Skip to content

Category: Family Updates

Thank God for Instructions with Pictures

Posted in Family Updates

We bought a plug & play hot tub and were very excited about having a place for the family to gather and enjoy. If you want to save money, you shouldn’t asked for it to come fully assembled and ready for installation. The supplier will charge you for the privilege. Being pretty handy at things, we decided to give it a try on our own. Thank God for instructions with pictures. The manual was thorough, no doubt a reflection of the fact that people aren’t good at simple verb al descriptions.

The bottom of the unit is foam insulation, so the unit appears to need uniform support whether on the ground, wood grid platform, deck or concrete pad. We built a frame on the ground about 6″ high and filled it with gravel for uniform support. You could put it directly on the ground but rain splash or tub overflows might take their toll by allowing water to seep in underneath and eventually cause rot or corrosion. I recommend lifting it up a bit to allow drainage and prevent water damage underneath.

The Lifesmart Simplicity Plug and Play 4-person spa we chose to purchase has the same standard parts and features as any brand name hot tub, such as Balboa topside controls, adjustable jets, and a top-loading filter, but also features a highly indestructible shell. The tub is a 110 volt Plug & Play spa. This feature avoids the high cost of hot tub installation. Simply set it up, fill it up and plug it in. Only Lifesmart uses what they Eco Smart technology, the highly efficient energy management system built into every hot tub spa. It require less energy and deliver better performance due to a full-foam insulation system and a thick energy-saving spa cover designed to save money on the operation of the spa. The feature I like about the Lifesmart is that it has 4 deep bucket seats complete with rotating back jets, a waterfall, and top-side comfort valves that allow you to find the perfect mix of air and water for the perfect massage. The Simplicity also features a top side digital command center and a spa light with interchangeable mood lens caps. We read it all in the manual so we understood just what we were getting.

The first time we got in our new plug and plat hot tub we were enthralled with the warmth of the water and the soothing effectiveness of the jet sprays. It wasn’t a lengthy assembly so we got right in. This was going to be a wonderful summer. Everyone would come and visit to join in.

We had to keep lots of cold beverages in the cooler alongside the unit and plenty of snacks on hand. After all, it became the hub of family water recreation. Just sitting and talking was fun. It was relaxing and restorative. The kids would have liked a bit more space for splashing but this is an adult activity to be sure.

Family Reunion

Posted in Family Updates

I love being in charge of the family history website. It is part of my love and fascination for genealogy and related research. I welcomed being assigned this role. I have constructed an extensive family tree that includes extended family on all sides. There is always some event going on that has to be chronicled and I do it willingly. I try to be in the middle of family activity and to get to include everyone as they can. All people in my circle like to check out the website for the descriptions and photos that also appear on Instagram and Facebook. I want to be comprehensive. I get suggestions now and then and follow them to the letter. This means that people are participating and reading my posts. I am about to write a new one. It will follow the next family reunion, which will take place in a few days and is expected to be a blowout with at least fifty people in attendance.

The reunion is at my house and the challenge for me now is how to entertain all the kids. There are quite a few and they don’t like to sit idly while the adults chat amongst themselves. I have to think about this. I could have games or they can play ball. That is not very original. I could hire some kind of person for entertainment such as someone who makes balloon animals. I like that idea and I think it will stick, but I need more. I started emailing friends and got some suggestions in no time flat. One said a sure bet is a bounce house for the kids. Kids never tire of jumping around inside amid all the small balls that cover them. I was so relieved to have a solution to my quest. My job now was to find a rental company that had the lowest price. These are not cheap if the bounce house is large and that is what I wanted.

There are many local vendors so all I had to do was pick a theme. Not all of them stocked the most popular houses. There was a long waiting list for castles, spooky houses, and cartoon themes. Most kids don’t care as long as they can play, but I decided to take a survey from their parents to see what would work best. Just go with the cheapest they all said. Why worry about securing a particular house. Okay, that was fine with me. The day of the reunion the bounce house made its appearance an hour before the guests arrived. It was a colorful construction with no particular decoration. It had the requisite ball floor. It could accommodate many kids at one time. Immediately upon spying the bounce house, the kids went for it. It was a hit and became the focal point of the reunion party for the younger generation. You bet that I took a lot of photos to document the fun.

Sick of Feeling Sick

Posted in Family Updates

If you have your health, you have everything, or so the saying goes. It means more to you than all the money in the world and most people would trade their riches for feeling good, especially if they have some sort of ailment. It takes on a toll on the psyche to always be feeling sick. You, in effect, get sick of it. You look for medical solutions and visit multiple physicians in search of the Holy Grail of allergy remedies, for example. Allergies are persistent and hard to combat. Not all over the counter medications work, and those what do make you feel sleepy. Allergy sufferers, you know of what I speak. We are all in the same boat. We search the Internet for that miracle cure and it turns out to be some sort of bogus pill or vitamin. I feel bad at certain times of the year when the weather wreaks havoc on my allergies.

I got so desperate that I joined an allergy support group. People meet and divulge their particular problems and what solutions they adopt. If nothing else, we give each other moral support about all the watery itchy eyes, the sneezing and stuffed up nose. Oh, if only we could breathe a deep breath. How marvelous that would be. At one meeting, a doctor attended to give a lecture since he was a specialist. He suggested a humidifier for allergies that we could add to all our other remedies. He has read studies and talked with patients and the evidence shows that these humidifiers do help. He brought some literature with him and passed it out. He also had made contact with a vendor who would sell the proper recommended humidifier to members of the group for a discount. All we had to do was to offer a testimonial for public advertising if they worked.

After the humidifiers had been given out, we all used them for an agreed upon month. We then met again and compared notes. Everyone agreed enthusiastically about the efficacy of the appliance when used along with normal allergy medication. When you have allergies you have to purify the air in your home and keep it sparkling clean and free from allergens and pollutants. The humidifier adds moisture to line the nasal and throat passages to make you feel more comfortable when you are having an attack. We wrote a thank you note to the vendor and each one added a heartfelt testimonial that he could use to show prospective clients. As for the doctor, he was so grateful that he agreed to keep pamphlets in his office for other patients.

It is clear that it takes several solutions combined to help everyone with allergies because they are often of a different kind. Ask your doctor and your pharmacist what they recommend among the many products found on the store shelves. Then get the best home humidifier and set it up in your bedroom.

Newly-Found Family

Posted in Family Updates

My passion for genealogy has led me to find new relatives I had never met before. This is one of the great benefits of the research. There are always some surprises. It is one of those on-going never ending projects you can pursue for life. Thanks to the Internet, you have ample resources. You have to be persistent and inquisitive and use every clue you get as a lead. Each one takes you to a new place. The new family I uncovered resided in the country and they invited us for a visit. We were eager to go in spite of the distance. When we got together at last, we shared our lives up to the present and everyone added a new fact to the family history. It was a great day. Since they lived in a rural area, their pastime was hunting in the nearby wilderness. A couple of cousins suggested a trip the next day so we all could spend time and get to know each other better. They wanted to show us their gun collection. They had a gun safe that they opened so we could see our weapon options for the next day. I noticed that it used a biometric fingerprint lock. I had not seen one before. My cousin John said that was the best way to keep young children and would-be intruders safe. There are way too many gun accidents in the home. The gun safe had an internal removable 12 position rack, a silent access mode feature, and was made of black power coated steel—heavy duty indeed. I made note of these features in case I ever wanted to recommend a biometric gun safe to anyone who enjoyed hunting. My family seemed to be experts so I could rely on their choice. It was all in all going to be a very new experience

John said you can keep items stored securely and quickly accessible with a scan of your fingerprint. He loved the removable storage shelves for organizing items. Pre-drilled holes on the back and bottom of the safe let you bolt it securely to a wall or floor using the included hardware. As for the biometric lock system as opposed to a key or a keypad using a code, this was an easy to use system allows you to register fingerprints in seconds.

We thoroughly enjoyed our outing and I learned as much about guns as I did about the safe. Better yet, my newly-found cousins were great companions. It is just like the saying: long lost relatives. We vowed to make a hunting trip an annual event for those who chose to participate. Not everyone is into hunting, but these folks are passionate about it. They love walking about in the woods and the wilds. They had permitted hunting grounds not far from their home. We took their Jeep and loaded it with an assortment of rifles. I was given all the proper instructions prior to usage.

Family is Everything

Posted in Family Updates

If you ask the average person about their priorities, they will say that family is everything. Hands down, this is the answer. Many families have a built-in reciprocal understanding and respect and woe be to those who don’t. Arguments and conflict can never be resolved. It is far better to have a family structure that allows for personal differences and opinions. In my family, it fortunately has always been that way for siblings and parents alike. If someone is requested to help out with an errand, a chore, or a project, you get willing volunteers. When I hear about family feuds and parents and children who never speak, I feel very sorry for them. I would happily go out of my way to do something for anyone in the family in need. If it means taking the car for repairs, so be it. If it means mowing the lawn, I’m there. If it means delivering a package, visiting a friend, attending a meeting, or driving someone to a ball game—yes, I’m there. I look for special things to do to show my love and appreciation for my parents. It’s hard to find something. A gift isn’t what I have in mind. Not long ago we were all discussing how dowdy the house looks and I got the idea that we could repaint it as a family.

I let my parents choose their own house color and trim. It was decided that a two-toned appearance would be ideal. We all chipped in and bought the paint. Then there was the matter of application. You have your choice of brushes, a roller, and an airless paint sprayer. The spray by far would be the fastest way to go. Brushes are good for small areas and a roller for interior walls. I see the professionals use their sprayers and I know for a fact they are right: this is the best mode of repainting a house if you know how to use it.

After a long weekend of group painting, the house was finished and looked fabulous. I tried not to get my parents too involved so it would be a treat for them to stand by and watch only. They made their little comments, “don’t forget this area; don’t forget that one.” Most of the time it was sheer adulation at our expert handiwork. I can’t imagine the days when people used brushed and not airless sprayers. One day someone probably got wise to modern methods. It was a great boon to the house painting industry. It is easy, quick, and functional. It cuts down on valuable time. I like that we own our sprayer so we can do touch ups now and then. Most people borrow them and have to clean them up before you return it. Now we had all the time in the world to attend to such matters. We just had to take a break from admiring our skill.

I Love My Dog, But…

Posted in Family Updates

I love the commercial for Swiffer projects that shows a little white dog named Lulu whose hair practically floats the owner says. It is all over the house and under the chairs and the sofa. It is thick as dust. The owner discovers that cleaning it up just takes a wet mop that suddenly arrived at the front door sent by Swiffer. Don’t we all relate to this scenario? So many of our dogs shed volumes of hair no matter how much we brush them on a regular basis. Many breeds shed and you might want to explore what kinds are the worst. A dog is man’s best friend but he requires a lot of care and effort. If you want a clean house, don’t get one who sheds like my pet husky. He is my constant companion. I love him dearly but there is a price to pay. Part of the price is a new vacuum cleaner that is light weight and portable enough to carry around to get all the hair in nooks, crannies, and corners. And believe me, like the TV commercial, the hair goes everywhere.

A dog may be man’s best friend, but the vacuum is my home’s best friend right now, more than my new electric grill. The housekeeper can stop complaining now that I have a vacuum for pet hair to resolve the biggest problem she was always moaning about. What do people do who have more than one dog? The hair gets on shelves and the surface of the furniture. It takes constant dusting or it stays visible. You could write your name in it. But the bulk of it is on the floor where the vacuum part of the process comes into play. I can easily switch attachments so I can go from wood floor to tile in seconds. The carpet also needs a once over even though the pet hair doesn’t show as much there. But trust me, it is.

Pet hair is all part of owning an indoor dog or even a cat. While most animals like to be outside all the time and love long walks, they also want to be your companion when you are home. Some get so excited at your arrival that they roll around on the nice clean floor. You put up with it. It’s your beloved pet and you missed him, too. A good vacuum saves the day. You don’t have to get the most expensive and elaborate model, just one powerful enough to suck up the hair. You probably will have to empty the bag or the inside of the machine quite often so the pet hair doesn’t not over accumulate and spill out re-soiling the floor. Okay, as I said, it takes work. Who would get rid of a pet they adored just because they had to vacuum a couple times a week. You can do it in a jiffy—ten minutes tops.