Homeowners doing major renovations this summer may not want to hear it, but there’s actually such a thing as doing too much. Spending too much. Adding too much. Bankrate‘s Dana Dratch says over-improving means you may be bringing a curse upon yourself: sinking so much into upgrades, renovations or additions that you’ve burned nearly all […]
National Trivia Day
Impress your friends with the interesting facts that fill your brain. Or wow a roomful of people by attending a local trivia event!
National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
Show support for local officers by sharing a positive story on social media, wearing blue, or displaying blue lights outside your home.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
This day is not just about honoring the man; it’s also about contributing to your community to honor his legacy.
National Pie Day [not Pi Day!]
Sweet or savory, meat or fruit, we really don’t mind as long as it’s pie!
Chinese New Year
Usher in the Year of the Rat with red envelopes, new clothes, and a break from cleaning!
Have Fun at Work Day
The Red Sox lost Babe Ruth to the NY Yankees — for $125,000.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which later became known as the March of Dimes.
Alaska became the first noncontiguous state.
The rainbow Apple logo was developed and company founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak introduced the Apple II computer to the public.
HBO aired the pilot episode of The Sopranos, only the second original drama it had ever made (The Wire was the first hour-long drama).
Free online encyclopedia Wikipedia launched.
Celebrities born in January include Hayao Miyazaki, Ellen DeGeneres, Dolly Parton, Oprah Winfrey, and Justin Timberlake.
When winter weather strikes, you may think it’s time to stop putting your house out there, but don’t worry. You can still successfully show a house in the winter months, but it will take a little extra preparation. In fact, buyers who are shopping in the winter are often highly motivated, because they typically have an urgent need to move during the “off season.” This, combined with fewer houses on the market in many communities, can lead to an easier sale. Here are some tips to help you showcase your home well, even if the snow and ice are hitting your community.
Keep Walkways Clear
Make sure that people who are interested in your home can clearly see the path from driveway to front door. This means shoveling and salting all season long. You need to be proactive about this, even if the snow is actively falling, because footprints from people walking on freshly fallen snow can turn into dangerous ice. Also, keep that “for sale” sign free of snow, so people who drive by know the home is available.
Leave Space for Wet Shoes
Have a space by your front door where potential buyers can leave wet shoes. Most buyers will be respectful enough not to tramp into your home wearing wet shoes, if you provide a spot for them. Be prepared for some extra cleaning, though, because some potential buyers won’t feel comfortable removing their shoes.
Turn on the Lights
When you leave your home for a potential showing, turn on all of the lights. Winter tends to be a darker time of year, and you want your home to show as clearly as possible. In addition, open all blinds and curtains to let in as much natural light as possible.
Make It Warm
Even if you enjoy a little chill in the air during the winter, buyers should feel warm and toasty when they walk in. During showings, increase the thermostat a little higher than usual before buyers arrive, then set it back to your comfort level during the showing to keep the furnace from kicking on while the buyers are in the home.
Take Photos Strategically
If you have the freedom to, take the photos of your home on a day when there is either fresh snow or before the grass dies at the end of fall. The photos will live on the Internet for a while, so you want them to showcase the home well. A dreary yard with half melted snow may cause the home to show poorly.
Selling your home in the winter is possible, and can even be quite successful, but it does require a little strategic planning. With these tips, you can have a successful winter home sale.
Close out 2019 with a month full of celebrations!
Whether it’s buying someone a coffee or raising funds for an important cause, consider how you can show your generosity today.
Pearl Harbor Day
In remembrance of the lives that were lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Wreaths Across America Day
Wreath-laying ceremonies across the country honor all the veterans of America’s armed forces who will be missed this holiday season.
Join Us In Billerica – more info
First Day of Winter
‘Tis the season for sweater weather! (BTW, what temperature calls for a sweater? Different states have different opinions.)
A celebration of love and light. Happy Hanukkah!
Family, community, and culture are the cornerstones of this week-long pan-African celebration.
New Year’s Eve
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
When Is Veterans Day?
- Veterans Day occurs on November 11 every year in the United States.
- In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
- In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.
- Great Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World War I and World War II on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November).
- In Europe, Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.
The military men and women who serve and protect the U.S. come from all walks of life; they are parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and are an important part of their communities. Here are some facts about the veteran population of the United States:
- 18.2 million living veterans served during at least one war.
- 9% of veterans are women.
- 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War.
- 5.5 million veterans served during the Persian Gulf War.
- Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 496,777 are still alive as of 2018.
- 2 million veterans served during the Korean War.
- 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
- As of 2015, 3.89 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
- As of 2017, the top 3 states with the highest percentage of veterans among their population: Alaska, Montana & Maine.
- The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 170 medical centers; more than 1,063 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics.
A highlight of this month’s happenings.
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs estimates there are around 19 million veterans in the U.S. You probably know one — so hug a vet today!
Are you ready to take your recycling game to the next level? Take the pledge!
Take a Hike Day
Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned hiker, find a trail near you and enjoy the scenic wilderness in your area.
Education Support Professionals Day
Show some love to your school’s front office staff, bus drivers, security staff, and other support staff who contribute to a child’s education.
The practice of sending turkeys to the White House began in the 1870s. In 1989, George H.W. Bush granted the first official turkey “pardon.”
Small Business Saturday
While nearly any warmer-than-usual day in fall is often called Indian summer, a true Indian summer must have these traits:
Occurs between Nov. 11 and Nov. 20
Warm weather following a period of true cold weather or a hard frost
A hazy atmosphere
Clear and cool nights, in significant contrast to the daytime temperatures
Produce in season this month includes apples, arugula, bok choy, cauliflower, chard, endive, leeks, onions, parsnips, pears, pumpkins, radishes, and spinach.
• Regularly clean gutters and downspouts. Make sure all drainage areas are unblocked by leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.
• Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Use caulk to fill the holes or completely replace the wood.
• Inspect your roof, or hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or crackling, replace them. If you have a lot of damage, it’s time to replace the entire roof. Also, check the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. If you have any leaks or gaps, heavy snow and ice will find its way in.
• To prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, if not; the water can freeze up and damage the pipes.
• Wrap water pipes that run along exterior walls with heating tape. It will save energy and prevent them from freezing.
• Clean and replace filters in your furnace or heating system. Contact a licensed heating contractor to inspect and service your gas heater or furnace to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Check the attic to make sure the insulation is installed properly. The vapor barrier on insulation should face down toward the living space. If it is installed incorrectly (with the vapor barrier facing up) then the insulation will trap moisture causing possible water problems. Cut slits in the vapor barrier to allow moisture to escape.
• Clean Out Your Dryer Lint Vent – Corral those lint bunnies. Those deceptively harmless looking little fluffs love to snuggle down in your dryer vents and lint traps. Before you know it, they multiply like, well, rabbits. Dryer lint is extremely flammable if you let it build up in the vents. You can hire someone to do this for you, or you can do it yourself and buy a vacuum attachment made specifically for cleaning out dryer vents.
• Clean Your Refrigerator Coils! You can eliminate more than 70 percent of service calls with this simple cleaning step. Skip this chore and you’ll be contributing to your appliance repair technician’s retirement fund. Not to mention handing over $5 to $10 a month extra to your utility company because the fridge isn’t running efficiently.
Do it twice a year or more often if you have shedding pets. Their fur clogs up the coils fast. Condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. These coils cool and condense the refrigerant. When the coils are clogged with dirt and dust, they can’t efficiently release heat. The result is your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your fridge.
• “Childproof” Your Outlets Even If You Don’t Have Kids -Sticking a simple child proof plug into your electrical outlets could save you 5% on your energy bill this year. Who knew that doing something to protect your kids could also protect your bank account! Electrical outlet boxes typically don’t have any insulation behind them, creating what is basically a hole in your wall. On a windy day take some incense or a match and put it in front of an outlet (one without a plug in it of course) and see if you can see air movement.
Fall Garden Maintenance
• Fall is the perfect time to divide or move perennials. Remove dead annuals and mulch hardy perennials. Annuals typically die when temperatures drop below freezing. But perennials often appear as though they too have bitten the bullet. That’s because their top growth dies back, although in most cases the root ball is hardy enough to survive even extreme temperatures, especially if it’s covered with a layer of mulch.
• Trim dead branches out the trees to prevent them from coming down and causing damage in a winter storm.
• Rake up the thick layers of leaves that settle on lawn surfaces. Large leaves in particular, especially when they get wet, can compact to the point where they suffocate the grass below and lead to all kinds of insect and disease problems. So it’s a good idea to routinely rake or blow them off the lawn or, better yet, use a mulching mower to shred them into fine pieces.
• Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn; it will allow moisture and nutrients to get into the roots. When you’re done, spread fertilizer then grass seed.
• This will be the ideal time to sow cool-season grasses such as fescue and rye – it will give them the opportunity to germinate and develop a good root system before freezing temperatures arrive. It’s also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. When given adequate nutrients, turf grasses have the ability to store food in the form of carbohydrates during the winter months. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.
Check For Pests
• Pests love attics because they are full of nice warm insulation for nesting, and they offer easy access to the rest of the house. With gable vents that lead into the attic it is a good idea to install a screen behind them to keep those critters out.
• Even after closing off those entryways, pests can still find a way in. The first place to check for any unwanted guests is under the kitchen cupboards and appliances.
• Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and put in fresh batteries. These are very important detectors to have in a home. A smoke alarm can save lives in a house fire. A carbon monoxide detector can also save lives if a home has oil or gas-burning appliances, like a furnace or water heater.
• Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless byproduct of burning oil or natural gas, and it can be deadly. For just a few dollars, a carbon monoxide detector will sound an alarm if the levels get too high.
• Always install carbon monoxide detectors according to manufacturer’s instructions. Generally they should be installed near each potential source of carbon monoxide, and within ear shot of the living and sleeping areas.
• Have your wood-burning fireplace inspected, cleaned and repaired to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.