What says “Christmas” more than a gift of home repairs and improvements? Yeah, other than that. Or that. Or…OK, OK I get your point. And, yeah, you can’t wrap it up and put it under a tree, either. Wow, tough crowd.
But think about it, limiting ourselves to the material world, what gives more year-round, around-the-clock satisfaction than having a home you like to look at and feel comfortable in? A seasonal sweater? A widget stuffed in a stocking? A fruit cake? Let’s get real.
That’s why your humble correspondent is less-than-humbly proud to introduce the first Fix St Louis Christmas catalog, which consists entirely of this newsletter. For a few moments, try to imagine you are paging through one of those beautiful glossy mail catalogs from Neiman Marcus, Talbots, or Williams-Sonoma. OK, maybe a bridge too far, but nevertheless here are some of the freshest, trendiest gift ideas from Fix St Louis.
Color-Ectomy:The Graying of America
I started noticing this trend a few years ago. First it was cars, which used to come in all sorts of colors before they became neutral. Next I saw it in kitchen cabinets, where suddenly gray was the thing. But finally, when I saw new gray exteriors of McDONALDS’s of all places — the happy-clappy restaurant with a colorful clown mascot — I knew something was up. I have no idea how or when this started. Although I do remember starting to see a book called “Fifty Shades of Grey” on coffee tables. But since I never read past the front cover, maybe some of you ladies can fill me in on what that book was about.
Well, Fix St Louis can make you go gray, but only in the best sense of the word. Aside from swapping out kitchen cabinets, we’ve installed a lot of great-looking gray flooring lately — particularly water-resistant vinyl plank flooring that has a weathered wood look. And of course, we can paint accent walls or entire rooms gray, sometimes with different shades on different walls.
Subway tiles in bathrooms are now quite the thing, the buzz on all the home improvement shows. But I have a theory about this. It’s that everyone who wants subway tiles has one thing in common — they’ve never actually taken a ride on the NY subway. When this old handyman was just a handy-boy, he grew-up there, and has some vivid memories. And trust me, you wouldn’t want your bathroom walls to remind you of the smell of the subway, which is like a bathroom shared by males who didn’t even TRY to hit the target.
But for those of you who like the look of subway tiles, and can manage to un-read the last paragraph, Fix St Louis can install subway tiles anywhere you want them. In bathrooms we can install them on your shower walls, bathtub walls, or even on the walls outside. In kitchens, folks like them in the “backsplash” areas above their countertops.
Man-Caves and She-Sheds
While by now all of us have heard of “man caves,” I felt I needed to Google it to make sure I was dealing with the latest understanding of the term. It seems like a man cave can be created in ANY room or non-room, like a garage or tree house. But what it MUST be is a place where a man can do whatever he wants without fear of upsetting or being judged by females. You know, like I think it says in the Bible, “In the beginning, God created Man…and Critic.”
Well, I suppose Fix St Louis can install LOTS of things men like that only mildly irritate females who, after all, may have to enter ONCE in a while. We can install paneling or shiplap on walls, mount TV’s, wire entertainment centers, run water lines for new fridges that create ice cubes for soda and mixed drinks, install dimmable soft lighting, install outlets for men to power-up electric chain saws, and any other stereotypes of male behavior female magazine editors might be able to conjure-up. Geez, and all this time I’ve thought all a man needed was a comfortable chair, cold beer, and a sports channel.
Now in regards to “She-Sheds,” I’m still wondering whether this is something that doesn’t exist outside the imaginations of those same female magazine editors. Do women really need an outbuilding when they typically design and live in the entire house itself — which is why a man cave might be necessary in the first place? In any event, we’d be delighted to build a shed in your backyard, with heating, lighting, and air-conditioning as needed, where you can read books, pot flowers, host teas, and ponder all the ways you find the men in your house to be irritating.
Fantasy Gift: An Observatory
The upscale department store Neiman Marcus is famous for featuring fantasy gifts on the cover of its Christmas catalog. Over the years they’ve included a custom-fit knight’s suit of armor, a personal submarine, and a kit to build a replica of Noah’s Ark with animals included. So I thought, what has Neiman Marcus got that we haven’t got? Why can’t Fix St Louis feature a fantasy gift, too? Actually, that’s not the way it happened at all. Last week I was driving through a West County subdivision and almost got into a car accident upon noticing the house in the picture below, snapped from my pick-up.
Full disclosure: No, Fix St Louis has never built an observatory, although I have no doubt that we could if we wanted to. Who wouldn’t want one as a gift? But let’s say that, for whatever reason, you can’t think of ANYONE in your family who would have any use for an observatory, and would not even have used it to view the past week’s lunar eclipse. Yet, you have so much extra money that it’s burning a hole in your pocket. Here’s an alternative idea. You might consider gifting the parts of an observatory to that special handyman on your list, whose company did such a good job on that door repair last year. We might even publish your name after the word “Benefactor” in the masthead of the next edition of Dr Steve’s Tips.
One more thing. If you do ALL of your Black Friday shopping at Fix St Louis you won’t have to deal with the crowds, assuming there’s still such a thing anymore. So, shop like a free human being — rip off that mask, grab your phone, and order your long put-off home repairs and improvements today! Operators are standing by (Actually TRUE — it’s our off-hours answering service).
Happy Holidays and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!