Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Network with Neighbors in Your Apartment Community

Why not try your hand at social networking in the apartment community where you live? You’ll find the returns may not only enhance your day-to-day life, but might benefit your professional one, as well.

Meet your neighbors
In our fast-paced lives, the days of front porches and sidewalk strolls have mostly passed away. We need another way to meet our neighbors. With busy schedules and few organized ways to meet, it’s no wonder that online social networking has become the way to connect — to folks both faraway and next door.

A social network that includes the residents of your apartment community is a great way to meet and share with the people you live close to. Like a neighborhood association, social networking within your community presents a chance to get to know your neighbors and discuss apartment living issues.

Discover professional opportunities
Business and social networking have become so intertwined that it’s now relatively easy to connect what you do with who you know. Sometimes the best business connections are the ones made casually and personally, and you might discover some great professional opportunities through social interactions with your neighbors. Connections to a business, for instance, can be made through chit-chat around the pool or via a posting of your product or service on your social networking venue.

Share information
Social networks can be used by residential groups to share information about the community, coordinate get-togethers, help residents find repair assistance, discover new businesses in the area — even monitor weather concerns and neighborhood watch issues. With an online neighbors’ network, you’ll likely be better informed about what’s happening around you, and you may discover new ways to get involved.

Neighbor networking sites
Facebook is, of course, one of the most popular social networking tools around. On the site, you can create “members-only” groups, where membership could be set up and limited to residents of your apartment community.

You might also look at other sites designed to unite a very specific population — the people you live near. OneTwib lets you see other users in your area via a virtual map. You can say hello, exchange information, buy or sell things, or offer services. i-Neighbors is another site that includes discussion groups, bulletin boards and photo albums. Or sign up for HeyNeighbor to create a virtual neighbor network.

Social networking can make friends out of virtual strangers, and help connect you to your neighbors, as well. You may discover that online social networking is another great way to feel at home in your apartment community.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mistakes to Avoid When Packing a Moving Truck

Once you’ve decided to move yourself, rented a moving truck, and started packing it, there are plenty of things you can do to make your move easier — and plenty of mistakes you might make that will cost you time and stress during your move.

Here is a list of common mistakes to avoid when packing a moving truck.

Underestimating the amount of time you’ll need. There will be things that just didn’t fit into a box, things that don’t fit neatly into the space you’ve allotted, and things that just plain take a while to get out of your apartment and into the truck. For peace of mind, allow extra time for the ins and outs of packing your truck.

Not wrapping delicate objects. Bubble wrap may be expensive, but you’ll be grateful when your glasses and other breakable pieces arrive safely. If you can’t get bubble wrap, use cloth napkins and towels to protect plates and glasses.

Not wrapping or covering furniture. The furniture may be durable enough to have a few boxes stacked on it, but you’re still risking marks to the finish or upholstery. Many truck-rental companies will rent or sell you pads to cover furniture; you can also use old blankets.

Putting heavier boxes on top of lighter boxes. Don’t do this! Also, don’t pack tables on the bottom, unless you’ve disassembled them (their legs might not be able to handle the weight.)

Leaving shelves in bookshelves. Dresser drawers can be left in, however, though some people prefer to take them out and load them with items to move. Do not attempt to move furniture still loaded with items, however, as the weight and instability of drawers can be problematic.

Treating pets like furniture. Even if your pet isn’t at risk from falling or shifting boxes, the temperatures in the moving truck itself can be dangerous. Take your pet in the car. (Fish tanks require a separate set of moving procedures.)

Hanging clothes inside the truck. Many moving or storage companies will sell you boxes with built-in rods from which you can hang clothes, and that way you don’t have to worry about boxes slamming into your ironed shirts.

Saving the least important for last. It will help to think about what you’ll need from the truck first, since that’s what you’ll want to pack last. When you’re unloading at your new place, you won’t want to push through fourteen boxes of books and knickknacks just to find your toiletries, for instance.

Not getting a dolly to wheel boxes onto the truck. If you make this mistake, your back and arms will let you know, and quickly!

Assuming the moving truck drives like your car. Odds are, your car has better steering and better suspension — and less room for objects to bounce around. Tie down as much as you can. If you don’t pack very tightly, assume the boxes will have moved by the time you arrive at your new apartment.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Moving Pets

Moving isn’t just hard on you. Packing, moving and unpacking can also take a toll on your pet — especially if have a long way to travel to your new home. Here are some do’s and don’ts for moving with a pet that could help ease the transition.

Moving pet do’s
Moving pets can be tricky. Can they go in the moving van? (No.) Can I ship them? (Yes.) Can they stay in a hotel? (Depends.) Here’s what you should do when you move with your pet:

•Do plan ahead: If you know you’re moving cross-country and are flying to your new home, make all the necessary arrangements for your pet to fly with you. This means making special accommodations for your dog to be transported, either on the plane in the cargo hold or shipped by a pet transport company like WeMovePets.com. (Small dogs might be able to fly with you as passengers.)
•Do buy a good pet carrier: If you’re driving a long distance or flying, then you’ll need a good pet carrier that will protect your animal during transport.
•Do talk to your veterinarian: He knows your pet well and can advise you on whether your cat is up for major traveling. If needed, he can even prescribe a pet tranquilizer to help calm your animal down, particularly if you have a nervous dog or neurotic cat.
•Do get your pet used to the drive: If your cat never goes anywhere with you, take him on short drives leading up to the move. That way, he won’t spend the entire drive with his claws in your leg, making the trip both painful and dangerous.
•Do change your pets’ collar tags: The day you head to your new home, put the new tags on identifying your new address and new phone number in case the worst happens and you get separated from your pet.
•Do keep pets away from the moving madness: While loading up the moving van, keep them in a quiet place away from all the turmoil.
•Do find a new veterinarian before you move: Having a new doctor in your rolodex might save you precious time. Make sure to have not only the new vet’s phone number, but his address and directions to his office.
•Do comply with local laws. Many municipalities require pets to be registered with animal control in case a collar is lost. Follow the laws once you move, or you could be fined.
Moving pet don’ts
There are many things that can go wrong during a move. Losing or hurting your pet shouldn’t be one of them.

•Don’t wait until the last minute to arrange transportation: Book both of your tickets well in advance of your move.
•Don’t try to transport your pet in the back of the moving van: It’s not safe during the move. Make other arrangements.
•Do call any hotels before arriving to confirm that your pet is welcome: Many hotels do not allow pets to stay in their rooms, though that trend is changing. Consult PetsWelcome.com for pet-friendly hotels that allow animals to stay with their owners.
•Don’t forget to pack a pet travel kit: This kit should include food, a bowl, a leash, medications, and plastic bags to scoop up waste. You may also want to bring toys to provide fun distractions for your pet.
•Don’t feed your animal right before the move: They might get motion sickness.
•Don’t forget the walks: If possible, try to keep up with your animal’s normal routines: Walks, feedings, bathroom breaks. This should help keep their anxiety down from the move activities.
Moving your pet can be fairly easy if you follow some easy pet travel do’s and don’ts. The Humane Society also has great information on moving with pets, as does the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Kudzu Stink Bug Spreading Across Georgia

ATLANTA -- If you've noticed clusters of small, brown, dome-shaped bugs clinging to the outside walls of your home, you're not alone. A new critter seems to be spreading across Georgia, bringing a nasty stink.

Its scientific name is Megacopta Cribraria. They're also known as "globular stink bugs". But, most people call them kudzu bugs. They're relatively new to Georgia and North America.

Researchers believe they came here from Asia within the past couple of years, following the kudzu they apparently like to eat. In the fall, kudzu bugs gravitate to the light colored walls and windows of houses and buildings. They're apparently looking for a place to stay warm through the winter.

Last November, 11Alive reporter Marc Pickard reported on the discovery of the kudzu bug. Back then, the bug's population had not spread very far. "Its confined to just a very small number of counties," University of Georgia Entomologist Dr. David Suitor said in November 2009.

"An intense survey found the bug in eight northeast Georgia counties with Hall and Gwinnett being the closest to Atlanta," Pickard reported.

Now that kudzu bugs have been spotted inside the city, they may be on the move and growing in numbers. Though the spread of the kudzu bug could mean a check on the ever expanding patches of kudzu in Georgia, they could cause some concern in the agriculture community. They could damage soy bean crops.

The kudzu bug is a stink bug. It definitely has an odor.

The spread of the kudzu bug could be related to the spread of all kinds of stink bugs. Reports have been coming in from up and down the East Coast that stink bugs have been spreading in large numbers, posing a threat to crops.

If you're noticing these bugs on your house, you should check the seals around your doors and windows. You can also vacuum up the bugs. Just make sure you discard them AWAY from the house.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why Sandtown?

"The Sandtown Community is one of the oldest communities in Fulton County, Georgia and is located within 15 minutes from the airport and downtown Atlanta."

Sandtown has the official county designation as the Sandtown Overlay District. The Board of Commissioners of Fulton County, Georgia established the Sandtown Overlay as part of a strategy designed for the purpose, among others, of promoting the health, safety, order, prosperity and general welfare of the citizens of Fulton County through the regulation of design, aesthetics, location, bulk, size of buildings and structures, and the density and distribution of population.

For most new residents to South Fulton, any reference to Sandtown evokes thoughts of Sandtown Park, Sandtown Church or the former Sandtown Elementary School, now A. Philip Randolph. As late as 1950, County maps recognized Sandown’s boundaries as bordered by the City of Atlanta and extending on Campbellton Road from Enon Road to the Chattahoochee River (Douglass County).

Others can remember when Campbell's Grocery at the corner of Boat Rock and Campbellton was the local source of shopping for the community. At the same time, Sandown’s crossroads were near Boat Rock and Cascade. Fulton Industrial was not even on the maps until the 60’s.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

78 Degrees?

What temperature do you set on your thermostat during these sultry summer days? (To clarify, I’m asking about the times of the day and week when you’re home but don’t have guests.)

Larry Teller, of the EPA believes in 78 degree, and here’s why:

•It feels fine to me, especially when coming into the house on a hot, muggy day (Contrast is often what counts in life),
•The other day, when the air conditioner maintenance guy was leaving, and resetting the thermostat, he asked, simply, “78 degrees?” He has no incentive to make me sweat, right?
•My own agency offers energy-saving/pollution reduction tips for the cooling season, including
1.Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
2.Use ceiling fans instead of, or when needed, to supplement air conditioning,
3.Close shade and blinds when you can,
4.Check and replace air conditioner filters, (or ask your First Communities maintenance staff to check them for you)
5.Plug duct leaks, and (here comes my favorite),
6.Set your thermostat higher when no one is home, and program it around your schedule
•The paragon of common sense and virtuous, energy-saving, living is also on my side: Consumer Reports boldly recommends a 78 degree setting
How do you handle this in your house? Advice is welcome.

Back To School Tips

•Remind your child that she is not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
•Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun. She’ll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
•Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride with on the bus.
•If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up on the first day.

•Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home. With this advance information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
•Try to get your child’s school to stock healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water and 100 percent fruit juice in the vending machines.
•Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. Restrict your child’s soft drink consumption.

•During early and middle childhood, youngsters need supervision. A responsible adult should be available to get them ready and off to school in the morning and watch over them after school until you return home from work. •Children approaching adolescence (11- and 12-year-olds) should not come home to an empty house in the afternoon unless they show unusual maturity for their age. •If alternate adult supervision is not available, parents should make special efforts to supervise their children from a distance. Children should have a set time when they are expected to arrive at home and should check in with a neighbor or with a parent by telephone.
•If you choose a commercial after-school program, inquire about the training of the staff. There should be a high staff-to-child ratio, and the rooms and the playground should be safe.