Thursday, 19 August 2010

Window Cleaning News

It's My Job: Sparkle and shine - Walk past a clean set of windows in the Fargo-Moorhead area, and there’s a good chance Tim Olson and his squeegee have been on the scene. Olson, founder and owner of Mr. Sparkle Window Cleaning, has been scouring windows around town since he launched the company in 1998. A Fargo native with a background in business management, Olson has kept his operation in the family: His wife, Lori, runs the office, and his sister Nancy does part-time seasonal work. His business keeps a low profile and doesn’t advertise much but has carved out a niche through word-of-mouth referrals. “Almost all our calls, when they call in, say, ‘You do my neighbor’s house, or you do this person’s house,’ ” he said. “To me, it shows that we’re doing a good job.” We caught up with Olson to talk about the right way to clean a window, working through winter, and the inspiration behind his company name.

How’d you get into window washing?
I had done it when I was in college, and it was a good fit. I wanted to own a business someday. It’s a great business. I like working outside. I like moving, being around, seeing people. I don’t like being stuck in an office.

Is there a secret to washing a window correctly?
The thing that would surprise most people is how long it takes to get the technique right. I have people come up to me and say “Would you show me real quick?” so they can go home and do it, but when I train people, it takes them a good month at 40 hours a week for them to even start to get it down. There’s all sorts of little tricks.

Is there a busy time of year for you?
Spring and fall – spring is obviously the busiest, but it gets busy before winter, too. With graduations, the end of May, we’re just swamped. People already have scheduled next year for their graduations, my regular customers that know we get that busy.

You work in all seasons, don’t you?
Yes. It’s a good thing I’m from here because I’m used to the winters. We’re pretty hardy, I guess. We use alcohol to keep the water from freezing, so it’s more about keeping yourself warm, keeping your fingers warm, and just knowing what you can tolerate.

What can you tolerate?
I’ve done it to 40-below wind chill, but that’s tough. You’re out maybe about five minutes, and then you’re warming up. You can’t do it much longer.

Have you ever had any close calls on the ladder?
Just once, and it was this year. The ladder started to slide out from me, but I had my partner with me, and he was able to grab it. Jumped your heart for a little bit for a little while. I was actually inside a house, and they had a nice tile floor. I thought I had the ladder secure enough, but it just started sliding very slowly, and I just sat there and held on for dear life until he got over to the ladder and just kept watching it go down the wall. I suppose I was probably 15 feet up.

The name “Mr. Sparkle” is a famous reference to “The Simpsons” (it was the name of a mysterious Japanese cleaning product on the show). Is that how that came about?
Yes, it is. I’m a big “Simpsons” fan, and when we created our list of names, Mr. Sparkle was one of the names on there, and my wife said, “You’re not using that name.” As we kept eliminating names, it kept rising up to the top, and finally it was the last name.

War veteran, 83, facing eviction from the council house he's lived in for 74 years to make way for a 'family in need' - An 83-year-old war veteran who has lived in the same council house for 74 years is being evicted after the death of his sister left him living alone. Edward Meakins fears moving out of his life-long home will kill him but Barnet Council wants to use the three-bedroom property for one of the rising number of families needing large council homes. He moved into the house in Cricklewood, north-west London, with his parents and four siblings in 1936 but is now the only resident after his sister Margaret died in May. Mr Meakins, who also worked as a window cleaner for 25 years, said: 'I don't want a flat. I don't like the idea of it at all. It's very important for me that I stay here. 'I have been very worried about it. I wouldn't last long in a flat, it would kill me. 'I have got my garden and all my life here, so why do they want to take it all away from me?' Support has been flooding in for Mr Meakins, including a Facebook petition urging Barnet Homes to reverse its decision. So far, more than 3,000 people have joined the group, titled 'Save 83yr old Edward Meakins from being forced out of his home of 74 years'.

Your Mr. Rogers' windows come with many features designed to make cleaning easier. However, when you don't have to clean your windows very often, it's easy to forget. Renewal by Andersen windows from Mr. Rogers let you clean the entire window from the inside. The top and bottom windows tilt inside so you can reach the inside and outside glass. Your Windows Are Worry-Free—Not Dirt Free! So Here's How to Clean Them!

Family pay tribute to tragic dad: Relatives last night spoke for the first time about the death of a man as he played with his son in a paddling pool. Window cleaner Neal Jefferies, 30, was spending a Sunday afternoon playing in the back garden with three-year-old son Liam, when he suddenly collapsed and died. His sister Katie has now pledged to complete a charity challenge he was planning. Mr Jefferies’ partner Roberta Sim, 30, who was upstairs with nine-month-old Scott at their home in Ferguson Place, Abingdon, came down to find him lying face down in the pool.

Ex-miners claim injuries were under-compensated: A group of former miners who suffered industrial injuries are claiming they received inadequate compensation from a government scheme. The men have "vibration white finger" - a condition that causes pain or numbness - and are pursuing payments to cover tasks such as gardening and DIY. The government has said the scheme was administered fairly. BBC legal affairs analyst Clive Coleman said it had since emerged that some ex-miners were under-compensated for the "services" they could no longer provide for their families, such as gardening, car-washing, window-cleaning and DIY.

Stylish, affordable and now available fully furnished, Debut by Redrow apartments are proving popular in Selby, North Yorkshire. Debut apartments make ideal starter homes and to help those stepping on to the property ladder, the award winning house builder is offering a ‘first home pack’. “Looking after your money and keeping track of bills in your first home can be tricky, but at Debut @ Selby budgeting couldn’t be easier as gas, electricity and water charges, even the window cleaning, are included in a single monthly service charge,” Patsy explained.

Sky dancers wow downtown Dallas spectators: All the sky is a stage, or at least the sky surrounding Thanksgiving Tower is. Aerial dance company Project Bandaloop dangled, leapt and climbed through the downtown Dallas sky on Tuesday in a promotion for an energy company. The group has performed on skyscrapers around the world. Below, safely on the ground, a crowd of hundreds gathered, their necks strained. Look up in the sky! Is it a window washer? A bungee jumper? Is it Superman? Maybe Spiderman? No, none of the above.

Cleaning "Essentials" You Can Stop Using for Good: GLASS CLEANER - Once upon a time, I thought that specialty cleaner - you know, that ubiquitous blue stuff - was a must-have for your cleaning caddy. Years ago, I learned that many cleaning experts don't opt for a window or glass cleaner to make their windows and glass shine. It turns out that a simple few squirts of dishsoap in a bucket of warm water makes the best solution for cleaning windows and glass. (Others swear by white vinegar.) And, since you've ditched your paper towels, use newspaper to buff glass to a shiny finish -- it won't leave lint or streaks behind.

Leaking Fish Pond Leads To $300K Pot Bust: FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - A water leak from a business led to the discovery of a pot-growing operation and 151 pot plants, said investigators in Forsyth County. Authorities said they found the marijuana at Georgia Window Works on Union Hill Road. Derrick Eads, 50, is facing felony charges, including manufacturing marijuana and possession with intent to distribute, after authorities said they found $300,000 worth of marijuana in his business.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Carol Sbarge went to his business in south Forsyth County on Wednesday, but no one answered the door. The owner of a neighboring business said he had noticed a strong odor, but never suspected someone was allegedly growing marijuana inside Georgia Window Works. “The business next door to this window washing company had noticed water leaking under the wall,” said Capt. Frank Huggins of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators said the leak was actually coming from a gold fish pond inside the business. “You never know what might trigger something that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrator. It’s the way karma works,” said Huggins.
When a maintenance worker walked into the business to track down the source of the leak, investigators said the worker saw the pot plants growing in various stages. He immediately called the Sheriff’s Office, police said. A nearby business owner said Eads moved into the office complex earlier this year, but kept to himself. Eads has been released on a $33,330 bond. Previous blog on this here.

Moscow restricts vodka sales to break the drinking habit: Ivan the Terrible boosted its production, Mikhail Gorbachev restricted its sale, and Boris Yeltsin wandered the streets of Washington in his underpants trying to hail a cab to look for pizza after drinking too much of it. Now authorities in Moscow have taken the latest steps in Russians' eternal and deadly dance with vodka. They have announced a ban on the sale of spirits between 10pm and 10am, from September 1. The average Russian drinks 1½ litres of pure alcohol every month, a habit that kills 500,000 people a year. An estimated 51 per cent of vodka is produced on the black market. Factories run illegal night shifts, and huge supplies of moonshine are distilled in villages, where it acts as a second currency. In the 1980s Mr Gorbachev decreed that vodka could be sold only from 2pm to 7pm. Mortality rates dropped as a result but there was a spurt in use of dangerous ''surrogate'' alcohols such as aftershave, shoe polish and window cleaner.

Congress wants to pick your pocket - again. Democrats want to extend the Bush tax cuts for middle-class wage earners only and raise taxes on anyone earning more than $250,000. Of course, since this applies only to "the rich," it won't affect you, right? That opinion couldn't be more wrong. When upper income earner's tax rates climb by 3% or more, the marriage penalty is reinstated, child tax credits are lost, capital gains taxes increase from 15% to 20% (a 33% increase!), and dividend income taxation soars by 160%. It's not just "rich" people who pay and pay. Dollars will disappear from everyone's pockets. To make up for vastly higher taxes, "rich" folks will: Hire less domestic help: In areas such as landscaping, window washing and housekeeping, Joe Public loses big-time.

Street Talk: How do you cope with mosquitoes? Matt Roberson, window washer, Hanover Park: "Lots of bug spray. When we do residential areas, there's swamp and grassy areas where there's water. And dips in their back yards which hold water and are like nesting areas."

Known as Marco's "Window Lady," Sherri Medieros does windows, doors, mirrors, boat windows, condo lobbies, and more. Her See-Thru Window Cleaning has been on Marco since 1987.

FISH WINDOW CLEANING: Announced that Mark Phillips, owner of Fish Window Cleaning in Denver, has received the western region's Rising Star Excellence Award at the company's convention in St. Louis.

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