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Cold & Flu Season Is Here


We’ve all had one and some of us even get shots to avoid them. I am talking about the common cold and the flu.  It is that time again and from now until May you are the most susceptible to these nasty viruses.  We usually experience a couple of bouts here in our office before the season is over.

If you want to avoid getting sick with the common cold, there are some very simple rules to abide by. The first and maybe most important is to frequently wash your hands.  Using an antibacterial soap or alcohol based sanitizer lessens your risk of catching or transferring the cold virus.  While it is not always possible the next best way to avoid a cold is to simply stay away from sickies.  You know that person that just has to come in to work sick because they “can’t” stay home, well it’s best to stay at least 10-15 feet away from them.  If that is not possible then try not to touch anything they have touched without wiping it down with a sanitizing wipe.  During bouts here we all are proactive about wiping down phones, headsets, keyboards, mice, bathroom doors, etc. Basically anything you could think of. You should do the same.

Now while wiping all the above items down will help prevent you from catching a cold, it may not help in protecting against the flu.  The best defense against that is the Flu Vaccine.  According to the CDC about 200,000 people are hospitalized each year with flu symptoms and a portion of them pass away.  With the flu season upon us it is recommended that you get the shot soon because it does take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to take effect.  While the vaccine is not 100% effective, any symptoms of the flu that you get will likely be less severe.

Did you know that there are differences between how you catch a cold or the flu? You can get the flu from infected people who sneeze, cough or even just talk within 6-10 ft. away. Touch is the most common way of catching a cold, which is why it is important to wipe down common surfaces.

Getting enough rest is also key in whether you get sick or not.  According to a study from Carnegie Mellon University those subjects that had less than 7 hours per night were more likely to get sick than those who had at least 8 hours of dream time.  There is no distinction as to when you should get sleep, so I say take a nap as often as you can, just don’t let your boss catch you doing it of course

I hope this has helped you become more aware of those around you and how you can avoid being the next victim of the cold or flu.


Handy Tips Part 2

Two weeks ago, I gave you several handy household tips. As promised I am going to tackle the outside this week as well as a few general tips that may make your life easier.  I know that the season to be outdoors is swiftly coming to an end but that is only for this year. You can always hang on to these ideas and put them to use next spring and summer.

Before planting those spring and summer plants, try placing wet newspapers in layers around the plant. Overlapping as you go, Once done, add your mulch and what you will end up with is a weed free setting because weeds shouldn’t grow through wet newspapers.

Here are several more ideas:

  1. To get rid of ants, most everyone knows that if you sprinkle either cornmeal or oatmeal around the ant hills you will eventually get rid of them.
  2. For fruit flies or other flies, in a small glass put ½ in of Apple Cider Vinegar add 2 drops of dish detergent and mix well. Flies are typically drawn to this mixture and next thing you know, you’ll have a glass full of flies. Much better option than hanging fly strips which will stick to your hair when you walk by, not to mention how nasty they look.
  3. Have a problem with squirrels? Try shaking some cayenne pepper around your plants. It won’t hurt your plants but will work great keeping those pesky rodents away.
  4. For keeping mosquitos away try using a dryer sheet in your pocket. I have no idea if it works but it sounds good and much less expensive than other alternatives such as bug sprays.

That is about it for the outside tips however I have several general tips that I would like to share.  Have you ever dropped a glass and wondered if you got all the pieces picked up. Well if you run a wet cotton ball or qtip over the area where you dropped it, you are sure to pick up some tiny pieces you would otherwise not have found.

For you ladies out there, you know that fall and winter are big static cling months Attach a small safety pin to the seam of your slip or the hem line of your pants and they won’t cling. . I know I will be trying this tip. Every year you hear about houses burning down due to dryer fires. Here is one way to keep the waxy build up from dryer sheets to a minimum. Every 60 months clean the filter with a toothbrush and hot soapy water. I think this last tip is my favorite and I wonder why I had not thought about it earlier. This is another tip for the ladies. You know that old bottle of unused conditioner that you didn’t like, well why not use it to shave your legs. Obviously it cheaper than shaving cream since it’s on hand and it will leave your legs really smooth.

If you have any suggestions you would like to add, feel free to leave comments on our Facebook page.


Handy Kitchen Tips

Wow it has been a while since I have been able to post a blog. There have been many things going on here at Clinard since last we met.  I have been promoted to Customer Service Rep and we have a new person who will be doing the Social Media side of things.  Her name is Andra and she has already started to take over some of the writing for our monthly e-zine. For the time being this will still be my blog and I promise to be  more proactive in posting.

This time around I am going to go through a list of things your Mother should have talked to you about.  I will admit that I got the list off of Facebook but since there are so many handy tips I thought I would share.  Most of these are kitchen food tips but there are some interesting things on how to handle outside insects or rodents.  Let’s talk about the fun kitchen tips first. 

  1. To keep bananas from ripening too fast, separate them from the stem connection.  I have to admit that I just tried this with my last bunch of bananas and it totally worked.
  2. To make a container of frosting go further, dump the container into a bowl and use your hand mixer on it for a few minutes. Not only will you be able to frost more goodies but you are also spreading out the sugar and calorie servings.
  3. To help pull grease out of hamburger, simply add about a tablespoon of water to the skillet while browning.
  4. Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a mild garlic flavor. And for a more robust flavor add it at the end of the recipe.
  5. To add flavor & fluffiness to scrambled eggs and omelets, add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese or heavy cream when beating.
  6. To help an avocado from turning brown once opened, place in a bowl or paper sack with a small handful of brown sugar. (this is another tip I have tested myself)
  7. To keep the crust crispy when reheating pizza, heat in a nonstick skillet on med-low heat and only until warm.
  8. When measuring something sticky, try rinsing the measuring cup/spoon with  very hot water first or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Well that is about all the kitchen tips for now. Come back next week and I will talk about the outdoor tips.

See you soon.


Do Not Call Registry

The Do Not Call Registry was formed by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to offer consumers an option on how they receive telemarketing calls. It was formed in 2003 and telemarketers now have only 31 days from registration to stop calling numbers from the list.

The sign up process is relatively easy and can be used for both land lines and cell phones.  You can either call 888.382.1222 from the phone you wish to register or visit their website at  If you register online, you will need to provide an email address to complete your registration.  Once you have registered up to 3 phone’s (at a time), it can take up to 31 days for the calls to stop.

As with many things, scammers have attached themselves to this registry. The most prevalent is that they will call you and offer to sign you up for the Do Not Call list. According to the FTC, the only way you should be signing up for this service is by calling the number above or going to the website listed above.  You only have to register your phone numbers once. If you move or change phone numbers you will have to register the new # but the FTC purging system will take care of your old disconnected number. Due to an improvement act signed in 2007 the purging of reassigned and disconnected numbers now happens several times a month.  As a test I checked on the do not call website to see if I had registered both my home phone and cell phone and sure enough I was sent 2 emails stating that both numbers were on the list and when they were registered. To check your status just click on the verify a registration button on the webpage.

Telemarketers have some very specific guidelines that they must follow when making calls. The most important is probably the hours of the day that they can call. Those hours are 8a-9p.  There are some exceptions to the types of calls that will be blocked. These exceptions include: Political organizations (as we are all tired of by now); not for profit organizations; companies conducting surveys, businesses where you have done business in the past 18 months unless you specifically request to be put on their internal do not call list and bill collectors.  Also note that calls coming from overseas are regulated by these rules as well because they are calling US consumers.

If you feel that you have received calls from anyone not on the above list or the call is outside of the permitted hours then you do have the right to file a complaint with the FTC.  Keep in mind however this one work around that some companies have found. They will call you conducting a survey then ask if they can make a follow up call and when they do, they will try to sell you a product or service.  One company that tried this was slapped with a restraining order but you know that if they can find the gray area of the rules they will. Some journalists and victims of fraudulent calls and Do Not Call list violations have reported widespread inaction and lack of enforcement from the FTC. In fact in the last 2 years, complaints have jumped from 65,000 to more than 212,000

So if you are tired of having your phone ring at 8:55pm then do yourself a favor and register all your phones for this free service.


Are You Afraid of a Ghost???

If you can answer yes to that question, then this might not be the blog to read.  In honor of Halloween next week, I decided to tackle some of the haunted places, according to legend & folklore, here in North Carolina. These range from the Biltmore in Asheville to Wilmington’s bobbing lights. 

Let’s go from west to east.  Asheville’s Biltmore Estate has been empty for quite some time and several witnesses have seen or heard some uncommon occurrences. When George Vanderbilt passed away from complications of an appendectomy, his wife would sit in the library and talk to him as if he were still there and some say those conversations can be heard today.  There are also reports of sounds of laughing and screaming throughout the house.  Some have also seen a headless orange cat roaming the gardens and bass pond. 

While travelling through the Blue Ridge Parkway, you may witness the Brown Mountain Lights which were first reported by Native Americans.  These lights appear after sunset and rise up off the mountain. One legend has it the lights come from the maidens looking for their lost warriors after a battle between the Cherokee & Catawba had taken place here. 

Jamestown brings us a story of a vanishing hitchhiker.  Allegedly on a dark rainy night in 1923, a young woman by the name of Lydia was killed while coming home from a dance.  Many years later the story happens that a young man driving down US70A is flagged down by a young lady in a white dress who asks for a ride.   Once he delivers her home, he opens the door only to find she is not in the back. He approaches the home and is told by an elderly lady that “Lydia” was her daughter and she was killed on that bridge. Evidently Lydia is still trying to get home. 

On the South side of Siler City in Southern Chatham County lies what many consider one of North Carolina's most haunted places.  What do you call a perfectly round and absolutely barren circle about 40 feet in diameter?  The locals call it the Devil’s Tramping Ground.  Absolutely nothing will grow within the limits of the circle.  As the story was told by generation to generation, this area was where the Devil himself spends night after night pacing in a circle coming up with nefarious ways to torment human souls.

On the North Carolina coast, in Wilmington there is a story about a ghost that has become one of the state’s greatest stories.  It is about the Maco light, a mysterious light that has been seen and photographed bobbing up and down along railroad tracks near Maco station. The Legend of Maco light goes back to a sad night in 1867 when a signalman named Joe Baldwin was asleep in a caboose. Joe was awoken by a violent jerk that was the caboose becoming detached from his train.  While standing on a platform, swinging his light to and fro to warn an oncoming passenger train, young Joe was decapitated. He head fell in the swamp never to be found while his headless body was later buried. The legend of the light says that it is young Joe himself walking along trying to locate his missing head.

There are many more fascinating tales of ghosts and odd occurrences to be found in North Carolina and I hope you have enjoyed the few here.

Happy Halloween.