Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Faith in doing the right thing

It's Wednesday afternoon, I'm printing out our newsletter and while I wait I thought this is a good time to visit with you.

Today, we got a call for a great job, but we referred our client to another company that would better serve them. Why in the world would we refer a great job to another company, in a tight economy? Because we were not the best company for the job. There was another company, we have worked with and known for about 10 years, that would serve our client better than us. Sometimes the best way to be of service is not to be of service.

Dallas and I have been doing this for 19 years- giving away work. We try to match our clients with the best service company. Usually it is us, but sometimes it is another company and instead of giving our client a learning experience, we send them to an expert.

Today, we helped a company with a real need, researched a possible product for that company, and referred them to a company that would serve them very well.

It is really a matter of faith. Faith that, if you give away what you most desire, it will come back to you. If we hold on too tight it is usually detrimental to the health of our company and family. In any economy, faith in doing the right thing will be better than trying to be all things and grab all jobs.

Wishing you a happy and healthy home,

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Teaching the science, history, saftey and value of cleaning

Friday, I was in downtown Tacoma at the main library. I was asked to teach a group of students about the science, history and safety of cleaning. The students were amazing. I think they ranged in age from 6-13. They asked fantastic question, some of which I didn't know, like the scientific name of a bed bug. They were attentive, fun and very sharp. It was a blast!
After I was done, I got to thinking, when does anyone but our parents acknowledge the value of our helping at home? When I was their age, I didn't understand my chores were actually important to our family. Watering the cows, dusting/cleaning, helping with dinner and dishes, picking peas, and lots of weeding were all necessary and helpful tasks.
I was the youngest and I thought my chores were less valuable than the chores my older brothers did. I was wrong. I hope yesterday I was able to convey to my students the contributions they make to the healthy and happiness of their home is truly an important benefit to the whole family.
By the way, the scientific name of a bed bug is: Cimex lectularius
Wishing you a healthy and happy home,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tonight I was scared to death by giant puppy.

Can you remain calm when faced with your greatest fear? Tonight I was running our flop eared smiler, also known as Sally our dog. About a mile from home, we had a giant, loose rottweiler dog run at us - at full speed!!! Out of the blue, he was there, no owner, no caller, and no place to hide. I did what I would normally do in this situation -panic. Sally did the same thing.

The two dogs circles, sally growled, yelped, and ducked her little behind. I let go of the leash so she could freely protect herself. The dogs went into the road, I yelled and tried to get the rot to go home. After my senses came back to me, a little, I noticed he was full grown in body but his brain was all puppy.

Sally didn't seem to care, he was big and aggressive and she was scared. Two nice teenagers came up and grabbed him telling us to go ahead, we took off, but with no collar the guys couldn't hold our new friend, within a few minutes he was back . For 2 blocks and what seemed like hours, the dogs circled. I did my best to keep Sally and myself calm while keeping the dogs out of the street or at least alerting the traffic to slow down.

By now it was dark, the cars coming home from work couldn't see the dogs darting in and out of the street. Thankfully I was wearing white and my neighbors drove slowly around. I'm sure they didn't know what they could do any more than I did. Finally, this amazing lady stopped and offered to let Sally into her SUV. The kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing. Sally got in the back and didn't move a muscle.

With Sally safe, I relaxed for a second until our new friend shot across the street and tried to make friends with a lady walking her little dog. I know just how she felt- scared to death. By now I was pretty comfortable with my big, aggressive puppy brained friend. I couldn't leave this giant no-clue pet to his own wisdom-he had none. He was either going to get hit or scare someone to death!

Sally stayed in the car, our good Samaritan tried to call animal control and I went back to warning traffic. This dog was beyond clueless! He would jump right in front of the cars. Thank goodness they were going slow, no wonder, I was waving my arms around like a lunatic. Finally, a man drove up, said the dog's name was Gabriel and it was his dog, he loaded him in his car and drove away.

And that was it. the excitement was over, no blood was shed, there was nothing left to do but say thank you again, for the thousandth time and go home.

This could have gone so much differently, but just like in life, my own fears (and Sally's) were worse than the reality we found ourselves in. We were not attacked by a vicious dog, but by a great big puppy. I should probably learn a lesson from this. Don't panic first, you can always panic later -if needed. Next time this happens, I'll still panic but it is still a good lesson.

Wishing you a healty and happy home,


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The essence of natural stone

There is no such thing as perfection-thank goodness!!!! How boring would life be if we were all perfect? Wouldn't the act of being perfect take away our uniqueness, our quirky little traits, our spontaneity, our spirit ? This is what distinguishes us from machines. If you want to live with a perfect person you might as well get a robot. The same is true for natural stone. If you are lucky enough to have natural stone in your home -enjoy. There will never be a piece of stone exactly the same, anywhere in the world! Man made tile and look alike stones always have a repeating pattern. Natural stone is 100% unique - even if we can't see the differences.

In our home we have a slate floor. We used 16x16 inch slate pieces from three different collections: California Gold, Autumn Mist and Imperial Forest. Each stone and each collection of stone is uniquely different. The California Gold stones are denser, darker and had more imprints/fossils of ferns. The Imperial Forest was a little more fragile but some of the stones almost look like rainbows, it is also more porous. Autumn Mist has a combination of light stones, purples and blacks. One of the Autumn mist stones look just like a sunset with a bird flying. Down our hall there is a California Gold with a little foot print in one corner. When we first unpacked the boxes of stone, some seemed boring, too light, too dark, but once we lived with the floor for a while we started see the beauty of each stone.

Each week while I vacuum, this floor amazes me. Each piece is like a painting- a work of art. I'm always making new discoveries. It's not just the colors and patterns but the textures. Sometimes, Dallas and I will calling each other into the kitchen to check out the stone. If you look from our front door to our back sliding door, in just the right light, the textures are incredible! Ridges, lines, bumps, left, right, diagonal, the textures can be just as beautiful as the colors.

When we go to homes where the stone has been coated or enhanced it makes us a little sad. The unique essence of the the stone was lost. In trying to create a look or something perfect the true beauty of the stone was altered, the colors distorted and the texture smoothed over. Each piece starts to look like the others-how sad.

It is true natural stone has certain characteristics which can make it a little harder to care for. You need to add more preventative maintenance and be aware of your cleaners and cleaning methods. But to be honest these should be done on all surfaces. Natural stone may not look exactly like the sample you chose, each piece may not wear the same, and it may require more care but in your home you have a little of nature's art-enjoy!!!

Wishing you a healthy and happy home,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Taking the irksome out of showers!!

Showers cleaning can be irksome! Hardwater deposits, mold and soap scum - the three main soils of your shower.

What can you do? These three soils are just part of having a shower, right?? Without any prevention, then yes. Every shower is a little different depending on how often it is used, what it is made of, how good its ventilation & circulation are and what personal care products are used in your shower.

However, this is what we know about showers. Good daily prevention in showers is incredible about minimizing those 3 soils. We see showers everyday- old, new, stone, tile- you name it we see it. What we also see is the huge -giganitc benefit from good daily prevention. The difference between a shower with preventative maintenance and one with none is night and day.

If you like cleaning soap scum, killing mold and trying to remove hard water deposits then don't read any more, but if you want to minimize these three soils then read on...

After each use or the last shower of the day do 3 things:

1. Rinse your shower.

We rinse ourselves before hopping out of the shower, but what about the shower? Personal products should be rinsed off the shower walls as well as ourselves. If left to dry, those cleaners bond with hard water and become - soap scum!

2. Towel dry your shower.

Mold grows in wet places especially if there is a good food source ( skin, cleaners, hair). If you dry your shower you further remove soap, mold food, minerals and water. We recommend useing a towel, microfiber, or shammy. A squeegees for your glass doors is still good.

Why not squeegee? We find the squeegee is not as effective as towel drying. When you squeegee, if you don't go all the way to the ground, the ground acutally builds up more soap. You are just moving the upper soap to the bottom. A towel collects your soils and is a better detailing tool.

3. Increase your air circulation and ventilation

As soon as you start the water for your shower turn on your vents.
After you shower, continue to run your vents for 60 minutes
There has to be flow for your shower to dry. If you have a shower door or curtain, open them up and let the fresh air in.
(In the northwest, an open window may not remove the excess moisture- run your vents.)

I know this seems like a pain to do everyday but trust me those few seconds pay huge dividends to you and your family.

These little daily preventative steps will:
Save you time & money, while protecting your health & the health of your shower.

Wishing you a healthy and happy home,