Putting on a new roof

When my husband and first bought our house in Palm Beach, Florida, we knew there were some issues with the roof.

  • We figured that replacing the roof would be necessity in the near future.

However, other repairs and updates took priority. Buying an old house meant issues with the electrical wiring failing to meet code, single pane windows that leaked a tremendous amount of air and corroded cast iron water pipes. Our priority was addressing the safey and energy efficiency of the home. Right about the time we started thinking about the roof again, the water heater ruptured and the oven quit. My husband got in a car accident that totaled the vehicle and significantly impacted our budget. Both my daughter and son required braces. Eventually, the roof could no longer be ignored. In Palm Beach, we get hit by some violent thunderstroms. Every time it rained, my husband and I needed to run around and place buckets under the drips coming through the ceiling. We knew that if left too long, the leaks would cause extensive water damage. Every time there were high winds, we would find stray shingles scattered all over the lawn. I finally did some research, read reviews and found a reputable roofing contractor in Palm Beach. The project was expensive and somewhat disruptive. The roofing contractors started very early in the morning, and there was no way to sleep through the noise. Although they were careful, there was no way to avoid trampling my gardens. Once the new roof was in place, we realized we should have taken care of it earlier. Not only has the new roof significantly elevated curb appeal, it has also improved the efficiency of the air conditioner.

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Playing golf in Orland Park

The course is just challenging enough and the grounds crew keeps it well-maintained

Before moving to Orland Park, I would golf once or twice during the summer. My new area is often referred to as the “World’s Golf Center.” The locals claim there is over a thousand golf holes within a fifteen-mile radius of the village. Having access to a diversity of well-maintained and nearby courses has rejuvenated my interest in golf. Although the weather in Orland Park is often cold, snowy, windy and rainy, I manage to find plenty of opportunities to get out on the course. I start booking tee times as soon as the snow melts in April. One of my favorites is Oak Hills Country Club. Although the course is only nine-holes, it’s a good challenge. There are narrow fairways, plenty of hazards and tricky greens. The landscape is beautifully manicured and the staff is friendly and helpful. They have a great pro shop. Initially, I was a bit concerned about the condition of the parking lot. I learned that the parking lot is owned and neglected by the adjacent restaurant, which is not affiliated with the golf course. Surprisingly enough, the resaturant has good food. Another favorite is the George W.Dunne National Golf Course. I sometimes go there simply for the driving ranges. I also appreciate the classic design of the course. The greens are huge with an abundance of beautiful views, creating an old-school country club feel. The course is just challenging enough and the grounds crew keeps it well-maintained. I’ve played the George W.Dunne National Golf Course in the fall, well beyond the recommended golf season for Orland Park weather and when most other venues were closed. The course was in great condition.


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Professional hockey in Minnesota

Living in Minnesota, I was extremely happy when professional hockey was finally brought into our city.

The Minnesota Wild was founded in 1997 but didn’t begin playing until the 2000-2001 season.

They compete in the Central Division of the Western Conference of the NHL. They play at the Xcel Energy Center, which has a seating capacity of almost 18,000, four spectator levels, one suite level and three for general seating. The hockey season usually gets started in early October, right when the weather in Minnesota turns chilly. It runs sometime in April, which is perfect. Watching the games gives me something to look forward to over the winter. Our local weather forecast is full of blizzard warnings, snow flurries, snow squalls, road closings, school closings and dangerous wind chills. It’s very unpleasant to spend time outdoors. I am not happy about the hours I spend shoveling the walkways and driveways. The majority of the time, I’m trapped in the house. I follow the Wild and look forward to the games. The only reason I don’t invest in season tickets is because I worry about dangerous road conditions. It’s easier to watch on television at home. I have access to snacks, drinks and my comfortable chair. Sometimes I invite friends over, and we make it a party. The regular season ends in early April, right when the weather starts warming up. I always try to get my hands on playoff tickets. However, they sell out fast and the Wild rarely make it past the first round. In twenty-two years, they’ve only made the second round four times.

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Enjoying the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest

I’ve lived in Lowell, Massachusetts, my entire life.

Although I briefly left to attend college, I was eager to return and happy to secure a job within my community.

I love the friendly atmosphere, the rich history and the beautiful New England scenery. I spend as much time as possible outside. One of my favorite Lowell destinations in the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest. It’s a great opportunity to escape the rush and responsibilities of everyday life. The forest spans over one thousand acres and offers pristine trails and a diverse ecosystem. The State Forest was established in 1909, and since then, it’s evolved into an impressive destination for anyone who appreciates the natural landscape of Massachusetts. The forest combines hardwood and pine forests, ponds, streams and wetlands. The biodiversity provides a home to a wide variety of bird species, malls and reptiles. During my various hikes, I’ve spotted owl, woodpeckers, hawks, cardinals and bluejays. I’ve also caught glimpses of red foxes, Eastern box turtles and whit-tailed deer. The hiking and biking trails through the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest are well-maintained and extensive. The difficulty level caters to all ages and skill. For a leisurely stroll or a good bike path, I recommend Pawtucket Boulevard Trail. It hugs the Merrimack River and offers breathtaking views. When I want something more challenging, I choose the Crow’s Nest Trail. The rugged, hilly terrain is more strenuous but also provides panoramic views of the surrounding visats. I visit the State Forest at all times of years. I appreciate the change in colors, foliage, temperature and even the smells. The fall is my favorite season because of the gorgeous colors of the leaves.

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Enjoying Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland, Florida

One of my favorite features of Lakeland, Florida, is Lake Hollingsworth.

I’ve lived in the area for just over six years and I never get bored with the stunning natural beautify of this pristine lake.

Whether I’m in the mood to relax, unwind, appreciate gorgeous scenery or get my heart pumping, Lake Hollingsworth is the ideal destination. There is a paved walking and jogging path that circles the entire lake and covers just shy of three miles. I love running the path and taking in the breathtaking views of the water, vibrant greenery and local neighborhoods. I see locals pushing strollers, walking their dogs or jogging. Sometimes I load my bicycle in the car. The paved path and flat terrain is awesome for cycling. If I don’t want to deal with hauling my bike, I can always rent one. It’s great exercise without hard impact on my knees, ankles and feet. Whether I’m walking, running or pedaling, I always watch for birds. I’ve spotted egrets, herons, ducts and even a bald eagle. Now and then, I’ll brin bonoculars and spend a few hours bird-watching. There are also shaded areas, picnic tables and benches located around the lake. If weather permits, I like to spend my lunchbreak away from work at Lake Hollingsworth. Since the weather in Lakeland is warm and sunny just about year round, there are lots of opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding. Heading out on the lake is an interesting chance to explore the shoreline, soak up sunshine and enjoy privacy and peace. The lake is a popular spot for fishermen because of the population of bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass.


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Catty Shack Ranch in Jacksonville

A fun attraction in Jacksonville, Florida, is the big cat sanctuary.

Catty Shack Ranch provides refuge to some of the most majestic and beautiful creatures on earth.

An oasis within the thriving city, this unique wildlife preserve offers an unforgettable experience for locals and toursits alike. It’s an opportunity to get up close with big cat species. It was established in 1991 by Curt and Norma LoGiudice. The mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and provide a caring home to big cats in need. Lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats and cougars have been rescued from bad situations, including abuse, neglect and abandonment. These animals now live in comfort and safety. One of the main priorities of Catty Shack Ranch is education. By enlightening the pubic about the threat to big cats in captivit and in the wild, they can encourage a greater commitment to conservation and responsible animal stewardship. Visitors can learn about each specific cat’s history, habitat and behavior by way of guide tours. It’s fascinating and insightful for all ages. The guided tours are interactive and informative. One of the best moments of the tours is when the cats are fed. The feeding sessions are a chance to see the big cats show off their power, grace and agility during mealtime. It displays their natural hunting begaviors. Thre is also a “Night Feeding” event. It’s a memorable experience that shares the cats’ nocturnal behaviors. There are the sounds of the wild, fresh air and starlight as the animal enjoy their nighttime feeding. There is nothing quite like a visit to Catty Shack Ranch.

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The changing seasons in Elgin

Elgin, Illinois, is located in the Midwest, and experiences a diverse range of weather conditions throughout the year.

From freezing cold winters to hot, humid summers and everything in between, the climate covers all four seasons.

The cold winter season usually runs from December to February, with average temperatures ranging between the mid-twenties and low-thirties. The conditions are most often below freezing and snowfall is just about a daily occurrence. The average accumulation is around thirty-seven inches per year. the snow and cold in Elgin cause some challenges, work and expenses. It’s necessary to shovel the walkways and plow the driveways, sometimes multiple times per day, and pay for snow removal. We need to scrape ice off the windshield and dress in multiple layers of sweaters, heavy boots and warm jackets. We run the heating system just about non stop. However, we also get to enjoy outdoor activities like skiing, ice skating, snowboarding and snowmobiling. We wait a long time for the arrival of spring. The thaw typically happens sometime toward the end of March. The temperature rises gradually above freezing and by the beginning of May, reach into the mid-sixties. I look forward to spring blooming flowers such as tulips, crocuses and hyacinths. The crabapple, lilac and assorted fruit trees begin to bud, and its an ideal time to visit Elgin’s parks and gardens. In June, summer shows up. It last until the end of August and brings brilliant sunshine, high temperatures in the eighties and excess humidity. There are outdoor movies, concerts and festivals to enjoy. The Fox River offers boating, fishing, kayaking, swimming and losts of water activities. From September through November, the fall is a stunning kaleidoscope of reds, oranges and yellows as the leaves change colors. The cooler temperatures are ideal for apple picking, carving pumpkins, hiking, cycling and appreciating the natural beauty of the area.

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