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How many light bulb consultants does it take to change a lightbulb?

When I was just a wee little handy-boy, my favorite joke was “how many handymen does it take to change a light bulb?” BWAHAAHAAHAA!!! Yeah, as if you could get a handyman to EVER return your call to change a lightbulb. Funny, but that joke has not been as funny since I started small-job-oriented Fix St Louis, where we change light bulbs all the time. But I’m not the only one these days who’s finding that old changing-a-light-bulb joke less funny. What made it funny was it was generally understood there was nothing easier to do than changing a light bulb. Well, that’s certainly not true TODAY! Have you been to the bulb aisle at a Home Depot lately? There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of different light bulbs — every type of bulb EXCEPT the ones you used to buy. They’ve even given your old bulbs a name — “incandescent” — which, if I’m not mistaken, is Latin for “dinosaur.” How did this upheaval in the light bulb aisle happen? Here’s a quick history of the light bulb, which is strangely similar to what happened to the dinosaur. — According to the Bible, in the beginning God said “let there be light” (by that, I’m pretty sure he meant the fires from the Sun, not light bulbs). And he said it was “good” (Note, he never claimed it was “great”). — But Thomas Edison thought he could do better. He figured out how to confine fire to a glass globe. — God may have been peeved by Edison’s impertinence, so perhaps out of wrath smited the light bulb industry with the equivalent of a meteor strike on dinosaurs. A small group of Hollywood celebrities masquerading as prophets started predicting the end of the world if the government didn’t do something immediately to get rid of the light bulb. — So, the government sprung to action. They grabbed a flashlight and eventually found an unused copy of the Constitution in a dark closet in the Capitol. Although the flashlight’s batteries were weak, they thought they were able to make out that the Founding Fathers had granted them the right to ban standard bulbs, even though the closest thing to a light bulb the framers ever knew was some combination of a kite, a key, and a bolt of lightning. — The next few years were chaotic as inventors scrambled to find ANYTHING nearly as good as a standard bulb. In the earliest version, they contorted a fluorescent bulb into the shape of a corkscrew and crammed it into a glass globe. Their efforts unified our nation. Everyone hated it. — Finally, a consensus emerged to use LED (light emitting diode) technology. Our bulbs would henceforth contain “diodes,” electrical components that just happen to spit out light beams when electricity passes through them, without involving fire, heat, or much energy at all. How do they do this? I dunno, I’m just a humble handyman, not a physicist. Just a guess, but I’m gonna say it’s magic — you know, like fireflies. But you’re not reading this column because you wanted a history lesson from a handyman, right? You just want to know which light bulbs to buy. So here’s the advice of Fix St Louis — RESIST. Don’t change a THING from the way you once purchased bulbs, EXCEPT buy packages that say “LED” on them. Better yet, try to buy LIGHT FIXTURES that also include the word “integrated” on them, which means this diode stuff is built into the fixture itself, so you’ll NEVER have to change a bulb. This should be your default position on buying light bulbs: — Don’t stop calling bulbs by their old names, i.e. 25W, 40W, 60W, 75W, and 100W. Boxes of light bulbs STILL display those designations, even though wattages have NOTHING AT ALL to do with how bright these bulbs are. Manufacturers and citizen-of-the-world types have thrown-up their hands, concluding that we are all hopeless, and are incapable of ever learning to refer to a 75W bulb as one that delivers 1,100 “lumens.” Sheesh, you would have thought they learned their lesson long ago, when patriotic Americans stood their ground and refused to move to the metric system. — Stick with bulbs called “Soft White,” just like you once did — that’s also still on the package. If you want to complicate your life by using bulbs labeled “Cool White” or “Warm White” or “Daylight” or stuff like that, that’s fine. No one’s going to stop you, at least until the government finds that in the Constitution, too. — If your bulb is controlled by a dimmer switch, make sure the package says “dimmable.” These LED diodes are not as smart as incandescent bulbs that know to burn more brightly when fed more electricity. — all they know is “on” and “off”. It took some engineers to figure out this dimmable LED trick, and is not a feature in every LED bulb you buy. Rest assured, despite all the bulb turmoil, in most cases it STILL doesn’t take more than one person (you) to change a light bulb, as long as you decide to just plow ahead and select bulbs the way you always have. And while you don’t have to be shy about asking for light-bulb-changing help from a handyman, recognize that Fix St Louis is the only company that will take you seriously. The truth is there are many instances when it is COMPLETELY sensible to call for help — chandeliers, can lights on ceilings two levels up (in fact, any fixture on a ceiling), outdoor lights, light fixtures where it’s difficult to remove the glass cover — or if you have safety or mobility concerns. So don’t just sit in the dark. Call Fix St Louis. Let us be your guiding light in the bulb aisle and beyond. Dr SteveFix St

The Byrds & The Bible: It’s a time to repair, not a time to replace

Many years ago, when dinosaurs and your humble correspondent walked the Earth, an early rock group called The Byrds had THIS hit song that started like this: To everything (turn, turn, turn)There is a season (turn, turn, turn)And a time to every purpose, under heavenA time to be born, a time to dieA time to plant, a time to reap Now THERE’S a song they’d never play today, for at least three reasons: 1) While listening, you can actually make out the lyrics; 2) this rock group would be canceled INSTANTLY because they are quoting THE BIBLE (turn, turn, turn to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8); and 3) some might fear that If the ORIGINAL AUTHOR of these words became irritated by the plagiarism, and descended to Earth to render a Final Judgment on The Byrds, the rest of us might suffer collateral damage. (Just kidding – no one in the recording industry would even know what that means). But even still, we should take these lyrics seriously because everyone else does. Wouldn’t you say that maybe 100% of people get their wisdom from EITHER rock songs OR the Bible? This is a rare moment of universal agreement, so let’s take advantage of it. Let’s start with the obvious question – just what TIME and what SEASON IS IT? What’s everyone talking about? Inflation? Shrinking retirement accounts? Even if you’ve got some money saved up, you’re a bit more hesitant to spend it, right? So maybe it’s NOT the best time to REPLACE the big things – your entire kitchen, that master bathroom, all your windows, doors, or siding. But if you think hard about it, maybe you DON’T really NEED to completely replace these. Maybe there’s just one or two things about each one that is driving you crazy and if you had it repaired, the problem would go away. Possibly something you don’t even think CAN be repaired. Which means it’s a time to REPAIR, not a time to REPLACE. And, well, what do you know? At Fix St Louis, “repair” is our first name. OK, it’s actually just a synonym for it, but you get the point. Here’s how we can help you make it through the season we’re in: Kitchens Not being happy with a kitchen’s CABINETS is probably the thing that triggers most kitchen remodels. But you may not need to take on a job as big as replacing them to be happy with your kitchen again. Fix St Louis can fix broken cabinet doors and drawers, add pull-out shelves, replace countertops, add backsplash tiles, and replace that yucky bottom of your kitchen sink cabinet. We can also replace sinks, faucets, and garbage disposals, convert cooktops and ovens between gas and electric service, and even run a new water line for a fridge ice maker. Bathrooms The trigger point for a lot of folks on remodeling their entire bathroom are the tiles on the wall around their tub or shower. Without the need to rip out your tub or shower, Fix St Louis can replace those surfaces with new ceramic tile. But if you really hate grout lines that deteriorate or need constant cleaning, you might be better off with either a plastic surround or ONYX, which is a new, better form of cultured marble. A new shower door often makes a huge difference, as does a new vanity, countertop, and faucets. Replacing a vinyl or tile floor with good-looking and durable vinyl plank is a surprisingly inexpensive improvement. And if you happen to have one of those old toilets that puts you as low to the ground as squatting people you see on National Geographic specials, you really need a modern toilet. Windows and Doors If you have a door to the outside that is hard to open and close, or if you see gaps around the edges where air gets in, you probably do NOT need a new door. Fix St Louis can fix misaligned doors, replace weatherstripping, and fix or replace damaged thresholds. And if you have windows with sashes that are hard to open, or slam down like a guillotine when you try to keep them open, you don’t need to replace them. We can fix those problems. We can also replace broken glass panes. Decks & Other Outside Stuff If you have a deck you think needs to be completely replaced, chances are you don’t. Usually handling only one problem takes care of it. At Fix St Louis, we can replace rotted boards on floors, steps, and railings. And, we can replace rotted posts. You might also be surprised how powerwashing and staining a deck, particularly with a solid color stain, makes a deck look pretty much new. You may have a few broken or detaching panels of siding that we can reattach or replace – that’s no reason to re-side your entire house. Same thing with trim boards on the outside around your windows and doors. Being in a humble profession, I’ve become accustomed to being slighted, so am not offended that “a time to repair, a time to replace” didn’t make the cut on either The Byrds or the Bible’s list. But given that Fix St Louis BOTH repairs and replaces, that we work on jobs both inside and outside, and that we have an off-hours answering service, there is literally NO time or season when you can’t call us. Maybe, like right now? Dr SteveFix St

The Worst Handyman Mistake of All Time

In a recent dispatch from the front lines of home repairs, your humble correspondent reported that a surprisingly large number of homeowners leave damaged and stained walls as they are, without ever trying to fix them. While this was dispiriting to yours truly, whose modest calling is to fix things that are broken, I did concede there are a few RARE examples where doing NOTHING to damaged and stained walls might be the BEST thing to do. For instance, you know that painting of 12 dudes and the Big Guy sitting at a dinner table, all in a row facing out, arranged in wedding party style? (Not great for dinner conversation if you ask me, but then again nobody would ever ask me — I’m just a handyman, not Leonardo de Vinci). Anyway, you might have assumed this painting is mounted in a pretentious, wooden, over-the-top carved gilded frame, and is hanging on a wall in, let’s say, the Vatican, at the back of a roped-in area with 2 never-smiling guards in the front. Well in retrospect, that WOULD have been a great idea, to protect the painting from — of all people — HANDYMEN. But it’s a little bit too late for THAT now. Let me explain. You see, this particular picture is actually painted DIRECTLY ON A WALL in a small church in Milan, Italy. Didn’t know that, did you? You probably also didn’t know that some time in the 17th century the leaders of that church decided they didn’t like the traffic flow in their sanctuary. So they hired two Italian handymen — let’s call them Mario and Luigi — to cut through a wall to create a new doorway. Legend has it that at one point on the day Mario and Luigi showed-up for work, these sounds rang-out and echoed throughout the church: “Bang! Bang! Bang! CRASH! … MAMA MIA!!!” What was all this about? Look at the picture to the right which shows an expanded view of the painting, including the usually cropped-out part at the bottom. Yep, that’s a DOORWAY where HIS feet should be! Now, we know HE had feet because we are told He WALKED on water, am I right? To tell you the truth, no one really knows how this doorway came to be. Was it a church volunteer do-it-yourselfer failing spectacularly to perform a good deed? Was a hungry Mario or Luigi in a rush to grab a cannoli for lunch? Did a handyman awed by the painting become so distracted that the handy phrase “measure twice, cut once” didn’t come to mind in time? In any event, the tragedy of this event would only be compounded if we didn’t try to learn something from this worst mistake in handyman history: Only hire quality contractorsOnly hire people you have reason to believe know what on God’s-Green-Earth they are doing. For example — oh, I don’t know — maybe you’d consider Fix St Louis. After all, our technicians have at least 10 years of experience, we’re ranked in the top 5% by Angie’s List, and have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. BTW, be careful with word-of-mouth referrals from friends or neighbors who once had something fixed by someone who seemed like a nice fellow. Did that well-meaning referrer perform a criminal background check and have a full understanding of that handyman’s skills and limitations? Make sure your contractors are INSUREDFix St Louis is covered for $2 million in damages. Not that it has ever been needed, nor that we wanted to test whether our insurance company really meant it. Although for full disclosure, I’m not sure our policy would cover “eternal damnation,” which hopefully was a rider in Mario and Luigi’s policy. Never have a contractor start a job without discussing it on-site before work begins.At Fix St Louis all our jobs, no matter how small, begin with a short meeting with the homeowner. Of course, I’d like to believe our technicians would have known instinctively that NO ONE’s feet should have been sacrificed for a doorway, not even those of the least disciple. I bet all this time you assumed my interests were limited to fixing houses, and didn’t know about my passion for undamaged art. OK, so maybe the ability not to damage art is not as impressive as the ability to create it in the first place. But if you call Fix St Louis, I promise we will make your house look a whole lot better, and not any worse. Dr SteveFix St

Honor the Queen: Bring a Little Buckingham Palace to Your Home

Fix St Louis reached out to King Charles III yesterday to express our condolences on the passing of the Queen, and wish him well in his new position. While he is apparently too busy to return our call right away, in fairness to him we must acknowledge that he and your humble correspondent probably don’t have much in common to talk about.  For instance, the King has probably never held a toilet plunger in his hands, and may not even know which is the business end. But, we DO have in common an intimate knowledge of “thrones,” albeit not of the same kind. Other common interests include – oh, I guess that’s about it. Now in regards to the QUEEN on the other hand, while we might often fall short, we do our best to incorporate her traits of decency, integrity, and kindness. So we would like to do SOMETHING to keep her legacy in everyone’s minds, even though as mere tool-handling, home-fixing servants there are no known ways to do this.  Crown Molding We figure the closest we can come is through installing things in your home that remind you of the Queen, while moving your home further along the “What my house looks like now-TO- Buckingham Palace” spectrum. Installing crown molding between the top of a wall and a ceiling can make any room a lot more interesting. Dining rooms, of course, but bedrooms and hallways, too. Anyone who has ever tried to install crown molding themselves has an appreciation for how difficult it is to create those “compound angles” at each corner, but at Fix St Louis we do this all the time. Let us handle this job and you’ll never be haunted by that defect you created that you know is there, even though nobody else might ever notice. Wainscoting Wainscoting is decorative paneling on the lower part of a wall, usually with chair rail-level trim at the top and somewhat fancy baseboard at the bottom. The two most popular options for this paneled area are “bead board” that has a series of vertical grooves in it, and “picture framing” in which trim between the chair rail and baseboard is attached to the wall and arranged in squares and rectangles as if a picture belongs in the middle. Ceiling Beams You know those ceilings that have wood beams that either run along the length of a room, or that create large tic-tac-toe squares? Fix St Louis can build them, either by installing and staining real lumber, or installing pre-fabricated units made of a foam material. Some homeowners already have these beams and might not like the way they fit with their tastes. No problem, Fix St Louis can also paint or remove them, and restore the ceiling to its original condition. Coffered Ceilings Coffered ceilings consist of a series of rectangular grids with sunken or recessed panels. Some rectangles might have crown molding along the upper perimeter of these sunken panels. And often there is a ceiling fixture in the middle of each panel, or lights shining up along the perimeters. Yup, Fix St Louis can build these. Front Entrances You know that fancy-schmancy trim around the front door that some of your neighbors have? Maybe a bottom block (plinth) and a fluted column (pilaster) at each side of the door, decorative horizontal trim (crosshead) along the top of the door, then a large triangle or curlicue structure (pediment) above that? Hey, this isn’t like the monarchy, where if your house wasn’t BORN with these you are out of luck. Fix St Louis can fit your house for these and install them. Maybe we should stop for now. We’re talking about your home, not Disney World here. But, if someone like the Royal-formerly-known-as-Prince can live like this, you can too. After all, dear reader, you’ve earned it and, without knowing anything about you, it seems to me you’ve worked a lot harder over the last 10 years than this fellow simply waiting for his turn. So it’s now YOUR turn to live like a King. Call Fix St Louis and we’ll show you how. Dr SteveFix St

You Don’t Have to Live in a Crack House

Last week I spent a lot of time with folks looking to fix their water-damaged walls after the recent heavy rains. But what struck me most was how many OTHER places in their walls and ceilings had been damaged earlier that they had never thought to call us about — yellowish stains on ceilings, damaged walls, straight-line ceiling cracks along taped seams of drywall, angled cracks radiating from the top edges of doors. Some of these houses felt like art galleries designed to commemorate past leaks, house-settling issues, accidents, and mischievous behavior of kids and dogs, lest they be forgotten. Sure, there are some things that happen to walls and ceilings that might give you pause before doing something about them, like when that fellow painted God and Adam on a ceiling doing a finger bump, or someone else splashed a church wall with 12 men and the Big Guy sitting down for dinner, seated like a wedding party at a reception. But only someone seriously into modern art would not want to do something about the stuff that I see every day on walls and ceilings. I get it. I understand why people put off fixing those stains and cracks on their walls and ceilings. There’s this all-to-human trait called “denial” where after awhile you avoid looking at these blemishes, unlike visitors who may very well notice them. There’s also this thing called “procrastination,” convincing yourself that, sure, one day you’ll get around to it, after your kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms have all been remodeled, the house is paid for, the kids are educated and married, and your retirement has been fully funded. Look, your humble correspondent is just a handyman, not a psychologist, but I think I might have a better answer on why you may be letting these ugly imperfections live rent-free in your home, if not in your head. You don’t know who to call to fix these things who wouldn’t charge you way more than you think it’s worth — am I right? You believe any painter would be disappointed doing this piddly amount of work instead of painting your entire house. And anyway, painters don’t fix walls, and their eyes would glaze over if you shared your concerns about mold and leaks. But you also think handymen and contractors would not be happy with this piddly amount of work, when they would rather spend their time gutting and remodeling your kitchen and bathrooms. So to get even, you’re afraid painters, handymen, and contractors would either ignore your phone calls, charge you too much, or not show-up at all. Hey, what a coincidence! I guess that just leaves us, Fix St Louis. We PREFER “piddly” jobs like this to the big jobs all other contractors would run over their grandma to get to. And we can do the WHOLE thing — check and fix leaks, handle the mold, replace damaged insulation, replace damaged drywall, match the wall or ceiling texture, and paint the smallest possible area that would hide the fact that the wall or ceiling was ever damaged. So, why spend your mental energy trying not to see or think about the damage you KNOW is on your walls and ceilings? Best of all, it’s affordable, you don’t need to wait until your last kid is off the dole, or when you put your house on the market and you pay for the repairs for the benefit of the next person. Call us at Fix St Louis, but be prepared to kick yourself, and not a wall, for not doing it sooner! Dr SteveFix St

How to Keep Out the Waters Until it’s Time to Build an Ark

Whoa! What was THAT? I’m not gonna point any fingers on who incurred God’s wrath this week, causing the heavens to open up. But I think we can safely narrow it down to one particular sinner among the 58,764 residents of St Peters, where 12” of rain was recorded. Your humble correspondent knows not the ways of God, but personally I think Sauget, Illinois might have been a better choice. But, let’s keep some perspective on this. We got deluged for — what? — maybe two days and one night? Still a far cry from the 40 day and 40 night-pounding Noah had to put up with. We’re still WELL WITHIN the margin in which Fix St Louis can help you keep the water out of your home. So let’s get started. Doors, Windows & Outside Walls Sometimes water will enter a house from doors, windows, and outside walls. Fix St Louis can fix, replace, or thoroughly caulk wherever water is finding its way in — weatherstripping, door thresholds, door sweeps, window ledges, exterior trim, brickwork, or siding. While it’s too complicated to explain here, we can even restore deteriorated or missing “flashing,” keeping in mind the meaning of that word changes COMPLETELY when you cross the river into Sauget, Illinois. Gutters & Downspouts Rain that hits your roof can’t simply soak into the ground below it because your house is in the way. And if that water is simply directed toward the edges of your roof, it will form puddles against your house, and find a way into your basement. So you need gutters to catch that water, downspouts to bring it to ground level, then either drain pipes to direct the flow someplace away from the house, or landscaping that ushers that water onto a downward slope. Fix St Louis can help if there are hang-ups in this system. We can clear clogs in gutters and downspouts, install gutter guards to keep debris out, fix gutter leaks, secure detaching gutters, adjust gutter slopes to restore the proper flow of water, and extend drain pipes from the base of downspouts. Now if you want to completely REPLACE your gutters, you’ll want to call one of those specialized companies who run ads that pester you daily. Or are those the companies who sell gutter guards? Same, same. Sump Pumps For those unfamiliar, a sump pump system consists of an invisible channel that runs beneath a basement floor’s perimeter, a hole in one corner of the floor, a motorized pump in that hole, and drain pipes leading from that pump to the outside. That channel collects ground water, directs it to the pump, which shoots it out of the house through the drain pipes. Not every house has a sump pump system. Not every house needs one. It depends upon whether ground water tends to collect around your house. If your house has a built-in system like this and water is STILL coming in into your basement through cracks in the floor or from where the walls meet the floor, you might want to call Fix St Louis. We can help if your sump pump is broken or missing, or no one ever thought to put an electric outlet in that corner with the hole in the floor, or there are problems with the drain pipes. If you don’t have a sump pump system but need one, call a foundation company for this fairly big job of digging that channel around the basement perimeter. Foundation Cracks If you have water coming into your house through cracks on your basement walls, you should first call a specialized foundation company to stop the leak. But after that, you’ll probably want to call Fix St Louis to restore the water damage. We can replace water-damaged framing, drywall, baseboards, and flooring.  Now, handling MAJOR flooding requires another type of company that does things to dry-out your basement, like bringing-in those big, noisy fans that keep you up at night so you can worry even more about your basement. But usually these companies do not do the restoration work that Fix St Louis does, so you’ll still need us. Roof Leaks Similar to foundation cracks, you’ll need a roofing specialist to find and fix the leak, and THEN call Fix St Louis to fix the water damage. Actually, you should be grateful for those stained and deteriorated ceilings that we fix. How ELSE would you have known your roof was leaking? So, let’s not panic. I realize I’m just an old handyman, not a prophet. But still, I suspect it’s not yet time to run to Home Depot to buy lumber for an ark, or invite into your home every unique binary-gendered animal that wanders by. Until then, let’s pray that the guilty party in St Peters repents, and has learned that living in a suburb named after one of the most revered religious figures offers no particular protection. Oh, and also call Fix St Louis. We can help you keep water out of your home, at least up until the time it reaches Biblical proportions. Dr Steve Fix St

Welcome Streetwalkers into your Subdivision

I think we can all agree houses are better than they were 100 years ago. But, something pretty big has been lost – the front porch. Who uses a front porch anymore? People drive home, pull into their garages, then hit a button to shut the garage door behind them. Then if they go outside at all, they sit out on their decks, patios, and screened porches, where they don’t meet their neighbors, or even think about how they look. Let’s face it. During the day, we’ve turned over our front porches to strangers who drop-off packages then run away. And at night – if NEXT DOOR is to be believed – they’re visited by hoodie-wearing hoodlums, whose blurry images are captured by RING doorbells, and who do creepy and suspicious things that none of the commenters are ever able to explain. It’s unlikely we’ll ever return to the days when people dressed-up and sat on a porch rocking chair, from which they spoke to their neighbors more often than once a year on Halloween night, with the details of their lives becoming integrated into the local gossip. But isn’t there a happy medium? Must our subdivisions look like uninhabited ghost towns, except for the manicured lawns? It’s healthy for neighborhoods to have a mild “street scene.” People walking and jogging through. Dogs on leashes being taken for walks. Kids with bicycles. Teens walking to each other’s houses. People-watching is not only amusing, it reminds you and gives you a warm sense that you live in a vital and desirable community that supports, nurtures, and enriches the lives of your family members. Homeowners can encourage this street scene by improving the curb appeal of their homes, helping to make a walk through their neighborhood a more attractive recreational activity. Many already do this by maintaining attractive garden beds, mostly up against their houses. But there’s a whole lot more you can do with a little help from Fix St Louis. Porch Columns and Trim Have you taken a good look lately at your porch columns and all the white trim around your front doors and windows? If you’re like most homeowners, some of it is beginning to rot and make your house look neglected. Fix St Louis can make the necessary patches and replacements, and even substitute plastic and fiberglass-based materials so you won’t have to think about doing this again in the future. Shutters You might also want to take a good look at your shutters. If they’re vinyl they may be fading or the fasteners may be popping-out. If they’re wood, there’s a good chance they are rotting or need to be painted. Shutters are surprisingly inexpensive, so it usually makes sense to have Fix St Louis replace them. It’s also a good opportunity to change the accent color of your house, especially if you combine new shutters with painting your front door. Flags What can make the front of a house come more alive than a flag? It’s colorful and waves in the wind. Some folks are hesitant to mount them because they think a flag would create additional chores, like bringing it in and out of the house and untangling it. Nope. You can buy weatherproof flags that you can fly 24/7/365 and flagpoles that automatically rotate to untangle the flags themselves. Fix St Louis can mount a flag pole bracket on your home, no matter what the walls or porch columns are made of, and at any height. And we defend everyone’s right to fly any of the 1,457 new flags that have been invented in the last 60 days. My personal preference is the American flag, which tells you something about what an out-of-touch cultural fossil your humble correspondent is. Mailboxes There are so many beautiful homes with old, ugly, rusty, rotted, leaning mailboxes in front of them. It just doesn’t leave passersby with a good first impression. Fix St Louis can not only install new mailboxes and posts, we can also educate you about all the choices that you have. Hint: You don’t need one of those brick “Tomb of the Unknown Mail Carrier” or “Bread Brick Oven” mailboxes to have one that looks good and is resistant to “teenage mailbox hockey.”  Flower Boxes Here’s a cool idea that few homeowners ever think about. Imagine how many more people would appreciate the flowers in your garden if you planted some of them in flower boxes on the front of your house. Fix St Louis can obtain those fancy decorative brackets called “corbels” that hold up flower boxes so they can be attached to walls. We can also obtain or build flower boxes that hang over railings. And, all of these materials can be plastic-based so you don’t have to worry about rot or re-painting. Your house may not be on the “mean streets,” but showing a little bit of street-smarts on maintaining the front of your home can make life in your community a little bit better, both for you and your neighbors. Just bring in the “street people” of Fix St Louis, then watch the parade go by. Dr Steve Fix St

Defeat the Heat with the Fix St Louis Tar Heels

As a busy handyman, your humble correspondent’s exposure to college sports is very limited. And when I say “limited,” I mean maybe my head will be inside a toilet while there’s a game playing on a TV in the background. But somehow, I DO pick-up the names of teams. And I’d say that after the “Billikens”, the most puzzling team name I’ve heard is the University of North Carolina “Tar Heels.” Have you ever looked up who the “Tar Heels” were? They were once looked-down-upon physical laborers in North Carolina who converted the sap from pine trees into black tar, while in bare feet because of the hot summers. But miraculously, their social status was given a BIG boost by an opposing general in a battle, who gave the North Carolinians and their tar heels a back-handed compliment, by attributing their refusal to retreat and cede back land to the stickiness of the tar on their heels. Geez, I’d say that’s a hell of a long way to go for naming a team mascot, if you ask me. But in a strange way, I do find this story inspirational, and would like to think of our Fix St Louis technicians as Tar Heels, only better. Better because they’d have the good sense not to step in an asphalt patch they were pouring on a hot day, and not do this kinda work in their bare feet. And if they did, they wouldn’t track it into your house leaving gooey footprint-shaped patches all over your carpeting.  No, what I was thinking was more like last week and next week, with temperatures above 100 degrees, Fix St Louis CAN help you reclaim parts of your home that you have been unwittingly ceding to the enemy known as heat. Here’s some ideas you may not have thought about: Tinting Windows If your idea of tinted windows is that creepy car that pulled-up next to you at a stop light, when you wondered what creepy things they’re doing in there, think again. Have you ever found yourself avoiding rooms with big glass doors and windows when it’s hot, and the sun is streaming in? Or covering the glass with awkward horizontal or vertical blinds to block the glare or save the furniture, so you never enjoy looking out through them? Fact is, tinting comes in a full range of shades, and in most cases isn’t noticeable. And tinting is almost never a part of the original window – it’s done with a film that can be applied anytime. Fix St Louis can tint your windows, in many cases making blinds unnecessary, to give you back the use of your room and the view from these windows. Outdoor Ceiling Fans Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you can’t use your porch. Even on the most beastly days, a ceiling fan on your porch is usually all you need to sit outside comfortably. Fix St Louis knows how to run the wiring and hang outside ceiling fans. Whole House Fans As hot as it was last week, do you realize you did not need to run your air conditioner on ANY evening – if you had a “whole house fan”? These are the big square louvered boxes, almost always located on a hallway ceiling. If you turned it on and opened a window or door (with screens), the cooler evening air would have whooshed through your house, through that ceiling, and out the vents in your attic. So you didn’t have to cede an air-conditioner-inflated electric bill to the heat. Fix St Louis can replace or add whole house fans. You know that satisfied and competent-looking lady clutching her to-do list who appears on this page, on our web site, and the sides of our trucks? I’ve considered turning her into our mascot. But I’m not sure she’d make a good furry costume and, frankly, I don’t want the hassle of having to defend the use of a cis-gendered female who’s always in the kitchen. So for now, we’ll borrow UNC’s mascot, and ask you to think of Fix St Louis as Tar-Heel-like, tireless defenders of the full use of your home, who wipe our feet (or wear booties) before we enter. Dr Steve Fix St

Being “Fix St Louis” in a world where everyone else is “Replace St Louis”

Doesn’t it seem like getting your house fixed is a lot more frustrating than getting just about anything else fixed? Why is that? Let’s compare this to getting a car fixed. When you’ve got car problems, you know exactly where to go – a car mechanic, or businesses that specialize in things like mufflers, transmissions, tires, or body work. And while you might wonder whether they replaced more parts or charged you for more time than they should have, they’re not going to try to convince you to throw out your old car and buy a brand new one from them at a much greater expense. They couldn’t do that if they wanted to because they have no showroom, no relationship with car manufacturers, and while they may clean-up nicely, they’re not car salesmen — they may not even use deodorant or own a suit. Now let’s do this for home repairs. Let’s assume you’ve got 3 of the most common repairs we run into – a door that won’t stay closed because you never hear that final reassuring “click” of the latch, a stained and peeling area on your family room ceiling from a leak above that you’re trying not to think might be coming from a toilet (i.e. “yuk”), and disintegrated, discolored caulking around your shower or tub.  Now quickly, I’ll give you 60 seconds. Name the folks you might call to fix these. The door – would that be a carpenter? Can you name one other than Geppetto and Jesus? OK, maybe that one was tough, so let’s try that water leak that’s damaged your ceiling. The only plumbers that come to mind are brothers Mario and Luigi from Nintendo, and you have doubts whether they, after fixing the leak, wouldn’t just dash off to their next world without repairing the drywall on the ceiling. And when you think about the caulking job you’re COMPLETELY stuck, having exhausted your supply of top-of-mind storybook personalities, saviors, and digital animated characters. No problem, you think. I’ll just Google for folks who fix houses. That’s when you’ll learn that NOBODY wants to FIX houses. Sure, they’d be glad to gut and replace everything in your kitchens and bathrooms. They want to replace your entire roof and all of your siding. They want to build you a new deck. During Queen Becky’s reign, she wanted to replace all your damaged floors with carpet or tile. And when they DO fix things it’s generally in one specific area that’s so specialized, like electrical or plumbing work, they’ll often leave you with even MORE things to fix, like the holes they cut in your walls to make their repairs. The fact is that most in the industry want to do “remodeling” and “home improvement,” not fix stuff, and that’s for a variety of reasons. Bigger jobs means more materials they can mark-up to make additional profits. Bigger jobs require fewer office overhead expenses than a collection of smaller jobs because there’s less scheduling and fewer customer service interactions. And although it might seem counter-intuitive, bigger jobs in which everything is replaced require a less skilled workforce – there’s a whole lot less creative problem-solving required when all the parts you’re working with are new than when you’re trying to make repairs fit-in with surrounding older stuff. When I said above that NOBODY wants to fix houses, what I really meant to say was nobody but Fix St Louis. How would you know this? Uh, did you notice that “Fix” is our first name?  Do you know of anyone else but Fix St Louis who says out loud they PREFER small jobs to big jobs? Yeah, some might say “no job is too small.” See the difference? Do you know of anyone else but Fix St Louis that, at time of agreement, provides FIRM work dates that don’t float based upon our workload and convenience, so you can place these dates in your calendar and schedule around them? Really, how much date juggling would you want to put into a job as small as getting that “click” back when a door is closed? Also notice Fix St Louis offers one-stop-shopping for repairs. So anything we start we can finish, so you don’t have to chase down another contractor before we come or after we leave – one who also doesn’t really want to fix anything. So, next time you need something repaired in your home, don’t call folks who won’t be happy unless they up-sell you into a much larger replacement job you don’t need. Call us small-minded people here at Fix St Louis. We’re fixing the fixing business. Dr Steve Fix St