Learn Accounting Quickly – Debits and Credits

Alright,” Said Steve’s new friend. “Let’s answer ‘what are debits and credits’ question.”

Debit comes from a Latin word which means “that which is owing”. Credit also comes from Latin meaning “to trust or believe”. In the past, around the 15th century or so, you would keep a record showing who you owed money to and who owed you money.

People would write down who they owed money to on the left side of the page and naturally, the right side of the page was used to record money that you were to receive.

It was this convention that evolved into our modern system of accounting.

Today, we record the money we pay to others, as debits, on the right. Likewise, any money that we get is recorded, as a credit, on the right.

But we have also taken the system further. We have created an accounting rule that says: For every transaction, the value of the debits must equal the value of the credits.

It is the use of these debits and credits that give the double entry system is ability to record both sides of a transaction.

Here is your first question. Let’s say you paid your cell phone bill, would that be recorded as a debit or a credit?

It would be a debit. Why? Because debits are used to record the money we pay to others. But, that is only half of the answer.

Remember, what we just said about the accounting rule; debits equal credits, for every transaction. That means that there is another side.

Since we already have a debit, we need a credit. In this case, we paid cash for the bill, so cash gets credited.

We now have a complete transaction. Cash gets exchanged for a cell phone bill.

While this might at first seem odd, it is the use of debits and credits gives the double entry system built-in checks and balances. This is because the total of the debit values recorded must equal the total of the credit values recorded. Unlike the single entry system of accounting, which does not use debits and credits, errors are evident right way. This double-entry system is self-balancing.

“Okay,” said Steve. “So every time my business has a transaction I need to record it as both a debit and a credit.”

“That is correct,” His friend said. “There is always at least one debit and on credit to the accounts that are effected by the transaction.”

Steve’s reaction, of course, was “huh’?

Accounts are records of resources, claims to resources, or other events that keep track of any changes.

Basically, you can think of accounts as buckets. You can fill them up and you can take stuff out.

Take cash for example. As you receive cash you throw money into the bucket. When you spent cash you have to reach in and take money out. You can always know how much is in the bucket simply by counting what is inside.

Every transaction results in things moving from one bucket and moved to another, into buckets, or out of buckets. You might have one account for cash, one for your vehicle, or one for your house. Your cell phone bill might be another. Businesses have buckets, accounts, for everything.

In the cash of your cell phone bill, when you pay it, you are taking the money out of one bucket, your cash bucket, and placing it in your cell phone expense bucket.

If you buy a house, you are taking money out of your cash bucket and putting a house into your ‘home’ bucket. Of course people don’t unusually buy a home with cash. Instead, along with putting a house into your ‘home’ bucket you would place an IOU into your ‘Mortgage’ bucket. Then every time you make a payment, you take money out of your cash bucket and you would take that same amount out of the IOU in your ‘Mortgage’ account.

“That seems easy enough,” said Steve. “But how do I know which buckets to use for each transaction?”

“Before I can answer that,” said his friend. “We will need to talk about the categories that accounts fall into. That will be what we discuss tomorrow over lunch.”

Major Parts Of An Excavator And How It Works

An excavator is an engineering vehicle that is used for digging or refilling of big holes. The basic structure of an excavator comprises of the arm, the bucket and tracks. The drive and power source of the excavator is one of the major components of this equipment.

Basically, excavators run on diesel as the main power source since it produces a higher horsepower compared to gasoline. Also, diesel is more suited for heavy duty jobs to power the engine that drives the whole machine. This means that it is responsible for powering the hydraulic arm for digging and lifting mechanism as well as the tracks that are used for its mobility.

The second part of an excavator is the hydraulic mechanical arm that does most of the work. The arm comprises of two parts joined using a hinge plus a bucket at the end. The arm comprises of three hydraulic pistons with one attached to the bottom of the first arm part and the second one attached to the top of the other arm part. The third piston is normally used to facilitate the movement of the bucket both forwards and backwards, generating the digging and scooping action.

The third major part of any excavator is the track system that enables it to move forward, backwards as well as turn or spin. The tracks are wound around a system of gears which are in turn connected to a drive shaft powered by the engine. The operator controls the movement of both tracks separately to perform different maneuvers. One track is stopped while the other one is moved either backward or forward to make a turn.

A control cabin mounted on the tracks is used to houses the operator. The control cabin also houses all the control equipment. This includes the control pedals for moving the tracks as well as the levers used to control the hydraulic arm. The cabin is closed so as to protect the operator from exterior factors such as rain at the work site. Some customized excavators have a cabin that rotates a full 360 for better control.

The first task to be taken care of when operating an excavator is controlling the dozer blade. First, you have to lower the controls on the left hand into position before putting on the safety belt. The next task is controlling the bulldozer blade by moving it up and down to position the blade securely into the ground for stability. The bucket at the end of the arm is the controlled by use of the joystick to perform different operations such as digging or scooping. Safety should however be highly exercised whenever you operate an excavator to avoid any mishaps.

Pressure Washing Heavy Equipment

One of the best ways to make money in the pressure washer business is to power wash heavy equipment. It is not necessarily easy work and you will get quite greasy but it is steady work and there is lots of it. You will need to know the different types of equipment and the issues which are of concern to preventative maintenance technicians, operators and owners.

Scrapers

The average scraper costs over $250,000. With these monsters, excavation companies can literally move mountains. The incredible size of scrapers and power it takes to propel it self, plus all of the dirt these machines move, add up to extremely dirty engine compartments. A small oil leak and the dust clings to the grease, clogging radiator flanges, and causing fire hazards and cooling problems.

Scrapers are probably one of the hardest pieces of equipment to clean. Like bulldozers and turret-mounted trackhoes, they are difficult to climb on. Their massive size and the time to clean them appear to be an impossible task, but give yourself 3 – 4 hours and you will have it so clean you can eat off of it. Give yourself 10 hours and it’s ready for fresh paint.

Realize that scrapers collect a lot of grease and oily dirt in the center where all the hydraulics come together. This occurs due to hydraulic leaks or an overzealous mechanic with a heavy hand on the grease gun. Just get in there and blast it all over everything. You must remove it by conventional methods first.

Excavators

The average excavator sells for about $180,000. Although it’s concept is relatively simple, it is important to clean it thoroughly. Remove all exterior panels, rotate turret 90°, and extend arm forward as far as possible. This way, you can clean the arm and all the hydraulic fitting surrounding it. The cab must be carefully rinsed out and the body is cleaned bottom to top and from inside to out side and then rinsed the other way. When it is completely cleaned, all the panels are replaced and then you soap it, and rinse it again and detail the cab. It’s about a three to four and a half hour job on a large size excavator with cabin.

Bulldozers

Bulldozers are some of the hardest worked equipment in excavation. You can clean everything from huge D-10 dozers down to an old 1960 John Deere Museum piece. Many bulldozer owners have many pieces of equipment, one we recently worked for owns 136 other pieces of serious heavy equipment used in road construction, forest cleaning and grading of future housing tracks. Most larger excavation companies have numerous contracts for flood control, hurricane demolition and land clearing for five states, so you need to do good work because the referrals are endless and you will need to buy more equipment and hire more steam cleaning pressure washer employees for your company.

A small dozer, such as a D-4, can take an hour to and hour and a half to three hours to clean, including the cab. A D-10 or larger may take as long as three hours and if dirty up to seven. This service includes complete cleaning of the triple radiators with steam and 1500 PSI with 6 gpm, so as to not bend the radiator flanges. We recommend that you use a dual tip system with 2 15° angle tips.

A motor on a D-10, if it overheats, can cause permanent damage. New engines go for about $55,000.00. You must take our job seriously and realize that you must help the owner maintain their equipment equipment. Down time is as much a killer in the excavation business as it is in the power washing business. By keeping the heavy equipment cleaned, it is easy to detect hydraulic and oil leaks earlier so they can fixed before permanent damage occurs. Your ability to help the owners maintain such equipment is a huge factor in their success.

By setting up a preventative cleaning schedule and working around any union labor, you will be virtually invisible, environmentally friendly, and extremely cost effective. Not to mention a very valuable resource for their team. Think about cleaning heavy equipment and expanding your pressure washer business today.

How To Adjust The Parallax Settings On Your Rifle Scope

What the heck is Parallax? I asked the same thing when I first started looking to upgrade from iron sight to a good rifle scope. This guide should give you some insight into getting the best focus out of your Bushnell scope, or any other adjustable parallax scope for that matter.

Have you ever looked through a higher power scope and noticed that if you move your eye off center to the edge of the exit pupil, the reticle seems to move across the target? Well, that shift happens when the parallax setting is not properly adjusted for that distance. Some have mistaken the parallax adjustment as a focus or even a range finder, but it is neither of these. The parallax adjustment, when set properly will insure that the reticle is positioned correctly on the target; as though your crosshairs are a part of the target, unmoving, as if they were painted on, just for you. Of course if your scope is not a “target” or a “varmint hunting” rifle scope, you probably don’t need to be concerned with adjusting the parallax setting. In most hunting scopes the parallax is negligible, in fact I have a good friend that hunts regularly and he didn’t even know what I was talking about when I asked him. I don’t hunt, but I love to spend a Saturday at target practice. So to me, any small increase in accuracy is defiantly welcome.

Most of the higher power scopes, with a power of 12 or more, will have an adjustment ring at the end of the Objective bell (the end closest to the target). Usually the parallax adjustment ring has the suggested settings printed on them, so you can just dial in the range you’re shooting from. The problem is these suggested settings are rarely as accurate as they could be. So why should you go through the trouble of getting yours “just right”? Why not just use the suggested setting? Even if you’re a great shot, you could easily shrink the size of your groups by as much as 30%, just by taking the time to properly set the parallax adjustment on your scope. Many shooters don’t even realize that even with a few adjustments they could greatly affect their shooting performance. Let’s face it, the documentation that came with your scope isn’t a real blessing when it comes to learning how to use it, they just assume you already know.

Now that you have an understanding of what parallax is, it’s time to fine tune your scope for increased accuracy. I’m going to assume you have already zeroed in your scope and that it’s properly sighted in. You will need to set up your rifle so it is securely positioned on a bench. A shooting rest with a vise would be best. Dial in the suggested setting on the parallax adjustment ring for the range that you’re shooting from. Now, look through the scope and shift your eye back and forth, left and right so you can see if the crosshairs seem like they are moving across the target. Experiment with the adjustment ring until you have eliminated the illusion that your crosshairs are moving. When you think you’ve got it perfect, take a little white-out liquid paper and make a mark on the parallax adjustment ring so you’ll know where to adjust it later. Some people paint their mark or score it into the metal, but to start with I prefer something that’s not so permanent until I’m absolutely certain about the position. Next, go ahead and take three to six shots and see how your grouping has improved. Nice, huh! Don’t stop there, move your target 50 yards back and repeat the process. You might as well find the perfect settings for all the ranges that you typically shoot from in 50 yard increments.

If you’re in the market for an affordable rifle scope that will really go the distance I can recommend two models from the Banner series of the Bushnell Scopes line of rifle scopes. The 1st is Bushnell Scopes Banner 6-18×50. This is a long range target scope that is also great for varmint hunting, and it’s parallax focus can be adjusted from 10 meters to infinity. The 2nd is Bushnell Scopes Banner 6-24×40. This long range target and varmint scope features a mil-dot reticle which is my preferred style of crosshair. Both can be purchased for around $120.00, so they won’t empty your wallet. To view these and other Banner series Bushnell scopes please visit my Bushnell Scopes page.

Happy Hunting,

Backpacking Across Europe With Baby – Yes, It Is Possible!

A bed and breakfast in Provence. Traveling the Chunnel to England on a Europass. Backpacking the Alpine trails of Switzerland. You and your partner have had all these romantic ideas for your excursion across Europe, when suddenly, you have a cuddly baby between the two of you! Is it time to give up the dream? Not at all. Take baby with you!

Carrying your baby is becoming more common and acceptable, and comfortable backpacks exist to place baby inside. Designed for your active lifestyle as well as baby’s safety, you can hike in the wilderness, go camping, and of course, trek across Europe. Traveling as a family builds great bonds and memories, and you’ll find the little tyke in the back to be a great icebreaker when meeting new people, no matter which country you go to. There’s not a culture in the world who doesn’t love babies!

Plan Your Travel

Granted, that three-month travel fling without a plan in the world won’t work with baby. Planning is essential. You will need to think of what to do in emergencies, illness, or just plain crying. You will need to be self-sufficient. A good plan is to make a list of everything baby will need, and pack it in easily-reachable zip-lock bags in a fanny pack. Test any over-the-counter medications with your baby first to see how he’ll react – it won’t be a good experience if it has the opposite effect! A lot of supplies that you will need, such as disposable diapers and children’s Tylenol, are widely available in European cities.

Airflight and Jetlag

When booking a plane, ask in advance for certain conveniences, such as the roomier part of the plane. Some airlines offer cribs or bassinets, and even baby meals. Also, the price of a ticket is vastly discounted, though baby won’t get her own seat. Ear pressure can be relieved by nursing, a pacifier, or candy – anything that can be sucked.

Jetlag is harder on babies than on adults. They may be cranky for a few days with the sudden interruption of sleep patterns that they may not have even fully developed. It is probably a good idea to stay in a hotel room upon arrival to recover before beginning your backpacking trip. If you are breastfeeding, the airline flight could dehydrate you.

Accommodations

When planning your route, it is best to think of staying at a few base cities and backpacking out from there. That way you can keep a lot of the supplies back in your room. Childproof the room upon arrival, such as placing masking tape across electrical outlets and placing breakable items out of reach. If you are thinking of hostels or bed and breakfasts, make sure you call ahead, as many do not allow children (not because they’re heartless, but because they don’t have the supplies.) A hotel room is best, though many hostels do have family rooms. The Internet is great to research for specific accommodations. Also, if just the two of you wish to spend a night on the town, most hotels offer a babysitting service or have information for one.

Crib standards in Europe are not as stringent as in North America, so check the crib supplied by the hotel. If in doubt, have baby sleep in bed with you. If your room has a portable cot, stick chairs underneath to form a makeshift crib. Another option is to bring a portable crib like the Graco Pack’n’Go with you. Babies like security, and though you will love the constant change in scenery, your infant may not. The familiarity of sleeping in the same crib will go a long way towards a peaceful night’s sleep.

Food

If baby is still nursing, all is well. Breastfeeding in public is acceptable in most European countries, especially the more south you go, but check to see what is acceptable and what is not in your locale. For older infants, high chairs are not common, and a crying baby in a restaurant is not a good idea (just like in North America). If baby is fussy you can eat outside or order some food and take it back to your hotel room. Make sure the food is not too exotic, or baby could have a bad reaction.

Transportation

Well, this is a backpacking trip, right? You will likely get a rail pass between cities. Infants under 3 ride free, and older children get deep discounts. Eurail goes to every capital city in Europe, and usually to the downtown area. Trains are fast, smooth and clean, and baby will likely sleep, or older kids will look transfixed out the window. Having a baby with you is always an invitation for smiles, and it is likely you will end up socializing with other passengers.

If you plan the “home base” method, it should be fairly easy to hop on a train with all your supplies, get off near your hotel, and store a lot of baby gear in your room. Then you can go gallivanting, baby style, around town.

The Baby Carrier

Now that you have some idea of how to travel with baby, you need a baby backpack! It can’t be stressed enough to buy a carrier well in advance, and to take it for test hikes. This is not only to make sure you are comfortable with it, but also that baby likes it. Remember that baby strives for security, and the more she is taken for a ride in the same backpack, the more familiar and comfortable it will become.

Look for a backpack with a hip belt so a lot of the strain is off your shoulders. Look for good storage compartments for diapers and other baby gear. Don’t store any valuables in the pack, as thieves could see you as an opportunity. Better for them to discover a few disposables than your passport!

There are many different kinds of backpack carriers, most designed for particular uses. A frame backpack is bulkier but is also more stable and can hold more storage. Some packs have baby positioned right against your back, which gives you better balance but reduces airflow on your back. Look for models from Kelty, Ergo and Sherpani. A detachable sun visor to protect baby is also a good idea.

When you buy the backpack, make sure it fits both partners. There will often be times that you will want to switch: one person carries the baby, the other carries your own supplies.

A good tip is to bring two carriers with you; a bulkier one for longer excursions between hotels, and a smaller, less bulky day pack while in the city. (It can be folded and stored in the larger carrier when not in use). A lot of people will list the benefits of a stroller over a backpack, but if you’ve been to Europe, you will know that there are a lot of narrow-lanes, winding streets, numerous steps, uneven cobblestone and roads that suddenly go uphill or downhill – great for a romantic stroll, not so great if you have a stroller! With a light day carrier, both your hands will remain free while you view the sites.

Share Your Baby and Enjoy Your Trip

Taking baby with you can be the most bonding and rewarding time of your life. You and your partner will be even closer as you each care for your child while traveling. If your child is old enough, he may even remember this exciting time in her life – traveling with mom and dad in Paris!

Travelogue – Batanes, the Secret Places in the Philippines

The raging sea beats the island of Batanes’ as if to say I am King.

The waves violently slap the rocks with enviable freedom. Its stammering power heeds no remorse.

The island however doesn’t back down, doesn’t fold-up or disintegrates. It takes a proud beating with a ‘Hah’, I am Batanes.

Batanes should indeed be proud of its coffers. It offers an amazing landscape that is as complex as a Roger Dean art work. The twisting spiraling mountains roll for miles and miles carpeted with green pastures. Atop its numerous cliffs one can get a front seat view of the feisty merging waters of the China Sea with the Pacific Ocean.

There is also something incredibly charming about the island’s unique stone houses. Around 3 meters thick, these rock abodes crafted by the ancestors have stood against torturous rain and bullying winds. The roofs are made of cogon providing water proof shade. From afar the houses create an amazing texture of color and form that is bucolic and unlike anything that I’ve ever been in the provinces I’ve visited.

In spite the amazing scenery the island’s greatest strength is its people – the Ivatans. Storm warriors by birth they still posses a gentle demeanor, friendly disposition and an unbelievable sense of trustworthiness. Crime is said to be non-existent in Batanes and people find no need to lock their doors. There is even a sign posted in the city treasury that reads “LOST AND FOUND – MONEY. Please claim inside”.

As most travel junkies know Batanes is the northernmost province of the Philippines and its smallest island both in terms of land area and population. Among its ten petite islands only three are inhabited – Batan, Itbayat and Sabtang. Sandwiched by Babuyan Island and Taiwan, the province is closer to Taipei than Manila. In fact an urban legend states that on a clear day one can see Taiwan and hear Chinese roosters crow.

Growth in Batanes’ tourism has been spurred by airlines such as Asian Spirit that conveniently jets weekly flights (for a P10,000 round trip ticket price). Surprisingly posh, the main airport is located in Basco, the province’s capital (found in Batan island). Albeit the flight being a bit choppy, I land safely in Batanes and seek my adventure.

DAY 1 – Going around Basco

A refreshing contrast to other city centers, Basco has neither a mall nor a Starbucks coffee shop – yet. The pseudo-commercial center is a small lane filled with tiny groceries, supplies stores and ukay-ukay shops. Zero tricycles explain the quiet streets and only a couple of jeeps and automobiles exist here.

2:00 pm

Shanedel’s, a family managed inn is a great place to bunk. The place has a killer view of the Batan Bay and is right beside the busy Basco port. An old lighthouse perched on a hill can also be seen. Languid cows graze the pasture. The bovines stood so still I almost doubted they were real.

5:10 pm

Conveniently, the lighthouse is just a 20 minute walk from my place. The sky was turning crimson as the sun prepared to rest when the moon decided to drop by. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to see the sun set and the moon reveal itself simultaneously.

8:45 pm

Fried flying fish, was my first Batanes dinner. The meat was okay. Nothing fantastic.

DAY 2 Exploring Batan Island

Batan, is Batanes’ second largest island that serve as the center of commerce and houses the seat of the provincial government. Travelers can arrange tour rides that will explore Batan’s municipalities which include Basco, Ivana, Uyugan and Mahatao.

10 am

The ‘jeepney topload’ is the best seat to take when viewing Batan’s landscape. The ride snakes through the island’s rolling terrain. Above me are spectacular mountain formations that resemble stoic hunched-back giants. The white sand beach below me boasts pristine waters that splash against massive rocks.

Occasionally the driver parks his vehicle and allows my group to go down to absorb the scenery. There is nothing more lovely than sitting at edge of a cliff to stare at the horizon. No skyscraper, no boats, not a single living person litter my view, just clear blue skies. I pretend this really is the edge of the world.

12:30 pm – Honesty Store in the town of Ivana

Lunch takes place in an unmanned small canteen stocked with goodies (mami, chips, sodas, biscuits). Owners put their faith in customers’ honesty…hence the store moniker.

2:10 pm – Marlboro Country

After a belly filling lunch I head Payaman town dubbed as Marlboro Country. The tour guide boasts ‘Makikita mo parang wala ka sa Pilipinas’. The town does have a different feel to it. The pasture, from a far, is a mixture of deep green and brown hues. The guide explained the brown color is actually thin bamboo wood that cordons an Ivantan family’s land from his neighbor. This village is Batanes’ version of Tagaytay Highlands but instead of golf courses it is actually cattle pasture. Fantastic!

DAY 3- Sabtang Island

Sabtang is considered one of the 12 best destinations by the Department of Tourism in 1994. Compared to Batan, the island is less affluent but is more charming (in my opinion). Batan’s modern influences has converted its precious stone houses to concrete walls and thatched roofs. Meanwhile Sabtang still has their cobble stoned streets and stone houses intact. Albeit the Sabtang is also beginning to deteriorate as people there are starting to modernize their houses. The danger of spoilage of Batanes is an issue the government must pay attention but that’s another article altogether.

Sabtang’s landscape is also more breathtaking than Batan’s. Steep mountains, deep cannons and a seemingly endless strip of white beach is amazing. Sheer limestone cliffs that plunge into cerulean waters below makes it so surreal. I was able to swim in Batanes waters!

P.S. Oh and by the way I saw an independent movie production shooting a scene in the island (these guys did the indie film called Donsol). I heard Angel Aquino was the star. Interesting…

8 pm – Dinner Time

A birthday party thrown by a fellow adventure seeker spiced up the night. A belly popping feast includes fresh tuna sashimi, lobsters and lechon. We washed it down with a Pinoy ubiquitous drink – Tanduay. Yum.

Other memorable dishes I had in Batanes were fresh blue marlin tuna steak, green pepper filled lapu-lapu fillet, beef steak (lemme tell you they have lots of cows here), cuttle fish and pizza. Yes pizza…there is a pizza maker in Basco named Ivan, my favorite flavors are pepperoni, garlic and cheese and anchovies pizza. You have to order in advance to be able to enjoy its yumminess.

DAY 4 – Going Home

Flights from Batanes to Manila always take off at around 10 am. There was a certain melancholic feeling that washed over me as I left the quaint island. Probably because I’ll be going back to the circus I call my life. I guess one thing I have in common with Batanes is that just like its islands I always try to win over life’s metaphoric raging waves.

THE CHECKLIST

Batanes will definitely see me again. There are also so many stuff I wasn’t able to do.

Here is my list:

1. Fly to Itbaya which is Batanes third inhabited island. I was supposed to go but unfortunately the only light aircraft that flies to the island was broken. For those who wish to go to Batanes I suggest you go explore Itbaya first before doing the other island as it is much harder to access.

2. Climb Mount Iraya

3. Visit Mavudis island which is the northernmost island of Batanes. Coconut crabs litter the rich marine life filled island.

4. Explore Nakabuwang Cave in Sabtang and the Chawa cave which is said to be enchanted. It has a natural salt bed and a mouth that opens to South China Sea.

Lastly I would like to surf, wouldn’t it be so badass to say to Batanes raging waters ‘HAH I am the Queen’?

Bring a digital camera! Check http://www.camera.co.uk

The Best Cedar Outdoor Wooden Playsets

I’ve been doing a lot of reading online about playsets of late. There are a lot of discussion boards across the country with a lot of Mom’s asking each other about cedar outdoor playsets. They ask about specific brands and share information based on their consumer findings, and why they purchased the one that they ended up with.

I saw so much bad information going back and forth. Many purchased based on price, or sales pitch, or what they could view in their area. Many still made poor choices.

No one knows who to ask! A retailer or manufacturer naturally is going to try to convince you that their playset is the best, or the best deal. Consumers have very limited knowledge based on some limited comparison that they were able to do. Neither of these sources know very much about a broad selection of playsets.

So who do you ask??? You should ask not only the most knowledgeable of anyone in the country about a broad range of sets, you also should ask someone who does not have an axe to grind and won’t lose or gain much of anything by the decision that you make. You ask the experienced and knowledgeable installer of these sets that assemble and install virtually every brand there is, from the best to the worst… ME!

There are scores of playset manufacturers, foreign and domestic. I get to assemble them all, bolt by bolt, screw by screw, board by board, top to bottom. Not only that but I have six children and three grandchildren, so I have parental insight and their safety in mind.

#1

After all that, I can tell you that the very best set for quality in this country is CedarWorks. Although they are pricey, if you can afford the best, that’s where you should go. You can customize your set to exactly what you want, and they will ship directly to you.

CedarWorks uses Northern White Cedar in it’s playset construction. This is a heavy and solid wood that is naturally resistant to insect infestation and rot. Each piece is sanded smooth providing a very safe and good looking playset that will last.

In addition CedarWorks playset are not limited to children ages 2-12 like most of the sets that are sold today. Adults of all ages can enjoy it right along with their children.

#2

If CedarWorks just isn’t in your budget, but you like solid, heavy-duty, the look of the unfinished Northern White Cedar, then Triumph Playset Systems is the way to go. Nice folks and a great product. These are not as ornate overall as the CedarWorks sets are, but they are every bit and sturdy and high quality. I am not only an experienced installer but I am an experienced woodworker as well. I greatly appreciated the quality, safety, and durability of these sets.

You will also appreciate that more sections come pre-assembled than any other set that I have seen, including those from CedarWorks. The assembly time is much less, virtually half the time. Therefore if you use an installer such as myself, you may end up with a better quality set than most of the “Play-Sets-In-A-Box” (that are very time-consuming to assemble), for the about the same price. Triumph Playset Systems also uses Northern White Cedar in the construction of all of their sets

NOTE: I highly recommend that you get the wood roof upgrade.

MADE IN CHINA

Most of the “Play-Set-In-A-Box” sets that are sold in Costco, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s, WalMart, BJ’s and others, are made in China. These are mass marketed and sell in large quantities due to much lower price than the much higher quality American made sets. They are good looking sets, and the average consumer buys “pretty” over quality as a general rule.

These Chinese playsets are often stated as being made from Cedar. What is being touted as “Chinese Cedar” and is sometimes called “China Fir” is actually a type of “Cypress” (Cunninghamia Lanceolata). Don’t just take my word for it, read this article at Building-Products.com on ‘A Closer Look at Cedar from China ‘ and then there is this informative article on ‘ Chinese Cedar ‘.

I know when a set is made from this Chinese Cypress as soon as I open the box. It is very aromatic and the smell is usually strong initially, from being closed up in cardboard boxes. My general observations of the wood is: 1.) It looks like fir. 2.) It is a light in weight. 3.) It is not very dense. 4.) It splits relatively easily. 5.) It is usually very dry.

It is wise to pre-drill the smaller or thinner pieces to prevent splitting when attaching with the wood screws provided. This is done by the manufacturer on some sets, or on some components, but very often not.

Because the sets from China are so light in weight, they must be anchored to the ground. Anchors are included with many of the Chinese made sets. But as with all sets, be sure to keep all wood above ground. Both Cedar and Cypress will rot over time if buried beneath ground level. Sometimes when a location is not level, the playsets are set below ground level on one side or another to make the set level. Don’t do it, or allow an installer to do it. You must make sure that the ground is level prior to installation. Be sure all the included anchors are used at the proper or recommended locations.

THE BEST FROM CHINA

If you decide to purchase one of those MADE-IN-CHINA “Play-Sets-In-A-Box” because you have a small budget, but you are still looking for safety and the most bang for your buck, then go with Gorilla Playsets.

Gorilla Playsets are much better made than most of the “Play-Sets-In-A-Box” from China that are sold by most of the big retailers like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, WalMart, etc. We have assembled a lot of Gorilla Playsets. They are full-featured playsets that won’t break the bank, and are generally safe enough for even me to climb all over. If this is your choice, I highly recommend that you purchase one with a wood roof, and not the canvas roofs that do not last.

Some of the Chinese sets are flimsy and scare me. If they shake and move easily under my 180 lbs, what will they do with a lot of children climbing all over it? The Gorilla Playset is a better playset than most of their Chinese counterparts. My favorite feature about the Gorilla Playsets is that the decks are thicker using 5/4″ stock rather the 3/4″ stock that most of these Chinese sets have.

As with all of the known playsets that are from China, their use is limited generally to children ages 2-12. They are just too light weight, and are not built well enough for adult use.

IMPORTANT NOTE

There is another benefit to buying the best quality like CedarWorks or Triumph Playset Systems… Overall the less expensive sets are more costly to have professionally assembled. In fact I charge the same price to assemble the CedarWorks Frolic 2 that currently costs $4,995, as I do to assemble the Highlander Deluxe Cedar Playset which is currently priced at $899 at Sam’s Club. The least expensive sets to assemble overall and best quality for the dollar spent, in my opinion, are the Triumph Playset Systems.

How to Replace the Starter on a Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee starter will sometimes fail with very little warning. I have had to change them in store parking lots, driveways and most recently in front of my son’s apartment. Using this simple procedure you can get your Jeep running again quickly and possibly avoid a towing bill.

For most people, there is plenty of room to get access the starter without even jacking up the Jeep. In fact, not jacking it up makes it easier to get the starter past the control arm when removing it from the engine bay.

Remove the negative battery cable

Remove 8MM nut that holds the starter trigger wire to the solenoid.

Remove the lower mounting bolt. Note this is an SAE bolt with 9/16 head. It goes in from the front of the starter.

Remove the upper bolt. This one is metric with a 15 MM head that goes in from the transmission side.

Remove the starter and lower it enough to remove the battery cable from the terminal. This is a 13MM.

To install the new starter, first install the battery cable in place and move the trigger wire out of the way.

Position the starter so that it indexes into the hole in the backing plate. Start the upper bolt but do not tighten. This is the shorter metric one.

Start the lower bolt (longer SAE one) and make sure the starter is aligned properly with the hole in the backing plate. Tighten the bolts.

Attach the trigger wire and tighten the nut.

Reattach the battery cable.

After everything is back in place, you can turn the key and start up your Jeep. Be sure to reset your clock and radio presets that you loose by disconnecting the battery.

Bob the Builder Promoting Family Values

Bob the Builder is a character from the children’s television series created by Keith Chapman and originally broadcast on the BBC in 1997. Bob has been watched by millions of children around the world and has been favored by parents for his positive influence on children and family values.

Bob the Builder is a great example for children to follow and the stories not only entertain, but illustrate what real life is all about. Sure, Bob encounters problems working on the construction site, but he always has a positive attitude to complete the task at hand with a solution. With the help of his friend and business partner Wendy and his machine talking team of trucks and equipment, Scoop the yellow backhoe loader, Muck the red bulldozer, Dizzy the orange concrete mixer, Roley the green steamroller, Lofty the blue crane, Zoomer the purple snowmobile, Travis the cyan tractor, Tumbler the yellow and green concrete mixer, Benny the pink excavator, Jackaroo the blue pickup truck, Packer the red pickup truck, Skip the yellow skip loader and Scrambler the blue bike the job is always completed enthusiastically.

The adventures of Bob the Builder and the gang encourage kids to learn about teamwork, leadership, patience, respect, resolving conflicts, friendship and co-operation with others as they work together on the construction site and play together, all important skills and values to teach children.

The lessons that young children learn are the building blocks of character and integrity that will shape them as they grow and will stay with them throughout the rest of their lives. The characteristics of Bob the Builder are a great example to children and prove essential in later working life where building relationships with fellow workers, fostering teamwork in working environments and getting the job done are all important assets in your abilities to succeed in both personal and working life.

Common Driveway Concrete Problems

Two frequent questions I get from homeowners:

  • My driveway sounds hollow… is that bad?
  • Sand runs out the end of my drive after it rains… is that bad?

If you have significant voids or space between the concrete and sub grade or if your drive is on a steep grade, this can certainly be “bad”. Does your drive make a thumping noise when you drive in on it? Maybe it rocks when you drive over it. Can you see between the joints? Are there visible cracks? Does it look like your driveway concrete is sliding away? Maybe the drive has even sunken down causing trip hazards. These are all signs or symptoms that you may be missing some sub grade underneath your concrete, which is quite important to the integrity of your drive.

Four to six inches of sand is placed and compacted, providing base and support for concrete when it is poured. The sand sub grade can settle if exposed to water repeatedly, causing a small space or void between the bottom of the slab and the sand. Other causes may be incorrect compaction, organic soils or lack of sand. Driveways that are on a grade are more susceptible to water erosion and settling because water runs downhill through joints and cracks. Those of you who have this problem know exactly what I mean.

How can I fix this problem in my driveway?

  1. Drill and fill the voids underneath the concrete (commonly referred to as mud-jacking).
  2. Caulk all joints and cracks with a good quality concrete caulk.
  3. Re direct downspouts and water that could wash out underneath.

How can I prevent this from happening to my drive?

  1. Caulk all cracks and joints with a good quality concrete caulk; this keeps water running over the top preventing it from getting underneath.
  2. Be sure that water drains away from your drive, preventing it from traveling under the slab.
  3. Direct downspouts away from your concrete.
  4. If you are installing a new drive, be sure the contractor properly compacts the correct amount of sand for your base.

Whether it’s a hollow sounding driveway or a washed out sandy mess, a reputable concrete repair company can fix it. If you have cracks in your sidewalk, patio or pool deck, concrete repair contractors can repair them. Typically, a good concrete raising contractor will have the capacity to deal with any of your concrete issues whether they raise it, repair it, or replace it.

How to Control Your Nerves on the Gymnastics Balance Beam

Nervousness and anxiety are extremely normal in artistic gymnastics. Especially when it comes to the balance beam. By far, balance beam is the event that almost every gymnasts get the most nervous about. The thought of tumbling 4 feet over the ground on a 4 inch beam can be very scary. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, you will still get nervous when it’s your turn to compete your balance beam routine. There are a few things you can do as a gymnast to eliminate anxiety and nervousness.

Cutting down you anxiety before you compete balance beam at a gymnastics meet is not something that comes easy. It takes a lot of practice! But in the end it is worth it.

Competing a balance beam routine is way different then being at practice and performing it. You could do your balance beam routine in practice a thousand times and never get nervous and then go to a gymnastics meet and fall apart once you mount the beam. The question is, how can you eliminate your anxiety and nervousness at a gymnastics meet?

You can eliminate nervousness by competing! But the problem is there is not enough meets in a season to get a lot of experience from. This means you need to create situations that will help you train and prepare for a gymnastics meet other than practice and competition.

You can start by performing your balance beam routine while there are loud progressive/cheerleading classes in the gym, or when a birthday party is going on. You can also try turning up music really loud while practicing your gymnastics beam routine. Invite friends and family to watch and encourage them to talk and cheer while you are on the beam. While all this is going on you need to try to focus and tune everything out. Another good way to practice is to go to as many small/fun gymnastics meets as possible.

Just remember if you fall off beam your anxiety level will rise, this is not a good thing. So don’t rush it, take a deep breath and even a short pause if needed. It is better to get a small deduction for going over time or for pausing in your routine than to receive a deduction for a fall. Plus once you fall it is much harder to get back up and finish without letting your anxiety get the best of you.

The hardest thing about beam isn’t the gymnastics dance, skills, turns, jumps, or leaps that are in the routine, it is the mental inclinations the gymnast’s have. The main reason girls shake on beam and get so nervous is because they are head cases. This is by far the hardest thing to get over! The only things that can help with mental inclinations is practice, practice, practice.

TCA Tattoo Removal – Removing a Tattoo on a Hand

Removing a tattoo is a little bit more difficult than most people think. There are a number of factors that go into removing tattoos. How old is the tattoo, how well the tattoo was applied to the skin, what kind of ink was used, was the ink high or low quality, is it a colored tattoo, is the skin around the area still tight or is it loose. These are just a few examples of the factors that can effect how easy or difficult it can be to remove a tattoo.

Of the most difficult places to have a tattoo removed from is the hand. You are constantly using your hands, washing your hands, and doing the things that everyone basically does. For this reason, if you want to remove a tattoo from the hand, you have to use a method that is going to give you some freedom.

One of the easiest and most popular methods for removing tattoos is TCA tattoo removal. It doesn’t require any painful lazers, there is no down time like there is when you lasers, you don’t have to have a doctor apply TCA, and you don’t really have to make any particular accommodations for your hands during or after you apply TCA to your skin.

Basically in a nutshell, all you have to do is A) clean your hand with some acetone or rubbing alcohol. Apply the TCA to the tattoo on your hand and let it sit for about 5 minutes. You will want to continuously apply it to keep the area wet with TCA. Make sure that you are not putting so much on that it runs down your arm or off of your fingers. If it does, simply dry it off promptly and rinse it will cool water.

Once you have applied the TCA for 5 full minutes and the area has turned a cloudy whitish color, you apply the neutralizer that dissipates any discomfort you may feel. The hand is very important to most people’s day-to-day life and so fully removing a tattoo from your hand can mean a world of difference in your professional world.

You don’t need to wear a glove or anything like that, no special lotions are needed, and you don’t have to wear band-aids or anything, just keep the area as clean and dry as you can. It is expected that it will get wet in the shower but other than being in the shower, try and keep your hand dry at all times as this will help to continue to dry out the skin. It will take about 2 to 3 weeks for the skin to peel off. Once the skin has fully shed, give it about 1 week and then you can repeat the process. You will probably have to repeat the process about 6 to 8 times over 6 to 8 months in order to fully remove the tattoo. You be the judge of your own skin. If you have shed all the dead skin from a previous application and want to wait an additional few days before your next application, then feel free.

Once your tattoo is about 50% gone, you can cover it up with light makeup. It will hardly be noticeable if at all.

The Importance of Architectural Drafting

Risks are imminent if you want to make a huge success in business, but none would want to take blind risks. It is useless to risk your effort aimlessly. But convincing people of your aim is not an easy task either. You need tools and a well defined plan to see your ideas accepted in any field. The same holds good in the case of architecture too. Today, the field is booming with creative ideas and innovative styles. You will have to be extremely convincing in your ideas if you have to gain attention among so many big names in the field. This is where you will find architectural drafting extremely helpful.

A building is an expression of creativity of the architect. It is also an effort by the contractors along with their entire team to convert the imagination into reality. This needs more than mere words. There has to be a clear cut understanding on the overall layout, the measurements, the elevation and so on, so the team can work in tandem with the plan. Hence architects often rely on architectural CAD drawings that convey all these details without much confusion. Architectural drafting not only serves as a blueprint for the final idea but also forms a common point of agreement in the team.

While the methodologies of the past were different, today, architects can rely on software programs to help them sketch the plans. The programs have all features required to make the plans comprehensible to all. You can also import images into CAD files and edit them while making a final draft of the plan. This is a commendable feature that is facilitated today through applications that support vector conversion. Architectural drafting or architectural CAD files usually carry bitmap or jpeg images that cannot be edited. The files can now be converted to vector form using third party applications and can then be imported into the CAD files for easier usage.

Whether you are building a house or a commercial establishment, you are bound to have several rounds of discussions. Each plan may bring forth newer ideas that have to be explored. You can run through each of these rounds with the powerful architectural drafting. Apart from making use of the latest technology, you also contribute to a safer world by utilizing architectural CAD drawings. There is no need of taking printouts very often since you can easily find most of your work done through smart applications that come loaded with several features. These applications are not expensive which makes them even more attractive for the current generation. If you believe in making use of architectural drafting but lack the manpower to do it for you, you can outsource this task to other companies that specialize in providing this service at reasonable costs.

Benefits of Havaianas Arch Support

Arch supports which can also be referred to as orthotics are usually available in different ways, there are the custom made arch supports and there are also the ones that are ready made which can be found in different shoe stores. They are usually made of a base of plastic and the top is usually leather or foam.

The podiatrists claim that the these supports help in the reduction of the foot disorder symptoms since they help one in supporting their arch so that they can be comfortable. With the increase in the number of flip flops, there have been cases that have been reported of problems concerning them. This has enabled the manufactures to come up with ways of creating Havaianas arch support. This has greatly reduced the discomfort that is caused by the shoes and people are able to put them on without much worries.

The first benefit of these arch supports is the fact that they are more comfortable to put on. One can be able to walk and stay with them for without getting uncomfortable or without experiencing pain in their feet. Custom made ones are the most advisable ones to go for since they are specifically made to fit your legs and this means that you will not have to tamper with them so that they can fit properly.

The other benefit is that these havaianas arch supports are usually long lasting and one can stay with them for several years without experiencing discomfort which improves the health of those who go for them. These people rarely complain of discomfort in their feet or any related problems.

The other benefits that are associated with these supports are the protection that one gets from having them. If one has a problem with their feet and they use them, they are most likely to find protection from the support that they get and their condition will not be spread to. These supports are usually recommended by the doctors for those who have feet disorders and any kind of condition that may be harmful to their health which is caused by their feet. This is a good treatment that is advised for everyone even those who do not have any condition with the legs.

The people who use these havaianas arch supports experience less back pains, the leg pains and even the hip aches. This is mainly because of the support that someone gets from the arches supports. The benefit also comes from the good posture of the feet that one experiences after getting them. There is also the better control of the motion that the feet takes. All these benefits are associated with the arch support that the legs are getting when introduced to them. It is therefore important to choose sandals that have them so that you can save on the costs of having to go the hospital.

Construction Insurance – Importance and Coverage

Construction involves large number of manpower and huge investments of money. The workers at a construction site risk their lives working at great heights, with dangerous tools, toxic materials, heavy equipment, under tunnels, etc. Hence, construction is associated with high amount of risk for money and lives. A slight negligence or bad fortune on part of the worker or owner may prove too costly. It may lead to a huge financial loss. These unfortunate events require tools, which can bail the company out of the situation. Here arises the need of ‘Construction Insurance’, the risk management tool, customised specifically for the construction industry. Construction insurance is like any other insurance, which is used to protect the various parties associated with construction process.

A comprehensive construction insurance policy covers all the expenses that may occur due to property damage or personal injuries at the construction site. This insurance not only includes the organization owner, but also workers, employees, tenants, sub-contractors, sole proprietors and business partners.

Importance of construction insurance

As discussed above, construction involves usage of heavy equipment, materials, labour, etc. and is more prone to accidents. Since the business stands liable for any accident on the construction site, it is the business owner or the contractor that should pay for the medical treatment charges of the injured or compensation to the families, in case of death of the worker.

Material costs associated with construction are very high. Any damage to the structure or the materials leads to huge financial loss. Insured with the construction insurance, one can seek financial assistance from the insurance company.

The buyers of the flats or the constructed property will have all rights to sue the construction company, in case of faulty construction. In such cases the construction company has to pay for the remodelling or repairing the constructed site. Construction insurance protects the builders from those claims, by providing financial assistance.

Apart from the above circumstances, construction insurance provides wide coverage, providing security to the business in case of unpredicted events.

Four main areas it covers

Construction insurance is very significant in terms of its coverage. It is very comprehensive and is specifically designed to cover every aspect of construction process, to make the business process flexible. Construction insurance covers four major areas of business insurance. They are:

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance is a general insurance to be possessed by any business which involves interaction with the customers or people in general. Public liability insurance as part of construction insurance helps the businesses in case any damage to third party property or individuals is caused by employees or the tools used in construction.

Employers liability insurance

As the construction industry involves lot of risks, any worker can get injured or die at any point of time, due to the faulty equipment or negligence of supervisors or co-workers. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees at construction site. Moreover, the employees will have every right to sue the owner and claim for compensation. In case of such unexpected events, the employer or the owner can benefit from the construction liability insurance, as the insurance company pays the medical costs or the compensation associated with the claims.

Contractors all risks insurance

Contractors all risks insurance is customised for construction businesses. It provides assistance for contract works of new houses, theft of materials or tools, damage to the materials or tools due to unexpected events, sudden stoppage of on-going works of new houses, owned or hired plants, etc. This insurance acts as a perfect help for the most commonly incurred accidents in the construction process.

Personal accident insurance

This insurance is specifically designed for managers, sole proprietors or business partners. This is useful in the cases, where the person injured can’t blame any other person for the injury caused to him. This is helpful in providing assistance during the period for which the injured person cannot get income.

Construction insurance is very important for construction businesses as the damage or the financial loss occurred is very hard to be recovered. Businesses should realise that the cost of premiums for insurance is less when compared to the compensation costs. Therefore, it can be concluded that, construction insurance is very valuable in making the business sustain for long run.