Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Barking Dogs in The Woodlands Texas - How to remedy

Technology is making a difference and giving residents new options to resolve issues with neighbors, especially with dogs that incessantly bark and interrupt sleep or lower the quality of living in the household. In no residential neighborhood is it acceptable for a domestic animal to be the cause of insomnia or inability to concentrate on activities within the home. Here in The Woodlands, we expect a quiet place to live, especially inside the home. So what can be done about a barking dog? Call the police? Nope. They should come only as a last resort, so I will give you some proven remedies to try before you would do this. There is no ordinance for this in The Woodlands or in Montgomery County, and it looks like there is no need for an ordinance to control this issue. If someone's dog barks, I recommend trying a new device. I think I would not even talk to the neighbor, just do it. Stressing relationships over a dog's bark is not required and not desired. Save yourself from conflicts with your neighbors. But if it comes to that, I will give some more advice later about an available service that could help with that issue in this article.

We have had no-bark collars available for years now, but that is a cruel way to try to quiet an animal. Electric shocks are not a natural way to control a bark. We now have a more natural means to do this, by sound. There are two methods that I know about.

One such method is new a new technology that was introduced to me by a neighbor. It is a birdhouse! Yes, I fell over too when she told me that. I sort of smiled and said, what did you have to drink this morning? Well, I guess that was not the thing to say. She was simply beaming with new found joy about this birdhouse. OK, I said, since she was being serious and so happy, how does this work? It emits a high frequency noise response to a dog's bark. It is directional, so when the dog barks, it is not responding to other animals which might also be affected by the response. The barking was killing me! she said. Now, the dog doesn't seem to make a sound. The neighborhood is quiet again and the dog is apparently outside the same amount of time. It would not shut up before!

Knowing this and having visited the supplier's website, as this neighbor suggested, I have discovered a new product that looks like a birdhouse, blending in the environment perfectly. What a perfect solution for The Woodlands. It is suggested that the batteries for it be purchased from the same source unless you have some 9v batteries hanging around the house somewhere, unused.
Ultrasound Dog Bark Birdhouse

OK, so you now have a problem with your neighbor. You went to the neighbor complaining and got into an argument about this or you said, "I should not have to buy one of these. It is your fault that I am having this problem and you should fix the problem!" Oops. Now you have to mend the fences so to speak, and you need some help with this. If you do need help out of this situation, there is a service in Conroe to mend problems with any person-to-person issues where you and the person cannot resolve your issues alone. Don't feel alone in this. It happens all the time.
Montgomery County Resolution Center

Now you say all of this has not worked out for you. You have taken all steps in your power to fix the problem and the neighbor will not take responsibility for his action or non-action. You are determined to get something done about this problem! Now you should document everything your have done, document the noise, and call the sheriff at the non-emergency number. They will be glad to talk to your neighbor about being a public nuisance. The noise must be greater than 85db to be able to accuse your neighbor of breaking this law. Otherwise, you are just able to get help from a law enforcement officer with the problem by him just knocking on the door. He has significant law breaking issues to deal with, so please do not call him out unless you really try to fix the problem yourself and have run out of alternatives.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Car Watch Program : prevent auto theft and burglary - Living Advice in The Woodlands Texas

This program is actually a Texas program. It is sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation. The Sheriff department and other law enforcement agencies here cannot stop an automobile without due cause unless the owner provides those agencies with permission to stop the vehicle without cause. This particular provision of state law is to help law enforcement officials catch auto thieves. The Texas Auto Burglary & Theft Prevention Authority registers vehicles through a process known as H.E.A.T. to enable law enforcement officers to suspect the vehicle is stolen between the hours of 1AM and 5AM if the car is on the road during those hours. So if you do not regularly use your vehicle between those hours and wish your car to be more visible as a possible theft, you would use this service. 1-800-CAR-WATCH or register online at H.E.A.T. This process also enables cars to fall under suspicion at the Texas Mexico border, so don't be surprised if they stop you at the border and ask additional questions or proof of ownership if the related decal is displayed on your vehicle. That is a good thing to help protect your property! A quote from the the state website: "A car is stolen in Texas every five and a half minutes. More vehicles are stolen between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. than any other time." Montgomery County participates in state wide efforts to identify and catch car thieves. It is called the Montgomery County Auto Theft Task Force. There has been a big drop in reported stolen vehicles for Texas since 2001, indicating the program is working. Also, Texas has a 74% recovery rate for stolen vehicles compared to 63% nationally. Some cars are more prone to be stolen that others. Lately, the Acura has been one of the more desired vehicles by thieves. ALso to understand that as many as 25% of 4-wheel vehicles on the road in Mexico are stolen. Mexico allows vehicles to cross into their country without being checked. Almost every vehicle that has been stolen is identified as being stolen after crossing using border surveillance equipment by the law enforcement agencies. But that does not mean the car is recoverable. Leaving your keys in your car is a class "C" misdemeanor. You can be fined up to $500 for doing so. Insurance will not pay you for damages to your car if the keys are in it. It is also a felony to operate a car without the owners permission. Keep that in mind when you borrow someone else's car. The old saying, "three strikes and you are out" applies to this. Three felonies and you lose your privileges. A related program is sponsored by this state agency - HLT, or HIDE LOCK TAKE. This program particularly pertains to The Woodlands residents. This program requests that residents help law enforcement officials by hiding your things in the car, locking your the doors to your car, and taking your keys out of the car when you leave it. Burglaries are a constant threat and an auto0moible parked in a driveway of a home is a target for mischief and theft when these precautions are ignored. Other related advice is to not park too close to the auto in front of you. Think "I need space to get out if confronted by a thief or threatened by suspicious persons nearby." Give yourself the option to leave in a bug hurry if you need to do so. While we are at this, the Sheriff's department recommends that people in this county use steering wheel locks. They are a deterrent to thieves.

Monday, June 9, 2008

How to externally clean a home of mildew and algae in The Woodlands Texas

If you live in The Woodlands under the canopy of the forest, you know that mildew and algae begs you to take action about once every year. You either call your local yard cleaning crew or give a call to a power wash specialist. You have a black driveway, green foundation, green fence and probably green siding on your home. The association may have given you a letter saying "please clean it", or your neighbors have said something like, "the color of your house is interesting", meaning of course "clean the .. thing, why don't ya!"

The good news is that it is not that difficult to do yourself. The driveway might be the toughest part if you do not have a power washer. Many have their own power washer here, so they can spend a half a day making it look good again. The professionals have a driveway washer with brushes and a power spray washer to speed up the process.

To clean your home, all you need is a ladder, a hand pump one gallon sprayer, a bottle of house bleach, a container of JOMAX concentrated house cleaner and mildew cleaner from a local hardware or building supply company. You would benefit from having a water pressure sprayer to put on your garden hose. It needs to have a narrow spray pattern so you can reach the roof of your home. I am able to spray the entire house from the ground, with the exception of one section where I climb the roof. I do the entire house in one-half day.

Put 4 cups bleach and 1 cup of JOMAX in the sprayer and add water to the one gallon marker. It is ready to go. Pump it up and spray 150 sq foot or so, letting it sit for 15 minutes. While waiting, spray some of the next section. Rinse the first section down using intense pressure, and you will probably need to repeat step one again by spraying parts of the first section with the solution again if it is truly green to start. I find myself giving almost the entire section a second treatment. Repeat the process until the entire house is completed. You can treat the windows just like they are part of the siding. Then you have a clean house except for the driveway, fence and concrete foundation. I treat the air conditioner, gas pipes and essentially everything outside with the solution. This year I tried an alternative to JOMAX - Damprid Concentrated House Cleaner. It worked just fine in the same proportions.

So what about plants? Just wet them down before you start spraying. Yes, there will probably be some bleaching of broad leafed plants, but I have yet to lose a plant from the treatment. If you have very sensitive plants, then go ahead and cover them. After you have completed the cleaning, be sure to clean out your bird feeder, dog bowls or anything that may threaten your pets or wildlife with residue from the clorox.

The additional good news is that this solution works for fences as well Use the same method and you can get quite good results. I have good luck using the same method on my concrete back porch as well.

But the driveway is typically another beast!I use only a power washer for that. It takes considerably more time and effort. So if you are going to hire this done, hire the driveway part. I usually treat the driveway with the solution also but have never noticed that it has done any good whatsoever. I also like to use a power washer at the base of the foundation where the mold and algae seem to never die. I do that every couple of years. While you at it, please clean the street and gutters in front of your house of the mildew there. One of our objectives here is to maintain the street view of the home, to keep the neighborhood clean as a unit. Black gutters leaves the appearance of dirtiness. It is up to residents to make their home pleasing to the eye. I power wash the street as well and believe it or not, the street is white underneath all that stuff.

That about wraps it up. I would caution anyone from using a power washer on wood siding and up under the eaves. You can damage the wood easily with a power washer. The chemical method is much less of a threat to the materials than the power washer which can strip the paint right off the house.