Archive for the ‘Great Tips’ Category

Housing Hope – Everett, WA

March 2, 2012

Housing Hope of Everett, WA

A great example of a local company contributing to their Community!  Let’s help them out!Debbie Atwood Is Making A Splash In Snohomish County!

Housing Hope Gift Card Drive – March 1st thru March 31st, 2012.  8:00AM to 5:00PM  Monday-Friday

The Western Washington Medical Group Family Medicine is collecting gift cards and rolls of quarters for HOUSING HOPE OF EVERETT to help struggling families using emergency shelter and transitional housing or critical services.

Debbie Atwood Is Making A Splash In Snohomish County!
Help someone less fortunate than yourself!


Debbie Atwood Is Making A Splash In Snohomish County!

Who: Western Washington Medical Group
Location: Western Washingon Medical Group Family Medicine – 3rd Floor Family Medicine  Receptionist
Address: 12728 19th Avenue SE, Suite 300
Everett, WA 98208
Phone: 425-225-2755
Cost: $10-$25 gift card

Debbie Atwood Is Making A Splash In Snohomish County!

(425) 750-4970


In The Know – When Buying Bank Owned Or Forclosure Properties

March 1, 2012


A common question among Buyers in this Real Estate Market when purchasing Bank Owned or Foreclosure Properties is; “Why is a Special Warranty Deed and not a General Warranty Deed given on this property”?

Special Warranty Deed versus General Warranty Deed

Here is a great explanation given in simple terms by a Title Officer at Stewart Title.

“Special Warranty Deeds are becoming more common.  A General Warranty deed is a promise to the Buyer that the Seller will warranty any prior problems with Title, not just during the Seller’s ownership, but back along the chain of ownership.  

A Special Warranty deed, on the other hand, limits the Seller’s promise (warranty) to title problems that come up while the Seller owned the property, but gives no warranty for problems prior to that point.  For example, Builders often give Special Warranty deeds.  They only owned the property long enough to build the homes.  They aren’t sticking their necks out to warranty buyers against something that happened to cloud title when the subdivision was still a pig farm.  

Foreclosure property is another example where you often see Special Warranty deeds.  The Bank, like the Builder, has no close relationship to the property and won’t bend over backwards to promise anything about the condition of title before they acquired the property through foreclosure.”  

Jayne Boyle of Stewart Title explains, “These days, Title Insurance is the Buyer’s best friend.  Title Insurance insures the Buyer against past ownership problems, old liens, boundary issues, etc.” 

And now YOU are in THE KNOW! 


To contact Debbie – 425-750-4970

Is Your House Stinky?

June 7, 2011

Is your house stinky? 


One of the first impressions a potential buyer notices is the house smell.  Good or bad.

Unfortunately, you as the present homeowner may not even notice it. But I can guarantee you any one visiting your home WILL notice it.


The worst odors – Pet smells, tobacco smoke, rotting garbage, diaper pail and spoiled milk!

There are all kinds of things that can cause that sour house smell.  Finding the source is  your first action step.  There are also lots of products that can be used to help get rid of the smell but be careful not to think that a quick aerosol spray will take care of the problem.  As soon as the spray has dissipated the smell is back!



These are a few of the common problems that can be found in a foul smelling house.


Smokers – that sticky yellow stuff you may see on your walls and windows….

Pets – we love them but they do have accidents

Mold – can be in the attic, basement, behind the walls, under the carpet etc.

Mildew – can be in the bathroom, windows, window sills, basements etc.

Cooking – what did you have for dinner last night? I bet I could tell you what was in it!

Attics – musty, mold, mildew

Basements – musty, mold, mildew

Crawl space – water, mold, mildew

Carpet and carpet pads – mildew, mold.  Lots of times cleaning carpets can leave the pad wet

Walls and wallpaper – smoke problems, mold

Windows – mildew, mold

Roof – mildew, mold

Furniture – stains from moisture, pets etc

Rotting food?  Check your refrigerator and under beds etc.  Yes, I said under the bed…



Once you have located the problem area, get rid of it!  Some things can be taken care of by just throwing it out.  Others can be taken care of by simply using soap and water. If soap and water isn’t going to be enough then try some of these other ideas.



Saturate carpets, furniture fabric or curtains with a product like Fabreze or a household product like baking soda which is a good odor absorber and then vacuum it up in an hour or so.  Don’t rub the area but blot it.  Rubbing will just work the soiled area in deeper and will probably ruin what ever your rubbing on.


Vinegar is great for pet odors and is also good to use after you have cooked something like fish for dinner by leaving a bowl of vinegar on the kitchen counter to absorb the smell.

Use baking soda – a couple of tablespoons per 1 cup of water in the microwave for food spatters.  Heat for a few minutes and then wipe it down.


Do you have a wood chopping block in the kitchen?  Scrub it down with lemon juice and baking soda.  Rinse and then season it with mineral oil.


Bathroom smells – For the toilet use about a cup of vinegar, pour into the bowl and let stand for a few minutes.  Scrub the toilet and flush!  For sinks use about 1/2 cup of bleach and 1/2 cup of water and pour down the drain.  Wait for about an hour and rinse with lots of cold water. Don’t leave wet towels out!


Some pets just stink!  Use 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with a 1/4 cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid.  Rub this through your dog’s fur but be sure to watch the eyes please!  Rinse Rover well.


Here is one for your cat box – Empty the litter and use about 1/2 inch of vinegar into the box.  Cover with a very good amount of baking soda.  If you have a school age child they will probably enjoy seeing this mixture bubble!  Top it off with several inches of water and stir it all up.  Let the box soak for a few hours and then drain the liquid and scrub that box out!  Wash with HOT soapy water and let dry.  Use a thin layer of baking soda on the bottom of the box and then refill with your fresh litter.


Have a musty smelling closet?  Fill an old sock with a few tablespoons of fresh UNUSED ground coffee and hang in your closet!


Commercial products can be expensive so try this sometime – Soak a cotton ball with vanilla or peppermint extract and place in a clean glass jar with holes punched in the lid.


Dust your home and don’t forget to clean your vents and ducts!  Dust actually does smell.


Check the crawlspace for dead rodents!!


Use bleach on walls and wallpaper and vinegar for hardwood floors and linoleum.


In some instances you may have to repaint or replace carpets.  You may hire a professional to come in and clean the carpets to help get rid of smoke odor in the carpets.  This is one of the most difficult odors to get rid of!


Apply some of these hints and then nose around your home frequently and RE-APPLY when necessary.


A first impression should be a smell good impression!



Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Do You Know Your Net Worth?

September 17, 2010

Who wants to be a millionaire – Do you know your net worth?

There was a study of hundreds of Americans that had a net worth over one million dollars.  The interesting thing about this study was that they found these millionaire Americans to be hardworking and frugal people with solid bank accounts.  They also found that these people live very modestly.  No McMansions, Rolex watches or Ferrari’s.

Do you know your net worth? First of all, what is Net Worth?  Net worth is very simply put; a summary of your financial status at a given time.  The formula is simple:  Assets minus liabilities equal your net worth.

Knowing your net worth is probably one of the most important things you should evaluate each year.  Do you have plans on retiring some day?  Would you like to own your home? Do you want to start a business? If you answered yes to any of these – you need to know your net worth.

Knowing your net worth is like having a road map to where you want to go.  Dreaming about it and wishing for it isn’t going to get you there.  Knowing your net worth lets you see where you are and where you want to be.  It allows you to see where you need to make changes to get to that financial goal.

How do you increase your net worth?  The down and dirty answer to this is to save more and spend less. Many Americans “feel” that their net worth is a visual one and if you can’t show it in high-end toys and a lavish lifestyle then what is the value of a higher net worth?

But the true American millionaires have a cushion of cash for unforeseen setbacks or the capital to start that new business and the option to retire and live out their dreams comfortably.

Save – invent new ways to save.  Force yourself with automatic payroll deductions.  SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

Eliminate credit card debt and other high interest debt.  Eliminate careless spending.

Raise your income.  Make wise investments.  Start a home business, train for a better job.

Who wants to be a millionaire? Do you know your net worth?

Maintenance On Your Furnace – It’s that time of year again

September 8, 2010

Maintenance on your furnace – It’s that time of year again

Fall is approaching quickly and that means it is time to schedule your annual furnace maintenance check up. Quite a few years back I learned this lesson the hard way!  

In the Pacific Northwest we usually have pretty mild winters but of course the winter my furnace needed to be replaced I hadn’t done my annual maintenance check- up.  It was a cold November that year and my family and I woke up to some cold floors.

Lucky for me my favorite heating and air conditioning company Aire-Force Heating, came to my rescue within hours!  Believe me, I haven’t missed a check up since then. So here are some tips to make sure your toes stay warm this winter.

1. Clean your furnace – I prefer having this done for me but it is possible to do yourself.  The Filter, the Blower and the Motor.

2. Change your air filter.  Your air filters should be changed monthly.  They are inexpensive and most furnaces today make it easy for you to do this yourself.  Changing the filter is a necessity for good heating efficiency.

3. Gas Leaks – Check for leaks and if you find any call a professional to fix this for you.

4. Make sure your thermostat is working correctly.

5. Check your Pilot Light.  It should be lit and the flame should be blue.  If it is not blue, there is problem that needs attention.

6. Is the Control Valve on?  Your furnace will not heat your home if it’s not!

7. Check for debris.  The venting of your furnace system should be checked each year to be sure there is no debris present.  Anything that might block the vents can cause some big problems for you.

8. Oil the Motor – The motor should be oiled each year and it may even need it throughout the year.

9. Check the Tension Belt and replace or adjust if needed.

10. Turn your furnace off when the cold spell is over!

Maintenance on your furnace is easy and taking care of these few items each season will ensure your furnace will run correctly and keep it running efficiently.

Debbie Atwood Is Making A Splash In Snohomish County!

Back To School!

August 24, 2010

alarm clock, bought from IKEA

Image via Wikipedia

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about back to school.  When this time of year rolls around I often have mixed feelings about it.  I realize that the summer season is coming to a close and the Pacific Northwest weather change is approaching quickly.  There is limited  “sleep in” mornings.  I come to terms that I will have to share that treasured time I’ve been able to spend with my daughter all summer with her school teacher and school activities schedule.  There is a realization that my pocket-book is going to take a hit with new school clothes and supplies.  My evenings are  spent doing homework and my baby is another year older!

On the other hand I look forward to the last day of summer vacation breakfast in bed I prepare for Tomi.  Just like the first day of summer vacation, Tomi enjoys breakfast in bed on the last day of summer vacation.

It’s fun to see her tastes and choices change through the years as we go clothes shopping  every summer. I remember a time when she didn’t care what clothes I purchased for her school year.  Have you gone shopping with a new 5th grader lately?

I look forward to the first morning when I hear the alarm clock in her room start singing and knowing that in about 10 minutes I will go in, turn it off and wake her.  Once she’s up though she will be ready quickly not being able to  wait to see which friends are in her new class and what is her teacher going to be like?  I also know those get ready quickly mornings are not going to last for long.  As the year progresses the 10 minute alarm intervals will increase. We will be grateful for those holiday’s off.

Even now, I anxiously await to hear all about her first day of school adventures.  She will be the oldest on campus this year.  Remember how it felt to be the big shots in school?  Everyone looked up to the 5th graders!   Yes, I will have the pleasure of hearing the funny stories, the drama stories and the “I already have homework” exclamations as she jumps into the car and we drive home.  My phone will be in “off” mode.   With the new school year will come new goals, new growth, new experiences, her last year of elementary school and eventually the first day of summer vacation!

Since my daughter is now a 5th grader I’m positive I will not be allowed out of the car, so I’ll see you in the parking lot!

To help you get ready for the 2010- 2011 school year I’ve included some local school district information.

Generic Back To School Supplies List (Check with your school district for specific lists)

Edmonds School District School begins September 7, 2010

Everett School District School begins September 8, 2010

Marysville School District School begins September 7, 2010

Lake Stevens School District School begins September 8, 2010

Granite Falls School District School begins September 8,  2010

Snohomish School District School begins September 8, 2010  (tentative? Education talks continue)

Monroe School District School begins September 1, 2010

Stanwood School District School begins September 2, 2010

Arlington School District School begins September 8, 2010

Mukilteo School District School begins September 1, 2010? (Education negotiations taking place)

Debbie Atwood is Making A Splash In Snohomish County!

The Average Family Caregiver

July 28, 2010

I recently came across an interesting article written by Gail Sheehy.  Sheehy is author of 16 books.  Her most recent, Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos Into Confidence, was published in May.

The article touched home with me and I wanted to share it with you.

Girls – take note and take care of yourselves!

Fifty is the gateway to the most liberating passage in a woman’s life.  Children are making test flights out of the nest.  Parents are expected to be roaming in their RV’s or sending postcards of themselves riding camels.  Free at last!  Women can graduate from the precarious balancing act between parenting and pursuit of a career.  Time to pursue your passion.  Climb mountains.  Run rapids.  Rediscover romance.  You have a whole Second Adulthood ahead of you!

That has been the message of my books since I wrote New Passages 15 years ago.  What I didn’t see coming was the Boomerang.

With parents living routinely into their 90’s, a second round of caregiving has become a predictable crisis for women in midlife.  Nearly 50 million Americans are taking care of an adult who used to be independent.  Yes, men represent about one third of family caregivers, but their participation is often at a distance and administrative.  Women do most of the hands-on care.  The average family caregiver today is a 48 -year-old woman who still has at least one child at home and holds down a paying job.

It starts with The Call.  It’s a call about a fall.  Your mom has had a stroke.  Or it’s a call about your dad–he’s run a red light and hit someone, again, but how are you ever going to persuade him to stop driving?  Or your husband’s doctor calls with news that your partner is reluctant to tell you: it’s cancer.

When that call came to me, I froze.  The shock plunges you into a whirlpool of fear, denial, and feverish action.  You search out doctors.  They don’t agree on the diagnosis.  You scavenge the Internet.  The side effects freak you out.  You call your brother or sister, hoping for help.  Old rivalries flare up.  You haunt the corridors of the hospital, always on duty to prevent mistakes.

It begins to dawn on you that your life is also radically changing.  This is a caregiving role that nobody applies for.  You don’t expect it.  You aren’t trained for it.  And, of course, you won’t be paid for it.  You probably won’t even identify yourself as a caregiver.  So many women tell me, “It’s just what we do.”

We’d like to think that siblings would be natural allies when parents falter.  In countless of my interviews with family caregivers, I hear the same stories:  Brothers bury their heads in the sand.  The farther away a sister lives, the more certain she will call the primary caregiver and tell her she doesn’t know what she’s doing.  A major 1996 study by Cornell and Louisiana State universities concluded that siblings are not just inherent rivals, but the greatest source of stress between human beings.

There are many rewards in giving back to a loved one.  and the short-term stress of mobilizing against the initial crisis jump-starts the body’s positive responses.  But this role is not a sprint.

It usually turns into a marathon, averaging almost five years.  Demands intensify.  Half of the family caregivers work full time.  Attention deficit is constant.  But most solitary caregivers who call hotlines like Family Caregiver Alliance wait until the third or fourth year before sending out the desperte cry: “I can’t do this anymore!”

The hyper-vigilant caregiver becomes exhausted, but can’t sleep.  Chronic stress turns on a steady flow of cortisol.  Too much cortisol shuts down the immune-cell response, leaving one less able to ward off infection.  Many recent clinical studies show that long-term caregivers are at high risk for sleep deprivation, immune system deficiency, depression, chroic anxiety, loss of concentration, and premature death.

Ailing elders seldom say thank you.  On the contrary, they often put up fierce resistance to the caregiver’s efforts.  “A major component of psychological stress that promotes later physical illness is not being appreciated for one’s devoted work,” explains Dr. Esther Sternberg, a stress researcher and author of The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions. She places caregivers at the same risk for burnout as nurses, teachers, and air-traffic controllers.

Once the solitary caregiver gets so stressed out emotionally that her own health declines, she can no longer provide the care.  The only option left is to place the family member in a nursing home- the last choice of everybody, the most expensive for taxpayers, and guaranteed to leave the  caregiver burdened with guilt.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  From hundreds of interviews with caregivers and my own experience of 17 years in the role, I can suggest some survival strategies:

Ideally, have the conversation with your siblings before the crisis with Mom and Dad.  Make it clear that you cannot do this alone.  If the crisis is already upon you, hold a family meeting–in person–but don’t set yourslef up as the boss.  Ask a neutral professional–your paren’t primary doctor or a social worker–to act as mediator.  Everone will be informed of the diagnosis and care plan at the same time.  Ask your siblings to come prepared with “What I can do best…” One may conribute money, another has more free time.  Everyone has to feel valued.

Download a free Internet-based care calendar that is totally private and can function as the family’s secretary, coordinating dates and tasks to be shared.

Join a support group.  Learn from veteran caregivers, who are eager to offer practical shortcuts and know instinctively what you need emotionally.  Regular exercise is vital to break the cycle of hyper vigilance and prepare the body for more refreshing sleep.  Ask for appointments for your physical check-ups or tests at the same time and place where you take your family member.

You must take at least one hour a day–but every day–to do something that gives you pleasure and refreshment.  Have a manicure.  Take a swim.  Call a friend for coffee.  Window-shop.  Try a yoga class.  All this allows your nervous system to reset.

You will also need longer breaks every few months.  Call your local Area Agency on Aging and ask where you can take your family member for a respite stay.  Rehab facilities often have some beds for the purpose.  Under Medicaid, the caregiver is entitled to three or four days away every 90 days.  Above all, do not fall into the trap of Playing God.  When the devoted caregiver comes to believe that she is responsible for saving a loved one’s life–often reinforced by the care recipient–any downturn will feel like a personal failure.  It’s not.  No mere human can control disease or aging.

When it becomes clear that your loved one does not have long to live, the caregiver who survives must begin the effort of coming back to life.  There is peril in remaining so attached to your declining loved one that you lose your “self.” Palliative care or hospice in invaluable to support and advise you on how to pace yourself at this stage.  Medicare or Medicaid will pay for a home health aide to stay with your loved one.

This is the time to replenish your emotional attachments.  Reach out for old friends, grandchildren, your church or temple.  Take a class at the local Y or community college.  Join a book club or a baseball league.  i know, I know, you’re too tired.  But meeting new people is a natural anti-dote to late-stage caregiving.  new attachments are a bridge to your new life.

You will be answering one of the most profound questions that trouble the dying: what will become of you when I leave you?  To see the caregiver joyful again can be a gift of relief.”

Written by Author Gail Sheehy.

Debbie Atwood Making A Splash In Snohomish County!

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