Bathe Responsibly During the Lockdown

The image of Missouri either got a big boost OR took a big hit last week, depending how you look at it. On one hand, photos from a pool party at the Lake of the Ozarks went viral, showing us to be a fun-loving bunch, and it might have offset those uncool Branson-area billboards featuring the Baldknobbers. But, unfortunately, after the pool party ended, the partiers returned home and went viral themselves.

Lake of the Ozarks Pool Party
Lake of the Ozarks Pool Party

So now we’re all being treated like a classroom where the entire class must be punished for the misbehavior of a few. In this case, the principal is your “County Executive,” who you maybe never even had heard of, and has job responsibilities you probably never understood. That is, until you learned of those unlimited powers to completely control your day-to-day life.

As punishment, we may now be held in detention even longer, delaying when we can send our kids back to school, go to restaurants that are financially viable, and go to bars to re-enact scenes from the Lake of the Ozarks, except without being waist deep in pool water.

As your humble handymen, we at Fix St Louis don’t think it’s our place to make you suffer through yet another one of those overwrought, hand-wringing expressions of sadness and lectures that are now filling your inbox, from folks you never did business with, making you wonder how they got your email address in the first place. But as a public service, just in case the pool partiers’ mistake was that they simply didn’t know of any good options to communal bathing, we would like to share with you what’s available in social distance-compliant bathtubs-for-one.

Alcove Tub

If the name “al-COVE” immediately makes you think of “Party Cove” at Lake of the Ozarks, you may not be ready for today’s lesson. These bathtubs, the most common of all tubs, are almost always 5′ long and are surrounded by 3 walls that form an alcove. Since the tub’s all hemmed-in by walls, there’s not much you can do to upgrade the tub, but you CAN make dramatic changes to those 3 walls, aka the “tub surround.” Wall tiles have gotten a lot more interesting these days. And, if you really hate the dirty and disintegrating grout between the tiles, you can replace the tiled walls with panels of “Onyx,” which is the new cultured marble. Also, if you have separate hot and cold faucet handles, we can change those to a single lever faucet. Fix St Louis can make these upgrades for you.

Alcove Tub
Alcove Tub

Drop-In Tub

If its name makes you think these tubs are for people like you, who want their friends to just come on over, drop-in, and join them in the tub, we can assure you that what happens at Fix St Louis stays in Fix St Louis. Actually, these are tubs that are carefully lowered, NOT dropped, into a platform that we can build for you. Typically, the sides and top ledges of these platforms are made of tiles or that Onyx stuff we mentioned above. Of course, you’ll need a larger than normal bathroom to pull this off, usually a master bathroom.

Drop-In Tub
Drop-In Tub

Standalone Tub

Then, there’s this tub that needs neither to be wedged-in nor dropped in. In the past, most of these tubs had legs, like those “clawfoot” tubs featuring a large bird claw grasping a ball — pretty creepy if you think too much about it. Newer versions come in all kinds of cool shapes, and often don’t have legs. Fix St Louis can install these, too.

Clawfoot Tub
Clawfoot Tub
Other Standalone Tub
Other Standalone Tub

Whirlpool Tubs

Sometimes referred to as Jacuzzi’s, which is actually a brand name, these are tubs that have jets that shoot-out hot water from the sides. Now I know that a lot of folks really like them, and we handymen are not exactly known for our appreciation of luxury items, but given the quality of the “massage” you’re gonna get from a whirlpool tub, your money might be better spent at Massage Envy/Deluxe/Whatever or for a boiling pot filled with round stones from your backyard.

You should know that Fix St Louis hears lots of stories about how excited people were when they first got a whirlpool after spending lots of money, used it only once or twice, then 2 years later, feeling guilty for not having used it since, found it no longer worked because of lack of use. Now, there’s nothing at all wrong with oversized tubs in general, but you might consider whether getting one that also shoots out hot water is worth having another motorized appliance in your house that will eventually fail.

Whirlpool Tub
Whirlpool Tub

Walk-In Tubs

These are bathtubs with doors, mostly for older folks and others who have trouble lifting-up their leg to clear the top of the tub. Maybe there’s a walk-in tub salesperson out there who wants to correct me, but I don’t get the sense that these ever took off, and I think I can guess two reasons why. First, the investment may never pay off for an elderly person with this leg problem because, pardon the expression, they’re just one step away from having to move someplace else because of mobility issues. And second, if you have to wait for all the water to drain out before leaving the tub, aren’t you going to get the chills?

Walk-In Tub
Walk-In Tub

OK class, so please resist the temptation to bathe with others until your all-powerful County Executive releases us from detention. And, if you simply MUST have a bath time companion, try a rubber ducky.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Baseball-Sized Hornets: Surviving the Next Panic-Demic

hornet

Just when you thought things were getting back to normal, THIS appears in the news earlier this week. Hornets the size of BASEBALLS have been spotted in the state of Washington. This new enemy, known as “Murder Hornets,” are ONCE AGAIN an import from Asia, where they are considered a DELICACY, possibly appearing on menus alongside pangolins and Cream of Bat soup. Is it crazy to think it’s THEIR restaurants and not ours that should be closed?

I don’t know about you, but this time we at Fix St Louis have no intention of listening to so-called “experts” who wear fabulous scarves, use models that spew-out projections off by 3 or more decimal places, and insist we’ll just have to forget granny in memory care.

No, this time we got this. Well, let’s say a combination of Fix St Louis and your choice of Bob the Bug Guy or Pete the Pest Killer got this. Yes, it’s true that this formidable team was deemed “essential” in the last pandemic, but this new threat will be OUR moment, and we are ready and prepared to be elevated to the status of your “humble heroes,” worthy of yard signs thanking us for our service.

Personally, I have every confidence that Bob and Pete will find ways to flatten whatever curve needs flattening, kill off Murder Hornets, and slow down their breeding. This seems pretty doable if you look at that picture above, and wonder if they’re even CAPABLE of attracting mates.

The indispensable role of Fix St Louis will be to maintain appropriate “social distancing” between you and the Murder Hornets. Now, we’re sure we’d have no trouble convincing YOU to comply with staying at least 6′ away from a Murder Hornet. But, not to brag, Fix St Louis has had quite a bit of experience engaging in confrontations and delicate negotiations with hornets, particularly when we work on your decks. And, our “models” show that trying to talk sense to THEM only makes them madder.

Our main weapon against Murder Hornets is our “screening program.” One of these options may be right for you:

  • Window Screens – Fix St Louis can replace the torn mesh on your window screens.
  • Storm Window Screens – We can build and install missing framed screens for your storm window tracks, and also fix torn mesh.
  • Patio Screen Doors – We can repair poorly functioning sliding screen doors, replace missing doors, and fix torn mesh.
  • Storm Doors – In addition to repairing torn screen mesh, we can replace your storm doors with newer, easier-to-use models that allow you to convert between glass and screens by sliding, rather than removing panels.
  • Screened Porches – A lot of folks despair when they see holes and tears in the large screen panels of their screened porches, thinking it’s a very big deal to fix them, because the screens are somehow built into the wood or aluminum framing. No problem, Fix St Louis can handle these, too.

Finally, a panic-demic where the cure is not worse than the disease. Not only will Fix St Louis fixing your screens keep out Murder Hornets, it will also keep out flies, mosquitos, and those mysteriously-appearing lady bugs and stink bugs. And unless you have a thing for Asian delicacies, you aren’t likely to miss any of them.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Quarantine Days sales event ending soon!: Repairs without time away from the office

Folks seem surprised to learn it’s been pretty much business-as-usual at Fix St Louis, and even MORE surprised it’s because handymen have been recognized as “essential” by just about every state in the union. Yes, we have been appointed to today’s pantheon of heroes, which has membership qualifications that range from the indisputable to the debatable, and now includes truckers, marijuana retailers, and grocery store clerks. 

But even though “essential” might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about your humble correspondent, I promise we won’t let it get to our heads, which will never swell large enough to keep us from poking them into your toilets.

In fact, some of you have found these quarantine days among the BEST days to have Fix St Louis over. Especially those who are reluctant to take time away from the office, and prefer to be home the entire time we work, even though our criminal background checks and insurance make that unnecessary.

We’ve been doing our best to take BOTH the germs AND the “phobe” out of geromphobia. We’ve even introduced a comprehensive “Stay-Away-From-Me” program that we’re certain would be approved by the CDC, if they weren’t so busy on other things:

Inside Job Program

We swear, Fix St Louis technicians won’t come within 6 feet of you and your family members. It’s not that you smell bad or we don’t like you – we just want everyone to be safe. Beyond that, we’ve been accommodating all kinds of requests. For masks, just tell us what role you want our technicians to play – surgeon, bandana-faced stage coach robber, Phantom of the Opera, Dr Deborah Birx with a fabulous designer face-scarf – you name it and we will make every effort to comply.

Brick House Pig Program

If you REALLY don’t want Fix St Louis in your home, not even by the hair on your chinny chin chin, it doesn’t mean you can’t get the home repairs you need done. How about that deck outside that needs rotted boards replaced or could use staining? Those front porch columns that have deteriorated baseboards? That rotted white trim on the sides of your entry and garage doors? That detaching or fallen panel of siding? That thin sheet of metal, you didn’t know was even there, that fell from the angled side of your roof? Believe me, between emails, texts, speaking on the phone, and playing charades through the glass on your patio door, we can find a way to communicate.

Restraining Order-Level Program

There are even repairs we can handle for you that don’t require us to get anywhere CLOSE to your house. How about that broken, rusted, or leaning mailbox that has the neighbors wondering whether or not you really have your act together? Or that leaning fence, or broken gate? For these more remote repairs, let’s add to the communication alternatives above the use of a bull horn to tell us we missed a spot, or even smoke signals (depending on your local fire marshal).

So, feel free to take advantage of this unique time in history. A time when we call our customers to propose work dates and they’re more likely to say “yeah, sure, whatever” than “let me check my calendar.” Think of Fix St Louis as your go-to quarantine home repair specialists!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

But can Mr Bloomberg teach ANYONE to be a HANDYMAN?

As you may have heard, Michael Bloomberg once stated he “could teach anybody in this room to be a farmer.” “It’s a process,” he said. “You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.” On the other hand, he said he could not teach anybody to be a TECHNOLOGY worker because the “skill sets that you have to learn are to think and analyze, you have to have a lot more gray matter.”

Honestly, I am embarrassed to admit that Mr Bloomberg’s comments took your humble correspondent by surprise. For decades, I was actually under the delusion that being a successful farmer was one of the HARDEST things anybody could do, and would be a challenge for even the SMARTEST people I had ever met, like my wife’s late grandfather. Farmers’ skills seem to cover a wide range of so-called “gray matter” professions, including veterinarian, horticulturist, climatologist, animal behaviorist, geneticist, and businessperson.

So, I’m sitting here wondering. If this is what Bloomberg thinks of FARMERS, what must he think of us HANDYMEN?! Geez, being a HANDYMAN is one of the many things that even FARMERS can do! It’s not like we handymen NEVER deal with gray matter, but I can tell you, you wouldn’t want the gray matter WE work with stuffed into your head, either before or after it has hardened.

Now, I don’t know if Mr Bloomberg ever reads these newsletters and, even if he did, whether he’d think there’s anything Dr Steve can TEACH him. But I’m not going to take a chance, and miss this opportunity to teach Mr Bloomberg about Fix St Louis handymen, so he won’t embarrass himself if the subject ever comes up.

So, here is my list of things Mr Bloomberg probably would NOT be able to teach Fix St Louis handymen:

Climbing Tall, Scary Ladders

While Mr Bloomberg may have plenty of experience climbing onto boxes behind podiums, it seems unlikely he has the bravado to stand at the top of a 40′ ladder, which our technicians do routinely.

Carrying Heavy Bags of Concrete

Fix St Louis technicians often carry TWO 80 lb. bags of concrete at the same time — one under each arm. If Mr Bloomberg could be cloned, I have no doubt they could also carry one Michael Bloomberg under each arm. Based upon his slight frame, I wouldn’t think he could teach anyone how to do this.

Getting Intimate with Toilets

We at Fix St Louis are poking our heads into toilets every single day to get them working for you. But for all we know, Mr Bloomberg has people whose full-time job is to push his flush levers, and he would have trouble differentiating one end of a plunger from the other. Seems like Fix St Louis wouldn’t get much out of his toilet teaching seminars.

Making Drywall Seams Disappear

The magicians at Fix St Louis can make the seams between two drywall sheets disappear, using that gray matter I’ve been talking about (sometimes referred to as “joint compound”). Trust me, this is very hard to do and requires lots and lots of experience to get it right. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but Mr Bloomberg has willfully chosen not to invest his time on his drywall performance, but instead spends it on his Wall Street performance and, believe me, those are two different types of wall altogether.

So, what have we learned from Mr Bloomberg today? We’ve learned that while we handymen may never be invited to a Mensa party or that annual elite get-together in Davos, an awful lot of folks there and everywhere else CAN’T or WON’T do what we at Fix St Louis do everyday — even the most ardent do-it-yourselfers. You might say we just had a teachable moment.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Now Offering WORLD’S FIRST Curbside Deck Repair!

Hello to all our readers now holed-up and hunkered down in their subdivision hide-outs. Congratulations on being one of life’s winners with your successful, proactive purchases of Schnucks toilet paper, bread, and milk before the shelves were bare and our community was collectively sent to its room.

As an overachiever, you are probably sitting there pondering your next mountain to climb, your next achievement. And, as one who always enjoys a challenge, you may find it intriguing that you must now do this by NOT ONLY avoiding physical contact with any individual outside your immediate family, but also without being within 6′ of anyone who can so much as fog a mirror.

Well, does Fix St Louis have the perfect project for you – get your deck in shape for the summer! Start by walking to your patio door leading to the deck and, while safely behind the glass, look around at the floor boards and railings for evidence of rot. Wouldn’t you like those boards replaced, and possibly the entire deck stained, in time to enjoy it during the warm season, after the authorities have given the “all clear” and you can actually open that door and step outside? But how can you do this without coming too close to another, dreaded human being?

So, here’s how Fix St Louis‘ World’s First curbside deck repair works. Call us at 314-434-4100 and speak with our friendly and still-healthy Customer Service Rep to set-up a CDC-approved visit to your house. Specify that when our not-quite-as-pleasant, but equally healthy estimator shows-up, he report directly, not to your front door, but outside your patio door and taps on the glass. Make your needs known through the glass by speaking loudly, by phone, by charades, and by pointing a whole lot.

A couple of days later, Fix St Louis will send you an estimate by mail, to which you may reply by email or phone. You will then receive proposed work dates by email. The work will be performed by skilled, healthy technicians, all of whom have had significant experience in both talking by phone and playing charades. We even accept payments safely – either online or by snail mail, in which the bugs only flow one-way, to us!

We haven’t yet completed the clinical trials, but we sincerely believe our curbside deck repair methods are at least 10x safer, and less stressful on your back, than carrying around a 10′ pole.

Contact us, without coming in contact with us, to get that deck repaired today! We at Fix St Louis look forward to seeing you from the other side of your patio door glass!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Home Alone: Worthwhile Activities for the Self-Quarantined

Was it just me? Or did it seem like the week started with experts telling us to wash our hands, and ended with them telling us to GO home, STAY there, and DON’T COME OUT ’til we SAY SO. Maybe they should be pacing themselves, because after one week all that’s left is “go to your room without dinner” and “wait ’til your father gets home.”

Now, I’m not sure about this, but I don’t think these rules apply to those of us in essential service businesses, like Fix St Louis and the Amazon delivery guy. So don’t worry about us — we’ve got plenty of stuff to do.

But, what are YOU going to be doing with all that time at home, when you can’t go to work, school, sporting events, concerts, or flee markets? What are YOU going to do after you’ve watched every last cat video on the Internet? Stare at the walls?

I say, YES, stare at the walls — only don’t forget the ceilings. Folks always talk about taking time to smell the flowers, but that’s just in your garden beds. Take the time to stare at your walls and ceilings looking for cracks and leaks. Take the time to sniff under the kitchen sink for mildew. Not to get carried away, but take the time to open (and close) EVERY door that comes before you, to see if they properly latch.

I know, I know. These words may be inspirational to me, your humble handyman, but they aren’t the kind of words-of-wisdom stuff that make it onto your teens’ wall posters. Still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good advice.

So as a public service during these perilous times, let Fix St Louis offer for your consideration the following worthwhile activities for when you are self-quarantined and run out of things to do, And it’s just you and your house. And nobody else.

Defective Door Bells

Maybe you’ve never noticed or cared about whether or not your door bell works. But, that was before the day-before-yesterday, when the aforementioned Amazon delivery guy became the lifeline for your basic human needs. To paraphrase (and butcher) an age-old question about a tree falling in a forest, if a package is delivered on your front porch and doesn’t make a sound, does it do you any good? What’s more, if you have Fix St Louis install one of those new VIDEO door bells, you can even watch Amazon-guy run back to his truck.

Defiant Doors

If a door doesn’t close all the way, what good is it? It’s there for a reason. To keep people out, or to keep water out, or to keep cold air out. Do they keep viruses out? I suppose. Maybe that’s why they sent us home in the first place.

Wicked Windows

Do you have windows that drop like a guillotine when you let go, like something out of the French Revolution? Now, I’m not thinking you’re going to have much use for a guillotine — that the experts predict this stay-at-home thing will last so long that your subdivision neighbors will be violently scavenging for dwindling supplies of water and toilet paper. So, you might as well get these windows fixed by Fix St Louis.

Cruddy Caulk

Do you have brown or black stuff on the caulk around the ledge of your bathtub or base of your shower? Now, I’m no CDC microbiologist, but that gunk can’t be doing your body any good. Let Fix St Louis replace that dirty caulk with white or clear stuff that at least LOOKS like it might be sterile.

OK, that should be enough to keep you busy for at least a couple of hours, while also doing good things for your house and family. So, here’s a suggestion for when that’s done, and you’re tired of watching YouTube cat videos. Have you ever Googled for videos of animals with unusual best friends? You’re welcome.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100