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February 2011

Valentine's Boost or All year Round

For valentine's or for any day that really matters, get a large glass jar, scrub it clean, and paint the jar with flowers, hearts, sunshine, clouds, etc. 

Then get a bunch of "fancy" doodle pads and begin writing reasons & reminders of how & why you love your husband,wife, kids, boyfriend, girlfriend. It doesn't stop here -- start collecting little poems, quotes, and song lyrics to add to the pot. 

When someone is having a rough day they can open the lid and reach in for a "boost". This jar was easy to make and VERY personal, and can be enjoyed year  around. Collect stuff for the jar as well!



  1. Quality of life – a home provides stability and security for you and your loved ones, and membership within a community of neighbors.
  2. Pride of home ownership – a home is a personal haven, a place that you can decorate, shape, and share over time because it’s yours.
  3. Excellent affordability – lower home prices combined with low interest rates means there are tremendous opportunities for buyers.
  4. Historically low interest rates – around 5 percent in the U.S. gives better purchasing power to those who qualify.
  5. Appreciation potential – your home investment can grow in value.
  6. Equity buildup and debt pay down – homeowners enjoy an average net worth of approximately $184,000 vs. $4,000 for renters.
  7. Leverage – where else can you buy an investment of this magnitude with 5-10 percent down?
  8. Tax deduction advantages – property tax and mortgage interest write-offs (in Canada, home owners gain a tax benefit upon selling).
  9. Tax exemption – up to $500,000 per married couple or $250,000 per person on sale of a primary residence in the United States (no tax upon sale in Canada).
  10. The real cost of renting – at $800 per month, with the average
    6 percent rental increase per year, you will pay $126,536 over a 10-year period but have zero ownership of the property.

Signs of a Stroke

February is Heart Health Month - look for advice throughout the month intended to help you manage cardio-related health concerns.

Knowing the signs of stroke is crucial, as prompt treatment is necessary to help reduce the damage that can be caused by a "brain attack." Be aware of these classic stroke symptoms:

  1. Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  2. Weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including the face
  3. Difficulty speaking
  4. Sudden disorientation, confusion or memory loss
  5. Dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
  6. Severe headache that comes on suddenly with no apparent cause

The American Stroke Association suggests that anyone can identify a stroke by checking for the signs of facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems. As a bystander, you can help to determine if someone is having a stroke by asking them to perform three simple actions:

  1. Ask the person to smile
  2. Ask the person to raise both arms above his or her head
  3. Ask the person to speak a simple sentence

If the person has any problems completing these steps, call 911 immediately and describe these symptoms.

Helpful hints on how to estimate a homes age

Often at inspections, I am asked to determine the age of a home when its exact age is unknown. Here are a few helpful hints that may help the Real Estate agent in the field look like a real star. Building technologies and fashions have followed well-known trends that allow inspectors, clients and anyone else interested to roughly determine when particular buildings were constructed. Here are some methods based on a building's materials, components and styles. Estimates of Building Age Based on Building Materials Nails • Prior to the 1800s, nails were hand-made by blacksmiths and nail makers and appear crude compared with modern nails. They are often squared rather than rounded, and have a beaten look on the top of the head. • Type A- and Type B- cut nails were used from 1790 to 1830. They were made from wrought iron and are squared. • Wire nails, used from 1890 through today, are modern, machine-made nails that are rounded and more practical to use than the earlier designs. Wiring • Aluminum wiring was used extensively from 1967 till 1975, a period during which copper was prohibitively expensive. Aluminum use was generally discontinued when its potential as a fire hazard become publicized. • K&T or knob-and-tube wiring was an early method of electrical wiring installed in buildings from 1880 to the 1940s. The system is considered obsolete and can be a fire hazard, although much of the fear associated with it is exaggerated. Electrical Receptacles Electrical receptacles evolved from earliest to most recent in the following order: • non-polarized: These early receptacles are made up of two slots of equal size, with no ground slot. • polarized: These receptacles are two-slotted, one of which is wider than the other to allow for proper polarity. • grounded, polarized: Modern receptacles were changed to permit grounding of an appliance or device. They can be identified by the round hole beneath the center of the polarized slots. Flooring • In the late 19th century (1890), linoleum became common for use in hallways and passages, but it became better known for its use in kitchen floors in the 20th century, up through 1960. Originally valued for its water-resistance and affordability, it was surpassed by other floor coverings by the mid-20th century. • Asphalt tile was used for floor tiles starting around 1920 through the 1960s. The earliest tiles are darker because they contained more asphalt, unlike later tiles that had higher levels of synthetic binders. • Vinyl asbestos tiles became popular in response to consumers who wanted lighter-colored tiles of varying color patterns. Structural Panels • Plywood's use began around 1905. It is made from thin sheets of veneer (layers of wood that are peeled from a spinning log) that are cross-laminated and glued together with a hot press. Since it is made from whole layers of logs rather than small strands, plywood has a more consistent and less rough appearance than oriented strand board (OSB). • Waferboard or particle board was developed in the 1970s and, like plywood, is still used today. This material appears similar to OSB, except the wooden strands from which it is composed are not aligned. • OSB was developed the 1980s and is manufactured from heat-cured adhesives, and then rectangular shaped wood strands that are arranged in cross-oriented layers. Produced in large, continuous mats, OSB is a solid-panel product of consistent quality with few voids and gaps. While OSB was developed fairly recently, it became more popular than plywood in North America by 2000. Keep in mind that houses, especially older ones, have evolved over many years. It can be very difficult to reliably date a building based on the presence of a single material or component. The majority of a house might be newer than its 18th century foundation, for instance, especially if there was a fire that destroyed the rest of the structure. Estimates of Building Age Based on Architectural Style • American Colonial (1600 to 1800): North America was colonized by Europeans who brought with them building styles from their homelands. This broad category includes the following regional styles and their characteristics: o New England style (1600 to 1740): These homes feature steep roofs and narrows eaves used in simple timber-frame houses, usually located in the northeastern United States, primarily in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York. o German (1600 to 1850): Most often found in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland, these buildings generally feature thick, sandstone walls. o Spanish (1600 to 1900): Located in the American South, Southwest, and California, these houses are simple and low, built from rocks, stucco, coquina and adobe brick, with small windows and thick walls. o Other home styles from the American Colonial period include Georgian, Dutch, French and Cape Cod. • Classical style houses (1780 to 1860): Many houses built during the founding of the United States are a throwback to ancient Greece, emphasizing order and symmetry. Among the styles common to this era are Greek Revival, Tidewater and Antebellum. • Victorian (1840 to 1900): With the technological innovation of mass production came the ability to produce large homes affordably. Queen Anne, Gothic Revival, Folk and Octagon are some of the architectural styles common to this era. • Gilded Age (1880 to 1929): The "Gilded Age" is a term popularized by Mark Twain to describe extravagant wealth. This era saw the construction of large, elaborate homes owned by a class of suddenly-rich businessmen who enjoyed grandiose displays of their new wealth. • Early 20th Century homes: Homes built during this period were compact and economical, somewhat smaller and less pretentious than earlier Gilded Age homes. • Post-War homes (1945 to 1980): Very simple and affordable, some critics believe they have no style at all. Soldiers returning from the World War II spurred the construction of these homes, which emphasized utilitarianism over style more than preceding periods. • “Neo” houses (1965 to present): Theses houses borrow styles from previous architectural eras, such as Victorian, Colonial and Mediterranean. “McMansion” is a word used to describe large, quickly-constructed, flamboyant and poorly-designed neo-eclectic homes. Other Ways to Determine a Building's Age: • Check the meter reader. Sometimes, the meter reader will bear a date stamp. • Check the inside of the toilet. Toilet manufacturers often stamp the inside of tanks or lids with the year the toilet was made. Toilets are usually installed right after construction, so you can often determine a newer home's age by inspecting a toilet. • In log homes, it may be possible to tell the building's age by analyzing the tree rings in a piece of timber removed from the building. The science on which this is based, dendrochronology, does not arrive at an age based on the number of tree rings, but rather focuses on patterns of tree rings and compares these with known pattern ages for a specific region. This method is destructive and it requires a specialist. • Local town, county, or state tax records usually indicate the date or year a building was constructed. • Historical real estate listings may include indications of building age. • Census records can prove that a house was present at the time the census was taken. • Papers found inside the building will often indicate when the building was present. A house will probably be at least as old as, for instance, newspapers from the 1920s found in a crawlspace. • Employ an architectural investigator to date the house by studying its wood, plaster, mortar and paint. • The aluminum spacers within thermal-paned windows often bear the year of production, which can at least provide an approximate date of installation. • Sewer grates are sometimes stamped with the year they were manufactured, which may provide an age for the neighborhood. In summary, there are many ways that inspectors and their clients may estimate the age of a building.

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

Those of Us Born
1930 - 1979

At the end of this Email is a quote of the month by Jay Leno.. If you don't read anything else, Please Read what he Said.
Very well stated,
Mr. Leno.


1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers
Who smoked and/or drank while they were

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing,
Tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles,
Locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode
Our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children,
We would ride in cars with no car seats,
No booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day
Was always a special treat.

We drank water
From the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends,
From one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon.
We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.
And, we weren't overweight.

Because we were
Always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day,
As long as we were back when the
Streetlights came on.

No one was able
To reach us all day. And, we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps
And then ride them down the hill, only to find out
We forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes with
thorns a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes.
There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable and

some had no TV at all. If you did, it had one or two channels
No video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's,
No cell phones,
No personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

And we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth
And there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt,
And the worms did not live in us

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,
Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and,
Although we were told it would happen,
We did not shoot out very many eyes..

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and
Knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just
Walked in and talked to them and their parents.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn to deal
With disappointment.
Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law
Was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best
Risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years
Have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility,
and we learned how to deal with it all.

If someone died from our school, we had no psychologists,

psychiatrists or anyone else to talk to us. We had our parents,

teachers, principals and our friends to sort things out and we

COPED as best we could.

If YOU are one of them?

You might want to share this with others
who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the
lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives

and took away our freedom for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know
how brave and lucky their parents were to be FREE.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house
with scissors, doesn't it ?

The quote of the month is by Jay Leno:
"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control,
mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms
tearing up the country from one end to another,
and with the threat of swine flu and terrorist attacks.
Can we be sure this is a good time
to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance or


For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us..

..go ahead and delete this.

For the rest of
us...pass this on.

A Small Prayer!

God determines who walks into your's up to you to decide who you let walk away,

who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.

I need this back. If you'll do this for me, I'll do it for you.

When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need.

Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.


God bless my friend in whatever it is that You know they may need this day!
And may their life be full of your peace, prosperity, and power
as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with you.

Then send it on to other people, including the one who sent it to you.

Within hours you will have caused a multitude of people to pray for other people.

Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life.

P. S... The more you send it to, the better.

Own a rental property? The IRS Needs to Know

The IRS Needs to Know


Own a rental property? A new law requires you to issue an IRS 1099 form to the handyman and other vendors.
By John M. Compagno | February 2011

If you’re the owner of even a single unit of rental property, starting this year you must start tracking all vendors doing at least $600 worth of work for you. Federal law now requires you to send them an IRS 1099 form.


The requirement to track vendors and issue 1099 forms isn’t new—it’s something that larger rental property owners already must do. But last year when the federal government enacted the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297), it expanded this requirement to all property owners, no matter how small. Even property owners who are just doing rental as a sideline—maybe as part of a family investment fund or as part of a retirement savings plan—are now considered to be “conducting a trade or business,” so the 1099 reporting requirement now applies to them.

 for full story