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As I grew up, she was my biggest supporter, pushing me to strive further with whatever I’d set my mind to. She was keen to instill a serious work ethic in me from the beginning. There was no loitering around or wasting time. My brother, sister, and I were taught to do our absolute best in everything we pursued, especially if other people were relying on us. Keeping busy was of the utmost importance. She believed that if we consistently worked hard throughout our lives and genuinely cared about what we did, we could move up and accomplish great things. A CELEBRATION OF MY MOTHER My Biggest Supporter, Teacher, and Confidante I really do believe that it was her trust in the value of hard work that led me to become the person I am today. I don’t know how I could have started my first HVAC business without those important lessons she taught me early on. Indirectly, she made me understand that when a friend, family member, or customer depends on you, you help without hesitation. And you do it to the fullest extent of your ability. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t express my appreciation to two of the other most important moms in my life: my wife, Andrea; and my wife’s mom, with whom we live. On Mother’s Day, we like to cook up a nice breakfast at home and enjoy each others’ company, and I make sure they understand just how grateful I am to have them in my life. And though my own mom won’t be able to join us, she’ll certainly be in my thoughts. None of this would be possible without her. “I REALLY DO BELIEVE THAT IT WAS HER TRUST IN THE VALUE OF HARD WORK THAT LED ME TO BECOME THE PERSON I AM TODAY.”
Jim and his mom
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, my
own mother, Marion, has been on my mind lately. Though she passed away a few years ago, she’s still a vital part of my life. Like most people, I
owe nearly every ounce of my success to her guidance and encouragement.
My mom was one of the most easygoing, friendly people you would ever have the pleasure of meeting. She had a kind word for virtually everybody, and she had an
uncommon warmth that lifted the spirits of those around her. No matter what, she always made an effort to see the best side of a person. Unsurprisingly, I never really met anyone that she couldn’t get along with. She was great at putting people at ease.
She was just the kind of mom you could always count on, no matter the situation. I remember one night in my late 20s when my buddy and I were out cruising around in the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden, my car broke down. Without hesitation, I contacted my mom and she drove out to pick us up. There was never a doubt in my mind that she wouldn’t do everything she could to help me out of whatever pickle I got myself into.
HAND-WASHING VS. DISHWASHER ARE YOU WASTING WATER, TIME, AND MONEY?
In May, it’s still pretty chilly throughout the Hudson Valley, so it’s unlikely that many of us are thinking about our A/C units. But when it comes to your comfort, it’s important to be proactive. When average temperatures hit 83 degrees come July, you’re going to want to make sure your air conditioner is running at peak performance, without needing to make an urgent call to your HVAC professional. If you’re tired of just getting by with an outdated system during the hot months, you may consider upgrading to one of today’s powerful central air-conditioning units in advance of the sweltering temperatures. But you might wonder, “How much will this cost?” The answer depends on several factors, the largest of which is the size of your home. Central air-conditioning systems are measured in tons, which is a measurement of how much heat they can remove from your home in an hour. The rule of thumb is 1 ton of cooling per 500–600 square feet. But when figuring out tonnage, you also need to consider the efficiency of your chosen unit and the insulation and ventilation of your home. You can generally expect a new central air unit to cost $2,000–$4,000 plus installation costs, which vary widely depending on the condition of your home’s ducts. W e’ve all walked into our kitchens, looked at the dishes stacked high in the sink, and asked, “Is it better to throw those in the dishwasher or wash them by hand?” The dishwasher would certainly save you some time, but many people believe that washing dishes by hand uses less water and electricity. In reality, however, washing your dishes by hand is one of the worst things you can do for both the planet and your wallet. Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand. A study conducted in Europe found that individuals who wash dishes by hand tend to use 27 gallons of water to clean just 12 place settings. Meanwhile, modern dishwashers only use 6 gallons of water, and Energy Star appliances use as little as 4 gallons during their wash cycle. The Environmental Protection Agency determined that using a dishwasher instead of washing by hand can save 5,000 gallons of water and $40 in utility costs a year. It’s not just about water! Unless you have incredibly thick dishwashing gloves, you can’t properly clean your dishes by hand. Dishwashers heat water to around 145 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure your dishes are disinfected. Even if the water from your sink could get that hot, you wouldn’t want to stick your hand in it.
Which brings us to the science experiment that is your kitchen sponge. Dr. Philip Tierno, a clinical professor in the microbiology and pathology departments at NYU Langone,
determined that your kitchen sponge is the single dirtiest item in your house. Soap and water aren’t enough to sanitize your sponge, which is left damp next to your sink after each use. Have you ever noticed that stagnant sponge smell? That’s bacteria growing. And when you wash your dishes by hand, you rub that bacteria all over your plates and silverware. Yum. If you have just a single plate or cup, you obviously don’t want to run them through the dishwasher alone; that would be incredibly wasteful. But the drawbacks of washing by hand are too great to ignore. The best option is to wait until your dishwasher is full, then start up the washing cycle. All your dishes will be clean and disinfected, and you’ll use less water in the process.
THE REAL COST OF AN HVAC UPGRADE
IT’S CHEAPER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK
Most people don’t realize that your ducts can influence your system’s performance almost as much as upgrading your air conditioning unit. The average home experiences duct leakage and cooling loss of as much as 10–30 percent before the cooled air even reaches the living area. Before you decide to overhaul your entire system, ask your contractor about the condition of your current equipment. They can run a duct- leakage test and identify any other issues. Proper repairs may enable you to continue using your current system. All in all, working on your HVAC system can seem like an expensive proposition, until you consider the potential savings of an efficient unit. Replacing a system just 10 years old with newer equipment can cut cooling expenses by 30 percent, or as much as 60 percent with some higher-end systems — not to mention the added comfort of having a perfectly cooled home. If you’re looking to improve the performance of your air-conditioning unit before you’re caught sweating in the summer heat, give the experts at Aire Serv of the Mid-Hudson Valley a call at 845-419-1124. We’ll give you an accurate estimate and help you determine the best path forward.
HAVE AMERICANS GONE A/C CRAZY?
Have you ever brought an extra coat or blanket to the movie theater in case it was too frigid to tolerate? Have you ever put on a jacket just before you entered a grocery store in anticipation of a jarring drop in temperature? If so, then you’re far from alone. In one 2008 study, 88 percent of respondents stated they feel some stores are overcooled, and 76 percent said they bring extra layers to warm up in retail establishments from time to time. When you stop to think about this common trend of overcooling or overheating our buildings, you may begin to wonder why exactly you ever have to shiver indoors during this age of heating and A/C. Before air conditioning became a standard tool all over the country, men and women alike used to adapt their wardrobe more often to suit the weather. Of course, some people dress for the weather today, as well. But statistics show that many men wear roughly the same clothing every day — a suit or collared shirt, for example — while the average woman responds to the weather with her clothing much more and tends to don a cooler wardrobe in general, particularly in the summer. Many experts argue that the average business’s
thermostat is geared the same way today as it was when men dominated the workforce. Temperatures are set to accommodate a man in a full suit and tie, while women are left to freeze. But this “battle of the sexes” is only one facet of the issue. Today, the U.S. expends more energy on air conditioning than any other country in the world. There are dozens of cultural reasons for this, but most experts agree that one of the most prominent is Americans’ steadily rising inability to handle even moderate heat, due to persistent overuse of A/C. Anybody who went to a movie theater last summer can tell you that the cold temperatures indoors are overkill. That said, climate control has numerous benefits, such as increased productivity, decreased risk of heat-related deaths, and improved comfort overall. But as Hudson Valley temperatures rise in the coming months, it’s important to be conscientious of our A/C use both in our businesses and our homes — if only because it’s insane for everyone to be shivering while they’re at the office or the supermarket.
GRILLED RANCH POTATOES
HAVE A LAUGH!
If you want to be the hit of this year’s Memorial Day cookout, don’t overlook the star power of a well- made side dish. These smoky, tangy grilled potatoes will be the talk of the party. The best part is how easy they are to prep and make!
• Ranch dressing for drizzling • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives • Bacon bits (optional) • Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 pounds baby potatoes, halved • 1/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil • Juice of 1/2 lemon • 1/2 packet ranch seasoning
DIRECTIONS 1. Heat grill to medium. In a large pan, toss potatoes with olive oil, lemon juice, and ranch seasoning. Season generously with salt and pepper. 2. Skewer potatoes. (If using wood skewers, be sure to soak in water an hour before grilling.) Grill until tender and lightly charred, about 15 minutes. 3. Drizzle with ranch dressing and garnish with chives and bacon bits.
Inspired by delish.com
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The Most Important Moms in Jim Serra’s Life INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1 2 Kitchen Cleaning Secrets 845-256-6158 | aireserv.com/mid-hudson-valley
An HVAC Upgrade May Be Cheaper Than You Think
Do Americans Use Too Much A/C?
Grilled Ranch Potatoes
Two of the Most Formidable Moms in History
MOTHERS SHAPE THE WORLD
TWO OF HISTORY’S BRAVEST MOMS
M oms make the world go round. After running the gauntlet of childbirth, they raise and guide us throughout our lives, shouldering the tremendous burden and responsibility of motherhood. Mothers are in turn formidable, kind, powerful, gentle, wise, fierce, patient, supportive, empathetic, driven, and full of love. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are three historic moms who never stopped fighting for what they believed in. SOJOURNER TRUTH (1797–1883) Before she escaped from New York slaveholder John Dumont, Sojourner Truth had at least three of her children sold away from her. When Dumont went back on his promise to emancipate Truth and her infant daughter in 1826, she took the girl and fled to an abolitionist Quaker family, but she was forced to leave her other daughter and her 5-year-old son, Peter, behind. Soon after, she learned that Peter had been illegally sold by Dumont to a slaveholder in Alabama, so she went to court and secured his safe return. It was the first successful case brought by a black woman against a white man in American history. Truth went on to become a prominent abolitionist and a speaker for women’s rights, delivering her famous impromptu speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” in May of 1851.
IRENA SENDLER (1910–2008) When the Nazis invaded Warsaw in September of 1939, Irena Sendler, a 29-year-old social worker and mother of two, hatched a scheme to rescue Jewish children from the brutal ghettos. Along with many friends and colleagues, she smuggled out nearly 2,500 Jewish orphans, hiding infants on trams and garbage wagons and guiding kids through a labyrinth of secret passageways beneath the city.
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