What to Consider With a Payroll Provider

Managing the payroll is likely to be a complex job to complete at the end of each month and locating a reliable and trustworthy payroll provider is often just as difficult. You really want to make certain that you are able to locate the ideal payroll processing service that is able to take full responsibility of this important role. Since a companies wage bills is seen to account for a significant proportion of the entire expenditure, it is vital that this process is completed accurately and on time each month.

In the process of sourcing the very finest payroll provide it will be necessary to consider several different issues, which might include:

Having the right level of experience – If you are looking to transfer the payroll processing to a third-party organization you really want to make certain that they are fully experienced and have built a solid reputation in the industry.

Expertise in your particular business sector – It is likely to make the process of managing the payroll so much easier if the company used already has a significant amount of knowledge in your particular industry or sector.

Able to offer flexible services and options – If looking for a more all-inclusive service, it will be highly beneficial to use a company that is able to offer a lot of services. By having the option of picking the desired payroll services you have a greater chance of being able to receive a service that is able to perfectly match the needs.

Uses the very latest in technology and software – A modern approach to managing the payroll is likely to be highly desirable. Transfer of data is that much easier when you are able to rely on the very latest software programs.

Attractive pricing options – A clear and simple to understand payment structure is certain to be preferred. You want to make certain that you are only paying for the actual services received and not for a general package that includes services that are not likely to benefit you. Ideally, you want to compare several services side-by-side to make certain that you are able to choose the right payroll company able to offer the right service and price combination.

Help and support provided – A further quality aspect to have is access to comprehensive support which should enable you to get the necessary feedback on any issues or queries that may present themselves.

Gymnastics Article – Simulate the Skills with Straight Arm Conditioning

We all know there are so many different coaching methods, training programs, and coaching personalities. Many gymnastics coaches successfully get their gymnasts stronger, but they do not need to adequately incorporate sport training into their programs. I have seen gymnasts benefit from the general strength exercises such as push ups, but when it comes time to perform certain skills the gymnast's muscles are not always prepared, accustomed to the sequence of movements for the skills, or strong enough in each position required to safely complete the skill.

Gymnasts really need a variety of training to include sport specific training coupled general strength conditioning in order to more closely simulate the skills in our sport. For example, many straight arms exercises such as the front lateral raise, press handstand, or planche drills more closely simulated gymnastics skills than bent arm exercises such as the push up, bench press, or reverse dips.

Here is one straight arm exercise that has helped many gymnasts strengthen their chest, shoulders, and back muscles, becoming stronger in two very important motions. Since the gymnast often has to be able to open and close the shoulder angle during skills on uneven bars, I have included a very useful exercise which incorporates both up and down movements. This one should help her learn to efficiently transition from one arm motion to the next with ease. Picture your gymnast performing a glide kip, cast handstand, clear hip handstand. She will have to reverse shoulder movements several times within this short period of time. Once you see the shoulder movements necessary to connect these skills you will see the reasons I had for incorporating two exercises into one drill more than a decade ago. This exercise actually alternates the motions of opening and then closing the shoulder angle.

Lie Down Cast / Kip Drill (Barbell / Toning Bar)

1. Spot your gymnast during this exercise. Give her full instructions before she begins the exercise.

2. Setting Up: Have your gymnast lie on her back between two folded panel mats with her arms above her head. Her head must remain between the mats, but her hands and wrists should go beyond the mats in order to allow the bar to near touch the floor after it is lifted over head for full range of motion.

3. The folded mats must be a few inches higher than your gymnast while she is lying between them for safety reasons. The bar must be long enough so that each end can rest on the center of one of the mats. The bar will be lifted from and returned to the mats without touching your gymnast. There should be enough clearance for your gymnast to slide in or out while the bar rests on the mats. Although you will be spotting your gymnast, the mats will also help prevent the bar from touching her. If one mat on each side is not high enough, please use two folded mats on each side. If the bar is brought down too quickly or falls, it should land on the mats, not your gymnast. This is a very safe exercise when the coach and gymnast keep safety in mind.

4. Once the mats are set up, place the bar on the mats and make sure it will not fall between the mats or roll off.

5. Starting Position: Once the mats and bar are in place, instruct your gymnast to sit between the mats, slide her legs under the bar, and then lie down. She should position herself so that the bar is above her hips.

6. Once positioned, allow your gymnast to grasp the bar and then straighten her arms. Instruct your gymnast to keep her arms straight, but not to lock them.

7. Be careful the bar does not shift to an unsafe starting position.

8. Next, instruct her to lift the bar up toward ceiling and then toward the floor above her head to simulate a cast to handstand motion with her upper body.

9. Remind your gymnast to continue to hold the bar securely and then allow her to lift the bar off the floor, toward ceiling again, and then lower it to the mat above her hips to simulate a kip with her upper body.

10. Allow your gymnast to continue with several repetitions if she is able. Inform her that it should be a continuous motion once she is comfortable.

11. Your gymnast will likely need more spot lifting the bar from the mat (the initiation phase) which involves the shoulders (deltoids) than she will on the return phase which involves the back (latissimus) muscles. Be prepared to spot all phases of this exercise. You can have one coach spot each portion. To spot the lift from the mat, kneel on one of the mats to help your gymnast lift off the mat. Kneel near her head to spot the lift from the floor. Make sure you can reach the bar, especially when it is above your gymnast's body.

12. Start with the lightest bar possible, maybe even a broomstick to ensure proper safety and form. Once accustomed to this exercise, your gymnast can use weights on a barbell or a toning bar, but it should always depend upon her strength and experience. If you are using a bar with no weights, you can wrap a thick towel around each end to help prevent your gymnast's knuckles from touching the floor.

The second exercise is more obvious. This one also helps the gymnast with specific gymnastics skills because it will be in and out of a handstand. The Planche – Virtual Handstand – Planche Drill is a great exercise for body tightness, control, upper body strength, and core strength. This drill is an appropriate exercise for gymnasts on so many levels, including those expected to perform the cast handstand and clear hip handstand on bars in the near future.

1. Instruct your gymnast to stand with her back to a spotting block or mat stack, place her hands on the floor, and then place one foot / ankle on the block. Once your gymnast has one foot / ankle on the block, she can then place her other foot / ankle up on the block.

2. Now your gymnast should be in an elevated push up position with her feet on the block. Your gymnast's legs, hips, and chest should remain off the floor through this exercise.

3. Now that your gymnast is in the elevated push up position, instruct her to move her hands closer to the spotting block and her shoulders forward in order to form a slight planche position.

4. Once your gymnast is in the plane position with her feet on the block, instruct her to squeeze her buttocks and then to pull her belly button in. You should see the lower portion of your gymnast's back elongate into the correct low back position for a handstand (pelvic tilt).

5. After your gymnast has formed the correct shape with her lower body, instruct her to push down on the floor and pull in her chest simultaneously. The portion of your gymnast's back between her shoulder blades should rise toward the ceiling. Your gymnast has just performed a protraction / shoulder shrag in the planche push up position. To help teach the shoulder shrag touch the portion of your gymnast's back that is between her shoulder blades and ask her to push up on your hand to form the round back.

6. Instruct your gymnast to hold that tight shape throughout the rest of the exercise.

7. To start the exercise, instruct your gymnast to lift one of her legs up toward the ceiling, but to keep her other foot / ankle on the block. Your gymnast's body, with the exception of the foot / ankle still supported on the block should have moved as one unit up to the single leg, or virtual, handstand. The leg that is pointed toward the ceiling should be the one forming the handstand shape along with the upper body.

8. Your gymnast's shoulders, hips, and one ankle should be directly above her hands while the other leg remains supported on the block. Inform your gymnast that her hips and shoulders should remain square with the block. Her buttocks should be under, belly in, hip opened, chest in, and shoulders in a shrug / stretched position. Remaining square and tight is not always easy for the gymnast.

9. Once your gymnast is in the correct single leg, or virtual, handstand position she can begin the return motion by slowly lowering her free leg back to the block and shifting her shoulders slightly forward so she returns to the planche push up position. Your gymnast's body should move as one unit to the starting position. Instruct your gymnast to keep her head in line with her spine, either tucked in nor tilted back.

10. Next, instruct your gymnast to return to the single leg, or virtual, handstand position by lifting her free leg back up above her hips so that she is vertical, with the exception of her supported leg. She must also open her armpits back up, and square her shoulders and hips with the block. Your gymnast must bring her shoulders and head into alignment for the correct handstand shape again. Instruct your gymnast to look at the floor just above her hands for the planche and then at the block for the handstand.

11. Once your gymnast understands the motion of the virtual handstand to planche and back to the handstand, ask her to complete a few repetitions before stopping if she is able.

12. Inform your gymnast not to planche too far forward until she builds strength and becomes very comfortable so she does not collapse.

13. You must also inform your gymnast to communicate when she is fatigued so that you can allow her to rest. This exercise puts tremendous pressure on your gymnast's wrists. You should allow her to rest when she communicates that her wrists are getting tired.

This exercise, when performed correctly, closely simulates the shoulder movements of the cast handstand and clear hip handstand on uneven bars. You can use a floor bar as long as the floor bar is stable.

The constant change in shoulder angle causes a change in the demand on your gymnast's upper body muscles. Your gymnast should develop strength in a wide range of positions after performing this drill frequently and consistently over the course of time.

As you can see, these exercises are so much different from push ups because of the straight arm training which so closely simulates gymnastics skills. Your gymnast's entire upper body will be challenged with this exercise. If performed frequently and consistently this drill should help tremendously with overall upper body strength in addition to specific gymnastics skills.

Although the push up and bench press are great exercises, they do not really simulate the gymnastics skills of female gymnasts. Gymnastics skills must be simulated in a safe manner in order to train a gymnast's mind and body to perform gymnastics skills safely and efficiently.

Karen M. Goeller

www.GymnasticsDrills.com

Divorce to Remarriage – How Will We Know When We're Ready to Remarry?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked from my coaching clients. They've been hurt before and do not want to go there again! It's actually a really good question. The whole, "We'll just know!" thing does not work. If that was the plan for your last marriage, you're actually familiar with how bad that plan is.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment and the decision to enter into it should be taken very seriously. The last thing you want to do is purely on emotions only.

There are 3 main criteria areas I usually go over with my clients when we reach this question. Let's look at these together today.

1. How do your children feel about the possibility of you remarrying? A wise saying to remember is "First marriages usually stay together for the sake of the children. If you've rushed too quickly into a relationship, your kids may still be reeling from the divorce.

I'm not saying that if your kids are not absolutely in love with your partner that you can not marry. But what I am saying is that the kids are a part of this new marriage too. They will have an incredibly effective way of damaging this marriage if you do not work to develop that relationship between your children and new partner BEFORE the wedding.

2. How much have you learned about step family dynamics? Step families are not the same as other families. The honest truth is that they are a lot harder! Trying to make a step family function like your previous nuclear family will feel like putting a square peg into a round hole. It just will not fit and everyone will get frustrated.

3. How well have I deal with the ending of my previous marriage? A lot of people are really uncomfortable with the idea of ​​being alone. You tag the label "divorced" on there and the discomfort shoots through the roof. In an attempt to wiggle out of that discomfort, many people rush into the first relationship that presents itself. BIG MISTAKE!

You need some time to be alone. You need to be comfortable with it and you need to create a life as a single person. Then and only then are you able to make a choice about a new partner rather than a leap into someone's (anyone's) arms.

In case you missed it, the common thread through all 3 of these questions is TIME . You can not honestly expect to accomplish any of these tasks if enough time has not passed. There needs to have been time in between the divorce and this new relationship and then more time between the creation of this relationship and the wedding. If you find yourself or your partner rushing the "I Do's", you need to question why that is.

Home Owners Insurance and Trees – You Love Them Your Insurance Company Hates Them

Coverage for damage caused by trees and for the trees themselves is one of many confusing areas of a Homeowners insurance policy.

Your neighbors’ tree falls and damages your garage, shed and fence.

Will insurance pay for the damage?

Whose insurance should pay?

What will they pay for?

A tree falls in your yard.

Will your insurance policy pay for it to be removed?

Will it pay for a new tree?

A tree limb breaks from wind or a lightning storm and is dangling over your house.

Will your insurance policy pay for it to be removed?

What if it’s hanging over a neighbor’s house?

A tree falls on your car.

What policy will cover the damage to my car?

Is there coverage for the tree removal?

First, the basics; it does not matter whose tree it was. If there is damage to your property (from anyone’s tree) your insurance policy is the one to respond. If there is damage from your tree to a neighbor’s property, their insurance policy is involved. If there is damage to both properties (from anyone’s tree) both policies will be involved and each will deal with its own property only.

The only time a Homeowners insurance policy should be involved with damage to someone else’s property is if there is liability involved. That is if the tree was rotten or leaning and should have been removed or trimmed prior to the damage occurring. Even then the damaged properties insurance policy will generally pay for their customer’s damage and then try to recover their money from the tree owners’ insurance company.

Second, the important consideration for coverage is; what is physically damaged. If a tree, or portion of a tree, falls and does not damage any real property there is no coverage. Real property is any building, structure or contents item it does not include land, landscaping or plants of any kind. A fence, shed, patio, driveway, swing set or bicycle would count as real property.

If a tree falls into your yard and does not cause any damage to the home or any other real property then there is no coverage to remove the tree or for any cleanup. Sorry!

If there is damage to anything such as a fence then the policy should cover repairs or replacement of the damaged item(s) and also limited coverage for removal of the tree. To make this even more confusing; the tree removal coverage is divided in 2 phases.

Phase 1: Getting the tree removed off of the real property is covered with no sub-limit. That is if a tree is on a storage shed then the first stage of tree removal is to remove it off the shed so repairs can be made. The only limit for this part of the removal is the coverage limit on this section of your policy; in this case the Other Structures coverage.

If the repairs to the shed and the tree removal combined are greater than the coverage available then there is an additional coverage available for debris removal. This is 5% in most cases, so if you have $10,000 coverage on Other Structures you can have up to $10,500 for the repairs and tree removal cost.

Phase 2: The second stage of tree removal is removing the tree debris off the premises. This portion is limited to $500 or $1,000, this limit can vary by insurance company, policy type and state involved.

Third, the tree itself is covered in certain limited circumstances and for a limited amount only. The tree is not covered for wind or hail damage but is covered for damage from fire, lightning, explosion, vandalism and vehicle damage (as long as it was not a vehicle driven by members of your family). The limit is typically $500 per tree but can be more on some policies and in some states.

Fourth, If a damaged tree is leaning toward your home or dangling precipitously over your home what is covered? Assuming that portion of the tree has not damaged real property then there is NO coverage. Even if another tree or portion of the same tree has caused damage.

It is your responsibility to protect your property. The insurance policy only covers damage, NOT potential damage. The same is true if one of your trees is dangling over someone else’s property, no coverage for potential damage.

If you ignore the situation and the tree later falls and causes damage to the neighbor’s home their insurance will cover their damage. They will then want to recover their money from your insurance company, or you. This is called subrogation.

If the later damage occurs to your home your insurance company could try to deny coverage because you did not protect the property.

The Homeowners insurance policy covers sudden and accidental damage it is not a maintenance policy.

Finally, damage to any automobile will only be covered on the auto policy (then only if you have Comprehensive coverage). The tree removal will not be covered by your Homeowners policy unless other real property was damaged.

See our websites mentioned below for more information. You can send direct questions or read what other homeowners have asked.

Common Pressure Washing Injuries

Many people underestimate the power of a pressure washing machine. Serious and even fatal injuries can result when using pressure washers improperly or if basic safety measures are ignored. The two main types of pressure washing machines are electric and gas. Electric machines emit water at pressures exceeding 1,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). Many gas pressure washers exceed 2.000 PSI and are capable of reaching pressures as high as 4,000 PSI on industrial units. Higher pressure is obviously a faster and more effective cleaning tool… but with the greater pressure, comes the greater chance for serious injury.

Serious injuries from a pressure washer may include abrasions, slip and falls, blindness, and high-pressure injection. The sheer pressure of water alone is powerful enough to cause an injury, but using chemicals during the cleaning process can make a bad situation even worse. Injuries and wounds sustained while pressure washing can appear deceptively benign but should always be examined and treated by a doctor or qualified emergency care provider.

Abrasions are a common injury associated with pressure washing. To reduce the risk of getting abrasions, wear protective clothing including gloves, closed shoes and long pants. Avoid pointing the pressure washer at yourself, other people and pets. Do not depress the trigger until you are sure of where the gun is pointing and use care not to spray your hands, feet or legs.

Slips and falls can lead to hospitalization or death. Wet surfaces will be more slippery and ice can form rapidly in cold climates. Using a pressure washer on a ladder or other elevated surface is dangerous due to the backward force of a pressure washing gun, which can easily throw a person off balance. Understand your work area and how water will affect the surface. Use appropriate safety harnesses when operating a pressure washer from a ladder, lift, or crane.

Blindness and other eye injuries can occur not only from being sprayed directly in the eye, but from foreign objects or chemicals flying through the air. The power of water at high pressure can send rocks, nails, glass, and other harmful debris hurtling through the air at damaging speeds. Chemicals and detergents can also splash up from the surface. Always wear shock resistant and splash resistant safety glasses or goggles when operating a pressure washer. In the event of a chemical-related eye injury, seek immediate medical help and be sure to take the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or label explaining the chemical’s properties for the physicians’ review.

High-pressure injection (HPI) occurs when water and other debris/chemical penetrates the skin and causes deep tissue damage. Serious infections are highly likely with HPI and may ultimately lead to permanent disability or amputation of the affected body parts. To lessen the risk of HPI, use wide angle or fan nozzles to disburse the pressure over a wider area. Solid stream nozzles can do more harm and should be avoided whenever possible. As with abrasions, wear protective clothing and never point the pressure washing wand at yourself or another person.

Special concerns for each specific type of machine should also be considered. With electric pressure washers (as with any electrical tool around water) there is the risk of electric shock. Use of gas-powered pressure washers can lead to asphyxiation by carbon monoxide inhalation when used without proper ventilation. Gas units are also loud and may result in hearing loss – hearing protection should be worn at all times. Misuse of hot-water and steam pressure washers may result in serious burns that could likely require medical attention. When operating any pressure washer be sure to read and understand its operation manual, paying special attention to all safety precautions.

Do not be one of the thousands of individuals each year that underestimate the power of a pressure washer and ultimately require hospitalization for their injuries. Give the machine the respect it deserves and use necessary safety measures for each particular situation. If you have any doubts about operating a machine, consider hiring a mobile pressure washing service to complete your project. A quick Internet search for “pressure washing in (your city)” will likely result in dozens of professional companies that would be happy to give you a free estimate.

Ipe Hardwood Floors: Awesome or Not?

If you know anything about Ipe hardwood, it is truly an amazing wood. It has a Janka rating of over 3600, making it one of the densest woods that are currently available on the hardwood flooring market. Ipe has a lot of very positive characteristics, but it also has its issues!

It is so dense that with even a marginal finish applied to the surface, most spills will pool on the top rather than penetrate below. And it survives the abuse from the even a 100 pound sheep dog with limited wear marks.

Ipe Hardwood Flooring is referred to by many names depending on the country of origin and who is making the flooring. Brand names like Ironwood(TM) and Pau Lope(TM) are common as are “consumer names” like Brazilian Walnut. For some reason, North American retailers think referring to it as a walnut will make it more understandable to today’s consumers.

Ipe is really a cluster of many trees from the Bignoniaceae family (Tabebuia, spp) that share a common appearance and physical characteristics. They are all dense and rather straight grained. Some pieces look quite similar to teak. It is very resistant to decay, termite and dry insect attack, although this is not significant (I hope) when choosing ipe as interior flooring. It is VERY fire resistant as well.

Colour range varies from a medium straw with olive green overtones to a reddish brown with darker black streaks common in some boxes of ipe hardwood. Flooring samples can then have a very large range of colours. Make sure that you understand this, and don’t buy, expecting colour uniformity. It is always best, if possible to visit a customer that has had this type of flooring in use for a number of years. You can then judge not only the appeal of the colouring but also the durability of the finish.

For installation it will require a very good quality grade of carbide blade on your miter saw to even attempt any trimming to length. If you have a large expanse of ipe flooring to cover, a second blade made be necessary. All holes, like those that you need to install for the first few rows of flooring will have to be drilled close to the size of the finishing nail you intend to use, otherwise you will split the wood. Experiment first, to save a few pieces of ipe flooring.

What Is RSS – The Difference Between RSS And A Blog

These are questions I am frequently asked: what is RSS and what is the difference between RSS and a blog. The answer is not as easy as you might think, but there is a fundamental difference.

RSS stands for a number of different things, depending on what you read, but the popular version is “Really Simple Syndication”. It is actually short for ‘Rich Site Summary’ and is an XML format used to share content such as items of news between different web sites. It allows you to provide fresh ever-changing content on your website that refreshes itself even while you sleep.

The word ‘syndication’ with reference to websites refers to the publication of an item to many other sites at the same time, which is probably where the popular version of the term arose. Using RSS, a website can let other web sites publish permitted content by posting a link to an RSS feed that the content they distribute can be read by other users using an RSS reader. So what’s the difference between RSS and a blog?

In fact originally, RSS feeds came from blogs, and still accompany them in many instances. However, they are merely extensions of blogs, but are a different medium altogether. If you consider a blog, it is a single web page that is a log of a website, in the same way that captain of a ship maintains a log of the goings on in the ship and its course on a daily basis.

3 Advanced Cover Letter Strategies For Offshore Drilling Employment

When looking for offshore drilling employment, and in fact any job that requires a written application, the cover letter is arguably the most important element. It is what gets your resume read… or not. If you flub it, you can kiss your chance of an interview goodbye. Before looking at the three advanced strategies, let’s look at three important basic principles of writing this document.

Basic Principles

The first of these basic principles is to send more job applications out. It is common to send 5 job applications and get no response. But send out 100 competently written cover letters/resume and you should start to see some decent results. Prosecuting a successful job hunt is much the same as prosecuting a successful war. You need both quantity and quality.

The second basic principle is to make sure your letter looks neat and professional. Yes, this is important even for a job that requires physical labor like an offshore roustabout or roughneck. Besides looking neat, the spelling and grammar needs to be correct. However, you do not need to pay a professional writer to write your cover letter. Just run it through the spelling and grammar checker in MS-Word. You can also do the same thing using OpenOffice (a free clone of MS-Word).

The third basic principle is to make sure you include the job title in the subject heading of your letter. Use the same job title that is in the advertisement. Include any codes that are in the advertisement. This is important. If you do not tell the oil company why you are sending them your cover letter, they will trash it without reading it.

The three basic principles above seem laughably obvious. But too many job seekers are too rushed, or are too lazy or simply too careless to do things right. They basically shoot themselves in the foot. Now, let’s move on to the three advanced principles. Although the following strategies do not guarantee you an interview, they will definitely get you a foot up in the game.

Advanced Strategies

The first advanced strategy is to tell the oil drilling company why they should hire you. The simplest way to do this is to copy each point of the job advertisement’s scope and responsibilities list, and then write down your prior experiences that demonstrate that skill or ability.

The second advanced strategy is to show the human resource staffer what makes you more special than your rivals. Again, here is a simple way to do this: just note down additional skills that are relevant to an offshore drilling job but not included in the advertisement. For example, related (or at least useful additional) skills for a roustabout job would include painting, scaffolding, crane operations, welding, firefighting (as a real fireman, not learned in a course), etc.

The third advanced strategy is to make an irresistible offer. This comes in two parts. The first is to show that you can start work immediately. This means you should not be working now or serving out your notice. It means you should also have all the relevant medical certifications, skills certifications (e.g. HUET for work on board an offshore oil rig), union memberships and licensing. Part two is to end your cover letter by asking them to call you for an interview. Successful salesmen know this last strategy very well (both parts of it). It is what makes them successful – daring to make an irresistible offer and daring to close the deal.

When you are looking for an offshore oil drilling job, your cover letter will make or break your job hunt. Violate the three basic principles above and you may as well just stick to flipping burgers for McDonalds. But the three advanced strategies are what will give you a leg up on 90% of your rivals.

Lumineers – A New Type of Dental Veneer

If you dream of having a perfect smile, but the thought of having veneers applied to your teeth makes you wince in pain, you’ll be happy to know there is a new, pain-free alternative to help you get a fantastic looking smile. Lumineers are porcelain coverings, made from a patented type of porcelain known as Cerinate, applied directly to your teeth. Unlike porcelain veneers, your dentist can apply these contact lens-thin “smile shapers” to teeth without any grinding or shaving. They can be applied without the use of anesthesia, so no shots are required.

Porcelain veneers, also known as “dental porcelain laminates,” are wafer-thin shells that bond to teeth. Most traditional veneers require that your dentist grind down sensitive tooth structure for a good fit. They are permanent, custom-shaped

and require the removal of roughly .5 mm of the original tooth to allow space for the new veneer.

Lumineers laminates are thinner (.2mm); roughly the thickness of a contact-lens. The original tooth structure needn’t be shaped for placement and, if desired, Lumineers can be removed. It is claimed that Lumineers resist micro-leakage and micro-cracking more so than traditional porcelain veneers. Unlike other porcelain veneers, you won’t need to wear temporary veneers until the Lumineers are created. Lumineers are expected to last just as long as traditional porcelain veneers and normally cost less than traditional dental laminates.

In addition to being made of thin, porous porcelain, both products offer permanent whitening with no staining or discoloration. Both Lumineers and traditional porcelain laminates can strengthen, lengthen and shape your teeth. They can be used to repair minor tooth imperfections, are stain proof, natural in appearance, and highly resilient. This procedure does not hurt, it is fast, and in most cases, affordable.

Lumineers can be a more comfortable and time-saving solution for adults who are considering braces. If your bite problem isn’t severe, Lumineers will change the shape and alignment of your teeth, making them look straighter and more uniform. They will help restore and strengthen teeth and aid in preventing wear over time.

There may also be some disadvantages to Lumineers. As there is little to no tooth reduction needed for Lumineer porcelain veneers, there is a limit to how much smile correction can be accomplished. This can also lead to bulky appearing and feeling veneers in some cases. Also, if you suffer from bruxism, clenching or grinding of your teeth, veneers can be damaged, chipped or cracked.

Since these are a little thinner than the average veneer, it actually requires even more skill and artistry on the part of the cosmetic dentist and the laboratory. Color management is challenging even with thick porcelain. When it is three-tenths of an inch thick, as these are, it is even more demanding for the laboratory and the cosmetic dentist. The thinness also makes the shaping of the teeth trickier. It is a good idea to seek the services of an expert cosmetic dentist, and make sure to view the dentist’s previous work with Lumineers. Hue, chroma, translucency, color depth, brightness, and highlights, all need to be handled correctly for you to have a beautiful smile.

5 Quirky Traditions To Watch Out For On Your Peru Vacation

Random. Surprising. Frustrating. Strange.

If you’ve ever taken a Peru Vacation, one or all of these words will float into your mind sooner or later. If you were expecting to encounter life in the same form as back home, you’ll be in for a shock. Why is Peru so different?

It could be thousands of years of civilizations steam-rollering over each other, each leaving their own mark on the population and its behaviors. Peru today is an anthropological melting pot with modern and colonial Spanish influence in towns and cities while in the countryside Inca and pre-Inca cultures dominate day-to-day life.

As a result of this cultural mega-mix you’ll bear witness to some quirky, and often disturbing, practices on a Peru vacation. Here are 5 common ones to watch out for.

1. Two Bulls, a ladder and a cross on the roof

Something that is very common in the highlands is the placing of two ceramic bulls on the roof of the house. The roofs of traditional houses are covered with red clay tiles and as you wander the streets of cities like Cusco, Pisaq and Ollantaytambo look up and you will see many pairs of bulls sitting side by side.

The most traditional bulls come from Pukara on the altiplano between Cusco and Puno and two bulls side by side (male and female) are said to signify various things; they keep the house safe with a blessing to the “Apus” (the Inca mountain gods) and ensure wealth, health and unity of the occupants. The bulls may be combined with a ladder and a cross allowing an easy passage to heaven when the time comes. This is a curious mixture of Inca and Catholic symbology, but one that is typical of many things Peruvian.

2. Red plastic bags on sticks

As you drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas near Cusco you will see lots of red plastic bags on the end a very long bamboo sticks projecting from houses. These are signs! They say, “We sell Chicha,” a maize or corn based alcoholic drink which is very (and in some cases, a little too) popular in the countryside.

On Sundays you will not only see the red signs but the effects on the people drinking Chicha as they stagger around small towns and villages mumbling and being overly friendly or abusive to tourists depending on what sort of week they have had.

It is said that, as yeast is expensive, people spit into the brew to make it ferment. To add to the fun, it is said that in some parts of Peru and Bolivia a severed dead baby´s hand is thrown in too for good measure. Make mine a double…

3. Babies shoes hanging inside or underneath the car

When you are taking a taxi, public bus or even some private cars in Peru you may notice a small shoe hanging by its laces. This is mostly done within the car, which makes sense (who wouldn’t want a memento of their kid when on the job?), but sometimes logic is stretched when people hang the shoes underneath the car. This shoe is from the first born in the family and is said to bring wealth and luck to the family and aid family unity (a recurring theme it seems!).

4. Chewing Coca leaves

This is a very common habit in the countryside but you will see it in town markets too when country people come in to sell their goods. It is an Inca tradition where people build up a ball of Coca leaves in one of their cheeks and allow the resultant liquid to seep into the blood stream. The alkaloid ingredients of the Coca plant, containing around 1% actual cocaine, allow the fanatical chewers to fight fatigue, hunger and cold more easily and therefore work harder in the fields.

Many people will chew the leaves when they are not working hard, maybe when they are just sitting around chatting, and while it is not necessarily an addiction many people will go through 300 to 400 grams a week. Is that bulge in your cheek coca leaves, or are you just pleased to see me?

5. Decorating graves

When you are traveling by road you will inevitably see graveyards in nearby fields and often there are shrines at the side of the road where people have died in traffic accidents. Around special public holidays such as Todo Santos these graves are decorated by family members with many articles that the deceased used to enjoy. This ritual often happens on the birthday of the deceased person too. Things are placed on and around the grave like football related objects, model cars or dolls, photos, beer or rum bottles, favorite clothing, families may play favorite music etc.

Have you seen any of these traditions on your Peru vacation? Are there any others that you can think of?

Tee Shirt Printing – Whether to Make Your Own Custom Printed T-Shirts Or Have Them Printed For You

If you are thinking of getting tee shirt printing for a project you are deliberating, one of the options you may have come up with is to investigate your options. This article will explain the options between doing it yourself and having a tee shirt printer make your custom printed t-shirts.

A main consideration is what color of t-shirts will you be using for your tee shirt printing? There are no major issues when you print on white tee shirts.

However, when you are doing custom printed t-shirts using light color shirts remember that there is no white ink in your printer so if you had a picture with three people who are dressed in white t-shirts and there were white clouds in the sky then every white area in the image would be the same color as the tee shirt. If you have light blue t-shirts then the t-shirts on the people in your photo and the clouds would be light blue.

Another factor to consider when printing on light color t-shirts is the ink from your printer will somewhat blend with the color of the t-shirt. A while back I printed light blue ink on bright yellow t-shirts. That area became greenish. This is like when we were young and would take yellow with red crayons to get orange. This only occur with light ink colours on bright light coloured t-shirts. The shading is not normally significant but it is something to be aware of. Darker ink colors are really not a concern.

The t-shirt transfer paper you would buy would be for white or light color tee shirt printing. If you want to print on black or any dark t-shirt you would want to have t-shirt transfer paper that is specifically for printing on dark colors.

Printing your transfers can be done with with a laser or an inkjet printer. But, before you print your image you must flip the image to reverse it so that when it is printed it will view properly. With some software programs this is easy since they have a “flip” or “mirror” setting. With programs like Word this is normally a bit more difficult. To be positive that you have properly reversed the image, print a copy and put it in front of a mirror. This is the way it will look on your personalized t-shirt.

You need to be sure to set your printer to the correct type of paper. Usually, you’ll set it to heavy or card stock.

To get the best look you need to trim around the perimeter of the image that is not used. For example; if you had a picture of the earth and “Save Our Planet” in writing directly underneath it, you would trim around the outside of all of the printing. Often with tee shirt transfers there is a a yellowish hue around the printing. This is caused by the coating on the transfer paper that bonds the ink to the shirt.

A good tee shirt printer will trim away this excess but even more importantly will have a printer/t-shirt transfer combination that when the tee shirt is printed the unprinted parts are essentially transparent and don’t have this problem.

When you are ready to press your transfer onto the shirt, if you are pressing with a hand iron you need to follow the instructions to get the best results.

When I first began making t-shirts back in the ’90s it took me eleven minutes to press the shirts with an iron and even then about half of them still had ink left on the paper. Because the results weren’t to my satisfaction I purchased a heat press. A heat press is a machine designed specifically for custom tee shirt printing. You can choose the desired temperature you need and then press the shirt for the number of seconds required.

The heat press that I and several other commercial tee shirt printers use permits the temperature, time and pressure to be set. This gives a perfect press time after time.

It is to be noted that the transfer paper used by professional tee shirt makers need to be applied with a commercial heat press. You are not able to iron these transfers on.

The supplies that you’ll need to make your custom printed t-shirts in addition to a computer and a printer, obviously will be t-shirts. You’ll likely want to use 100% cotton t-shirts that are preshrunk or 50/50 tee shirts.

You’ll also need t-shirt transfer paper. You can buy this specialty paper at places like Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, craft stores like Michael’s and Wal-Mart. If you are using an inkjet printer make sure you get paper suited for an inkjet printer and likewise if you have a laser printer.

Follow the instructions that come with your transfer paper. The closer you follow the instructions the better your completed t-shirt will look.

To sums things up, designing and printing your own tee shirts is not only fun but it gives you the added ability to make personalized t-shirts.

There are websites that allow you to design your shirts online or you can take one of your computer programs and design it on your own computer.

If you are using pictures you’ll want to use a resolution of about 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the full printing size. If you aren’t sure what this is about then do a print of your image on a piece of paper and see if your picture looks clear.

You likely already have a program on your computer that will get you started.

I’ve had designs sent to me in Power Point, Word, Publisher, Excel, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, jpegs, bmps, pdf, Photo Shop, eps, virtually every format there is. So use one of the programs that you have.

If you decide to have a t-shirt company make your custom printed t-shirts, be sure to let them know all of the details they’ll need to know to give you a quote. They will need to know what you want printed, where you want the printing, the color of the shirts, how many shirts you’d like, the postal code where you live and when you would need the shirts. This will allow them to give you an accurate quote.

Tee shirt companies can purchase the supplies they need wholesale and in bulk so it is likely that your tee shirts can be printed for less or about the same as you could produce them yourself.

You will get better quality printed ts-hirts from an experienced commercial printer since the norm is to use quality t-shirts such as Gildan “Ultra” or similar and as I mentioned earlier the t-shirt transfer paper is a commercial grade and it is applied to the t-shirt with a commercial heat press which would be set to the correct amount of heat, time and pressure.

Car Paint Scratches – Seven Things You May Be Doing to Cause Damage to Your Car Paint Finish

What you need to know about how to avoid the most common type of car scratch (swirl and spider). This article covers what to avoid and the single easiest way protect your car paint from the most common type of scratches that degrade the overall look of your paint finish. If you decide to remove micro swirl scratches yourself look for a car scratch remover designed to give professional results at home with a guarantee and good product support.

You may have noticed numerous ultra fine scratches known as a swirl or spider that is most noticeable on the hood, trunk and roof of cars. They usually stand out on a sunny day when you look straight down at them. If you really want a shock pull your car in a garage under direct overhead fluorescent lighting and brace yourself for car paint scratches galore. The majority of swirls or spider scratches can be traced to a poorly maintained car finish that is not regularly waxed or sealed. The 7 innocent things you may be subjecting your car to that can cause a micro swirl car scratch.

– Automatic drive through car washes are hard on paint.

– Automatic car wash workers with poor hand drying technique and substandard towels.

– Abrasive or dirty at home or self serve “brush wands” the type that connects to a hose.

– Using dish washing soap when washing your car at home.

– Wiping or rubbing dust or grit off a dry paint with a dry towel, rag or paper towel.

– Not using a chamois or premium micro fiber towel to dry a car paint finish after washing.

– Improper at home hand car washing technique – a subject all by itself.

NOTE: Anything from under the kitchen sink should never be used on your car because household cleaning products are designed to remove grease etc and are not properly pH balanced for automobile paint therefore over time they have dire effects on not only the paint but rubber and plastic as well. A high quality car washing shampoo is designed to gently lift dirt from car paint and leave behind luster enhancers that help protect the paint.

Pro trick to reduce the incidence of micro swirls after hand washing a car. Dry hoods and trunks front to back in one motion, not circles. Only use a chamois or micro fiber towels to dry car paint. Wipe the side of your car, side to side in a horizontal motion, not circles. The reason for this is any micro scratches you may induce will not reflect light as much as circular micro scratches will. Additionally, a professional quality car scratch remover designed for home use can remove fine micro spider scratches with great results.

The single most important thing you can do to protect your car from micro spider swirls is to use a quality sealant or wax at a minimum of twice a year . Preferably a quality car sealant which bonds to the paint which will last longer and stands up to the environment much better than ordinary car wax. Properly sealed paint will resist all sorts of scratches because the paint is protected with a slippery barrier.

A neglected paint finish allows dust, grit and substandard washing accessories to dig into the paint thus causing micro swirl automobile scratches. To prove my point about a properly protected car finish and scratches I took a plastic fork and ran it hard across the hood of my black BMW with barely any visible damage. Next I did the same to my friend’s car hood … he NEVER waxes or uses a sealant on his car… and it left a HUGE scratch… which I of course then had to remove since he went through the roof.

The point is, using a high quality auto paint sealant makes your car so slippery that you can’t even make a plastic fork bite in to cause car paint scratches. Simply using a high quality sealant on your car finish at least twice a year goes a long way to protecting your vehicle paint from typical micro swirl car scratches.

Bunion Surgery Fears Dispelled

How many times will a patient come into my office almost paralyzed with fear when talking about their bunion pain? Many patients are very apprehensive about bunion surgery. They have heard horror stories of severe pain and bad outcomes. These are usually not true. Bunion surgery is actually quite successful, in the right patient, done by the right doctor. Most patients have a lot of questions about whether they should have surgery and what to expect during and after surgery. This is an attempt to dispel old wive’s tales and help you to make a more informed decision about bunion surgery. It is important to remember that every patient is different and this information is just to help you prepare to discuss your surgery with your doctor.

Who should do your surgery? Podiatrist versus orthopedic surgeon? A board-certified podiatric foot and ankle surgeon usually has much more experience in bunion surgery than the average orthopedic surgeon. An experienced, board-certified surgeon is really the key, no matter what their credentials (DPM, MD, DO).

Who should consider bunion surgery? If your foot hurts every day, in every pair of shoes, and you have failed conservative treatment which should include: wider shoes, anti-inflammatories, padding, orthotics, and possibly steroid injection; you are a candidate for bunion surgery.

Bunion surgery involves an incision along the top of the big toe joint and the removal and realignment of soft tissue and bone to restore normal joint alignment and to relieve pain. The first metatarsal bone is often cut, realigned and then stabilized with small screws. There are no guarantees that a bunion surgery will fully relieve your pain because of wear and tear arthritic change to the joint and nerve damage from the deformity. Most patients achieve at least 85% relief of their symptoms.

Anesthesia selection is really patient and procedure specific, but light to moderate sedation, to make you sleepy, coupled with a local anesthetic block, similar to the dentist, is often used during the procedure. Some people do require general anesthesia due to a history of local anesthetic complications or other medical problems.

The procedure usually takes a little more than an hour, depending on the type of surgery. A more complicated bunionectomy can take two hours or more.

Bunion surgeries are usually done on an outpatient basis at a free standing surgery center or outpatient center at a hospital.

There are many kinds of bunion surgeries, but the most common are:

1. Keller: Removal of part of the metatarsal head (the part of the foot that is bulging out) and the base of the proximal phalanx (removal of part of the toe joint). This procedure is called a Keller bunionectomy. These usually work well in an arthritic joint but do not allow for complete joint function after surgery. Usually these are used in the elderly.

2. Austin or Chevron: Realignment of the soft tissue ligaments around the big toe joint. Excision of part of the metatarsal head (the bump). Then, the first metatarsal bone is cut in a V-fashion then moved laterally to realign the joint. The cut or osteotomy is then stabilized with a pin or two small screws. This is the most common procedure and is known as an Austin bunionectomy.

3. Lapidus: Realignment of the soft tissue ligaments around the big toe joint. Excision of part of the metatarsal head (the bump). Then, removal of a wedge of bone from the base of the first metatarsal and the bone adjacent to it (the cuneiform) as well as the cartilage surface of the two bones. The first metatarsal cuneiform joint is then aligned and stabilized with two large screws or a plate. This increases the stability of the area and decreases recurrence of a bunion deformity. This procedure is known as a Lapidus fusion and is usually performed in adolescents or adults with really flexible foot deformities.

4. Other Procedures: Fusion (arthrodesis) of the big toe joint or Total Joint Implant (arthroplasty) are also common, but usually used when the joint is severely damaged and is not repairable.

The usual recovery period after bunion surgery is 8 weeks to 4 months, depending on the procedure and the health of the patient. Compliance also dictates how fast a patient heals. Swelling after surgery can last for up to a year. In a Keller or Austin, the patient is usually completely off their feet for just a few days, then in a walking cast or special shoe for 4 to 8 weeks. You can usually resume normal activity in 2 to 3 months.

In a Lapidus fusion, most patients are in a hard below knee cast completely non-weight bearing for 8 weeks, then a walking cast for 2 weeks, then a sneaker for another month. You can resume normal activity in about 4 months. Every patient is different. Patients with medical problems or osteopenia (soft bone) may require longer immobilization. Some patients require physical therapy after surgery.

There are risks involved in having any type of surgery. No matter how good your surgeon is, if you do not follow directions you may have a bad outcome. Scarring, prolonged swelling, a stiff joint, numbness, shortening of the big toe, degenerative arthritis, infection and continued pain are the most common complications. More serious complications can include non-healing of bone or a severe infection requiring a second surgery.

After having bunion surgery, most people are happy with the results. A survey by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons revealed 95% of patients with good to excellent outcomes form their bunion surgery. After having surgery, your ability to walk and be active is likely to improve. The big toe joint is usually much less painful and functions better.

Even though their joint looks perfectly aligned and functions quite well, some people are disappointed with their bunion surgery. This is usually due to unrealistic expectations. You will still not be able to wear extremely high heeled shoes after surgery and it is unrealistic to think that your joint will be “perfect” or function like it never had a problem. With realistic expectation, most patients are happy with their bunion surgery.

Significant Hazards of Using Excavators on Construction Sites

I have spoken to many “would-be” plant operators who have stated that they have been driving the machines, or had a practice, or used the machine to do a small job because the driver was not around, and the keys were in the ignition.

What I would like to suggest to Employers on Construction Sites, or self-employed operators of these machines is to review the work undertaken, and carry out an appropriate Risk Assessment, specifically on Excavators. Obviously the Risk Assessment should be for all machines, but I will concentrate on helping you with the Excavator, be it a 360 or a 180 wheeled or tracked machine.

Firstly as part of the programme you look at who would be affected, and that would be the driver/operator; other workers; members of the public.

Driving Excavators

The Significant Hazards would be – inexperienced or untrained staff operating the machine could lead to accidents on site resulting in personal injury and machine damage.

The Control Measures would be –

” Only trained staff be allowed to operate the excavators

” Work using the Excavators must be planned to reduce accidents

” The work using the Excavator carried out to the specific risk assessment undertaken for the particular jobs/site where the machine is being used

A Significant Hazard would be – Driving the excavator at speed over rough terrain, uneven surfaces, which could lead to the machine overturning.

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The Control Measures would be –

” As part of the original Site Assessment – speed limits would be imposed

” Machine driven at slow speed on uneven or unstable ground

” Seat Belts to be worn at all times by drivers

” The appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

A Significant Hazard would be – using an excavator for undertaking work other than digging, which could lead to it overturning or mechanical failure.

The Control Measures would be –

” Excavators should only be used to the Manufacturers Handbook (intended purposes)

” Only planned site work undertaken as per Job Specification

A Significant Hazard would be – Using incorrect attachments or failure to secure the Quick-Hitch pin.

The Control Measures would be –

” Only use specific attachments as per Manufacturers Handbook

” All attachments be properly secured (as above)

” Operator Training, to include the methods for fitting attachments

A Significant Hazard would be – Operating the Excavator too close to the edge of trenches, which may cause them to collapse and the Excavator overturn.

The Control Measures would be –

” Operators to be trained, so that they only operate the machine at a safe distance from any un-shored trenches. Specific care should be taken with shored trenches also

” Operators to ensure that the ground around trenches is capable of withstanding the machine weight

” Do not operate the Excavator around trenches whilst others are working in them

A Significant Hazard would be – Digging without plans, as buried services may cause damage to gas, water mains and electric cables.

The Control Measures would be –

” Not undertake excavation work until service plans from the utility companies have been obtained and service routes have been marked out

” Where the presence of electricity cables is likely, then the area to be checked with Cable Location Equipment “CAT & Genny scanners”

A Significant Hazard would be – Parking the Excavator with the Jib Arm raised, and leaving the keys in the ignition, which would leave the vehicle open to use by untrained and unskilled operators, resulting in possible injury.

The Control Measures would be –

” All excavators to be parked by the operators in the designated parking area

” Operators to remove the keys from the machine and keep them, or put them in a designated area on Site

” The machines to be parked with their jib arm lowered to the ground

As with all Risk Assessments with every site, operations change, so Specific Risk Assessments should be monitored and changed in accordance with Site Plans.

What I am looking at in helping with the Risk Assessments and ideas, is to ensure you have a Safe Working Environment for all involved with your day to day Business. Also by keeping you updated, and ensuring you take responsibility for your Working Environment, ensures that you are not on the “Wrong Side of the Law” and your workers can go home to their families at the end of each working day.

How to Make Your Crush Fall in Love With You! Here Are the Tricks Which Will Work Real Well For You

You know that you cannot force a person to fall in love with you. So if you have a huge crush on this person all you need to do is create situations that warms them up to you and makes your crush fall in love with you.

Be yourself
You have to understand that your crush has to know and like the real you. Pretending to be someone else can help you in getting his/her interest for a while but your true nature will be revealed and that is not going to be a very nice revelation. So be yourself and like yourself for what you are. You will find that people too will begin to love you for the same reason.

Have fun with your crush
Go on these mad and fun dates with your crush. Ditch the run of the mill stuff of candle light dinners in fancy restaurants and roses. Instead take him/her on a bike ride out to the most scenic spot that you have discovered in the city and then have a candle light midnight snack. Your chances of scoring and making a positive impression are fabulous this way.

Make him/her laugh
If your crush has a good laugh with you he/she will begin to want to spend more and more time with you. So crack her/him up with your wit and humor and see how soon he/she begins falling in love with you.

Appreciate him/her
Every person likes to be appreciated. You need to make your crush feel very special by praising and appreciating them the right way. Be genuine in your praise and be specific. Show him/her that you have noticed things about him/her that others haven’t.

Do special stuff for your crush
When you want to make your crush fall for you, you will have to work hard and find out more about what his/her desires and wishes are and then make them come true for them. You need to make them feel that you care a lot about making them happy and shall go to all lengths to see them smile.

Don’t push
Never push your crush to fall in love with you. Being patent will ensure that he/she will fall in love with you in his/her sweet time. Meanwhile just spend quality time with each other. When your crush sees you giving him/her unconditional love, he/she will begin to fall in love with you.

Be a good friend
Finally, be a good friend to your crush. Make him/her feel secure enough to say all that he/she wants to say to you and you will see that your crush will soon be in love with you.