Exclusive shock photos: Royal Family fixing OWN house for wedding

Well, well, well. It seems like the Royal family has its OWN problems with leaks – and that Fix St Louis has developed its own anonymous sources. We are proud to share with you these shocking, never-before-published pics of the Royal Family doing their own HANDYMAN work – fixing-up their house preparing for the upcoming wedding of Harry and Meghan. We know they are authentic because Buckingham Palace refuses to return our phone calls, or to even acknowledge that we exist.

We also have obtained possession of the much older video footage below, captured at the wedding ceremony of Wills and Kate, that shows the Royal Family behaving like mere commoners.

Not that there’s any shame in doing handyman work which, come to think of it, is the only thing that we do. But, let’s face it, unlike the Royal Family, you are VERY busy, and have more important things to do with your time than attending ceremonies commemorating this thing and that, that happened many, many years ago, while looking fabulous.

So, here’s 4 good reasons not to feel guilty about not following the Royals’ example, and joining the “Don’t It Yourself” movement instead.

It will get done sooner. Getting things fixed in your home is our FIRST priority, even when it’s not for the honey-doer in your home. This is not going to drag on for weeks or months.

It will improve your marriage. It eliminates the tension between the reluctantly nagging spouse and the well-intentioned procrastinating spouse. And it frees-up time and energy to fight about more important things, like who your kids are hanging out with, whether that 5-iron was really the best use of the family budget, and how much longer the in-laws should be allowed to stay.

It will be done once and it will be done right. A do-it-yourself job by definition is a job done by – no offense intended – an amateur, who is usually learning to do something new in the process. That means it’s likely to take much longer, mistakes may be made along the way, the result may not be perfect, and it may have to be re-done in the future.

No one will be hurt in the process. We know how to handle things like high places, electricity, and moving heavy objects safely. This may matter to you, if you happen to love your spouse.

You know, I really kinda feel sorry for Harry and Meghan, who will probably be forced to move into some very old house that will require a lot of maintenance. You should count your blessings, and keep our number.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

Beyonce’s Right: “If you like it, you better put a (wax) ring on it”

While sitting in a Lion’s Choice the other day, daydreaming about leaky faucets, the background music suddenly caught my attention. I couldn’t quite make out the lyrics, but they went something like “if you like it, you better put a wax ring on it”. For a moment, I thought the singer — someone you probably never heard of named “Beyonce” — was speaking only to me, and her words brought back a flush of memories of all the times Fix St Louis had spared our customers further ceiling and furniture damage by changing the wax ring on an upstairs toilet.

So I went online looking for the video, where I watched her dance with 2 OTHER young ladies singing about their eligibility, and ALL of them had tremendous talent. And by “talent” I mean that if this dancing thing doesn’t work out for them, we sure could use their ability to contort their bodies to climb under kitchen sink cabinets to fix drains, slither through crawl spaces, and scamper through attics while stepping only on joists to avoid plunging through the ceiling immediately below. Apparently, the baby in the video below also finds their dexterity remarkable and worth emulating.

Now, not being familiar with Beyonce’s full body of work, I don’t know if her songs cover the full range of causes of ceiling water leaks. So just in case, here are the most likely causes for these leaks that we see at Fix St Louis.

  1. Toilet Wax Rings: As it turns out, the most common cause of leaks from ceilings is, unfortunately, also the most disgusting. So rather than spend any time thinking about what is causing that stain, just call us, and we will take care of that pesky connection between your toilet and the drain pipe beneath it.
  2. Shower & Bath Drains: It’s not uncommon for drain pipe connections beneath showers and tubs to wear out or become misaligned. Sometimes we can fix this from above, but often we need to cut out the ceiling below to pinpoint the problem and replace the plumbing parts. Incidentally, this is the single best reason to hold onto old ceiling paint you’ve used, because after we’ve patched that hole that we needed to cut for access, or primed the stained area, matching new paint to the surrounding ceiling is often nearly impossible, and requires painting the entire contiguous ceiling.
  3. Caulking & Grout: You might think that water is stupid, but actually it’s very smart. It has an uncanny ability to find even the smallest hole to fit through, and the most meandering pathway, in its quest to join you and your family in the room below. So look for holes, cracks, and gaps in that white goop along the ledges & seams of your tub or shower — inside & out. And, don’t forget the base of your toilet. Fix St Louis can plug these up.

These are generally not the types of repairs homeowners can take on themselves. And if you ever had someone in your home try to do caulking, there’s a good chance there’s now a thick, ugly glob of white goop where a narrow white line used to be. So, next time you see a water stain on your ceiling, take Beyonce’s advice — “Say our name, say our name.” When it comes to repairing leaks and restoring drywall, Fix St Louis has all the moves you need.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

You want privacy?
See us, not Mark Zuckerberg

Is it my imagination, or did millions of Americans just update their “Facebook Status” to “Demand Privacy,” after years of telling anyone who would listen how much more exciting their lives were than yours? No wonder Mark Zuckerberg had that deer-in-the-headlights look in front of Congress.

Fortunately, we at Fix St Louis are not Mark Zuckerberg, because OUR “community” of home-owning folks acts a whole lot more rationally. It’s true many of you live in homes with unfortunate “HELLO WORLD!!” features, if you know what I mean. Flaws that allow total strangers to publicly view what really should be private moments of indecent exposure, intimacy, or any other activity that should stay in Vegas. But once they realize something can be done about it, they run to Fix St Louis who will fix it, rather than Congress, who will just blather on and use it to raise campaign money.

Here are the 3 areas for increased privacy our customers request most:

  1. Front Doors– Some believe homebuilders must be the creepiest people on Earth, at least those who design front doors like they’re the windows at Macy’s Department Store. What’s with all this clear glass that allows strangers knocking on your door to get a better view than Peeping Toms would at your windows, without even looking like they’re doing anything wrong? Fix St Louiscan replace your doors with those with solid panels and obscured (non-see-through) frosted or textured glass. We can also help you with those new RING doorbells that allow you to view the person at your door from your smartphone, and maybe even pretend you’re not even there.
  2. Bathrooms– It’s common for bathrooms to have windows with non-see-through glass, but it’s not universal. For instance, we’ve seen plenty of homes with huge picture windows made of clear glass DIRECTLY ABOVE BATHTUBS with neighbor’s windows WITHIN SIGHT! We can help by installing blinds, curtains, or replacing the clear glass.
  3. Privacy Fences– If you don’t want your neighbors to watch your backyard life, you can install a so-called “privacy fence” – a fence made of wood or vinyl that has no gaps between its pickets and rises at least 6′ off the ground. The dirty little secret is that most people want these fences not for their OWN privacy, but so they don’t have to look at what their NEIGHBOR’S yard looks like!

Hey, you’re all grown-up now, and you made it! You’re living in a HOUSE. Not your parent’s basement, or some dorm, commune, hostel, or refugee camp. You’ve EARNED your privacy. Let Fix St Louis help you keep it.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

So you can name the Final Four.
How about the VINYL Four?

I must confess that I have not followed the NCAA basketball tournament, and won’t be watching the Final Four this weekend. Frankly, it hurts this old handyman’s eyes to stare for hours at hardwood flooring made of unstained maple (with a tasteless high gloss finish, no less!) when these high-tuition institutions could EASILY afford an upgrade to a nice matte-stained oak.

But just because colleges no one in St Louis ever talks about never do anything to improve their properties, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. Could these so-called institutions of higher learning be so busy preparing liberal arts grads for careers as Starbucks baristas that they haven’t noticed what’s been happening the last 50 years in plastics?

So, please allow Fix St Louis to serve as your higher learning institution, as we proudly present to you our answer to the Final Four – The VINYL Four. Below are the four best uses of vinyl in home repairs and remodeling, with “vinyl” loosely referring to any material made out of petroleum resin.

  1. Vinyl Shutters – If you have wood shutters that need painting or are falling apart, replace them with vinyl shutters. They generally cost only $50-100 per pair, come in a bazillion different colors, never need painting, and last “forever.” And I’d challenge any effete snob to determine they are not made of wood without touching them. And if they did, you’d be justified to scream at them for walking in your flower beds or being a peeping Tom on a ladder at your 2nd-floor windows.
  2. Vinyl Siding – I don’t care what those builders of higher-end homes say, many of whom claim that the best siding is made of cement reinforced with cellulose fibers, commonly referred to as “Hardie Board” or “Fiber Cement”. Handyman Science has never made a better siding material than vinyl. Unlike fiber cement, vinyl does not chip and it never needs to be painted. Yeah, every once in awhile vinyl breaks, cracks, or gets blown away, but Fix St Louis can always find very close matches and, if need be, paint to match the color. Incidentally, Masonite siding was also a breakthrough in its time, but only if you happened to be a product liability lawyer.
  3. Vinyl Decks – The use of vinyl in decks comes in 2 different forms, and honest people can disagree on which is better. Fix St Louis‘ deck refinishing preference is to neither stain nor paint a deck, but to COAT it with Sherwin-Williams’ Deck & Dock elastomeric coating. Unlike painting or staining, your deck won’t need to be refinished every couple of years – it ought to last 10-15 years. The other vinyl alternative is replacing all the boards in your deck with “composite” material, i.e. boards that are entirely synthetic. With today’s technologies, these look great, many exactly like wood, and they ought to last pretty much forever.
  4. Vinyl Flooring – You know how vinyl flooring, sometimes referred to as “linoleum”, was once considered downscale? I challenge you to visit your local Home Depot and look at the display of “vinyl plank” flooring. Yes, its wood-like or other appearance is totally fake, but it looks pretty much real and in the future will look even better. This flooring is waterproof, relatively indestructible, inexpensive to install, and has other good features like built-in padding.

So, there ladies and gentlemen are the Vinyl Four. Four home improvement products that last much longer than the materials they’re replacing – and much, much longer than the lousy brackets you chose this year. Next time, if you insist on trying to predict the future, think vinyl!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

Russians hacked the light bulb aisle

We now know that Russians have been getting involved in our elections to sow confusion, division, frustration, and anger. So tell me, WHAT does a handyman have to do in this town to get Bob Mueller to investigate the OTHER AREA where Russians may have been practicing this – the light bulb aisle?

If you’ve shopped for light bulbs lately, you know EXACTLY what I mean. The answer to “how many homeowners does it take to change a light bulb?” has become “TWO, the homeowner plus an illumination engineer.” Am I crazy to suggest this has the fingerprints of former KGB agent Vladimir Putin all over it? So, let me explain what has happened to light bulbs, and how to survive the newest front in the Cold War (aka the DARK War).


You are now paying 10x as much for light bulbs that allegedly last 10x as long and use 1/5 as much energy because the federal government says so. Now, it’s hard for this simple handyman to figure out exactly why if not for Soviet infiltration they would mandate this, but possibly our government just decided they’re smarter than inventor Thomas Edison, and at least one person sent out a Tweet claiming incandescent bulbs are sexist and racist.

First Generation Bulbs (CFL) – Soon to be Gone

The first bulbs released after the new law were called “CFL”, which either stands for Compact Fluorescent Light or Commie Fluorescent Light, depending on your choice of conspiracy theory. Think of them as fluorescent tubes re-shaped to fit into bulb sockets, so the quality of their light is as lousy as you would expect, which actually might be considered quite GOOD if you were unfortunate enough to live in the former Soviet Union. They look like a Dairy Queen vanilla ice cream cone, although if you were tempted to EAT them you might die of mercury poisoning. For these reasons and others, it will soon be lights out for these bulbs. Don’t let the lampshade hit you on your way out.

Current Generation Bulbs (LED)

Thankfully, American ingenuity rescued us from the above Soviet-style bulbs by introducing LED bulbs, which either stands for Light Emitting Diode or Lenin Extinguishing Device, depending on your choice of conspiracy. As it turns out, wire’s not the only thing that glows when you run electricity through it, good old American semiconductors do, too, and for whatever reason that’s just fine with our betters in Washington. At least for now.

While these bulbs started out looking strange, being hugely expensive, and had packages labeled in ways so no one could understand how bright they were compared to 60 and 100 watt bulbs, all of these problems are being addressed, as discussed below.

What You Need to Know and What You Need to Ignore

Meanwhile, as you navigate your way through the LED bulb aisle, stay focused on the 3 things that you also would have thought about in your incandescent bulb past: brightness, dim-ability, and color.

  • If you want the equivalent brightness of an old 100 watt bulb, look for packages that read 100 Watt REPLACEMENT.
  • If you want to be able to dim your bulbs, look for packages that mention this feature. Also, make sure your dimmer switches at home are compatible with LED bulbs. Fix St Louis can swap out your light switches if you need to.
  • If you prefer the yellowish light of old incandescent bulbs, the harsh white used in police interrogations, the look of old soft white bulbs, or light that simulates daylight, look for WORDS on the packages that say this. And, unless you’re a geek, try to ignore the “K” ratings that are actually temperature measurements based on the Kelvin scale, which apparently provide some indication of color.

Ongoing Propaganda

But be aware that a walk down the light bulb aisle is still like flipping through the pages of the former Soviet Union’s propaganda newspaper, Pravda. The packages are full of lies.

There are packages marked “incandescent” that are actually halogen lights made to look like the old bulbs. (BTW, you’ll also see some REAL incandescent bulbs that somehow escaped the government’s grasp by their low wattage or special design).

And while I praised the use of phrases on packages like “100 Watt Replacement” above, if you hold-up 2 different brands labeled that way, don’t be surprised if there’s as much as a 30% difference in brightness as measured in “lumens.” (Don’t waste your time learning the lumen system — it’s unlikely to catch on here among us proud metric-system-refusing Americans.)

So nice try, comrade Vladimir. When it comes to lighting our houses, guess we Americans are brighter than you think.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

Why so few US gold medals?
A handyman’s view

I know many of you are disappointed, or perhaps even embarrassed, by America’s low medal count in the Winter Olympics. You’re perplexed how a nothing-burger country like NORWAY could end up with TWICE as many medals – a country with a population not much bigger than greater St Louis, and whose primary economic output isn’t human essentials like Bud Lite, Puppy Chow, and Weed-B-Gon, but slow-moving garage sale items like garden trolls.

But we at Fix St Louis, as keen observers of homeowner nature, know EXACTLY why our nation earned so few gold medals. It’s that Americans DON’T LIKE gold anymore. So, we have lost our motivation to “go for the gold.”

How do we at Fix St Louis know this? Because we spend a lot of time in other people’s bathrooms. And we can tell you, gold-colored fixtures are out, out, out! If you don’t believe us, just ask your nearest realtor. When listing agents spot gold fixtures in bathrooms, they act like Superman suddenly realizing there’s kryptonite in the room.

Sad to say, but if we are going to make America competitive in the Olympics again, we are going to have to bring about a new world order, with medals that reflect America’s more sophisticated tastes:

First Place: Brushed Nickel

Among our design-conscious customers, this now seems to be the preferred finish for all household fixtures, including faucets, shower doors, door knobs, and even kitchen appliances, where its equivalent is called “stainless.” These fixtures are silver-colored with a dull, matte finish. It has a soft look that doesn’t call attention to itself, even if there’s a lot of it around. BONUS: It hides water spots and fingerprints, and doesn’t have to be shined to look good.

Second Place: Chrome

This classic, original style of bathroom fixtures is still very popular, even among the design set. It’s a shiny silver color and gives off a sparkling clean look. But it does need to be cleaned more often than brushed nickel to avoid looking dull and spotted.

Third Place: Oil-Rubbed Bronze

This finish is now “hot.” It’s a dark color, anywhere in the range from deep chocolate brown to dark gray, with thin highlights of bright copper. Yes, it would make a cool-looking Olympic medal, but this handyman’s take is we may be looking at a fad that may not last to the next Olympiad. But, what do I know? I’m just your lowly handyman, not some celebrated designer.


I’ve just been alerted the US Men’s Curling Team has won the gold medal! Still, I’m not sure this changes anything. As an American, I look at that 40 lb granite stone sliding down the ice and think it’s a waste of what could have been a perfectly good kitchen countertop, and that a vacuum cleaner works much better than their brooms, no matter how fast they sweep them.

In any event, we’re America, so we don’t need no stinkin’ medals, anyway. Norway, you can have your 15 seconds of fame once every 4 years – we’ll have ours in all the time in between.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis