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October 18, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

I want to thank you for passing on your kind words about my good friend Mike Wilson. I drove all day Saturday from New Hampshire to Richmond, Virginia. That put me within striking distance for his memorial service on Sunday in Raleigh, NC.

Prior to my leaving, I decided to write down some of my memories about him in an attempt to describe who he was. That was a good thing for me to do. It helped start the healing process. If you want to know more about Mike, just go to this page I created on my blog in his honor.

When you drive 1,800 miles by yourself in less than 96 hours, you have lots of time to think about things. Here are some random thoughts that crossed my mind:

  • The speed limits in New Jersey are recommendations.
  • If you put cell phone antennas in trees, the radio waves cause grotesque mutations causing the tree to be twice as tall as any nearby tree. The mutations also create stubby limbs and an obese thick tree trunk. Oh wait, that's the actual antenna pole.
  • Rookie Formula One and NASCAR drivers use the New Jersey Turnpike for lane changing practice.
  • Freeways are not free. In addition to the 45+ cent tax per gallon of gasoline I paid each time I filled up, I spent an additional $60 in tolls to get to and from the memorial service. Yikes!
  • You can avoid enormous volumes of traffic driving through the night.
  • The word dragoons is one letter off dragons for a reason. Dragoons of the past were the ancestors, I believe, of our current bad-a** special-force military personnel.

 

Tip of the Week - Shower Curtains and Doors

If you want to keep bathroom mold and mildew at a minimum, you need to keep your shower area as dry as possible. This means it's best to squeegee down the walls after you shower. Get as much water down the drain as possible.

If you have a shower curtain, shake it to get off as much liquid water as possible before exiting the shower. If you have a swinging door, leave the shower door OPEN. You want the inside of the tub and shower area to dry as rapidly as possible.

Without water, mold and mildew have a tough time flourishing.

 

Second Tip of the Week - Save Sweet Moola

Yesterday I attended a closing where I refinanced a second mortgage on my house. I cut my interest rate in half. This will save me $6,000 a year on interest. WOW!

There's a secondary benefit to this. That extra money that used to go to the mortgage company can now be saved for a rainy day. Or you can save part of it and use the other part for needed home improvements.

Take a look at your current home mortgage situation and do the math. It could be very advantageous for you to refinance with rates at historic lows.

 

Back Up Your Data!

You may wonder what the following has to do with home improvement. I'll tell you. It will radically improve your home life if you know you'll never lose one-of-a-kind computer data. Much of last week I was in distress about my friend Mike and one other thing - my DIY Shed videos.

Ten days ago, I tried to triage the hard drive on my iMac. I was just getting started to edit all the shed videos. All of the videos for the shed project were on my iMac as well as a backup external hard drive. The hard drive on my computer was becoming seriously unresponsive and by Monday morning, it had completely locked up.

It's back now from the Apple store with a brand new hard drive, and it's as good as new. I forgot how fast the computer runs when the hard drive is at 100 percent.

Fortunately, I had been running the Time Machine feature on my iMac. This software performs automatic backups of all programs and data. I had no idea if the data on the computer hard drive had become corrupted or if it was going to be lost.

I also didn't know if the backup drive had great copies. I just ASSUMED the videos were on the backup drive. I can tell you that I'm about to sign up for a secondary cloud service backup plan as well. Cloud backups are copies of your important files that reside on a remote computer(s) someplace else in the world.

The problem with doing backups at your own home is that a disaster could wipe out both your computer and your backup drives. If you religiously keep a second set of data outside your home, you're protected.

Most people will not go to this extreme. If you're not backing up one-of-a-kind photos, data, documents, scanned images, etc. to an external hard drive as well as a cloud service, you're possibly making a serious mistake.

 

Clutter Contest Alert!

Next week I'll be announcing a contest that's easy to enter and one you have a great chance of winning! Some contests are too hard to win, but not this one. In fact, if I was eligible, I'd have a great chance of winning. You have to have a messy set of garage, workshop or basement tool area shelves.

My buddy Loren will be wasting his time if he enters. If you go to his garage, his tool bench, shelves are in perfect order. No dust, no clutter, everything in it's place. It looks like a museum display.

You and I, however, are not like Loren.

Bosch Tools is looking for the messiest garage or basement storage shelves they can find. Whatever you do, don't clean up the shelves where you store your tools and supplies until after next week when I make the announcement. You'll need them nice and messy so you can take a photo or two to send in.

Be SURE you open next week's newsletter so you get the details about this contest.

 

Schlage Electronic Deadbolt Review

Last week I installed a very cool electronic deadbolt lock made by Schlage. I put in the Plymouth Keypad Deadbolt. It's a handsome lock that allows you to control access through a door without using a key. It does come with a key in case you forget the codes or the battery dies. Image

This deadbolt was so very easy to install. It required one screwdriver! I had it installed in minutes. You can program in temporary codes for a workman or other person who just needs temporary access to your home.

The keypad is illuminated for nighttime use.

My only complaint with the lock is the design of the outer twist knob. I felt that it could have a slightly better shape that would allow you to squeeze it between your index finger and thumb so that when pulling the door closed, you'd have a better purchase.

Now, I say that assuming you don't have a regular door knob. I used this deadbolt as the primary and only locking mechanism on my shed door.

I highly recommend this deadbolt. It's very well made and I simply love that you don't need a key.

 

Kids Love Stain Solver

Do you need a smile today? I've got a photo for you that should put a big grin on your face. Go to the Stain Solver Facebook page and scroll down. You'll see two happy lads! Just wait till you see the expression on the older boy's face!

I'd appreciate it if you would do one or more of the following while there:

  • Friend Stain Solver
  • Like the post
  • Share the post on your time line
  • Comment

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