Now that the Oscars are SO over, maybe we can help

It might not surprise you that this old handyman was never much into Hollywood nor the Oscars. But what IS surprising is that in the last week, maybe for the first time in my lifetime, I found myself at the forefront of a societal trend, as many of you joined me in my annual tradition of NOT watching the Oscars.

To be fair, I never believed Hollywood was ever all that interested in my tastes, either. For instance, the only movies that ever feature power tools are horror movies. And actors’ lives have never been about being good with their hands, but more about being good with their facial muscles to mimic emotions, and occasionally to cry on demand. Honestly, I do not believe I have EVER seen a handyman cry, nor would I ever hope to. And earning applause means nothing to me — I’d rather listen to a suddenly-perfect toilet flushing cycle than have our customers clap their hands together to signal their approval.

Nevertheless, the loss of yet another iconic American institution always feels like a loss, especially one that claims to celebrate excellence.

Well, Fix St Louis does stuff that’s important to people, and we work in an area where excellence is definitely a thing. So I hope you will indulge me if we try to make one small contribution to fill the void left in America by the decline of Hollywood and the Oscars.

Close your eyes and imagine we’re wearing tuxedos and gowns instead of our distinctive green logoed uniforms, we arrive in Fix St Louis graphic-wrapped cargo vans instead of limousines, and we divvy-out coveted golden bowl statues shaped like you-know-whats known as “Johnnies.” OK, maybe not. Guess Hollywood is a lot better at this than handymen — or at least they were until this week. But in any event, here are the winners for 2021:

Best Supporting Floor Surface

This year we salute vinyl plank flooring as the top floor surface. Vinyl technology has greatly advanced the appearance of plastic-based flooring, moving it from “you-gotta-be-kidding” to “I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-hardwood” level. It’s waterproof — perfect for kitchens and bathrooms — so you won’t have to repair or replace it every time there is a periodic unfortunate water event. And installation is relatively inexpensive, particularly relative to ceramic tile and hardwood — it just snaps together.

Top Performance by a Countertop

For bathroom vanity countertops, you can’t top a surface called “Onyx”, which is a brand name. Onyx is the new cultured marble. It looks great — harder and shinier. It won’t chip. It comes in lots of colors — well, not all the colors in a rainbow, but any that you would consider “sane” for a bathroom that did not belong to a Hollywood diva. And the Onyx folks do great stuff with integrating sinks as part of the same one-piece countertop, including all kinds of shapes and mimicking an under-mount white sink under a stone-colored countertop.

Yes, there are you purists out there who will always want granite with under-mount sinks, but for the rest us whose fate did not lead us to outrageously lucrative careers, or did not inherit a trust fund from someone who did something like invent Onyx, it’s a great alternative that has many advantages.

Incidentally, Onyx must have a good agent, who did not want the product to be typecast into the single role of countertop. So be sure to consider using Onyx on the other fixtures in your bathroom to match the countertop — including shower surrounds, shower bases, cosmetic tables, front panels for whirlpool tubs, and platforms for drop-in tubs. Fix St Louis can install all of these.

Best Fan of Home Repairs

This year’s award goes to the perpetually unnoticed, unused, and unheralded whole house fan. Thankfully, these awards give Fix St Louis the opportunity to ensure this nominee is not snubbed once again.

We’re talking about that big square metal thing on your hallway ceiling, covered by louvers. Now, turn it on. Hahaha! Just kidding. Pardon me for a little handyman humor there. Bet most of you haven’t used it in so long, if ever, that it WON’T turn on. Call Fix St Louis to fix or replace it if that’s the case.

But, let’s say it actually works. When you turn it on, the louvers open up to expose a big ugly fan if you look from below, and you will hear and feel a loud “whoosh.” Now open a screened window and feel that fresh, cool outside air streaming through your house and out through that fan as an alternative to stuffiness or turning on the air conditioning. In fact, it’s the perfect alternative to air conditioning on those summer nights when the outside air is usually 72 degrees or below. NOTE: As always, not recommended for those whose outside air happens to be in Sauget, IL.

Well, let’s leave it at that. We at Fix St Louis don’t want to make the same mistakes Hollywood made in killing-off the Oscars by having the show go on for too long, or having award winners lecture or berate the audience on subjects that go beyond their knowledge base of how to manipulate facial muscles to mimic emotions.

So, why not give Fix St Louis an opportunity to use our celebrated expertise on your glamorous estate, whether it is in Ballwin or Bel Air. Come to think of it, Bel Air is outside our service area. Their loss.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

About Us

Fix St Louis  is the professional alternative to hiring “Chuck in a Truck” or “Pete in a Pick-up”. Our technicians have at least 10 years of experience, are bonded, insured, and show up at firm, scheduled times. We provide full customer service and guarantee our work for a year!

Fix St Louis issues DOUBLE and TRIPLE mask guidelines for home repairs

Not that I’m looking for sympathy, but COVID mask-wearing has really taken a toll on this old handyman. They fog up my glasses and block my peripheral vision, as homeowners point to all the strange places I need to poke my head into. A crash helmet would have been a better fashion accessory than a mask when my head met that protruding humidifier on a heating duct, that unexpectedly low header at the bottom of the basement stairs, or that low-hanging metal awning above ice-covered steps while I was looking down.

So, I was really anxious to get my 2 COVID shots, thinking I’d then be safe from both COVID and concussions. But the other day, while my head was poked in a toilet, I heard in the background an alarming Congressional hearing. They said that people who had taken 2 COVID shots now had to wear TWO masks, because based on no research whatsoever there might be a new, more dangerous strain of COVID on its way.

Startled by the news, I bumped my head again, this time on the rim of the toilet. Then I began to think — the CDC is doing its part, maybe Fix St Louis  should be doing more to protect OUR customers from the hazards of the home repair issues we wrestle with.

So as a public service, Fix St Louis  is issuing these new guidelines, that includes a new rating system for protecting homeowners from the most disgusting and, I dunno, maybe dangerous issues we encounter regularly in homes.

Caulk and Grout

This relatively low level hazard is generally found around bathtub ledges, around the perimeter of shower bases, but can also be found on the walls around tubs and showers. It’s caulk and grout that has turned brown, black, or is simply missing.

Given that Dr Steve’s medical training is somewhat minimal, I hesitate to outline the dangers, but I suspect you wouldn’t want to inhale it or eat it. What I CAN say for sure is that NOBODY wants to look at it, and that it usually means that water is getting into your walls and floors. So call Fix St Louis , take off your mask momentarily so our Customer Service Rep can hear what you are saying, and request a free estimate to fix it.

Kitchen Sink Cabinet

Dr Steve’s evolutionary biology training is also somewhat minimal, so you would need to check me on this. But I have a theory that most life forms on Earth today emerged from substances formed in the cabinets below kitchen sinks. All of the elements of life exist there — a warm, moist environment fed by dripping water from drain pipes, food particles that somehow evade the garbage disposal, and even boxes of powders and gels that might be appetizing to one species or another.

 Fix St Louis can stop the leaks, replace your garbage disposal, and otherwise seal out the water that has turned your cabinet into a swamp.

Toilet Wax Rings

Did you know that your toilet is sitting on a gooey wax ring that all your you-know-what passes through? And that it is the only thing that stands between your you-know-what and the rest of your house? And that if you ever see stains on the ceiling below you don’t need to wonder what it is, because you already know what?

So if you have problems with your toilet wax ring, and sooner or later everyone will, you ought to put on THREE masks after asking our Customer Service Rep for an estimate. Some like to take a FOURTH mask, tear it in half, wad it up, and stuff it up both of their nostrils, although like COVID this might be a particular problem for those with respiratory issues. In that case you might just want to place that fourth mask over your eyes.

Please understand that these mask recommendations only relate to home repair issues. For CDC mask guidelines, I’d suggest you check with them, perhaps as frequently as once per hour.

Meanwhile, we at  Fix St Louis  hope to bump into you soon, but not with our heads, and look forward to seeing your smiling faces again sometime in the near future!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

You call THAT a “Super Bowl”? HAH! I’ll show YOU a Super Bowl!

I look forward to Super Bowl Weekend each year, but not for the same reasons you do. My annual tradition is visiting a Home Depot during the game. There’s no one there but me, plus store clerks whose only job is to serve me personally. It’s the one day a year this old handyman can experience the glamorous life of that lone shopper you’ll see when you visit Plaza Frontenac.

But while your humble correspondent was not destined by fate to live in the lap of luxury, that does not mean Fix St Louis can’t share helpful ideas with those of you who do.

It’s true that a seat at the Super Bowl is a coveted luxury item. But what if I could show you an alternative Super Bowl seat that, at a Suggested Retail Price of about $10,000, costs much less than a scalped ticket, plus you can enjoy it throughout the year?

My hunt for a better Super Bowl led me to the Kohler showroom in Ladue where, to their great credit, I was greeted enthusiastically by consultants Annie, Elizabeth, Katie, and Megan, even though my handyman uniform must have suggested I wasn’t that lone shopper from Plaza Frontenac.

They introduced me to the Kohler Numi (see video below). And, I must say, for a handyman like me, this was almost like looking at the very face of God. Let me tell you what this toilet does:

Does All the “Work” for You

When you approach this toilet, the toilet seat opens by itself, so you don’t have to do any “heavy lifting.” I can’t recall if it has built-in gender recognition to know how many lids and seats to lift. But I do recall that when you leave, the seat lowers itself, forever solving women’s biggest complaint about men. And I also remember that it has what I will call an “aiming light” on the INSIDE of the bowl, going a long way towards solving women’s SECOND biggest complaint about men.

Cleans “Down There” in Ways You Would Have Never Imagined

Maybe this is just a Euro thing this handyman will never understand, but it has a built-in bidet, and it points in TWO directions (don’t ask). But, that’s not all. This bidet has a BLOW DRYER! Geez, all they need to do is spray-on a final coat of hot wax and you’d have a complete car wash for your nether regions. Well, except for the guys at the end rubbing you down with rags.

Comfort & Entertainment (?!)

Oh no, we are not nearly done. Wouldn’t you enjoy built-in lighting on the side of the toilet, with the option of changing the light’s color? How about built-in speakers and Bluetooth technology that allow you to play music from a portable device? Not to mention a heated seat and a heated foot warmer, each with adjustable temperatures. You can even enter user profiles of up to six throne-sitters, each of whom can have different settings.

Yes, the Kohler Numi seems to be the next best thing to having someone else go to the bathroom for you.

So this year, make a point of sitting out the NFL Super Bowl. Instead, visit the Kohler showroom at 9929 Clayton Rd. Tell the consultants you would like to take a “test drive” on the Kohler Numi, although be aware that the other customers might find this disturbing.

And otherwise, if the less-than-Super Bowls in your house run, leak, don’t flush properly, or in other ways misbehave, just remember. We at Fix St Louis KNOW toilets. We spend half our working lives with our heads in them. I’m sure we can fix or replace yours.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

P.S. You can watch the best Super Bowl ad ever by clicking on the picture below. You’ll never see toilets and romance combined more seamlessly. Come to think of it, combined at all.

Could there be only 6 shopping days left before Christmas?

If you needed another reason to believe this year was different, here it is.

In days of yore, Fix St Louis was able to provide an extended “FIXmas Season,” offering you a couple of pre-holiday months to catch up on your home repairs before Christmas guests arrived.

But we just looked at our schedule and realized – yikes! — we’re now booking jobs into mid-December! We feel for those whose jobs in other industries have been hurt by all these lockdowns. But for Fix St Louis, more people at home has meant more people seeing things they want fixed in their homes.

How many “shopping days” are left before we can’t perform your repairs before Christmas? Hard to say, but it’s sure gonna come a lot earlier this year.

So, if you are planning to have Christmas guests, and want to get these repairs done beforehand, pick-up a phone RIGHT NOW, give us a call to set-up a free estimate, and do your best to garble through your face mask something intelligible to our customer service rep. Here are some of the more popular small jobs folks ask for this time of year:

— Bathroom Sinks: malfunctioning pop-up drain stoppers, leaky faucets, dripping pipe beneath sink.
— Doors: doors that don’t close/latch properly, off-track closet doors, weatherstripping.
— Doorbells: doorbells that haven’t worked for years, or don’t have video.
— Ceiling stains: Ominous yellow stains on downstairs ceilings that may be caused by the toilet above (yuck!).
— Garbage disposals: you’ll need a properly working one for those guest meals.

And while you’re at it, why not invite us over for a free estimate on larger projects you’ve been putting off, to kick-off after the holidays? Great way to get next year off to a great start.

So get in touch with us right away, when we still have slots on our schedule. Just a few more days for us to guarantee that our Fix St Louis home repair elves can beat your Christmas guests to your front door.

Merry FIXmas and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!
Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Could there be only 6 shopping days left before Christmas?

If you needed another reason to believe this year was different, here it is.

In days of yore, Fix St Louis was able to provide an extended “FIXmas Season,” offering you a couple of pre-holiday months to catch up on your home repairs before Christmas guests arrived.

But we just looked at our schedule and realized – yikes! — we’re now booking jobs into mid-December! We feel for those whose jobs in other industries have been hurt by all these lockdowns. But for Fix St Louis, more people at home has meant more people seeing things they want fixed in their homes.

How many “shopping days” are left before we can’t perform your repairs before Christmas? Hard to say, but it’s sure gonna come a lot earlier this year.

So, if you are planning to have Christmas guests, and want to get these repairs done beforehand, pick-up a phone RIGHT NOW, give us a call to set-up a free estimate, and do your best to garble through your face mask something intelligible to our customer service rep. Here are some of the more popular small jobs folks ask for this time of year:

— Bathroom Sinks: malfunctioning pop-up drain stoppers, leaky faucets, dripping pipe beneath sink.
— Doors: doors that don’t close/latch properly, off-track closet doors, weatherstripping.
— Doorbells: doorbells that haven’t worked for years, or don’t have video.
— Ceiling stains: Ominous yellow stains on downstairs ceilings that may be caused by the toilet above (yuck!).
— Garbage disposals: you’ll need a properly working one for those guest meals.

And while you’re at it, why not invite us over for a free estimate on larger projects you’ve been putting off, to kick-off after the holidays? Great way to get next year off to a great start.

So get in touch with us right away, when we still have slots on our schedule. Just a few more days for us to guarantee that our Fix St Louis home repair elves can beat your Christmas guests to your front door.

Merry FIXmas and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!
Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

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