Matthew is coming

hurricane-matthew-cr-0517_1090abcfc45fe31e5b9f0e73c31f9a90-nbcnews-ux-2880-1000
Projection as of 5:11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4. Map courtesy of NBC News.

 

Hurricane Matthew is coming and he looks like a doozy. Gov. Scott has already declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida.

Now it the time to prepare.

Matthew is a Category 4 storm due to hit Haiti today and forecasters are calling it “potentially catastrophic,” producing up to 49 inches of rain in some spots. That’s the height of your average 6-year-old.

What the storm will do after passing over Haiti is uncertain, but Floridians should be on alert. The storm track has been moving gradually westward and we in Central Florida and here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary could see some effects on Thursday.

Here’s how you can be prepared:

  • Stock up on food and personal items for at least three days – and don’t wait until the last minute because the shelves could be bare.
  • Stock up on water. You’ll need a gallon per person per day for three to five days.
  • Fill the gas tank on your vehicle(s) – pumps won’t work without power.
  • Go to the ATM now – if the power goes out, those won’t work either.
  • Make sure you have enough food and water for your pets.
  • Charge your phones – or go high-tech and get solar-powered phone chargers, flashlights, radios and even fans.
  • If you or a family member takes prescription medicine, make sure you have enough to get through the aftermath of a storm.
  • Fill the tub with water for toilet flushing.
  • Turn the fridge down to the lowest setting. Open it as little as possible if the you are without power. You also can freeze containers of water and put them in the fridge to keep food cold if the power goes out.
  • Pay attention to the weather reports.

Also be sure to have:

  • Basic first aid kit and insect repellant
  • Important papers should be in a waterproof (plastic) bag where you can find them
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlights, battery operated radio and extra batteries

 

Be kind to your garbage disposal

Management here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary has asked us to kindly be kind to our garbage disposals. When you put things down the disposal that you shouldn’t, maintenance has to fix it. What a mess.

So let’s review.disposal-for-blog

Things that you SHOULD NOT put down the disposal include:

  • Non-food items. It’s easy to lose sight of a fork or two when dishes pile up in the sink. Always clear everything out of the sink and make sure nothing has fallen in before turning on the disposal.
  • Grease. When it cools, it solidifies and clogs the drain. Yuck.
  • Fibrous foods. Do not put celery, asparagus, artichokes, chard, kale, lettuce, potato peelings or onion skins in the disposal. They can entangle the blades and cause the unit to jam.
  • Pasta and rice. Uncooked pasta and rice expand when exposed to water. If you put a sizable amount of either one into the disposal, you’ll have a backed-up drain in no time.
  • Coffee grounds. They get caught in the drain trap.
  • Fruit pits or seeds or apple cores. They are too solid for the unit to process and tend to get caught in the drain trap. Need to toss these in the trash can.
  • Eggshells. The membrane inside the shell can wrap around the blades of the grinder. Put them in the trash instead.
  • Bones. Fish bones may be an exception, but other types of bones can be a challenge for even industrial-strength disposals. As with fruit pits and eggshells, bones belong in the garbage can.

Things you CAN put in the disposal include:

  • Cold water. Always run cold water through the unit for 20 to 30 seconds before and after you put stuff down the disposal. This ensures that everything is ground up and flushed down the drain. Decaying scraps in the bottom of the unit can stink up the sink.
  • Liquids and soft foods. If a baby can eat it, the disposal can generally handle it. For more solid foods, be sure to chop them up first before putting them into the unit.
  • Dish soap. This helps clean your disposal.
  • Ice cubes. Throw a few in occasionally to help knock built-up food residue off the blades. You could freeze some ice cubes with lemon or vinegar in water to help freshen up the disposal. Or you could make these easy DIY disposal cleaner tables that we found on this great website, Mom4Real.com.

The recipe involves baking soda, salt, distilled water, Castile soap and some lemon essential oil. Oh, and an ice cube tray or silicone mold.

For step-by-step instructions – with pictures – visit the Mom4Real website.

And just to make things easy to remember, we found this super informational chart at PlumbingSupply.com (too bad they’re in California. But thanks for letting us borrow your chart!).

garbage-disposal-care-infographic

Labor Day tips for your Monday festivities

Happy Labor Day, neighbors of Pebble Creek at Lake Mary

If you are planning to celebrate on Monday, management would like for you to be aware of the following:

Grilling

  • Grills on the property are for all residents – first come, first served and be prepared to share.
  • Gas grills are available at both pools.labor day grilling
  • Charcoal grills and picnic tables are available at these locations:
    • next to the 793 building.
    • the playground.
    • between the 753 and 757 buildings.
    • between the 700 and 705 buildings (in island).
  • NO charcoal or gas grills are allowed on balconies or patios. If flames are seen on your balcony/patio, you will be issued a warning. Upon second offense, you will be asked to leave – as in pack your stuff and move out.

Pools

  • At the pools, be a good neighbor. Don’t monopolize tables, chairs, loungers, etc., and please clean up after yourselves.
  • NO parties – each apartment is allowed only two guests at the pool.47 pool for blog
  • NO loud music.
  • NO smoking.
  • NO glass containers.
  • People behaving badly will be asked to leave the pool area.

The office will be closed on Labor Day, but the property and the pools will be monitored throughout the weekend. Don’t hesitate to call the courtesy officer to report people behaving badly.

Party places

If you have a large group and everyone wants to party together, here are some nearby locations that can accommodate your plans:

  • Wekiva Springs State Park: Get here early to enjoy hiking, biking, birding, horseback riding, snorkeling and other activities. Pavilions are available for groups. More info and reservations at 407-884-2009.
  • Kelly Park: A great recreational spot, especially if you love the water. But be warned: The park is VERY popular. Be patient and have an alternate plan. And go early: Park officials say 280 vehicles will be allowed entry each morning, with an additional 50 vehicles after 1 p.m. with an afternoon parking pass. These 330 vehicles equate to an average of 1,350 visitors each day.
  • Wekiva Island: Live music starts at 2 on Monday. Enjoy canoeing, kayaking, volleyball and other activities. Cabanas are available for rent as well. Food, beer and wine are for sale.

Ah-choooooo!

Got the sniffles? Sure it’s not a cold? Probably allergies then – and your apartment could be contributing to your congestion. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to relieve those sinuses.

Clean:

  • dusterStart by dusting everything to get rid of dust mites. Use a damp rag or hand-held vacuum on every surface, including blinds and window treatments. Feather dusters may be fun, but they spread the dirt around more than they clean. When you’re done dusting, clean every inch of your floors.
  • Upgrade your vacuum cleaner. Consider a newer, more powerful model, preferably with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filter. Make sure it’s easy to empty so you can limit your exposure to trapped dust.
  • Use “green” cleaning products. many people are sensitive to the VOCs – volatile organic compounds – in conventional cleaners.
  • Tchotchkes collect dust. Dust makes you sneeze. Consider displaying your prized collections in a glass case or shadow box, then store the rest.
  • Clean your office. Dust under computers and printers, use compressed air on your keyboard and wipe down your phone with an antibacterial wipe.

In the bathroom:

  • Consider a nylon shower liner, the kind hotels and hopitals use The vinyl kind gets moldy and we know what mold does (makes you sneeze).

In the bedroom:

  • Wash your sheets regularly – at least once a week, in hot water.
  • Use dust covers on your pillows and mattresses.
  • Replace your pillows. Most people have pillows that are six years old or more. Pillows should be replaced every three years and washed every three months. Also, use a zippered pillow liner and wash it every three weeks.
  • Get rid of any unused baskets or bins in your closets that gather dust.
  • Consider buying hypoallergenic sheets, comforters and pillows.
  • This one is tough – don’t let your pets sleep with you.
  • Use an allergen-proof cover on your mattress and box springs.
  • Avoid upholstered furniture in the bedroom.

Other:

  • Wipe your feet! Use a mat to wipe off your feet both outside and inside the door. You don’t want to track dirt and allergens into the house. Better yet, leave your shoes outside or by the door.
  • Keep the pets groomed. Pet allergies are really common. Regular grooming keeps the pet dander to a minimum. When you brush your pet, take the fur out of your apartment immediately so it doesn’t get into your carpet or bedding. And don’t forget to give the dog a bath!
  • Consider adding plants. Dracaena and peace lilies are natural air purifiers. Be careful though – both are toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Consider an air purifier.
  • Use the a/c rather than opening windows.

 

Everyone into the pool!

47 pool for blogWe’re in the pool most of the year here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary. It’s Florida, after all, and we love the water!

Still, it never hurts to review pool safety, especially with the 4th of July coming up.

So, in addition to our standard community rules (no running on the pool deck, etc.), here are some ways to be safer while enjoying one of our favorite amenities, courtesy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Stay alert, be close and watch
    • Always watch children and never leave them unattended
    • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings
    • Have a charged phone close by at all times
    • If a child is missing, check the pool first
    • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors
  • Learn and practice water safety skills
    • Learn to swim and make sure kids do, too
    • Know how to perform CPR on children and adults
    • Understand the basics of life saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency

The best way to learn to swim? Lessons at the J. Douglas Williams YMCA in Lake Mary.

Also, be aware that drowning in real life does not look like the splashy, scream-y TV/movie version. Drowning is almost always “deceptively quiet.” Click the link to learn more about the signs of drowning.

Have fun and be safe in the pool!

Disaster preparedness and your pet

We love pets here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary. When there’s a disaster or emergency, we want both you and your animal companion to be safe.

pet disasterThat’s why we were so glad to get a newsletter recently from Bewaggle Pet Sitting full of great information about caring for pets in an emergency. We asked their permission and they said we could reprint their info and photo. So here it is. Thanks, Bewaggle!

If your home were struck by lightning, or damaged by flood, fire, hail, tornado, hurricane, or other disaster, could you keep your pets safe and happy in the aftermath? It’s hurricane season, so [we’re discussing] what you should do NOW to ensure your pets are safe in the event of an emergency.

The time to prepare is before disaster strikes. So spend a couple of hours this week, gathering the items below into a sturdy, waterproof container. Then, if disaster strikes, you can grab it, and your pets, and head to safety. You should have your own Emergency Kit for you and your family, but here are a few must-haves for your Pet’s Emergency Kit.

  • Evacuation Plan. Most shelters won’t take pets, and those that do fill up fast. Know their requirements as far as crates, immunizations, and health records.  And have a contingency plan or two in place.
  • Pets go missing during disasters, and most are never recovered. Get this done now. Today. And if your pet is already chipped, great. But if you’ve moved or changed your phone number, make sure the microchip website has your updated information.
  •  Shelters and hotels require certain vaccines, so get this done now too.  Today.
  • Long Leashes. A 30-foot leash will allow your pet some freedom that will be vital for longer stays away from home. A stake for tethering is also recommended.
  • Fresh Water. A gallon of water per day per person, and per pet. (A small dog or cat may get by on less, and giant breeds will need more.).
  • Food and snacks. Don’t assume you’ll pick some up on your way out of town. Hurricane survivors know that shopping after a disaster is often impossible.
  • Medical Records.
  • Medications and Pet First Aid Kit. Learn about Pet First Aid Kits here.
  • Toys and comfort belongings. We believe in the Thunder Shirt to combat the stress and anxiety that will naturally occur during a disaster. Toys and chew bones can also comfort a stressed pet.
  • Crates and bedding.You have to have it. If your pet has never used a crate, now’s the time to get one and teach him to love it.  

Also, FEMA has prepared a website to help us keep our pets safe during an emergency.

Here’s a link to the main page, but when you go there, there is a plethora of information, so follow some of the links to get the full picture.

Happy April!

It’s April 1st! And you know what that means! April Fool’s Day – yeah, yeah – but more importantly, that April showers bring more than May flowers. The change of seasons is ushering in a period of wild weather in which all hail can – and often does – break loose.

storm map for blogWe’re talking afternoon storms – did you know that Florida is the thunderstorm and lightning capital of the nation? – and the possibility of the ever-popular power outages. Tornadoes are possible as well and hurricane season will be upon us in just a couple of months.

Here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary, we need to be ready for the changes Mother Nature could throw at us.

Local power companies and emergency management experts offer the following advice:

  • Know the weather forecast. If wild weather is on the horizon, you need to stay informed.
  • Put together an emergency kit. This is a collection of basic household items you might need in case of an emergency. During a disaster, you might need to survive on your own for as long as 72 hours. Make sure you have food, water and other supplies on hand. In the case of a hurricane or other serious emergency, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days, a week or even longer. Your kit should help you manage during these outages.
  • Items you might need for an emergency – or even a temporary power outage – include:
    • Two-week supply of fresh batteries
    • Flashlights
    • Battery-operated radios
    • Extension cords
  • Keep a copy of a recent electric bill. You might need the phone numbers and account info listed on the paperwork.lightning for blog
  • Make sure you have the necessary adapters to charge your cell phone(s) or laptop(s) from a generator, solar charger or car charger.
  • Report downed power lines – and stay away from them.

Duke Energy, our electric supplier here at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary, offers outage notifications that can be sent to your phone. They let you know when there’s an outage in your area, the status and reason for the outage and when the power comes back on.

For weather and general alerts, it’s a good idea to sign up with Alert Seminole. The system can send emergency notices to your email, cell phone or other device. In addition to weather, Alert Seminole lets you know about evacuations, Amber Alerts, disruptive road closures and other need-to-know info. The service is free, though your wireless carrier may charge a fee to receive the messages.

 

What’s coming up

Grab your calendars and red pens! Spring is … springing … and there are lots of activities and dates to remember coming up.

spring 3 for blogDaylight Saving Time starts at 2 a.m. this Sunday, March 13. Spring forward – turn those clocks ahead one hour!

Our monthly Senior Luncheon is set for noon, Wednesday, March 16, at the Pebble Creek at Lake Mary clubhouse. The luncheon is open to all resident seniors. Invitations will be going out this week. Please RSVP if you plan to come.

Also, please bring a non-perishable food item for our ongoing food drive for the food pantry at Greenwood Lakes Middle School.

TruGreen will be treating the lawns on Friday, March 18, so be careful not to walk on the grass until the spray dries.

Don’t forget St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, March 17.

garage sale for blogSpring officially begins on Sunday, March 20.

Easter is Sunday, March 27.

Speaking of Spring – do your seasonal cleaning and plan to participate in our garage sale on April 16 at the tennis courts. The sale gets rolling at 8 a.m., but sellers should get there early to grab a spot and set up. If you’re buying, be aware that the event lasts until 2 p.m.

Finally, to stay up on all of our community news and events, don’t forget that you can pick up a copy of the newsletter in the mail kiosk or the Pebble Creek office.

 

Green thumb, part 2

Earlier this week, we started thinking about spring and what happens when the weather warms up. No, not that – plants! Flowers bloom and veggies proliferate – especially when you pay attention when you plant them.

flower 3 for blogBefore you grab those gardening tools, however, let’s go over a few additional details.

For instance, if you plan to grow vegetables, you need to think about soil and fertilizer and pest control, even for plants in pots on your porch at Pebble Creek at Lake Mary. University of Florida IFAS Extension has compiled some detailed info on this Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide website. As usual, it is aimed at people with yards, but container gardeners can benefit from the info as well.

It’s also a good idea to know what to plant and when. We go to UF/IFAS once again for the details. When you click that previous link, scroll down for a comprehensive planting table with info in when to plant, what varieties grow well here and how to deal with insect pests.

Additional information for flowers and well as food growing can be found at this UF/IFAS site.

If you’re more of a “bloomer,” UF/IFAS has plenty of info for you too.

Garden guru Tom MacCubbin, who will speak at the ag extension garden expo on March 5, also offers help with a very long, alphabetical list of plants on his website.

And finally: yes, there is an app for that! For UF/IFAS info and services any time on your mobile device, visit the app website here.