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Out and About – Week of October 20th

If you’re a regular reader of this column, then you know that I can be quite nostalgic. I sometimes spend too much time dwelling on the past. You might say that my “Memory Bank” is quite full. What I’m leading up to is that I was thinking the other day about how things have changed over the past couple of years as far as my coffee klatch is concerned. A couple of years back, I mentioned the guys that I had coffee with every morning. I gave them nicknames so as not to divulge their true identity. Scooter Bob and Oxygen Bob are examples of the nicknames. Anyway, we’d gather at the old power plant on West Michigan Avenue in Three Rivers. We’d try very hard not to get too rowdy but were not very successful. We were never thrown out of the coffee cafe, but Aimee, more than once, did have her cell phone out and ready to punch in 9-1-1.

Things have changed over the past couple of years. Oh, Scooter Bob is still the first to arrive every morning, but he no longer has a scooter. Oxygen Bob also continues to come in every morning and he’s still working with oxygen. The question is that we never know if he’s going to work or coming home from work. Stan is no longer with us, and a couple of the other regulars have slipped off the radar. I miss the way it was, but some things just can’t stay the same. Harold comes in just about every day, but he’s been arriving later; so, if this keeps up, we’re going to insist that he bring a note from his mother. It’s nice having great memories, but it’s even more fun making new ones.

Like many other homeowners, I’ve tried to get things done outside. I’m sure I’ll mow the lawn at least one more time, and I’m sure I’ll be gathering leaves for at least another month, even though we have no trees on our property. The most difficult part of getting those seasonal things taken care of is having the right day to get them done. We get one day of sunshine, followed by two days of rain. If we’re lucky, a nice-weather day might fall on a Saturday. There goes your chances of playing a round or two of golf. There are difficult choices we all must make. Play golf, or clean the gutters.

Consumer Reports has six helpful hints that could save you some money. I’ll share three of them with you this week and mention the other three in next week’s column. Here are the first three:

  • Replace your roof. Home improvement expert Jeanne Huber recommends replacing the roof if it’s over 20 years old, or if the roof has experienced harsh conditions. If you have minimal leaks or damage now, you might experience severe damage if snow and ice accumulate on your roof causing enough pressure to cause the roof to collapse. The signs of having a bad roof might include water stains on your heater, damp areas around the fireplace, dark spots on the ceiling, and peeling paint underneath the roof overhang. As far as the roof itself, look for buckled shingles, cracks in the caulk, rusted flashing, and an accumulation of asphalt in the gutters.
  • Install Heated Floors.According to an article by the National Association of Home Builders, radiant floor heating systems allow homeowners to be comfortable at temperatures 6 to 8 degrees lower than those who use forced heating systems. Another benefit of heated flooring is that you will have a healthier home. Dust will not be blown around, as it would with a central heating system. If money were no object, I’d heat my driveway.
  • Fix/Replace Your Heater. Your heating system should be serviced regularly by a professional, who can ensure that everything is working properly. You can check your heating ducts for leaks and patch them with the proper tape from your local hardware. It’s a great idea to place an insulating jacket around your water tank. Also, the first six feet of pipes connected to the water heater should also be insulated. Make sure nothing blocks the flow of heat from vents or radiators. Last winter was rough and this winter promises to be just as uncomfortable.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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