November 24th, 2014

Make a concrete (patio) decision

Posted by at 8:06 pm

The summer is gone, so there will be fewer days spent lying around in the sun the next few months. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be brighter days ahead. Remember drifting away in crooked chairs on the lumpy lawn, thinking how nice your own patio would be? Now’s the time to turn those fuzzy dreams into concrete reality. Despite stiff competition from wooden decks, the backyard concrete patio is a simple and elegant solution to too much yard and not enough places to sit. Perfect for entertaining, hard-surface gaming or pure enjoyment, the concrete patio is hard to beat, and you can do it  yourself in a few easy steps. Can you dig it? Take that first big step with a little prep. Plan your work and work your plan. How much is too much? Just need a little...
Read more
November 10th, 2014

The hard sell

Posted by at 6:31 pm

So, you’re finally looking to buy a new home. Congratulations. Unfortunately, it usually means you’re going to have to sell the old one. That’s a double dip of stress. Too bad most of us can’t afford two homes. The decision to sell will be emotional. It should be carefully considered and never entered into lightly. Keep these things in mind. There’s a lot of reasons to sell – an expanding family, job change, income change, desire for children to attend a different school – but even if your reasons aren’t financial, there will almost always be a financial component. Try to figure out what your total profit will be on a sale. If paying off your previous mortgage, closing costs and real estate agent’s commissions isn’t leaving you much – or even setting you back – it might be time...
Read more
November 7th, 2014

Clean your dishwasher to get dishes cleanest

Posted by at 4:36 pm

To keep a dishwasher running at its best, the most important maintenance chore is keeping the machine clean. It may sound counter intuitive, but there are a lot of places on a dishwasher that water never sees, as well as some filters that need to be removed and cleaned regularly to remove larger chunks of food and other debris. Take a spin To begin the cleaning process, start with the spinning arms. All standard dishwasher have at least one, and many models have two or three. In some machines, the arms remove rather easily, but in others, you will have to use a ratchet wrench. The spinning arms spin in circles and expel hot water through holes located around the exterior. In older model dishwashers, the holes are only on one side. If these holes aren’t open, your dishwasher won’t...
Read more
November 4th, 2014

Solving neighbor problems… or not

Posted by at 12:36 am

What do you do about neighbors who just make your life miserable? Mostly friendly and full of advice, these people have no idea what a nightmare it is to live next door. Picture the family of Cousin Eddie, the beer-swilling, trailer-dwelling Randy Quaid character from the “Vacation” movies. Now picture your neighborhood full of them. Night of the living Quaids Actually, an all-hillbilly neighborhood would probably be easier to deal with. But nightmare neighbors come in every stripe: either they have six dogs who bark all night, or they have six cats who run free (and probably unspayed) through the neighborhood. The guy behind you won’t pay to trim his giant pine tree, even though it’s devouring the sunlight for every other tree in a four-lot radius. Kitty corner is the lady who hasn’t mowed the backyard since 1984. On...
Read more