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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.
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
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?
it turns out, we humans have an amazing adaptability, especially
during the most traumatic and stressful of times.
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
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
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.
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.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
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.
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
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.
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.
Your Heating System Cleaned
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
cleaned and your filters replaced.
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.
Change Your Bedding Frequently
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.
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.