Infant Self Rescue – A real life saver

It happened so quickly. When they say it only takes a second, they aren’t kidding. It seems more like half a second.

Nathan learning to float.

We were sitting on the edge of the pool. Me, my not quite 2 son Nathan, and my 20 year old niece just enjoying some family time. Suddenly a little bunny rabbit wandered into the yard. Nathan got so excited and pointed to make sure I saw it. By the time I swung my head left and and saw the rabbit, Nathan was in the pool. Just that fast, less than a second.

His feet sank quickly away from me and all I could think was to get to him before he took a breath underwater. I jumped in, fully clothed, iPhone and all, and grabbed him out of the water. He wasn’t under water for more than a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity. Thankfully, he was ok. A little startled but no worse for wear.

After things calmed down down I started to think, Nathan never attempted to get his head above water after he fell in, he just sank. Apparently, the instinct to get to the surface is not something that a child has innately in them.

My wife started researching the subject, she found this program called ISR, Infant Swim Resource. We found an instructor, Tracy Herbst at Arcadia ISR, that teaches out of her home and signed Nathan up. The ‘lessons’ are 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 4-6 weeks. The program teaches infants, toddlers and children to swim to the surface of the water if they fall in the pool and to either float until rescued or swim to the side and crawl hand over hand their way out. The floating is key, until children are about 4 years old, their head is most of their body weight so when they try to take a breath their feet sink and it is almost impossible for them to get their head above water. This is just one of the reasons ISR is so important.

When we first started the program all Nathan did was scream like a banshee but after a few weeks he became more comfortable and was swimming , floating and able to get himself to the surface of the water. Five weeks later he passed his final test which included self rescue and how to get himself out of the pool once to the side, fully clothed.

Now, this is not a full proof drowing preventor by itself, Nathan still requires supervision around a pool and while swimming. However, it does provide some peace of mind for my wife and I that if he were to fall in, he has a better chance of surviving that event now.

Tracy’s website says it best, “Sadly swimming is the number one cause of accidental death for children under the age of four in Arizona.” This is an extremely important resource for parents to know about so please share it with your friends.

Here are a few more resources to check out:

Arcadia ISR – The instructor, Tracy Herbst, is outstanding. She is very patient and loves teaching children.

Infant Swim Self Rescue™ Survival Swimming Lessons – learn about the program and find an instructor.

Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona – Excellent resource for parents.

 

DPL Homes is now dpatricklewis.com

You may have noticed that instead of reaching dplhomes.com you are now being redirected to dpatricklewis.com. The reasons for this are many but the largest ones being that I now own my name, it was not available a few years ago, and I didn’t want to have another blog to manage.

So there you have it, dplhomes.com is now dpatricklewis.com. It is hereby made official.

Don’t forget to re-subscribe via RSS or email and check back often.

I expect nothing but awesomeness.

See you there.

Scottsdale Camp – Why you should go.

Scottsdale Camp is being organized by Tyler Hurst and myself and will be held at Sky Song (click here for a map) in Scottsdale on April 24th from 1:30pm to 6pm with a special screening of the movie Lemonade at 1pm and a Q&A with the Director after the screening.  Lemonade is a movie by Erik Proulx, it’s a short film about him and a bunch of inspired people who saw unemployment as an opportunity, not a hardship.

So why should you go?

I think Tyler said it best in his post:

…it needs to happen. Residents of Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe, Gilbert and Chandler get it, the businesses they frequent mostly get it and their employers are starting to turn on to it. But Scottsdale seems to be a bit behind the curve.

So let’s catch them up. Scottsdale Camp is an afternoon of teaching, sharing and learning from the actual practitioners. Speakers and topics were chosen to specifically target the theories that our geek conferences tend to specialize in.

If you’re a Scottsdale small business, if you shop at Scottsdale small businesses or if you like to see Scottsdale small businesses succeed, come help us out. We’re looking for smart people that want to learn AND teach.

That is the vision in a nutshell, provide Scottsdale businesses and residents with the tools they need to build stronger communities.

Register here!

See you there!

One more thing…

At the end of the very successful and well attended (500+) Real Estate Bar Camp Phoenix 2010, Jay Thompson stood before the crowd and thanked, very graciously, Calie Waterhouse, Nick Bastian and myself for our volunteer efforts. Jay also gave each of us a $25 dollar gift card as an extra bonus. A very thoughtful gesture on his part, to say the least.

All of that was well and good until I realized that I had missed the opportunity to thank the one person that didn’t get thanked in person.  And that is Jay Thompson.

So I am taking this opportunity to remedy that situation.

Jay did an outstanding job again this year in leading the volunteers to a successful REBCPhx. He has also done a lot for me personally, whether he knows it or not he has inspired me and countless others to be better and do better in our industry. He has been an outstanding friend and colleague and I am proud to call him as much. I want to publicly thank him for all he does all year round.

So I am going to say thank you to Jay in a way that I think honors him and what he has done for me. In addition to this post, I am going to add to my $25 gift card from Jay and give $100 to DanKeitz.com.

If you don’t know, Dan Keitz is a friend of Jay’s that has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy). Jay set him up with a website and has been raising money for him. You can read Jay’s post about him here and visit his website here.

While I have never personally met Dan, Jay has shared a few stories about how fun and generous Dan is and Jay’s word is good enough for me.

I hope you will consider doing the same.

Thanks again Jay, for everything.

Chaparral Park post on Around Scottsdale

I just wrote a post over at Around Scottsdale about Chaparral Park and its amenities.

One of the 11 community parks that the City of Scottsdale has and part of its Indian Bend Wash park system is the 100 acre Chaparral Park.  Located between Chaparral and McDonald roads just east of Hayden road, it is full of family friendly features such as:Mtn views

  • 4 acre dog park (3 acres is grass)
  • 10 acre lake for urban fishing
  • 6 lighted ball fields
  • 3 lighted soccer fields
  • aquatic center
  • Xeriscape Demonstration Garden
  • multiple picnic areas and ramada’s
  • covered playground
  • community center with 2 small classrooms

It really is an impressive place. To read the whole post, see some great photos of the park and find out more information, click here.

Remote Desktop Solution

Having a mobile office can have its pros and cons, one of the cons is not having every single file or document with you or on your laptop/netbook at all times. Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with this scenario and have been forced to find a solution. So, I thought I would share.

What I found was Team Viewer 5, it is an excellent free solution to my problem. I simply have Team Viewer installed on both computers, initiate a session, usually from my netbook to my home computer and either drop the files I need in my Dropbox (also installed on both computers) or use the browser to upload them to Google Docs. This way I have access to them via the cloud or I can download them to my netbook.

By the way, if you are not using Dropbox or Google Docs and you have a mobile office, you really need to look into them, great tools for the toolbox.

Another nice feature is that you can enable, chat, VOIP or video chat during the sessions as well. So, it has many uses for collaboration and sharing as well as remote access.

Side note: It is also a great help in assisting your technologically challenged parents when they want to know where the “Any” key is.

There is only one caveat to the free price tag, you cannot use it for commercial purposes. In other words you cannot use it for your home technical support business without paying Team Viewer their due. So, play fair.

If you have found another solution, please feel free to share in the comments.

Wisestamp for your business. Seriously.

Have you been looking for an easy, diverse and customizable auto signature for your Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail web mail?  Maybe one you could display your social media profiles, RSS feeds, fan pages and blog posts in.  Are you a Firefox, Chrome, Flock or Thunderbird user?

If so, I have been using a great add-on/extension you should be using, Wisestamp.  I have been using Wisestamp for some time with Gmail in Firefox 3.6 and in Thunderbird 3 and I love it.  It gives me the ability to create multiple signatures, add any of my social media profiles in the form of an icon and display any RSS feed I choose.  It will then auto insert itself into the aforementioned web mail services. This is what my “Business” signature looks like:

Signature Capture

So, for instance, if I was a Realtor® that wanted to advertise my services, community information, upcoming events, point customers to my Facbook fan page etc. in every email I sent out, this would be the tool to use.  It is customizable and best of all, FREE!

Check this page out for some awesome examples.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Home Buyer Tax Credit Passed by Congress

If you haven’t heard by now the Congress has extended and expanded the homebuyer tax credit.  Both the House and the Senate passed an Unemployment Insurance Extension bill that includes an amendment that extends and expands the homebuyer tax credit.  The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Obama today.

Is anything different about this homebuyer tax credit?

The $8,000 credit for first time homebuyers remains intact but has been expanded to include current homeowners.  If you have sold or currently own a primary residence for 5 of the last 8 years, you are eligible for a $6500 tax credit, $3,250 if married and filing separately.  There have also been some income limits imposed as well as a deadline to be under contract, not close the transaction, by April 30, 2010. You will also notice a limit on the cost of the purchase at $800,000.

The comparison chart below provided by the National Association of Realtors will help. Click here for a PDF of the chart.

Tax Credit Chart

Update: This afternoon President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 into law. The law takes effect December 1, 2009.

You Can't Refinance: Now What?

Many people across Arizona are caught between a rock and a hard place. Because property values have declined in the last few years, many people owe more on their mortgage than their home is now worth.

Sometimes, much, much more.

If you owe up to 125% of your home’s value, there may be a program that will allow you to refinance and take advantage of lower rates. What if you owe more than 125% of your home’s value? Even surety companies are becoming more reluctant to issue bonds.

It is time to get creative on how to save money each month on your mortgage payment.

cant refinance

Back in April, we went over how your mortgage payment is made up of PITI – or Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance.  If you are in a situation where you can’t refinance, that means that reducing your Principal and Interest are “out” for now — but what about Taxes and Insurance?

The good news is that you can still save money on your taxes and insurance.

Taxes – Your taxes are set by the government for the community you live in. This number is easily found at the Maricopa County Assessors office and can also be disputed if you think the assessed value of your home is too high.

Insurance – Not only should you shop around for homeowners insurance quotes from companies that you know and trust, but you should also takes steps like combining your car insurance and homeowners insurance into one policy, install one of the best home alarm systems available and make sure you are maximizing every available discount.

Just by shopping around a little, you might be surprised at how much you can save on insurance alone.

Even though you are currently in a situation where you cannot refinance and save money on your principal and interest, don’t let it deter you from trying to save money on your overall mortgage payment each month — which is really your ultimate goal.

Especially in these tough times.

Energy Tax Credits for Homeowners

Save A Little Money

Did you know you can get an Energy Tax Credit for making energy efficient improvements to your primary residence?

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 there are energy tax credits available specifically for homeowners in Sections 1121 and 1122.

Section 1121 states:

The new law increases the energy tax credit for homeowners who make energy efficient improvements to their existing homes. The new law increases the credit rate to 30 percent of the cost of all qualifying improvements and raises the maximum credit limit to $1,500 for improvements placed in service in 2009 and 2010.

The credit applies to improvements such as adding insulation, energy efficient exterior windows and energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems.

Section 1122 goes on to include solar water heaters, geothermal heat pumps and wind turbines as well.

What does this mean for you?

This means that if you are one of the many recent first time home buyers or one of the many existing home owners and you need to make some energy efficient improvements to your existing home, now is the time.

For example, if you need to replace your air conditioner, and the new unit qualifies for the tax credit, you can save up to $1500.  Need new windows or insulation blown into the attic? You can get up to 30% of those costs back.

There are also many different tax credits and rebates offered by municipalities, utility companies, County and State Governments in your state.  Here are some resources that will help you find those credits and rebates:

Click here for a list of incentives in Arizona.

Click here for a list of incentives for your state.

The Dept. of Energy’s page on Consumer Energy Tax Incentives

These energy improvements can greatly reduce your energy bills help the environment and increase the equity in your home.  So, take advantage of these incentives before they expire on December 31, 2010.