Saturday, October 29, 2022

Things You Didn't Know About Alaska | E-Neighborhood Advisor

On October 18, 1867, the U.S. formally took possession of Alaska after purchasing the territory from Russia. Here are things you probably don't know about the largest state in North America... It reached 100 degrees in Alaska – Once Over a hundred years ago, in 1914, Fort Yukon recorded an official temperature of 100 degrees, according to USA Today. Believe it or not, that mark of 100 degrees ties the all-time high temperature in the state of Hawaii. Not surprisingly, Alaska also holds the record for the lowest temperature ever observed in the United States. That bone-chilling figure of -79.8 degrees was recorded in the mountains of northern Alaska in 1971. Japan Attacked Alaska During World War II You thought Pearl Harbor was the only major attack on U.S. soil during World War II? Nope! The Japanese attacked Alaska during World War II. On June 6, 1942, the Japanese attacked Attu and Kiska, two of the Aleutian Islands. They held them for months, enslaving the small number of residents. American troops arrived to take back the islands, but they were woefully unprepared for the Alaskan climate. The ensuing battle lasted 15 days and resulted in 2,650 Japanese and 549 American deaths, a total higher than the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Most of Alaska is Inaccessible by Car At least 75% of the state is unreachable by car. Instead, snowmobiles and bush planes are typically used for travel. Because many of the highways are only two lanes, there's a law requiring drivers to pull over if at least five vehicles are behind them to allow faster traffic to pass. North America's Strongest Earthquake Was in Alaska A 9.2 earthquake struck Prince William Sound off the Alaska coast on March 27, 1964. It was the largest ever recorded in North America. It lasted more than four minutes and produced more than 10,000 aftershocks in the ensuing days. Approximately 130 people died from the resulting tsunamis in Alaska, Oregon, and California. Anchorage was severely damaged, and some communities southeast of the city saw the land drop by up to eight feet. The Purchase of Alaska Was a Real Bargain Alaska is home to the country's best real estate bargain. In 1867, the United States bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, which is a lot less than some celebrity homes these days. Some mocked the purchase because the land was considered worthless, so they called it "Seward's Folly" after William Seward, Secretary of State, brokered the deal. Those who mocked it might have changed their minds if they had known gold and oil would be discovered years later, producing billions in tax revenue each year. Two of my best friends growing up here in Meridian lived there for about 4-5 years each, and they both liked it, but I think they were ready for a change and have since moved out of state. Have you ever lived in Alaska? How did you like it? Your Flooring Consultant, Matt Capell Email: Phone (208) 288-0151 P.S. Here's a joke for you! "You might be Alaskan if....You owe more money on your snow machine than your car." You can read more like this from this link:

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

How to Create a Relaxing Home Environment When It's Also Your Office - Capell Flooring


How to Create a Relaxing Home Environment When It's Also Your Office

One common complaint of Portland virtual workers is difficulty separating work and personal life. It is often hard to relax when you are tempted to complete one more work task despite the late hour. Here are a few suggestions from Capell Flooring and Interiors to help you create a relaxing home environment and an efficient home office. 

Dedicate Home Office Space 

The best way to separate your home and work life is to create a dedicated home office. You don't need a large room to accomplish this as a desk and a chair are all you need. Your goal is to keep everything related to work in this room with a door to close during non-working hours.


If no room is available, look around for usable space. For example, a walk-in closet or an alcove below a staircase works. Likewise, a corner of a large room can be transformed into an office with a room divider to give it some separation. 

Create a Comfortable Home Office

One significant advantage of working from home is setting up your office space to be comfortable and reflect your style. Buying ergonomic furniture is a must to avoid unnecessary stress on your back and neck. It's best to visit a furniture store and try out several chairs and desks to ensure you get the right fit. 

To eliminate eye strain, outfit your office space with ample lighting in a style that appeals to you. An upward-shining floor lamp illuminates without a glare on your screen or casting shadows on your room. Add an adjustable desk lamp to use when you are doing focus-intensive paperwork. 

Free Your Home From Clutter 

Decluttering is the first step in creating a relaxing home space. Research shows that a cluttered home limits your brain's ability to focus causes guilt for not dealing with the problem, and leads to stress and depression. Take the first step by committing to spend one hour conquering the clutter in one room. The joy and peace you experience while in the new tidy space should motivate you to tackle the rest of the house.


Once the clutter is gone, do a deep clean on your home. Dust all the surfaces, polish the cabinets, wipe down all your appliances and clean your windows inside and out. Vacuum and clean all your floors, and don't neglect your rugs. If necessary, contact a professional cleaning service to take care of them! 

Go Back to School 

The thought of going back to school might not sound particularly relaxing, but remember, the goal is to give yourself – and your business – every advantage while reducing long-term stress as much as possible, and a great way to do that is by arming yourself for success with a degree in accounting. That’ll remove a lot of the anxiety and guesswork that surround the financial side of things, allowing you to focus more on what matters most to you. 

Add Indoor Plants 

House plants are more than just pretty to look at; they improve the air quality in your home, boost your creativity, reduce stress, and improve your mood. If you don't have a green thumb, adding plant life pictures to your walls can give you the same relaxing ambiance.

Install a Backyard Oasis

Enjoy the beautiful Portland scenery by installing an oasis in your backyard. Start with some comfortable chairs and ottomans to sink into at the end of your workday. If you are a foodie, consider installing an outdoor kitchen. A large grill with a range hood, a sink, and a refrigerator are the essentials you need to cook outdoors and entertain at the same time. 

Follow these tips to give yourself every advantage when it comes to setting up an efficient and comfortable home office, not to mention being able to feel and do your best work! 

Capell Flooring and Interiors has been serving flooring clients in the Boise Area & the Treasure Valley since 1974. Call 208-288-0151.


Image via Pexels

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Nobody likes self-checkout. Here's why it's everywhere. | E-Neighborhood Advisor

In 2020, 29% of transactions at food retailers were processed through self-checkout, up from 23% the year prior, according to the latest data from food industry association FMI. This raises the question: why is this often problematic, unloved technology taking over retail? CNN Business reports that the introduction of self-checkout machines in 1986 was part of a long history of stores transferring work from paid employees to unpaid customers, a practice that dates all the way back to Piggly Wiggly — the first self-service supermarket — in the early 1900s. Instead of clerks behind a counter gathering products for customers, Piggly Wiggly allowed shoppers to roam the aisles, pick items off the shelves and pay at the register. In exchange for doing more work, the model promised lower prices. Self-checkout, however, was designed primarily to lower stores' labor expenses. The system reduced cashier costs by as much as 66%, according to a 1988 article in the Miami Herald. But self-checkout did not revolutionize the grocery store. Many customers balked at doing more work in exchange for benefits that weren't entirely clear. It took a decade for Walmart to test self-checkout. Only in the early 2000s did the trend pick up more widely at supermarkets looking to cut costs during the 2001 recession and faced stiff competition from emergent superstores and warehouse clubs. A 2003 Nielsen survey found that 52% of shoppers considered self-checkout lanes to be "okay," while 16% said they were "frustrating." Thirty-two percent of shoppers called them "great." The mixed response led some grocery chains, including Costco, Albertsons, and others, to pull out the self-checkout machines.
Walkaways The move to self-checkout has created unintended consequences for stores as well. Retailers found self-checkout stations were not autonomous and required regular maintenance and supervision. Although self-checkout counters eliminated some of the tasks of traditional cashiers, they still needed to be staffed and created a need for higher-wage IT jobs, he said. In the biggest headache for store owners, self-checkout leads to more losses due to error or theft than traditional cashiers. Customers make honest errors as well as intentionally steal at self-checkout machines. Some products have multiple barcodes or barcodes that don't scan properly. Produce, including fruit and meat, typically needs to be weighed and manually entered into the system using a code. Customers may type in the wrong code by accident. Other times shoppers won't hear the "beep" confirming an item has been scanned correctly. Other customers take advantage of the lax oversight at self-checkout aisles and have developed techniques for stealing. Common tactics include not scanning an item, swapping a cheaper item (bananas) for a more expensive one (steak), scanning counterfeit barcodes attached to their wrists, or properly scanning everything and then walking out without paying. Self-Checkout is Here to Stay Despite self-checkout's many shortcomings for customers and store owners, the trend is only growing. Walmart, Kroger, and Dollar General are piloting exclusively self-checkout stores. Costco and Albertsons have brought self-checkout back after removing it years ago. Amazon has taken the concept a step further with cashier-less Amazon Go stores. It may simply be too late for stores to turn their back on self-checkout. Today's stores cater to shoppers who perceive self-checkout to be faster than traditional cashiers, even though there's little evidence to support that. But, because customers are doing the work, rather than waiting in line, the experience can feel like it's moving more quickly. Store owners have also seen competitors installing self-checkout and determined they don't want to miss out. Covid-19 has also hastened the spread of self-checkout. During the pandemic, many customers opted for self-service to avoid close interactions with cashiers and baggers. And challenges in hiring and retaining workers have led stores to rely on the machines more heavily to get customers through the door. Personally, I didn't like self-checkout when they first came out, but I have warmed up to them now that I understand them better. My wife and I have a system and we can get through them pretty quickly now. How do you feel about them? Good, Bad, Indifferent - I'm always curious for feedback. Your Flooring Consultant, Matt Capell Email: Phone (208) 288-0151 P.S. Here's a joke for you! How does Zorro pay for his groceries at the self-service checkout? On card!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Harsh Truths That Will Improve Your Leadership Skills Overnight | E-Neighborhood Advisor

Remember those old, scratchy vinyl records that would skip and play the same thing repeatedly until you moved the needle? Well, the Gallup Organization has been playing a tune for over three decades, which sure sounds like a scratchy record that won't move forward. You know it well—roughly 30 percent of U.S. employees are engaged in their work. But here's the part of the song that keeps skipping incessantly: People leave managers, not companies. Inc. magazine tells us that we've known this for a while, and yet, we can't seem to solve the leadership crisis that will result in happy, engaged, and motivated workers. That's because most people in positions of power don't clearly understand what it truly takes to influence others. You don't manage people; you lead people and manage the work. Brutal Truths About Leadership 1. Good leaders will first pump the fear out of the room. In traditional top-down power structures, bosses cast a vision and then use positional power and control to move people to carry out the vision. Fear is par for the course as the primary motivator. In today's social economy, servant leaders will cast a company vision and enroll their followers to express their voices as co-creators and co-contributors to the vision. And their first priority is creating psychological safety among their tribes: They pump the fear out of the room and liberate their people to freely collaborate, innovate, and engage. 2. Good leadership doesn't happen without trust. Every leader must ask a fundamental, look-in-the-mirror question: "Does my behavior increase trust?" Trust is a pillar your leadership should stand on if you consider elevating your leadership skills. In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey highlights several trusting leadership behaviors great companies are known for, including: - Create transparency - Confront reality - Practice accountability - Talk straight - Right wrongs 3. Good leaders are willing to listen to feedback. Many leaders don't want to listen to others' ideas, opinions, and constructive feedback about their leadership. For such leaders, cutting themselves off means operating in an ego system, not an ecosystem. A leader who listens well, on the other hand, is open and accountable; they filter out criticism or drama and find the facts to respond appropriately to serve the needs of others. They probe and ask questions until they get clarification; they listen to understand—with a focus on the future, not on a rehash of the past.
4. Good leaders are positive, even when things go wrong. Good leaders practice positive thinking. They view stressful situations more positively, which takes emotional intelligence. Rather than getting stressed out about a work situation or a recent failure, they see it as an opportunity to pause, regroup, learn, grow, and bounce back with renewed energy and focus. This can have a profound effect on one's emotional and physical well-being. Leaders who maintain a positive attitude and practice positive thinking experience less stress than those who are pessimistic, narrow-minded, and negative. 5. Good leaders rarely, if ever, procrastinate. Good leaders are "do-it-now" people. They don't put things off until the last minute, which is a sure way to increase stress levels. Good leaders begin doing what they know they should do and when they know they should do it. They anticipate problems when issues arise and address them head-on before they escalate. 6. Good leaders put strict boundaries on themselves. Billionaire Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway learned a long time ago that the greatest commodity of all is time. One of his secrets to success? He simply mastered the practice of setting boundaries for himself. The mega-mogul once said: The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything. They say no to opportunities and things that don't excite them, speak to their values or further their mission in life. They say no to spending time with uninspiring, critical, or negative people who drag them down. They say no to overworking and neglecting self-care and family. They recognize that everything else suffers if they can't care for themselves. 7. Leadership, in the end, is really about love. We often view any notion of leadership and love through the spiritual teachings of historical and religious figures like Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. But another unlikely icon from the past—legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi—didn't mince words in defining how he led with love. He said: "I don't necessarily have to like my players and associates, but as their leader, I must love them. Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual." This is the strength of any organization. Love in the leadership-at-work sense is not a feeling; it's expressed as an "action verb." It's love that shows up in meeting the needs of others to get results, clearing obstacles from people's paths, and empowering others to succeed and grow as workers and human beings. It has intrinsic value for both leader and employee. Ultimately, this kind of love defines some of the best CEOs on the planet. I like to read books on leadership on a regular basis. I'm far from perfect, but I find the subject fascinating. Thanks for reading and I wish you a wonderful weekend! Your Flooring Consultant, Matt Capell Email: Phone (208) 288-0151 P.S. Here's a joke for you! The interviewer asked me to show him an example of leadership skills. "OK," I replied. "I'm hired."

Saturday, October 8, 2022

50 More Ways to Slightly Improve Your Life | E-Neighborhood Advisor

Like the last list, I don't necessarily agree with all of the previous ideas, but there is definitely some good food for thought. I hope you are enjoying your Saturday, and here the list goes: 1. If something in the world is making you angry, write (politely) to your elected officials – they will read it. 2. Say hello to your neighbors. (Or wave to them too) 3. Learn the basics of repairing your clothes. 4. Always bring something – dessert, flowers – to a dinner/birthday party, even if they say not to. 5. Learn the names of 10 trees. 6. Call an old friend out of the blue. 7. Every so often, search your email for the word "unsubscribe" and then use it on as many as you can. (Except this email, of course ;) ) 8. Buy a newspaper. 9. Always have dessert. 10. Drop your shoulders. 11. Make something from scratch. It works best if you normally buy something, such as a dress or a bag. 12. Go to bed earlier – but don't take your phone with you. 13. Volunteer... 14. Dry your cutlery with a cloth (it keeps it shiny). 15. Instead of buying a morning coffee, set aside $2 and forget about it. Use it to treat yourself to something different later. 16. Don't save things for the "best." Wear them – enjoy them. 17. Sing! 18. Think about your posture: don't slouch, and don't cross your legs. 19. Hang your clothes up on non-wire hangers (it's better for them). 20. Go swimming with friends. 21. Switch your phone off on holiday (or at least delete your work email app). 22. Always use freshly ground pepper. 23. Thank a teacher who changed your life. 24. Respect your youngers. (I would say respect everyone too) 25. Keep your keys in the same place.
26. Ditch the plastic cartons and find a milkman. 27. Rent rather than buy a suit/dress for that forthcoming wedding (even if it's your own). 28. Always book an extra day off after a holiday. 29. Ignore the algorithm – listen to music outside your usual taste. 30. Mute or leave a WhatsApp group chat. 31. Learn a TikTok dance (but don't post it on TikTok). 32. Cook something you've never attempted before. 33. Join a local litter-picking group. 34. Handwash that thing you've never cleaned. 35. Don't get a pet/do get a pet. 36. Nap. 37. Learn how to breathe deeply: in through the nose, out through the mouth, making the exhale longer than the inhale. 38. Buy a bike and use it. Learn how to fix it, too. 39. Politely decline invitations if you don't want to go. 40. If you do go, have an exit strategy (can we recommend a French exit, where you slip out unseen). 41. If in doubt, add cheese. 42. Don't look at your phone at dinner. 43. Do that one thing you've been putting off. (That sounds like a fortune cookie) 44. Give compliments widely and freely. 45. Set up an affordable standing donation to a charity. 46. Keep a book in your bag to avoid the temptation to doomscroll. 47. Listen to the albums you loved as a teenager. 48. Make a friend from a different generation. 49. Staying over at a friend's place? Strip the bed in the morning. 50. For instant cheer, wear yellow. Did you try any of the 50 suggestions last month? I'm still working on some, I need to do some of these too. I'm always up for an experiment and working on being a better person than I was the day before. Have a wonderful Saturday! Your Flooring Consultant, Matt Capell Email: Phone (208) 288-0151 P.S. Here is joke for you! There are two kinds of people. Some wash their dishes because they just ate; the others wash their dishes because they are just about to eat.