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May, Gateway to Summer

Getting a House Ready for Summer

Home Ready for SummerIt may be hard to believe, but summer is right around the corner. Yes, that means swimming pools, lazy Sundays hanging out on the patio, and barbecues galore. So, before you throw on the flip-flops and head to the beach, keep in mind that there are a few housekeeping things you will want to take care of in preparation for the warm summer months. This list will not apply to all, but it might give you a few ideas to help you get started.

Inspect Air Conditioner

The last thing you want to deal with on a sweltering summer day is a broken AC unit. Picture it: You come home on a steamy day in anticipation of a cool breeze as soon as the door opens. What you find, however, is hot air and dead AC unit. Preventative maintenance will help ensure that you don’t find yourself in this unfortunate predicament so here are a few suggestions:

  1. Check your filter every three months (monthly during heavy-use times), because a dirty filter puts more strain on the system
  2. Annual tune-up of the HVAC system
  3. Seal or insulate ducts

Prep your Windows

As the warmer weather becomes the norm, and we crawl out of the darkened caves we’ve been hibernating in all winter, it’s good to update your windows to reflect the light, airy mood of the upcoming summer days. Change out thick, dark curtains with lighter fabrics to take advantage of the added daylight and to brighten up the room. Also, to ensure you keep the creepy crawlies out when you open your home to let outside air in, do a thorough inspection of your window screens, and look for any tears or holes requiring repair. This is also a good time to rid the exterior of your windows of the grime and buildup of winter. Instead of grabbing paper towels and a bottle of glass cleaner, take a note from the pros and consider a squeegee for a more effective clean.

Change Winter Linens

Heavy flannel sheets served their purpose in the cold winter months, but hot summer nights call for thinner, more breathable material. To ensure nights of comfort and solid sleep, look for fabrics that promise to keep you cool and dry all night. A quick search online and you will discover that you have plenty of options. Don’t underestimate the power of comfortable sheets; a good night sleep may depend on them.

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It’s not a bad idea to do a quick check of all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home while you’re performing your summer maintenance. A few minutes spent ensuring the batteries are full and everything’s working could save you more than you know.

Install a Clothesline

Why not take advantage of that warm summer air and save on your energy bill? Installing an outdoor clothesline will allow you to skip the dryer (and the costs that come with running it) while also allowing you to capture the smell of line-dried sheets and towels the old-fashioned way. There are a variety of styles at varied prices, from the retractable line to rack and umbrella clotheslines; so there’s likely one out there that will work for you.

Happy Bones

Human BodyAs we age, a lot of functions will begin to deteriorate at different rates, at different measures; and some of that can’t always be controlled or helped. However, the one, or rather 206-270 bones (Bone count differs with age, as some bones will have fused together) within our body can be kept healthy and strong through various practices. The three crucial things that medical professionals advise you do to improve your bones are actually rather simple and straight to the point. This month, I’m sharing that advice, so you can keep your bones healthy and strong!

Count On Calcium! (And Vitamin D)

Good nutrition will help build strong bones and you need plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Good sources of calcium are low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, as well as green leafy vegetables. For vitamin D, look to egg yolks, saltwater fish, and foods fortified with vitamin D. Ask your doctor if you should take any vitamin D supplements!

Get Moving!

Much like muscles your bones get stronger and stay stronger with exercise. Weight-bearing and strengthening exercises are best, such as walking, climbing stairs and lifting weights. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily!

Strike the Perfect Balance!

Maintaining a healthy weight is good for you in so many ways. It’s good for your heart, your lungs, and helps you avoid chronic diseases plus it’s good for your bones. If you’re underweight, you’re at risk for osteoporosis, a common disease that weakens bones, which increase the risk of sudden and unexpected fractures. If you’re overweight, you’re at risk for developing damaging osteoarthritis. This is the most common joint disorder and it is due to aging and wear and tear on a joint. Your doctor can help you determine a healthy target weight.

Historical Events

1607 – 1st permanent English settlement in North America founded in Jamestown, VA

1927 – Charles Lindbergh flies to Paris

1945 – V-E Day (Victory in Europe)

1961 – Alan Shepard, the 1st American to be launched into space

1977 – Frost/Nixon … the interview

1992 – Johnny Carson signs off as host of The Tonight Show

2005 – Watergate’s “Deep Throat” revealed to be W. Mark Felt, Assoc. Dir., FBI

Monthly Observances

ALS Awareness

National Blood Pressure Education

Date Your Mate

National Barbecue

Events in and around the Washington, DC metro area

May 1-31 – Passport DC

May 12 – 5th Annual Funk Parade

May 12-13 – Mother’s Day Weekend at Mount Vernon

May 18-20 – 27th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

May 27-28 – National Memorial Day Concert & National Memorial Day Parade

Have a great month!

Ray P. Cruz

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