Friday, December 16, 2016

Roots in Ripon - A Civil War Christmas

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Roots in Ripon
Chuck Roots
5 December 2016

A Civil War 


The American Civil War, despite its savagery and enormous loss of life, still was the cause for many changes to our nation, which has been largely forgotten in the historical telling. 
The celebration of Christmas during wartime is always interesting, and particularly so during horrific encounters between the Union and Confederate forces during this nineteenth century four-year societal carnage. 
The thought that first comes to mind is: Christmas is a time of celebration, a reminder of God’s intervention in the world of man to bring peace with God through Jesus, to give and receive gifts and cards with family and friends alike, and a time to gather with family around a table loaded with sumptuous quantities of food and conversation. Yet, we’re engaged in a war of attrition, killing off our countrymen, and even family members, at a frightening pace. How could Christmas be enjoyed in the midst of this hellish war?
As it turns out, we humans have an amazing adaptability, especially during the most traumatic and stressful of times. 
Christmas was a well-established special time of the year in the United States leading up to the start of the Civil War. However, the war itself would cause many to reflect on its continued recognition and enjoyment. Both Northerners and Southerners made the most of this special day throughout the war, even though battles and military maneuvers continued unabated. In 1870, five years after the war ended, then President Ulysses S. Grant made it official that Christmas would henceforth be a national holiday, in part in an attempt to

Thursday, December 15, 2016

NADINE'S MOVE TO CHANGE - Who is Gonna Move Me?


One of the most important considerations which every person moving out of state must make is “Who is going to handle my precious belongings and get them to my new home safely?”  Back in the day, I’d get a bunch of my friends together, rent a U-Haul, buy beer and pizza and all was good.  Now that all my friends and I have become settled into the Ibuprofen-powered set, that isn’t an option.  As I always do with anything major like this, I research it endlessly until I have made myself crazy.  

First, I thought of everyone I knew who had moved and asked them who they had used.  Surprisingly, many of them had forgotten.  That was probably a good thing since we tend to remember the people and companies who send us into seething rages.  The only problem, of course, is that I didn’t have company names.  So then I went to that source of all irrefutable information – the internet.  Oh….My…..God.  I would read a review of one company and be relatively assured that all would be well with my world.  Then I would make the mistake of scrolling down the page where dire warnings of gloom and despair would besiege my brain.  “These guys were HORRIBLE!!!  My Mom was standing quietly for too long I guess and they mistook her for a statue, wrapped her up, stuffed her into a box, and shipped her off to St. Louis!  They said that they recalled hearing “some sort of squeaking”, but chalked it up to road noise.  The worst part was that we were moving to New Orleans!  It was months before we saw her again and no one at the office would answer our calls!!!”  YIKES!!…..

On top of everything else, my tenants in Florida waved a lease at me that didn’t expire until December.  It was a little difference of opinion, but I had to concede that they were right.  Which, of course, fit right in with the “Ball Is In Your Park” decision delayer (if you recall my list from a few posts back).  I was able to sell my house and still have time to get used to the idea of leaving Connecticut.  I would be able to spend the holidays with my friends and help Karen finish up the bait shop season.  And I could take a little more time looking for a mover – and now a storage facility.
I started first by calling some of those movers that give you a quote over the phone.  As I walked around my house describing what I owned over the phone to a complete stranger sitting who-knows-where, my brain was screaming “Are you NUTS???  This guy has NO idea if the table you just mentioned is big enough for 6 or for a Heads of State function at the White House!!  And he’s giving you a binding quote?”  I pictured myself in Florida, standing in front of my house screaming at a driver handing me a $10,000 invoice in addition to what I had paid upfront.  The internet had some of those stories too.  By the time a few hours had passed, I was in full-fledged panic and the nerves from my spinal cord injury were on fire.

I researched “how to pick a mover” and tried to find an article that was not sponsored by any particular moving company – no easy task.  I finally did get some useful information though.  I learned that I must be sure that my mover has a US DOT number, which is a unique license number issued by the United States Department of Transportation.  AND my source gave me a database from which to investigate this information!  AHA!  NOW we’re cooking!  With open spreadsheet on my laptop, I diligently compared license numbers, insurance information, years in business, etc., etc., etc.  And when I finished, I had myself a spreadsheet full of DOT numbers, insurance info, years in business and ……..not a whole lot else.  PLEASE!!!  I need someone to tell me who to pick!!  Obviously, the panic was not subsiding any.

Read the entire article, here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

This Week's "American Political Zone"

The American Political Zone - A Political Commentary on Current Events

Featuring Daria Novak, 2nd District Congressional Candidate and President of the Institute for American Politics, and Frank Vernuccio, New York Analysis Policyand Government, The American Political Zone is now a regular feature in the Middletown Insider.

One of the best political discussion programs you can find, our hosts possess a vast knowledge of current affairs and they share this with us in a lively and interesting fashion.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Don’t Let Your Home Make You Sick this Winter: 4 Tips to Stay Safe

Image via Flickr by signal the police
Guest post by Charlotte Meier

When winter hits, we stay cooped up inside our homes much more than we do during the other seasons. For some people, longer hours inside means more sickness because their homes pose risks to their health. You should be aware of the home health risks you could be facing this winter so you can take steps to stay safe and better protect your family from unwanted illness.

1. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous in winter. This odorless, tasteless, colorless gas is deadly. Often caused by appliances that burn wood or fuel and are poorly vented or malfunctioning, carbon monoxide poisons people in their homes without their knowledge because early symptoms of poisoning mimic those of the flu: headache, nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. Your family is also at risk if you use gas-powered generators during winter storms.

To protect your family against carbon monoxide poisoning this winter, install CO monitors throughout your home. You should place one in every bedroom, common living areas, and on each floor of the home. Regularly check and replace batteries. If you find that carbon monoxide is in your home, but you have not yet experienced symptoms, open your windows, turn off your heat system, and call 9-1-1. If you experience the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, leave the home and call 9-1-1.

2. Get a humidifier

If your home’s air is too dry because of your heating system, the surface membranes of your lungs can dry out and make you susceptible to colds and infections. If you get a humidifier to increase the moisture in your home, you may find that you are less sick this winter. For people with asthma, humidifiers may help with breathing issues during winter.

Another option is to get an air purifier that cleans the air and adds negative ions to it while adding moisture to your home’s air. Many of these appliances rid the air of dust, pollen, and smoke and release negative ions that attach to positively-charged pollutants in the air and make them fall to the floor.

3. Have Your Heating System Cleaned

Your home’s air may be making your family sick in other ways by making you more susceptible to the flu, colds, and other infections. Because the heated air in winter is recycled rather than fresh, it contains more pollutants and pathogens. Because you can’t open your windows to allow fresh air to come in and circulate, you need to protect against indoor air pollutants and pathogens by having your home heating system cleaned and your filters replaced.

Professional HVAC technicians will clean your heat pump, check your ductwork for seals and clean your ductwork to eliminate trapped water that can collect mold and mildew, and replace your air filters. This work will help reduce the amount of irritation you feel in your eyes, throat, and nose. You can also help protect your family from sickness caused by your home heating system if you consistently change your filter once every three months.

4. Change Your Bedding Frequently

In winter, we like to lie in bed longer, watch TV from the comfort of our covers, and throw blankets over ourselves to stay cozy. But, if you are not regularly changing and washing your bedding and blankets, you are putting your family at risk of colds, allergies, other illnesses. Dust mites accumulate more easily in winter because our homes are closed up tight. While some people think that making their beds helps to keep their sheets clean, it actually gives dust mites a perfect environment to live in during winter.

If you can, crack a window in your bedroom for about an hour a day and wash your bedding and blankets in cold water with antibacterial laundry detergent. It also helps to sleep with some clothing on to prevent bacteria from accumulating in the sheets.

Of course, you want to enjoy your home this winter. But, to truly be comfortable and cozy this winter and avoid illness, you should take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and illnesses caused by dry air, dirty home heating systems, and slept-in bedding and blankets.

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