Q&A / 

September 26, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

Last week I signed up to start taking CERT classes. CERT is an acronym for Community Emergency Response Team. The first class was last night. You have to take the classes to become a CERT volunteer. You don't have to commit to become a volunteer to take the free classes. Does that make sense?

Within the first 30 minutes of the class, I became acutely aware of how unprepared I am for a disaster of any kind in my community, and I was a Boy Scout! It became readily apparent that in a real emergency, my family and I would absolutely be on our own - and I'll bet the same is true about you.

Here's why. Within a 30 mile radius of where I live in central New Hampshire, there are probably only 75 full-time paid firefighters. There are probably no more than 100 police officers. Yes, there are quite a few more volunteer firefighters, but my guess is the total number is less than 500. But the population numbers in the tens of thousands of people in that same geographic area. In the summertime, the population dramatically swells as vacationers come into the area adding more stress to the fragile support system.

Now add up how many fire trucks there are. Not many. If there's a major disaster, the fire departments already have pre-plans completed, and will be charged with saving and dealing with the MOST valuable assets in the community. Guess what? Your house and my house are at the bottom of the list. Your house means much to you, but it is of little value to the community as a whole.

I urge you to sign up for the CERT classes in your area. You'll discover what you need to do to be prepared. You'll discover what you must know to SAVE yourselves while you wait for days or weeks for help from the pros. See the fantastic reading materials I walked away with last night in the photo above? That beige manual is over 1-inch thick and packed with fantastic information. Remember, you don't have to become a CERT volunteer, but I would highly recommend it after you take the classes. Your community NEEDS you.


Tip of the Week - Repairing Scratches in Hardwood or Laminate Flooring

Last week, Kathy and I were moving furniture from a self-storage locker we stopped using. It's a long story, but as we were bringing in a piece of furniture into my office, I stepped on a small block of plywood that was upside down. There were tiny finish nail heads sticking out of the plywood.

You guessed it. I scratched the laminate floor. Drat!

I was upset for being such a dunce - the plywood scrap should have NEVER been on the floor, but I quickly let that thought escape my head. Why? I knew I could go upstairs and grab my box of different colored shoe polishes and instantly disguise the scratch.

The trick to using shoe polish in a floor scratch is to always start with the lightest color first. If you have a dark hardwood floor and use a shoe polish color that matches the finished floor color, the scratch will almost always come out much, much darker. That looks just as bad as the original scratch!

Take a very tiny amount of shoe polish on a cotton swab. Just touch up a very small part of the scratch to see how it looks. Get up and stand back from the scratch to really see what it looks like.

If you have a really deep scratch, guess what? You can call a furniture repair wizard. These magicians have a small case that contains an alcohol lamp and different lacquer sticks. Within minutes, they can fill the scratch and completely disguise it. You don't have to refinish an entire floor if you have just one or two scratches.


Stain Solver Success Story

As you might imagine, we get fantastic testimonials each day about my Stain Solver oxygen bleach. Here's one from Lee Wright.

Lee lives in greater Boston. I met him about three weeks ago when I had to speak to the Boston SEO Meetup group. To make a long story short, Lee purchased some Stain Solver. He sent dramatic before and after photos. Read what he sent me yesterday:

"Dear Tim,

It worked. Thanks for your help.

And it got the spaghetti sauce out of a nearby comforter, too.

The difference in the color of the carpet is primarily daylight versus incandescent light and flash. And as it turned out, while there was quite a mess when I first spilled the spaghetti – with sauce I'd just made using tomatoes from our garden! – we worked pretty hard to get as much up as possible, so by the time we got to the Stain Solver, the spots, while still clearly noticeable, were much lighter. We also took your advice and cleaned the entire carpet.

The comforter, on the other hand, got no attention until we washed it with Stain Solver a couple of days later."

Stain Solver is indeed a miracle cleaner. There are hundreds of things you can use it on around your home. Recently it was certified to be completely organic.

This is but one reason Carolyn and her Mommy Co-op up here in New Hampshire purchased SIX huge cases of Stain Solver about two weeks ago!


Kickstarter Shed Video Update

If you purchased the series of videos about building the shed, they're getting close to completion! The job has taken longer than anticipated for a number of reasons. The good news for you is that I'm going to over deliver.

Originally, I promised you 100 videos of the shed-building process. I've surpassed that. Right now I'm taping the step-by-step videos of building the stairs from the shed floor to the attic. Just that series of videos will number about 20! Wait till you see the step-by-step videos of how to build the winders that are part of the steps. You'll be blown away.

Bottom Line: Please be patient. I'll have the videos for you very soon. The shed is days away from substantial completion!


Starting and Running Your Handyman Business

I've created the outline for the LIVE online workshop that explains how you can get started running your own Handyman business. Based on the survey results from last week, I can see it works best to have the classes on a Saturday.

There are only 12 seats in the class. The best part about attending the class live is that you get to ask me questions LIVE just like in a real classroom environment.

I'll be taping the entire class, and if you're not one of the lucky 12 who get signed up first, you'll be able to purchase access to all the materials after the class is finished.

The class will be produced by PowHow.com. They have a fantastic interface for this live streaming video teaching system. It's highly recommended that you have high-speed Internet access and a connected video camera to your computer if you want me to see you. You don't have to have a video camera to attend the class. I don't have to be able to see you in the classroom for you to participate.

Go to the AsktheBuilder page at PowHow.com to see the syllabus. If you want to attend this class, you better sign up NOW. It will sell out quickly. The cost for the videos after the workshop is over will be priced more than the live class.

Be SURE to sign up for the 3-Hour Workshop, not the individual one-hour classes. Those will be offered at a later date.


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