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At CRS, we honor six of our dedicated employees who are Veterans of the United States Military.

“Teamwork is a huge thing in the military and it has always played a role in my jobs, but it is extremely prevalent here at CRS. Being able to work with the different departments to accomplish a goal is a daily event here.” says Kristina Coombs, CRS Customer Care Specialist. In the Army Reserves, Kristina served as an Automated Logistical Specialist for nearly four years. Her family is an “Army Family” so she says “it just seemed right” that she joined.

Vanessa Cazarez, CRS Billing Specialist, was an Aviation Mechanic in the United States Navy for 5 years. Stationed on the USS Abraham Lincoln in Norfolk, VA, she states being a Veteran “Makes me proud to have been part of the select few that volunteer to protect our great country.”

 

Vanessa Cazarez (on the far right) and her United States Navy Aviation Mechanic team.

Two of our employees, Corinne Weinberger and Chris Varela, actually served on the same mission in Desert Storm together. Though they didn’t know each other at the time, and had different duties, both feel that the skills learned while in the military have helped them excel at CRS. Team building and working with people from diverse backgrounds has taught them how to approach various situations, talk to people and think fast on their feet.

Mindy Campbell, CRS Customer Care Specialist with eight years of service at CRS, wants to tell people thinking of joining the military to “Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. It will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do but will be darn proud of yourself when you look back on your time in the service.” Mindy served as an Army Medic for 3 years and a reservist for 2 more.

Using organizational skills learned during his time as a Sergeant in the Army, Vince Salazar is now on the front lines at CRS as Customer Care Specialist. He’s one of the first people that a policyholder might talk with about their housing loss. Not only does Vince provide pertinent information they need, he empathizes with and encourages them to stay strong, knowing that CRS has got their back.

All Veterans remind us of our potential as Americans to give and at times, give it your all. They are our relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and they committed to a cause larger than their own by accepting the challenge to defend our nation.

Today, and every day, we say THANK YOU.

On this Veterans Day, we salute our Veterans and extend our gratitude for their service.



“Nobody ever drowned in sweat.” - US Marines

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” - George S. Patton

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So many choices at Thanksgiving, what’s your favorite ______________ ?

This November we’re showcasing our dedicated employees in a 3-part video series about Thanksgiving. These video volunteers were asked a few questions on camera, without knowing the questions prior to being filmed. We get to see their honest and candid reactions, and we’re sharing them with you!

Let’s start here...

What is your favorite Thanksgiving ____________ ?

 
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Start your summer right with Memorial Day safety

As we happily head into this Memorial Day weekend, let’s take a moment to be thankful for our troops, and honor the passing of the members of the military who died in active duty.    Memorial Day weekend is here, and with it comes outdoor fun in the sun. Whether you’re road-tripping or celebrating at home, be aware and take a few safety precautions to ensure a happy and safe holiday weekend. No matter which way you slice the numbers, according to AAA this long holiday weekend is poised to be one of the busiest on record.  

Travel

- Make sure your car is ready for the trip. Pack a first-aid kit, bottled water and some energy bars in case you get stranded. Bring a car adapter for charging your cellphone. - Schedule your road trip at times to help avoid the holiday travel congestion. Leaving before rush hour Friday or early Saturday and driving back Monday before 3 p.m. or after 10 p.m. should make for less traffic hassles. - Never leave people or pets inside a parked car. Temperatures inside a vehicle can climb to dangerous levels quickly, even on a cloudy day. - If you plan on drinking alcohol, designate a driver who won’t drink.  

Being outside

With the temperatures rising, it’s important to know how to stay safe during times of excessive heat. - Eat small meals and eat more often. - Stay hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol. - Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. - Take frequent breaks if you are working outdoors, avoid strenuous outdoor activity.  

Grilling

Seven out of every 10 adults in the United States have a grill or smoker, and this weekend marks the symbolic start to summer and grilling season. - Never leave your grill unattended, and have a fire extinguisher available. - Propane and charcoal BBQ grills are for outdoor use only. - The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. - Keep children and pets away from the grill area. - Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Heavy food build-ups can cause nasty flare-ups.  

Water safety

BOATING - Have one life jacket that is US Coastal Guard approved for everyone on board. - If a child is under the age of 13, they must have a life jacket on whenever the boat is in motion. - The rules for driving a boat are similar to those of a vehicle - people cannot drink and drive a boat. SWIMMING - Everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in areas protected by lifeguards. Always remember the penguin credo, never swim alone!  #skipper    - Adults, actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children and newer swimmers. - Understand what to do to help someone in trouble, without endangering yourself; know how and when to call 9-1-1; and know CPR.  

Always remember

Have a first aid kit nearby and emergency contacts programmed into your phone. You never know when an accident can happen, and better to be prepared just in case.  

SOURCES https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/how-to-avoid-grilling-mishaps-this-memorial-day-weekend/70005010 http://www.redcross.org/news/press-release/Red-Cross-Offers-Summer-Safety-Tips-for-All-Season-Long
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Home Essentials: How to nail your basic toolkit 

Are you a new homeowner, or maybe new to a temporary home? In either case, you’ll want to have a basic toolkit for minor home repairs. Imagine having to shell out big bucks to a handyman every time you want to hang a picture or adjust squeaky door? So not cool.

The best gift I received when I moved into my first apartment was a stocked toolbox from my dad. Not the housewarming gift I was hoping for, but in the following months and after it’s weekly use, I was in total appreciation of his foresight.

 

So, where to start?

Get yourself to the hardware store, grab a cart and let’s get shopping. Building a good toolkit usually happens over time because it can be costly, but you should start out with some essentials. For about $60, you can build a starter kit. Here are the must-haves:

• Claw Hammer • Screwdriver Set • Adjustable Crescent Wrench • Channellock Pliers • Tape Measure • Level • Carpenter Pencils and Sharpener

Make sure to keep your core set of tools in a toolbox or bag at all times.

 

Ready to add more?

Within six months to a year, you may be ready to expand your toolkit. With a few added tools, you’ll have the means to put up shelves, paint a room, change door locks and more. The estimated cost for adding the below tools will be around $200.

• Utility Knife and Blades • Ratchet Set • Cordless Drill and Drill Bits • Manual Saw Set: Hacksaw and Wood Saw • Stud Finder • Basic Painting Set • Flash Light

 

Having so much fun that you want to try more?

Most hardware stores, especially large national chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s, both host classes and workshops designed to help new homeowners get comfortable with doing their own work around the house, making their own improvements, and fixing their own problems without spending a ton of money on contractors or specialists. For example, Home Depot’s weekly workshops will show you how to do things like install decorative molding, install tile flooring, properly paint interior walls, and more—all things you may never have had to do as a renter.

Lowe’s also has a how-to project center with walkthroughs for common household projects:  Take me there

 
Sources: https://www.fix.com/blog/diy-home-repair-kit/ https://lifehacker.com/where-can-i-learn-home-improvement-skills-1535195959
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Keep you and your family safe by preparing for the 2018 tornado season

As the northeast gets hit by yet another winter storm in March, we’re starting to see increased tornado activity in the southeast this spring. A tornado can strike without warning in any season but are prone to happen most often in the spring and summer months. Occurring at all hours of the day and night, data shows that they tend to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Time to prepare!

In the United States, about 1,200 tornadoes strike each year and every state is at risk. These devastating storms can bring severe hail, heavy rain, flash flooding and lightning. The majority of tornadoes in the U.S. occur east of the Rocky Mountains with concentrations in the central and southern plains, the Gulf Coast and Florida.

If you live in an area prone to these deadly storms, three of the most important things you can do to prepare you and your family are:    1 - Build an Emergency Kit

   2 - Make a Family Communications Plan

   3 - Review your Homeowners Insurance

Build an Emergency Kit

Most of the items that will go in your kit are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Also make sure to consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies and medications for pets and seniors. For just a few dollars and minutes of your time, you’ll have a kit comprised of food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours.

Visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for more information and to download a printable grocery list.

Make a Family Communications Plan

Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tornado? If not, make one today! Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so having a family communications plan will allow you to know how to best contact one another and reconnect if separated. Make sure to establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for more details on how to best draw up your family communications plan.

Review your Homeowners Insurance

Don’t wait until the next tornado watch to decide to review your homeowners insurance for storm coverage. Whether your insurance helps cover tornado damage to your home depends on where you live, the type and amount of coverage you have and what caused the damage.

One of the biggest risks you may face if your home suffers major damage during a severe storm or tornado is being underinsured. Contact your agent to discuss your policy and if necessary have them verify that the current insured value is up to par. While you’re at it, make sure to have your insurance agent’s number and email saved to your mobile phone.

Additionally, find out what your limit is for Additional Living Expenses (ALE) and how you can expect the coverage to work. ALE covers the increased cost of living due to a displacement, including any extra rent you will have to pay for your temporary home. CRS Temporary Housing works closely with your agent to quickly find the best temporary accommodations for you and your family. With 24-7-365 service, we are committed to help you and provide the absolute best customer service.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/home-insurance/insurance-for-tornado-damage.aspx https://www.thebalance.com/home-and-car-insurance-for-tornado-damage-4026154

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Spring ahead and lose an hour of sleep. Whose idea was this?

Do we love to spring ahead or hate it? In a year filled with 8,760 hours, why do we think it’s such a big deal? It’s just 0.01141552511415525% of a year.

Aside from what you may have heard over your lifetime, farmers are not to blame and it was not created by Benjamin Franklin. Daylight saving time was actually first instituted by Germany on May 1, 1916 in an effort to conserve fuel during World War I.

Do we still need it today? U.S. states are starting to decide on an individual basis. The Florida Senate just approved a bill that once they spring ahead on March 11, 2018, they could remain there. The approval means the bill will go to the governor’s desk, but it doesn’t mean the “spring forward” clock change Sunday at 2 a.m. will put the state on permanent daylight saving time.

Currently, states can opt out of daylight saving time to stay on standard time, but cannot make daylight saving time permanent. So, it will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming weeks.

Most areas of the United States observe daylight saving time (DST), the exceptions being Arizona, Hawaii, and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Whether you love it or hate, know that it’s a good time to do a few inexpensive, routine updates in and around your home.

1 - Replace the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

These alarms save lives! For just a few dollars and minutes of your time, you can economically and quickly replace the batteries and know your family is safer.

2 - Prepare a storm kit for your home and car.

This can be a lifesaver in a power outage or if you get stranded in your car in bad weather. Make sure you have a long-lasting LED flashlight, a reflective vest for walking at night, non-perishable snacks, water and a warm blanket. Go to www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for more detailed kit information.

3 - Check your sump pump.

Spring often brings rain so make sure your sump pump is draining properly. Do not wait until a major snow thaw or rainstorm to find out that the pump’s motor is shot and you have 4” of water in your basement. It’s also a good idea to invest in a backup battery in the event of a power outage.

4 - Inspect the exterior of your home.

Did you just get through a harsh winter? Take a walk around the outside of the house: Are there cracks in the concrete? Is the driveway in good condition? Check the roof for signs of loose or broken shingles. Look up at the chimney for signs of wear. Check the facade and foundation for cracks or signs of water pooling.

5 - Change your clocks.

If you have any clocks in your home that run on batteries, make sure to set them ahead one hour before you head to bed. If you have an older model car like me, make sure to change the clock on your dash as well. Then when you wake it you’ll be on the right track.

As for keeping your body on track, you know that it’s coming, so maybe hop into bed an hour early on Saturday night.

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When decorating your permanent home, embrace big, bold color.

So, you’re preparing to move from your temporary digs back into your permanent home. Congratulations! It’s a much-anticipated event that you’ve been thinking about for a while. If you plan on decorating or painting, why not try something new?

Use color!! Don’t opt out and live in a bland beige and boring world. Humans are more comfortable in spaces with color than in those without. A beige world is underwhelming and understimulating—and that’s stressful.

Small but Mighty

If you’re a little apprehensive and not sure just where to apply your color splash, pick a smaller room and start there. A powder room, foyer or accent wall are the perfect canvas for your first foray into the wonderful world of color.

If you decide to jump in and paint yourself, great! You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your masterpiece sooner since the smaller area will be completed more quickly.

Where to start?

Once you’ve chosen where to paint, now it’s time to choose the color. Do you have a favorite hue you’d like to see on the walls of your home? Head to the paint store or home warehouse and grab a few swatches. (They are FREE, so grab as many as you’d like). Tape the swatches on the wall that you’re going to paint. Make sure to look at the swatches at various times of day as they will change as the lighting does.

Having trouble making a decision because the paint swatch is so small? Purchase a pint of your chosen color for less than $5 each. Using a brush, paint part of the wall in a larger area to help you decide if you like the color.

Moody Hues

Extensive research on “color psychology” has revealed the special “powers” of particular colors. When making your selection, consider the mood of the room and what feelings you want to evoke.

GREEN > Seeing the color green has been linked to more creative thinking—so greens are good options for home offices, art studios, etc.

RED > Having a red surface in view provides a burst of strength, so reds are good choices for home gym areas, etc. Seeing red has been linked to impaired analytical reasoning, though, making it a bad option for offices.

VIOLET > People link a grayish violet with sophistication, so it can be a good selection for places where you’re trying to make the “right” impression.

YELLOW > Using yellow in a home can be problematic. Many people dislike the color, so if you have a lot of yellow rooms in your home or a yellow front door, you may be advised to repaint to get the best price for your home should you sell. An exception: Many people use yellow in kitchens—with no negative sales repercussions. Yellow may be accepted in kitchens because warm colors stimulate our appetite.

BLUE > People are more likely to tell you that blue is their favorite color than any other shade. That makes it a safe choice. Seeing blue also brings thoughts of trustworthiness to mind; always a good thing.

Be bold and brave and don’t shy away from color. At the end of the day, if you hate the hue you’ve chosen, it’s a simple fix to just paint over it.

 

Sources:

www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/10-tips-for-picking-paint-colors www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201504/the-surprising-effect-color-your-mind-and-mood https://freshome.com/room-color-and-how-it-affects-your-mood
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Safety tips for during and after a blizzard.

Winter storms can pack a devastating punch bringing not only snow and ice, but by dangerously low temperatures, severe wind gusts, and flooding. These blasting storms can also cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs, and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions. We want you to take extra care of yourself and your family during this time. Below are a few safety tips on what to do during and after a major winter storm.

During Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

After Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP CODE to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)
  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Cold-related Illness

  • Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness
    • If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
  • Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
    • Warnings signs of hypothermia:
    • Adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
    • Infants:  bright red, cold skin, very low energy. If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.
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Are the upcoming holidays getting you stressed? You can still be jolly and say “No-No-No” this holiday season.

Is thinking about December and the end of the year holidays starting to get you stressed? Join the club!

But, let’s take a step back and maybe not join that ridiculous group. We can make our very own holiday magic by saying “no” more this holiday season. Sound harsh? We don’t need to go full on Grinch, but it might just be worth your while.

Here’s a few things you can, and possibly should, say “no” to this upcoming holiday season.

George Pratt, PhD Psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California

Over-spending

Choose presence over presents. Give and receive gifts with love and gratitude this season but remember that love isn’t inside the box. You can’t prove how much you love someone by giving them a present.

Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. Try setting a budget this December, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Be smart and don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend next year trying to pay off.

Over-committing

As your calendar gets a little crammed between now and the end of the year, decide what really matters to you. Spend time each morning or evening and take a good look at your day. What’s important? What’s not? Just because you have empty space on your calendar doesn’t mean you need to fill it with appointments and obligations.

Don’t say no because you’re so busy. Say no because you don’t want to be so busy. Especially in this busier season of work and holidays, down time is more important than ever. Put on your coziest jammies, make some tea and grab a book and enjoy YOUR time.

Over-indulging

Think about if you really need that 2nd plate or 3rd cocktail. Remember how miserable you were after Thanksgiving dinner? Instead of abandoning the things you know are good for you in the name of enjoying the holiday season, dig in deeper. Sleep 7-8 hours a night and spend more time nourishing your body, heart and soul.

Taking care of yourself should be at the top of your list. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.

It’s in the quiet moments, and in the white space that you are open to magic. Create that for yourself. Make room for magic, comfort and joy.


 

Sources:

www.bemorewithless.com

www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/quick-tips-reducing-holiday-stress-get-started#1

www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306655,00.html#stick-with-your-daily-routine

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How to avoid unneeded stress when moving

Moving disrupts the entire family and normal every day routines. According to Health Status online, moving ranks as one of the top 5 most stressful situations. As difficult as it may be, it is super important to try to maintain a routine. By keeping or modifying your family's existing routines, you can avoid unneeded stress through the relocation process. This framework allows you to devote more time to the things that matter. The less decisions that need to be made, the less stressed everyone in the household will be. When you are unexpectedly torn from your home, or just moving from one place to another; bring back some sense of normal to your day to day with these tips.  
Family At Home Eating Meal Together

Family At Home Eating Meal Together

Keep your routines.

  Continue to eat together. Set a goal to continue your regular family meals. If this isn't possible, work in  an evening snack or quick breakfast in the morning. Appreciate and recognize the quality of this time, be present in that moment. If you have children, they will benefit from as little distractions. Engage & communicate with them, you will all benefit from this time.   Reevaluate your schedule for areas that may need modifications. For instance, if you've moved farther from school or work, you may need extra time in the morning to start the day, or start dinner later than before.   Adhere to your workouts and fitness routines. Modify them during the move if you are just too busy. There are many options online for quick workouts.   Keep your social commitments; coffee dates, dinner, happy hours etc.  
Family Moving Into New Home

Family Moving Into New Home

Moving with children.

  Make the moving process as smooth as possible for your children. If age-appropriate, involve them in the packing. Get an overnight bag or tote together with items that are special to your child and make sure to keep it close to them throughout the duration of the move.   They may have plenty of questions, be sure to take them all seriously, even the silly ones! Unpack and organize during the day (while they are in school) or after the kids go to bed.     night-ball-tennis-eyes-75346

Moving with your pets.

  Keep feeding time and routine walks or bedtimes consistent.   Place beds, food dishes in similar areas in the new or temporary home. This will help to make them feel at home more quickly.   Limit anxiety. Separate them from the chaos of moving  and introduce them to the home once you've unpacked or secure an area where they can't get lost and avoid getting hurt during the packing, moving and unpacking processes. Give them extra love!   For more tips, check out; 7 Tips for Moving With Your Pet.     pexels-photo-131979

Update your routine.

  “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein   Set new personal or family goals. Fit items into your daily routine to apply and work towards your goals. Get started on this early on after your move and before you realize it, you are on your way to a new comfort zone.   Keeping up on a routine provides structure, build good habits and increases efficiency. Get started now!   Get started:  
  • Develop a routine spreadsheet
  • Document your current routine
  • Choose a personal or family goal
  • Create a new routine to include your goal
  Adhere to your new routine daily.    "The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen." - Lee Iacocca   For more tips on moving: A helpful move-in checklist.
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