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Signs of an Unsafe Work Environment

Signs of an Unsafe Work Environment

In all occupations, employers are obligated to ensure their employees are provided with a safe work environment and protective equipment. As a safe environment is mandated by law, you need to help keep your employer accountable by being able to identify signs of an unsafe work environment so that proper action can be taken.

Violating OSHA Guidelines

OSHA is a governmental organization and therefore their established practices and regulations are not recommendations, but mandatory by law. OSHA guidelines are readily available for anyone to look up, so you should familiarize yourself with these guidelines and ensure your employer is doing the same. Guideline violations can be something as seemingly small as a lack of fall protection like guard rails or harnesses on a construction site. Don’t hesitate to address OSHA violations.

No Safety Training

While working in an office doesn’t pose many job-related hazards, many manual labor occupations such as construction are innately hazardous. It’s vital that employers train employees to properly operate machinery, equipment, and personal protection equipment. If you’re offered no training or guidance when hired, that should be a red flag. Don’t place yourself in danger by operating machinery without being taught how to use it.

Missing Personal Protection Equipment

Worse than not being trained to use personal protection equipment is the complete lack of it. This equipment is capable of mitigating most workplace hazards and should be considered one of the biggest signs of an unsafe work environment if not provided. A lack of proper protective equipment is clear neglect of an employer’s duty.

Excessive Overtime

While it’s normal to sometimes request employees to work overtime in order to meet strict demands or big projects, it should never be the norm. Being overworked and overly stressed is detrimental to an employee’s mental and physical wellbeing. Fatigue and caution do not go together, and fatigued employees will be more prone to mistakes that could cause injury to themselves and their coworkers.

Activities To Take Up During Retirement

Activities To Take Up During Retirement

With retirement comes much free time. Are you unsure what to do with that free time? Well, we’re here with a few different activities to take up during retirement that you might enjoy. Look at the list below and see if any of these hobbies interest you. Who knows, you might just find your favorite past time!

Learn a New Language

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language but never had the time to dedicate yourself to the studies that it entails? You now have all the time in the world! Pick the language that you want to master and do your research on the best way to go about it. Dedicate yourself to your studies and before you know it you will be able to speak a new language. How cool is that?

Become a Beekeeper

While this might seem out of your comfort zone, there are many benefits that come with this hobby. Not only will you be spending a closer and more intimate time with nature, but you’ll also be able to benefit from the honey as well. If this is something that you are wanting to look into, there are copious amounts of information on the internet to help you get started, as well as the tools and equipment to do it safely. You’ll never have to buy honey again!

Volunteer Your Time

Many individuals don’t volunteer simply because they do not have the time. If that was the case, you now have time to dedicate yourself to a cause that you want to volunteer to help. Not only will it be a great use of your time, but you can really make a difference.

All three of these activities to take up during retirement are not only a great way to spend your time, but they’ll better you as an individual. While there is nothing wrong with relaxing and spending your time watching television, these will at least be proactive ways to better yourself and your everyday life. If these three aren’t for you, start looking for an activity that is!

Exterior Home Projects To Upgrade Your Façade

Exterior Home Projects To Upgrade Your Façade

Home improvement projects are easily some of the more rewarding projects you can undertake throughout the year. Luckily, not everything has to be as dramatic as a complete repaint or new siding. You can tackle a lot of smaller details at almost any time of the year to instantly improve your home’s façade.

Touch Up the Details

When it comes to a house, the little stuff matters. Digging into the details is often the cheapest and quickest exterior home project to upgrade your façade. Touch up worn-out paint on the high-traffic areas of the porch. Consider installing a fresh doorbell ringer if the old one is starting to act up or show wear. Redo the trim on the foyer windows, and wipe down the glass panes as well. Replace or repaint hardware such as railings, hinges, and handles if they’re beginning to rust or lose their finish. Changing out your house numbers, especially, has a fast effect and sends a signal of caring about a home. Adding a doormat, planters, or pleasant decorations with silhouettes or sayings is also a nice way to add charm.

Improve the Lighting

The next few exterior home projects to upgrade your home façade concern light. No small detail in practicality, lighting is much more than a decorative touch. A well-lit porch sends a great signal to visitors that a home is welcoming and loved. Besides obviously providing light, fixtures for the front of a house can be very expressive. With more styles available than ever at low prices, lighting can be tied into a home’s aesthetics with minimal effort.

Overhaul the Fixtures

You can also dramatically improve other various details of your home’s façade. Rather than touching up the paint on a window, you can install an entirely new decorative variety to brighten up an entryway. You can also install a more interesting door for visual impact and to allow varying amounts of light to enter, depending on the style. Upgrading from a dull hunk of wood to a beautiful mahogany door sends a strong message of pride in ownership. Installing or updating a porch can be a very enjoyable project with long-lasting rewards. Lastly, redoing your porch steps is a subtle way to make a big impact on personal day-to-day comfort and ease of use for your guests.

Factors To Consider Before Installing a Pool

Factors To Consider Before Installing a Pool

Something about the thought of installing a pool is so exciting, no matter how old you are. The only problem is, once you’re older, you have to deal with all the logistics, and there are a few factors to consider before installing a pool. Here are a few of those key questions to ask yourself before committing to the ordeal.

The Local Zoning Laws

Make sure that your lawn is suitable and conforms to your local zoning laws. Some backyards, for a multitude of reasons, are seen as unfit or unsafe for the construction of an inground pool.

Some of these regulations say that a pool needs to be a certain distance from the house or from the street. Another zoning requirement is that there must be a fence of a certain height surround the pool. Laws vary from state to state, but there’s always red tape somewhere.

What Type of Pool?

There are a few options available to you when you decide what the pool’s going to be made out of. The three main types are fiberglass, vinyl-lined, and concrete. Each one has its positives and negatives, and you can pick one based on your aesthetic taste or budgetary constraints.

The main differences are that vinyl-lined is quick, easy, and cheap to install but requires constant replacement of the liner. Fiberglass pools need less maintenance than vinyl but are more expensive. And concrete is by far the most durable but takes time to install and is not cheap.

The Maintenance Costs

One of the biggest factors to consider before installing a pool is the constant cost of upkeep. Whether it’s the filter breaking down, fishing out any leaves or animals that fall in, buying chlorine, or paying for all the water to fill it with, there are several costs that come with owning a swimming pool.

Pools need a lot of care and handling. Sometimes it can be a simple clean, whereas other times it needs a whole new filtration system. Pool maintenance is essential to keep it going for years, and it is a big barrier to entry for a lot of people.

Pools are great fun and one of the best ways to enjoy a warm afternoon. But it also takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make the dream come true.

Living with PTSD During the Winter and Unknowns Ahead


By Jack Estes

It’s windy, wet and raining as I look out the window on our old oak tree. Squirrels dash and dart and crows rest on long limbs. The season’s changing as we celebrate the holidays and head into the winter season, like I am.  It’s been over fifty years since I killed someone. Today I’m remembering. 

In December of 1967 I was eighteen, flunking out of college, with no money or job and my girlfriend was pregnant, so I ran…into the Marine Corps. At the time, I didn’t even know where Vietnam was or what we were fighting for. I thought I’d grow up. I figured if I was in the Marines I’d have some income and the military would pay for the birth of our baby.  

Following boot camp and training, I was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines as a rifleman in Vietnam, close to the DMZ. I carried an M-16 and was placed in Kilo Company. Most of our time was spent in the bush. We would chopper out to the base of mountains, carrying 70-pound packs and climb through jungle so dense the sky would disappear. We could easily lose the Marine in front of us. We would dig in, run patrols, set ambushes and fight when we were attacked.  Gurney was the first to die, lying close to me. His head was back, and his mouth was open. There was a hole in his throat and he had a stunned look in his eyes. His face is still with me.

On that operation we found one of the largest enemy caches ever, with a bloody underground hospital, rockets, artillery, AK-47’s, ammunition and SDS tee-shirts, from the Students of a Democratic Society. We carried our dead and wounded for two days, before choppers could come and lift them away.

In December of 68, I applied for, and was transferred into, a Combined Action Platoon, consisting of ten Marines, a Navy Corpsman and about a dozen Vietnamese villagers called Popular Force soldiers. It was a counterinsurgency concept that was deadly but effective in winning hearts and minds. I wanted to know the people and thought there would be less combat. It might be easier living in a small village, I reasoned, imagining fewer firefights and less humping. Unfortunately I was wrong. We set ambushes and ran night patrols every night. Some nights we ran four men night killer teams, searching huts, which was harrowing.

During the first three months of 69 we were hit hard by NVA and Viet Cong, coming out of the mountains, trying to launch attacks against US bases in Da Nang. Many Marines were killed and wounded.   My best friend Bob was shot four times while we were moving a wounded Marine. Running out of battle dressings I tied Bob’s shattered arm together with my sock. After that I could feel myself changing. I became flat and unemotional. 

When I came home my young wife left me. She took our child. She was scared of me. I had trouble in my mind. I found this power of being able to look at people and have them fear me. It was the 1000 yard stare. I developed deep hatred for the anti-war movement. They burned flags, and draft cards and carried signs crying out that we were “Baby Killers.” Walking alone I seethed and swore.  My mind would see a hole in the ground and think of a firefight and see Gurney dead and Bob wounded. In CAP I pulled a wounded corpsman into my hole one night and he was shot again lying on top of me. I had survivor’s guilt. I wished someone would shoot me because my wounds were so slight. I was hyper alert 24/7, always checking who was behind me or looking ahead for possible ambushes. I thought of getting on top of a building and firing down on protesters and dropping grenades, because I was angry and they were hurting me.  

I drank and fought in bars or in the streets. Then I tried therapy at the VA, rap groups and writing about it. What saved me was writing and meeting my future wife, Colleen. She was a real estate developer and I was just starting my real estate career. She showed empathy for me, even though she had been a protester. We had long conversations over the phone. I sold a building she owned and we went out on a first date. That night she asked me to marry her and I still had nothing. She said she would pay for all our bills for the first year. We were married a few weeks later. Even though I was thrown in jail on our wedding night and two more times that year, she stayed with me. And directed me to seek help.

For years I was in therapy at the VA and with private counselors. We attended retreats and seminars. We went to a Dalai Lama conference, and later studied with Deepak Chopra. Danaan Perry led us on a weeklong retreat in the woods. He had worked in Ireland with Catholic and Protestants soldiers, to help heal their pain from war. Louise Hay, who wrote “You Can Heal Yourself,” held a symposium we attended. While my wife sat in the audience I stood at the back guarding the door, thinking how easy they could all be killed without me there. 

When we argued I wanted to hang myself in the garage, thinking she would understand how sorry I was. During this same time period my wife and I created the Fallen Warriors Foundation, to honor American Soldiers and help heal the pain of war. It started with a trip back to Vietnam with Colleen and our two young children. When I stepped off the plane it was shattering. I could almost feel the molecules in my body separate.  We carried medical and educational supplies and toys. We delivered them to run down hospitals, clinics, schools, and orphanages. I felt a sense of purpose. 

I was taking medication and doing more cognitive behavioral treatment and my PTSD symptoms were easing.  We expanded our work with FWF returning four times, taking back other veterans and doctors and nurses, which was healing for me. Back home we held sweat lodges to help veterans deal with their pain. Imagine eight veterans, inside a four foot high canvas shelter, now in their 40’s, sitting shirtless, in a circle around glowing hot rocks, their bodies scarred, from bullet holes and shrapnel. For seventeen years we held annual silent retreats for veterans and their families, guided by a Zen Buddhist monk named Claude Anshin Thomas. Claude had been a helicopter crew chief in Vietnam and was shot down several times. These were incremental steps to combat PTSD.

Now there are newer modalities to treat PTSD such as Psilocybin from mushrooms and a shot in the back of the neck with Stellate Ganglion. Some call it the God shot. There is however, no magic bullet that will cure PTSD permanently, but I have learned that it is better to reveal pain then trying to conceal it. Returning to my battlefield helped ease the pain. Helping others was good therapy. Writing, medication and love all helped to save me. 

Jack Estes is a military author Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam in 1968-’69. His latest book Searching for Gurney is available now, following his acclaimed memoir, A Field of Innocence, and debut novel, A Soldier’s Son. Learn more about Estes and connect with him on his website.

5 Tips to Help Seniors Exercise During the Pandemic


By now, most seniors are aware that they’re among the most vulnerable demographic groups when it comes to contracting COVID-19.

That said, a recent nationwide poll by Tivity Health, a national provider of senior fitness, nutrition and healthy lifestyle solutions, including SilverSneakers, a community fitness program designed for older adults, indicates many are probably not getting the exercise they need to maintain optimal health.

In the poll, 46% of adult and senior respondents said the pandemic is preventing them from attending in-person exercise classes at local gyms, although 84% noted they’ll return within a month once attendance is deemed safe by authorities.

A core challenge is reduced gym access, as quarantines prove problematic for many older Americans trying to continue exercise regimens. Exercise remains critical for seniors to maintain a healthy immune system that’s able to fight off disease. Regular workouts can also increase balance and strength and help prevent falls.

For seniors, falls are an all-too-common threat and crisis; Johns Hopkins University reports that 25% of adults 65 or older fall, and three million are treated in emergency rooms each year for injuries caused by falls.

“This pandemic has brought great challenges and stress for seniors. But the good news is, there are ways to exercise safely and maintain an active lifestyle,” says Tivity Health president and CEO Richard Ashworth. “Exercise is vital for maintaining optimal health, and through easy-to-access digital and in-person options, it is our hope seniors can continue or renew exercise regimens quickly and safely.”

Maintaining regular exercise during COVID-19 need not be difficult. If you’re a senior wanting to maintain effective workouts each day, here are some tips you can follow even if you’re practicing social isolation.

1) Start slowly. If you haven’t been exercising, you’ll want to ease into your new routine gradually. Studies indicate just two weeks of inactivity (or a 75% reduction in daily steps) can decrease your muscle strength by 8%, while dropping 1,000 to 1,500 steps each day can raise inflammation and blood pressure. Jump-start your new regimen with safe exercises like squats, wall push-ups, light weightlifting regimens and taking walks (keeping distance from others for safety).

2) Subscribe to a digital exercise program. You do not need to leave your home to exercise each day. That’s especially true if you sign up for a high-quality digital regimen that fits well with your exercise goals and preferences.

In fact, 56% of seniors responding to the poll said their future workout plans call for participating in online classes two to three times per week. Instructor-led online exercise sessions are being offered to all SilverSneakers members. In addition, free Facebook Live classes led by SilverSneakers national trainers are broadcast multiple times a week. The national fitness membership organization designed the virtual series to help seniors stay in shape while still following precautions during the pandemic.

3) Avoid prolonged sitting. Even if you must set a timer to remind yourself, take frequent breaks from sitting and engage in rejuvenating strolls — or simply take part in activities that involve standing. The point is to avoid being sedentary for long intervals of time.

4) Use others as motivation. In the poll, 44% of responding seniors said they’re motivated to return to their fitness centers to see and socialize with friends. If you feel more motivated when not exercising all by yourself, you might optimize FaceTime, Zoom or even a quick phone call to interact with fitness-minded others as you work out at home.

5) Check out local fitness centers. Before attending local gyms, learn what they’re doing to keep their customers safe and to align with recommended CDC guidelines. If you feel safe enough to participate, exercise in open spaces where you can maintain six feet of distance from others. You might also check out low-intensity options such as water exercise classes, yoga or Tai Chi.

Whether you’re staying at home or practicing safe social distancing while out and about, there’s no need to give up the exercise that can help you maintain optimal health during the pandemic. Take steps now to ensure you’re taking good care of yourself through age-appropriate workouts and movement.

For more information, visit silversneakers.com.

3 of the Most Common Types of Residential Drainage Systems

3 of the Most Common Types of Residential Drainage Systems

Do you find yourself needing to install a drainage system? Well, depending on your needs, there are a few options available to solve your problem. Not all systems are right for every job, but there are a few common types of residential drainage systems that will cover most bases.

Swale Drains

Typically seen on the sides of roadways, swale drains are shallow ditches that are lined with turf, and they can also be installed around residential yards. They are used to slow down and control water run-off outdoors. They also have the added benefit of preventing water from puddling, which can result in the erosion of surrounding soil. All of this can prevent basements from flooding during rainy seasons or backyards from becoming ruined.

Trench Drains

As the name suggests, a trench drain is a long trench that’s designed to catch water. The trench then channels the water to remove it from one location and dump it in another drainage point. Trenches can extend to great lengths to catch water from a very wide surface area. Whether it surrounds a pool or stretches across a driveway, trench drains have a variety of applications. This variety means that there are important factors to consider when choosing a trench draining system.

French Drains

Not to be confused with trench drains, these types of drains are installed under the surface of your yard. The highest point of the drain slopes down to the lower pipes, transporting excess water run-off to a lower point of dispersal. These are one of the most common types of residential drainage systems to find around the yard, with most of the pipes hidden and able to easily dispose of water into nearby sewer systems or cisterns.

Choose the right drainage system for the job; don’t go around putting trench drains all over the back yard. If you do, you’ll be halfway through the process and remember that you were supposed to use French drains.

Tips for Maintaining a Green Construction Site

Tips for Maintaining a Green Construction Site

The desire for sustainable residential and commercial structures steadily rises when people develop concern for the state of the environment. To create eco-friendly buildings, there must first be eco-friendly construction sites. To develop highly desirable, environmentally conscious buildings, consider implementing these tips for maintaining a green construction site.

Assemble a LEED Accredited Team

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is the most widely used rating system in the world for green buildings. In order to obtain a LEED accreditation, you must complete a project that earned a certain amount of LEED points by meeting a variety of set criteria pertaining to the efficiency, health, and sustainability of a building in terms of construction and design.

Having a LEED-accredited team will ensure they’re focused on keeping sustainability as a top priority throughout the project. In addition to improving the eco-friendliness of the building being constructed, a LEED-accredited team can help increase the property’s value and make the building eligible for a host of financial incentives.

Properly Dispose of Construction Materials

Construction sites generate a considerable amount of waste. To mitigate the negative environmental impact of such waste, properly dispose of excess construction materials.

Rather than simply dumping the waste in a trash bin to be taken to a landfill, consider conducting a waste audit to determine which materials can be reused or recycled. Partnering with waste removal services that have sustainability as a top priority is also a great way to help reduce environmentally destructive waste disposal practices on your construction site.

Utilize Sustainable Materials

One of the most obvious and effective tips for maintaining a green construction site is to utilize sustainable materials in your construction project. Using materials that are rapidly renewable, recycled, or recyclable will help mitigate the negative impact construction materials often have on the environment.

Using prefabricated or pre-assembled construction materials in a project can also help make your construction site more eco-friendly. By opting for prefabricated materials, you can reduce the large amount of waste construction sites often create as a result of ordering surplus material. Because the piece is delivered whole, there’s no risk that you won’t have enough materials and, thus, you won’t have to order more supplies that you need. Delivering one large material is often more eco-friendly than having to transport numerous smaller materials over the course of several trips.

Backyard Bliss: How To Bring Indoor Comfort Outdoors

Backyard Bliss: How To Bring Indoor Comfort Outdoors

The outdoor living trend is catching on in all climates, and it’s the perfect fit here, with so much nature and activity to enjoy. Homeowners who have been cooped up for months have learned how to bring indoor comfort outdoors. With a few improvements, you can turn your backyard into a versatile extension of your home. Living space can be hard to come by, so make the most of what you have.

Make It Multipurpose

If your yard is big enough, separate it into zones that serve different purposes. The patio can be an elegant entertainment area, separated by a hedge from the kids’ play area. Or arrange seating around a fireplace or firepit where you can relax after dining. You can still make room for a swimming pool or fitness obstacle course.

Incorporate Your Hobbies

If you think you’d use a putting green, make it happen. There’s no reason it has to be permanent, and if helps you spend more time outside, the benefits will be worth it. Carve out a quiet corner for reading and meditation, and add a water element or a Buddha statue. If yoga in the sun would be even more satisfying for you, trick out your deck with a dedicated space for your passion: cushions on the floor, a protective awning or covering, or even an outdoor mirror.

Upgrade Furniture

We’ve been trained to settle for outdoor furniture that’s rickety, weathered, and disposable. It shouldn’t be. Take your seating seriously and buy a sturdier chaise lounge that you’d be proud to have inside the house. You’re more likely to use your yard if you have sturdy, plush furniture such as a sectional or daybed on which to linger. A hammock can be as natural or as luxurious as you want it to be. An old-fashioned swinging bench can be a homey place for conversations, or you can while away the hours in a more modern swing chair.

Install Conveniences

If you’re interested in how to bring indoor comfort outdoors, you wouldn’t be the first to install an outdoor bar. Even adding a weatherproof bar cart will come in handy in all sorts of ways: serving drinks, storing hobby supplies, offering snacks. Backyard kitchens have evolved from rugged grills to elaborate luxury kitchens and everything in between. Outdoor televisions convert your yard into a family room where you can watch the game or screen a movie. If you can do it inside, there’s a way to do it outside, too.

Difference Between Overalls and Coveralls

Difference Between Overalls and Coveralls

When it comes to work safety, there are several clothing options to wear. Besides general PPE like appropriate gloves, helmets, and goggles, different industrial work requires body coverage. Depending on the type of work, the required coverage may be partial or full body. Usually, the required garb falls into the overall or coverall categories.

What Are Overalls?

The major difference between overalls and coveralls is that overalls are partial protection. Also known as work bibs, overalls are a fusion of tough trousers, suspenders, and an apron. They are easy to slip on and sinch into place allowing for normal movement.

The legs are protected with typically a few layers of thick material, meaning the worker can kneel, crawl, and position themselves without putting their knees or legs at risk of grime or scratches.

What Are Coveralls?

Coveralls are, as the name suggests, a full body suit used in dangerous or messy work conditions. Generally, with coveralls, the work falls more on the messy side. This type of covering adds a couple layers between your skin and any surfaces you may be on, around, moving through, or under.

Additionally, coveralls seal in the day-to-day clothes, keeping grease, soot, and chemicals from staining and damaging anything. This makes for quick cleanup at the end of the day!

When To Use Overalls

Because of how quick they are to throw on, overalls are a popular option for many heavy-duty occupations. They are excellent to keep in a work truck or kit for any “just in case” situations. For anytime a bit of space is needed between the worker and anything they need to kneel on, overalls are great.

Additionally, they can be made of highly resistant materials, making them sturdy and safe in any work environment that does not require fully laying down or having the upper body near hazards. Many are made to serve a variety of industries, so deciding which one is right for you will depend greatly.

When To Use Coveralls

Coveralls are best for when a job requires workers to “suit up.” Like overalls, they too come in a wide variety of materials. The most common kind are paper, as they form a tough layer to keep off dirt while moving through safe but messy areas of a worksite.

Others are made of various cloths and synthetics. The real difference between overalls and coveralls is that with coveralls, you can expect to really get down and dirty. The full-body coverage ensures protection no matter the position.

How To Support a Friend Who’s Struggling With Their Faith

How To Support a Friend Who's Struggling With Their Faith

We are living in challenging times. One consequence of these challenges has been a loss of faith. Even if you’ve been able to stay centered during this period, many people you know may have had their beliefs shaken to the core by the death and despair of the past year. If this concerns you, here’s how to support a friend who’s struggling with their faith.

Talk To Them

We could all use a friend right now—even if we have to talk to them through video chat instead of in person. If a friend feels spiritually adrift, make yourself available for discussion and support. Don’t be surprised if the talk turns into a spirited debate, and don’t take offense if your friend has some pointed words for the church or organized religion in general. What’s most important is making sure people know they’ll always be welcome back, even if they’re questioning their faith right now.

Give the Gift of Reading

The window for traditional gift-giving may have passed, but in a sense, that’s all the more reason to stand out from the pack and give a very important gift. Whether it’s the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, or other spiritual literature, it can be a thoughtful and considerate gift for anyone struggling. Even if your recipient already owns a copy, a new edition, like a King James Version of the Bible, can put a different spin on the same scripture.

Be a Good Listener

In times of personal and spiritual tumult, one of the best things you can do to support a friend who’s struggling with their faith is to listen—listen closely, thoughtfully, and without judgment. Don’t expect to be a master therapist who can counsel a friend back to a better place with the right words of wisdom and turns of phrase. As a friend, you should make sure they feel their concerns and questions are heard.

Home Improvement Projects That You Should Never DIY

Home Improvement Projects That You Should Never DIY

These days, everyone is getting in on the DIY action. There are tons of terrific projects families can dig into around the house. However, there are a few tasks that require a lot of knowledge and should never be DIYed. Attempting these tasks could get a homeowner in way over their head, wasting time, money, and possibly even damaging their home.

Don’t Renovate Toxic Materials

This, hopefully, is one of the more obvious home improvement projects you should never DIY. However, with old houses, this advice is much less clear. Some homes are lined with hard-to-spot asbestos tiles or are coated in lead-based paints. What may seem like an easy day’s work of fixing up the floor or sanding down weathered paint can actually be very toxic. If you’re unsure, it is always best to consult an expert and have dangerous materials removed for you.

Leave the Trades To Tradesman

While we all like to fancy ourselves as well-skilled and informed individuals, there are good reasons why people get educated to do certain work. Skills like plumbing and electrical work require years of apprenticeship and hands-on toil to truly master. When an amateur attempts this kind of work, the results are often disastrous—and sometimes in ways the would-be house fixer does not realize. Plumbing may leak in subtle places that cause a slow encroach of mold or may be inefficient and cause incorrect water pressure and use. Electrical wires can become messy and, of course, are also very dangerous without proper understanding.

Avoid Complex Structure Building

More great home improvement projects that you should never DIY are ones that hinge on perfect structure and alignment. For instance, tasks like insulating and drywalling are not particularly hard. However, making a mistake can result in cracked and uneven walls, as well as mystery drafts around the house. Fences are another to-avoid DIY project without prior experience, as a lot of things can go wrong. Adding or removing components can seem simple, but often, there are fine details that come with years of experience. Changing or adding windows and skylights should never be done except by a professional, as it ]can easily result in moisture, mold, and drafts.

Three Military Vehicles You Can Buy

Three Military Vehicles You Can Buy

If you’re building a collection of military vehicles, there is a diverse range of avenues you can go down in terms of how you populate it. You can choose more modern vehicles, go with WWII-era classics, or a mixture of both. If you’re in need of some fascinating new additions to your collection, these three military vehicles you can buy will certainly achieve that fascination.

Paramount Marauder 

If you want a military vehicle in your collection that’ll make Vin Diesel blush, the Paramount Marauder is the way to go. The Marauder was originally manufactured by the South African Paramount Group in 2007, though its use spans beyond the borders of Africa.

This is a heavy-duty vehicle that was specifically built to carry immense weight and withstand the damage from incoming explosives. Despite its 15-ton weight, the Marauder has no trouble exceeding 70 MPH on the road. Suffice it to say, it’s a powerful ride.

Willys MB Jeep

If you care less about investing in something showy and instead want to rebuild and revitalize a classic, go with a Willys MB. The Willys MB is the classic military Jeep. This light reconnaissance vehicle became incredibly popular on the battlefields of WWII, essentially launching the Jeep legacy. 

However, before buying one, it’s a good idea to research the differences between the Willys MB and the Ford GPW. Not having a thorough understanding of the nuances that separate each WWII-era Jeep might lead to you investing in the wrong car for your collection. 

Go-Ped Knightrider

While the previous two of these three military vehicles you can buy are great, you might want something a bit more unique for your collection. It doesn’t get much more unique than this militarized scooter—the Go-Ped Knightrider. The purpose of the Go-Ped Knightrider’s existence isn’t that dissimilar from the purpose of the Willys MB, which was originally built to aid in the US army’s transportation on the battlefield.

When it comes to the Knightrider, this intriguing scooter came to fruition to act as a secure means of traversing rough terrain on the battlefield efficiently and, most important, stealthily. This scooter can reach up to 19 mph, so you might not want to let the grandkids take it for a ride. However, it will definitely make for an interesting story when they come by to check it out.

Kids are Moving Back Home to Live with Parents – Here Are Some Moving Tips


The pandemic has caused much disruption in our lives, and for some that included the need to move. Some relationships couldn’t stand up to sheltering in place, while others realized life is too short or loneliness set in and decided to move in together.  For others it wasn’t about love, especially for millennials and Gen Z,  it meant moving back in with the parents due to loss of a job, a reduction in income or wanting to be closer to family.

A Pew Research Center report shows young adults are heading back to the nest at a rate not seen since The Great Depression.  In February 2020, 47% of young adults resided with one or both parents. That went up to 52% by July.  According to Pew’s analysis of monthly Census Bureau data, 2.6 million people total moved back home. According to a recent survey from Country Financial, one in five parents has had their adult child move back home with them.

Bellhop, the nation’s fastest growing moving company, today announced they are offering a special promotional discount to help with those needing to move back in with the parents.  All they have to do is use code “backhome10” when they book by calling 888-836-3939 and they’ll receive 10% off a labor only or local move. More info on Bellhop is at Bellhop.com

With Bellhop’s seamless booking, the company was already prepared to provide an easy solution for obtaining on-demand movers. With its unique technology and user interface, Bellhop has created a moving experience that is more efficient, affordable and reliable than those found with traditional moving companies. Once the book is moved, the consumer manage their entire move online and the company also provides a photo with star-rating of movers to each customer 24 hours prior to the move. 

Since COVID-19, the company has established extensive precautions and adheres to all the CDC guidelines and has put together a list of moving tips for during the pandemic, which are listed below.

Use Safe Boxes – We’re all heard the stories that used boxes can be a virus carrier for 24 hours, so it is recommended you don’t use used boxes. Bellhop sells new boxes and other packing supplies, delivered directly to your door. Another option is to use sanitized plastic bins.

Work with Companies that have Established Strict Safety Practices and Guidelines: At Bellhop, all movers have been familiarized with the hygiene and social-distancing practices outlined by the WHO and CDC.

Additionally, the company is following CDC guidance to avoid large gatherings. Because of the way Bellhop’s platform is designed, each mover arrives independently to the residence, and every worker has deliberately chosen whether to accept the job. 

As stated above, given Bellhops is a digital company, outside of the actual move, all touchpoints of the move are virtual, with no large team gatherings or meetings. The majority of the communication with customers and movers is digital – including tipping that nice mover!

Bellhop is actively communicating with the workers on its platform to ensure they’re taking every precaution to remain healthy and safe. This includes:
·       Practicing CDC recommended hand-washing techniques and other prevention methods
·       Providing gloves to all movers to avoid physical contact
·       Staying home if they’re showing any symptoms of illness (whether related to COVID-19 or not)
·       Cleaning and disinfecting the moving equipment used on each job

Additionally, the company has set up a cross-functional, national response team, where they will continue monitoring COVID-19 updates. All actions taken will be based on the advice of governments, public health authorities, and medical professionals.

Use common sense: Wear masks, gloves, regularly wash your hands as you are packing and moving and practice social distancing. Bellhops are asking their customers to do the following:

•       Maintaining a 4-foot to 6-foot distance from movers and drivers as they work
•       Refraining from any participation in the move
•       Requesting that movers wash their hands before participating in a move
•       Cleaning furniture that is being moved (before your movers arrive)
•       Disinfecting items that have been padded and wrapped once they’re unwrapped
•       Disposing of all packing materials once the move is complete

Cancel/Reschedule if you Become Ill: Bellhop is waiving their cancellation and rescheduling fees if you need to cancel/change due to an illness or a COVID-19 issue.

About Bellhop

With over 200,000 moves booked through Bellhop and an average star rating of 4.8, unheard of in the industry, Bellhop is bringing Americans a better way to move. In 2019, Bellhop service providers carried and transported over 4.6 million boxes, totaling 72 million pounds.  Bellhop service providers also logged more than 375,000 miles, including one of the longest moves ever conducted by a Bellhop service provider from Hartford to Seattle. By pairing AI technology with best-in-class customer service, Bellhop is transforming the dated $18B moving industry, creating flexible work opportunities and changing the way Americans move from place to place. In total, Bellhop service providers spent more than 480,000 hours helping Americans get settled into their new lives.

3 Small Business Owner Steps to Retire Rich Despite Downturn


Almost three quarters of small business owners report being in “survival mode” in the pandemic, while almost 44 percent are not confident they’re saving enough for retirement — up 5 percent in two years. I have Financial Security Expert and two-time New York Times best-selling author Pamela Yellen to share:

With the financial shock of the pandemic and recession, more than two in five (43 percent) of small business owners are contributing less than one percent or nothing to retirement, a recent survey finds. Among findings:

  • 47 percent don’t have an emergency fund to support them through a downturn
  • 79 percent have no access to loans
  • 75 percent lack open lines of credit

Many small businesses owners are so immersed in the daily demands of running their companies that they neglect planning for their own retirement, Pamela says. They keep investing in their businesses and fail to plan for their eventual exit, at their own risk.

“Most business owners and professionals are risk takers to some degree. If you had little or no tolerance for risk, you’d be working for somebody else,” she says. “But take minimal to no risk with your money that’s outside of your business. That’s your ‘safe money’ or Plan B money.”

For more than two decades, Pamela has been advising business owners how they can prepare for the next downturn. Here are her 3 keys to retire rich despite the pandemic and recession:

Step #1: Increase Your Profits and How Much You Put in Your Personal Pocket From Your Business — Learn everything you can about “direct response marketing,” as opposed to the dumb kind of marketing most businesses rely on. Using direct response marketing lets you track every dollar you spend and the return on investment you get from it. Equally important is to keep increasing the money you pocket from your business.

Step #2: Keep Your Lifestyle in Check — Resist the constant pressure to spend by adopting the 24-hour and seven-day rules. Except for basic necessities, wait 24 hours before making small purchases. For larger purchases, like a new appliance or TV, you’ll wait seven days to consider whether you really need or want that item before making the purchase. For major purchases like a car or luxury vacation, wait 30 days. Do this consistently for a month, and you’ll be amazed at how many things you thought you really needed have lost their pull over you.

Step #3:  Create a Safe Money Plan to SAVE the Difference  Work toward saving 20%, 30% or even 40% of your pre-tax income. It can be done, and if you increase your savings by 2 or 3% each year, you’ll be surprised by how fast your nest-egg will grow — and you won’t feel the pinch.

Finally, Pamela recommends this key piece of advice: Know the difference between “saving” and “investing” and act accordingly.

“To save means to place money you can’t afford to lose in a vehicle that is safe and has guaranteed growth. You are certain your money will be there when you need it,” she explains. “In contrast, to invest means to place money in a financial vehicle or an asset that has a certain amount of risk. You hope to make a gain, but it’s not guaranteed. In fact, you might even lose your original investment money.”

The only money you should invest is money you can afford to lose — or money that you’re able to let languish in the market for at least 20 years, if necessary, until it recovers, she adds. Why 20 years?  “Because since 1929, we’ve had THREE market crashes where the Dow took between 16 and 25 years to return to its pre-crash level,” she says.

Pamela has written two best-selling books based on her investigation into more than 450 financial products and vehicles in her search for safe alternatives to conventional retirement plans and risky investments. From her research she explains a method business owners can use that allows them to fire their bankers and become their own source of financing, and to know the guaranteed minimum value of their savings on the day they plan to tap into them, and every step along the way. This method, which Pamela calls Bank On Yourself, has provided savers with up to 9.94 percent annual returns over half a century, and never had a losing year in 160 years.

About the Author: Pamela Yellen is founder of Bank On Yourself, a financial investigator and the author of two New York Times best-selling books. Readers can get a free copy of her latest book, “Rescue Your Retirement: Five Wealth-Killing Traps of 401(k)s, IRAs and Roth Plans — and How to Avoid Them” here for a limited time.