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:
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.
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.
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.
Fix St Louis
Sure, you hear a lot about the war on women. But for those of us who spend a lot of our time with our heads in toilets, you’d swear there was a war on men. Let me bring you up-to-date on some developments in toilets that the mainstream media refuses to cover.
It’s been said the purpose of NATO in post-WWII Europe was to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down. So, I think that must be behind the politically-correct movement to turn German men into “Sitzpinklers”, those who assume the seated rather than the spraying position in the bathroom. Unfortunately for women everywhere, it appears this cause has been lost, as “Sitzpinkler” in Germany has come to mean a man who is hen-pecked or is a wuss.
More recently there was an attempt to force men to hold the future of the planet in their hands by introducing the two-button toilet. To preserve our precious water resource, which only covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, men were being asked to push the smaller of 2 flush buttons. This button releases the smaller amount of water needed to handle the unique, all-liquid toilet contents possible only by men. This experiment has also failed, as men who cannot be trained to lower the seat also cannot be trained to press the smaller of 2 buttons, no matter how good the cause.
Another idea bound to fail in America was the attempted incorporation of the European bidet into toilets. One of the latest attempts by Kohler introduces a system that seems more like an inverted car wash. It has a water-spraying wand that pops-out during the rinse cycle, followed by an air dryer that pops-out as a finale. But since American men are generally repulsed by thinking about lady parts this way, and queasy about getting this type of ambush from below themselves, this battle has now shifted to the shower with the emergence of hand-held showerheads.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think a new innovative toilet by Kohler is designed to simulate the experience of straddling the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. In addition to the under-chassis car wash bidet mentioned above, it features – and I am not making this up – ambient colored lighting with 8 colors and 3 programming options, a heated seat, a foot warmer, and wireless bluetooth music sync capability. Maybe what happens in Vegas ought to stay in Vegas.
When I recently visited the Kohler showroom on Clayton Road in Ladue, I got a glimpse of the future, and surprisingly it may be a good one for men. When I walked by a toilet, I could swear the thing saluted me, and for a fleeting moment thought this old handyman was finally getting the respect he always craved and deserved. But actually, this toilet was just showing-off its motion-activated, hands-off opening capability. Then, when I walked away, it lowered the lid all by itself, shielding future generations of men from accusations of negligence. Further endearing itself to men, it even came with its own REMOTE! Clearly, America is back!
So, you women out there who think that being a man is all about flouting our privilege, think again. In any event, we men are certainly not leading from behind.
We know many of you are understandably concerned about how you will keep your home in good shape without the help of the federal government, in the event of another shutdown. Please be assured there is no need to panic. All of our handymen here at Fix St Louis have now been reclassified as “essential personnel,” so will be on-the-job. We have also put together this contingency plan to keep up with the federal government’s priorities.
Draining the Swamp — We will continue to drain the swamp, or more accurately fix the drain leaks that create the yucky swamps at the bottom of your kitchen and bath sink cabinets. BTW, did you know we can repair or even replace the deteriorated floors of your sink cabinets?
Building Walls — For whatever reason, our work building walls and fences has never been questioned, and we continue to build (or remove) them based upon Executive Orders from our customers.
Wetlands — We’ve heard that some of your bathroom sinks and tubs drain so slowly that the EPA has designated them “wetlands,” banning you from further remodeling projects. If true, we’d like to hear from you, and get this work done before the government reopens.
Regulations — Regular readers know I am a regular whiner about what the poopy-heads in our federal government have done to the great American toilet, reducing tank capacities by more than 75% to a piddly 1.6 gallons today. A government shutdown could only HELP, slowing down the inevitable march to — what? A tank capacity of 2 water drops? Then, you’d need to call Fix St Louis every time you needed your toilet flushed!
Climate Change — Believe me, with these recent cold temperatures, if we could do ANYTHING to change the climate, we would. Meanwhile, we are doing our best to keep up with your home repairs through a combination of your patience and our frequent schedule shifting of inside and outside jobs. In a rare bipartisan consensus, 98% of climate scientists now predict that our area will be warmer in the Spring, although many still claim the sky is falling.
Dreamers — We love working with those who dream of more beautiful kitchens, walls without cracks, and toilets that flow like the River Jordan. We will ensure that the fulfillment of your dreams will not be impacted by the shutdown.
Hey, did you hear about the big endorsement we got from Washington the other day? At least one Member of Congress declared that the cost of most of our jobs is so small that it can be considered to be “CRUMBS!” So, why suffer through the shutdown, when you can fix the crummy things about your home for just crumbs?
So now the latest thing is Oprah should run for President because, well, because she’s Oprah. You can almost imagine her packing her Cabinet with real and kind-of doctors, like Dr Phil and Dr Oz. And yet, it seems unlikely she’d anoint THIS faux doctor, Dr Steve, even though I’d be only one who knew anything at all about REAL cabinets. That’s because, unlike Oprah, we at Fix St Louis must live in the REAL world.
Unlike Oprah, when things break we can’t just go out and buy all of our customers’ new houses. When our customers have broken toilets, no amount of Oprah-empathy is going to get those toilets to heal themselves. You also can’t fix a toilet by reading an Oprah-promoted bestseller that suggests that, if you think enough positive thoughts about that toilet, there are laws of attraction that will deliver the fixed toilet you’ve always yearned for.
So, let me humbly offer this partial list of home repair items that Oprah (and possibly, you) really can’t, won’t, and maybe shouldn’t even try to take on – those that might be best left to the REAL PROFESSIONALS at Fix St Louis, even though we don’t happen to be REAL DOCTORS.
Hey, maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe Oprah’s long-term partner relationship is all about things like having someone always there to unclog her toilets. Still, if she didn’t have Stedman, she’d need Fix St Louis.
It’s been a while since we’ve felt threatened by the former Soviet Union, yet today’s temperatures feel like we’ve been exiled to Siberia. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit – it’s actually a balmy day here compared to 27º below zero in Siberia as I write this. But STILL, this is AMERICA where all of us get to live like oligarchs in dachas, not prisoners in labor camps.
So if your house is a bit chilly right now, it’s only because you’re not fully exercising your rights endowed by your Creator to life, liberty, and the pursuit of comfort. Or something that means about the same thing, according to this particular Constitutional scholar. So, let’s rat-out the Soviet-style saboteurs in your home and bring them to justice:
If you have any gaps at the top or bottom of your windows that are letting in cold air, Fix St Louis can eliminate them. We can realign misaligned windows, replace faulty “window balances” that create jams, and add weatherstripping. If you’ve got old-timey windows that have a single pane of glass, the kind often accompanied by separate storm windows, we can bring you into the late 20th century with new windows that have 2 panes of glass and an insulating space in between.
If you have cold air coming in from the sides or top of your door, Fix St Louis can replace your weatherstripping. If the cold air is sneaking in from the bottom, we can replace that broken door sweep at the bottom of your door, and maybe adjust or replace your threshold. We can also realign misaligned doors and repair rotted door jambs and trim.
If the ceiling on your highest floor feels cold, it may be making your whole house cold. We can add insulation to your attic to keep that cold air away from that ceiling. You’ll want to check to make sure you’ve got at least 9″ of that fluffy stuff on the floor of your attic, which yields an insulating value of ‘R-30.’ (Don’t feel bad – I don’t know what the ’30’ means either).
Fix St Louis is not in the business of selling furnaces, so this will be just another handyman’s opinion. From the ads you hear on the radio, you’d almost think the purpose of buying a furnace is to become ‘efficient’, not comfortable. But the basics are that your furnace needs to be reliable, the right size for your house, and have blowers that function properly. There are also some variations on blower features that may or may not make a difference. Personally, I’m skeptical that the highest efficiency furnaces (e.g. 95%) ever pay for themselves anymore given their higher cost, more parts that can break, and lower recent costs of petroleum.
It’s a shame that most of what our kids know about the Soviet Union they learned from Yakov Smirnoff’s show in Branson, and frightening to think about future generations now that Yakov’s theater features Acrobats of China. So, let’s just do our best to keep the torch of liberty lit and our pilot lights glowing.
On Christmas morning, many St Louis families will be gathering in their Family or Great Rooms to open presents and celebrate the holidays. And, it’s a pretty safe bet that when they look toward the heavens, nobody is going to see a bright star in the East or anywhere else, because they’ll be indoors and it will be daytime.
But it’s also a safe bet that those in rooms with vaulted ceilings will see one or more burned-out bulbs. Part of the reason is that, as far as we know, no one has ever granted light bulbs the gift of eternal life. But the bigger reason is that many builders don’t have on their staffs so much as one Wise Man to ask the question of how in the world a homebuyer is going to change light bulbs that are 18 feet off the ground.
While we at Fix St Louis are quite humble about the contributions we make to mankind, and for good reason, we must confess that on this one very worldly issue we can function somewhat like your personal savior. For instance, we would guess you don’t own a step ladder tall enough so that you could touch a vaulted ceiling. We do. We would also guess that you are not crazy enough to climb to the top of said ladder to do something as trivial as change a light bulb. We are.
And while we’re up there, we can do other useful things. Like replace your old light fixture with a new one. Or add can lights whether or not there’s electricity up there. Or install or replace a ceiling fan. Or maybe even replace those standard light bulbs with new-tech ones that, while never the same each time you visit a hardware store, always claim to last much longer, so you won’t have to call us as often to change your bulbs.
You might want to think of Fix St Louis as your home repair angels who can slip the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of your ceiling. No, actually even better. Angels won’t repair your toilets!