Helpful tips for June 2019

Hello there and welcome to our monthly feature of all kinds of tips.
We at the business desk are pleased to bring you our monthly feature of a
plethora of tips that cover a wide range of topics.
All of our tips are designed to help you save time, cut down on your
research, and help you get ahead.
So go ahead and read on.
This week we bring you our monthly tips.
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From the business desk team at
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Helpful tips for June 2019

In this issue:

General tips
Articles of the day
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary

Now you can subscribe to “‘Let’s Talk Tips”‘ which is my monthly resource
for the most current and reliable
informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,
Business, and Advocacy.


General tips
Courtesy of the research team at

Scams of the month:
If you receive a phone call from someone saying that they are offering to
fix your Microsoft computer; please hang up!
It is a scam true and true!
Just some hackers from India trying to invade your privacy and get you to
provide them with your personal details that they can use against you!

An email telling you that you need to collect lots of money from an account
that has been dormant for a few years?
Another scam and if you respond providing details that are being required
then you have just given the keys of your system to a hacker!
Simply delete this email!

A phone call with an automated voice at the other end telling you that your
credit card has been locked because of a $580 unknown or eronious
The automated voice goes on to tell you to press 1 to hear more.
No! Just hang up; this is a complete hoax!

An email from Paypal telling you about a new account that has been added to
your account:
Not true; it is a fake.
If you did not add this account yourself then it is a fake.
Do not make the error to reply!

An automated phone call telling you that there have been changes to your
Visa and Mastercard accounts!You should know by now that any automated phone
call is nothing but a fake!

Well, what is one of the coldest and darkest countries of the world?
It is Norway where its people are also some of the happiest!

Here is a great tip for removing sand from the bottom of your feet after a
day at the beach:
Use baby powder to do the job.
You can also use baby powder anywhere else.

About a cat’s vision:
Cats have excellent distance vision but very poor near vision.

One for the diabetic:
Sugar levels are usually lowest at the start of the day!

About those horrible rats?
They usually make their way into homes during the months of September to


Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team

A Dan Thompson contribution

Gil’s Guide to Home Repairs
ome-repairs/123 Gil Johnson

It never fails. Just when you think everything in your home is running
smoothly, a light bulb goes dim. Or maybe the troublesome bathroom faucet
has started dripping again. And that railing on the basement staircase? It’s
been shaky for a while now. Better see about getting it fixed.

Not too long ago, you may not have thought twice about performing these home
repairs yourself in your spare time. But with the onset of vision loss, such
tasks may seem harder and less safe. It’s natural to feel unsure about
acting as your own handyman, or woman.

It may surprise you to learn that a great many people who are blind or
visually impaired regularly complete such tasks safely and successfully,
often without any assistance or special training. What’s required are some
basic skills and the right tools, backed up by good measures of
self-confidence and persistence.

This section was designed with these needs in mind. Take things a step at a
time and before long you’ll be ready to tackle many of the most common
household repair jobs. Remember, even if you ultimately turn a repair job
over to someone else, it’s always better to know about what should be done
and how to go about it. That knowledge puts you in charge.

In this section, first you’ll find an article on Your Tool Box
and a listing of sources of home repair
and wood working organizations, adapted tools, and accessible books
. Then you’ll find tips on
doing a variety of home repairs-be sure to check back regularly, as this
list will be updated.

If you find yourself in a fix, or have any home repair questions you need
answered, visit our Home Repairs Message Board
to find your

Top Five Reasons Why You Should “Do it Yourself”

1. Because you can.

2. Because it’s another opportunity to demonstrate to yourself and others
that you can live an independent life with vision loss.

3. Because of the rewarding and empowering feeling of accomplishment it
will give you.

4. Because it’s fun.

5. Because it saves money.

*Your Toolbox:

With the exception of projects that call for precise measurements, most
everyday household repair jobs won’t require any special tools adapted for
persons with vision loss. You can find just about everything you need at
your local hardware store or home center. If you find that you do need some
special tools, start your search at the Helpful Products

Basic Tools

Screwdrivers, both straight slot and Phillips

If you’ve done any home repairs at all, you’re familiar with both types of

. Straight slot drivers have flattened tips that fit into screws and
bolts with a dash-shaped slot that runs along the head.

. Phillips drivers have four-pointed tips that fit into screws and
bolts with a plus sign-shaped slot at the head.

. The tips of screwdrivers are numbered from 1 to 4, depending on
the width and thickness of the tip. For most home repair purposes, a 2 or a
3 tip is adequate.

. Screwdriver handles come in differing shapes and sizes. Select the
handle that best fits your hand.

Tip: Try using a screwdriver with four or more exchangeable tips. The
advantage is that you’ll have one tool to keep track of, instead of several.


. There are many varieties of hammers on the market, from small
lightweight “tack” hammers to heavy framing hammers.

. Most have claws (straight or curved) opposite the hammer head,
which are useful for pulling out nails and prying up boards.

. For most home repair projects, a tack hammer and a standard
16-ounce hammer are most useful.

Tip: Steel handles are preferable to wooden ones. Wooden handles can break
if stressed. Also wooden handles can dry out, which can cause the hammer
head to fly off during use.

Pliers and Wrenches

. A standard pair of pliers, or channellock pliers, and a set of
adjustable crescent wrenches (that includes 8-, 10-, and 12-inch sizes)
should be sufficient for your tool box.

Tip: Vice grip pliers, which lock onto the object you’re working on and
thereby serve as a third hand, are a nice addition to your tool box.

Other Things to Keep Around

. A wide assortment of screws, bolts, and nails, so you can be
prepared for the unexpected.

. Duct tape, which is good for holding objects in place so you can
work with accuracy.

. A can of spray-on lubricant (like WD-40) for loosening stuck
hinges, dials, and gears.

Safety First

. When working on anything electrical-even something as simple as
replacing a light bulb-be sure that the electricity is turned off and the
bulb has cooled before you begin.

. Explore the area around the project before you begin. Check over
the work area visually and with your hands, giving objects a light touch.
You will learn much and are not likely to injure yourself.

. Select the tools and parts you think you will need in advance.
Place items in a small open carrying box secured in a convenient location.
Always put tools back in the box once you’ve finished using to them to avoid
accidents and misplaced items.

* Resources for Home Repair and Woodworking

The following books on home repair are available through the National
Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
at the Library of Congress,

This is a program that provides books on cassettes and digital cartridges
for free for eligible persons. To make it easy to find and request the
books, you’ll find author, title, and call number below.

. Lipinski, Edward R. A Season-By-Season Guide for Maintaining Your
Home. RC 54745

. Jones, Peter. Indoor Home Repairs Made Easy. RC14420

. Kennedy, Terry. Fix It Before It Breaks Seasonal Checklist Guide
to Home Maintenance. RC 59610

. Vandervort, Donald W. The Home Problem Solver: The Essential
Homeowner’s Repair and Maintenance Manual. RC 52518

. Jackson, Albert. Popular Mechanics Complete Home How-To. RC 59731

Reader’s Digest has published a number of general home repair reference
guides, as well as publications on specific topics. One that might prove
helpful is The Reader’s Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual, published by
the Reader’s Digest Association and recorded by Learning Ally
(formerly Recording for the Blind &

Community-based, Home Improvement, and Woodworking Groups

. Many mid-sized and large communities have home improvement and
woodworkers’ clubs comprised of individuals who have an interest in home
repairs and woodworking projects. Some are focused on sharing information
and techniques, while others are more social. These can be informative and
enjoyable, depending on the willingness of members to describe their
projects and techniques. They can be located by consulting Directory
Assistance or inquiring at building supply outlets.

. Tip: Most of the members of these organizations have little
experience with persons who have limited or no vision. Individuals in these
groups can, however, often be very helpful once they understand what a
person with a visual impairment may need and what skills you possess. Being
clear about what you may be able to see (if you have some residual vision)
and the techniques you have already figured out for yourself is critical to
getting the help and coaching you may need.

Sources of Training

. Some state and private rehabilitation centers, state schools for
the blind, and Veterans Administration Rehabilitation Centers



. offer training for blind and visually impaired persons using a
woodworking shop as the teaching laboratory. For resources in your immediate
area, you can check the AFB Directory of Services

. In many parts of the country, you can hear a nationally syndicated
call-in radio program called On the House


. Hosts James and Morris Carey and their guest experts have
extensive experience with home repair and construction projects. Callers
inquire about a wide range of topics and the Carey brothers answer questions
respectfully and with humor. The website contains a wide range of helpful
tips for accomplishing simple to complex home repair and construction tasks

. Tip: Although this program is not specifically directed to persons
with vision loss, the Carey Brothers try to understand the experience and
skills callers have. Being clear with them about what you may be able to see
(if you have vision) or the skills you have acquired if you have no vision
will enable them to respond thoughtfully to your inquiry.

. The American Council of the Blind hosts a web-based radio show
called The Blind Handyman .



. The hosts, who are blind, discuss a variety of home repair topics
and sponsor the Blind Handyman Listserv


. Woodworking for the Blind members have access
to over 500 hours of recordings of fine woodworking magazines on a
members-only website.


. Individual membership is open to all persons who are blind,
visually impaired or physically handicapped. There is also an active
listserv in which members exchange questions and suggestions regarding
woodworking projects, techniques, and tools.


28 Ways to Chop Your Grocery Bill
Need a foolproof way to cut your food/grocery expenses by 25 percent this
month? Announce to your family that there will be a complete ban on the
consumption of food during the first week of every month. There. That should
it! 25 percent right off the top.
What?! Don’t think you can pull that off? Me either, but not to worry. Here
are some
less painful—and I hope a bit more realistic—ways to get a handle on your
1. Make out your shopping list at home when you are hungry. You will be more
creative and thorough.
2. Never shop when hungry. You will be compelled to buy everything in site
regardless of what’s on your list.
3. Leave the kids home. You will stick to your shopping list with much less
frustration and stress if you fly solo.
4. Don’t shop at convenience or specialty stores. You won’t find many
bargains there.
5. Enlist a kid. When you need to make milk and produce runs between your
regular major shopping trips, make a precise list and
engage the services of an errand runner (like a responsible child.)
6, Adding a pinch of salt to milk will make it last longer. Salt retards the
growth of bacteria that makes milk turn sour.
7. Avoid leftovers. Your good intentions to make enough for lunch tomorrow
too, will more than likely insure you growing biology
specimens in the back of the fridge.
8. prepare just what you will consume at one meal. (Exception: If you
prepare an entire extra casserole to freeze for some later
date, I don’t consider that leftovers; that’s a great idea.)
9. Stretch fruit juice. Mix 50/50 with generic brand club soda or seltzer.
10. Stretch concentrated fruit juice. Always add one can of water more than
instructions state. You will be pleasantly surprised
when you detect little difference if any.
11. Drink water. Your doctor will love you and so will your food bill. Keep
a pitcher of chilled water in the fridge. Rave about its
wonderful qualities to your young children. They’ll think it’s a treat if
you are convincing enough.
12. Eliminate choices at meals. Stick to your plan and let your family know
that from now on there will be only two choices: take it
or leave it.
13. Come up with creative menu titles for what otherwise might be considered
plain and boring: Baked Potato Bar; Chef Salad
Night; Bits and Pieces (my kids favorite meal when they were little, thanks
to Jean Frazier, the world’s most loving and creative
baby-sitter): any combination of things in the fridge cut up to bite-size,
cleverly arranged on a plate and ceremoniously sprinkled with seasoned salt.
14. Smorgasbord Night (a glorious array of this and that; you know …
leftovers that you couldn’t even think of throwing away);
Hors d’oeuvres and Mocktails. You get the idea.
15. Learn to make homemade snacks. Popcorn is easy to make and is usually
inexpensive if you buy the kernels and pop it
yourself from scratch.
16. Buy in bulk. This will cut down your trips to the grocery and will often
save as much as 50 percent of the unit cost.
17. Reorganize your kitchen and pantry. Find
places outside of kitchen to store dry and canned goods. Repackage large
amounts into small units.
18. Consider generic and store brands. Some generic items are awful and
others are exactly the same product as the name
brand. Do some experimenting, especially if your store offers “satisfaction
guaranteed!” If you don’t like it they may
let you exchange.
19. Shop the perimeter of supermarket. This is where you will typically find
the produce, meat and dairy. The center aisles are the
prepackaged and preprocessed high-priced items, a.k.a. the danger zone.
20. Keep a price book. Start keeping a notebook which lists the prices of
regularly purchased items at various stores. Keep it with
you so that as you see specials or ads you’ll be able to determine whether
it is really a bargain or not.
21. Avoid shopping on the first day or two of the month. Some stores have
been known to raise their prices during the time
Welfare and Social Security checks come out.
22. Shop midweek. According to studies, on Wednesdays, most supermarkets
reduce prices on food that is about to expire. This
is also the day that the majority of stores start their new sales.
23. Shop the sales. Check grocery ads for specials, then base your week’s
meals on what is on sale. The closer you can stick to
buying only what’s on sale, the more
you’ll cut your costs.
24. Odd hours are good. Shop late in the day, then ask the butcher, bakery
and produce person if there is anything they will be
marking down. You’ll be surprised how helpful they can be and you’ll get the
best of the sale items.
25. Don’t shop when you are exhausted. You will not be as disciplined or
26. Always use powdered milk in baking. If recipe calls for cream or
condensed milk, use only half the usual amount of water you
would use with the dry milk.
27. Purchase foods when they are in season, especially produce. But buy
off-season meats; typically, roasts are sale items during
summer months as steaks tend to be popular while roasts are not. Buy the
sale meats and freeze. If you buy a large piece of meat,
cut it into portions for quick thawing later.
28. Weigh all produce even if it is priced per item. You won’t believe the
difference in weight of the pre-bagged carrots, for
instance. Even with a weight printed on the bag, the real weight may be
quite different (and it can be provided it is not less
than printed). Heads of lettuce priced individually can differ in weight by
as much as half a pound.
(Everyday Cheapskate)


From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
Metro stations in Montreal

Previously I told you about my travels on the Toronto subway and now it is
time for me to tell you about my travels on the Montreal metro. It is not
as noisy as the Toronto subway and it is faster.

Stops are announced in both languages; English and French as the metro
arrives at each metro station which helps greatly. However, I will say that
some of the metro stations are not as accessible for persons with
disabilities as others.

I remember that there are very steep stairs leading down to the platforms of
some of these stations which make it quite a challenge for persons with
disabilities. I always enjoy traveling on a Montreal metro when I have the

For the most part, metro stations are kept clean and the traffic inside the
stations are not as horrific as it is in Toronto. I consider this to be a
big plus for Montreal.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.

To learn more about me, visit

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