Social Skills – Living and Surviving in Society

From the time we are very young we begin to learn the basics in social skills, which are, learning how to live with, communicate with, and get along with the people around you. If you have siblings, those basic skills come into play quite quickly; sharing of toys and sharing a room with a brother or sister. As we grow older and begin school, those skills become even more important as you must now share your space with many more people. Children whom have not been properly prepared for such an event may find it difficult to adjust to this new society that they have become a part of.

To define the meaning of proper social skills you would have to consider the environment or society you are living in. What works in one society does not need to work in another; none-the-less, basic social skills are imperative to live a happy and enjoyable life among others in your community, workplace, and home life. It is, in a nut shell, the manner at which we participate and conduct ourselves within society; what is right and what is wrong relating to the society in which you live.

In order to fit into society, society expects each person to act in a manner that does not go against the social norms. Being rude to another person, cursing in public, disrespectful behavior are all negative aspects of not having proper social skills. The greater part of most societies learn these skills early in life and they are transported over into their adult life; however, there are some who tend to go against the grain of society and lack the social skills that most of us do not even have to think about; we just know how to act properly. There are also people who have a basic understanding of this concept, but are not sure how to become better at practicing their social skills in public situations.

When employers interview people, they are not just looking at their credentials; they are evaluating how they interact with the employer. They look for signs and ask questions relating to certain topics requiring a social interaction to see if the one being interviewed has a good understanding of social skills as to how they would handle a delicate situation. The lack of such skills could mean the difference in getting the job or not getting the job; one must be able to conduct themselves properly and respectfully in the work place and among others in society.

An excellent way to fine tune your social skills is to go to a public place and sit quietly as people mingle about. Examine how they communicate with each other in a social setting. In doing this exercise it will seem very routine until someone shows a behavior that is socially unacceptable; they will be acting outside the norms of society.

Having good social skills gives you an advantage in society; people are attracted to those who display proper social behavior and do not feel uncomfortable in engaging in conversation with you. Having proper social skills is simply knowing how to be respectful, courteous, and understanding what society considers as the norm.

Wealthy Affiliate – Pyramid to Riches

If you've clicked on this review you're one of the thousands considering a becoming a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate. It is also known by the none too presumptuous title of the Wealthy Affiliate University or simply, WA.

Let me start by saying you will find no link in this review. I am not selling WA nor am selling one of its competitors. I am merely here to tell you of my experiences within the gilded walls of WA. Yes, I was a member and went through the bulk of the training they provided on Internet marketing. I am no longer a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate and decided to write a review of their services for those of you that want a first hand account; no strings attached.

By now you've seen the ads that promise a large income from working in the comfort of your home. As a marketing strategy, its genius. But what does WA actually supply to their affiliates? And do the skills they provide really make money for their members?

The Wealthy Affiliate "university" centers around an 8 week course for beginners in which each new set of lessons is delled out; one per week. The site may have a slick look to it, but wears more like a cheap suit with poor navigation, confusing lesson formats and enough typos to make a member wonder why they did not pop for a copy editor.

Kyle and Carson, the WA creators, have built a wonderful money making machine, for themselves. Under the guise of helping people make lots of money through Internet marketing, they are really just fueling their own empire by creating Wealthy Affiliate affiliates.

It starts with how the new members can promote WA. And they have made it very easy for the newbies to do just that with ready made ads and websites that promote WA and its host of peripheral products.

WA provides a taste of what is needed to make a living with Internet marketing and a big push to go round up more newbies for the cult of Wealthy Affiliate affiliates. Some say that WA is starting to sound like a pyramid scheme, but its probably closer to multi level marketing.

The sad and rarely stated truth behind Internet marketing in general is that the failure rate is close to 95%. This failure rate has more to do with the unrealistic hopes of the people signing up, all WA does is fan the fire. Regardless of what you have read in ads promoting Internet marketing there is NOTHING EASY about it.

Making money online is hard work, often times requiring more hours per week than a full time job. But that kind of information would not read well in a pay per click ad. The truth often times has little to do with good salesmanship. Internet marketers are selling a dream.

So what of joining WA? On the pro side, they do offer some helpful information and resources for their $ 30 + / month membership fee. On the con side, be prepared to be hit with a barrage of self serving promotions. They make them seem very enticing and an easy way to start off in Internet marketing. WAs turnover rate must be high as witnessed by their constant push for new members to recruit new members.

And as for giving you "the secrets" to making money online, well do not expect anything more than general information about IM. Do you honestly expect them to give up the secrets that REALLY make them money? Of course not, that's how they make their living, why would they?

According to WA records, their active membership is hovering around 12,000 as of this writing. I did an informal survey of 3000 of those so called members and found that nearly 46% of them had never posted to the WA forum once. All of these members have been with WA for at least 6 months and some as long as two years.

For a website that prides itself on its "supportive" forum and encourages new members to use it, it does not seem a bit odd that so many Wealthy Affiliate affiliates would have never used it, not even one time?

Many pocketed groups of these non posting members also joined within several minutes of each other as attested to by WAs own system of recording members join up times. I would be curious to hear Kyle and Carson explain this phenomenon.

What WA provides to its Wealthy Affiliate affiliates is a basic primer to IM, some resources that, regardless of their hype, can be found elsewhere on the internet, often for free and a forum with little tolerance of anyone asking the status quo and the smell of hype everywhere.

Let's face it, Internet marketers are salesman above all and those who run sites like WA are super salesman. Kyle and Carson discovered what PT Barnum knew long ago, there's a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate born every minute. All these two boys figured out was how to leak them on a regular and ongoing basis. If anyone was wondering where the used car salesmen of old have gone, they are right here on the internet and doing FINE.

WA and its army of Wealthy Affiliate affiliates is just one of the many, many Internet marketing creations that promise to "show you the secrets" of making money online. Its a promise that fails to mention that to become a truly successful Internet marketer takes years of hard work. The expression, "do not believe the hype" comes to mind.

So should you spend the money becoming a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate? Well if you've got around $ 100 (more if you plan to use PPC campaigns) and a few months then there are worse ways to go. You can learn some of the basics of Internet marketing being a WA member. Just go through the 8 week program and do not get sucked into all the products / services they will try to sell you along the way.

At the same time you must realize that becoming a member opens you to the often unsavory world of IM where ROI (return on investment) is king, not the customer. This is not WAs fault, they're just milking the cow. To really compete in this business, be it as a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate or not, it's best to check a healthy chuck of your ethics at the door.

A more important question is are you looking for something quick and easy by becoming a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate or something that requires dedication and hard work? If you answered "quick and easy" do not waste your money joining WA, in fact do not waste your money on Internet marketing at all.

Basement Insulation Tips

People who live in Ontario have dealt with weather-related issues regarding basement insulation as long as there have been homes in the area. No one needs to tell them that in the extremely cold region they live in, basements that have no insulation let far too much cold air into their homes and allow heat to escape.

In the southwestern part of Ontario it is estimated that the average ground temperature is 55 degrees F (12 degrees C). This is far too cold to leave your basement un-insulated, but many people have found the cost of insulation to be out of their price range. Unfortunately, this just raises heating bills on the other end.

The sad fact is that without full-height insulation, the floors upstairs will be extremely cold no matter how much heat you pump into your home. In northern areas of Ontario, about 20-25% of the heat you lose from your home goes out through the basement, usually around the sill plate where the basement wall meets the first floor. This means that you’re basically pumping heat into the outdoors instead of into your home which is nothing but a huge waste of your money.

Due to a limited budget, many people try to take the least expensive option in these cases, which is to add batt insulation between the floor boards in the basement ceiling. This may work to an extent, but eventually the insulation will trap moisture that will rot floor boards and lead to more major damage. Full-height insulation is a necessity in Ontario, and it needs to be at least R-12 for homes heated with oil or gas and R-19 in homes with electric heat. Although the costs can usually be recouped in 1-5 years, insulating can be very expensive which is prohibitive for many homeowners.

To help mitigate this problem, the federal Canadian government along with the provincial government in Ontario offers rebates to homeowners who add insulation to their basements and bring them up to local building codes. For example, homeowners who cover 100% of their exterior basement walls with at least R-23 insulation can receive a rebate of up to $2000.

How Much Does a Timber Frame Home Cost?

One of the most common questions people have when researching timber frame homes is how much do they cost? Does this style home cost more than conventionally "stick built" homes? What is the price per square foot?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the house design and what finish materials are chosen for the new home. The cost per square foot for a new timber frame home can be anywhere from an average of $ 200- $ 250 or as high as $ 400 + per square foot. The price per square foot estimate typically includes the exterior shell and finishing touches (does not include land or site work).

The timber frame exterior shell package usually costs more than the average stick built home package due to the high quality and energy efficient materials that go hand in hand with the building method. Most timber frame companies work with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) or a high r-value insulation system to create a thermal envelope. SIPS do cost more upfront the standard insurance used on a conventional home; although the energy efficient benefits outweigh the costs with the SIPS high r-values. Using a high r-value insulation for the thermal envelope will absolutely save you money on your heating and cooling costs and will exceedperfect a stick built home over time. The combination of timber framing, SIPS and energy efficient doors and windows make this style home one of the most energy efficient homes today.

While this type of home will typically cost more to build, it is not unheard of for conventional homes to surpass the cost of a timber frame home. Here is an example, there are two people building a custom 2,000 square foot home; both homes offer the same square footage but have different designs and use different finish materials. Let's say client 1 is building a conventional home. Client 1 has a more complicated design with more dormers and is choosing to add high-end finishing touches (custom kitchen cabinetry, expensive lighting, etc.). Client 2 is building a timber home and has a simple design with straight lines, no dormers and is choosing to use moderately priced finish materials. The example timber frame home's outer shell package may cost more, but the design and finishing touches of the example conventional home will most likely put the conventional home at a higher cost per square foot.

Overall, the cost to build any style home depends on the design of the home, shape, size, site work, building and interior finish materials used. It does not matter what method of construction you use to build your new home, if you choose high-end materials through your home and / or an elaborate home design, your price per square foot will be greater.

Making Driftwood Picture Frames by Distressing New Picture Framing Timber

A driftwood picture frame is an elegant solution where you desire a unique distracted frame with timeless appeal. One of the techniques you can explore when framing your pictures is to use recycled timber or driftwood that you have collected but often driftwood timber is not available to everyone so you can try to create the look by using new timber you can get from your local hardware shop.

It's not difficult to make a driftwood looking frame but it does take some time and experimentation. All you need to do is visit your hardware shop and get some plain hardwood timber. Sometimes you can get the timber already in a picture frame profile and other times you may need to rebate or rabbet it to accept the glass, backing and picture. Then you can cut it to make it into a picture frame to fit your photo or artwork.

Now the way to get the new picture frame to look like it really is driftwood is to start with the raw wood and then use various materials and tools to distract the surface of the timber.

The first step is to fill any imperfections or nail holes in the frame and sand them back so that you've got a perfectly made frame. The object of trying to get this frame to look recycled or bothered is that the surface mimics a weathered old look. To achieve this you can use an assortment of tools including chisels, rasps, any jagged bits of metal that you've got, bunches of keys and all sorts of things can be used to actually apply different marks into the wood to give it a more natural look.

Start by poking around and making a few holes and rough marks on the wood. You can scrape it using a surform type rasp or a cheese grater type scraper and you can leave it quite rough, do not try to smooth it off. The idea here is that you're going to expose the grain. Take care to avoid the inside edge where the picture fits because that is quite a thin and fragile area. Just concentrate on further back from the sight edge. Try to create a sort of random lot of holes all over the surface of the frame and then you start rasping at it and use various metal objects and tools. Any sort of rough metal tool can be used to apply texture to the frame.

Keep scraping along the molding and remember you're trying to replicate the natural look of recycled timber. Now when you get to the corners you're going to need to use something a little bit pointy so that you can get right into those nooks. A good tool for this is an awl or small gouge. You can use sharpened screw drivers and old tools that have unusual surfaces. You can use bunches of nails they work quite well especially if you tape a whole lot of them together. Use the nails to scrape into the corners and other tight areas.

After you have given the frame a good going over what you want to do is take a look at the whole frame and step back from it. Have a look from a distance and see what the overall effect is. You do not want anything too even. The appearance needs to be random and the texture needs to look natural. Take your time because you can always add more work to it. You can go back and you can chisel bits off, you can add more little holes and tap holes with nails.

After a while you've got a furry, fuzzy kind of wooden frame with all sorts of shavings hanging off it. You then can burn sections with a blowtorch burning off some of the wood shavings. In other areas you can raise the grain by dampening it with water. The water causes the wood fibers to swell creating a different level of texture.

Sandpaper the frame with various degrees of wallpaper and try to maintain the textures you have been building up through the distracting process. The sand papering is to give the frame some areas of smoothness and add another detail to the complexity of the surface.

Once you are happy with the overall texture you have created you can add some layers of diluted gesso or diluted white paint to give a limed finish. Do not worry if the white color picks up some of the charcoal leftover from the burning process because it adds to the grayed driftwood effect you are trying to emulate.

When the paint is dry add various colors of wax crayons or other pigmented oil pastels into sections of the frame molding. Blend some of these color layers with old kitchen scourers, steel wool or different grades of wallpaper.

Look at the frame from a distance and see if the finish is what you desire.

Soften and blend the tones within the frame by further sanding or rubbing with scourers or steel wool.

When you are happy with the look of the frame you can finish the surface with a light coating of a good furniture wax. For an added level of finish you can dust powdered rottenstone or pumice into the wax before it has dried. Apply the wax with a clean cloth and after allowing adequate time for drying you can buff the surface with a polishing cloth.

Your frame should then have a natural warm finish ready to insert your picture.

Balancing the Accounts and Necessity of Ledger

Balancing the Accounts

Whenever it is desired to balance an account, the two sides are added up, and if the totals of the two sides are unequal then the difference is put on the side having lesser total. This will make both the sides equal. The amount of the difference inserted is known as ‘balance’ of the account. In particulars column it is written as Balance c/d (carried down). In subsequent period it is known as Balance bid (brought down). If the total of the credit side of the account is less, the balance will be inserted on credit side with the words “By Balance c/d”. This balance is known as Debit Balance and after closing the account it will be shown on the debit side with the words “To Balance bid”. Similarly if the total of debit side of the account is less, the balance will be inserted on debit side with the words “To Balance c/d”. This balance is known as Credit Balance and after closing the account it will be shown on the credit side with the words “By Balance bid”.

Personal Accounts

It is worthwhile to refresh your memory and recall that personal accounts relate to individuals and business entities (firm; company, corporation etc.) and the rule is : Receiver is to be debited and giver is to be credited. Now if on any particular date the business wants to know as to how much amount is ‘due to’ or ‘due by’ a particular person to itself (business) then it should balance the account of the person concerned. Debit balance as per personal account signifies that the person is the debtor of the business i.e. person owes an amount equal to the balance to the business or the amount, represented by the balance is ‘due to’ the business by the person. Similarly, Credit balance as per personal account signifies that the person is the creditor of the business i.e. business owes an amount equal to the balance to the person or the amount represented by the balance is ‘due by’ the business to the person.

Real Account

These are the accounts relating to property or possession or rights. Rule is : “What comes in is to be debited and what goes out is to be credited.” Thus all incomings are to be recorded on the debit side and outgoings on the credit side. On any particular date these accounts should have ‘debits balance’ representing the worth of the item covered by the account. At the end of the year (generally) or at any other point of time when the financial position of the business is required to be ascertained these accounts are balanced. These balances are shown on the assets side of the statement of position or Balance Sheet. These accounts do have ‘debit balance’ which signifies the ‘book-value’ or ‘written down value’ or ‘going concern-value’ of the assets of the business as on that relevant date.

Nominal Accounts

These are the accounts showing the various heads of expenses and sources of income. At the end of the specified period (generally one year) these accounts are closed by transfer to the final accounts i.e. Trading or Profit and Loss Account.

Necessity of Ledger

Maintaining of ledger is a must in every accounting system. It is necessary as will be clear from its advantages:

(1) Transactions relating to a particular person, item or heading of expenditure’ or income are grouped in the concerned account at one place.

(2) When each account is periodically balanced it reflects the net position of that account. For example, how much is due from a customer or how much is payable to a supplier or what is the value of total purchases or what has been the expenditure on salaries? Such information is available by balancing the ledger accounts.

(3) Ledger is the stepping stone for preparing Trial Balance- which tests the arithmetical accuracy’ .of the accounting books.

(4) Since the entries recorded in the journal are referenced into ledger the possibility of errors or defalcations are reduced to the minimum.

(5) Ledger is the destination of all entries made in journal or sub-journals.

(6) Ledger is the “store-house” of all information which subsequently is used for preparing final accounts and financial statements.

Opening entry and its posting. In the case of an existing business we are required to pass an entry in the journal (on the basis of the Balance Sheet prepared at the end of the previous year) for bringing in the new books all assets and liabilities: this is known as Opening entry.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Automatic Garage Doors

Automatic garage doors are becoming popular, and more people are planning to install these doors in their garages. They are preferred, but there are advantages and disadvantages of using this technology, and may not be a good idea for all home and garage owners. If you are wondering whether you should go ahead with the traditional doors or motorized doors, read on to know more about these doors, which will enable you to make a better-informed decision.

Automatic garage doors are expensive, and the expenses do not stop at just buying these doors. Depending on the type of garage and the product you buy, you would need to spend money on the installation and adding some props and accessories. So, you should think about installing the automatic garage doors only when you have the proper budget. It would be a good idea to get a detailed quotation of the installation process.

The other disadvantage of installing garage doors is the maintenance needed. Unlike the manual garage doors, if they do not work, you have no option but to call the service center of the manufacturer or retailer, as maintaining and repairing these doors is not a simple do-it-yourself project.

As for the expensive nature of these doors, you might even need to check all the features and services that these doors offer. This is new technology, and will have many features that you do not need, and there should not be paying for. Anything with added features and services will cost you money, and when it comes to technology, you will be paying a reasonable amount. Therefore, you should research the product that you are planning to buy and decide whether you should be buying the particular product or something else.

This is not to say that motorized or automatic garage doors are a waste of money. They are highly efficient when it comes to security, and are compulsory if you have something very expensive in the garage and want additional security. When they work – which they do all the time – they are very efficient and simple to use, and are definitely a boon for someone who does not have the muscle or the patience to not wind down a garage door manually.

These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a mechanized garage door. Several manufacturers offer a wide variety of doors, and you would need to visit the various shops to find out what fits in your budget and are the best for your requirements. If you are looking for something specific, have not found it in the brick, and mortar shops, you can even look for them online. Several garage door manufacturers and retailers have their websites, which provide you all the information you would need. These websites also have a detailed list of their inventory, and some even offer online buying options. You can order these online, after you contact their sales and technical representatives and find out which is the best option for you.

Exposed Brick Wall DIY

How to create an exposed brick wall

Firstly, what you’ll need:

Brick chisel

Small crow bar

Plastic sheets

Scrubbing brush

Brick sealer

Dust mask & eye protection

Step 1

Protective sheets. As you can imagine removing the plaster from your brick wall is messy work! This is particularly important if you have an old house with the original plaster. Whilst it may seem like a bit of work it is definitely worth using plastic sheets (painting drop sheets are perfect) and taping them to your walls and ceiling to completely seal off the area you’re working in. It is also highly recommended to wear a mask to protect your lungs from the plaster dust, and even eye protection as the dust can easily irritate your eyes.

Step 2

Pretty easy to see what’s next. Simply make a hole the plaster using your brick chisel. This is a good chance to expose a small area of the brick, perhaps somewhere hidden, to see if the quality of the brick underneath is good. Once you’ve created a hole, you can either use the chisel or a small crowbar to remove the plaster. Just tap it lightly to get behind the plaster and level it off. Be careful not to damage the bricks with the chisel or crow bar by tapping too hard. When you get to the ceiling and side walls ensure you neatly remove the plaster without damaging adjacent plaster.

Step 3

Once all the bricks are exposed the next step is to clean the bricks. Some people use acid to do this, but this can be messy and dangerous and not really required. Just some warm water and a sponge should be all you’ll need to clean the bricks. Wipe the dust off with the sponge regularly wringing it in the bucket. Repeat this 2 or 3 times replacing the water between each time until most of the dust has been removed from the bricks. If there are cracks or noticeable holes in the bricks now is your change to patch them with some cement. Small cracks and holes are fine, just ones that may impact the look of the wall.

Step 4

Sealing the wall. Various types of sealer are available for sealing bricks. Look out for brick sealers in particular. You can normally choose between gloss and matt with most people preferring a matt solution as it looks more natural. Follow the instructions on the can for applying the sealer, which normally suggest applying it 2 or 3 times. The sealer will also darken the appearance of the bricks with each coat.

Let it dry and you’re done!

What's Hot in Direct Vent Fireplaces?

Are you looking for a direct vent fireplace?

Then you've likely spent some time searching on the web to see what's offered in the current marketplace. And like most you're head is spinning as there are literally hundreds of choices and styles being offered from a multitude of fireplace manufacturers. These manufacturers know that to stay competitive they must give people what they want. So what's hot in direct vent fireplaces?

One thing's for certain, the traditional log fireplaces are beginning to take a back seat to some of the newer trendy fireplaces now available. One of the most popular new trends is a low-profile contemporary gas fireplace without a traditional log set. More and more, homeowners are opting for a more metropolitan feel, rather than a traditional campfire log set design.

In contrast, a contemporary fireplace usually consist of a clean black or stainless steel face frame with no louvers to detract from the viewing window. Next, a flat pan burner (vs. a traditional dual tube burner on a cast iron grate) is used. This allows flames to shoot up uninhibited through a strategic pattern of holes for a beautiful elongated ribbon flame effect. Optional rocks or glass beads can be set in place to surround the burner holes, without blocking the flames. The result is a very clean, attractive look that works well in less-traditional and contemporary interior spaces.

A good example of the above-described fireplace is either the L series or custom C-View series fireplaces made by Montigo Fireplace Products of Ferndale, WA. These low profile fireplaces offer a contemporary and distinctly metropolitan feel that appeal to designers and homeowners alike. Other manufacturers offer similar contemporary designs.

While popular in all parts of North America, a major percentage of contemporary fireplaces are sold in heavy-populated and trend-setting cities such as New York, San Franciso and Chicago. Most are installed in new higher end homes and condominiums, as well as hotel lobbies, resorts, clubhouses, and galleries.

Traditional looking fireplaces will continue to be popular in the coming years, especially in less-densely populated and rural areas, and the choices are almost limitless.

Contemporary fireplace options have been more limited, but that is changing rapidly as more manufacturers are adapting to the demands of more discriminating customers.

Let's shift gears a little bit.

On the more practical side of the fireplace discussion is energy efficiency. Using your direct vent fireplace as a primary heating source is a great way to reduce your overall heating expense during the winter hours. By shutting off your central furnace and using only your direct vent fireplace as a zone or room heater you can actually cut your fuel consumption by 50% or more.

How's that possible?

By not heating unused or underutilized space in the home, and instead heating only the dwelling space where you spend the most time, you can eliminate a whole lot of thermal energy waste. In other words, most of the forced air heat pushing through ducts and heat registers into unoccupied spaces wastes heat energy. Instead, why not just heat the space you're in? That's called zone heating, and is a practical, common sense approach to saving a boat load of fuel dollars during the winter months.

You may be interested to know that a direct vent fireplace can be controlled with a thermostat. As the room calls for heat, the fireplace kicks on, just like your furnace. When satisfied, the fireplace turns off.

Now your fireplace serves two functions. It gives you the beautiful ambience only the glow of dancing flames can offer and, when used more tactically, can be a huge energy saver during the cold winter months.

How to Break in Prescription Orthotic Shoe Inserts

The use of true prescription-level orthotics to aid in the treatment of foot ailments has steadily increased over the last thirty years. Commonly prescribed by podiatrists, sports medicine doctors, and other medical professionals, orthotics function to provide support for flat arches, shock absorption for high arches, and allow for an excessive amount of control to the pressures of the heel and the bottom of the foot. Because each orthotic is made specifically from a structurally corrected mold of the foot, the alteration and improvement of foot function is dramatically improved over that of less specific over-the-counter inserts and inserts made of a non-corrected mold of the foot. Each orthotic should 'fit like a glove', so to speak, and should be completely satisfied to wear the entire day. Most people can begin wearing new orthotics without discomfort right from the start. However, there are a small amount of people who require a break-in period to get the feet used to standing on the inserts all day. This article discusses this break-in process, and how one can get the most out of their new orthotics in as little time as possible.

When new orthotics are uncomfortable to wear, it can be incredibly frustrating. Many people expect instant relief of foot discomfort, and this is understandable given the nature of foot pain and the costs sometimes contributed to get orthotics in the first place. Orhotics should not cause discomfort. One has to assume that they were properly casted for in the first place, and the proper prescription was used to make additional configurations to the basic design based on the physician's examination of the foot structure. One also has to assume the lab correctly fabricated the insert to the proper specifications. To immediately assume that either one of these steps were done incorrectly does not help what really must be done: a break-in period performed with patience and persistence. The frequency of improper casting, prescription writing, or manufacture of orthotics is usually quite low. These factors should only be realistically considered after all other measures have failed to provide last comfort.

The break-in period is a short span of time in which the foot becomes accustomed to the control that the orthotic is providing. In essence, a proper orthotic will provide gentle but firm support of the foot structures. This includes support of all the muscles and ligaments which have become lax during a lifetime of abnormal support. The orthotic will force these structures to realign properly. For some, this can cause a brief irritation of the lax tissue, or it can force some muscles to function properly for the first time. These actions can cause discomfort, and this will be felt while the orthotic is worn. A simple plan to gently introduce the foot to increased support is vital in making the orthotic comfortable to wear. When one first receives their orthotics, they should be worn immediately. When and if the orthotics become uncomfortable, they should be removed from the shoes. After several hours, they can be placed back in the shoe and used again until discomfort develops. Alternately, one can wait until the next day to try again. This cycle is to be repeated daily, with a longer wear time achieved each day. Occasionally, after two or three weeks, the orthotics will no longer be uncomfortable. Another common strategy is to wear the orthotics for one hour the first day, and then increase the wear time by one hour each day that follows. In this author's professional experience, it is very uncommon for a properly followed break-in period to fail providing a complete adjustment of the foot to the orthotic.

There are other factors that do contribute to the failure of a break-in period leading to comfort with an orthotic. The most common of these involves an incompatibility of the shoe with the orthotic. Although orthotics are designed to fit into a wide variety of shoes, not every shoe in circulation is appropriate for an orthotic. The orthotic should not slide under the foot with shoe use. This indicates a shoe that is sized to big for one's actual foot size. They also should not have to be crammed into the shoe, with little room left for the foot. This indicates the shoe is too small for the foot or is too small or narrow to work with an orthotic. Stubbornly holding on to improper shoes at the expense of orthotic comfort strictly for style reasons is foolish, and will never lead to a comfortable orthotic. One must be sensible and reasonable regarding their shoe selection. This does not mean a sacrifice of fashion sensitivity, it simply means being reasonable and accepting of ones own body and foot structure needs. Another good example of this is the high heel. High heels force the body to place great pressure on the ball of the foot. This takes away the natural walking pattern the body uses to propel itself. An orthotic will never function properly in a high heel shoe as the body does not use the foot properly during this abnormal walking pattern, and pressure is not properly transferred through the orthotic. Although some boutique-style orthotics are constructed to be used in these types of shoes, their usefulness is debatable. Another factor contributing to break-in failure involves instances in which a shoe may properly fit, but certain design choices by the manufacturer creates a limitation for proper orthotic use. For example, some athletic shoes contain extra padding around the top of where the shoe hits the heel.

This padding pushes the heel slightly forward in the shoe, causing the foot to slide too far down the orthotic. The 'arch' of the orthotic will now be slightly further back, and this can be the source of discomfort. Another example includes shoes that already add arch padding inside the shoe. Although this padding on its own offers little true support, the bulk of its volume can force the orthotic slightly out of alignment in the shoe, or it may prevent its fitting altogether. This internal padding needs to be removed prior to wearing orthotics. Sometimes this material is easily removed in one loose piece, and other times it is lightly glued into the shoe. If it is stitched in, removal will be difficult and may leave an rough surface for the foot to rest on. A different shoe should be selected in this case. Finally, one must consider the medical condition leading to the use of orthotics in the first place as a possible cause for break-in failure. When someone has a foot condition in which there is a constant state of inflammation and tissue damage, and this has not yet healed, then the introduction of a firm device under the irritated tissue can cause pain and discomfort. Certain conditions, such as those involving heel or arch damage, must be healed or adequately improved before an orthotic can be tolerated properly. Once the condition is treated, then the orthotic will function more comfortably and will usually contribute to the prevention of the condition returning if it was related to one of foot structure in the first place (as many foot problems are).

Once all outside factors are accounted for, and one has gone although a proper break-in period, any continuation of orthotic discomfort should be a cause for concern. It is at this very uncommon time that one must consider factors like improper casting, prescribing, and manufacture as a cause for continued discomfort. The physician prescribing the orthotic should review the orthotic completely at this point, as subtle changes or problems can sometimes be missed that can contribute to an uncomfortable orthotic. At times the orthotic may need to be returned to the lab for modification or replacement. In many instances, a simple modification in the doctor's office can bring about an alteration that is successful in making the orthotics comfortable. With all this in mind, one final factor needs to be considered. There are those out there, who by personal quirk, psychological irritation, or bad luck simply can not tolerate anything to be placed under the feet outside of a loose and cushioned shoe. Unfortunately, these people will never be able to tolerate an orthotic. Fortunately, this is an extremely rare occurrence in this author's experience.

Plastic Wall Paneling and Food Preparation

The food production industry requires high levels of cleanliness and care to be taken during production and distribution in order to maintain the quality levels and safety of the food once it reaches the mouth of consumers.

This extends to any area where food is handled, prepared and cooked including the kitchens in restaurants, hotels and canteens as well as places of work including hospitals, schools and offices. The rooms need to be designed and decorated with cleanliness in mind, fulfilling the health and safety requirements necessary and protecting the employees within from any risk.

Floors
The floors should be covered in a non-slip material to prevent any falls at work. This will also ensure that no food lands on the floor or dirt from the floor comes into contact with any ingredients. The floors need to be cleaned twice daily as it is likely that small food particles will become logged in in the rough surface of the floor. You can purchase non-slip lino specifically designed for use in kitchens.

Walls
Plastic wall paneling is the best way to uphold the health, safety and cleanliness of an area in which food is prepared or produced. The smooth surface area allows for easy cleaning as any spills can be wiped off quickly. The materials used in plastic wall paneling can resist anti-bacterial chemicals so the walls can be disinfected daily and their heat-resistant properties means that they will not lose their quality if they come into contact with boiling substances.

Work Tops
Ideally the worktops in a food preparation area should be made from stainless steel as this is the safest surface on which to work with food. Unlike wood, the smooth surface is not a friendly environment for bacteria and viruses and with every wipe these bodies are removed. The strength of the steel can also withstand sharp knives and hot pans so they will last for a longer period of time than other materials.

The perfect area in which food is prepared and produced should have wipe clean surfaces with nowhere for bacteria and gases to hide, the materials on the walls, floor and work tops should be heat resistant and strong against sharp knives, anti-bacterial chemicals and other kitchen instruments.

Details of Rock Garden Construction

The first step in the actual construction of a rock garden is to lay it out, at least in sufficient detail to show its general contour, to indicate paths and so on. These points had best been marked by fairly stout stakes driven into the ground, as otherwise they are likely to be obliterated.

Where there are no ledges or stones to start with, some exciting will be necessary. This is not alone for drainage. If the rock garden is merely constructed on the surface of the soil, there will be a break at this point which seriously interposes with the moisture supply.

The base or foundation of the rock garden structure should be literally buried in the ground. The foundation should consist of a large piece of stone, and any patio statuary left for later. Small, broken pieces, flat stones, soft stone or shale, rock debris of any kind not suitable for use above ground may be utilized here to advantage for "filling in."

Old bricks or masonry rubbish will answer; cinders (not soft ashes) serve admirably. The bases of the largest rocks, the tops of which will appear aboveground, should be sunk well below the soil level. Incidentally, the excavation made gives soil to use existground.

Under ordinary conditions, where the subsoil drainage is good, twelve or fifteen inches will be deep enough for this preliminary excavation; often less on a slope or a bank. If the subsoil is hard, it should be thoroughly broken up with a pick. Many writers recommend an excavation of three or four feet. It is much easier to recommend than to execute-one is more likely to feel like executing the recommender. Such a depth is necessary only where drain is abnormally poor.

With the excavation completed, the "skeleton" of the rock work may be laid out in the larger stones put in position, and a sufficient number of others placed at important points where the construction is to follow. Also the steps, if there are any, may be put in.

The construction of the rock garden may proceed along any of several different lines, according to the type which is to be built and the local conditions. These may be classified as follows:

The Mound Rock Garden:

Where one has to start "on the level" and with no stones naturally in place, the simplest method of construction is in the form of a continuous mound or ridge. This may be "faced" in both directions, or in only one.

A row of the larger stones may be put in place first along the edge or edges. They should not, of course, be laid in a straight line, nor should they touch, and the spacing should be uneven. Then fill in a layer of stone and soil in the back of them, and proceed to build on up.

The surface stones should be laid flat and pointing downward, both for stability and to catch and drain into the soil as much as possible of all rains or condensing moisture which may be covered by their projection edges. Constant watching will be required to get the most attractive side or face of each stone turned outward.

Almost invariably, too, each stone should be placed with its natural base down. The soil used in building should have been prepared in advance. Where the plants are to be set in pockets, or in crevices between the stones, the soil should be kept as loose as practicable. Neverheless, each stone should have made absolutely firm in its place. This is consistent for patio water falls that will be incorporated into the rock garden.

The Sunken or Semi-Underground Rock Garden:

Frequently the garden is not built entirely up the surface, but formed by excavating a reasonable portion of the area to be used, throwing up the soil removed around the edges, or piling it up along one side. This arrangement typically involves more work, but it has several advantages.

In the first place, it makes possible a greater range of conditions under which the plants may be grown. If one is anxious to have as wide a selection of rock and alpine plants as possible, this is important.

But this excavation should not be in the nature of a hole in which water may collect. It may be started at the ground level with possibly one or two steps down, and it should gradually grow deeper as it proceeds. If made on level ground, the path will have to slope gradually downward, but if it is built into a rise of ground, the path may be set near level, which is ideal for any garden statuary or outdoor water features .

As a large amount of soil must be removed, which can be piled up around the outside, the height of the sliding sides which are to be planted is significantly augmented. A depth of four or five feet below the natural ground level provides space for planting six to eight feet high.

Sometimes there is an old cell hole, a natural hollow, or other depression which may be used in this way. Even a small excavation, not more than two or three feet deep, opening off from one side of the ordinarily built-on-the-surface rock garden, will provide not only an acceptable variation in the general plan but conditions of shade and protection for various types of plants.

Can Sinus Drainage Make You Cough? A Nurse's Guide

If you've been experiencing a lot of mucus or phlegm in your throat you may be wondering if it's from your lungs or your sinuses. Or maybe you did not know that it could be sinus drainage.

In any case you may be coughing a little or a lot and may not have connected it to your sinuses. People usually think they have bronchitis or a lung infection or even worry about pneumonia. But it's perfectly normal to cough when you experience a bit of sinus drainage. It may be little coughs here and there or have progressed into more serious coughing especially if you have a sinus infection.

A cough will often accompany a sinus infection or sinusitis. It can be severe and hang on as long as you have the infection. But if you use proper natural treatment methods at the first sign of an infection you can ward if off and actually get rid of it in a couple of days or so. I mean without sinus medications or drugs which can actually make your sins worse and carry with them risks to your body.

If the coughing is extreme you do want to take proper methods to get rid of the cause as soon as possible. Sinus drain normally flows down into the back of the throat. A quart of mucous has to move through the sinuses every day. That's a lot of fluid if you think about it. It can easily trigger your cough reflex located in your throat area and cause you to cough.

If you find you're clearing your throat a lot, that also may be a sign of heavy drain. Drainage is good though.

You want to try to remove the source of any sinus problems if you're experiencing coughing regularly. Something may be irritating your sinuses and causing an increased amount of drain. Look around your house or apartment and look for excess dust, mold in bathrooms around sinks, bathtubs, toilets and windows. Remove any hiding in plants from your bedroom, run air cleaners in the bedroom and living areas. Is there smoke in the house? Do you live in a smoggy area? Is the air quality good outside where you live? Are you walking or running in it?

It's also possible you may be allergic to dust mite droppings. Dust mites are so small you can not see them. Nor can you see the droppings. Mattresses and carpeting in bedrooms may contain a lot of droppings. Try vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum cleaner to see if you can remove some of them. Use zippered cases on pillows and mattresses if at all possible. But you may find there are other obvious sources to your sinus drainage and coughing problems and may not have to resort to using special cases.

In any case, yes sinus drain can cause you to cough. But if your coughing continues and is annoying there may be a sinus infection brewing. Also, you need to rule out other problems like bronchitis. But you can clear up symptoms such as coughing with natural treatment. Always choose natural treatments that work, over prescription or over the counter medicines and drugs, to protect your health.

Fireplaces – The Advantages of Reproduction French Fireplaces

For anyone who has ever been in a small home and seen a grand reproduction French fireplace, it is impossible not to be impressed with the visual presence and luxurious feel that they provide a room. There are many benefits which emerge from utilizing reproduction French fireplaces.

Reproduction French fireplaces are invariably utilized to create a focal point in room and when it comes to doing this, there really are a few better choices than this type of fireplace which certainly look grandiose as well as being highly functional. More and more homeowners are choosing to install this design of fireplaces in their homes not only due to the aesthetic excellence that they represent but also because they are highly effective means of providing warmth and style to a room.

Fireplaces are of course available in many different materials but it is the reproduction French fireplace that seemed to have a special place in the hearts of the UK public and and more and more are deciding to install these fireplaces in their homes. By taking a look at the benefits which arise from the installation of this style of fireplace, it makes possible to make an informed decision on what is the best variety of fireplace to suit your needs.

Fireplaces – The Principle Benefits

There are many reasons to install a reproduction French fireplace in your home, whether this be in the living room, dining room or any room around the property but some of the main benefits that arise from having such fireplaces include:

  • Durability – Above all else, they are extremely durable and have the propensity to last longer than wood fireplaces for example and are much less susceptible to damage such as scratches and scuffs.
  • Safeness – They are also popular due to their safeness. They are obviously highly resistant to fire and when you combine this safety with their striking visual appeal, it is easy to see why they are so popular.
  • Easy to Maintain – They are invariably easier to keep looking in top condition than other forms of fireplace. Cleaning stone fireplaces is extremely simple and it is part of the appeal of this type of fireplace that they are so easy to keep looking in top condition.

How to Price Foreclosure Cleanup Jobs For Profit Using HUD’s Guidelines

A foreclosure cleanup business does everything from lawn maintenance, to trashouts, to cleaning, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, repairs and more.

The foreclosure trashout industry is proving to be a lucrative business option for hardworking entrepreneurs. With one in every 25 homes in foreclosure, per Michael Williams, Fannie Mae CEO, and with millions of adjustable-rate mortgages poised to reset in the coming years (creating the prospect of a new round of foreclosures), foreclosure cleaning startups are perfectly situated to have evergreen enterprises for years to come.

Though foreclosure cleaning is a burgeoning industry, due to the sheer number of jobs available, foreclosure cleanup can be a business with thin profit margins if entrepreneurs aren’t pricing their services for profit.

Pricing for profit can be tricky for new property preservation business owner who don’t know the ins and outs of how contracts are won, who gets paid first, where they are on the totem pole in getting paid, etc.

A good tool to use in pricing foreclosure and trashout type jobs is HUD’s pricing guidelines for property preservation type companies — BUT, to use this tool alone can be a grave mistake.

When using HUD’s guidelines to price jobs, business owners should be aware that the tables list the maximum amount HUD will generally pay the PRIMARY contractor of a foreclosure cleaning job.

As a smaller company, business owners should know where they are on the totem pole in actually getting paid to know how to charge using the tables. They should also learn how to figure out whether they are the primary subcontractor, number two in line, number three, etc. This will not only help them figure out how to price, but will also guide them in figuring out the best strategy to use in winning jobs.

Foreclosure cleanup business owners cannot simply look at the HUD pricing charts and use those figures for bidding, or they’ll certainly overbid a job and lose out. The tables have to be dissected effectively

Remember, the HUD pricing guidelines for foreclosure cleaning are what HUD will pay, maximum, for a service (though certain scenarios will permit them to go higher with substantiating information). The amounts listed in the charts are really for that primary contractor.

Anybody can price, but pricing “for profit” in the burgeoning foreclosure cleaning industry is an art. New foreclosure cleanup businesses should plan to do their research so they can learn how to dissect the HUD charts and price effectively for profit to win more cleanup business.