I look forward to Super Bowl Weekend each year, but not for the same reasons you do. My annual tradition is visiting a Home Depot during the game. There’s no one there but me, plus store clerks whose only job is to serve me personally. It’s the one day a year this old handyman can experience the glamorous life of that lone shopper you’ll see when you visit Plaza Frontenac.
But while your humble correspondent was not destined by fate to live in the lap of luxury, that does not mean Fix St Louis can’t share helpful ideas with those of you who do.
It’s true that a seat at the Super Bowl is a coveted luxury item. But what if I could show you an alternative Super Bowl seat that, at a Suggested Retail Price of about $10,000, costs much less than a scalped ticket, plus you can enjoy it throughout the year?
My hunt for a better Super Bowl led me to the Kohler showroom in Ladue where, to their great credit, I was greeted enthusiastically by consultants Annie, Elizabeth, Katie, and Megan, even though my handyman uniform must have suggested I wasn’t that lone shopper from Plaza Frontenac.
They introduced me to the Kohler Numi (see video below). And, I must say, for a handyman like me, this was almost like looking at the very face of God. Let me tell you what this toilet does:
When you approach this toilet, the toilet seat opens by itself, so you don’t have to do any “heavy lifting.” I can’t recall if it has built-in gender recognition to know how many lids and seats to lift. But I do recall that when you leave, the seat lowers itself, forever solving women’s biggest complaint about men. And I also remember that it has what I will call an “aiming light” on the INSIDE of the bowl, going a long way towards solving women’s SECOND biggest complaint about men.
Maybe this is just a Euro thing this handyman will never understand, but it has a built-in bidet, and it points in TWO directions (don’t ask). But, that’s not all. This bidet has a BLOW DRYER! Geez, all they need to do is spray-on a final coat of hot wax and you’d have a complete car wash for your nether regions. Well, except for the guys at the end rubbing you down with rags.
Oh no, we are not nearly done. Wouldn’t you enjoy built-in lighting on the side of the toilet, with the option of changing the light’s color? How about built-in speakers and Bluetooth technology that allow you to play music from a portable device? Not to mention a heated seat and a heated foot warmer, each with adjustable temperatures. You can even enter user profiles of up to six throne-sitters, each of whom can have different settings.
Yes, the Kohler Numi seems to be the next best thing to having someone else go to the bathroom for you.
So this year, make a point of sitting out the NFL Super Bowl. Instead, visit the Kohler showroom at 9929 Clayton Rd. Tell the consultants you would like to take a “test drive” on the Kohler Numi, although be aware that the other customers might find this disturbing.
And otherwise, if the less-than-Super Bowls in your house run, leak, don’t flush properly, or in other ways misbehave, just remember. We at Fix St Louis KNOW toilets. We spend half our working lives with our heads in them. I’m sure we can fix or replace yours.
P.S. You can watch the best Super Bowl ad ever by clicking on the picture below. You’ll never see toilets and romance combined more seamlessly. Come to think of it, combined at all.
You’re a busy person, and you keep a tight schedule. You make firm appointments with just about everyone — your doctor, hair dresser, pilates instructor, even your friends.
But when it comes to handymen and contractors, for some reason that’s a different story — you just hand over all control of your schedule to them. They say “yeah, it looks like we can start about 3 weeks from now, give or take.” Or, in the best case, “we’ll show-up a week from Tuesday, maybe sometime in the morning.”
And you go, “sure, I’ll just wait until the last minute to find out when you’re coming, then rearrange my appointments with everyone who is less important than you are, including my doctor, hair dresser, pilates instructor, and friends.”
Now, we at Fix St Louis are the odd-handyman-out on this one. Unlike virtually everyone else, we propose and get your agreement to firm dates and times. And even more amazing given the level of dysfunction in our industry, we actually SHOW-UP at those firm dates and times — unless it’s obvious to everyone that it would be crazy to do that job in that weather.
So, we make your life easier by letting you schedule around our work. And we also give you confidence that, unlike some others, we will actually show-up.
So, why is Fix St Louis just about the only one who does this? Here’s some reasons.
Look, it’s understandable why you would put-up with the uncertainty of when you’ll get your COVID shot. But, there’s an easy fix for dealing with the uncertainty of a handyman’s start date. Call Fix St Louis .
Congratulations, homeowners! After last year you are now the world’s leading expert on the limitations of your house.
There were more meals in the kitchen as restaurants and school cafeterias shut-down. There was more business and school work done from home, as you scrambled to find any space quiet enough, bright enough, and with enough cables and outlets to actually get anything done. There was more noise and less privacy with everyone home at the same time.
So you learned you could use a bigger house. But you’re NOT gonna move. That’s crazy talk.
But there’s good news. Inside your house is a hidden, bigger house. It’s lurking in all the space that is now unfinished or underutilized. Fix St Louis can help you put these spaces to work, making your house a whole lot bigger.
Fix St Louis can convert just about any space in your house to make it suitable for business or school work. We can add electrical outlets, technology jacks, surface-mounted or recessed ceiling light fixtures, and spruce-up that wall behind your desk so that your co-workers can see you as an upstanding human being, and not a survivalist holed-up in a basement.
Imagine if instead of that unfinished basement you had a cheerful playroom. Or an entertainment room with a big screen TV. Or a workshop. Fix St Louis can convert those dreary Soviet-style concrete walls and floors into clean, comfortable, and uplifting places.
As things seemed to get tighter and tighter with everyone home, you may have become more aware of the shelves, closets, and floorspace filled with stuff that is rarely used and in the way. Fix St Louis can build shelving in your garage, or even convert that space above your cars into a storage loft, complete with a pull-down ladder.
We can double the size of your clothes closets by installing a clothes rod at the top, and another immediately below. We can add shelves to any closet, removing clothes rods as necessary. And if you have a room that for some strange reason does not even HAVE a closet, we can build walls with a door to create one.
Hey, Fix St Louis has just showed you how to move to a new house, maybe 25% bigger, without moving at all! Well maybe just one move. Get up, find your cell phone that’s hidden under all that clutter, and call Fix St Louis!
If you needed another reason to believe this year was different, here it is.
In days of yore, Fix St Louis was able to provide an extended “FIXmas Season,” offering you a couple of pre-holiday months to catch up on your home repairs before Christmas guests arrived.
But we just looked at our schedule and realized – yikes! — we’re now booking jobs into mid-December! We feel for those whose jobs in other industries have been hurt by all these lockdowns. But for Fix St Louis, more people at home has meant more people seeing things they want fixed in their homes.
How many “shopping days” are left before we can’t perform your repairs before Christmas? Hard to say, but it’s sure gonna come a lot earlier this year.
So, if you are planning to have Christmas guests, and want to get these repairs done beforehand, pick-up a phone RIGHT NOW, give us a call to set-up a free estimate, and do your best to garble through your face mask something intelligible to our customer service rep. Here are some of the more popular small jobs folks ask for this time of year:
— Bathroom Sinks: malfunctioning pop-up drain stoppers, leaky faucets, dripping pipe beneath sink.
— Doors: doors that don’t close/latch properly, off-track closet doors, weatherstripping.
— Doorbells: doorbells that haven’t worked for years, or don’t have video.
— Ceiling stains: Ominous yellow stains on downstairs ceilings that may be caused by the toilet above (yuck!).
— Garbage disposals: you’ll need a properly working one for those guest meals.
And while you’re at it, why not invite us over for a free estimate on larger projects you’ve been putting off, to kick-off after the holidays? Great way to get next year off to a great start.
So get in touch with us right away, when we still have slots on our schedule. Just a few more days for us to guarantee that our Fix St Louis home repair elves can beat your Christmas guests to your front door.
They said we just needed 2 weeks to flatten the curve, and you believed them.
So to continue your job virtually, you moved your computer to the basement, where you wouldn’t be disturbed by your newly at-home kids. You found and dusted off an old desk and desk lamp from your storage room, and ran extension cords to it from all over the basement. You pointed the Zoom camera back at yourself, and the roughly-painted wall behind you that was decorated with a mounted shelf with your grandmother’s Precious Moments and Cherished Teddies collections, and a poster of fallen Cardinals home run hero Mark McGuire.
But just about now, the virtual reality of it all is about to set in. This is going to be your PERMANENT office for 1, 2, or maybe even 5 days per week. Forever. Shattering dreams of someday having your feet up on a desk in a corner office. And while it may be slightly better than that Dilbert cubicle you were working in, your self-respect and your mother-in-law require you to do better than this.
You need a makeover. And while an old handyman like yours truly might not be the first person to come to mind when thinking of a “makeover,” in the year 2020 anything is now possible. So, let’s pretend Fix St Louis has a magic wand, and you are Cinderella toiling at a virtual office instead of scrubbing floors.
Good grief, what are those incoming Zoomers to think when their minds momentarily drift away from your important pronouncements, look past your silhouette, and study your wall? Does it reinforce the idea that you are a competent, well-credentialed professional who has his/her act together in work, personal, and family life?
Fix St Louis can help transform that wall into one you might EXPECT to see in an office. We can paint it, panel it, or even shiplap it (for those Joanna Gaines Fixer Upper fans out there). We can hang shelves, pictures, diplomas, or other objects to make you seem like a smarter, kinder, more virtuous, or more successful person. We can even assemble inexpensive IKEA shelving units, so that you don’t have to embarrass yourself in front of some stupid androgynous instruction manual stick figure.
Today’s virtual office warrior needs a whole lot of electrical outlets. There’s desktop computers, monitors, laptops, phones, modems, bluetooth devices, and more. If you’re lucky, there’s an outlet on the wall directly behind you, and not 6′ away. Even then, chances are it’s just a duplex outlet with only 2 places for plugs, assuming neither of them are the type of plug that’s part of a bulky transformer box. Fix St Louis can install new wall outlets, in the right place on the wall, and with 4 or more places to plug-in. We can also hide those non-power coaxial TV cables, and a/v and Ethernet wires behind walls and drop or drywall ceilings.
Fix St Louis can put a light on the ceiling above your desk, so that you have adequate lighting and can use the space on the desk now taken-up by a lamp. We can also install a ceiling fan somewhere else in the room, where it won’t blow all the papers off your desk, assuming paper is still a thing.
Maybe you’re now working in a basement with a yucky bathroom you’ve never fixed-up because there was never a compelling reason to — until now. Changing out the sink/vanity, medicine cabinet, and light fixtures can make an enormous difference.
And while you’re at it, if you’re changing out the vanity, you might as well have Fix St Louis install new vinyl plank flooring at the same time. Usually, installation is surprisingly inexpensive because it can simply be laid over the existing floor, it requires no fasteners or adhesive, and you don’t need much flooring to cover the small floor space. BONUS: You’ll be converting your basement into an acceptable living space for guests.
Let’s look at the bright side. You’ve lost some or all of your commute. You’ve got a full house to work in that includes a kitchen. And, you’re not limited by the unexceptional, standard-issue space, furniture, decorations, and utilities provided in a nondescript office building. Let Fix St Louis turn your office into a place fit for a Prince or Princess, and the envy of every mean Cinderella step-sister.
Just about every day I listen to stories from homeowners puzzled by the behavior of a past or would-be handyman. Why did they never hear back from him? Why did he suddenly quit before the job was finished? When will he ever return to fix the thing that immediately broke again?
You know, I hate to be the one who has to stick-up for lawyers, but when it comes to those who maintain a good social distance from the truth, lawyers are mere amateurs. Generally speaking, a handyman is a better target for that old joke about you can always tell he’s lying “when his lips are moving.” But, what’s a homeowner to do these days, with handymen now wearing masks covering their mouths, when even THAT clue can’t help you?
So today, we at Fix St Louis are pleased to deliver this very short online class. The topic is how to translate the garbling coming from behind the mask of your handyman into the truth. Just to be clear, NONE of this applies to Fix St Louis. We’re the folks trying to professionalize the infamous handyman industry, remember?
Introduction: The First Principle of the Handyman Industry
“The value of your job to the handyman, and his associated willingness to achieve customer satisfaction, are directly proportional to how big your job is versus his other jobs.”
So, if you have a relatively small job, your “customer service” (geez, am I being kind here) will generally be worse than a customer with a bigger job. That means things like later start dates, longer times to finish, less competitive pricing, reluctance to return to fix subsequent quality issues, and lack of responsiveness to phone calls and emails.
Handyman: “Great! We’ll start your job in about 3 weeks, depending on how fast we finish our other jobs between now and then.”
Oh, that’s a good one, always makes me laugh like hearing it for the very first time! What this really means is we’ll start your job in about 3 weeks depending upon whether any BIGGER jobs pop-up between now and then. Now you may think, well that’s OK because he didn’t ask me for any money in advance. But as a result, you actually HAVE no agreement, and he may never call you back at all – while you Mr/Ms Honest Homeowner, have in effect made a commitment to not hiring anyone else. It may seem counterintuitive, but assuming the handyman is not a crook (beware: we believe ~25% are convicted felons), you are better off paying money in advance because then at least you do have some kind of legally enforceable commitment. Assuming you’re into that lawyer kind of thing. Or you can just call Fix St Louis – we provide firm start dates so you can just put us in your calendar, schedule around us, and stop thinking about it.
Handyman: “Sorry, I’m going to have to take a few days off to go to the out-of-town funeral of a Great Aunt.”
Let me start by apologizing for what I’m about to say to that infinitesimally small number of you out there who have large extended families where EVERYONE gets along and SOMEBODY in that family keeps meticulous family trees – these remarks are not meant for you. But for everyone else, this just means you are being bumped by a handyman’s customer who has a bigger job, and it’s possible you will NEVER see him again. I’ve got news for you. NOBODY knows what a Great Aunt is. Even if they did, NOBODY could figure out who she is. NOBODY would take a few days off and forgo their wages to mourn her. And NOBODY would travel out of town to attend her funeral. Nothing against Great Aunts, but how could they be THAT “great”?
Handyman: “Sure, we’d be glad to change that light bulb. That will cost you $500.”
Yeah, I made this one easy on purpose. Unless that light bulb is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and illuminates God’s finger reaching out to Adam, changing a light bulb should not cost that much. But some handymen think quoting outrageous prices on small jobs is a win-win situation for them. If their bid is rejected they didn’t have to explain the job was too small to interest them. But if the bid is accepted the money is worth it. Unfortunately, for most jobs you may not even KNOW what a reasonable price is. So either get additional bids, or call a company that cares about building up a portfolio of happy repeat customers and wants to keep its great reputation. Oh, coincidentally, have I mentioned Fix St Louis?
Geez, this online teaching is exhausting! I don’t know how the school teachers do it. So everyone, you can take off your masks now. Be sure to maintain appropriate distances from normal people and suspicious handymen.