Monday 31 January 2011

T-Shirts & Trainers Wedding & Tower Clean For Window Cleaners

Tower clean is abseil-utley fabulous: Dare-devil abseilers have taken to the skies over Hemel Hempstead to clean the town’s tallest building. The brave men drop down on ropes from hundreds of feet to keep the landmark former Kodak tower looking spruce. Bovingdon-based cleaning company The Price Group has just been awarded the contract for the job.

Managing director Charlie Price said: “This is one of the highest buildings my team has ever cleaned and there are plenty of windows to keep them busy. We are really pleased to win a contract like this in our home town. It’s good work for the guys who are mostly local lads.” The KD Tower has 22 floors, which have been transformed into 254 luxury apartments. It will take four men two weeks to clean the whole tower, and the job will need doing again in three months time.

At 255ft tall the building is the highest in Hemel Hempstead, and the window cleaners enjoy panoramic views of the town as they work. The tower has been converted by Dandara, who replaced the original concrete façade with glazing and coloured steel panelling. Photo giant Kodak moved into smaller offices in the Maylands business park in 2005.

Here comes the bride - in T-shirt and trainers! Here comes the bride and groom.. in band T-shirts and trainers. Music-loving couple Paul Mather and Anne Halsall caused raised eyebrows with registrar staff when they arrived for their wedding at Mere Hall in Manchester. Window-cleaner Paul donned his favourite Stone Roses top and beanie hat for the occasion. The couple, from Great Lever, met eight years ago through friends because of their mutual love of music and the ‘Manchester scene’.

Paul, aged 48, explained: “We just didn’t want to do the dickie bows and long flowing dresses because it’s just not us. So, I did it my way, as Sid Vicious said. We went to The Railway, in Bromley Cross, to watch a Stranglers tribute band on our wedding night.” The 41-year-old bride, who works as a school cleaner, wore a Joy Division T-shirt and trainers for the low-key celebration. Paul said: “They had a fit at the register office when we turned up, they just couldn’t get their heads around it. We were the only ones in that day because the weather was awful and they didn’t think we were serious.

But they thought it was quite amusing that we were there with our Adidas trainers on. We were just doing it the way we wanted.” There were just four guests at the wedding ceremony as both parents of the bride and groom are no longer alive. The day after the ceremony, the couple, of Westbourne Avenue, held a reception and a buffet at the Hen and Chickens pub in Bolton town centre for around 140 family members and friends. The newly-weds are planning a honeymoon to Malta later in the year.

Sunday 30 January 2011

What The Window Cleaner Saw

"Dangerous Dave" of "Advanced Window Cleaning" from Seattle sent me these pictures of Logan building at 500 Union Street. Some guys were installing phone equipment on top of a 10 story building in downtown Seattle. Dave says "We are talking here about absolute recklessness,  and these guys don't even seem to be nervous!" Click pictures to enlarge. More info' & discussion can be found at WCR.

Dave continues, "I was cleaning the windows in the building across the street (pictured left) from this building and I saw these guy working off two fiber glass ladders that were tied together by a rope to make one ladder!" "If you notice the yellow ladders - these guys have tied on another red ladder to the top of it with a rope." "No one is at the base holding it, and the base is about 4 to 5 feet from the roofs edge!" "I was up on the 14th or 12th floor (there is no 13th floor), over on the right corner of the building in what they call the tower, which is above the bottom 10 floors which is the larger part when I took the pictures!" "They didn't use ladder stoppers and they were working on a gravel roof about 4 to 6 feet from the edge!" "Neither were the ladders tied off in anyway."

"There was a time before this that I saw another phone worker putting up the transmitter, he was using a boatswain chair and repelling device, tied into a safety line!" Dave adds, "Ladder safety is a key element in our industry and application is so very necessary for life and limb!"

Saturday 29 January 2011

Out My Window - "Windeyes"

Angles ’n’ Attitudes by William Bothwell (Shortened version): Since the 1980s the Microsoft Corporation has partially redefined the word ‘windows’. It is now a brand name for online services and software. Some who do household cleaning say they don’t “do windows” but other millions of us do so. A new National Film Board documentary, "Out My Window" looks at multi-storey urban dwellings from other high-rise vantage points. With inquiry akin to Romeo’s famous “But soft, what light from yonder window breaks?” the NFB is watching and filming who knows whom.

After living many years in the country “right against the forest fence”, I have for the past few years lived in a town house from which the wonders of sunrise and sunset are frequent spectacles. Eastward, the seasonal progress of the rising sun from a position over Island Lake (pictured above) to one 23.45° to the south and back again accompanies the annual spectacle of seasonal change. The tilt of Earth’s axis is responsible. The mind’s sense of wonder responds. If there be no intelligent design, the accidental laws of nature are no less marvellous.

Forgetting for the moment the other, westward looking, windows through which, absent a curfew, my tallcase clock tolls the knell of parting day, I think I have the most interesting ‘windeyes’ (see below) in Dufferinshire. From the living room of what is called a raised bungalow I look out directly at no neighbouring house. Only green lawns and driveways are visible from a favourite chair. Standing, I can monitor the traffic on the in-town stretch of old Hurontario Street.

One watches with interest the couples who walk hand in hand, those who on Sundays jog past, free from week day routine, and the dogs that walk their owners at inconvenient hours. One is glad to live with a pussy cat for which two bowls and a litter box suffice. That said, I miss the corgies that lived with us in the Hockley Valley.

Our distant ancestors built ‘windeyes’ into the walls of their houses. They allowed light and fresh air in, smoke and cooking odours out. After dark they were curtained either by hides or drapery. Some had exterior shutters, locked closed from the inside. Until 300 years ago the Old English word ‘fenester’ (German ‘Fenster’) was in common use. Throwing something, or someone, out of a window is still defenestration.

In both Britain and France windows used to be taxed. The rate increased if there were more than ten in any building. A universal poll or head tax was unpopular, the cause of periodic riots. Before the 20th Century income tax was thought to be an unwarranted government intrusion into one’s private affairs. Ministers of finance resorted to window taxes with the result that many old buildings have walled-up spaces that once provided tax relief for landlords.

Although wealthy ancient Romans glazed their windows, glass was not in common domestic use in Europe until the 17th Century. Until large sheets of it could be produced there were small leaded or wooden framed panes. Today’s decorative shutters and window grills are sentimental reminders of that time.

Fragments of coloured and/or painted glass have been common in church windows since the 12th Century. Children have been known to define a saint as “somebody the light shines through”. As a youngster I sat with my parents for an hour or so most Sundays under the surveillance of Sts Matthew, Mark, Luke and John portrayed in nearby windows. I supposed their haloes to be the brims of straw hats thrown back behind their heads.

Later the glorious windows at Canterbury, York, Paris and Chartres cathedrals became familiar to me. In his 1937 book The Arts Hendrik Willem Van Loon says that the oldest such artistic fenestration is in the cathedral of Augsburg in Bavaria. The itinerant Gothic stone masons and glass workers of the Middle Ages gave Europe its first trans-national communities.

Connoisseurs of windows are conversant with the oriel, clerestory, bay, bow and many other varieties. A rooftop lantern or cupola with glass or louvred openings is familiar to those who frequent universities. Casement, sash or sliding windows are known to the multitude. The non-opening variety in high rise buildings discourages defenestration.

Evidently, I am especially satisfied with my windows which, like any self-respecting church or mosque, face east. The hills of Mono are visible in the distance. Varying scenes of the human drama are enacted below. I see mythology’s Phoebus Apollo drive his golden chariot across the sky most days. Though there is no planet named for him - after all, he already has the sun - a space programme bore his name. And now this column reaffirms it.
During the day there is seldom a 60-second time frame in which at least one motor vehicle does not either deliver goods or carry passengers past those windows. Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. the mercifully quiet wheeled traffic passes at the rate of two or three a minute. Who are the people who live in the 105 houses of our crescent cul-de-sac? We co-exist but, as did Voltaire and God, we nod occasionally but do not speak. On school days I watch the back-packed students who plod dutifully and, one is sure, some unwillingly, to their classes.

Friday 28 January 2011

Window Cleaning News

The Saturday Evening Post was a US magazine published weekly. It ran from 1821 to 1969. The publisher claimed the Post was descended from The Pennsylvania Gazette founded in 1728 by Benjamin Franklin even when the magazine's first issue was published over three decades after Ben Franklin's death. The Post was also host to the rise to fame of cover illustrator Norman Rockwell.

Earthpawz Cleans Up the Official GRAMMY Gift Bags: Presenters and performers and their pets will be going green when they receive Earthpawz® pet friendly cleaning products in their official gift bag at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards®. Included in this year's gift bags will be Earthpawz Doggie Slobber Window & Glass Cleaner, as well as Earthpawz Dirty Dog Floor Cleaner & Mud Remover. Earthpawz is a Canadian-based company, founded by Taren de St. Croix, focused on providing healthy and safe cleaning products. After Taren's dog became ill from the cleaners she was using in her home, she decided to meet with a chemist and formulate safe products that were completely toxic free. The products worked so well, she decided to found Earthpawz and make them available to everyone that wants to use safe and 100% natural products around their pets and homes.

Betterclean Services launches its franchise opportunity: New commercial cleaning franchise opportunity Betterclean Services is offering entrepreneurs the chance to become involved in an industry, which generated £4.6 billion in 2009 within the UK. Founded in 1995, Betterclean Services is involved in the commercial cleaning of premises such as theatres, dental surgeries, office premises, holiday parks, doctors' surgeries and car showrooms – and holds contracts with organisations including the Dartmoor National Parks Authority. The business now predominantly exists as a commercial contract cleaning operation, with 90 per cent of the turnover associated with this field of expertise. The remaining 10 per cent is attributed to cleaning windows (sub-contracted), carpets, ad hoc cleaning such as house lets, seasonal cleaning work within the holiday industry, hard floor cleaning and small consumable products that they supply, such as sanitary provisions to existing clients.

A strict reading of Ashland's business license law says that any adult engaged in an activity with an intent to make a profit needs a license. "If someone is strumming a banjo on the sidewalk, are they performing for a profit? I don't know," said Ashland Finance and Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg. Ashland has no threshold for the amount of money a person has to make, or even a requirement that the person actually realize a profit. Tuneberg said city staff are awaiting more direction from the Ashland City Council about business license rules. The council is considering requiring vendors that rent booth space to buy a license, too. A public hearing is planned in February but no date has been set yet. Tuneberg's staff members send out about a dozen notices a year to people who are operating businesses in town without a license. Tuneberg said the notices are generally sent out after the city receives complaints, or if an unlicensed business activity comes to the attention of city staff.
Tuneberg himself turned in information about a roving window-washer who came to his house offering cleaning services, but who didn't have a business license. As evidence that a person is engaged in unlicensed business activity, city staff will look for TV, radio and newspaper ads, door hangers, ads on the side of a car, signs and other forms of advertising. They haven't gone to the level of checking out all the fliers people post on bulletin boards around town offering goods and services, Tuneberg said. People are allowed to sell their own personal household items, as long as the sales method — such as a garage sale — lasts less than four days a year.

Twenty two years ago he was “a Tyneside window cleaner with a passion for painting”, according to one newspaper article of the time. Alexander Millar has come a long way since then. Firmly established at the commercial end of the art spectrum, his prints and original paintings hang in the homes of celebrities and ordinary people around the world. Sting, Cheryl Cole and Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant own examples of his work but it strikes a chord with many people who see, in Alexander’s jovial working class figures, echoes of their roots in the industrial north.

Fall in UK police officer numbers; The number of police officers in England and Wales fell by more than 2,500 last year, the first significant fall for at least six years, figures showed today. There were 142,363 officers on September 30, a drop of 1.7% compared with the previous year, the Home Office figures showed.
In the comments section: My local newspaper today carries a front page report on how large numbers of police officers (starting salary, £23,000 per year - not too bad) are moonlighting. No wonder they continually feel the need to tell transparent lies about falling crime figures. It doesn't look good, I suppose, when a member of the public is burgled and there's no police officer available because they're all out driving taxis and window-cleaning.

On Jan. 21, 1993, D.C. Council members condemned a move by then-Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly that prevented them from viewing the presidential inauguration parade from the District Building, today known as the John A. Wilson Building. While Kelly had been inserting herself in photo ops with newly-inaugurated President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, she had left the Wilson Building’s windows unwashed, and changed the locks so council members couldn’t use the building to watch the inaugural parade. (The mayor had earlier dragged her feet on allowing the council to use her official reviewing platform.)
As Washington City Paper wrote in its Jan. 29 issue: The council thought it had found a way to get around its exclusion from the mayor’s reviewing stand by having the windows washed on the District Building so council-members and their staff could watch from the offices... but the mayor’s Department of Administrative Services said it did not have the money in its budget to clean the windows.
Then, the Friday before the Inauguration, the mayor had the locks changed on her old offices at the District Building because the council had a key to get into the prime parade-viewing space. By that time, the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) an organization of downtown landlords eager to curry favor with the council, had a found a Virginia firm willing to clean the windows for free. So the council had the locks changed the following Monday to let the window cleaners in. The next day, the mayor had them changed again. This is the way your elected officials really behave when their egos are swollen. Click picture to enlarge.

Micky Flanagan's brilliantly observed 2007 Edinburgh Fringe show about his rise from working-class Herbert to middle-class ponce, finally and deservedly made the comic red hot property on the comedy circuit. The show brought him acclaim from critics and audiences alike, as well as a Best Newcomer nomination at the if.comedy awards (now renamed the Edinburgh Comedy Awards). Since then, the animated Cockney has become a sought-after act, not only on the live circuit, but also on the small screen. He is now in the unique position of selling out 60 nights at some of the largest and most prestigious theatres around the country. Not bad for a former Billingsgate Market fish packer and window cleaner from Bethnal Green. "No, not bad at all really," agrees Micky, with comic understatement. See Micky here.

Motorists could soon be forced to pay up to £1.40 an hour for on-street parking. Under plans set out by Surrey County Council, ten streets in Mole Valley will see pay and display machines installed by November. Around 3,500 short-term spaces have been identified across the county, including a total of 170 in Dorking, Leatherhead, Ashtead and Bookham. Opponents claim the charges would hit motorists and traders at an unstable economic time. "There will be additional costs to retailers for window cleaners and other tradespeople carrying out necessary work to their premises."

Move into security helps firm to clean up: A County Armagh cleaning and security firm has defied the recession with £3m worth of growth. Robinson Services, best known for its cleaning work, has diversified into a number of different areas in recent years. Mr Huxley said this creative approach to their business model has been crucial to thriving in the recession. "We are continually looking at new services we can offer. Last year, we began to provide gritting services," he said. "In November we bought two gritters and then had one of the worst winters in living memory. So it's all about a combination of good business acumen and a bit of luck." Robinson Services began life in 1968 as a window cleaning venture, started by James Robinson. Today, son David Robinson is at the helm and the company employs over 1,200 staff.

On the outside of Capitol Dome: When Aulson Sr. returned in 2002 to clean and paint the dome, he found that security had become  “a lot more intense” since the terror attacks of 2001, and contractors could no longer build scaffolding from the ground to reach the outside of the dome. “From a contractor’s point of view, we were horrified that we had no access from the ground,” said Aulson, Sr. Security at the U.S. Capitol includes numerous barricades, checkpoints and security details, and the entire area can be quickly shut down if needed, according to project foreman Chad Lampert.
In order to gain access to their work area whenever it was on the cupola part of the dome, they rode in controlled-descent devices, grabbing a rope when they wanted to stop.  The ropes lowered them to their worksite on Bosun’s chairs, which are similar to window washer’s platforms, according to Lampert. Then they would climb back up to the top on a permanently mounted ladder and descend to another work area on bosun’s chairs. They also wore separate safety harnesses connected to a rope system that would stop them if they fell.

One of the 16 little-known private villas at the Trump National Golf Club-Westchester in Briarcliff Manor is now on the market for $1.95 million. This three-story townhome at 14 Shadow Tree Lane Westchester features three bedrooms, four and a half baths and 5,200 square feet of luxurious details — from a remote-controlled marble steam room to a 720-bottle wine cellar. And let's not forget the four fireplaces, the whole-house audio system, the surround-sound home theater and the top-of-the-line Bilotta kitchen with granite countertops, a six-burner stove and three ovens.
The prestigious location with an expansive view overlooking the 17th hole also entitles the homeowner to privileges at the elite golf club, including exclusive clubhouse events, the tennis pavilion, pool house, and rubbing shoulders with high-profile golf club members such as former President Bill Clinton, former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, actor/director Clint Eastwood, sportscaster Bob Costas, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and, of course, Donald Trump himself. And the services are sublime — window washing, changing light bulbs in the hard-to-reach cathedral ceilings, snow removal, personalized security and forwarding mail to owners when they're in other locations.

Town Hall chiefs in Sheffield will today decide on plans to spend £53,700 extending a scheme they say ‘animates’ run-down and vacant shops by putting art in empty city centre store windows. The Sheffield Showcase scheme was dreamt up in July 2009 after the ambitious Sevenstone retail development was put on hold because of the recession. The £600 million retail scheme was meant to turn rundown streets between Barker’s Pool, The Moor and Pinstone Street into a shoppers’ paradise – but when developers Hammerson postponed the project council bosses decided to put public money into keeping the area tidy until the scheme could go ahead.
In the last 18 months the council has spent £188,000 on the “outdoor gallery” which they say helps boost footfall. The scheme – managed by The Source training organisation but funded by the council – gives artists and designers a public display platform and gives retailers free advertising space. But it does not come cheap. Costs include employing a visual merchandising manager, administrative assistant and apprentices, as well as paying for electricity bills, window cleaning and legal fees. Now officers want to spend £53,708 to keep the project running until the end of 2011. That figure does not include staffing costs – which need to be found from additional grants. Also here.

Stormy's Furcast is a winter-long series testing the weather predictions of the good-natured folks at the nearly 200-year-old Farmers' Almanac against an equally good-natured fox that lives at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. The almanac is based on science and secret formulas. This week's prediction: What's one of the best days to wash windows this month? The choices:  1) Jan. 15     2) Jan. 20     3) Jan. 29
The Farmers' Almanac says: Jan. 29 (Contradiction alert: The almanac's weather section calls for snow on that day, but its astrology section says it's a good day for window washing. Almanac Philom. Peter Geiger explained in a phone call that no one says it won't be a good day for indoor window washing. Hmmm ...).

The Avengers: The Complete Series 6 - Throughout the 1960s The Avengers bestrode the televisual world like a colossus. Twisted, kinky and confident, the flamboyant spy series echoed precisely the pop-cultural moods of that tumultuous decade. The latest volume in Optimum’s re-mastered and extras-stuffed reissue programme covers over eight discs the era of John Steed (Patrick McNee) and Tara King (Linda Thorson), when proceedings began to go a bit prog and the shirt collars could take your eye out. Even so, series six, from 1968, contained some of the show’s finest, furthest-out episodes - Fog, for example, where a reincarnation of Jack the Ripper stalks Soviet peace delegates through the streets of Whitechapel, or The Super Secret Cypher Snatch in which evil window-cleaners (no, really) brainwash operatives of the intelligence services. Like Sherlock Holmes going on the Magical Mystery Tour or The X-Files rewritten by PG Wodehouse, The Avengers was hip and smart as a whip, set in a fevered Home Counties fantasia where thought control, killer super-computers and mind-transference were just mildly irksome facts of life. Minimal extras.

Trollull/Oscar Weil has been a manufacturer of steel wool products for more than 100 years. The history of the company is marked by a long series of new products that have shaped the steel wool market. Due to unsurpassed premium quality, strong products and customer-oriented service, satisfied customers in the UK and many European countries trust Trollull Premium Quality steel wool. New attraction shown on the TotallyDIY is the Trollull GlassCleaner. The Trollull GlassCleaner is a scratch-free sponge which easily removes paint and dirt from window glass and tiles – soft and safe! The working side is made of extra fine stainless steel wool. This unique product can be applied several times either dry or in combination with chemicals, e.g. solvents. PDF download here.

Allstate and American Family Insurance are taking different approaches to their marketing targeting Hispanic consumers. A spin-off of its national general market advertising campaign, "Mayhem," Allstate is introducing an effort with the antagonist "Mala Suerte (bad luck)," who represents unfortunate circumstances. The word "mayhem" has no literal translation in the Spanish language, which led Allstate to create "Mala Suerte" to resonate more directly with Hispanics.
"Mala Suerte" is introduced as a polished and confident-looking man. However, his mere presence creates a series of misfortunes that are intended to remind people of what can go wrong and the protection Allstate can provide when it does. He startles a window-washer, which causes a bucket to fall several stories and land on the hood of a car. The ad closes with the voiceover, "Dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like Allstate."

Thursday 27 January 2011

Tragedy Of Wakefield Window Cleaner Who Plunged Off Faulty Ladder

Tragedy of Wakefield window cleaner who plunged off faulty ladder: A safety conscious window cleaner suffered fatal head injuries after falling from his ladder, an inquest heard. Roland Jungbauer, 43, was a former scaffolder turned self-employed window cleaner with a conscientious attitude to safety at work, Wakefield Coroner's Court was told.

There were no witnesses to the fall, which happened as Mr Jungbauer, of Ossett, was working at a house in Grey Court at Outwood, Wakefield, last March 9. Householder Katie Mellor was out when Mr Jungbauer was cleaning her first floor windows. Coroner's officer Colin Mantell said when she returned home, just before 3pm, Mr Jungbauer told her: "Let me in I'm freezing." Mr Mantell added: "She opened the door and he collapsed in the doorway."

Mr Jungbauer was taken to Pinderfields Hospital at Wakefield and later transferred to the intensive care unit at Leeds General Infirmary. He did not regain consciousness and died from a severe, traumatic brain injury at LGI seven days later. In a statement read to the court, Mr Jungbauer's sister Sally said her brother was a "conscientious worker - always aware of his own safety." She added: "He used to be a scaffolder and was used to working at heights. He did not take risks and to the best of my knowledge he had never fallen from his ladder before."

Miss Jungbauer's life-long friend and fellow window cleaner Paul Wilkes said in a statement how he noticed after the accident that Mr  Jungbauer's ladders were broken on the third rung up, adding: "I know he only bought the ladders last year. He always kept his equipment in good working order." Recording a verdict of accidental death, deputy coroner Melanie Wiliamson, said: "Tragically, for some reason Mr Jungbauer did fall from his ladders. We do know the third rung up was broken, how that happened we do not know."
Original blog here.

Man falls through window at Regina's Central Library: A man fell through a full length glass window inside the Central Library in Regina on Wednesday. It's unclear exactly how it happened, but people around the library were shocked. Darryl Lachance walked into the library just as the man fell through the window. He said it was worrisome. "That's scary when you come downtown and see something like that especially at the public library," he said.

The fire department said the man was distraught and had to be restrained. He also had multiple cuts on his body. Julie McKenna, the deputy library director at the Regina Public Library noted staff worked fast to help the man. "The staff reacted quickly. They called 911," said McKenna. "We are in the process of boarding it up right now cleaning up the area. Of course there is some blood in the area, so that has been safely cleaned up." She said the Central Library is still open and they will have permanent glass put back in as soon as possible.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Window Cleaner Shot Dead By Ninety Year Old Gun

Detectives investigating the apparently motiveless murder of a 23-year-old will appear on television tonight to release a photo of a gun they believe killed him. The case of Ricardo Cunha – a Portuguese national who worked as a window cleaner and was well-known for his love of Sunday morning football – will be profiled on Crimewatch.

Mr Cunha was watching TV with his girlfriend in the bedroom of his flat in Pondfield House, Elder Road, West Norwood, at about 11.20pm on Saturday, September 11, last year when the pair heard a noise outside. When Mr Cunha looked out of the living room window to investigate he was shot in the head. Detective Chief Inspector Nick Scola, from the Metropolitan Police’s homicide and serious crime command, said: “Ricardo was a young man with no criminal past or connections. “We have yet to find a motive for his murder and cannot rule out this may be a case of mistaken identity.”

He urged anyone who recognised this British-made Webley mark six revolver to get in touch. He said: “I believe it is very likely this was the weapon that was used to kill Ricardo.” The gun was fired in an incident in Picton House, on the Clapham Park estate in Brixton, three days after the murder – in which no one was injured – and was found the following day on the Clapham Manor estate, Brixton. Detective Chief Inspector Scola said: “At this stage we cannot trace the history of the weapon, but it was probably produced in 1924 and is in good condition. “It is entirely possible someone has been keeping it as a keepsake, from the war perhaps, and it could have been stolen in an unreported burglary.”

Victim: Ricardo Cunha was killed in front of his girlfriend Sapna
Ricardo’s sister and girlfriend will appear on the BBC One programme and described how the incident has devastated the family. His sister Lilliana said: “He was very kind to everyone, he was always there for everyone, he was very happy, someone you could have a laugh with. He was just lovely.” His girlfriend Sapna said: “Everything in my life is missing at the moment, because he was my future. “Why would someone want to take his life? “This person has got the wrong guy or the wrong girl. Whoever they intended to get at that night, they got totally the wrong person.” First news of this shooting here.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Starting From Scratch - Taking Scratches Out Of Windows

Mark Strange - famous for his tool-talk videos has ventured into the realm of renovating glass using  the GlassRenu glass restoration system. Mark shows you step by step, as a complete novice how he learns to renovate the window. It's great watching a professional who has done this everyday - but even better is watching someone starting out & showing the mistakes that he makes on the job. GlassRenu even have an iphone app' out that you can refer to when you are on the job. I'm sure you will enjoy this series which could be a great window cleaning add-on if you have a market for this sort of work. Prices for the systems can be seen here.

The GlassRenu Scratch Removal System is the industry’s premier solution for removing scratches and acid damage of any size and depth from all types of glass. With GlassRenu, you’ll be able to repair 75% - 95% of the glass panels you previously had to replace – in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost with the Patented Dry Grinding System.

Monday 24 January 2011

Window Cleaning Apps For Android

Matt & LuvDroid Android Forums have recently launched a new forum App' for "Window Cleaning Forums UK." An independent window cleaning forum for window cleaners where you are able to join the cleaning forums and get advice for your window cleaning business. They also ask to rate and send in any feature requests or report errors so that they can improve on the App'. Switching between landscape and portrait mode is possible. The next update will be adding mobile ad's to the App, having a paid version will get rid of the advertising.

  • Post new topics
  • Reply to posts
  • Use PM system
  • Manage your profile and much more!
Once registered you need to activate your account via the email sent to you, if you do not get an email check your spam folder just incase. Open your QR barcode scanner application on your phone. Point your phone's camera at the barcode on the right and scan it.

Android Handset To Be Fired Into Space: A group of engineers are planning to launch an Android-based smartphone into space to examine the device's capabilities whilst off Earth. According to the BBC, a team of engineers at the Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) are carrying out the project to test whether today's smartphones are able to function in space. Once in space the smartphone will be used to control a 30 cm long satellite that will take images of Earth from space. Android smartphones have been sent to high-altitudes in hot-air balloons before but a project as ambitious as this has never been attempted.

Amazon sweetens deal for Android developers & waives $99 fee for its App Store program. Amazon is looking to entice Android developers to its new App Store, waiving the $99 annual fee referenced in its terms and conditions that developers would normally have to pay. Upon joining, some developers are being sent emails that “as a token of their appreication” for joining, Amazon is waving the program fee for the first year of participation in its App Store program. It is not known whether this applies to all developers, for early adopters or people chosen at random. It might give that extra incentive for those developing apps for the Android Market that may wish to make some cash on the side which is exactly what Amazon are hoping.

Window Cleaning Game on Android..

Crazy window cleaners: Rappel down the front of a skyscraper at break-neck speeds, cleaning windows as fast as you can! Race opponents in three different game modes across 10 different cities! Use wasps’ nests and flower pots to slow your opponents down! Keep racing until you earn all the trophies!
Open your QR barcode scanner application on your phone. Point your phone's camera at the barcode on the left and scan it.

Sunday 23 January 2011

The UKs "Master Guild Of Window Cleaners" Needs Your Videos!

Nathanael Jones, the chairman of The Master Guild of Window Cleaners would like to let all members know about a competition that is currently running. Nat says "We want to promote the Guild (both to members of the trade & raise awareness amongst the public) across a variety of social media on the smallest budget possible by producing a promotional short video/advert." "Having a distinct lack of Spielberg's within the organisation, and not enough cash to hire one, we decided that a competition supporting student & independent film makers would be a great way forward."

"What we want you to do is simply direct/shoot/edit compile & upload your video. E-mail the link to, and once its approved we'll inform you & post the link on our forum  and our facebook page for all to see."

"The video can be as long or short as you want,.. but we do want something snappy & memorable, so more than 1 or 2 minutes might be too much unless the content is exceptional." "Whilst we would like to emphasise all the benefits the Guild offers (see the website) and the safety aspects etc etc,.. a video of someone falling from a ladder & getting hurt might not have the desired effect of getting us more members & encouraging more of the public to prefer our members." "For this reason, something light-hearted & funny might be a good idea. That said, if you have an exceptional idea that you are sure will work, even if it is a bit dark,.. go for it!" "The content should be clean, no swearing, no rude jokes etc etc."

"The winner will ultimately be the one chosen by the board but consideration will taken into account of the video that gets the most views on the service its uploaded to, so its not just about making the video, but also how you promote it." "A funny video will be shared with friends etc so might have a better chance." 1st prize is: £500 CASH (around $800). See more details here. You don't have to be a member to win the prize. Only a couple of weeks to submit your entry. See the entrants so far below..

 So what is the MGWC?

Welcome to The Master Guild Of Window Cleaners: The Master Guild of Window Cleaners is a non-profit organisation founded by window cleaners, for window cleaners. The Guild is not a trade association, but rather a community based professional support group. The Guild is run and maintained on a voluntary basis. The Guild aims to benefit cleaners and their clients alike, by raising standards, improving work practices, ensuring its members are adequately insured and always aware of the health and safety challenges that face them. It is the aim of the Master Guild of Window Cleaners to:

•      Promote improved working practices and conditions for all window cleaners.
•      To promote professional conduct by our members at all times.
•      To ensure that our members are adequately insured for your protection.
•      To help customers make a better choice when choosing a cleaner.
•      To promote higher standards of health and safety.
•      To provide information and help to window cleaners.
•      To furnish new and up to date cleaning and safety methods to our members.
•      To highlight the need for cleaners to adapt to economic and architectural challenges.
•      To promote the need to exceed our customers expectations.
•      To raise standards within the industry.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Window Cleaner Skyscraper Rescue - Singapore

Singapore - An amazing rescue effort, on the sixteenth floor, witnessed by over 50 office workers on the ground, was captured on film as the drama unfolded in the heart of Singapore's business district. Two Chinese men cleaning windows in a gondola became trapped when one of the cables supporting the cleaning unit became entangled, leaving the two men dangling at an angle. With their lives in danger and the very real fear the other cable could snap, a rescue team was despatched to save the men from a fatal plunge to the bottom of the Maybank Tower.

The skyscraper on Battery Road in Raffles Place is in the centre of Singapore's downtown business district. The world-famous district features some of the tallest buildings in Asia. A member of the public called the emergency services at 1600 local time (0300EDT) on Monday, reports asiaone news. It had began to rain heavily and the wind was strong causing the gondola to swing violently back and forth.

A contractor maintaining the gondola was called in to see if it could be lowered safely to the ground floor. It was determined this was not possible, so a rescue team from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) sent an operative in a safety harness out of a window on the seventeenth floor. He secured the first worker to his own body whilst the other climbed out the gondola and both men were carefully put through a window on the fifteenth floor. Paramedics checked the men over and determined there was no need to send the workers to hospital, reports the Singapore-based newspaper, Electric New Paper. The whole incident was witnessed by a large crowd who had gathered on the streets below, who clapped and cheered when the men were eventually rescued.

Friday 21 January 2011

News & Soundbites For Window Cleaners

 The final details: A construction worker, top left, installs one of the last panels on the front of the Fredericton Convention Centre on Tuesday as employees of Capital Window Cleaners clean the glass.

Window washer, Rick Carney, owner and operator of Pane Doctor Professional Window Cleaning Company, is sharing some of his success with Fort Worth and surrounding Texas communities. It’s his way of saying thanks for a great year. “While we are very excited about the success of Pane Doctor, we believe in giving back to the community,” says owner Rick Carney. “Pane Doctor has donated free exterior window cleanings for charitable auctions to assist in raising funds for area charities and churches. Arlington Heights UMC, Fort Worth, and White's Chapel UMC, Southlake, are two churches that have auctioned the Pane Doctor’s cleaning services to raise funds for charity.”
‘No one likes to clean windows.’ Everyone has heard it said a million times and everyone can probably relate. No one that is, except for Rick Carney the Pane Doctor. For Rick, it is the therapeutic nature of being outside and making life just a little clearer for someone else that makes him so good at what he does. Rick enjoys summer outdoor fun with his wife and four children, so working outside and meeting new people is a bonus for him in the window washing industry.
Pane Doctor Professional Window Cleaning is ready to help clear customers’ views from the inside out all around Fort Worth and surrounding communities. Summer is the time that the shades are pulled up and kids are playing in the back yard. It only makes sense to keep the view sparkling clean. Pane Doctor, as any true professional window washer should do prior to creating a clear view for summer, offers customers a free estimate before ever raising a squeegee or hoisting a ladder. This gives customers peace of mind prior to the cleaning and an understanding of what will be included to achieve an outlook worth having.

Picture this...a window washer on 29th story of a Naples condo gets stuck. Who saves him? The City of Naples firefighters put on a training exercise for high rise situations like this, and WINK News got first hand practice. "A window washer is the most common. They go over the side of this building, and they start cleaning the windows, and they have a medical emergency or their equipment fails we can come and set up this kind of repel. Repel down to them, pick them up, put them on our safety lines and lower them down," Naples Battalion Chief Pete DiMaria explains of today's training exercise.
Naples Fire does this type of training often, but the buildings usually don't go over three stories. Today, crews have the added risk of descending down one of Naples' highest condos, the Enclave at 29 stories high. The last time they got to practice on a building this tall was three years ago. In an emergency situation, rescuers have to get all rigs and harnesses set up, and start repelling to their victim in as little as 20 minutes. But, the scarier part may be the decent. Sometimes rescue workers have to get down in under 30 seconds. Thankfully, Naples Fire hasn't had to put this training to use on anyone, but they're ready when and if the time comes. Video at link.

This week, Doris Clayton passed from this world much like she lived in it - surrounded by bluegrass music and those who loved her. Doris relished her role as wife, mother and owner of a window-cleaning business that, even during all her chemo treatments, she continued to physically maintain. But those who knew Doris best say there was never a day - even when the cancer spread throughout her body - she didn’t live life to the fullest. “She never gave up hope,” says longtime friend Joe Warnelis, nor did she let the disease define her. “From the moment I met her, I never once heard her complain or feel sorry for herself,” adds Jim Clayton, who married Doris in May of 2007, at a time when the cancer was in remission. “I always knew it could come back. So did she. But she was always upbeat, positive, and always thinking of others instead of herself.” Then there was her music. Previous news blog here.

Bohannon killer gets 8-16 years: Evanston, Wyoming. The killer of an Evanston woman who died in 2006 was sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison Friday, authorities said. Lee Allen Michaels — whose real name is Edwin Lee Norton — was arrested in Houston in April on first-degree murder charges in the death of 41-year-old Shannon Bohannon of Evanston. Michaels had pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced during a hearing in Uinta County District Court. Bohannon's plastic-wrapped body was found by a hiker on June 11, 2006, on public lands north of Evanston. An autopsy revealed no obvious cause of death. Investigators determined that Bohannon had been living with Michaels, a drifter and self-employed window washer at the time.

Love at first sight is still going strong 50 years on: A golden couple who fell in love the second they laid eyes on each other are today celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss. Sheila and Barrie Baker, both 67, of Ivy Lodge Close, Stapenhill, met at the former Alexander Cafe near Station Bridge, shortly after leaving school when they were 15 years old. The couple courted for two years before they tied the knot at Burton Town Hall in 1961. Mr Baker, a keen golfer, started his working life as a butcher at the age of 13 and, after school, went full-time until he was 21. He then worked at Drakelow Power Station and set up his own part-time window cleaning business, which he still runs to this day. The couple were celebrating the milestone anniversary with a big party at their home with family and friends today. They will also be treating themselves to a Caribbean cruise later in the year.

Buyout Loans in Europe Set to Climb to 3 Year High in January: ISS Scrapped - Apax Partners LLP abandoned its bid for ISS Holding A/S, the world’s largest provider of cleaning services last week, scrapping plans to raise at least 3 billion euros of financing, people with knowledge of the deal said Jan. 7

Buying services (window cleaners, hairdressers, etc) is better than buying imported electrical goods or foreign-made clothes, and that might favour the older spenders. But the Neets – not in employment, education or training – youngsters deprived of jobs are receiving social-security benefits. Give them a job and the state no longer has to make those payments. The older group do not lose their pensions because they are also working. So the country is better off if the jobs go to the young.

Easy to clean windows: Independence Home Improvement was founded under the idea that home improvement doesn't have to always be so difficult. Take windows for example - cleaning them really can be painless and simple. David Magazu, Owner of Independence Home Improvement shows us exactly how. What's unique about these windows is that the glass in them was made in a special way that allows you to clean them without using anything but cold water and a paper towel. Anyone that's worn glasses can remember that 10, 15 years ago when you took off your glasses you could use your shirt to wipe them clean because the glass was made optically clear. Plastic lenses are difficult to clean and you need soap and water. This glass is made in the same fashion as your eyeglasses used to be made so you end up with a glass very, very easy to clean. This is a great window system made by paradigm.

Soundbite: If you’ve experienced a devastating fall in the workplace or a car accident which left you hospitalized, one of the most daunting tasks — besides paying a mammoth hospital bill — has to be the search for the right lawyer. Unless you have a friend of the family who practices law, many “regular folks” simply do not have a lawyer in mind when tragedy strikes. If you work in conditions where accidents are bound to happen (construction, rafting, telephone poll worker or window washer come to mind), then keep in mind a few workplace lawyers.

All insulated glass unit (IGU) windows will eventually begin to fog due to seal failure. Window glass replacement is simpler and far less expensive than full window replacement, restoring your thermal double pane windows can save you up to 70 percent off the cost of regular window replacement. Nearly all windows are designed to have the glass units replaceable and can be fixed by simply changing out the failed glass unit with a new factory sealed glass unit.  This is an easy and economical solution to making your windows look newwithout replacing the whole window. Wincapaw started into the business when he moved to Fayette County from Southern Florida in 2005. He is a one man operation and gives his customers one-on-one personal attention from start to finish. Capitol Glass, Inc. has earned an outstanding reputation as an affordable and reliable company you can trust. “Family owned and operated, we really care about our customers and believe in an honest value for high quality products done right the first time,” Wincapaw stated.

Daylighting, Biophelia and Lighting Controls: One strong belief is that people are happiest and most productive with good "daylighting." Provide them with windows and the ability to control the level of their task lighting and our intuition tells us this may contribute to the satisfaction of their work environment. After all, when an executive receives that coveted promotion, what often comes with it? The corner office – with views of the outdoors. When you walk into your hotel room, throw down your bags, what is the first thing you usually do? Do you head to the window to check out the view, and if there is a terrace, squeal in delight (well, perhaps only I squeal)? Humans tend to gravitate toward this touch with nature. But what does science tell us?
In a landmark study published in 1984 by Roger Ulrich, Ph.D., patients recovered from gall bladder surgery more quickly (2.5 days sooner, on average) and required less pain medication if they had a view of trees outside their window, verses the view of a brick wall. Views of nature appear to reduce our pain levels, likely through stress reduction, distraction, and the elevation of serotonin. Sunlight exposure increases the body's stores of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that inhibits pain pathways in the central nervous system (think "feel good, happy juice".)
We also see increased school performance in LEED-certified schools. The average school today is 42 years old, built during the time when some believed that windows would be distracting to students. Proper daylighting (without glare), however, has shown to actually increase students' attention and performance. The Heschong Mahone Group, Inc. in its most recent study of daylighting in schools, found statistically significant evidence that access to views through windows in classrooms improves student performance by 5 – 10%. Add an improvement in acoustics, and tests scores improve an average of 18%.
According to the Green School Initiative, "The study by the Heschong Mahone Group, covering more than 2,000 classrooms in three school districts, indicated that students with the most classroom daylight progressed 20% faster in one year on math tests and 26% faster on reading tests than those students who learned in environments that received the least amount of natural light."

Hell, he could break up MY relationship and I doubt I'd mind:  The plot of Heartbreaker seems like a cruel one when looked at from a broad orbit. A man is paid to break up relationships by seducing the women involved therein. It's wise, then, that additional ground rules are laid down within minutes of the film's opening: Alex (Romain Duris) only intervenes when relationships are unhappy, he never sleeps with the women, and he never interferes for religious or political reasons. It's an engaging premise to the film, which wisely starts out with a quick, funny montage of Alex's previous successes in the field, as he engages in numerous vocations one being a window-washer to get close to his targets.

Leather Window Frames by Tonin: Italian company Tonin isn’t leaving luxury at the door, so to speak. These chic leather doors and leather window frames add some oomph to your decor with their unexpected look and feel, vibrant colors and luscious finish. The supple leather is sourced from top Italian suppliers, created by the likes of glass designer Sera Valentina and jewelry brand Swarovski. Murano glass and crystal embellishments are the perfect complement to leather finishes like Ostrich, Crocodile Skin, Eel and Python, available in any color of the rainbow – pink, blue, brown, ochre, green, the classic black and white, fiery red, metallics, the options are endless. Say “goodbye” to boring windows and predictable doors, and welcome some real art into your home.

On football pitches up and down the country magic of a very different nature was occurring. It was FA Cup third round weekend; one of the most exciting three days of the English footballing calendar. It is a time and place where non-league, part-time clubs can lock horns with their multi-million corporation counterparts from the Premier League. A level playing field which could pitch a milkman, a maths teacher and a window cleaner against the pampered egos of top flight football. It is very much David vs. Goliath.

The Last Gasp of Australian Tennis’s Golden Era: Mark Edmondson, who was ranked No. 212 at the time and had been mopping floors at a hospital just weeks before, seized his opportunity, beating John Newcombe in the final. Thirty-five years later, he remains the lowest-ranked men’s player to win a major and the last native son to win the Australian Open, which begins Monday in Melbourne.
“My sister was a nurse at the time, and she said, ‘We’re always looking for cleaners and window washers at the hospital,’ ” Edmondson said in a phone interview from his home near Sydney. “I was doing some floor polishing and window cleaning, but then like seven days into it, I got the call from Tennis Australia.” He traded in his mop and bucket for the chance to play, and seized the opportunity by winning the Tasmanian Open, which catapulted him into the main draw of the Australian Open.

Massachusetts legislators are filing a bill this week to protect children, families and workers from harmful chemicals found in everyday household products from window cleaner to shampoo. For years, environmentalists have pushed for stricter laws governing chemicals, especially as a series of government and other studies have found increasing amounts of chemicals in people bodies, including pregnant women. The legislation, called The Safer Alternatives Bill, would require businesses to replace toxic chemicals with safer ones if there are ones available. It also sets up a review system for other chemicals. This is the 6th year the bill will be filed in Massachusetts, but despite the budget woes of the state, environmentalists say they expect to make headway.
The legislation comes as 71 chemical safety laws have been passed in the last eight years by bipartisan state legislators across the country and bills in 30 other states are filed are will be filed this year. Some bills include bans on Bisphenol A, a chemical used in a wide variety of products that has been partially banned in Massachusetts, hazardous flame retardants, requirements that children’s product manufacturers use only the safest chemicals; and resolutions urging Congress to overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the federal law that allows dangerous and untested chemicals to be used in everyday products and materials.

"Planned Companies" going green in Newark: Parsippany - Planned Companies' Green School Cleaning Initiative will visit Newark on Jan. 26 to take part in a beautification project at Lafayette Street Annex School.
Approximately 40 Planned employees, along with President & CEO Robert Francis, will participate in the project within Newark's oldest school, using environmentally sensitive cleaning products. Established in Newark in 1898, Planned grew from a company of window cleaners and janitors into a real estate service business serving more than 250 commercial and residential properties across the Eastern Seaboard, providing security, janitorial, concierge and other essential personnel.

Revealed for the first time, the defiant French stained glass window portraying Hitler as King Herod: Adolf Hitler was portrayed as a blood-thirsty King Herod killing a Jew in a church stained glass window created in France at the height of the Nazi Occupation, it emerged today. The extraordinary ecclesiastical work of art remained unnoticed for a full 70 years at the St Jacques Church in Montgeron, south of Paris. If it had been pointed out at the time of its inauguration – in July 1941 – it would have meant almost certain death for those who created it. Third Reich soldiers were running France with fierce brutality at the time, and anything attacking the German Fuhrer would have been destroyed immediately.
As it was, the colourful window clearly depicts a black fringed Hitler as Herod, the infamous biblical King renowned for slaughtering children. ‘The figure has Hitler’s hair, but his moustache has been hidden behind his arm to avoid serious trouble,’ said Father Dominique Guerin, pastor of the parish. Now the window is being viewed as a brave symbol of French Resistance during the Occupation of 1940 to 1944.  It was spotted by a journalist earlier this month, and then highlighted by the church authorities. In the window, Herod is slaughtering St Jacques – French for St James – who represents the Jewish people, using a broadsword. ‘Very few people have noticed it over the years,’ said local historian Renaud Arpin. ‘This ignorance would have been entirely understandable – if you’d known what it depicted during the war you would have been in a great deal of trouble.’ Click picture to enlarge.

Small business proprietors dread demise of the cheque: Almost three-quarters of Brian Martel’s customers pay their milk bill by cheque. Smaller businesses fear trade could suffer if cheques are phased out. Window cleaners, milkmen and newsagents are among those who are concerned about losing the payment method. Brendan Le Moigne, who owns Scott’s Window Cleaning Services, said most of his customers paid by cheque.

Stensrud, a small-business owner, is a newcomer to state politics. He and wife Wendy have raised their family of three children in Eden Prairie for 23 years and have been active in Wooddale Church. Stensrud has never shied away from transitions, though. Early in his career, he worked in medical sales, constantly traveling the country and dealing with turnover in the industry. “It seemed like you’d be working for one company and your worst competitor would buy out your company,” he noted. Back in 2002, Stensrud made a decision: “Maybe I’ll go for some control in my destiny.” He ended up looking into buying a franchise and became the owner of Fish Window Cleaning. The transition from salesman in a constantly changing industry to business-owner in a very old-school line of work turned out to be the right choice. “There’s not going to be a new technology that comes out that will get rid of the need for window cleaning and that’s a good thing,” he noted.

Where have all the whistlers gone? Walking through the middle of town the other lunchtime I picked up on a sound I'd not heard in a long, long while. Its audio presence was heightened by the fact that the shopping centre was ominously quiet as befitting a nation in sombre mood. Yet this melodious offering lifted the atmosphere. What was it? Well, it wasn't a busker. No, this was an ordinary bloke, weighed down with carrier bags, obviously out shopping with his other half, who was whistling a tune. That's when it dawned on me that it had been ages since I had actually heard anyone break into a whistle, let alone one that constituted a proper song.
When I was a kid every grown-up bloke seemed to whistle; every adolescent, too. Even some of my primary school mates. I was very envious as it's a knack which has always eluded me. Try as I might, my attempts at whistling sound like a cross between a balloon deflating and a budgerigar croaking its last chirp. Back then, and a bit before, everyone whistled while they worked. Milkmen. Postmen. Delivery drivers. Builders. Window cleaners. By the seventies, though, it was in decline. Nothing happened to arrest its fall from grace throughout the eighties and nineties, either. Now, firmly embedded as we are in the bottom half of the 21st century, it's about as dead as a dodo.

Ever seen a window cleaner trying to clean windows up on the 50th floor of some metropolitan skyscraper? My legs would snap off if I was the one wiping glass that high. Have no fear, the Roomba of windows is here: the Windoro. Lazy as we are, someone invented a robot that automatically wipes glass with the press of a button. Using special microfiber pads and detergent attached to one side of the Windoro, the bot slides back and forth in a zigzag formation, gently cleaning windows. The Windoro charges up in two to three hours and will work for up to an hour and a half on a full charge. So if you're a window cleaner and you're thinking about cheating your boss to go on an extended lunch break, you better get more than one of these cleaning bots. Piro Windoro (iwindoro) also has a window-cleaning robot. Windoro sets the length of the working path at 1 metre for cleaning "efficiently". The robot recognises the initial spot where the cleaning began. To reduce power consumption, a timed power-off function is set. It uses permanent magnets to stay safe on the window even after it turns off.
More here in depth. Similar news stories here & here.

When a company is hard to find, so is customer satisfaction: When you hire a company to do some work around the house you should look for some basic things. The first is an address of the company doing the work. You may find this difficult to believe, but there are companies out there that don't list a mailing or street address on any of their documents - even on advertisements and sales receipts. As you might imagine, this makes it exceedingly difficult to recover a settlement if there's a problem later on. Another thing to look for is a local telephone number. When the company only has a toll-free number listed, an alarm bell should ring inside your skull. For all you know, the company could be headquartered in the hold of a rusty garbage scow tied up at Pago Pago.
This brings us to the sad story of a client, who, last summer hired CGS Cleaning. The cleaning technician, she said, made no effort to test the fabric in an inconspicuous location, as recommended on the tags. "It has been a nightmare for me. The furniture is completely ruined," Bitzer said. "It took a private investigator to figure out who the owner is." She told us that she didn't get a work order until the work was completed, and when she did see the contract there was no name, no address, no local telephone number, no e-mail address, no website - in short, no contact information whatsoever.
Now, if she did get a chance to look at the work order, she would have backed out then and there, because it has statements that pretty much leave CGS off the hook for just about everything, including accidently burning down your house. It states: "CGS will not be responsible for conditions existing prior to cleaning, nor will CGS be responsible for any damage to fabrics cleaned."
It also says: "Liability shall not exceed the cost of service." But for the record, the work order also states: "It feels so good to have the very best." True, this sounds like the usual boilerplate contract, but it does give the company a fair amount of leverage in court. It also suggests the company has little interest in making its customers happy and in owning up to mistakes.

What can I plant that won’t grow up past my windows? Many newer homes have front windows about 2 feet off the ground. You may not want a plant to grow too tall there, but it’s OK to see tops of shrubs -- especially ones with flowers -- through the windows. Shrubs you can keep about 2 feet tall include Red Ruffle azalea (blooms on and off all year), dwarf ixora, Blue Pacific juniper, Emerald Goddess liriope and foxtail fern. You might place little pockets of color there with perennials such as pentas or lantana, mixed with annuals, if you like. For regular-height windows, use plants underneath you can keep about 3 feet such as Gold Mound duranta, Burfordii holly, Schillings holly, Xanadu philodendron and many croton varieties. How far away from the foundation should I plant? My general rule of thumb is 2-3 feet out for shrubs (depending on mature size), 1-2 feet for perennials and annuals. Leave yourself enough room for house maintenance and window washing.

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