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Plumbing Leaks: Are They or Aren’t They? Only the Plumber Knows for Sure

Hello everyone:

A leak on the second floor will damage the ceiling on the first floor. You can’t pretend it isn’t there and hope it will go away.

If the leak is allowed to fester, you will have to replace the ceiling in whatever room is under the leak, so it is best to get it fixed right away. Before you automatically think you can’t fix it, google it and see if it is something you can handle.

There are several websites that tell you how to fix it in five easy steps, so see if you can find your type of faucet (if that’s what is leaking) online and give it a try. Otherwise, look for the list of plumbers your husband left behind (or go to your hardware store or to your real estate agent for a list of competent plumbers) and get the work done.

Please note: Sometimes the water leak is actually water from the bathtub that the kids have knocked out as they are bathing.

The metal ring that seems to serve no purpose that is halfway between the bathtub plug and the faucet can leak and make water go underneath the tub and through your floor, if you splash the water just right.

While this should not be your children’s goal, sometimes it does happen. The good news is that is does not necessarily mean you have a leak somewhere. It means you have rambunctious kids who have gotten somewhat sloppy with their bathwater.

Best wishes with your leak. I hope that it’s just overly-enthusiastic bathers and not a plumbing issue.


Dr. Sheri

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Medical Information and Other Fun Medical Issues

Hello everyone:

Some of the widowed gentlemen I see eating lunch and dinner at the local hospital and shopping mall seem completely disinterested in making new friends. They greet one another pleasantly but then they sit at different tables.

Their aged hearing makes conversations at that distance impossible. They eat their meals silently and alone. Another man I see at the hospital is about the same age as these other males, but he is different. He is at the hospital as a volunteer. He is engaged in this new time of life, and meets and greets everyone he sees. He steps lively and thoroughly enjoys his work. He has tried to get his peers interested in volunteering, but they seem prefer the solitary lives they now have. What type situation would you chose to emulate?

By the way, a couple of years have gone by since I witnessed this isolation in the midst of people. Only two of the men are left. One still comes in and sits alone, grumbling about the poor food (which he eats because it is cheap) and the other man is housebound. The other men died. The volunteer fellow is still alive and well, last I heard.

Medical History

You need to keep track of your personal medical history. Make up a list of your allergies to drugs, operations you have had (and when and where they took place), and what medicines in what dosage you are taking.

You need to keep this list current, so that if the paramedics are called to your house, you can give them the list so that you can be treated correctly. If you have any current medical conditions that the medical professionals taking care of you in an emergency need to know about, make sure those conditions are on the list, as well.

This is especially important if you live alone and you don’t have nearby relatives. Keep the list in your wallet or purse, so that it is readily available.

What ideas can you share on this train of thought?


Dr. Sheri

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Peace, Be Still

Hello everyone:

Mark 4:39 says “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Do you ever feel like your world has collapsed into on great whirlwind? Perhaps you are going through a painful, bad divorce (though some would argue that there is no such thing as a nice, good divorce. Their point is well-taken).

Perhaps your ex-to-be has decided to get mean and nasty, giving you a hard time about everything. Maybe he or she has actually told your children that he or she plans on doing “something mean” to you. In the first place, Christians should not plan to do things like that to one another, assuming that the soon-to-be ex is saved. In the second place, the only people who get really rich off of a bad divorce are the attorneys involved.

Yet the purpose of this devotional is peace. How can that be? You really can have a sense of calm in the midst of these horrid happenings. Here’s how: trust in the Lord and hire a good attorney. Let go of some of the things that weigh you down. Don’t lose sleep over it.

Speaking of sleeping in the midst of this, I have found a new way of coping that allows me to get a good night’s sleep. First, I turn on my beloved HGTV about 7 pm each night that I am home in the evenings. I make a point of trying to be completely finished on the computer by then. (Studies have shown that the blue light it throws off interferes with the ability to of your body to shut down for the night.) I lay down on the couch with my favorite throw and watch the folks buy, fix up, or sell their residence.

Next, I shut my eyes during the commercials so that I won’t be tempted by all the food commercials. This puts me in the frame of mind where I sometimes fall asleep right then! When I wake up after my catnap, I take my shower and put on my pajamas and get ready for bed right then, and then return to the sofa for more HGTV. When I wake up after yet another catnap, I go straight to bed.  This relaxes me enough to sleep through the night, unless my burglar alarm tells me there is someone at my front door.

If I wake up in the middle of the night, especially if I am fretting, I pray, thanking the Lord for how He has and is working in my life. I have had 2 am Bible studies more than once. Sometimes you just wake up and can’t get back to sleep, so a cup of milk and a piece of bread while you are studying God’s word is frequently enough to lull you back to sleep.

Remember what happened to the disciples in the Mark 4 story.  They were following God’s will for their lives yet they still faced difficulties, like the big storm. Jesus was with them; they just didn’t realize what a safe place they were in. Circumstances made it seem like they were going to perish, but Jesus, being God, calmed the storm and the seas. He did it for them; He can do it for you. He said, “Peace, be still.”


Dr. Sheri

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Feeling Alone in this Big World? Pray for Companionship!

Hello everyone:

Are you feeling lonely on the weekends or other times in the week? Pray that the Lord will send you someone to have fellowship with. You don’t have to be looking for a spouse here- I have a friend who prayed that the Lord would give her someone to hang out with on the weekends- her loneliest time of the week- and God provided her with female companions every weekend since she asked Him for company. Isn’t God great?

I have several widowed or divorced friends who have a presence on Facebook. When someone wants to go to a movie but would prefer not to be alone, they post “I want to go see xyz tonight. anyone want to meet me there?”

This a great way to get to know a new friend that you previously barely knew, perhaps from a Sunday school class or other social activity, and not have to spend so much time on your own.

You know what’s so funny about my friend from the first paragraph? God answered her prayer so quickly that she initially turned down her first two invitations to do something. Then she said it was as if God spoke directly to her and asked, “Hey, you said you were lonely, so what gives? Here is companionship I have given you, so take it.”

She texted her friend back and asked, “Is it too late to accept your offer to go to the Peaks of Otter this morning?” They went and had a fantastic time! Tomorrow, they’re going to Smith Mountain Lake, where my friend has never been, and I would be willing to bet that they will have a wonderful time! The next day, my friend will be with her best friend, who asked her out to dinner. Great deal!

God answers our prayers and He knows the desires of our hearts. So take the time to pray and then to listen for His answer.


Dr. Sheri

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Pool Maintenance: Don’t Lose Your Pool over it

Hello everyone:

Let me tell you a story about a pool mistake that was costly. P

Part of lawn maintenance is the care of your pool, if you have one.

Pump filters need to be changed once a week in order to keep the pump running well. Chemicals need to be added to keep your pool water from becoming really nasty.

Bugs and birds are not potty-trained and can make a real mess of your pool. Be sure to follow the instructions that your manufacturer has for the pool you own.

I used to work many years ago for a motel in Cocoa Beach, Florida; the Cape Colony Inn was lovely, for a circa 1960s motel. Although it was old when I went to work there, the pool was quite nice, nestled as it was in the middle of the circle of rooms.

Shortly after I left, they got a new manager, someone from the north who did now know about Florida’s high water tables and proximity to sea level. He insisted that the pool people drain the pool and scrub it out.

When they did, the concrete liner popped out of the ground as it was pushed upward by the water level in the ground, permanently ruining the pool. Because of changes in the building codes, the motel was not allowed to build a new pool.

They turned it into a rock garden. Since it was now a motel in Cocoa Beach that did not have a pool, the Cape Colony Inn quickly went out of business. The northern-transplanted manager was long gone by the time the motel closed. The take-away from this is: follow directions carefully.

What pool tips do you have? My readers would love to read your stories of woe or experience, as well.


Dr. Sheri

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Getting Your House Ready to Sell: To Stage or Not to Stage, That is the Question

Hello everyone:

When I spoke to a new realtor several years ago about staging a home, he indicated his disdain for the whole idea. When I talked to my experienced real estate friend recently, he told me that he always stages homes.

Sometimes is it simply a matter of adding a few flowers to the home; other properties require more effort. Homes on the lower price range spectrum would not get a total makeover; they would just get a little sprucing up and it would be confined to the living room, kitchen/dining room, and master bedroom.

The cost for that amount of work would be between $500 and $1,000. If a home is vacant and in a somewhat higher price range, the staging would be more elaborate. A home in the $400,000 price category might require a staging cost of $1,000-$2,000. A multi-million dollar home would have a cost of $3,000-$5,000 to stage.

Why would you want to use a stager to sell your home? The agent I spoke with told me that a staged home will sell faster and at a higher price than homes that have not received this service. There are a wide variety of services available with stagers; staging pays for itself through the higher price you get for selling a staged home.

If you are a do-it-yourself type, you might be able to do the work on your own. Folks, this is not for the faint of heart. You will have to have the guts to unclutter your home AND have a gift for decorating.

Look at current decorating magazines and HGTV shows to get some ideas. See how they have pretty tablescapes in the dining room? They have the table set up for a fancy dinner party. Get out some nice plates and other dinnerware and set it up as if you expect some company. If you are really fancy, you can buy some chargers (the plates that go underneath the biggest plates) at your local craft store for about $2.00 each. Add a nice silk flower arrangement and your table looks ready to go. (Note: If there are cobwebs in the corners or kiddie toys scattered in the room, get rid of them all, pronto.)

Go into your bedrooms. Make sure the beds are neatly made, clutter is gone, there are no family pictures anywhere, and drape an extra quilt that is color-coordinated with your bedspread diagonally across your bed. Again, look at the decorating shows. Make sure you remove any extra furniture. You want buyers to come in and exclaim how big your bedroom is. If it is overrun with anything, they will find it cramped, not cozy.

What about the living or family rooms? Don’t pile all of your furniture in one room, spread it out. Again, be brutal. Anything that gives the rooms a cluttered, too-small look has got to go. Any worn furniture is better in a storage unit than in a house you are trying to sell.

Make sure that your home shines. Swiffer everything frequently. If you have hardwood floors, I recommend Swiffering and then following that up with the use of Bona, a hardwood floor cleaner that also polishes. It is reasonably priced and works like a champ! I understand that they also sell Bona for tile floors but I have not used that yet and won’t recommend it until I do. If it works as well as the hardwood cleaner, you will be very satisfied. You can buy these products in the grocery store. No one has paid me anything for this endorsement and I do not have stock in the company. I am simply a very satisfied customer.

If you have an open house, realtors suggest baking cookies, but I must confess that, as a buyer, it makes me wonder what they are trying to cover up if the seller does that. Doggie doodle? Cat litter box? Dirty diapers? Your call entirely.

Clean up the outside of your house, as well. Make sure that the siding is clean, not moldy. Keep the grass and bushes well cared for. Paint the shutters, if need be. Drive up to your house and ask yourself if you would want to live there. If the answer is “no, then work on the place until you can say “sure thing.”

I hope this helps! I would love to get some ideas from you, so please feel free to share!


Dr. Sheri

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Push the Right Button or You’ll be Sitting in Your Car for a Long Time

Hello everyone:

A lovely middle-aged woman was at our local food store recently, when she realized that her car wouldn’t start.

She asked everyone in sight if they had experience with a keyless car starter. Fortunately, I had just such a car. I asked her what was wrong, and this Suddenly Single gal told me that she had just replaced her vehicle and had forgotten how to start it.

After we laughed about her senior moment, I asked her to show me what she had been doing that hadn’t worked.  She got behind the wheel of her car, and began pushing a button on the dashboard.

I calmly told her that she had been pushing her radio button. It did not respond because the car wasn’t turned on. I told her to put her foot on the brake and then to push the button that was right next to the steering column. It was marked “push button to start car.”

Things worked a lot better when she pushed the appropriate button, but it was a primary example of what sometimes happens when you are now on your own. In the past, she would have called her hubby; now, she was completely dependent on the mercy of total strangers. She left the area, happier and wiser.

One time, I was unfortunate enough to have a keyless car that wouldn’t turn on. After a trip through the car owner’s manual, I realized that sometimes the car computer needed rebooting. By holding the keys in my hand and next to the car start button for a few minutes, the car fixed itself (without a costly trip to the car dealership) and the car’s keyless starter started working again. When all else fails, look at your owner’s manual.


Dr. Sheri

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How to Pack a Car More Fully Than You Ever Thought Possible

Hi folks:

I needed to move three very large bookcases full of books into a new home recently. If things were kept in even the smallest of packing boxes, I couldn’t lift them. What was I to do? Today’s blog posting will tell you how I did it, and how I got 81 containers of books into the back of a RAV4. Stay local.

The first thing I did was to weed out and give away some books I didn’t want or would enjoy giving to others. That got me down to about 2 1/2 bookcases of books. (I was an English major. We are all “about” our books!)

Then I took the remaining books and put them in plastic bags from the grocery, making sure that I didn’t overload each bag. Putting too many books in a bag would strain not only the bag but me as well, so I quickly learned that I could put five hardcover books or about eight paperbacks in a plastic bag without making the bag impossible to keep intact.

The next step was to load them in my car. Since the bags took up a lot less room than a box of books would, I was able to load them into every nook and cranny in my car.

Packing bags that contained big books on the bottom of my seat, medium books in the middle of the stack, and smaller books on the top of the stack in my car meant that the whole pile was more stable (smaller books could be loaded in double wide). [Note: You may have to seat belt the books in, if your car gives you a hard time about the weight on the seat.]

Is this the best way to move books? No, boxes would probably be better but, knowing that my helpers were delicate women and that I would unpack the car alone, it did indeed work. All of the books made it to their new home in pristine condition, I got a lot of books moved in one trip, and my mission was accomplished.

If you have any suggestions on the topic of moving, I would love to hear what your ideas are!


Dr. Sheri

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Don’t Put Your Groceries on the Back Seat if You Live in the City of Seven Hills

Hello everyone:

You know how you like to put your groceries on the back seat of your car, so that they’re easier to retrieve when you get home? Don’t do it if you live in a place known for its hills. You won’t like the results.

I moved recently from a reasonably flat area, having grown up in the very flat central Florida area.

In Florida, we always put our groceries on the back seat of our car so that, when we got home, it was not necessary to bend over and pick things off of the floor as we took things in the house.

We just did things that way. It worked very well. It also worked great in Maryland. Not so much in the beautiful city set on seven hills.

“Why?” my friends in other states might ask. Be still my soul.

Let’s say you put some eggs on the seat. Let’s say that your grape juice and sports drink bottles are also on the seat. Let’s say that you prepare to leave the parking lot, and that you note that the exit ramp is on a hill. Going down hill. No worries, right?

Just for a change of pace, no other driver has done something stupid, requiring you to slam on your brakes and send everything flying, but that you do, indeed, press down on the brake a little harder than usual.

Heavier items start to fly off the seat first, knocking the lightweight items to the floor.

You know those cute little Styrofoam egg cartons? They don’t like five pound bottles of drinks on top of them, no matter what anyone says. (Okay, so they aren’t really five pounds, but their weight combined with gravity makes them a force to be reckoned with.)

So, here’s the deal. Put your groceries on the floor unless you prefer scrambled eggs (complete with egg shells) for lunch and watch your step when applying your brakes.

Oh, I also seat belts heavier items into place (like luggage) whenever I travel. Seems silly but I don’t want a 25-pound suitcase shifting its weight around in mid-drive.


Dr. Sheri

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Adding Windshield Wiper Fluid

Hello everyone:

It’s not difficult to add windshield wiper fluid. You can do it! Here’s how:

Pull your hood release, and open the hood of the car. The place to put your windshield washer fluid is usually on the passenger’s side of the car, under the hood.

There will be a little cap that has a windshield wiper picture on it. Turn the cap to open it (righty, tighty; lefty, loosey) and then add the washer solvent to the now-exposed tube that leads into the container that holds your washer fluid.

Fill the container completely up, waiting a few seconds before you put the cap back on. You want the fluid to settle into the container (it might need to burp, just like you do when you drink a lot of water, so give it a few moments).

Put the cap back on the car’s container, making sure that you turn it until it clicks. This cap keeps other things out of the fluid, so it is important that you get the cap back on correctly.

Do not try to use regular water in the windshield wiper fluid container; use the product that is sold for that purpose.

[Note: One gas station I visited had something weird in its bucket for cleaning windshields. I think it might have been dish soap, though I have never been certain. It was nasty stuff and got all over my car, requiring that I go wash the car. There was a car wash right next to the gas station, so you do the math here!]


Dr. Sheri

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