manual thermostat.
After waiting thirty minutes like the article said, I compared the temperature on my thermostat to that on the thermometer. I then opened up the thermostat using a screwdriver and used an air can to blow off dust particles that were inside the appliance.
I used the tool to put the thermostat's cover in place. I waited a few minutes and readjusted the appliance's temperature. Within about an hour, our thermostat was working again. I was so thrilled, and so was my wife. She even made my favorite dinner for our family that night!