Wound Dressings – Hydrofibers

Hydrofiber dressings are a relatively new concept in dressings, and can be very cost effective because they can be worn for several days at a time. In this article, we will explore how and when these dressings can be used.

Product Overview

Hydrofiber dressings gel upon contact with moisture, locking in fluid that is absorbed by the dressing. In this manner, they help to maintain a moisture balance in the wound bed that is not too wet or too dry, protecting the edges of wounds from becoming macerated. They provide a passive method of wound control by filling in dead spaces where bacteria tend to proliferate. The addition of silver to some of these dressings can provide antimicrobial protection for infected wounds. The main component of these dressings is sodium carboxymethylcellulose. These dressings may come in a sterile, soft non-woven pad or as a ribbon dressing.

Indications

  • Partial thickness burns
  • Diabetic foot/leg ulcers
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Traumatic wounds
  • Surgical wounds left to heal by secondary intention

Contraindications

  • Hydrofiber dressings containing silver should not be used on those patients sensitive to silver
  • Not compatible with oil-based products, such as petrolatum jelly

Advantages

  • Can be used with compression bandages
  • Can be used on dry wounds (wet with sterile normal saline)
  • Conforms to irregularly shaped wounds easily
  • Comfortable for the patient to wear
  • Easy to remove; painless and does not damage granulating wound tissue
  • Can be worn for several days, therefore these dressings can be quite cost-effective
  • Helps to balance the inflammatory response
  • The addition of silver provides sustained antimicrobial response over time

Disadvantages

  • Secondary dressing may be needed for wound that are highly exudative i.e. oncologic wounds

Hydrofiber dressings have been shown to be effective in the management of both acute and chronic wounds, as well as wounds that are infected.

For dry wounds, the dressing should be moistened with sterile normal saline, and then an occlusive dressing that traps moisture should be applied as a secondary dressing, such as a transparent film. For wounds that are extremely moist, a secondary dressing to “catch” any excess fluid should be applied.

References:

Bowler, P., Jones, S., Parsons, D. & Walker, M. (2004). Microbial properties of a silver-containing hydrofiber dressing against a variety of burn wound pathogens. Burn Care Rehabilitation, Mar-Apr; 25(2), pg. 192-196.

This article on the use of hydrofiber dressings continues our series on dressings types and use. We hope that you find these articles informative. Perhaps, as you read these articles, you will discover that you have an interest in becoming certified as a wound care specialist. If so, please visit WoundEducators.com to find out more about how you can take the next step in becoming an expert in wound care management.

Why A Company Grievance Procedure Is An Important Part Of Your Employment

A grievance procedure is a step by step process that an employee must go through to get a complaint addressed satisfactorily. A formal written complaint moves from one level up to the higher level to get resolved. A grievance procedure is typically included in collective bargaining agreements, it is also a means of resolution dispute that used by company to address grievances by employees, customers, suppliers and competitors. The procedure provides hierarchical structure for settling and presenting workplace disputes.

The best known application of this procedure is a formal process that is outlined in labor contracts. The procedure does not necessarily to be elaborate and formal, overly formal grievance is discouraged by airing of disputes on a timely manner. In small business grievance procedure may consents few lines in employee manual or design of single ombudsman to handle the problem as they develop. The peer review of the employee that is concerned is a popular way to put an address of grievances, while some larger companies create an entire department dedicated in fielding complaints from customers or employees.

Whatever form may take grievance procedure is intended to allow the companies to resolve and hear complaints in a cost-effective and timely manner, before it will result to litigation. Knowing the formal procedures that are available often encourages the employees to voice out their concerns regarding company policies before any major problems develop. Because of that, managers will not ignore problems because they are aware that upper management will become involved with the grievance process. Union settings help protect the employees against any arbitrary decisions of the management regarding the discipline, benefits, promotions and discharge. They are also providing labor unions and formal process for the provisions of contracts.

Having grievance procedures is important to both non-unionized and unionized settings; the companies must support the written policies of their own with consistent actions to maintain a good employee relations. To make it work all parties must treat it with attitude that serves their own mutual interest. Effective grievance ideally help the management to discover and correct all problems before it advances to serious trouble.

For the procedure to become effective both parties should look at it as positive force that can facilitate an open discussion of all issues. There are cases that settlement of grievances is a sort of competition that reinforces a "them versus us" mentality between management and labor. In other cases, the employees are quiet hesitant to apply grievances process because of fear of a ratification. There are studies that shows that employees who rise grievances most likely to have lower evaluation of performance, work attendance and promotion rate. A grievance procedure and employment law must be followed by the company or union to resolve any problems that may arise. Company's grievance procedures are including steps that prevent a backlash from employees who prefer to use it.

If situation can not be resolved, final step in grievance process is both for parties to present at their side to pre-designated arbitrator. The role is to identify the rights of each party under labor agreement; the decision of the arbitrator is final and usually can not be changed.

Top Ten Coolest Security Guard Movies

For as long as we can remember, films that feature bumbling, hapless or larger-than-life security guards, or protective dynamic duos, have been a fun, important part of cinematic history. Here is a list of classic bodyguard movies, or movies with super-strength security stars that we simply can’t forget.

1. Armed and Dangerous: John Candy and Eugene Levy team up and make cinematic history in this brilliant buddy comedy; the bumbling duo play a recently fired cop and amoral lawyer who suit up as security guards, only to find that they’ve unwittingly become members of a corrupt company.

2. The Bodyguard: Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston sizzle on the big screen as a former Secret Service agent acting as bodyguard to a mainstream pop singer. The film’s epic soundtrack continues to be one of the best-selling albums of all time.

3. National Security: Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn as Earl and Hank, respectively; two guards from different walks of life that have one thing in common: the security company they work for. Their history of hating each other stems from Earl’s key role in Hank’s dismissal from the police force. This odd couple doesn’t disappoint in the laughs department.

4. Observe & Report: This dark comedy features Seth Rogen as Ronnie Barnhardt, a depressed, on-the-brink guard who is head of the security department at Forest Ridge Mall. When he fails to get into the police force and is belittled by the officer taking over his operations, he embarks on a dual mission of madness: to prove himself and catch the elusive mall flasher, Ronnie’s arch enemy and ultimate target.

5. In the Line of Fire: Clint Eastwood as Frank Horrigan, a Secret Service agent to the President. Frank famously dropped the ball when it came to saving President Kennedy, but did put himself on the front lines to take out a crafty assassin who is targeting his current client.

6. Paul Blart:Mall Cop: Kevin James holds it down as Paul Blart, who dreams of being an officer for the New Jersey State Police. However, his ample size doesn’t help his chances of being a powerhouse cop, so he has to make do with being a security guard at his local mall. Heartwarming and hilarious, this is a great film for the whole family.

7. The Pacifier: Vin Diesel as tough guy Shane Wolfe, a disgraced US Navy SEAL assigned to work as a bodyguard protecting five rebellious kids. He may soon be the one needing protecting, as he learns the hard way that nannying is no joke.

8. Night at The Museum: Larry Daley is a night guard at New York’s American Museum of Natural History in. Upon beginning his shift, he’s instructed not to let anything “in or out.” He soon comes to realize the significance of this creepy warning: The Museum comes to life at night, kicking off a bone-tingling phenomenon that delighted movie-goers of all ages.

9. Guarding Tess: Nicholas Cage as Doug Chesnic, a Secret Service agent protecting Jessica Tandy’s Tess Carlisle, the widow of a former US President. Though he holds great pride in his prestigious job, the fiesty First Lady tests his limits by treating him like a lowly servant. Have your hankie ready for this endearing tear-jerker.

10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the ultimate larger-than-life robo-guard, a well-muscled force from the future on a mission to protect teenager John Connor. Nothing says big-screen fun like another deadly Terminator!

Importance of a Maid in Your Life

In today’s world, when people are fully occupied with busy lifestyles and hectic schedules, there is hardly any time to do the various household activities. Cooking, cleaning and taking care of the house and the kids become a challenging affair. A house becomes a big mess. During such situations, hiring a maid can help you and your house from becoming a mess. Read the article below to know more about maids and how to get a good maid.

How does a maid help?

You want your house to be cleaned regularly. But apart from your household chores, there are many other things in your daily life that are important. Hence, you get very less time to look after your home. But with a maid you can solve this problem. Maids can do a wide range of services from cleaning services to janitorial services. Hence, you can free your mind of worries and get your home cleaned by a maid.

Generally, maids are of three types;

• Untrained maids- Those who have never worked before as a maid.

• Semi trained maids- Those who have limited number of experience working as a maid and can do only certain tasks.

• Trained or Professional maids- Those who are experienced and can perform a variety of household chores.

Out of these, always professional maids are the best one to opt for. These maids can handle and perform numerous jobs properly. Due to their experience they do not require any extra training. They have the capability to keep your house neat and clean but also can take care of your family well in your absence. This gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Most of the maids are trained to get along with your family members.

How to choose a good maid

Choosing a housemaid depends on your choice and requirement. Factors such as the number of maids you want, whether on a daily basis or weekly basis or long term basis, etc. should be decided before hiring a maid. If your house is small, then you probably require only one maid and if it is large, then you should choose to avail the services of many maids. Hiring a maid through maid service agency is always better than keeping individual house keepers. The risk associated with keeping individual housekeepers is many because you don’t know whether the person comes from a good background or not. But through a maid servicing center, you can get the details of a person and you can select them as per your desire. They can lend you as many maids you want or even if you want to change your maid you can just directly contact them over a phone. They also provide bonded maids. It gives you a guarantee by taking full responsibility of an employee if they cause or create any trouble with your family. Hence, hiring maids through maid service agency is always the safest and the smartest way.

With maids you can make your life easier and smoother. Simultaneously, it is also important to respect them. They can make your daily chores simple, uncomplicated and trouble free.

Handicapped Accessible Shower Design for Veteran Amputees

To veteran amputees, one of the most difficult things to do is to take a bath. Going to the bathroom is already difficult, even if they have someone to guide them or push their wheelchair to reach the bathroom. While in the shower, there is often the danger of them hitting the walls should they slip accidentally. Reaching all their bathing needs is also another challenge that they have to go through each day. For your convenience, the comfort and convenience are provided. This bathroom bathroom shower stall is usually portable and foldable, making it easy to setup and remove.

Handicapped people deserve much care and attention, especially the veterans who had many times in their lives experienced great distress, hardships, and difficulties. They deserve understanding, since it's normal for them to show irritability and bad temper, considering their incapacity to move freely and independently. So to make things lighter for them, one significant way to do that is to install a wheelchair accessible shower design unit near the patient's room. As long as there is a nearby water source, probably a faucet or a sink, it can easily be setup. The good thing for you is that a bathroom doesnt require drilling or hammering to be installed. In fact, some units are already assembled when bought.

Portable shower bathrooms are designed with the handicapped in mind. As mentioned, they are easy to install in any part of the house as long was a nearby water source is available. And when the patient is not using it, it can easily be removed and folded. Those who are in wheelchairs can simply slide the wheelchair inside the shower stalls. Meanwhile, for those who do not want to bath on a wheelchair, they can simply sit, lie down, or place themselves in a comfortable position while inside the shower. A curtain can be used to add some privacy while the disabled is taking a bath.

Showers for the handicapped are essential because they allow the disabled to take a bath without the need of assistance of others. Bathing is a private thing and if the Veteran amputees need another person's help to clean up themselves, this can be very embarrassing on their part. But with handicapped showers, the personal needs of the disabled are taken care of.

Showers for the handicapped are available from various manufacturers, each product comes with special features depending on the needs of the disabled. Before purchasing one, make sure that you get the measures right. There are showers for adults and there are for kids. There are also plenty enough to accommodate those who weigh on the heavy side. Make sure that the unit that you will purchase, besides from addressing the personal needs of the amputee will also make him or her feel comfortable. That is, he or she can freely move while inside the shower without compromising his or her safety.

Tips On How To Last Longer In Bed For Guys

Sex is a very vital thing in a relationship and if not well taken care of could lead to breaks and other relationship problems like cheating. It is crucial that every party gets full satisfied to avoid those problems. One of the reasons to those problems is when a man can not last long in bed. But before one can go for any treatment, it is important to check if they are safe. Here are tips on how to last longer in bed for guys. The natural aspect of it ensures that one will be safe using the means.

One of the ways to achieving the above is by eating foods and fruits rich in vitamins and other nutrients. Diet is an important factor to boost your sexual stamina and to prevent premature ejaculation during sex. Take fresh fruits and fresh fruit juice twice daily. Concentrate on food like nut, honey, cereal, fruits, milk, blueberries, ginger, carrot and other vegetables. Avoid smoking, alcohol, tea, coffee all processed canned refined and denatured foods especially white sugar and white flour and products made from them. They help you to boost your stamina, making it possible to stay erect for long and good tips on how to last longer in bed for guys.

The sex position adopted also determines the time you will last hard when having sex. When the woman is in control that is on top of you, you will find it hard to stay erect for the whole sex period. The style that will give you maximum appreciation is when you are in control. You can be on top of the woman or use the doggy style. This makes it possible for you to control yourself, so keeping the mood high. You can also withdraw and change position during the process.

It is important to be relaxed when having sex. Avoiding stress is one way of giving your partner satisfaction and you will also enjoy. When your brain is focused on one thing only, you tend to succeed in it. Make some noise. Love moans help men and women relax, and they often help men last longer. Avoid thinking of problems that you might have in the relationship or else when having sex, just let it carry away your sorrows.

You must control your breathing too. You should take deep breaths as this will slow excitation and put you back in control. Too much excitation could lead to premature and early ejaculation. Controlled breathing makes one relax, act better and one of the best technique that can be use among many tips on how to last longer in bed for guys.

Vistaprint Vs 123print – Which One Is Better?

If you like variety when it comes to online printing services, then you do not want to be stuck with just one service. Moreover, if you do stick to just one you want to know that it is the best. Currently Vistaprint has the best reputation, but their close competition is 123print. Which one of these is better though?

Doing a simple comparison of Vistaprint and 123print it is easy to see some things right out of the gate. If you do a small amount of business with each website this gives you the chance to see who offers the best customer service. Many people who tested both services believed that 123print was very customer oriented.

Some people who have used both services feel that Vistaprint does a good job when it comes to graphic imaging as well as organization. People felt that 123print wins the battle when it comes to prices as well as having less advertising. Vistaprint does advertise, and this is something that can not be avoided.

Vistaprint slightly higher quality printing

When it comes to Vistaprint vs 123print I found many people who did a test by printing business cards using both services. Many people felt that Vistaprint made cards that appeared to be of better quality, if not just by a small margin. The color was also slightly better as well.

Comparing homepages of both websites

You are going to find that the homepage of Vistaprint is put together in a very well organized fashion. This means it is not going to be hard for people to navigate to exactly what they are looking for. Everything seems to be organized according to the items you might need, such as business products or personal products.

When it comes to the homepage of 123print many people felt that it was a bit disorganized and confusing to navigate the way they wanted. People felt it was hard to get to the things they wanted to purchase. They said the main products were not organized the right way and that all of the flashy special effects would put you off.

Image uploading for both websites

Vistaprint offers an image upload format that is going to make it simple to upload images and the crop them and rotate them while on your computer. Many people felt that with 123print it is going to be more difficult when you are trying to upload your images. On the plus side, 123print is not going to charge a fee for deciding to use your own images, so this is a fair tradeoff is a lot of people's minds.

Cost of shipping for both websites

People felt that the cost of shipping on both websites was not really all that different. If you do a search on the internet though you will likely find more consumer complaints about Vistaprint's shipping over 123print.

The cost of using Vistaprint or 123print

You are going to find that Vistaprint tends to be a bit more expensive than 123print. If you want better options are far as pricing is concerned, 123print seems to be the way to go.

How To Heal Jock Itch Easily

Jock itch can be attributed to a lot of causes. A lot of athletes and men actually have this because of the activities that they do most of the time. Friction and fungus can be the main risk factors for a person to have this kind of infection. Fungi can grow well in damp and warm environment and cause a full blown infection. Obesity is also being associated with this infection. A lot of people have experienced it and a lot of treatments have been formulated also. You can now even heal jock itch while at home. It is important that you will be able to get rid of this discomfort as it will just distract your focus on your work. You need some tips on how to heal jock itch easily so you need to remember them always.

POWDER AND CORNSTARCH

As much as possible, you have to keep the affected areas in your groin, genitals and thigh dry all the time. Moisture will just aggravate the discomfort. One thing that you can do to keep it dry and heal it fast is to apply powder or cornstarch. You may sprinkle talcum powder to absorb moisture in your skin. It can also help in reducing the friction as it will make the skin much smoother.

OINTMENTS

There are a lot of ointments that you can purchase over the counter. Anti fungal creams are available in the nearest pharmacy. Look for those that contain miconazole or clotrimazole. These are known to be very effective in treating jock itch. Before you apply the ointments, you must read the instructions first to see the contraindications. Make sure that you will wash and dry up the affected areas first before you apply the ointment.

COLD APPLICATION

Apply cold compress on affected areas so that you will be able to find some relief. The itchiness that it will cause will surely become disturbing even if you want to sleep already. One thing that you can do is to place some ice cubes inside a clean cloth. This must be applied on the affected areas for no more than 20 minutes to avoid skin damage. Also, you have to make sure that you will not apply the ice cubes directly on the affected areas. Dry up the affected areas after applying cold compress.

CLEANSING AND RELAXATION

You have to make sure that you will clean your groin area regularly. Wash it with water and mild soap and dry it up immediately after. Also, you need to relax and avoid much physical activities as it will just aggravate jock itch. Relax to avoid providing moisture in the groin area which can be very favorable for this infection.

Jock itch is indeed very disturbing and dreadful. You have to do your best to heal and treat it the fast way. You need to get rid of it as soon as possible. To do it, you have to follow some tips. These will help you to do the best thing.

Doral Tara – Great For On-the-Water Family Vacations

The 25 feet Doral Tara is among the boats from Doral boats which you can take either under a sunny or gloomy sky. It features a full canvas camper top set and and cockpit cover which makes your Tara versatile on water. This allows you to be comfortable under rain or the intense heat of the sun. This also means more space for the deck so you can accommodate more than the specified 5 people the lower deck is designed for.

This also gives protection to the cockpit and other electronics present on the deck. The cover provides more than that. Aside from protection from weather, the cover aids in security and theft protection especially when docked, organization, safe transport, improved aerodynamics and gas mileage. This also means more possible electronics on deck. Dora boat's trademark of customizability is well represented in this craft.

The Tara craft also boasts a compartment below deck with windows. It's a full room with optional furniture and stereo system from Doral International. This inboard / outboard cruiser is 21.67 feet long and weighs 3950. This weight does not account for passengers, fuel, or gear. The beam of this Doral boat is 98 inches.

Its hybrid engine gives the owner a choice of having an inboard or outboard engine, which fits suits him. But the same recommendation goes with your this as with all engine replacements. Always heed the maximum horsepower of the craft.

This will keep passengers safe and keep the insurance accepted from an insurance company. Although this Doral boat boasts a fiberglass hull, the best way to keep it maintained is to cover it when not in use. This way, the Tara will retain its quality and resale value at its highest.

The Doral Tara is great for family vacations, simple parties or water sports like swimming and / or fishing. It's spacious and perfect for any weather so getting away fromland business is just a Tara away.

Ball of Foot Pain – Causes and Treatments

Ball of foot pain is classically defined as metatarsalgia (MET – tuh tar – SAL – juh). The term metatarsalgia is used as a catch-all term used to describe a number of medical conditions which cause pain under the ball of the foot. The long bones in the foot are called metatarsals and the end where the metatarsals meet the toes are called the metatarsal phalangeal joints. Combining the name of the bones, "metatarsal" with the suffix "algia" means pain appropriately describing this condition. The heads of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarsals make up what most consider the ball of the foot. These joints are the most commonly affected due to excess pressure, overuse and / or microtrauma, which results in inflammation and pain.

The most common symptom is deep, achy pain under the ball of the foot which can become sharp or stabing with standing or walking. There may be shooting pain or tingling in the toes, which would indicate an inflated nerve. A feeling of walking on a lump or cord or a "bunched up sock" under the foot is common. The pain is usually worsened with walking and long periods of standing, especially when pushing off of the ball of the foot. Narrow shoes can increase the pain and rubbing or massaging the forefoot may alleviate the pain.

A few of the common causes of ball of foot pain include faulty foot mechanics, structural deformities such as hammertoe or dropped metatarsal, ill fitting shoes and being overweight. Many times it's a combination of the above contributors which results in metatarsalgia. Faulty foot mechanics are an inherited trait resulting in abnormal motion of the foot. In forefoot conditions, tight calf muscles and overpronation (over-rotation and foot collapse) cause excess pressure on the forefoot. Tight calf muscles cause the heel to lift early when walking and this redistributes the weight towards the front of the foot. Over-rotation of the foot and arch collapse, in combination with hypermobility of the 1st ray (arch and great toe) causes the weight to shift from the great toe to the smaller toe joints when walking. An essential and abnormal force is placed on a small area of ​​the foot during "push off" and these results in repetitive strain, irritation, inflammation and pain of the small joints (2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarsal phalangeal joints) in the foot. Specific conditions, such as a neuroma or second metatarsal overload syndrome may develop.

âEUR¨Runners have a high risk of developing metatarsalgia because of the repetitive forefoot impact, but any sport which involves push off at the forefoot can be a potential problem. When an athlete changes their training regimen by adding hills or sprints, excess pressure can cause pain and inflammation at the joints in the forefoot. Poor quality shoes, lacking support and shock absorption can contribute to the development.

Structural deformities such as hammertoes can cause pain under the ball of the foot. The hammertoe is a crooked toe which causes retrograde force on the metatarsal head. As the toe cocks up, the head of the metatarsal is pushed down. The metatarsal head is now prominent on the bottom of the forefoot and more susceptible to increased pressure. Many people will complain of the feeling of a lump or nodule under their foot or complain about walking on a bone under the ball of the foot.

Poor quality or ill-fitting shoes are one of the more common reasons for the development of ball of foot pain. Narrow, tight shoes compress the forefoot and force the metatarsal heads together. This position impairs normal function of the foot when walking and increases rub and irritation in the forefoot area.

Treatment involves identifying and addressing the cause of the problem. In many cases it is a combination of faulty foot mechanics, poor quality shoes and an change or increase in a training regimen or recent weight gain. Orthotics should be used to control abnormal foot motion and disperse pressure more evening. Shoe should be rigid along the sole, only bend in the toe area, have at least a 1/2 heel and have adequate support. Calf stretches or night splints can be used for those with tight calves to eliminate the heel lifting early during walking. There are a variety of metatarsal pads which can be used to distribute the pressure under the ball of the foot to help alleviate pain and accelerate healing.

Home Sellers! Are You Guilty of the 7 Sins of Home Selling?

Greed: This one is a biggie. It was easy in a seller's market to get in touch with your greedy side. Feeling like Midas, anything you asked for from a buyer turned to gold in your hands. Drunk with that kind of power, buyers were often left feeling feeling helpless to agree if they wanted your home. In a balanced market, or even in a buyer's market, many sellers have not kicked the greed habit. Ironically, greed is costing those sellers money. Ask any real estate agent and they will tell you stories of deals that were blown because of a $ 300.00 item that could not be agreed upon. No longer with the advantage, many sellers are refusing to make any concessions if it means less money in their pockets, but now the buyer's are free to move along to the next house on their list. A seller may balk at fixing a $ 500.00 item in the house, or providing an inexpensive home warranty, but when the buyer moves along to an accommodating seller, the greedy seller is left to wait for another buyer – all the while making mortgage payments on the house they can not sell. Bad move.

Unrealistic Expectations: Anyone who has sold a home in a seller's market is going to have a hard time gratifying a buyer's market. If you want to sell your house, you have to forget everything you remember about selling your house in the past. Odds are that your home will not sell in a week, nor will you receive multiple offers. Unrealistic expectations are the foundation of blame and resentment, and they keep you from selling your home. The first few weeks of having your home on the market is filled with hope, anxiety, and irrational exuberance. It's completely normal to believe that your home is somehow more special than the others on the market, and yours will be the exception to the tough market. Once it becomes clear that the bidding war has not materialized, and your home still sits along with the others, a home seller with unrealistic expectations is crushed. Stay positive about your home, but do not blind yourself to what selling it will entail. A home seller with a realistic view of what it takes to sell a house in a balanced or buyer's market, can easily adapt to changing market conditions, use constructive feedback to improve their home, and in return sell their home faster.

Pride: If you really want to sell your home, make the promise right now that you will never utter the following phrase: "I'm going to send that buyer a message." If you enjoy sending messages, then sometimes you could raise carrier pigeons. If you want to sell your home, drop that phrase from your vocabulary. The message that sellers send, when they respond to buyers that way is "I do not want to sell my house to you." You have insulted me. " In the end, all you are left with is your pride, and that house that just will not sell. As an active Ebayer, I have never witnessed a transaction in which the seller of an item got indignant at the lowest bidder. It's all business. Divorce your emotions from the home selling process, and you have an advantage over the angry sellers in your area, because the buyers that they turn way with their "messages" are going to buy a home – just not theirs! The message to send to a buyer should be in the form of a counter-offer. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Impatience: You want this home sold. Now! The impatient seller can not understand why their home has not sold in the first week. By the third week on the market, the impatient home seller is fuming, and wondering how to get out of the listing agreement. Are you an impatient home seller? If you've chosen your real estate agent carefully, and believed when you signed the listing agreement that they are up to the job, then sit back and let the market work. The impatient seller calls their agent more than once a day for updates, even if there has been no activity on the house. The question, "why is not it selling?" is regularly pleaded over the phone. Are you, the impatient seller, doing everything you need to do to get your home sold? Have you done the things your agent recommended to get your home in selling condition? Did you really listen to the comparable pricing data your agent provided you? Or did you have a set price in your mind and refused to move from it when listing the home? The impatient seller can create an awful amount of stress for everyone involved in selling the home, and it's totally avoidable. In the end, the timing of the sale of your home will be a combination of price, condition, and luck. No amount of impatience is going to change that.

Ignoring the market: Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is disaster for a home seller. Yes, we know that your neighbor sold their home for the same price you wanted for your home, but that was four months ago. The residential real estate market is more fluid than ever now. Educate yourself about current market conditions, not last year's market, not even last month's market. A home seller who ignores the market will interview a few real estate agents, read the data provided by the agent, then ignore the data and list with the agent that gives them the least argument about pricing them home unrealistically. Real estate agents do not price homes, sellers do. The agents will provide valuable information and input to help a seller choose a price. Some agents will refuse to take a listing if they feel the seller is unrealistic about pricing, but many others will take the listing with the caveat that the seller will open to reducing the price later. With so many other properties on the market, an overpriced home will sit there like a deli tray at a gathering of vegetarians. Then, the seller will be chasing the market by lowering the price after watching the prices around them fall. Occasionally, the house may sell, but the price will be determined by the market, as it always is. If you are guilty of ignoring the market, you can save yourself a lot of time and headache by scheduling a meeting with your real estate agent to go over the current sales data for your home, and setting a realistic price, now.

Stubbornness: When selling your home it's best to imagine yourself as a supple tree gently swaying with the wind, instead of a donkey with its heels dug solidly into the dirt resisting all attempts to be budged. Stubbornness can show up in many situations. When you are contacted to schedule a showing, do you leave the house? Although it's a fact that your home has a better chance of selling if you are not there for the showing, do you refuse to be inconvenienced by having to leave? You may tell yourself that the buyers can work around your schedule. They will not. The chance for a sale often vanishes because a buyer feels uncomfortable with the homeowner in the house, and can not freely assess the house. Expect to be inconvenienced when you sell your home. It's part of the process.

Being Uncooperative: Are you a partner with your real estate agent when it comes to getting your home sold? Do you resist all suggestions by your real estate agent to make changes to your home that will help it sell faster? I've had this conversation with home sellers many times. Is it fair that people judge your home based on the things that are not going to be in it when you move out? No, probably not. Do Buyers judge your home based on those things? Absolutely. I've seen buyers lose their enthusiasm for a home based on a decorating theme that did not suit them. No matter how many times their real estate agent may remind them that they can decorate in their own style, it's too late. The home is now referred to as the "duck home", or the "doll home", or the "pink home." Every house gets a nickname when buyers are shopping. Do not let your refusal to cooperate stop your home from being the "perfect home."

The sale of your home requires the cooperation of countless people, many of you you'll never meet. The key word here is "cooperation." We, as home sellers, expect those that are working to complete our sales transaction to be cooperative. What about you, the home seller? Are you willing to meet the buyer halfway in negations? Are you willing to work within someone else's schedule to get something signed? Remember, you may be selling a property, but in the end, real estate is about humans. Be a good one.

Aging-in-Place With Universal and Adaptable Design

Homes That Grow Gracefully With You

As we enter into retirement, we begin to face some very difficult questions about the future of our families and our ability to maintain our independence through the retirement years. We have a strong desire to retain our autonomy as long as possible and not readily on family members for assistance with daily living. Universal and adaptable design concepts optimize space in our homes to accommodate a wide range of individuals with varying physical abilities, allow people to stay in their homes longer, and keep families together.

What is Aging-in-Place?

Aging-in-place means living in your home safely, comfortably, and independently, regardless of age or ability level. It allows you to continue living in a familiar environment through your maturing years. Aging-in-place is the ability to remain in your home for a lifetime.

Quick Facts …

    One-quarter of the US population is over age 50.
    From 2000 to 2030 the over 65 population will double.
    By 2030, the population of older people will likely increase to over 69 million persons.
    By 2050, the US will account for 79 million people over age 65.
    The net worth of seniors is five times greater than the average net worth of all US citizens.

What is universal and adaptable design?

Ron Mace, founder and program director of the Center for Universal Design, defines universal design as "the design of products and environments to be useable by all people, to the greatest possible possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design". For our purposes, we will limit the term "universal design" as it applies to home design and related products.

Adaptable design, on the other hand, allows the easy modification of a space to accommodate a specific need. Where universal design benefits everyone regardless of ability, adaptable design provides access to spaces or products through alteration or the addition of an assistive device that bridges an existing barrier to its use. Adaptable design is defined by ANSI A117.1 (American National Standards Institute) as, "the ability of certain building elements, such as kitchen counters, sinks, and grab bars, to be added to, raised, lowered, or otherwise altered so as to accommodate the needs of either persons with or without disabilities, or to accommodate the needs of persons with different types or degrees of disability ".

The differences between universal and adaptable design may be obscure at times. One could consider the installation of grab bars in a shower to be universal as anyone can use the bar for balance or safety. But the installation of the backing (structural support) for grab bars may be considered adaptable if the intention is to install the bars at a future time when needed to provide access to the use of the shower by a person with a disability. It is this obscurity that points to the fact that universal and adaptable design is not a matter of listing items as features; rather, it is a philosophy of design. The philosophy of universal design is summarized by the Principles of Universal Design developed by the Center for Universal Design (see sidebar).

THE PRINCIPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN

Copywrite 1997 NC State University, The Center for Universal Design

PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

PRINCIPLE THREE: Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.

PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.

PRINCIPLE SEVEN: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility.

"The Principles of Universal Design were conceived and developed by The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University. or endorsements by The Center for Universal Design of the use or application. "

What are some applications of universal and adaptable design?

Universal design encompasses a wide scope of home design and modification extending from landscaping and low maintenance exterior and interior finishes to specific features that enhance the use and safety of bathrooms and kitchens. The use of energy efficient building materials and solar design, for example, may be considered universal design criteria because it benefits everyone who uses it.

Some of the major areas we look at, from the perspective of universal design, are entrances and pathways leading to entrances, overall interior accessible features, kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping areas. Let's take each of these individually and look at ways that we can improve the usability of each.

Entrances and pathways

One of the first things to consider in universal design is how to eliminate barriers to access from a vehicle drop-off point to an accessible entry. To make a pathway usable for a person using a wheelchair or other assistive device, we need to limit the slope of the walkway to a maximum change of 1 foot for every 20 feet up or down to the entry. We prefer to use earth berms, bridges or retaining walls instead of front ramps that may suggest a vulnerable resident. Anyone moving heavy furniture in or out of the home will love this feature!

The entry itself has many facets to look at in terms of accessibility. These items include providing weather shelter, a no-step entry with a threshold less than "" high, maneuvering space on both sides of the door, sidelights or "peepholes" to view visitors, and adequate lighting to operate locks and provide security.

Overall features of the home

Here, we are going to explore some universal design features that are not specific to any one room, but should be considered as general applications.

Whether the home is designed for aging-in-place or simply for visitability, we want to create easy access to the main living areas and facilities. This can be accomplished by providing a minimum clear opening of 32 "on all doors to accessible areas and a 40" minimum clear circulation route through rooms and hallways. We also want to provide a minimum of 18 "near the door latch for easy operation for people using assistive devices.

Another consideration would be the placement of electrical outlets, switches and other operable controls. Raised outlets between 18 "and 22" above the floor falls within the range of use for a person in a positioned position and also aids people who have problems stooping over. Placing light switches and other controls a maximum of 48 "above the floor allows their use from a seated position.

Safety in the home is another big consideration addressed through universal design. Non-slip floor surfaces will help avoid falls and aid in the use of walkers and wheelchairs. Telephones installed in strategic locations, such as bedrooms and bathrooms, will help summon assistance if needed. Also, lowered window sill heights to a maximum of 36 "high will enhance the use of windows for egress in case of fire or other emergency.

Kitchens

Kitchens are notorious in excluding their use for a variety of people and there are many universal design "standards" that apply to this area of ​​the home. Even though the application of universal criteria to the kitchen is typically design specific, we will cover some of the more critical design choices.

We first want to be sure we have a proper floor space that is suitable for all users, including people who use wheelchairs. Optimally, we would like to see a 5 'clear turning radius in the kitchen, but, as a minimum, we want to provide a 30 "x 48" approach in front of all appliances. We also want to provide knee space under the sink and cooktop, as well as a lowered counter (also with knee space) at a work area for a person in a separated position. Some adaptable criteria may come into play here with removable base cabinets or doors that swing out for roll-under access.

Continuous counters between work areas may be a universal design consideration. An example would be having a sink and cooktop on the same run of counter so that a heavy object could slide between the two without having to pick it up. Another idea might be to have a spray or faucet located to fill coffee makers or pots without lifting.

The selection and placement of appliances need to be considered for ease of use. Controls need to be placed within the range of reach for persons in a separated position. The maximum reach height of 48 "for all kitchen controls apply here. Forward reach over obstructions should also be considered, but this is client specific and mathematical formulas are used to determine forward reach ranges. Front mounted controls are easy to use for everyone, but considering needs to be taken in terms of access to small children.

A raised dishwasher, as well as raised washer / dryer in the laundry room, improves its use for both people using wheelchairs and those having problems stooping over to load the machine. There is also a long list of cabinet features that improve access, such as pull-out shelves, lazy susans, and roll out waste containers. Adequate task lighting is also a major consideration in the kitchen.

Bathrooms

Safety is the number one priority in the bathroom as it is the room with the highest number of accidents in the home. Non-slip surfaces are essential both inside and outside the tub / shower area. As mentioned earlier, grab bars enhance the safety for everyone, but they are especially important to people who have an increased risk of falling. They are also very important for people who use wheelchairs to enable transfer to shower seats and toilets. Pressure balanced / anti-scald valves are another safety feature that benefits everyone.

Access for people using assistive devices is critical in the bathroom. Curb-less showers allow people to roll-in or avoid tripping over a curve at the shower pan. (This feature has also spurred some very beautiful bathroom designs!) Dimensions around toilets are critical for access and 30 "x 48" minimum approach area in front of all bathroom fixtures is needed. (These clearances can overlap.)

There are many accessories available for shower / tub modifications that improve safety and convenience. Recessed soap and shampoo ledges, various seats and benches, and adjustable height / hand-held shower with slide bars, just to name a few.

Bedrooms

One of the important features we want to look for in the bedroom is that there is adequate clearance for maneuvering around the bed and proper clearances for emergency egress, either at a door or a window with a lowered sill. Proper clearance should be considered for adaptable devices, such as a Med-Pole (a stainless steel assistive device) or Hoya lift. The doorways to accessible areas, like the bathroom and closet, need to be a minimum of 32 "wide as indicated earlier.

Summary

Aging-in-Place means maintaining independence and control of your life. Your environment plays a key role in achieving that goal and steps should be taken to improve the usability, safety and comfort of your home.

This begins with a comprehensive personal assessment and home audit for independence that may be performed by a medical professional or a trained aging-in-place specialist. With this information, solutions for home modification can be developed. Some of these modifications may be done yourself, such as using brighter lighting and slip-free mats. Other configurations will require a trained professional for widening doors and various remodel projects in bathrooms and kitchens.

Whether you are considering remodeling or designing a new home, look for professionals who have the experience to accurately assess your needs and find the solutions that will make your house a home for a lifetime. One resource for finding qualified professionals is the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). They have created the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) program to help you identify industry professionals with the skills and knowledge specific to home configurations for aging-in-place.

How to Seduce a Woman Using Covert Hypnosis – Under the Radar Tricks That Make Her Like You Quickly!

It's a myth that a hypnotist can put a woman in deep trance without her permission. The fact is that you can never hypnotize someone who is unwilling to be hypnotized in the first place. However, there are certain techniques you can use to go "under the radar" and mildly hypnotize a woman into liking you. When you know the techniques of covert hypnosis, you will find it easy to make a woman develop affections for you. Read on to discover the killer ways to seduce a woman using covert hypnosis and get amazingly effective results fast …

How To Seduce A Woman Using Covert Hypnosis

"Hypnotic Gaze". You can hypnotize a girl without words – by using eye contact alone! An easy tactic is to hold your gaze a little longer than usual – the ideal would be around two seconds longer than usual. The weird thing about this tactic is that a prolonged gaze would have somehow excite a woman sexually – nobody knows why it works so well! When you do this (especially when you're starting out), do this sparingly until you really master the technique. Remember not to come across as a nut job – and stop staring at her.

"The Mirror" . One easy way to make as if a woman feels emotionally connected with you is to mimic her body movements. To pull this technique off, you will need to be acutely aware of her body language. Copy how she positions her body, and all the substance things that she does. When you do this, you will subconsciously send her signals that she is in "familiar" territory, and as a result, she will put her guard down. Amazingly effective stuff!

The Cold War: A Look At The Myths And Reality Of Berlin

I will take you on a fascinating journey through a time where the World was completely different to the one of today, a journey that I hope you enjoy.

10. Access to West Berlin.

During the Cold War Berlin was divided into four sectors. The West was controlled by the French, British and Americans and the East was controlled by the Soviets. Sat in the heart of East Germany West Berlin was connected to West Germany by three main supply routes. The Berlin transit corridor was an autobahn that ran from Checkpoint Alpha in Helmstedt, West Germany to Checkpoint Bravo on the East German/West Berlin border. The Berlin railway network – The British train ran to and from Braunschweig. The French train ran to and from Paris and the American Train ran to and from Frankfurt. Finally there were the Berlin air corridors.

Travelling along the Berlin transit corridor was fascinating. Approaching the border was like something out of a science fiction film. Row after row of high-powered lights lit up no-mans land and the sentry towers. The Soviet manned checkpoints were an opportunity for me as a child to spot the rank, unit and sporting medals worn by the Soviet sentries. The Berlin travel document contained all names of those travelling in the vehicle. It was written in English, French, German and Russian. The only two places that Allied soldier’s and their families were allowed to stop in East Germany was at the Soviet controlled checkpoints.

9. The Berliner Fernsehturm.

The Berlin TV tower is an iconic sight that sits just inside East Berlin. The Soviet/East German propaganda machine was always in play and the story of this building was no exemption. Construction started in 1965 and was completed in 1969. It stood at 356 metres and registered as the fourth highest free standing building in Europe. An old cold war tale suggests that Pope Paul VI gave millions of dollars to the East German Government in order to build churches. The East German Government was lead by Walter Ulbricht. Ulbricht decided that the money should be spent on a TV tower instead.

So when construction on the tower was completed in 1969, 3 million turned out to see it. When the sun shines on the steel dome at the top of the tower a cross appears in the reflection. Rumour has it that the planners were not aware of this ingenious creation. The citizens of Berlin nicknamed the tower the ‘Popes Revenge’.

The Berliner Fernsehturm is still going strong today giving tourist an opportunity a bird’s eye view of a magnificent city. At the top sits a café, which rotates twice in the hour and sits just below the viewing platform. This is not a place to eat for those with a fear of heights.

8. The BRIXMIS & SOXMIS.

The British Commanders’-in-Chief Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany and The Soviet Exercise Mission were in a nutshell ‘authorised spies’. The BRIXMIS were made up of officers and NCO’s who were trained in identifying different types of Soviet armour and units. They worked out of their HQ in Potsdam, East Germany. Travelling around in small teams generally in Range Rovers or Opel Senators, these were known as ‘Tour Cars’. Tour Cars were marked up with a yellow number plate, a number and a Union Flag.

Tours took BRIXMIS teams across East Germany to the training areas of the Warsaw pact forces. Often crossing the line of duty, BRIXMIS operators would go that extra yard to get a close up photograph of a new piece of Soviet armour.

The SOXMIS ran in a similar format, operating out of black Lada cars in West Germany and West Berlin, somewhat less luxurious of their British counterparts. British soldiers and their families were encouraged to report Soviet tour cars. If I remember rightly the number was Herford military 2222.

The French and Unites States military also ran missions in the East. If you are interested in Cold War history there are numerous books worth reading on the subjects. The missions literally took part in a game of Cold War hide and seek.

7. The Stasi.

The East German Secret Police were ruthless and feared. Approximately 13 million residents lived in East Germany and around 900,000 were employed by the Stasi is some form or another. This was a big case ‘Big Brother’ and paranoia.

The Stasi developed out of the internal security and police apparatus established in the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany after World War II. The law establishing the ministry, whose forerunner was the Kommissariat 5 (modeled along the lines of the Soviet KGB), was passed by the East German legislature on February 8, 1950, four months after the establishment of the German Democratic Republic. The Stasi, whose formal role was not defined in the legislation, was responsible for both domestic political surveillance and foreign espionage, and it was overseen by the ruling Socialist Unity Party. Its staff was at first quite small, and its chief responsibilities were counterintelligence against Western agents and the suppression of the last vestiges of Nazism. Soon, however, the Stasi became known for kidnapping former East German officials who had fled the country; many of those who were forcibly returned were executed. Source Britannica Encyclopidia

Any telephone call made by a resident was automatically recorded if the call was over a certain distance. Residential flats were bugged and generally at least one flat belonged to the Stasi and was used as an intelligence cell.

It was encouraged to report any suspicious activity undertaken by your neighbour, failing to do so could result in a prison sentence.

Millions of files were produced by the Stasi on its citizens. To date almost 2 million people have looked at records that were kept on them. What is ironic about this organization is that it was still active less than 25 years ago. The chilling Stasi museum was opened to the public and can be found in Berlin.

8. Intelligence gathering.

Intelligence agencies will go to any lengths to gather information. In this list you will be interested to know that they were given information for free.

Due to the fact that East Germany was a communist country, Westerners including Allied troops and their families enjoyed cheap shopping in East Berlin. Porcelain could be bought at giveaway prices. Such was the value of dining in East Berlin, social function were often organised by British soldiers wives committees.

The wives would travel across into East Berlin via Checkpoint Charlie and enjoy cheap dining and alcohol. It is rumoured that the Stasi and KGB bugged waiters, tables and restrooms for purposes of intelligence gathering. Wives would often have ‘lose lip’ syndrome after a few glasses of wine. In turn snippets of information would be leaked, intercepted and analysed by specialists. Even the smallest amounts of information were priceless. What seemed as an innocent social function turned into an information gold mine for Eastern intelligence services. I am sure that any of the good lady wives that are reading this will laugh about this today, at the time it was a serious matter. I never did like East German restaurant food, especially the cheap imitation black fizzy soda.

7. Soviets In The West.

I have already touched on the SOXMIS. Despite having control of East Berlin, the Soviets also had a permanent location in the West of the city. The Brandenburg gate is one of the most iconic buildings in the World and lies in between the Reichstag and where checkpoint Charlie used to stand. During the time of a divided city, the Brandenburg gate sat in the East a few hundred yards away from the Berlin Wall.

From the West you could drive slowly up to the Berlin Wall and approach the Brandenburg gate. On the left where two Soviet tanks from the Second World War which formed a monument for all the Soviet soldier’s who lost their lives in street to street fighting in 1945. Guarding those tanks were two ceremonial Soviet sentries.

It is rumoured that a vehicle once stopped and the Soviet sentries were photographed. Remember this is a time where digital photography had not been invented. As a result stopping in a vehicle was completely forbidden.

The Soviet memorial in the West was another reminder of the cities dark past and a reality check that there was indeed a ‘Phoney War’ taking place. As a child I remember my parents driving around the sights of Berlin. As I was sitting in the back of the car looking at two Soviet sentries I often wondered who they were. The were probably thinking about being stood inside the warmth.

6. The Teuflesberg.

Situated in the Charlottenberg district of West Berlin, the Teufelsberg or Devil’s Hill was man made. In 1945 Berlin was just a sea of broken buildings. Millions of tons of rubble were moved and a lot of it ended up in the spot that is now known as the Teufelsberg.

Its origin does not in itself make Teufelsberg unique, as there are many similar man-made rubble mounds in Germany (see Schuttberg) and other war-torn cities of Europe. The curiousness begins with what is buried underneath the hill: the never completed Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer. The Allies tried using explosives to demolish the school, but it was so sturdy that covering it with debris turned out to be easier. In June 1950 the West Berlin Magistrate decided to open a new rubble disposal on that site.[1] The disposal was planned for 12,000,000 m3 (16,000,000 cu yd). Wikipedia

The Teuflesberg had two main functions, it was a recreational area for the public and it was also the eyes and the ears of Western intelligence. In 1961 Allied intelligence agencies ran operations from the top of the hill. They listened in on Warsaw Pact radio traffic. Such was its suitability it was decided to build a permanent sight there. The field station was manned 24 hours a day and I recall a neighbour of ours worked there as an operator in the Royal Signals. I would love to bump into him now and chat about some of the intelligence that he was privileged to have handled.

What was once at the heart of the Cold War now lies in ruins. Vandalised and covered in graffiti, the famous land-mark can still be visited by tourists.

5. The Iron Curtain.

The thousands of miles of barbed wire, watch towers and lights were given the name the Iron Curtain by Sir Winston Churchill in his famous speech. Even today the sight of the heavily manned border that divided Western and Eastern ways of life still are still fresh in the memory.

People talk about light pollution, unless you actually crossed the border at night you have never seen light pollution. Evenly spaced out watchtowers dominated the skyline, they overlooked no-mans land to their front and beyond into the West.

Attack dogs roamed in areas between the huge fences, a deterrent to any would be escapee. Reports have recently suggest that the attack dogs were pretty docile. Either way, I would not have like to have taken any chances.

East German border troops where paired up according to their marital status. Two single border guards where not posted together for fear of one of them trying to escape themselves.

German civilians who had been granted authority to travel from the West to the East or vice versa where subject to strict vehicle searches, even to the point of having their fuel tanks dipped. I will come on to escape attempts later on.

For those that never had the chance to see the East-West divide, imagine a prison but only on an enormous scale. That was what the ‘Iron Curtain’ looked like.

4. The threat of war.

The Allied troops in West Berlin were simply there as a token effort. Britain had just 16 tanks stationed there. Some 40 miles to the North West of Allied controlled West Berlin was a Soviet garrison that housed some 15,000 troops. Vogelsang was a ghost town that was home to armour, howitzers and infantry fighting troops.

In parts of RAF Gatow the only thing that separated it from the might of the Soviet Army was a 12-foot fence. The Allied Forces stationed in West Berlin were little more than a token effort of force. It is hard to say how long they would have lasted in the event of an all out war.

Both Allied and Soviet powers paraded their military machines through the streets of West and East Berlin respectively on an annual show of strength.

The British often ran an Exercise known to the troops and families as the ‘Rocker’. Exercise Rocking Horse and later Exercise Berlin Bear Defender was a crash out test. Troops were called into their respective garrisons in response to a ‘notional Soviet attack. There were often wagers between friends on when the next ‘Rocker’would be called by the Brigade Commander.

3. Checkpoint Charlie and the escape attempts.

Some 24 years after the Berlin Wall was declared ‘Open” Checkpoint Charlie still holds a vivid image for me. The checkpoint was the main crossing point between West and East Berlin. Plenty of myth and legend surrounds the famous land-mark. Bizarrely it has been moved from its original location along the Berlin Wall.

East German guards would occupy the controlled crossing point and would demand to see an individual’s passport from page one all the way through to the back page.

The Checkpoint Charlie museum paid homage to those that had escaped from across the border to West Berlin or West Germany. One such escape attempt involved an East German athlete hurdling the checkpoint barriers and leaping for safety into West Berlin.

Another audacious attempt involved a pilot flying a light aircraft underneath East German radar and over the border into West Berlin.

Arguably the most famous escape attempt was depicted in the film ‘The Crossing’. Two families made a hot air balloon of a period of months. The piloted the balloon from East Germany across the Irion Curtain into the West.

West German officials often returned some successful escapees to the East. They were not the lucky ones; interrogation normally proceeded a long stint in the Siberian salt mines.

2. Life in tow cities.

A city of enormous proportions, the residents of West Berlin went about their daily business just like any other populous in Western Europe. The only disruption came during the Berlin Blockade, which will be covered in my final list. Public transport was what you would expect of any normal German city, first class, reliable and punctual. Shops were always well stocked and showed no signs that it lay in the heart of communist East Germany.

The City often hosted the biggest rock concerts. Artists such as Michael Jackson performed in the West. His ‘Bad’ tour in 1988 attracted hundreds of thousands of supporters. Concerts where often held on 17 Juni Strasse near to the Brandenberg Gate. This was a propaganda stunt designed to show the East what they were missing.

In the East, the residents lived a completely different life. Paranoia, empty shelves, poor housing and low wages where typical of any communist state. There was a very long waiting list for the East German car the Trabant. Made from fibre glass with a two stroke engine, the cars often looked like patch work duvets. In late 1988 advances were made on the cars, they came fitted with a sun roof. I remember walking along the streets of East Berlin on our monthly visits, locals would literally stand and stare at you the ‘Westerner’. It was surreal.

1. The Berlin Blockade.

It was arguably one of the most iconic events in Cold War history, along with the Cuban Missile Crisis. On the 24th June 1948 until 12th May 1949, the Soviet Union blocked the rail, air, road and canal routes into West Berlin.

The Berlin Blockade resulted in a massive operation undertaken by the Royal Air Force, United States Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and South African Air Force. Fuel and food was flown into West Berlin in wave after wave of logistical resupply sorties. Over 200,000 flights were flown.

The Allied powers never gave up on West Berlin and eventually the Soviet’s lifted the blockade. Their plan had failed and brought about the berth of two new states of power.

In 1949 East and West Germany were born as a result of the Berlin Blockade. The separate German states would remain for another 50 years.

On 5 April, a Soviet Air Force Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter collided with a British European Airways Vickers Viking 1B airliner near RAF Gatow airfield, killing all aboard both aircraft. The Gatow Air Disaster exacerbated tensions between the Soviets and the other allied powers. Internal Soviet reports in April stated that “Our control and restrictive measures have dealt a strong blow to the prestige of the Americans and British in Germany” and that the Americans have “admitted” that the idea of an airlift would be too expensive.

On 9 April, Soviet officials demanded that American military personnel maintaining communication equipment in the Eastern zone must withdraw, thus preventing the use of navigation beacons to mark air routes On 20 April, the Soviets demanded that all barges obtain clearance before entering the Soviet zone. Wikipedia

Looking back, living in Berlin, the history and the situation at the time almost seems mythical. It wasn’t, it was very real but it felt very surreal. Even after all these years talking about those Cold War days still make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I recently sat down for a discussion with my uncle who served in Berlin as a British Soldier. He visited a Soviet camp shortly after the German unification. He talked about the large number of Soviet vehicles that were just static lumps of rusted steel and iron. It makes you wonder, had the balloon gone up, would the Soviets have been in any shape to put up a fight against the Western Allies?

Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Foods: Which Is The Better Method for Long Term Survival Food Storage

The Process of Freeze-Drying
Freeze-drying is a complex process of preserving fresh or already-cooked food by removing up to 98% of the food's moisture, leaving the food texture, flavor, aroma and nutritional value.

The process requires that the fresh or cooked food be quickly frozen at temperatures as low as -50 ° C. The frozen food is then placed into a vacuum chamber. This vacuum chamber lowers the pressure, and raises the temperature to just about 0 ° C.

At this specific temperature and pressure, the ice crystals in the food evaporate into water vapor, bypassing water's liquid form, through a process called sublimation.

This process preserves the cell structure and nutritional content of the food, resulting in a product that, when rehydrated, very closely resembles the original food.
The process also prevails the water from being reabsorbed by the food and thus decreases its weight significantly.

Most food items such as fruits, vegetables and meats are well-suited to freeze-drying, and can be used for long-term food storage and preservation.

The Process of Dehydration
Dehydrating food is a food preservation method which has been used for centuries. Native Americans dehydrated their buffalo kills in their hunting camps to make it simpler to transport. Pemmican (a dehydrated concoction of buffalo meat mixed with fat and berries) was a staple of many of the nomadic North American tribes. This low-heat dehydration process involved either air drying (with nearby campfires), or sun drying strips of meat on drying racks.

Dehydrators are a modern method for slowly removing the moisture from food without actually cooking it. A drawback of dehydration is the limited amount of food which can be discharged at one time. The positive aspect of dehydration is that this method of processing for food storage can easily be done at home.

How Do These Two Methods Affect the Food?
Freeze-dried foods preserve much of the original color, shape, aroma and freshness of fruits, vegetables and meats. Freeze-dried food does not usually contain additives or preservatives, so it remains true to its original form. And the look, texture and flavor of the food remains after re-hydration.

Unlike low-heat dehydration, freeze-drying allows for the preservation of pre-cooked meals, including recipes such as soups, stews, stroganoff, and the like. An obvious benefit is that since the meal was prepared in its own prior to freeze-drying, all you need to do is simply add water, then heat for a few minutes in order to create sumptuous meals.

Rehydrating freeze-dried food takes just a few minutes, simply by adding boiling water. Some foods, like many fruits and vegetables, need no re-hydration before eating.

Dehydrated foods shrink during processing as the moisture is removed. So the food item itself is significantly smaller than its original size.

The re-hydration time of dehydrated foods takes a bit longer than freeze-dried, but it stills tastes like the original form of the food. Some dehydrated foods contain added ingredients to enhance flavors or assist in preservation. As with freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, dehydrated fruits and vegetables can be eaten without any re-hydration.

Both methods of food preservation increase the long-term storage life of food. Most commercially produced freeze-dried and dehydrated foods have a shelf life of 15 to 20 years, if properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry environment.

In addition to their being a reliable source of food in an emergency or long-term survival scenario, because of their light weight and ease of portability, these foods are also great for taking on camping, hiking and hunting trips. They are also a wise choice to keep in an emergency road-side kit for the car, or in your bug out bag.

If you choose to keep these foods in your car as part of an emergency kit, please remember to rotate them periodically. Temperatures in a car can reach extremes, both hot and cold. High heat as well as continuous temperature fluctuations contribute to quicker degradation of both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.

Which Type is Better for Consumption?
Everyone is different, and each person has their own personal tastes and preferences. With that in mind, there are a few things to consider before making a decision between frozen-dried or dehydrated food.

Home-grown fruits and vegetables are better preserved via dehydration, since the average person can not afford the expensive machinery used in freeze-drying.

Foods used in everyday cooking and meal preparation should probably be free-dried. This permits the food to be quickly re-hydrated as it is cooked prior to serving. If accessibility and portability are important, than either type of preserved food should meet those particular needs. Once again, it's a matter of personal preferences.

In a nutshell, both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods are excellent choices for long-term food storage, as well as for daily use or for hiking, camping, etc. They both provide light-weight, portable, convenient foods. The primary difference is that freeze-dried foods tend to better preserve the shape, texture and flavors of the original food.

Most people will find that a combination will work best for their needs. Single-item foods such as vegetables, potatoes, and other staples and grains are well-suited to low-heat dehydration. Freeze-drying is more appropriate for meats and fruits (which texture can be preserved), and for pre-cooked meals with a variety of ingredients such as soups, stews and sauces.

As you incorporated freeze-dried and dehydrated foods into your lifestyle, whether for camping and recreation, convenience, or as a survival strategy, you will learn which items you prefer to be dehydrated, and which you prefer to be freeze-dried. In either case, be assured that your choices will offer the peace of mind of knowing that you have a reliable source of food in basically any situation.