Customer Spotlight: Tanya Angus

We are so pleased to have been selected to complete home modifications for Tanya Angus, pictured with her mother Karen. Tanya suffers from Acromegaly, and was the only case in the world where surgery, medication and other treatments had not been successful in stopping her growth.

Tanya fought a strong battle, against this very serious and life threatening illness also known as gigantism. Tanya’s story has been featured was featured on many news outlets and throughout the Internet as a story of heroic determination. Her story has been seen on The Learning Channel (TLC), Good Morning America, Channel 13 Action News, Channel 4’s Bodyshock, and ABC’s Nightline just to name a few. For more videos please visit Tanya’s Blogspot.

For more information you can check out her website at TanyaAngus.com

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Customer Spotlight: Linda Hughes

This month we are launching a new feature in our E-newsletter and on our website called “Client Appreciation Spotlight.” Our goal in doing this is to recognize one or two clients each month and share a little bit about them, and how we came to know them. We think this will be a way of taking the focus off of the actual work our company does, and instead spotlight what we value most in our business… our clients.

This month we will shine our spotlight on Linda Hughes.

Linda is originally from the state of Ohio. She was born in Cincinnati, and has a single brother who lives in Pennsylvania. As a youngster, her favorite things to do were horseback riding, dancing, hiking, anything active. After graduating High School, Linda went on to go to work for a local utility company, and was the first female meter reader. She worked her way up through the ranks and after 27 years took a severance package due to a merger.

Linda moved to Las Vegas in 2000 as a result of getting married to a man who lived here. After moving to Las Vegas, she went to work for the TSA at McCarren International Airport, and absolutely loved her job. Upon being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she could not longer continue working. Linda’s favorite things about Las Vegas are the sunshine, and the really good friends she made through working with the TSA. Linda’s hobbies, or special interests involve being a leader in a MS self help group where she networks with other MS patients in Nevada, Hawaii, and Alaska through regular phone calls. One of Linda’s observations about people with MS, is that they are like snowflakes… there are no two alike. Linda has two dogs, Suzy Q (pictured), and Carson, a Sheltie. She also has two Persian cats named Bosey, and K.C.. All of her pets were abandoned, and were adopted by Linda.

The way we at Chermac Builders came to meet Linda, was through the Independent Living Program administered by R.A.G.E. Linda suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, and we were fortunate to be selected to complete Bathroom modifications for Linda to help assist her with her daily bathing needs.

The qualities we came to appreciate most about Linda, are her kind and gentle spirit, her enthusiastic attitude, and her overwhelming appreciation for the little bit of work we did to help her lead a more independent life. We hope to remain in contact with Linda for many years to come, and want to express our appreciation for the opportunity to have gotten to know her better, and to have been of service to her.

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Turn Your Home Into A Smart Home

The term “smart” home refers to a living space that contains remotely controlled or preprogrammed “smart” devices. These devices can help a space function more efficiently and give occupants more direct control over their environment. Many “smart” devices have been introduced in recent years, and this trend will undoubtedly continue. A simple example is a coffee maker equipped with a timer. You simply fill the machine with water and coffee grounds the night before and set the timer, and your coffee is waiting for you when you get up.

Smart technology for home automation systems has come a long way. The idea is to link all of the devices in the home together as much as possible and provide centralized computerized control of the interior and exterior environments and the home security system. You can access and control many of these systems via the Internet even when you’re not at home. The system can monitor individual rooms and turn off lights when a room is empty, or indicate when a malfunction has occurred or routine maintenance is required on a system.

Smart devices can help lower energy costs and can increase the energy
efficiency of your home.

Thermostats

New generation thermostats now keep track of multiple settings. You can cut back cooling or heating during the week while you’re at work and school, but maintain comfortable temperatures in the evening and on the weekend without having to constantly adjust the thermostat. Next generation thermostats include touch screen technology to monitor room by room temperatures to channel your HVAC unit’s efforts efficiently into specific areas. This further impacts your energy bill by eliminating the wasted heating and cooling efforts of frequently unoccupied spaces in your home.

Windows

Small motorized devices incorporated into your window treatments can be programmed to open or close blinds and drapes, depending on the season or time of day. Windows can be opened or closed automatically for air circulation. Ventilation fans can be programmed to draw hot air out of the attic or turned off to conserve heat, depending on the season.

Refrigerators

Small refrigerators equipped with built-in Internet terminals are already on the market. These refrigerators can suggest recipes based on an inventory of currently stored food, keep track of expiration dates, create shopping lists as items are used, and maintain a calendar of appointments and important dates (to replace that calendar we all keep on the fridge).

Bathroom

In the bath, smart shower heads can store water temperature and pressure settings for each individual. Toilets can be equipped with self-clean settings.

And in the Living Room…

We’ve all wrestled with handheld remote control units for audio and video entertainment components. Smart technology lets you combine all of the remotes into one touch-screen controller that controls channel selection, recording, programming, and even room lighting and temperature. Home television sets can provide PC-like Internet capability, convenient home shopping, and interactive capability.

As smart technology continues to improve, more and more household tasks can be automated, giving us more free time and making life a bit easier. Consider ways to make your home a “smart” home.

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Must See U.S. Cities

Still planning your vacation for this year? Trying to get a jump on next year’s plans? Here are a few suggested must-see cities in the U.S., where you can count on plenty of worthwhile sightseeing opportunities, family-oriented activities, and great places to eat.

New York City

While some consider it to be crowded and expensive, it’s still one of the most fascinating and cultural cities in the world. New York has a wide range of theatrical and musical venues, art galleries, and museums, plus a huge range of restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing attractions.

Phoenix

Visit the renowned Desert Botanical Gardens, the Phoenix Zoo, or the Heard Museum (which hosts one of the finest collections of Native American art in the world). Phoenix offers hiking trails, beautiful vistas, bike paths, and some of the best golf courses in the nation.

San Diego

Count on blue skies, a Mediterranean climate, and Mexican specialties; plus zoos, aquatic parks, and aquariums. Don’t miss the 70 miles of great beaches, which include fantastic surfing, snorkeling, and diving, with amazing sunsets.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is known for its nightlife—gambling, clubs, celebrities, shows, and amusement park attractions. Like a quieter night? Relax and enjoy the desert! During the day, tour the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam from the air; hike the trails at Red Rock Canyon or along the Colorado River; or take a road trip to Death Valley.

San Francisco

San Francisco has a rich history: Spanish settlers, Asian immigrants, the Gold Rush, and the earthquake of 1906. Don’t miss the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Muir Woods, and a cable car ride!

Seattle

Seattle boasts a range of natural attractions and recreational opportunities, both on the waters of Puget Sound and in the nearby Cascade and Olympic mountains. City attractions include the Space Needle and Pikes Place Market, or tour Boeing’s aircraft manufacturing facility.

Washington, D.C.

Home to the Smithsonian Institute, Washington hosts dozens of the nation’s top museums. Walk the mall and see the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the Washington Monument, and the cherry blossoms (in season). Visit the National Zoo, the Capitol, or the White House. While hotels can be expensive, almost every major attraction in the city is free!

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The Online Piggy Bank

SmartyPig® is an online savings tool that’s modeled after the old ceramic piggy bank we used to save all our hard earned pennies. It’s tough these days to make ends meet, and many of us tend to use credit cards to plug gaps in our budgets. It’s even harder to stay disciplined enough to save for a big purchase. If you’re planning a big purchase and you’re looking for a way to break the credit cycle, try Smartypig.com. SmartyPig is an online savings tool that’s modeled after the old ceramic piggy bank that we used to save for large purchases. The service is free, and easy-to-follow instructions quickly get you on your way to saving money.

SmartyPig lets you maintain complete control of your money. Once you’ve established your SmartyPig account, you designate a bank account as a source for your SmartyPig contributions. Then you select a savings goal for yourself, like a cruise or a new computer. You designate the amount that you want to save for that purchase and a deadline for reaching your goal.

SmartyPig calculates how much you need to set aside each month and deducts that amount from your source account based on a scheduled frequency that you select. If you’d rather make random contributions, you can opt out of the regularly scheduled deductions.

Once you reach your goal, you can move the money back into your checking or savings account. You can also redeem your money for gift cards from participating merchants through SmartyPig, usually at a discount so you can get more for your money.

One unique feature of SmartyPig allows you to accept donations from friends and family over social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. So on your birthday you can accept donations to get you even closer to your goal. SmartyPig also lets you contribute extra money of your own at any time. So if you find yourself with a nice tax refund, you can deposit it into your source account and put it toward your goal. SmartyPig can be a painless way to save for something special without having to rely on credit.

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Language is powerful. The way you express yourself affects how your message is received. Even when you’re conveying bad news, you can soften the impact by using positive language. You can use positive communication to gain cooperation rather than confrontation. Whether you are communicating with clients or customers, staff, or peers, or your spouse and children, you can use language to create a helpful, positive atmosphere rather than a negative one.

Think before you speak to make sure you’re using positive language. The difference between “I need more help around the house” and “You’re so lazy” is obvious. But changing even one word or subtly shifting the focus of your sentence can make the difference. For example:

Giving constructive criticism. “The report looks great, but it needs to be finished by Tuesday.” The word ‘but’ negates the postive statement at the beginning of the sentence; so the recipient anticipates bad news. Instead, try “The report looks great, and it needs to be finished by Tuesday.”

Changing a behavior. “Please stop smoking for my sake” sounds selfish and could foster resentment. Shift the focus away from yourself. Try “Please stop smoking for the kids’ sake.”

Convincing someone to see your side. “Changing the date without checking with me was stupid.” Stupid is an inflammatory word. Try “Changing the date without checking with me was not helpful.”

Presenting a problem. Change “They have a problem in marketing” to “We have a marketing problem.” This subtle shift in focus can change the tone of your communication. You share in both the problem and the solution.

Negative language often has one or more of these characteristics:

  • It tells what can’t be done. Change it to what can be done.
  • It has a subtle tone of blame. Suggest alternatives or choices instead.
  • It contains inflammatory words.
  • Don’t label actions; rather, convey the effects of those actions.
  • It doesn’t stress positive actions that would be appropriate, or positive consequences.
  • Stress the positive.
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Tips for a Safe Summer Celebration

Keep your summer celebration happy this year by following these safety tips.

Picnic safety

  • Keep children away from campfires and grills to prevent burns. Check for gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks to prevent fires or explosions.
  • Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of grilled foods.
  • Don’t leave picnic food out all day. Hot summer temperatures can quickly invite food-borne illnesses. Don’t leave food sitting out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90° F and not more than two hours otherwise.
  • Keep foods that should be kept cold in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer packs (at a maximum of 40° F). Meat, seafood, eggs, and mayonnaise are especially prone to spoiling, but any food can become contaminated.
  • Don’t leave packed coolers in the hot trunk of car.
  • Wash hands before and after handling food. Disinfect food preparation areas.
  • Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods.

Bug and bee sting safety

  • Cover foods and beverages outdoors to discourage bees and wasps.
  • Use insect repellent to repel mosquitoes.
  • Use netting over infants.
  • In areas where ticks are common, wear shoes, long sleeves, and long pants tucked into boots or socks. Check thoroughly for ticks after being outdoors.
  • Avoid fragranced body products, bright colors, and sugary drinks to avoid attracting bees.
  • If someone is stung, remove the stinger by gently scraping the site with a credit card. Wash the area with soap and water. Apply hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching.
  • Keep an emergency anaphylaxis kit handy if someone is allergic to insect stings. Allergic reactions include coughing, difficulty breathing, hives, dizziness, fainting, and profuse sweating. If any of these symptoms are present, seek emergency care immediately.
  • Prevent mosquitoes from breeding ahead of time by emptying pots or containers outdoors that collect water.

Fireworks safety

  • If fireworks are a part of your celebration, store and use them safely. Know the rules and codes for firework usauge in your area.
  • Keep children away from fireworks at all times. Keep spectators at a safe distance.
  • If you are using sparklers, stand six feet apart and hold them away from the body. Wear shoes. Don’t wave sparklers or run with them. Drop spent sparklers into a bucket of water.
  • Consider attending a fireworks display organized by professionals instead of putting on your own show.
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Low Cost, High-Imagination Games

Many families are all too familiar with electronic game systems. So when your kids forget them at home, the batteries died, or you just want a break from technology–try these simple ideas for games or activities.

Alphabet geography. One person names a place, like Saskatoon. The next person must name a new place that begins with the last letter in the name of the first place (in this case, the letter n), like Nevada. Places cannot be used twice in one game. If you can’t think of a new place when it’s your turn, you’re out. Last player standing wins.

I’m thinking of an animal. The first player says, “I’m thinking of an animal” and provides a clue about that animal, “It lives underwater.” The next person tries to guess the identity of the animal. If the guess is incorrect, then the first player gives another clue. This continues until someone guesses correctly. Whoever guesses the animal thinks of the next animal.

Opposites. This is a word-association game in which you say a word and your kids must say the opposite word. Your choice of “night” would be answered by “day” and so on. Older kids can get progressively harder words. This game not only passes the time but increases your child’s vocabulary skills.

Fortunately/Unfortunately. This is a story game. One person leads off with the opening sentence of a story. “Wally got ready to go to work.” The second person supplies a sentence that starts with the word unfortunately. “Unfortunately, Wally could not find any clothes to wear.” Players then alternate good, (“Fortunately, Wally lived next to a clothing store”), and bad, (“Unfortunately, Wally’s wallet was in his missing pants”), sentences until the story ends.

Packing. This game starts with the phrase “I’m going on a trip and I’m packing….” Players take turns adding items to the list. Each person must name the whole list before they add their own item. Make the game more challenging by making the list alphabetical, “…an alarm clock, a book, a camera, a diamond necklace…” and so on.

Face Race. If you have lots of kids to entertain, split them into two teams. Pin two large sheets of paper to the wall. Draw two large ovals for faces. Give each team a marker. A player from each team must draw a single facial feature (eye, nose, mouth) and then pass the marker to the next player. The team that finishes their face first wins.

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Calcium 101

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body. It’s essential to total body health. Most Americans think they’re getting enough calcium everyday but, the truth is, most are not. Here are facts you should know.

Strong bones require calcium. Calcium helps keep bones and teeth strong. Calcium helps prevent osteoporosis, which causes thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density, particularly in women. But did you know that calcium is used by every cell and tissue in the body? It ensures proper functioning of muscles and nerves and helps in blood clotting. Calcium helps muscles contract, including your heart muscle. Research has shown that getting enough calcium may help lower blood pressure and prevent colorectal cancer. Other research has shown that people who get enough calcium may burn fat faster than those who don’t.

How do you know whether you’re getting enough? Adults need 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams per day. As you age, your body is less able to absorb calcium efficiently, so by age 51 or menopause, get at least 1,200 milligrams per day. For better absorption of calcium, make sure that you also get enough Vitamin D, and limit your sodium intake. As sodium travels through your body, it leaches calcium from your system.

There are no early signs that you’re calcium deficient. By the time you notice symptoms or suffer a fracture, you’ve already lost critical bone mass. If you suspect you aren’t getting enough, track your diet over a few days. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or have dietary restrictions, check with your doctor.

How can you add more calcium to your diet? To increase your calcium intake, try adding more of these to your diet:

Dairy products: One cup of nonfat milk contains 302 milligrams; a cup of low-fat yogurt has about 415 milligrams. If you don’t normally care for dairy products, try adding nonfat powdered milk to smoothies, soups, and casseroles.

Canned sardines (with bones): Three ounces contains 324 milligrams.

Dark, leafy greens, like collard greens, kale, and spinach: One-half cup of turnip greens supplies 104 milligrams.

Fortified foods: Many foods, such as breakfast cereals, soy products, and juices, are fortified with extra calcium. For example, orange juice with added calcium supplies 165 milligrams per half cup.

Calcium supplements: Consider a calcium supplement containing either calcium citrate or calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is absorbed better when taken with a meal; calcium citrate can be taken without food. Antacid tablets are an inexpensive calcium supplement (at about half the cost). One regular-strength Tums contains 500 milligrams of calcium carbonate.

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