Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Hey!  Welcome to Home on Tuesday, where every Tuesday I scour the internet to find great tips on design, cleaning, automobiles, organization, and more!  Please note that I will be out of town tomorrow and so Working Wednesday will be postponed until next week.  Please subscribe to Life Lists’ RSS feed so you can be updated each time there is a new post!  Please feel free to leave your comments, even if it is to say hello!  I see you are coming by, so don’t be shy, just say hello! 🙂  See you on Thursday!  Enjoy!

1. Brighten up the dreary days of winter by planting pre-season blooms!  HGTV shows you just the plants to use.

2. Think you can’t decorate because of the economy?  Well, the Budget Decorator begs to differ!  Find unique ideas for decorating, organizing, gardening, and more!  And you can sign up for a free budget decorating newsletter.

3. Cleaning a home thoroughly can be painstakingly exhausting.  So Stepcase Lifehack has provided 150 tips and tricks on cleaning everything from carpets to vinyl records.

4. Extend the life of your electronics with tips from Real Simple.

5. And while you are at it, learn how to extend the life of your mattress, as well, with the help of Eco Salon.

6. The Daily Green and the American Lung Association show you 25 ways to keep the air quality in your home safe.

7. Everyone wants to go greener these days- whether you care about the future of the environment and a balanced ecosystem or just for the sake of cutting costs in the belly of a recession.  EcoHomeResource.com has a plethora of resources to help you achieve a greener living space from your kitchen to your nursery.

8. And, finally, don’t forget to take a look at the Innovative Project of the Week brought to you by Interior Design Magazine.  This week’s project was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and is for the California Academy of Sciences.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s links!  Leave a comment and let me know which one(s) were most helpful to you.  You could see more of the same in a future Home on Tuesday!


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“Always be prepared!”  That’s the Boy Scout motto.  Here are 10 phone numbers we could care less about until the moment we need them, at which point they save us time, money and general peace of mind.  Do yourself a favor and take 10 minutes to program each of these handy numbers into your mobile phone.  I promise you, the convenience you will gain from it someday is priceless.

1.  Lost or Stolen Credit Card Hotline – Sure, the number for your credit card issuer is conveniently located on the back of your credit card… that is until the card gets lost or stolen.  It’s nice to be able to cancel a credit card the minute you realize it’s missing.  That way you can solve the problem before it starts by avoiding the need to deal with expunging malicious charges.

  • Visa: 1-800-VISA-911 (1-800-847-2911)
  • MasterCard: 1-800-MC-ASSIST (800-622-7747)
  • American Express: 1-800-992-3404
  • Discover: 1-800-DISCOVER (1-800-347-2683)
  • Diners Club: 1-800-2DINERS (1-800-234-6377)

2.  Car Insurance Claims Hotline – Pretty much the first number you should call when you get in a car accident.  Or the second number if the accident was severe, just after calling 911.  Here are a few of the major provider’s claims department numbers:

  • Geico: 1-800-861-8380
  • Allstate: 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828)
  • Nationwide: 1-800-421-3535
  • Progressive: 1-800-PROGRESSIVE (1-800-776-4737)
  • Liberty Mutual: 1-800-2CLAIMS (1-800-225-2467)
  • State Farm: Depends where you live (find your agent’s number).
  • AIG Direct: 1-888-244-6163
  • Travelers: 1-800-CLAIM33 (1-800-252-4633)

3.  Health Insurance Provider – Should tragedy strike and you find yourself headed to the emergency room for medical care, you will want to be sure that your medical bills are covered by your health insurance provider.  Have someone make a quick call to your provider to make sure you’re approved for full coverage. It’s certainly more productive and a lot cheaper to address this before the medical care, unless of course you enjoy paying for medical bills out of your own pocket.  Find your provider’s number on your health insurance card and program it into your phone as ‘Health Insurance’.

4.  Free 411 From Anywhere – It’s always nice to have the ability to find a phone number or address to a specific business of interest when you are on the road.  If you don’t have an internet ready mobile phone 1-800-GOOG-411 is you next best bet.  It’s Google’s free nationwide 411 information hotline and it beats the heck out of paying your mobile service provider 75 cents for their sub-par directory assistance.

5.  Local Locksmith – There’s nothing worse than being locked out, especially at night.  Save yourself the hassle of trying to find a reputable locksmith with reasonable prices when you are locked out and stressed out.  Do a little homework now and find yourself a reputable locksmith that has a 24 hour emergency call service.  Find a local locksmith on YellowPages.com.

6.  A Friendly Colleague’s Direct Line – You can use this person as a messenger to pass an important piece of information on to your manager or someone else at the office when you are on the road.  Or you can call them if you accidently left an important phone number or piece of information behind at the office.  Tell this person that you would be happy to return the favor anytime.

7.  Local Towing Service or AAA – When your car breaks down in an inconvenient location this number will make your life a lot easier.  The company with the largest geographic service area is always your best bet.  Find a local towing service on YellowPages.com.  If you have AAA, congrats for being wise.

8.  Home or Work Entry – You should always have an entry for Home and/or Work in your mobile phone.  Each entry should point to your direct corresponding number at each location.  These entries are not there to help you call your home or your work.  They are there just incase you lose your phone and someone with a little honesty and compassion finds it.  It gives this person an easy way of getting in touch with you.

9.  Primary Care Physician – If you are on the road or out of town and a non-emergency medical issue arises, it’s always nice to be able to run the information past your primary care physician or one of his/her nurses.  After all, this is the medical team that has familiarity with all your recent personal medical history.  They may be able to give you more insight into your problem by weighing your symptoms against your historical medical files and profile.

10.  Airlines Reservations Hotline – Obviously this one helps out more when you’re traveling, but believe me someday it will come in handy.  When you’re on a trip far away from home and your rental car gets a flat tire on the way to the airport, or your luggage is lost, or you are running late and need to check your flight status… these are times when having your Airlines on speed dial saves you some serious peace of mind.  Airlines reservation hotlines usually bring you directly to a human being, so it’s a good number to use to get a hold of someone that can transfer you in the right direction if necessary.  Here are the phone numbers to some of the major carriers:

  • American Airlines: 1-800-433-7300
  • Continental: 1-800-525-0280
  • Delta Airlines: 1-800-221-1212
  • JetBlue: 1-800-538-2583
  • Northwest Airlines: 1-800-225-2525
  • Southwest Airlines: 1-800-435-9792
  • Spirit Airlines: 1-800-772-7117
  • United Airlines: 1-800-241-6522
  • US Airways: 1-800-428-4322

Bonus: How many minutes do I have left before I’m broke? – Dial the following numeric and symbol combinations into your mobile phone to find out how many minutes you have remaining on your plan for the current month.

  • AT&T: *646#
  • Sprint: *4
  • T-Mobile: #646#
  • Verizon: #646

I know there are numerous other important phone numbers out there, but I believe these 10 numbers are applicable to almost everyone.

This article was first published at Marc and Angel.

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Say Goodbye to Baseball. The future of the ash tree — from which all baseball bats are made — is in danger of disappearing, thanks to a combination of killer beetles and global warming.

Say Goodbye to Christmas Trees. The Pine Bark Beetle, which feeds on and kills pine trees, used to be held in control by cold winter temperatures. Now the species is thriving and killing off entire forests in British Columbia, unchecked.

Say Goodbye to Fly Fishing. As water temperatures continue to rise, researchers say rainbow trout, “already at the southern limits” of their temperature ranges in the Appalachian mountains, could disappear there over the next century.

Say Goodbye to That Tropical Island Vacation. Indonesia’s environment minister announced this year that scientific studies estimate about 2,000 of the country’s lush tropical islands could disappear by 2030 due to rising sea levels.

Say Goodbye to Lobster Dinners. Lobsters thrive in the chilly waters of New England, but recent numbers show that as those waters have warmed up, “the big-clawed American lobster — prized for its delicate, sweet flesh — has been withering at an alarming rate from New York state to Massachusetts.”

Say Goodbye to Your Pretty Lawn. Thanks to global warming, dandelions will grow “taller, lusher, and more resilient.” By 2100, the weed will produce 32 percent more seeds and longer hairs, which allow them to spread further in the wind.

Say Hello to More Mosquitoes. Get ready for more mosquitoes. Mosquitoes like to live in drains and sewer puddles. During long dry spells (brought on by higher temperatures) these nasty, stagnant pools become a vital source of water for thirsty birds … which provide a tasty feast for the resident mosquitoes. At the same time, these dry spells “reduce the populations of dragonflies, lacewings, and frogs that eat the mosquitoes.”

Jellyfish Attack. Ouch! At least 30,000 people were stung by jellyfish along the Mediterranean coast last year; some areas boasted more than 10 jellyfish per square foot of water. Thank global warming: Jellyfish generally stay out of the way of swimmers, preferring the warmer, saltier water of the open seas. Hotter temperatures erase the natural temperature barrier between the open sea and the shore. The offshore waters also become more saline, causing the stinging blobs of hurt to move in toward the coastlines (and your unsuspecting legs).

Birds in your Backyard. A report by the National Audubon Society found that birds such as the bobwhite and field sparrow are dying thanks to global warming, as higher temperatures mess with their migration schedules. With vital food stocks peaking earlier and earlier, many migratory birds get to the party too late and can’t find enough to eat.

The Green, Green Grass of Antarctica . Grass has started to grow in Antarctica in areas formerly covered by ice sheets and glaciers. While Antarctic hair grass has grown before in isolated tufts, warmer temperatures allow it to take over larger and larger areas and, for the first time, survive through the winter.

The Swiss Foothills. Late last summer, a rock the size of two Empire State Buildings in the Swiss Alps collapsed onto the canyon floor nearly 700 feet below. The reason? Melting glaciers.

Giant Seas in Africa. Global warming may unleash giant “sand seas” in Africa — giant fields of sand dunes with no vegetation — as a shortage of rainfall and increasing winds may “reactivate” the now-stable Kalahari dune fields. That means farewell to local vegetation, animals, and any tourism in the areas.

The Oceans are Turning to Acid. It sounds like a really bad sci-fi movie, but it’s true: The oceans are turning to acid! Oceans absorb CO2 which, when mixed with seawater, turns to a weak carbonic acid. Calcium from eroded rocks creates a “natural buffer” against the acid, and most marine life is “finely tuned” to the current balance. As we produce more and more CO2, we throw the whole balance out of whack and the oceans turn to acid.

More Hurricanes. Over the past century, the number of hurricanes that strike each year has more than doubled. Scientists blame global warming and the rising temperature of the surface of the seas.

More Fires. Hotter temperatures could also mean larger and more devastating wildfires. This past summer in California , a blaze consumed more than 33,500 acres, or 52 square miles.

More Heart Attacks. Doctors warn global warming will bring more cardiovascular problems, like heart attacks. “‘The hardening of the heart’s arteries is like rust developing on a car,’ said Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University. ‘Rust develops much more quickly at warm temperatures and so does atherosclerosis.'”

A Resurgence In Deadly Disease. “The World Health Organization has identified more than 30 new or resurgent diseases in the last three decades, the sort of explosion some experts say has not happened since the Industrial Revolution brought masses of people together in cities.” Why? Global warming “is fueling the spread of epidemics in areas unprepared for the diseases” when “mosquitoes, ticks, mice and other carriers are surviving warmer winters and expanding their range, bringing health threats with them.” Ick.

Increased Border Tensions. A report called “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” written by a group of retired generals and admirals, specifically linked global warming to increased border tensions. “If, as some project, sea levels rise, human migrations may occur, likely both within and across borders.”

Your Checkbook. A report done last year by the British government showed global warming could cause a Global Great Depression, costing the world up to 20 percent of its annual Global Domestic Product.

The World’s Checkbook. A study by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University found that ignoring global warming would end up costing $20 trillion by 2100.

For 80 more ways global warming will change your life, and for references for the information above, please click here.

Also visit the Center for American Progress for more information.

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Written by Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Take a look at these smart, simple, and affordable ways to keep out burglars and secure your valuables.

1. Put lights and a radio or television on timers. People who leave the lights on all day “might as well put out a sign in their front yard saying they’re out of town,” says Ann Lindstrom of ADT Security Services, the nation’s oldest alarm-system company. Look for the type of timer that can be set for random on and off times (one brand is Leviton, about $40 each). Otherwise, it’s too easy for crooks to get wise to the fact that your lights are coming on at the same time every night. (Home Alone, anyone?)

2. Don’t rely on your dog. You’d like to believe that your “vicious” golden retriever will scare off burglars. And though barking may persuade them to skip your house, you shouldn’t count on it. “Most of us train dogs to be friendly to strangers,” says Frank Santamorena, an expert for the Discovery Channel’s burglary-prevention show, It Takes a Thief. Some thieves even bring dog biscuits.

3. Close most shades. If a thief can’t see inside, he won’t know whether there’s anything worth stealing, says Lauren Russ, executive director of the nonprofit Burglary Prevention Council (BPC). But keep a few shades open on the second floor to make it look as if someone is home.

4. Keep two jewelry boxes. Store inexpensive pieces in the nice case on your dresser. Stash the good bits in a safe. A thief may be fooled by the “cheap box” and not bother looking for more.

5. Lock away guns. Weapons are attractive to thieves, so if you have them in the house, hide them in a safe, just as you would conceal other valuables.

6. Evaluate your landscaping. Is that lovely flowering dogwood a good hiding spot for someone jimmying open a ground-floor window? “Prune back shrubbery from windows, doors, and walkways,” says Russ. Also, she adds, “examine the ‘climbability’ of tall trees near second-floor windows.” Prune these as well so burglars can’t use them like ladders.

7. Install- and use- reliable locks.  In about 32% of home burglaries, there’s no sign of forced entry, meaning the burglar entered through an unlocked or open door or window.  It takes most burglars less than 60 seconds to get inside, according to the BPC, and they typically enter through the front door.  For all exterior doors, plus the door inside the garage that leads into the house, choose high-quality dead bolts (such as ASSA Abloy, Medeco, or the Schlage Primus, which start at around $140).  If the lock is near a window or within 40 inches of a glass pane, install a double-cylinder dead bolt, which can be opened from the inside and the outside only with a key.  (This way, burglars can’t break the glass, reach in, and turn the lock.)  It’s best to use a locksmith who is a certified dealer of the brand you want, says Santamorena.  (To find a locksmith, visit the manufacturer’s website.)

8. Put your street number, not your name, on the mailbox to avoid one of the oldest tricks in the book, says Terri Kelly, managing director of Community Outreach & Government Relations for the National Crime Prevention Council. “Thieves dial information with your name and street address, and then call to see if anyone’s home.”  But make sure your house number is clearly marked so emergency personnel can find you.

9. Censor your trash.  The box your new flat-screen TV came in announces that you have stuff worth stealing.  “Cut the carton up and tie the pieces together before you put them out on the curb,” says Russ.

10. Don’t leave e-mail or phone messages saying you’re away.  Forgo the “automatic vacation reply” feature on e-mail and keep a generic message on your answering machine.  Use call forwarding to screen phone calls from the road.  And always make sure to suspend delivery of newspapers and mail, or have someone collect them for you.  To a thief, pileups are an 0pen-house invitation.

These tips were taken from an article in the July 2007 issue of Real Simple magazine.

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